Saturday, January 13, 2018

Focus 2018 - Post 6

In Isaiah 58 we see a picture of contrasts between God and man. You will find this in all of the Bible, both Old Testament and New Testament. For all of the scriptures are given by God through the Holy Spirit to reveal to us what we have not understood about our God, His heart, His ways, and His Kingdom realm. Everything about Him is eternal, spirit and beyond the natural world we are preoccupied with. After the fall of man in the garden, a great division came between flesh and spirit, between truth/reality and our worldly perceptions. Man fell from the glory of God and could no longer see what He sees or think the way He thinks. We were given over to what the apostle Paul refers to as "the natural mind" (I Corinthians 2:6-14). We were reduced to the level of human wisdom which is dictated by the rulers of this age (and the kingdom of darkness). And left to ourselves we can only live according to our own foolishness.

But we have an Heavenly Father Who so loves us that He will break in with His own word to reveal to those who have ears to hear the way out of our own confusion and escape the results of our foolishness. And this is what is happening in Isaiah 58. God is speaking to His chosen covenant people to whom He had revealed Himself and given His words and laws. But they are not operating according to the wisdom of God or His ways. They have strayed so far off from really knowing and loving Him. And their connection/fellowship with Him was so broken that they did not know how to receive life and blessing from Him.

They certainly were aware that things were not well with their nation and that there were problems that they were not able to solve. They could tell things were sick and dysfunctional and blessings were missing. Much like today in our nation, we can tell that things are not good. We know how unhealthy our culture has become and we can see the continuing division and anger growing. We see families falling apart and our prisons filling up beyond capacity. We see the perverseness of sexual behaviors and abortion sweeping beyond imagination. But do we know what we need to provide a remedy and be healed? Did these Israelites know how to restore, rebuild and repair their society? No...

But deeper than that, they did not know what they really needed. The were crying out with fastings and religious acts of sacrifice to be noticed of God. But if you don't even understand what is wrong because you are so deep in your own fleshly thinking, disconnected from heaven's wisdom and love, how can you receive the remedy? But fortunately our Father does know what we need to find life and be restored. And He reveals it.

Here is what God spoke through Isaiah. We need His light to become our light so that it will go before us. We need His righteousness, not our own, to lead the way. We need His ways and values to choose the right path. We need to connect ourselves to His voice, His strength and His life-giving water. We need His glory in our midst. And God promises that not only will we recover speedily, our gloom become like the brightness of the midday, and our health in all areas of life be restored, but we will also know how to make our whole nation find healing and be founded again in the Wisdom of God. Wow! This is our God offering us beauty for ashes.

But can we trust Him that only He knows what is wrong with us and what we really need. Will we forsake our own wisdom and give ear to His word? Will we let go of our natural/foolish mindsets and press into His ways with obedience? If we, God's covenant people will press in this year of 2018, how far can we go to be used of God to bring healing to our lives and our nation? Let's find out!

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