Monday, March 26, 2012
A Break from Lawrence for Isaiah 58
'Why have we fasted,' they say, 'and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?' "Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please..."
We are good at that question. Why? Why Why Why? Why can't I get a better job? Why can't I afford a better apartment? Why am I stuck with this car? Why did I get stuck with a hairy chest? Why am I so blah blah blah blah blah. I do it all the time. "Why am I so undisciplined?" "Why don't you help me with this God?" Why?
What does Isaiah 58 say? Well, you are good at asking why... but what are you doing after those words leave your mouth? Well, its not my fault, its too hard, that's why I'm praying!
If we just look at this in perspective it all makes sense. If I asked my dad for $1,000 to get some books for school, I think he would first ask how my job was going. If I said, "well, I quit my job because I needed more time to play basketball, but if I just had some more money I could finish school and then I can work more." Thats not even a good illustration, but its enough to show how ridiculous we are when dealing with God. Really, this is more for me than anyone else. The point is, if we want God to listen to our prayers we must back up our prayers, our faith, with action that proves our faith, our prayers. Got is NOT a divine gumball machine and prayers are NOT quarters. He is a father and we are his children by GRACE. He will discipline us in love and he will give us good gifts in love, but he will not simply give us whatever we ask for whenever we want it. Thank God for that.
Thank God that he didn't stop with Isaiah 58 as well. Thank God that he also inspired Isaiah 59. When God saw that his people were incabaple of doing good, in capable of saving themselves, totally inadequate, he did not sit idly. He does not sit idly. This is the Word of the Lord:
The LORD looked and was displeased
that there was no justice.
16 He saw that there was no one,
he was appalled that there was no one to intervene;
so his own arm achieved salvation for him,
and his own righteousness sustained him.
17 He put on righteousness as his breastplate,
and the helmet of salvation on his head;
he put on the garments of vengeance
and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.
18 According to what they have done,
so will he repay
wrath to his enemies
and retribution to his foes;
he will repay the islands their due.
19 From the west, people will fear the name of the LORD,
and from the rising of the sun, they will revere his glory.
For he will come like a pent-up flood
that the breath of the LORD drives along.[a]
20 “The Redeemer will come to Zion,
to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,”
declares the LORD.
21 “As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the LORD. “My Spirit, who is on you, will not depart from you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will always be on your lips, on the lips of your children and on the lips of their descendants—from this time on and forever,” says the LORD.
It was by his own hand that Jesus came. He comes both in wrath and in love to punish and to cherish so that his Spirit might never depart from his people and he may wipe every tear from their eye and JUSTICE might truly reign. By the LORD'S OWN HAND will this be accomplished. Thanks be to God.