Reflection on Isaiah 1:10-20

Scripture

“Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord.

“Though your sins are as scarlet, I will make them white as snow.

Though they are as red as crimson, I will make them like wool.”

Observation

Isaiah promises judgement on the people of Israel. He calls them “Sodom” and “Gomorrah.” They revel in their sin and then bring sacrifices, but the Lord will reject their offerings because they are just religious ceremonies.

The Lord hates their prayers and offerings because of their sins. He wants true repentance and will wash their sins clean.

Application

The Lord is always seeking reconciliation with us. He wants us to turn away from our sins and receive His blessing.

This is not about outward religious acts but about the heart. Being baptised, going to church, or saying the Sinner’s Prayer will not make a person right with God.

Turning away from our sin and towards Jesus will activate God’s cleansing flow of forgiveness into our spirit.

It has to be sincere, from the heart. Going through a ritual of any sort will not impress God. He looks at the heart not the outward appearance.

So what must I do to be saved?

1. Recognise sin. Confess not just wrong doing, but also the orientation towards sin and self-centredness.

2. Repent. Repentance means more than saying “sorry” to God. It means to recognise that something I thought was acceptable is actually repellent.

3. Ask God for forgiveness.

4. Receive the power of the Holy Spirit to live God’s way not my own way.

Having made the decision to follow Jesus I must obey Him and let Him rule every part of my life.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, I receive you as my Lord. I am sorry for all that I do that displeases you. Please help me to live for you every day of my life. Amen.

Reflection on Isaiah 43:14-21


Scripture

For I am about to do something new

See, I have already begun!

Do you not see it?

I will make a path through the wilderness

I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.

Observation

The Lord promises to send an army against Babylon. The Babylonians will flee in their ships, but Israel will cross the wilderness to go home.

The Lord brought His people out of Egypt through the Red Sea. He made a dry path and then frowned the Egyptian army.

This is nothing! He is doing a new thing. He will make a path through the wilderness and create rivers in the wasteland.

Application

God was about to do something new. He is the God of new things. We get caught up in the old things, and it is important to remember God’s past deeds, but we do not have to live there.

The Israelites escaped when God made a dry path through the wet place. Now He promises to provide a wet path through the desert.

We need to be looking constantly for the “new thing” God is doing in our lives or else we will miss it.

If we need a dry path to take us to His promise, then He will make a dry path. If we need places of refreshment to bring us home, then He will provide them.

With God, the “new thing” is always the thing needed now that allows us to get to the place He has called us to.

Whether it is parting the sea or watering the desert, He will provide the new miracles for today.

In Israel’s first wilderness experience, the Lord provided manna every morning. It was fresh every day because, as the prophet Jeremiah wrote centuries later, “Your mercies are fresh every morning.”

Let us seek God for today’s grace, not clinging any more to last year’s miracle.

Prayer

Lord, you are constantly doing “new things” in my life. Help me to carefully listen to your Holy Spirit for today’s “new thing.” Amen.

Reflection on Isaiah 6:1-13

Scripture

It was the year King Uzziah died that I saw the Lord. He was sitting on a lofty throne, and the train of his robe filled the Temple.

Observation

The heavens open for Isaiah, and he sees the Lord sitting on a high and lofty throne. Mighty six- winged seraphim fly around the throne calling out praise to God. Their noises shake the Temple, and it is filled with smoke.

Isaiah is afraid because of his sin, but one of the seraphim comes down and touches his lips with a burning coal for forgiveness.

Isaiah is given a message to take to the people to hear but not understand. They will fail to repent until the nation is devastated by God’s judgement.

Application

Oh to see the Lord high and lifted up!

When we truly enter into worship, whether at home or in church, we can go beyond ourselves and lift up our eyes to our Redeemer.

To see the Lord high and lifted up, we must lift up our eyes.

The problem is that too often our eyes are firmly pointed down, our focus remains on earth and not in heaven, even when we pray or sing praise. Too many people keep their focus on their circumstances.

For other people, the focus is on themselves. “I can’t pray out loud or sing aloud because other people might think I’m doing it wrong.” We are not to be self-conscious but God conscious.

The open vision that Isaiah experienced is not a common event. That does not mean that we should not expect to see the Lord in dreams and visions or hear His voice through the Holy Spirit.

To do these things we must seek Him. We must look to Him. We must pursue His glory.

It doesn’t have to be spectacular. It is the still, small voice or the tough of the hem of His garment that will change our hearts and our lives.

Prayer

Lord, let me see our glory. Teach me how to pursue you and to seek your face. Amen.

Reflection on Isaiah 62:1-5

Scripture

The nations will see your righteousness;

world leaders will be blinded by your glory.

And you will be given a new name

by the Lord’s own mouth.

Observation/ Application

Isaiah says he loves Jerusalem and will not stop praying for her. Her hard times will give way to glory and righteousness. Then the nations will see Jerusalem and be blinded by her glory.

This speaks of the church. This is the “new name” for Jerusalem. The covenant isn’t just with Israel any more but to all who love Jesus.

So, like Isaiah, we should continue to pray for the church- the assembly of christians, the people who love God. We should pray for the local church, persecuted christians around the world, the mission of the church locally and globally.

As we learn to more fully worship and obey the Lord, nations will come streaming to the church. When we live in the grace and power of the Holy Spirit, the radiance of God shines from us to those who are thirsty for the Lord.

World leaders and local politicians will see the way that christians live and what they achieve. They will ask “How do you do that?” The ways of the Holy Spirit are perplexing and attractive to those who do not know the Lord.

Of course, those who see what the church is and what it does and don’t like it, will rise against it. There are many people who do not like the light but prefer the darkness. Persecution will always be a fact of life for christians, but what glory awaits for those who remain faithful to the Lord.

Prayer

Help me Lord to see the glory of your church. May the nations come to taste of your mercy, and leaders see your glory. Amen.