Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Preemptively prophetic: Is 48:5-7

"Therefore I declared them to you long ago, before they took place I proclaimed them to you, so that you would not say, 'My idol has done them, and my graven image and my molten image have commanded them.' You have heard; look at all this. And you, will you not declare it? I proclaim to you new things from this time, even hidden things which you have not known. They are created now and not long ago; and before today you have not heard them, so that you will not say, 'Behold, I knew them.' " (Isaiah 48:5-7)
How do we know that God exists? How do we know that God is real? What is our confidence that the Bible is true? One reason is the overwhelming evidence of fulfilled prophesy as recorded in the scriptures. From ancient times, God has repeatedly spoken of things to come so that, as they came to pass, we might be encouraged in our faith in Him. God's ability to declare the future before it comes to pass gives strong evidence of who He is. With each fulfilled prophesy we are reminded that there is a God who knows the end from the beginning. We believe that God is and He is aware and involved in our lives on this earth.

While the ministry of prophets was common under the Old Testament, God still moves prophetically today. Jesus spoke of the prophetic ministry of the Holy Spirit, "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come." (John 16:13) Part of the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to reveal to us things yet to come. We also see the New Testament ministry of a certain prophet named Agabus as recorded in the book of Acts, "As we were staying there for some days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. And coming to us, he took Paul's belt and bound his own feet and hands, and said, 'This is what the Holy Spirit says: "In this way the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles." ' " (Acts 21:10-11) The Holy Spirit spoke prophetically through the prophet Agabus to warn Paul of what was to happen to him when he returned to Jerusalem, and when those things were fulfilled, Paul was able to take strength knowing that it was God who was directing his steps and that the things that were being done to him would turn out for the glory of God.

I believe that God still wants to speak prophetically today, not only to warn us about the future, but also to given evidence of Himself. Jesus gives prophetic gifts as one of the ways Christians can "manifest" the Holy Spirit. When we prophesy, God is made manifest. "But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an ungifted man enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all; the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so he will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you." (1 Corinthians 14:24-25) Let us never loose our zeal and our desire to prophesy. As Paul said, "Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy." (1 Corinthians 14:1)

David Robison

Monday, May 30, 2005

I will be a queen forever: More thoughts

In my previous post on Isaiah 47, my primary thoughts were how this scripture might apply to the individual. When studying the scriptures, my first thought is, "How does this apply to me?" Since I posted my thoughts, others have commented on how this scripture might also apply to nations today. These comments have been insightful and appreciated. In light of these comments, I wanted to share some of my thoughts on how this passage could be applied to my country, the United States of America. Specifically, how my country is participating in some of the same sins committed by ancient Babylon.

But before we move on, care must be taken not to confuse the Babylon of Isaiah 47 with the Babylon of Revelations 18. The exact identity of the Babylon mentioned in the book of Revelations is, in my opinion, still up for discussion. One thing I've learned about prophesy is that it is a lot easier to understand after it has been fulfilled then before. Yet, without trying to identify one nation or another as the end-time Babylon, I do think we can apply this scripture in Isaiah 47 to our current nations.
  • "I was angry with My people, I profaned My heritage and gave them into your hand. You did not show mercy to them, on the aged you made your yoke very heavy." (Isaiah 47:6) There has been a lot of talk in the media recently about how America has handled their Muslim prisoners of war. Specifically, how they have show respect (or disrespect) for the Koran. In my opinion, the American military has gone to great lengths to show mercy and kindness to their Muslim captives. They have provided them with copies the Koran and have made every effort to treat the Koran in a way that would be honoring to the Muslims, even to the extent that they wear gloves when handling the Koran so not to offend the Muslims. Others may disagree, but where it comes to showing mercy to those who have engaged in arm conflict with America, I believe that America has excelled.
  • "Yet you said, 'I will be a queen forever.' These things you did not consider nor remember the outcome of them." (Isaiah 47:7) I feel in general, that most Americans live their lives as if life will continue forever with out change. They believe that America will always be strong, will always be a world leader, and will always enjoy financial prosperity. I fear that many Americans fail to see that if America continues its slide toward becoming a secular society, that the consequences of such a drift in morality could have significant and long lasting consequences upon the America that we know and upon her place in the international community. America is great only because God has made it great, and if we leave God behind, He may not choose to uphold her as He once did.
  • "You felt secure in your wickedness and said, 'no one sees me.' " (Isaiah 47:10) One of America's secret sins is abortion. Each day, thousands of innocent unborn children are murdered in the name of personal choice. I call this her "secret" sin, not because people do not know about it, but because much of society seems to rather not have to deal with the issue. Leave it alone, leave it to the mother and the doctor, and don't trouble us about it. In hiding our face, we never stop long enough to wonder what God thinks about all the abortions. God sees and one day, I'm afraid, God will judge.
  • "Your wisdom and your knowledge, they have deluded you; for you have said in your heart, 'I am, and there is no one besides me.' " (Isaiah 47:10) There is a sense among the liberals and the intellectual elite that we have become enlightened. Our learning and education have raised us above the old fashion and out dated morals of our parents. Over the past fifty years we have "grown up" as a nation and should no longer be burdened with the morals and scruples of the past. One case in point is the current attempt by some to redefine marriage from a union between a man and a woman to include the union of a man and a man or a woman and a woman. All this because we have become enlightened, and thus should cast off the unnecessary yolks of the past. Truly I think our "knowledge" and "wisdom" have deluded us.
  • "You are wearied with your many counsels; let now the astrologers, those who prophesy by the stars, those who predict by the new moons, stand up and save you from what will come upon you." (Isaiah 47:13) There was once a time when the church was at the center of our culture and society. People respected the church and her teachings, even if they did not believe in them themselves. Today, all that has changed. The media and entertainment industry has become the center of culture and society for many. They continually spew their immoral world view upon unsuspecting viewers who readily drink it in. But in the end, the media will not be able to save us. Hollywood does not have the answers that America needs. If we want answers and direction, we must turn to the Lord and not the television.
So what hope is there for a society that is slipping away? Here are just three:
  1. "When the word reached the king of Nineveh, he ... issued a proclamation and it said, ... 'let men call on God earnestly that each may turn from his wicked way and from the violence which is in his hands. Who knows, God may turn and relent and withdraw His burning anger so that we will not perish.' When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it." (Jonah 3:6-10) The nation of Nineveh was saved because the people repented at the preaching of Jonah. America needs a revival birthed out of repentance. We need to pray for our country that God would have mercy upon us, that He would forgive us of our sins, and that He would visit us with His presence. God takes notice of a nation that turns from its sins and implore the mercy of God.
  2. "Then he said, 'Oh may the Lord not be angry, and I shall speak only this once; suppose ten are found there?' And He said, 'I will not destroy it on account of the ten.' "
    (Genesis 18:32) The sad fact about Sodom was that there was not even found within her ten righteous souls. I believe that Christians can "stand in the gap" for their nation. "And My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7:14) I believe that if God's people would get serious about God, and pray, then God would move to heal their nation. I believe that it is the Christians in a nation that hold the greatest key to that nations healing.
  3. "Thus says the LORD, 'Behold, I bring evil on this place and on its inhabitants, even all the words of the book which the king of Judah has read. ... My wrath burns against this place, and it shall not be quenched.' But to the king of Judah who sent you to inquire of the LORD thus shall you say to him, ... 'because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before the LORD when you heard what I spoke against this place and against its inhabitants ... I truly have heard you," declares the LORD. Therefore, behold, I will gather you to your fathers, and you will be gathered to your grave in peace , and your eyes will not see all the evil which I will bring on this place.' " (2 Kings 22:16-20) Judgment was decreed against Jerusalem and God would not relent. However, God swore to Josiah that he would go to the grave in peace. God was granting Josiah and the nation of Israel a season of peace before His judgment fell. It was because of the righteousness of Josiah that God held back His judgment. Judgment is certain upon this world, yet I believe that Godly leadership can serve to hold back the judgment of God. A nation may not be able to escape judgment forever, but righteous leadership can bring a season of peace and prosperity to reign in spite of the pending judgment. As Christians, we should pray for our leaders and ask God to give us godly men and women to lead our nation.
So what about your country. I know many people from other countries read these postings. How do you see this scripture applying to your own country? I would enjoy hearing your thoughts.

David Robison

Saturday, May 28, 2005

I will be a queen forever: Is 47

"Now, then, hear this, you sensual one, who dwells securely, who says in your heart, 'I am, and there is no one besides me. I will not sit as a widow, nor know loss of children.' "But these two things will come on you suddenly in one day: loss of children and widowhood. They will come on you in full measure in spite of your many sorceries, in spite of the great power of your spells." (Isaiah 47:8-9)
Isaiah is prophesying concerning the nation of Babylon. God speaks of the judgment that He would later bring upon Babylon. While it was God who allowed Babylon to become great, it is also God who would judge her for her sins. Speaking of her judgment, God says,
"Come down and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon; sit on the ground without a throne, O daughter of the Chaldeans! For you shall no longer be called tender and delicate. Take the millstones and grind meal. Remove your veil, strip off the skirt, uncover the leg, cross the rivers. Your nakedness will be uncovered, your shame also will be exposed; I will take vengeance and will not spare a man." (Isaiah 47:1-3)
What were the sins of Babylon that would eventually lead to her distinction? Here are but a few:
  • "I was angry with My people, I profaned My heritage and gave them into your hand. You did not show mercy to them, on the aged you made your yoke very heavy." (Isaiah 47:6) Babylon was God's chosen instrument to execute judgment upon the nation of Israel. Yet they rejoiced at Israel's calamity and gleefully overthrow them. They attributed their victories to their strength and did not realize that it was God who delivered the nations into their hands. Their judgment was not mingled with mercy. They were harsh and vicious and did not represent God's nature when He brings judgment upon His own.
  • "Yet you said, 'I will be a queen forever.' These things you did not consider nor remember the outcome of them." (Isaiah 47:7) Actions have consequences. When we fail to consider the consequences of our actions, we often end up reaping what we wished we hadn't. "Her uncleanness was in her skirts; she did not consider her future." (Lamentations 1:9) When making decisions, thought must be given to the long-term, eternal, consequences of those decisions, not just the present and temporary pleasure that they might bring.
  • "You felt secure in your wickedness and said, 'no one sees me.' " (Isaiah 47:10) Integrity is demonstrated in what we do when no one is looking. When we are all alone and no one is around to hold us accountable, do we continue to live righteously? Or do we revert back to a life lead by our lusts and desires? We must always remember that, even if no one else sees, God is always watching.
  • "Your wisdom and your knowledge, they have deluded you; for you have said in your heart, 'I am, and there is no one besides me.' " (Isaiah 47:10) Sometimes, the people who are most closed to the truth are those who already believe that they have truth. It is hard to tell someone the truth when they think they already know it. "Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish , so that he may become wise." (1 Corinthians 3:18) The wisdom of man will always lead us astray. We must seek the wisdom that comes from God.
  • "You are wearied with your many counsels; let now the astrologers, those who prophesy by the stars, those who predict by the new moons, stand up and save you from what will come upon you." (Isaiah 47:13) There are many voices offering wisdom in our culture today. All you have to do is turn on the television and you will see the various versions of "wisdom" and "counsel" that are being espoused today. Each voice claims to be enlightened, each voice claims to know the way. But if we follow the wrong voice, it will lead us down a pathway that leads to pain, suffering, and destruction. We must turn a deaf ear to the voices of the world and learn to hear God's voice. It is only by following His voice and counsel that we will find the way of life and peace.
David Robison

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

I have and will carry you: Is 46:3-4

"Listen to Me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, you who have been borne by Me from birth and have been carried from the womb; even to your old age I will be the same, and even to your graying years I will bear you! I have done it, and I will carry you; and I will bear you and I will deliver you." (Isaiah 46:3-4)
A while ago, there was a brother in my church who came to me for counsel concerning his future. He was working in an industry that was undergoing some changes. He was afraid to stay with his company, afraid that his job would disappear, but he was also afraid of venturing out with another smaller company, afraid that the new company would not last. He was afraid to stay and afraid to go. When he look at his future, all he say was fear and uncertainty. He had forgotten that, in every situation he might face, God was with him.

God has promised that He would not leave us alone. God has worked in our lives in the past and He will continue to do so in our present and future. We can have courage that, no mater where our life may take us, God will always be with us.

As I look back on my life, I can see how, at each step along the way, God was right there to help see me through. Even when times were difficult, God was at my side, helping me and upholding me. It reminds me of what God said to the nation of Israel, "and in the wilderness where you saw how the LORD your God carried you, just as a man carries his son, in all the way which you have walked until you came to this place." (Deuteronomy 1:31) My testimony is that God has carried me in all the ways which I have walked. Even when I strayed from Him, He was still there to catch me when I fell. "Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that hovers over its young, He spread His wings and caught them, He carried them on His pinions." (Deuteronomy 32:11) Eagles will push the young out of their nest and then catch them on their backs if they fail to fly. So too does our Father catch us when we stumble and fall.

Seeing how God has carried me in the past, I can look to the future without fear, knowing that what ever the future may bring, God will be there. I don't fear the future, but I trust in the loving arms of God to carry me there. The future may even hold some very difficult times, but I don't fear, for God will be with me, at my side, to comfort and uphold me. "Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand." (Isaiah 41:10)

David Robison

Monday, May 23, 2005

An everlasting salvation: Is 45:17

"Israel has been saved by the LORD with an everlasting salvation; you will not be put to shame or humiliated to all eternity." (Isaiah 45:17)
Our salvation is an everlasting salvation. Jesus did not only save us for today, but His salvation lasts for all eternity. This was not the case in the Old Testament. Under the old law of offerings and sacrifices, they provided momentary forgiveness for sins, but they did nothing to deal with the sin nature within. Therefore, the sacrifices had to be offered day by day to atone for the new sins committed each day. The writer of Hebrews said, "Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD." (Hebrews 10:11-12) Jesus not only paid the penalty for our sins, but He also took away our sins. Not only are our sins forgiven, but our sin nature had been put to death through the work of Jesus on the cross.

We no longer have a sin nature; we are no longer sinners. Jesus came to free us from our sinful nature. Paul said, "knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin." (Romans 6:6-7) We have not received a salvation that lasts only until our next sin. We have received a salvation that is complete and eternal. We have been changed on the inside. Our sinful nature had been removed, our hearts have been circumcised, and we have been given the power to live as children of God. We are new creations! So, the next time you begin to worry that maybe you "lost" your salvation, remember that that thought is not from the Father, for He saved us once and for all!

David Robison

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Quarreling with our maker: Is 45:9-10

"Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker -- an earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth! Will the clay say to the potter, 'What are you doing?' or the thing you are making say, 'He has no hands'? Woe to him who says to a father, 'What are you begetting?' or to a woman, 'To what are you giving birth?' " (Isaiah 45:9-10)
Most of us, from time to time, have compared ourselves to others, wishing we could be more like them. We look at others and say to ourselves, "If I could just be smarter, or prettier, or richer like them!" Many people, in their hearts, have a quiet discontent for who God has made them. While they may not say it out loud, then wonder in their heart, "Why did God make me this way? Why couldn't He have made me more like someone else?"

In the original Hebrew, the word for "maker" could also be translated as "fashioner". It speaks of a potter who forms the clay, squeezing it into shape. What is of importance to God is not who we are now, but who we are to be. God is fashioning us to be who He wants us to be. He is fashioning us for His purposes. We may kick and scream and whine through the process, but it is unwise to "quarrel with our maker".

For some, it is discontent for who they are. For others, it is disgruntelment for the things they are going through. Either way, these attitudes are really accusations against our maker. In our heart, we are really expressing anger for who God has made us and what He is bringing us through.

How can we turn this around? We must come to understand two incredible truths. It is God who created us and it is God who is forming us! The person you are, God created for a purpose. Many times, the reason we are unhappy with who we are is because we do not understand the reason why God made us the way we are. Perhaps we should spend more time seeking God to understand the unique purpose for which we have been created instead of trying to become someone else. If we can find the reason why we were created, then we will be able to appreciate anew the person that God has created us to be.

Sometimes, in the process of forming us for His will and purpose, God must send trials and testings our way. It is so easy, in those times, to complain and groan at the pain and difficulty in our lives. But if we would stop long enough to realize that the things that touch our lives to form us are really the hands of our Father who loves us, then we might have a different perspective on our suffering. Consider this, that your present circumstances are really the hands of God working in your life to make you more like Him. Looking back in my life, I can see the hand of God working in my life through some of the most difficult times I had to go through, and this understanding has made those times precious to me.

God is our maker, God is our fashioner. Let us be a peace and trust in the wisdom and grace of God to make us and mold us into who He desires us to be.

David Robison

Friday, May 20, 2005

God can use anyone: Is 45:3-5

"I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden wealth of secret places, so that you may know that it is I, the LORD, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name. For the sake of Jacob My servant, and Israel My chosen one, I have also called you by your name; I have given you a title of honor though you have not known Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other; besides Me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known Me." (Isaiah 45:3-5)
God is speaking of King Cyrus who, many years in the future, would restore the captivity of Judah and would order the rebuilding of Jerusalem. "He will build My city and will let My exiles go free, without any payment or reward." (Isaiah 45:13) Almost 160 years before his birth, God calls him by name. Before he is born, God appoints for him a destiny and a calling. Isaiah's prophesies of King Cyrus, and the fulfillment of those prophesies 160 years later, is intended by God to confirm to all men that, "from the rising to the setting of the sun that there is no one besides Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other." (Isaiah 45:6) What other God foretold the coming of Cyrus by name and his many acts? No one! Our God alone knows the future!

This scripture also shows us that God can use anyone. God chose to use Cyrus, even though he did not know Him. Sometimes we think that God can only use super spiritual people. This can sometimes lead to the "Man of God" syndrome, where we believe that God only uses a select group of elite Christians. But God can use anyone. In the book of Numbers, God used a donkey to speak to Balaam. In the Book of Joshua, God used a harlot to save the spies who came to spy out Jericho. And in the Book of John, God used Caiaphas to prophesy that Jesus would die for the nation.

So, where do you look to hear God? Is it during the sermon on Sunday morning? Is it while you pray or read your Bible? God does speak to us in these ways. But God may also speak to us in ways and through people we don't expect. It could be a comment from our neighbor. It could be a concern of a coworker. It could be a plea from a family member. Let us not limit God in how He can speak to us. Let us learn to always be listening to God, to hear Him in what ever way He should choose to speak.

David Robison

Monday, May 16, 2005

God has redeemed His people: Is 44:22-23

" 'I have wiped out your transgressions like a thick cloud and your sins like a heavy mist. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.' Shout for joy, O heavens, for the LORD has done it! Shout joyfully, you lower parts of the earth; break forth into a shout of joy, you mountains, O forest, and every tree in it; for the LORD has redeemed Jacob and in Israel He shows forth His glory." (Isaiah 44:22-23)
Isaiah is speaking prophetically about the work that Jesus would perform on the cross. Isaiah declares, "the Lord has redeemed Jacob!" And not just Jacob, but God has brought redemption to all nations, tribes, and people. John reminds us that "He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world." (1 John 2:2)
God has redeemed mankind!

But if this is true, then why do so many people still walk as prisoners to their sins? Why do so many people still live lives separated from the presence and the grace of God? The answer is in the counsel given to us by God, "Return to me, for I have redeemed you." God has done the redeeming part, now it is our turn to return to Him. The writer of Hebrews, in referring to the Nation of Israel when they stood at the bank of the Jordan river, said, "For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard." (Hebrews 4:2) It's not enough to know that God has redeemed us, we must also receive it by faith.

This reminds me of the story where the rich man prepared a banquet and invited all his friends. Yet, those for which the banquet was prepared all made excuses why they couldn't come. "The first one said to him, 'I have bought a piece of land and I need to go out and look at it; please consider me excused.' Another one said, 'I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out; please consider me excused.' Another one said, 'I have married a wife, and for that reason I cannot come.' " (Luke 14:18-20) Therefore, the master of the feast commanded his servants to, "Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled." (Luke 14:23)

God has prepared for us His banquet. He has paid the full price. And now He is inviting us to come in and share it with Him in His presence. The only question that remains is, will we go to His banquet? Jesus Christ paid the price for our sins, that we might be reunited with the Father. His salvation is ours. But will we return to Him and receive His salvation?

David Robison

Friday, May 13, 2005

Worship the creator, not the creation: Is 44:16-19

"Half of it he burns in the fire; over this half he eats meat as he roasts a roast and is satisfied. He also warms himself and says, 'Aha! I am warm, I have seen the fire.' But the rest of it he makes into a god, his graven image. He falls down before it and worships; he also prays to it and says, 'Deliver me, for you are my god.'... No one recalls, nor is there knowledge or understanding to say, 'I have burned half of it in the fire and also have baked bread over its coals. I roast meat and eat it. Then I make the rest of it into an abomination, I fall down before a block of wood!' "(Isaiah 44:16-19)
How can anything that is of this creation be god? For God is the creator, not the created. How can anything created by our own hands be god? Can we make our own gods? How can an idol, that cannot hear, cannot speak, and cannot move be god? Should we serve a god who is powerless?

There are many things that people substitute in their life for God. For certain, there are idols, fetishes, and spirits (who are also created by the one true God). But some of the false gods we worship are a little more subtle. What are the things we look to for deliverance, salvation, and security? For some, it's money. The assume that their riches will keep them secure when facing uncertain times. For some, it's relationships. They believe that the "right" person will make them complete and ensure their happiness. And for some, it's various escapements, such as drugs, alcohol, and other addictions.

All these things can become "gods" to us. When we are in need, we turn to them for comfort and help. They provide the "strength" that enables us to cope with life. But if we stop and think about it, worshiping any one of these gods is as foolish as "falling down before a block of wood"! There is one true God, and Him alone we should worship.

David Robison

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The one true God: Is 44:6-8

"I am the first and I am the last, and there is no God besides Me. Who is like Me? Let him proclaim and declare it; yes, let him recount it to Me in order, from the time that I established the ancient nation. And let them declare to them the things that are coming and the events that are going to take place. Do not tremble and do not be afraid; have I not long since announced it to you and declared it? And you are My witnesses. Is there any God besides Me, or is there any other Rock? I know of none." (Isaiah 44:6-8)
God has searched heaven and earth and reports to us that, there is no other God besides Him nor is there any other Rock. God, being all-knowing, simply says, "I know of none". The teaching of the Hebrew scriptures are clear, there is only one God. "Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one !" (Deuteronomy 6:4) Our God is not one of many gods, He alone is God! There was no god before Him, there will be no god after Him, He has always been and will always be God.

The writer of Hebrews said, "For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES." (Hebrews 10:26-27) I believe that what he is trying to say is that, if we reject Jesus as our God and Savior, then there is no where else we can go to find forgiveness of our sins. If we pass by Jesus, then there is no one else. He alone is God, there is none else.

This passage also shows us some very interesting aspects to the nature of God,

God is not a force. The Star War movies made popular the phrase, "The force be with you." But God is not an impersonal force, He is a spiritual being. God is not like the forces of nature that operate according to precise laws. God is a person who works all things according to His will.

God is not an enigma. God longs to be known. He desires to have fellowship with His creation. If he hides Himself, it is from those who are proud in their understand, but He loves to reveal Himself to babes. Even the sacrifice of Jesus was for the purpose of reconciling man to God that we might be reunited in fellowship with Him.

We don't get to pick what God's like. God is who He is. He is the great "I AM". We may like to imagine God to be one way or another, but He is who He is. And He is unchangeable; He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Have you found the true God and Savior? Have you found the one true God? Moses reminds us, "But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul." (Deuteronomy 4:29) There can be no greater quest than to seek and find the God of the universe.

David Robison

Monday, May 09, 2005

Bless be the labels that divide: Is 44:5

"This one will say, 'I am the LORD'S'; and that one will call on the name of Jacob; and another will write on his hand, 'Belonging to the LORD,' and will name Israel's name with honor." (Isaiah 44:5)
William Shakespeare wrote: "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." American politicians also have a favorite saying, "if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it's a duck." What both are trying to say is, that it matters little what we call things, they are what they are. We have become a people who love labels. In politics we have conservatives, moderates, and liberals. In Christianity, we have orthodox, reformed, charismatic, and fundamental. We apply labels to ourselves, and to others, as a shorthand to describe who and what they are. While labels can have their value, you identify someone as a conservative and you have some sense of what they believe, they can also be divisive.

In this scripture, God says that His people will describe themselves if various ways, using different labels, but in the end, they are all His people. If we are all His people, then why do we search for labels to make us different? Why do we spend so much time trying to identify why we are different rather than focusing on how we are the same? The Apostle Paul put it this way,
"For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men? For when one says, 'I am of Paul,' and another, 'I am of Apollos,' are you not mere men? So then let no one boast in men. For all things belong to you, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or things present or things to come; all things belong to you, and you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God." (1 Corinthians 3:3-4, 21-23)
The point is, that we are all God's. It doesn't matter what we call ourselves, if we have believed upon Jesus, we are sons and daughters of God. The Gospel was meant to unite us together as one people before God. God's desire was to take people from different cultures, lifestyles, and backgrounds and unite them into one Body of Christ. God never meant us to take the things of the Kingdom and use them to divide and separate us. Jesus desires us to be one, lets not disappoint Him!
"The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one , just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me." (John 17:22-23)

Saturday, May 07, 2005

You have wearied Me: Is 43:22-24

"Yet you have not called on Me, O Jacob; but you have become weary of Me, O Israel. You have not brought to Me the sheep of your burnt offerings, nor have you honored Me with your sacrifices. I have not burdened you with offerings, nor wearied you with incense. You have bought Me not sweet cane with money, nor have you filled Me with the fat of your sacrifices; rather you have burdened Me with your sins, you have wearied Me with your iniquities." (Isaiah 43:22-24)
What was it that God wanted from His people? Was it their obedience? Did He long that they would have theological purity? Was He simply interested in numbers; that the nation of Israel would increase to His glory. No, it was none of these things. What God wanted from His people was their love, affection, and attention. God complains that His people had forgotten Him. They had become like an unfaithful wife that wanders far from home. God loved her, be she wearied Him with her perpetual wandering. And it wasn't as if God even needed the burnt offerings or the sweet cane offerings. But He longed for the times when His people would put Him in remembrance as they offered their gifts to Him. It wasn't the gift that He was after, but the heart of the giver that He desired. So what was God to do? He decided to make a way for His people to return.
"I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins." (Isaiah 43:25)
God decided to send His own Son, as an offering for our sins, that He might forgive us for His own sake. And that in our forgiveness, that He might make a way for our reconciliation.

First and foremost, God wants us. He wants us to be in relationship with Him. He wants us to share our hopes, desires, and dreams with Him. How easy it is to forget God. To go through our day without ever thinking on Him. Day after day we wonder, forgetting that God is waiting for us, waiting for us to spend time with Him. But thanks be to God, that there is always a way back home. He is standing and waiting to forgive us and receive us back. Let us not wait, let us turn and run back to Him and enjoy the fellowship with the Father.

David Robison

Friday, May 06, 2005

Streams in the desert: Is 43:19-21

"Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert. The beasts of the field will glorify Me, the jackals and the ostriches, because I have given waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to My chosen people. The people whom I formed for Myself will declare My praise." (Isaiah 43:19-21)

Have you ever found yourself in the midst of a desert experience, searching and longing for God? Or in a wilderness place, looking and hoping for a way back to God? Desert experiences can be quite unsettling and can lead us to striving in our own strength to find a way out. But the truth is that God comes to meet us in the desert and in the wilderness. Instead of trying to find our own way out, God comes to meet us and give us what we need to survive and overcome the desert places. In the desert, God comes and creates a river of life by which we may refresh our souls. In the wilderness, God comes and creates a highway to ease our journey through the wilderness and to provide us a way of escape. Sometimes, when we are in a difficult place, we simply need to be still long enough to allow God to come and minister to us.

And why does God come to meet us in the desert? So that we might have reason to praise His name. Remember the time when Jesus delivered the demoniac from the legion of daemons? While he wanted to remain with Jesus, Jesus told him to, "Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you." (Mark 5:19) Perhaps, God even allows us to go through desert times so that, when He delivers us, we may have new reasons to praise him.

Has God meet you in your time of need and given you a river of life and a highway of escape? Well then, don't keep it to your self, tell someone; give praise and glory to God.

David Robison

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Called to know God: Is 43:10

" 'You are My witnesses,' declares the LORD, 'and My servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe Me and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, and there will be none after Me.' " (Isaiah 43:10)
When I recently read this verse, it struck me that God had chosen me that I might know Him. What a privilege to be chosen to know God! As much as I desire to know Him, even more He desires to reveal Himself to me. God's call on our life is that we might progressively come to know Him more and more. God has chosen us to reveal Himself to, that we might know Him more and more each day.

God's chief desire is not that we might know His doctrine, His laws, or His end-time plan for the earth, but chiefly He wants us to know Him; He wants to reveal Himself to us. For it is the knowledge of God that will transform our lives. The Apostle John said of Jesus, "In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men." (John 1:4) It was more than His words and His miracles, it was His life that was the light of men. If we are to grow in the light, then it is this life that we must come to know and to be intimately acquainted with.

Why has God chosen us to know Him? In order that we may be His witnesses. We are to witness to, not what we know, but who we know. John put it this way, "What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life -- what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you." (1 John 1:1, 3) It's not enough to know about God, but we must know God. People are not interested in what we know about God, but they want to know the God we know.

When Jesus left this earth, the Father decided to leave behind evidence, legal proof, of who His Son was and is. The Father has left a testimony of His Son for every man, woman, and child to see. What is this evidence? "And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life." (1 John 5:11-12) The proof of who Jesus was and is is seen in the lives that have been changed by His Spirit and grace. A changed live is the witness of Jesus power and sonship. As we grow in our knowledge of the Father, we are changed into His image, and our changed life gives evidence to the world that Jesus is alive and that He is the Son of God.

David Robison