ETERNAL JOY FOR THE REDEEMED
Wednesday, 13 March 2019
Isaiah 51 : 1-16
“So the ransomed of the Lord will return And come with joyful shouting to Zion, And everlasting joy will be on their heads. They will obtain gladness and joy, And sorrow and sighing will flee away.” -Isaiah 51:11
How refreshing, words of encouragement and promise of deliverance and restoration sound to the heart that is weary and troubled. At a time when the remnant of God’s people was disheartened by the disorder and disobedience in the land, injustice of the rulers and the Babylonian exile, through the Prophet Isaiah, God sends words of encouragement to comfort His people. Despite the bleak and oppressive situations that we face in this world, as we meditate on three aspects of today’s reading, let us persist firmly in faith and be strengthened in our Christian walk.
Recall the past (Isa 51:1-2): God calls His people to listen to Him and recall His past faithfulness and mercies. He wanted the Israelites to look to their root: to the call of Abraham when he was still in the Ur of Chaldeans, to God’s blessing of a generation to Abraham and Sarah in their old age. In remembering that God called, blessed and multiplied one man to become the Nation of Israel, they were to look forward in hope to God’s plans for the future. In looking back, we understand the frailties of our old sinful self, from which Christ has redeemed us. ‘Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers,… will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.’ (1 Cor. 6:9-11) As we acknowledge the change the God has brought in us, we are to look to the future with anticipation and joy.
Rejoice in the future (Isa 51:3-6): God promises deliverance and restoration from our present struggles, but ultimately, the greatest joy is in the coming of the Messiah and His eternal reign of righteousness. “My righteousness is near, My salvation has gone forth, And My arms will judge the peoples; The coastlands will wait for Me, And for My arm they will wait expectantly.” (Isa 51:5) We are reminded to look beyond the temporal world and its pressures and persecutions that will soon pass away and focus on the eternal salvation of God that endures forever. ‘For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison’ (2 Cor. 4:17)
Trust in God (Isa 51:7-16): We need to examine ourselves and check where we have put our trust. Be watchful that we do not allow fear of men to sidetrack us from our walk with the Lord. Fear God and not man! If we have placed our trust in God, we will not be afraid of mortal men and their attacks against us. As we look to the sovereign Lord, our Creator and Redeemer, we see His great love that paid the price on the cross of Calvary to set us free from the snare of sin and death; we experience His protection and mercies day by day. The more we know this loving and merciful God, the deeper our desire should be to be more like Him – living in holiness.
Do not be discouraged by the pressures we face in this world, but instead let us in faith, look heavenward to the eternal promise of rest and joy in God’s presence.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying,
“Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell
among them, and they shall be His people, and God
Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear
from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will
no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain;
the first things have passed away.”
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