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Lent 2017: You Are Mine: Day 18

Salvation and Judgment

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Today's Text: Isaiah 25:1-12, Genesis 3:17-19, Hebrews 12:22-24

Text: Isaiah 25:1-12, Genesis 3:17-19, Hebrews 12:22-24

When I was a teenager our house was hit by a tornado. Seeing trees leveled, cars smashed, and our back porch splintered into a million fragments—it was disarming.

Reading through the middle section of Isaiah makes me feel a bit like I did as I surveyed the post-tornado damage. Chapter after chapter, Isaiah prophesied about God’s impending judgment. It was bad news all around. From Babylon to Arabia, Jerusalem to Egypt, then ultimately the whole earth, Isaiah foretells a reckoning so widespread that the entire planet will be “stripped completely bare” (Isaiah 24:3). He describes a time when all celebration will cease (v.8) and how “panic, pit, and trap” await all who dwell on the earth (v.17).

My response to these chapters is to cover my eyes and read them through slightly opened fingers. But that is not how Isaiah reacts.

As chapter 24 wraps, God stops speaking to Isaiah about what’s coming. Isaiah doesn’t grit his teeth or pout or whimper. Faced with the news of the world’s coming woes, Isaiah erupts in praise:

“The Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You. I will praise Your name, for you have accomplished wonders, plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness.”
- Isaiah 25:1

Because he knows the complete character of God, Isaiah can look past the devastation and see God’s power. He can look beyond the judgment and see God’s faithfulness.

While Isaiah had a front row seat to some very bad news, he was also among the very first to know the good news of the gospel.

He foretold the Messiah, born to a virgin and given the name Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14).
He knew our Savior would come from the line of David (Isaiah 9:7).
He even foresaw Jesus’ burial in a tomb purchased by Joseph of Arimathea (Isaiah 53:9).

God gifted Isaiah eyes to see past his moment in history and into the mystery of the gospel. Long before any other human knew that Jesus would die on a hill, be buried in a borrowed tomb, and leave His burial clothes behind to return in a resurrected body, Isaiah saw a reason to celebrate: “On this mountain He will destroy the burial shroud, the shroud over all the peoples, the sheet covering all the nations” (Isaiah 25:7).

Yes, God was going to put an end to certain wicked rulers and pagan practices. He would wipe out evil and sin, but He would also destroy death and sorrow. Isaiah celebrated because he knew that the shroud, or curtain, that separated all of humanity from God would soon be torn in two.

Jesus, give us eyes to see past the devastation to the good news of the gospel. Amen.

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Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. When she’s not writing, you can find Erin chasing chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.

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  • Jessie Weaver

    As I read these verses from Isaiah and Erin’s words, I could just feel myself unclenching, breathing in the goodness of God! What a beautiful picture of Heaven Isaiah paints for us. Thank you, Erin, this really resonated with me today.

  • Question. Did all this destruction actually happen or is it a foreshadow of the end times?

    • Lizzieb85

      I think some of it has already happened. Babylon doesn’t even exist anymore.

  • Keri McCue

    “Because he knows the complete character of God” – One thing I was told once was that when life seemed crazy and full of chaos and loss and despair, to stop and meditate of God character. To focus on that and that would bring my heart and soul peace. I have held onto that for so long. I am still learning about His character and each new thing I learn I tuck away in my heart. And I remember it when I am feeling like God has abandoned me. Because, if we know His character, we know He will never ever leave us.

    http://www.littlelightonahill.com

  • Beautifully put. Amen.

  • Adrienne

    WOW!! Gods word is powerful, as I look at today, I see so much death and destruction and yet in those moments, in the days we are living in we can look to Him or God, King and Jesus our Saviour and say Yes God, let us see beyond all of this and seek you and share your good news.. Please Jesus help us to be a little more like Isaiah not questioning you but praise you instead.

  • I didn’t even acknowledge the fact that Isaiah never once questioned the Lord. Even though God told him of these terrible things that would happen. Still Isaiah praised the Lord. Here I am, wondering why God would do all of this awfulness, when I should take a page from Isaiah’s book (literally) and just rest in the fact that God has a faithful plan. And he will wipe away every tear and destroy death.

  • How thankful we all can be for Isaiah who brought hope for salvation to those living in his time. And how thankful we can all be that the prediction given to us by one of God’s chosen came true in the form of Jesus, our Savior. Each day is a gift from God, and thanks to the Son of Man, we can all look forward to life eternal.

  • Earlier this week at a women’s retreat we were going through different passages in Isaiah where Isaiah interacted with three different generations of kings and how the way they lived affected their legacy.We talked about having a positive lasting legacy for the our generation and for next generation to take up and carry. l thought about Isaiah 25 and Isaiah 6 and how one talks of God’s faithfulness and the other about Isaiah seeing God and being confronted with God’s holiness and I was just I awe of how just and holy holy God wants to give me promises and be faithful to a little sinner like me. And not only that but as it says in Isaiah 25 today that He will swallow up death. He did that for us!!!! Thank you Jesus for being willing to come down to this unholy planet and remain faithful to the cross where you paid for our sins.

  • Amber Galleguillos

    Truly, we need to commit to seeking the Lord, and learning who He is. We need to realize that this is something that is a lifetime commitment. Praising God this morning for his character! Thank you for this word!

  • Caroline

    Thank you Jesus that we can grieve with hope. Thank you that you give us the strength to look past our current devastation as we see YOUR glory!

    http://www.in-due-time.com

  • Katalina

    I feel like we can be like Isaiah when circumstances erupt in our lives or in a loved ones life. We can be that person who, even though has seen devastation or has been warned by God what is coming, can share the faithfulness of God and what it is to have a blind faith. Even when things don’t go a certain way in my life, I glorify God, knowing where there is devastation, there is restoration, and where there are lessons, there are blessings. For those who only see devastation, I want to teach them about having faith. About how their is a God who has a purpose for all things and He is in control always. Whenever I see devastation, it’s almost like it becomes and open door to bigger and better things, with God being on the other side waiting for us to walk through.

  • “While Isaiah had a front row seat to some very bad news, he was also among the very first to know the good news of the gospel.”

    This is such a beautiful reflection of Isaiah’s purpose. The last few days have been hard to read but today’s glimpse into the celebration of Jesus and what He did for us is encouragement to keep on keeping on!

  • I have scary storms in my life to, like that high windstorm we had not so long ago, but after the rain, there was a rainbow! Its good to be able to see thru are hardships for the good things.

  • Churchmouse

    The utter devastation and the delay in Christ returning always stops me in my tracks. Surely after each World War, He would come. Surely following the atomic bomb, He would come. Surely the Vietnam War would force His hand. Bloody conflicts in the Sudan, Nigeria, Kenya, Somalia, Iraq, Kuwait, Turkey, Syria. Not an exhaustive list. Not. At. All. The people cry, ” How long, Oh Lord? How long?”. We know He is coming. We know He is patient and long-suffering. We know He does not desire for anyone to perish in eternal separation. How much evil will man do before He says “Enough. I’m on my way now”? I shudder at the evil. Yet I’m grateful He will keep His Word. I cannot imagine all the suffering. I cannot imagine all that is heaven. I pray that none would wait too long. I pray that hearts and minds would come to a saving knowledge of Jesus. No one knows the day or the time. As with the ark, the door to rescue will one day be closed. I shudder for those on the wrong side of that door. Praying that today there would be many who grab hold of Him who is the life preserver. Today. For we do not know if we will have tomorrow.

    • Veronica

      I always look forward to reading your take away, Churchmouse. Your words move me this morning and I pray alongside you for the hearts of those who are waiting.

  • I listened to a podcast called the Robcast this week. The topic was the myth of redemptive violence. So basically how people engage in a tit for tat with those who hurt them. Someone says or does something mean to you, you feel the need to get back at them. And then this cycle perpetuates over and over again. Jesus took the violence out of circulation when he died on the cross. He was making a bold statement: the violence stops here.

    That’s why I was struck by the verse that reads, “so he silences the song of the violent.” Isaiah 25:5. Because that is the purpose of Christ, to put an end to violence – violence being the opposite of love.

    Then we go to the Hebrew reading for today. “To Jesus (mediator of a new covenant), and to the sprinkled blood, which says better things than the blood of Abel.” Hebrews 12:24. Abel spilled blood to keep the violence in circulation. Christ spilled his own to remove it and replace it with love.

    I think that’s why Isaiah 25:9-10 is so important. Because when you refuse to participate in the tit for tat (redemptive violence), you will likely appear to lose by the world’s standards. People will say your opponent got the best of you, which is hard for our egos to take! But that’s why we have to wait for the Lord. Because he will illuminate the love we chose to respond with in a miraculous way, as he did with Jesus. Even if it’s after our death. We just have to rest in his faithfulness.

    I also liked the part in today’s Hebrew reading where it says God is the judge. I do believe human judging is also a form of violence. Divine judgment is a skill beyond us. So it’s my prayer that we all remind ourselves to take the violence out of circulation, to chose love and compassion instead of self-righteousness, arrogance, judgement, and pride.

    Because to not do so will have you swimming in your own sh**. Isaiah 25:11-12. (Ahahaha what an incredibly modern analogy. I love Isaiah LOL)

    • Kathy

      Love this!

    • JB

      Lana-wow! Redemptive violence! How appropriate to consider in today’s social media storms and everyday behavior. I love the humor of your interpretation of Is 25:11-12. That’s exactly what he says! Thanks for bringing a smile!

      • BluWaveRyder

        Wow! Thanks for sharing. The perspective is eye opening for sure.

    • Alanna Davis

      Love this! Thank you for such thoughtful insight!

    • Rosemary

      I have a difficult time with the word “judging”. We are not to judge other people’s hearts as that is God’s province. However, I think we are to “judge” our actions and those of others. We have to say whether something is good or bad, hurtful or encouraging.

    • Meredith Lennox Chase

      Thank you thank you thank you for this! I also listened to the robcast this week and have had it in my mind the past couple readings. I really appreciate your application here of the lie of redemptive violence and how we can find hope in these scriptures and the cross. I might put up a post it of Isaiah 25:5 as a reminder!

    • Cecilia

      I must listen to this podcast, thank you for sharing your heart- love your comment!

    • Missy

      So much insight! Thank you so much for sharing. That was just beautiful!!

    • DRE

      Sooo good! ;) love that podcast.

  • Gabrielle

    Beauty from the ruins. Those were the words that were spoken to me by a dear friend just over a year ago as I poured my heart and struggles out to her in a field in Ethiopia. Now I am in my final two months of my senior year in college and as I read today within the first three verses of Isaiah 25 those words sprang to mind once again. I have been walking through a very hectic and difficult season right now and sometimes it feels like the Father is so far away. But I am so grateful for these verses today because they reminded me that even if God feels distant, and my world feels like it is spinning out of control and my life seems to be rubble around me there is beauty there. There is beauty in the ruins because of Jesus, because no matter how crazy, lonely or overwhelming my life gets Jesus is our hope that something better is coming. Our hope that this is not all there is to life. I’m holding on to that truth today as I continue in this season of life. I pray that each of you ladies are filled with His Peace and reminded that even if life is falling apart there is hope and beauty because of Jesus.

    • Alexis Maycock

      Amen Gabrielle! I am also going through a challenging season as well. I found hope tucked away in all the “death and devastation”- Jesus was their hope and Jesus is our hope and will forever be our hope. He is working out all things for our good and so we will wait and praise and wait and praise!

    • She Reads Truth

      Gabrielle, praying for you in this time where the Lord seems far. Asking Him to remind you of His nearness and to comfort you with His Word. Grateful for you!

      – Stormye

  • Who is our guest writer today?

    • Susie

      I was wondering this too. I caught myself looking for a name attached to the devotional and then saw your question. I was blessed by today’s reading of the Word and the words penned by our guest writer. God gets all the glory!

      • Jeni

        I was wondering the same thing. I think this has been the best writing so far in this study, I was excited to see who wrote it. Whoever it was, thank you, your words blessed me!

        • She Reads Truth

          Hi Jeni! Glad you enjoyed the writing today. Our author was Erin Davis – she did a wonderful job. Grateful for you!

          – Stormye

        • Erin Davis

          Hi Jeni and Susie. I had the privilege of writing for SRT today. My name is Erin Davis. Grateful the Lord used it to equip and encourage you.

          Grace & Peace!

          e

    • Brigetta

      It says she is Erin Davis

    • She Reads Truth

      Great question, Missy! Erin Davis wrote today’s reading. Wasn’t it great?

      – Stormye

  • I love today’s reminder about Isaiah the man, and not simply the book. I think so often I read Scripture forgetting the hand that wrote the words. Forgetting that this was a real, living, breathing, flesh of a man who heard these words of awful destruction and terror from God. Yet, he did not run and cower, which if I’m honest, is probably what I would do if God told me He was going to destroy everything! Isaiah the man is a heck of a guy! To boldly proclaim the prophecies to his community and leaders. To praise God for His holiness and righteousness in the face of destruction. And yet, Isaiah is no more holy than me or you. He is not some super human. He is a man with great faith and trust in God, not for what He does for him but for who He is. May we be women of the same faith and trust today. Women who praise God even when life hurts or doesn’t make sense because we know who our God is….a loving, merciful, gracious Father.

    • Nads

      A great, faithful man indeed!! It’s also assumed that he paid the ultimate price and was sawn in two. It makes me feel small with all the seemingly small inconveniences that might make me turn my face away from God’s light.

      Have a blessed day Ladies.

    • She Reads Truth

      What a great remind and what sweet encouragement today, Audrey. Thank you for sharing!

      – Stormye

  • What a wonderful reminder to run to God today, rejoicing and praising. Not to be afraid or sad, but hopeful. Remember that Jesus said that we would have tribulation, but He has overcome the world!

  • Tina, your faith humbles me. Thank you painting a picture of grief and glory. Praying For you this morning.

  • When we were told my daughter was dying, and that if she didn’t get a new liver, she would not survive…. my world was shattered …. I had never prayed as I did back then before, bargaining, begging, pleading… my beautiful girl died not getting a donor liver… I was shattered and broken… I was devastated… lost… confused… I was angry too. And in that anger I would go to God’s house, a local church and I would rant right there at the altar…

    But God..

    He did not judge this wreck of a mother, who hoped God would hear her plea for healing and a future for her daughter, He wrapped His loving arms around her and showed her where her precious child was…. in a meadow, healthy and happy… and shouting to me saying ” I’m alright mum, I very happy here…” Tears roll freely now as I recall that beautiful picture from God that day. Tears also roll for the TRUTH that came with that picture, my daughter was healed, and her future was there with the Lord, in Eternity….
    For me, the shroud of a broken heart, an everlasting sadness, a forever emptiness, how do I go on, is slowly over the years, being lifted, through God’s word, through His truth, through the love I know He has for me and mine, through His Grace and most importantly, His Son, my Savior, Jesus Christ and the HOPE he brings…
    Now, rejoice because I know, in Him there is a future far better than I could imagine… and that is worth rejoicing over…. Amen
    I love you God, thank you…

    Praying the Lord turn His face to shine shine on you this day ….He has made… let us rejoice and be glad in it… Love, Tina…xxx

    • Audrey

      What a life-giving testimony you have Tina…thank you for sharing!

    • Eharris

      Thank you for sharing. A humbling and beautiful picture of honesty at the alter and a humbling and beautiful picture of how God meets us intimately I our pain.

    • Lana

      I love you, Tina. I am so sorry. When I was in high school, I had a friend a bit younger than me pass of bone cancer. I mention it because the day before he passed, he told his parents, “I am healed.” And he was. It’s something hard to explain in the physical, but he passed with perfect peace, love, and salvation. It was an honor to witness, though a memory that still breaks my heart to this day. Sending you my warmest hug on this chilly morning. Thank you for your humility, honesty, and grace. Thank you for always showing me how to glorify God. Thank you for helping to explain the book of Isaiah through your testimony. I love you with all my heart!

    • Jennifer

      Thank you for sharing your journey to hope in the midst of utter brokenness! In turn you give hope to me and everyone around you!

    • Kathy

      Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

    • Joan

      Dearest Tina…how many sisters you encourage with your heart breaking testimony..pointing us all to God’s love & compassion…echoing His words of comfort & hope…combining Isaiah’s words of exultation and expectation with your testimony of God’s great power lifts us above our earthly situations and helps us focus on Who He is and His wonderful plan for our future!!! Shouting Hallelujah with you today!!!

    • Hilary

      Thank you, as always, for sharing your heart, Tina.

    • Katalina

      Beautiful!

    • She Reads Truth

      Thank you for sharing this, Tina. What sweet encouragement born of devastation. Grateful for you.

      – Stormye

    • Tricia

      Thank you Tina. Your words are always such an encouragement to me. No matter what we may be going through, God is faithful and will be right there with us. I love you Sister in Christ. Peace to you. xoxo

  • Christina

    I awoke this morning feeling weighed down and defeated before my feet ever touched the floor. I’m finding that over the past several years, I will have bouts like this for a week or two every few months or so, where I despair of all I have previously felt called to do. But this morning was different. I understand that what I’m called to is not so very different from what any contributing human being, any growing Christian is called to. If I feel desperate and defeated over my calling, that I cannot accomplish all there is to be accomplished….. I’m actually right. I can’t. But guess what? I’m not supposed to! I become so bogged down in all that is wrong around me, all the “what ifs,” all the “too much,” all the desire to do anything but what I’m currently doing, that I go about my daily tasks because I’ve been called to them, yes…. but I go about them without ever acknowledging the God Who called me to them in the first place. I am sowing dross as I do His work, because I’m doing His work in my own power, and not in His. So this morning, I confessed (because that is part of what we are doing here in Isaiah, is it not?) As I lay there feeling accused and defeated, I prayed, “It’s true, Father. I cannot do what you’ve called me to do. But YOU can! And I trust You to accomplish all that You purpose to accomplish through me today.” I’m not looking at the “devastation” of sin I find right here in my own household today. I’m looking at the power of God that will work through me to dig into the mess my sin has made to accomplish His work. I pray that I begin to start every day with the same acknowledgement: I cannot, but God will!

    • Alisa

      Yes. I often need the same reminder. Thank you.

    • AmyQ

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. They spoke right to my heart! I must confess the same.

      • Nads

        EXACTLY what I needed to hear!! I often have these days too where I look at my life and decide I’m lousy at EVERYTHING and those around me deserve better.

        I can’t but, God can…dig me out, please Lord.

    • Katalina

      I can so relate to this! Amen!

    • She Reads Truth

      Amen, Christina! Thank you for sharing. Praying that the Lord would continue to reveal His power to you through His Word!

      – Stormye

    • Yorkis

      Wow. Amen! I’ve been feeling the same way and just reading through what you said put what I was feeling into words. Thank you for sharing !

  • Kathleen

    Jesus give us the eyes to see past the devastation to you eternal promise and freedom. It is hard to get past the present sadness and despair sometimes yet if we can just push forward to the trust and love there is joy.

    • Katalina

      That’s it Kathleen, it’s difficult at times but faith is what gets you through those tough moments and knowing God is by your side always!

  • For the past several years I have been trying to focus on one word for the entire year. Last year my focus was on prayer. This year I have felt led to focus on “abiding” – remembering how to be still and be silent in the presence of the Lord. To just rest in who He is. It’s been hard because it goes against every thing that I am. I want to be in control, to know what’s going on, to help God along when I believe He’s moving too slow. (Can anyone else relate?!)
    Chapter 25 was a gift from God this morning! I especially loved v. 9. “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for Him, that He might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for Him; let us be glad and rejoice in His salvation.”
    Thank you, Father, for this reminder to me to wait for You, to rest in Your character; to look past all the “not-so-good” in my life and see Your power and Your faithfulness.
    Have a blessed day!

    • Karen

      I can so relate! Thank you for the reminder to “abide” in Him.

      • Kristi

        This is the section that resonates with me, too. I’m so impatient. I’ve seen glimpses of what’s possible in my life and my community, and I want to jump in right away to make these things happen. God, however, says slow down. Remember that apart from Me, you can do nothing. Wait for Me and My timing.

        The process seems slow to me, but I can trust in God’s timing, because He accomplishes His plans “with perfect faithfulnes”(verse 1). I can trust His power; He’s the One who breaks down our manmade barriers and defenses (verse 2). I can trust His heart; the God who is a stronghold and refuge for the poor and needy (verse 4) wants to see good things happen in my community and in my heart even more than I do.

        And one day I, too, will praise Him. When the tears of pain, frustration, and fear have been wiped away, and when I at last see, really see, what God has done, I, too, will say, this is my God; I have waited for Him.

        Because I know that day is coming, Father, let me today rejoice and be glad in Your salvation.

    • Emily

      You took the words right out of my mouth!! “…to help God along when he is moving too slow” YES! I’m so guilty of thinking God needs help sometimes and I’m just the right person to help him. How my perspective can be oh so small. Thank you for sharing, this was so encouraging.

  • Jordan B

    A good reminder that truly trusting God is remembering his character and being sure he has good motives in troubling times when he seems absent or neglectful or even spiteful. Everything He does is perfect and he has our good in mind. Isaiah shows this trust in the Lord when he hears that the world is literally coming to an end, He does not fret, panic, or curse God. Instead of running away, He runs straight to the Father to praise His name. Lord, help me to react this way when hard and scary times come.

  • Anne hodges

    Eternal God, thank you for the glorious hope you set before us

  • Marianne

    These were uplifting thoughts indeed! Lord, open my eyes to see past Isaiah´s gloomy picture and beyond my own darkness to your power and faithfulness.

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