Saturday, July 18, 2015

Glimpses of God's Kingdom work in the midst of hopeless despair - Isaiah 24-35

Isaiah 24:21-23 "So it will happen in that day,That the Lord will punish the host of heaven on high, And the kings of the earth on earth. 22 They will be gathered together like prisoners in the dungeon, And will be confined in prison;
And after many days they will be punished. 23 Then the moon will be abashed and the sun ashamed, For the Lord of hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, And His glory will be before His elders."

One of things I so appreciate about the prophetic books is how much they speak to today's world. Whenever I plunge myself into the world of the  prophets, I'm equipped with the concepts and spiritual tools needed to address my world. These last couple of days have been dedicated to looking closer at the prophet Isaiah. His world was a world where he literally saw his nation and people go from the highest points under the reign of Uzziah to dwindling spiritual ruins by the days of Kings Jotham and Hezekiah. Despite reforms and revival, the nagging reality was that the efforts seemed to be a day late and a dollar short. The ultimate renewal that would abide and last was not going to occur in Hezekiah's day. Isaiah saw the True King and Savior through prophetic vision that would bring in everlasting salvation. 

One of the truths we discover in Isaiah's book is how often he made recourse to Christ's future earthly reign in the midst of judgment and woe on the nation or the people of God. Though the thunder and lightening of judgment was pealing all around Isaiah, the radiant beams of the hope of God's Kingdom always found a way to shine through. To see a sample of this, I thought we would peer into Isaiah 24-35 to grasp this pattern of glimpsing God's kingdom work in the midst of hopeless despair.

1. Despair (24:1-20) and Kingdom hope (24:21-23)

2. Praise for God's Sovereignty in Isaiah 25-26 as a result of what is spoken in Isaiah 24.

3. Isaiah 27 Promised restoration of Judah

4. Isaiah 28:1-13 judgment upon the Northern Kingdom. 28:14-29 Judgment against Judah's leadership

5. Isaiah 29:1-17 Judgment upon Judah's hypocrisy. Yet, promise of Judah's restoration in Isaiah 29:18-24

6. Judgment upon Judah's rebellion in Isaiah 30:1-7. Yet, promises of restoration for Judah in the future and protection in its immediate circumstances from a power enemy in Isaiah 30:8-33.

7. Isaiah 31 details God's Judgment on Egypt for Judah's confidence in her. At the time, Jerusalem and Judah had made an alliance with Egypt.

8. Isaiah 32:1-8 gives us a glimpse of Christ's earthly millennial reign followed by a prediction of Assyria conquering the Northern Kingdom of Israel.

9. Isaiah 33. A cry for for mercy and promise of forgiveness

10. Isaiah 34. Judgment on the nation of Edom.

11. Isaiah 35 details another picture of a restored Jerusalem during Christ's earthly reign. 

As you can see, God has sprinkled the hope of His kingdom promises in the midst of hopeless despair. Perhaps the reader today is dealing with very difficult circumstance. Sometimes we bring them on ourselves but oftentimes difficulties come when we least expect it. Acts 14:22 tells us that in the process of entering the Kingdom, difficulties will come. Jesus told His disciples in John 16:33 that many trials would come upon them, and yet not to fear, since He has overcome the world. James 1:3-4 and 1 Peter 1:6-7 remind us that trials are normal for the Christian, and that God is working with us in the trial to purify our faith and trust in Him. Matthew 6:33 states that we are to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and everything else will be added unto us. Would it be that we would glimpse God's Kingdom work in our midst. Would it be that we would trust in God and His promises, rather than relying on present circumstances to give us hope that will endure. 

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