O LORD, You are my God. I will exalt You, I will praise Your name, For You have done wonderful things; Your counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.
~ Isaiah 25:1
I love knowing that my God knew His plans for me – plans formed of old, faithful and true (sure) – even before He created the world! God planned for each home we’ve bought/sold, every job I’ve taken, and everywhere we have moved.
But more importantly:
He knew I would be married to my wife Debbie.
God put every relationship in my life (and yours!) for a purpose.
Every friend, our children, my brothers, parents, cousins, in-laws, aunts, uncles, neighbors, and co-workers have each been put in my world so that God can use them to mold me and shape me (and them) into the person He wants.
Many of life’s struggles are found in our relationships aren’t they? When you stop and consider that God has a special purpose for that relationship in your life (and mine), it becomes a game-changer! Why are they in your life? What is God’s purpose in it? He put them there so that He may be glorified in you. Those relationships that are the hardest? In those are the times when He can be most glorified!
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
~ 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
Paul doesn’t tell us that he barely is able to drag himself through them by God’s grace. No. He says he is content in difficulty!
For the non-believer, you should know this: God has called you – yes you – into His kingdom. God has called each one of us. He also gave each of us a free will to choose, and I am so glad He did! As believers, the Lord also calls on us to walk together with fellow Christians on this journey.
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
~ Ephesians 4:1-7
Jesus offers each of us a precious gift of eternal life. God’s love for us is deeper that we can possibly imagine and He wants each of us to be with Him forever.
So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. ~ Ephesians 3:17-19
He says right there in the Bible that His love surpasses knowledge. I’ve told my wife many many times that I love her more than she can imagine. Yet God’s love for me and for you is so much deeper than that.
2 For You have made a city a ruin, A fortified city a ruin, A palace of foreigners to be a city no more; It will never be rebuilt.
There is no specific city given here, but it is a picture of the world and everything in it. In fact in the end of the days on earth, every city on earth will be destroyed. As we look around our planet today, it’s hard for us to imagine what that will look like. And yet, God destroyed the known world once before and said it would never happen again by water.
For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water.
But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. ~ 2 Peter 3:5-10
God wants each and every human on earth to come to Him and He is so “longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”
3 Therefore the strong people will glorify You; The city of the terrible nations will fear You.
At the end, every nation, tribe, and person – living and dead – will bow before the Lord.
For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
For it is written: “As I live, says the LORD, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.”
So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.
~ Romans 14:9-12
It is not ours to judge the other person, in fact God will be the judge of each. God doesn’t operate a democracy where we vote people in, or we receive a jury of our peers. God judges each of us based completely against His standard – perfection. Obviously we can’t possibly reach that standard. Yet, we will each “give account of himself to God” (Rom. 14:12)
4 For You have been a strength to the poor, A strength to the needy in his distress, A refuge from the storm, A shade from the heat; For the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.
The “poor” are all of us for we are all short of perfection.
Jesus overcame that poverty by dying for us on the cross. So He can be our “strength”.
The “needy” is you and I for we can’t possibly live up to God’s standard.
Jesus can be our “strength” if we accept the payment He made for us in His death.
The “storm” is God’s coming judgment on all the earth.
Jesus can be our “refuge”, or our place of shelter from the coming storm of judgment.
You can think of the “heat” in terms of the coming judgment of fire against the earth, and also as the eternity in hell that one faces without Jesus. Or you can think of the “heat” as the awful difficulties of the world and the daily battles we fight. Battles not only of difficulty, but the battle against our own sin that comes so naturally to us (that’s why it is called “sin nature).
The “blast of the terrible ones” is again the battle from the world. Once we accept Jesus as our Savior, that blast can become “as a storm against the wall”. He becomes our “refuge” and our “strength”. How awesome is that!
5 You will reduce the noise of aliens, As heat in a dry place; As heat in the shadow of a cloud, The song of the terrible ones will be diminished.
The “noise of the aliens” is the taunting of the world. God will help us through that as it “will be diminished”.
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” ~ John 16:33
Take heart! God told us these things not to discourage us, but that we can have peace knowing that God is in control and has overcome the world.
6 And in this mountain The LORD of hosts will make for all people A feast of choice pieces, A feast of wines on the lees, Of fat things full of marrow, Of well-refined wines on the lees.
From David Guzik’s notes:
“In this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all people a feast: In several places, the Bible speaks of what is often called the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Revelation 19:9 says, ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’
According to Isaiah 25:6, we might say that this great feast takes place on earth, not in heaven.
And what a feast it will be! A feast of choice pieces, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of well-refined wines on the lees. For the God’s people, this will be the “victory banquet” or the “awards banquet” when after the final battle is over!
Jesus is really looking forward to this banquet. He said to His disciples at the Last Supper, ‘I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom’ (Matthew 26:29). In this, Jesus spoke of His longing expectation for the day when He would take communion with His people at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.”
7 And He will destroy on this mountain the surface of the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations.
8 He will swallow up death forever, And the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces; The rebuke of His people He will take away from all the earth; For the LORD has spoken.
How many people don’t want to die? How many of us hate the sinful things that we do?
On this earth for all of it’s history – since the first sin in the Garden of Eden – there has hung the odor of death and sin. God will destroy/swallow that covering of death and sin in the end.
And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.”
~ Revelation 1:17-18
Jesus holds the keys. Let me say that again: Jesus holds the keys to eternal death and hell. But as you’ll see in the next verse, He also holds the keys to eternal life and heaven!
9 And it will be said in that day: “Behold, this is our God; We have waited for Him, and He will save us. This is the LORD; We have waited for Him; We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.”
There are so many awful things going on in this world. Let me tell you this: We have optimism in Jesus Christ. He is our hope. Our hope is not in this world, or our leaders or our government. Our hope is in Christ and in Christ alone.
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
We love because he first loved us.
~ 1 John 4:18-19
God created each of us to love Him because He first loved us. In His love, we don’t need to fear. As the verse says, fear has to do with punishment. If we love Jesus and we know that He loves us, there is no need for fear. God’s love casts out the fear.
10 For on this mountain the hand of the LORD will rest,
And Moab shall be trampled down under Him,
As straw is trampled down for the refuse heap.
11 And He will spread out His hands in their midst
As a swimmer reaches out to swim,
And He will bring down their pride
Together with the trickery of their hands.
12 The fortress of the high fort of your walls He will bring down, lay low,
And bring to the ground, down to the dust.
Verses 10-12 tell us that God will bring down the pride of the world. However, we have a God that we can trust. He is on the throne and holds our future. There is an incredible hope for each and every person on planet earth! God loves you and I so much, He doesn’t want us to suffer a life without His deep love and His boundless care for each one of us.
Luke 13:34 tells us that God loves us like a hen cares for her baby chicks. “How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings”. At our house we have had a mama hen brood some eggs and hatch chickens. It is such a beautiful picture of the way that God loves us and yearns to gather us together under His protection.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
~ 1 Peter 1:3-5, 8-9
Jesus is the hope, the only hope. As a Christian, it is my role to share the Good News that God came to earth as a baby, Jesus Christ, born to die for each one of us. Look at how Isaiah opens the next chapter:
1 In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: “We have a strong city; he sets up salvation as walls and bulwarks.
2 Open the gates, that the righteous nation that keeps faith may enter in.
3 You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
4 Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock. ~ Isaiah 26:1-4
God and only God is our hope. So I say to you:
“Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.”