Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Compel others to come! - January 4th, 2012

Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
Isaiah 55:6

History and Context:
Isaiah is the prophet most quoted by Jesus and by the New Testament authors. There are many Messianic prophecies throughout Isaiah, but the real purpose of the book was to admonish the kings of Judah to rely on the protection of God. Isaiah's ministry focused on the reign of two different kings, Ahaz and Hezekiah. Ahaz did not listen to Isaiah and relied on the protection of Assyria rather than God's protection. Hezekiah also didn't listen at first but as things went bad he turned to God for protection and God rescued the kingdom of Judah. Isaiah continually refers to God as "The Holy One of Israel". This phrase is repeated 26 times in the book of Isaiah and only 6 times in the rest of the Old Testament. Isaiah is also known for having the most messianic prophecies out of any of the prophets.

The Text:
In chapter 54 Isaiah describes the call that God has given to His people; "'For the LORD has called you, like a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, like a youthful wife when you were refused,' Says your God." In that chapter God calls His people, Israel, to return to Him. They had sinned and God had left them to the consequence of their sin, but now God was calling them back. Then in 55 the people begin calling the surrounding nations; “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price." Isaiah then reveals to the people of Israel that as they call out to the other nations, nations whom they do not know and have no relationship with will begin coming. They will come not because of Israel but because of the Spirit of God that dwells in Israel. For this reason they are admonished to seek the Lord. Seek the Lord so that His spirit may dwell with you and nations will be compelled to come.

The Challenge:
Though certain aspects of the covenant have changed with the coming, death, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, God is still the same yesterday, today and forever.In knowing this we can know that His character was the same in the Old Testament as it is now and it is the same Spirit talked about in the Old Testament as the Holy Spirit whom we have now. God didn't suddenly develop three persons when Jesus came and then when He sent the Holy Spirit, God has always been a trinity of three in one. So we know that if the Spirit of God dwelling with Israel would cause nations that Israel didn't even know to be attracted to them, the same thing should happen with us when we allow the Holy Spirit to dwell in us. The only difference is that the relationship has become individual with the sacrifice of the cross. This means that instead of attracting entire nations we will attract the individuals around us. But we must seek Him and call upon Him daily. We must forsake our wicked ways and our unrighteous thoughts and return to the Lord whom we know as Jesus Christ.

The Prayer:
Lord, fill me with your Spirit. Purge all wickedness and evil desires from my heart and mind and help me to live righteous and holy before you. Let your Spirit fll me and overflow out to those around me. In Jesus' name, Amen!

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