Or are you content in your bondage? Good afternoon everyone! It’s a great day to be alive in Jesus Christ, but a woeful day for those still undecided about Jesus’ invitation to a better life.
Israel, like most people today, had chosen rebellion over obedience to Jehovah. The consequence was Babylonian captivity. Still our merciful God was making them an offer of life over death, freedom over bondage, reminding them of what He had done and what He was going to do. He had told them that what He was about to do was new, never seen or experienced before. So that they wouldn’t, in their callousness say “we’ve seen that before” or “been there done that.” The problem with sin is that it hardens us to the kindness of God.
Israel had a problem recognizing the goodness of God over their worship of the gods of their making. They attributed what the Lord had done to their own efforts and the gods they were now worshipping, so Jehovah declared that He’d be doing new things. Things never before prophesied, then challenged them to declare who had done the things never heard before. They pretended to serve Jehovah but it wasn’t from the heart. They had grown accustomed to a life of rebellion and weren't even able to recognize God’s rescue plan. We’re facing the same challenges today, both in the world and sadly in the Church of Jesus Christ.
We walk by God’s rescue plan for our lives every day, we walk by His outstretched hands every day, we walk by His Word sitting on our bedside or coffee table every day, we walk by the preacher teaching the Word every day, we ignore the whispers of His Spirit every day. Choosing to ignore His offer for a better way of living we cling to the familiar, the seemingly easy way, only to discover that our way had led to a denial of the only true God with all the answers. Still the question lingers. Are you ready to be rescued? Let’s read together.
““And now listen to this, family of Jacob, you who are called by the name Israel: Who got you started in the loins of Judah, you who use God’s name to back up your promises and pray to the God of Israel? But do you mean it? Do you live like it? You claim to be citizens of the Holy City; you act as though you lean on the God of Israel, named God-of-the-Angel-Armies. For a long time now, I’ve let you in on the way I work: I told you what I was going to do beforehand, then I did it and it was done, and that’s that. I know you’re a bunch of hardheads, obstinate and flint-faced, So I got a running start and began telling you what was going on before it even happened. That is why you can’t say, ‘My god-idol did this.’ ‘My favorite god-carving commanded this.’ You have all this evidence confirmed by your own eyes and ears. Shouldn’t you be talking about it? And that was just the beginning. I have a lot more to tell you, things you never knew existed. This isn’t a variation on the same old thing. This is new, brand-new, something you’d never guess or dream up. When you hear this you won’t be able to say, ‘I knew that all along.’ You’ve never been good listeners to me. You have a history of ignoring me, A sorry track record of fickle attachments— rebels from the womb. But out of the sheer goodness of My heart, because of who I Am, I keep a tight rein on My anger and hold My temper. I don’t wash My hands of you. Do you see what I’ve done? I’ve refined you, but not without fire. I’ve tested you like silver in the furnace of affliction. Out of Myself, simply because of who I Am, I do what I do. I have My reputation to keep up. I’m not playing second fiddle to either gods or people. “Listen, Jacob. Listen, Israel— I’m the One who named you! I’m the One. I got things started and, yes, I’ll wrap them up. Earth is my work, handmade. And the skies—I made them, too, horizon to horizon. When I speak, they’re on their feet, at attention. “Come everybody, gather around, listen: Who among the gods has delivered the news? I, God, love this man Cyrus, and I’m using him to do what I want with Babylon. I, yes I, have spoken. I’ve called him. I’ve brought him here. He’ll be successful. Come close, listen carefully: I’ve never kept secrets from you. I’ve always been present with you.” And now, the Master, God, sends me and His Spirit with this Message from God your Redeemer, The Holy of Israel: “I am God, your God, who teaches you how to live right and well. I show you what to do, where to go. If you had listened all along to what I told you, your life would have flowed full like a river, blessings rolling in like waves from the sea. Children and grandchildren are like sand, your progeny like grains of sand. There would be no end of them, no danger of losing touch with Me.” Get out of Babylon! Run from the Babylonians! Shout the news. Broadcast it. Let the world know, the whole world. Tell them, “God redeemed his dear servant Jacob!” They weren’t thirsty when he led them through the deserts. He made water pour out of the rock; he split the rock and the water gushed. “There is no peace,” says God, “for the wicked.””
Isaiah 48:1-22 MSG
In the midst of rebellion God is offering mercy, and a way of escape, and He’s doing the same today. But are you ready to be rescued? He’s saying to those who have ignored Him, run! Run from the life of sin and rebellion! Run from second class living! Run from the familiarity of bondages to fleshly desires. Embrace His goodness! So you can share the good news of His redemptive love. There’s no greater opportunity but the one He’s offering. Everything you need, He’s got, everything you want He’s got. What are you waiting for? Run! There’s no peace to those who refuse His grace and mercy. But abundant life awaits the ones who will run!
“Remember those early days after you first saw the light? Those were the hard times! Kicked around in public, targets of every kind of abuse—some days it was you, other days your friends. If some friends went to prison, you stuck by them. If some enemies broke in and seized your goods, you let them go with a smile, knowing they couldn’t touch your real treasure. Nothing they did bothered you, nothing set you back. So don’t throw it all away now. You were sure of yourselves then. It’s still a sure thing! But you need to stick it out, staying with God’s plan so you’ll be there for the promised completion. It won’t be long now, he’s on the way; he’ll show up most any minute. But anyone who is right with me thrives on loyal trust; if he cuts and runs, I won’t be very happy. But we’re not quitters who lose out. Oh, no! We’ll stay with it and survive, trusting all the way.”
Hebrews 10:32-39 MSG
Written by permission of the Holy Spirit
May 12, 2022