11 July 2013

Life Underwater: Isaiah's Vision

Translation from The Literary Message of Isaiah, by Avraham Gileadi. (I highly recommend this version.  Read side-by-side with the NLT, it's a great reference, as Gileadi has gone through an immersive Judaic education, and has as close to an understanding of Isaiah's context & education as I think possible.)

I had so many beautiful insights this morning as I read, I didn't make it past Isaiah 9 before my time was gone; but I can't wait to spend extra time tomorrow morning reading the rest. :o)

Hopefully you'll remember my Life Underwater post.  If you don't, go read it real quick.  It'll come in handy in a few minutes; and if you don't, you won't get one of the coolest parts of my study this morning.

Isaiah 8:6-8, 12-17

Because these people have rejected
   the waters of Shiloah, which flow gently,
   and rejoice in Rezin and the son of Remaliah,
therefore will my Lord
   cause to come up over them
the great and mighty waters of the River--
   the king of Assyria in all his glory.
He will rise up over all his channels
   and overflow all his banks.
He will sweep into Judea like a flood
   and, passing through, reach the very neck;
his outspread wings will span
   the breadth of your land, O Immanuel.
(8:6-8)

Do not call a conspiracy all that these people
   call a conspiracy;
be not afraid or awed
   by the thing they fear.
But sanctify the Lord of Hosts,
   making him your fear, him your awe.
And to you he will be a sanctuary,
   but to the two houses of Israel
a stumbling block or obstructing rock,
   and a snare, catching unawares
   the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
Many will stumble into them,
   and when they fall shall be broken,
and when they become ensnared
   shall be taken captive.
(8:12-17)

Observation: God tells Isaiah that Assyria is going to invade Jerusalem like a flood . . . and we can all picture the incredible destruction of flooding. (Remember video clips from Hurricane Katrina? Yeah. Like that.) And flooding goes everywhere. And yet, Isaiah is told not to be afraid. Not to worry about the things that everyone around him is having a total freak-out session over. He is to worship and love God and trust Him . . . God will be his sanctuary from the destruction. But the rest of Israel will be dashed in pieces, as they're swept along by the flood, upon the very rock that shelters Isaiah.

Application: And here's the coolest part to me . . . not only does all of this apply to us, spiritually today, as we live in a world that seems permeated to the very core with darkness, but what God taught me about submission in Life Underwater comes powerfully into play here, too. As Isaiah lives in faith, he doesn't strive along with everyone else against the overwhelming rush of the coming flood, but is sheltered and saved from it, breathing underwater as it were, as it sweeps around him and his family. He will have life, underwater, when nearly all around him follow the fleshly wisdom of fighting it out in their own strength . . . and discover it was God's strength they needed when their own fails utterly and almost immediately.

Prayer: Dearest Father, I feel so fed this morning, as you taught me these things. I revel in "connecting the dots" between things You've already taught me and things I'm learning. And I glorify You that something You already taught me, in my own vernacular and understanding, fits so beautifully with Isaiah's vision. You ARE the same yesterday, today and forever. And Your personalized teaching to me confirms that. :o) Thank You! Thank You so, so much. And Lord, please help me remember. Remind me, often and often, to rest in Jesus. To submit, to dive unreservedly into Your wisdom and Your will for me, which looks like completely idiotic stupidity to the rest of the world. I praise You for astounding, dumbfounding freedom in Christ, and never, ever want to lose it again. In Jesus' name, so be it!!! Amen!

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I welcome questions and concerns--they are most often what spur us closer to the truth. I only ask that we all give everyone the most generous benefit of the doubt, assigning the best motives possible. A soft answer truly does turn away wrath, and an atmosphere of Jesus's love is the best for learning, no matter which side of a discussion you're on.

Thanks so much, and God bless you!