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!

Might and Power

Scripture: 2 Chronicles 27:6

NLT: King Jotham became powerful because he was careful to live in obedience to the LORD his God.

ESV: So Jotham became mighty, because he ordered his ways before the LORD his God.

Observation: This stood out to me starkly today . . . that God will honor obedience.  Not performance, but willing obedience.

Application: I've felt pretty powerless today.  Children fighting and giving in to despair over the smallest things, a whole avalanche of things getting in the way of my time in the Word.  (I finally had to lock myself in the bathroom in order to read the last three chapters. lol)  The enemy has gone from tactics of confusion to chaos. But we're overcoming in Christ.  And He rocks my world. :o)  And this verse served to remind me that as I obey (out of love, in dilligence), my God will honor that, and will make sure that I have what I need.  I'll learn from every mistake and hardship, and He will carry me through.

Prayer: Oh, Lord my God, sustain me today.  Sustain me always.  Pour our Your strength upon me and my household so we can stand unmoved in the face of the chaos and shadow-puppet attacks of the trickster, and see YOUR salvation for us made real.  In Jesus name, so be it!!! Amen.

(Can I just say, ever since my Life Journal buddy Dustin used the old Greek name of "trickster" for the enemy, it has just seemed so shiveringly appropriate? I don't use it often, because it gives me the willies, but man-oh-man, is it true!)

War and Peace, Courage and Care

Today's post is yesterday's reading and today's combined . . . and I learned so much from so many passages that I've kept this post in the same format as my scripture study journal: passages & applications/thoughts, with occasional prayers. All scriptures quoted from the NLT.

1 Kings 16:10-11: Zimri walked in and struck him (Basha) down and killed him. This happened in the twenty-seventh year of King Asa’s reign in Judah. Then Zimri became the next king. Zimri immediately killed the entire royal family of Baasha, leaving him not even a single male child. He even destroyed distant relatives and friends.

The enemy doesn't play nice.  He's out for complete & utter destruction of those who love and serve the Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Chr 13:11-12: “We are following the instructions of the Lord our God, but you have abandoned him.  So you see, God is with us. He is our leader. His priests blow their trumpets and lead us into battle against you. O people of Israel, do not fight against the Lord, the God of your ancestors, for you will not succeed!”

When I keep the Lord's commandments--whether logos or rhema--the Lord will be with me.  God is faithful . . . and when I do what He has commanded, He is bound to bless me.  If He didn't bless those that keep His commandments, He wouldn't be faithful . . . and I know God is faithful.

2 Chr 14:6: During those peaceful years, he was able to build up the fortified towns throughout Judah. No one tried to make war against him at this time, for the Lord was giving him rest from his enemies.

I feel like the Lord will give me rest at some point.  That the Lord will be with me and my family.  That we will have a period of rest from intense spiritual warfare. I'm not expecting a complete absence of conflict & difficulty . . . I'm sure Asa still had plenty of domestic disputes and squabbles . . . but his kingdom was secure, and he was free to serve the Lord in it, and teach Judah to do the same.

2 Chr 14:9-15: Once an Ethiopian  named Zerah attacked Judah with an army of 1,000,000 men  and 300 chariots. They advanced to the town of Mareshah,  so Asa deployed his armies for battle in the valley north of Mareshah.    Then Asa cried out to the L ord  his God, “O L ord , no one but you can help the powerless against the mighty! Help us, O L ord  our God, for we trust in you alone. It is in your name that we have come against this vast horde. O L ord , you are our God; do not let mere men prevail against you!” So the L ord  defeated the Ethiopians  in the presence of Asa and the army of Judah, and the enemy fled.  Asa and his army pursued them as far as Gerar, and so many Ethiopians fell that they were unable to rally. They were destroyed by the L ord  and his army, and the army of Judah carried off a vast amount of plunder. While they were at Gerar, they attacked all the towns in that area, and terror from the L ord  came upon the people there. As a result, a vast amount of plunder was taken from these towns, too.  They also attacked the camps of herdsmen and captured many sheep, goats, and camels before finally returning to Jerusalem.

And, even if attacks come during that time of peace, the Lord will fight my battles for me; and while I'll need to diligently do what He instructs, I'll come out blessed more than ever before in the end.  Israel came home with "many" animals on their way back from letting the Lord defeat the Ethiopians . . . animals meant meat, milk, medicine & nurturing foods, fertilizer, leather, wool, sinew, horn & bone--and probably more sustaining & useful things than I'm aware of.  After this, Judah sacrificed 700 cattle and 7,000 sheep and goats.  And I doubt that was a huge percentage of the plunder.  (When the Word says "many", it means many. lol)

The Lord will bless me with what I need, in abundance, when I trust in Him and follow Him with firmness and rejoicing.

Philippians 4:4-9: Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!  Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.  Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

And here's how I go about that. The way to find peace and strength and bring the God of peace into my home and my life.  Yes! :o)

Philippians 4:18-20: At the moment I have all I need—and more! I am generously supplied with the gifts you sent me with Epaphroditus. They are a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and pleasing to God.  And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Now all glory to God our Father forever and ever! Amen.

The Lord truly will take care of those who help Him take care of His own.

2 Chronicles 15:7: But as for you, be strong and courageous, for your work will be rewarded.

I will be strong and courageous.

2 Chronicles 16:9: "The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.”

'Nough said.

Colossians 1:22-23: This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions.  Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. The Good News has been preached all over the world, and I, Paul, have been appointed as God’s servant to proclaim it.

Duly noted, and firmly decided.  I will never forget the darkness of the years without Christ . . . and will not drift away from the assurance I now hold. Even though I never desired or intended evil, actions have moral value and definite consequences--and they reaped evil upon me and my family.  It's simply beyond beautiful that I can now see the healing of Jesus Christ flowing through what was once barren and parched, and the tilled fields of my home & family flooded with His grace, and the ground simply bringing forth in abundance.

Colossians 1:27: " . . . And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory."

Hallelujah, and Praise Him!!! :o)

Colossians 16:9-14: So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding.  Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light.  For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son,  who purchased our freedom  and forgave our sins.

This prayer is truly powerful to me.

Father, I very much want to know, clearly and completely, Your will for me, and to have spiritual wisdom and understanding, so the way I live can always honor and please the You and Jesus, and my life will produce every kind of good fruit, and I'll grow as I come to know You and Your Son better and better.  Lord, please strengthen me with Your glorious power so I will have all the patience I need, and be filled with this joy.  I long to walk in thanksgiving and rejoicing before You, always.  In Jesus' name, amen.