Saturday, December 11, 2010

Not Forsaken

This is the season to celebrate the birth of Christ Jesus. Many are excited and some do not celebrate the excitement for the correct reason. There are some who have fear, a lack of hope, and are depressed. The major prophet, Isaiah, informed the Israelites they had nothing to fear for the Lord God would be with them always to strengthen them. We have no reason to fear, be depressed, or be without hope because the Lord is the same today as he was yesterday and will be forever. (Heb 13: 8)

How many times have we forsaken the Lord God? The Bible is filled with numerous illustrations; i.e. II Chr. 12:1; Mt. 26:56; Jn. 6:66; II Pe. 2:15 The Lord God has never forsaken us; i.e. Ps. 9:10; Ps. 37:25; Heb. 13:5. God promised never to leave us and He cannot lie. (Titus 1:2) God is love and everything He does is out of love. We abide in His love and He never casts us out.

In the Sunday school lesson, not many years were left of the Israelites seventy (70) year punishment in Babylonian captivity. They felt rejected and forsaken at the time of Isaiah’s writing this prophecy in Is. 41. Cyrus the Great was a conquering king of the Medo-Persian Empire. He had so many military victories the nations were terrified and built an idol to save them from destruction. The Israelites did not realize that God would use Cyrus the Great as His vessel to deliver them from the Babylonian captivity.

Isaiah reminded the Israelites they were God’s chosen servants who descended from Abraham. He comforted them by reminding them of God’s presence, relationship with them, and power. God’s love for His people has and would always protect them. Did the idol(s) satisfy/protect the Israelites needs like God? Isaiah reminded them they had no need to fear for God would be with them. Knowing that the Lord was with them empowered them not to be discouraged – for the Lord promised to give them strength, offer them help, and hold them up with His “righteous right hand,” an expression indicating the righteous authority and power of God. Their enemies would perish because God helped and they would rejoice in the Lord.

Isaiah informed the Israelites that God was aware of their suffering. When the poor and needy sought for water, they were unable to find none in the desert lands. They were both physically and spiritually thirsty. God promised to transform their barren places with abundant flowing rivers, arid deserts into flourishing water springs, and dry grounds into fertile lands. The wilderness would flourish with life and vitality; there would be a variety of trees to show forth the abundance of blessings from God.

All of this would be done openly to the glory of God; i.e. deliverance from Babylonian captivity…saved from destruction under Cyrus the Great…abundant blessings of flowing rivers, water springs, and fertile lands. They were reassured that God keeps His covenant and He brings redemption to those who are in trouble.

Written by Deborah Davis

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