RESTORED

We had a wonderful opportunity this past summer to make a long journey by car to see dear family members we hadn’t seen in years.  Facebook helps us keep in touch but it does not compare with being able to sit with family, share meals, and hear their stories of how life is with them.  Families who love and encourage each other in these settings are the best!  We left Wyoming with good memories of being together.  Our relationships were not only restored but deepened in our love for them.  What a blessing from God! 

When we love God back, realizing His relentless, unconditional love for us, God’s love takes on new meaning in our love for each other.  God’s love in us begins to grow His character traits in us!  Our love for each other becomes more unconditional, less judgmental, sweeter, gentle, patience and more kind.  We begin to think the best, not the worst of others and our circumstances.  We begin to know that there is nothing people we love like God loves us can do in life that would keep us from loving them.  THIS is how God loves us!

When God tells Isaiah to tell the people who is in control, who will love and protect them always, who is faithful to help when we need it most, with who is fighting our battles and restoring the land where we live, THIS is the love of God expressed to those who love Him back with desires to follow His ways.  Those who love, sing and rejoice.  Those who do not will pay the price of their unloving, destructive and abusive ways.  Some call it karma.  God calls it justice.  And only God is the Judge.

In our lives, there will always be “danger ahead” but God arrives before we get there with a Plan to restore peace.  Always. Great is His faithfulness!

Isaiah 24, The Message

The Landscape Will Be a Moonscape

24 1-3 Danger ahead! God’s about to ravish the earth
    and leave it in ruins,
Rip everything out by the roots
    and send everyone scurrying:
        priests and laypeople alike,
        owners and workers alike,
        celebrities and nobodies alike,
        buyers and sellers alike,
        bankers and beggars alike,
        the haves and have-nots alike.
The landscape will be a moonscape,
    totally wasted.
And why? Because God says so.
    He’s issued the orders.

The earth turns gaunt and gray,
    the world silent and sad,
    sky and land lifeless, colorless.

Earth Polluted by Its Very Own People

5-13 Earth is polluted by its very own people,
    who have broken its laws,
Disrupted its order,
    violated the sacred and eternal covenant.
Therefore a curse, like a cancer,
    ravages the earth.
Its people pay the price of their sacrilege.
    They dwindle away, dying out one by one.
No more wine, no more vineyards,
    no more songs or singers.
The laughter of castanets is gone,
    the shouts of celebrants, gone,
    the laughter of fiddles, gone.
No more parties with toasts of champagne.
    Serious drinkers gag on their drinks.
The chaotic cities are unlivable. Anarchy reigns.
    Every house is boarded up, condemned.
People riot in the streets for wine,
    but the good times are gone forever—
    no more joy for this old world.
The city is dead and deserted,
    bulldozed into piles of rubble.
That’s the way it will be on this earth.
    This is the fate of all nations:
An olive tree shaken clean of its olives,
    a grapevine picked clean of its grapes.

14-16 But there are some who will break into glad song.
    Out of the west they’ll shout of God’s majesty.
Yes, from the east God’s glory will ascend.
    Every island of the sea
Will broadcast God’s fame,
    the fame of the God of Israel.
From the four winds and the seven seas we hear the singing:
    “All praise to the Righteous One!”

16-20 But I said, “That’s all well and good for somebody,
    but all I can see is doom, doom, and more doom.”
All of them at one another’s throats,
    yes, all of them at one another’s throats.
Terror and pits and booby traps
    are everywhere, whoever you are.
If you run from the terror,
    you’ll fall into the pit.
If you climb out of the pit,
    you’ll get caught in the trap.
Chaos pours out of the skies.
    The foundations of earth are crumbling.
Earth is smashed to pieces,
    earth is ripped to shreds,
    earth is wobbling out of control,
Earth staggers like a drunk,
    sways like a shack in a high wind.
Its piled-up sins are too much for it.
    It collapses and won’t get up again.

21-23 That’s when God will call on the carpet
    rebel powers in the skies and
Rebel kings on earth.
    They’ll be rounded up like prisoners in a jail,
Corralled and locked up in a jail,
    and then sentenced and put to hard labor.
Shamefaced moon will cower, humiliated,
    red-faced sun will skulk, disgraced,
Because God-of-the-Angel-Armies will take over,
    ruling from Mount Zion and Jerusalem,
Splendid and glorious
    before all his leaders.

WHAT DO WE LEARN—HOW DO WE RESPOND?

Chapters 24-27 describe a global judgment that will end with the destruction of God’s enemies and the restoration of God’s people Israel in their land. Nobody on earth will escape, for “God shows no partiality” (Acts 10:34). Position, power, and wealth are no protection against the wrath of God. The Lord merely speaks the word and people who are proud of their wealth and position will find themselves poor and without power. These judgments will also be part of the spiritual battle that has been waging for centuries between the Lord of Heaven’s Armies and the armies of the devil.  This passage parallels Revelation 20:1-3.

We are stewards of what God has given to us to manage!  Why does God punish the inhabitants of the world? Because they have defiled the world by their sins. When Adam sinned, God cursed the ground as a part of the punishment), and God warned the people of Israel that their sins polluted the Promised Land. Today we see human greed polluting land, water, and atmosphere, as well as exploiting the earth of its God-given treasures. Sin has consequences in nature as well as in human character and conscience.

Love God.  Love Each Other.  May the restoration of our souls to God lead to restored relationships with each other.

FUN FACT: The only singing during this harvest will be done by the believing remnant who trust God and are delivered. The doctrine of “the remnant” is an important part of Isaiah’s message; Isaiah’s eldest son was named “a remnant will return.”

May a new respect, reverence and awe for what God has given to us to manage be developed well within us so that when all is said and done on earth, we hear God say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

Lord,

We learn from Isaiah that our world is given to us to manage well, to bring honor and glory to you.  We learn that you will take care of our enemies of the faith. We love how you love and care for us in all kinds of ways.  Help me to love like you love us.

In Jesus Name, Amen

About randscallawayffm

Randy and Susan co founded Finding Focus Ministries in 2006. Their goal as former full time pastors, is to serve and provide spiritual encouragement and focus to those on the "front lines" of ministry. Extensive experience being on both sides of ministry, paid and volunteer, on the mission fields of other countries as well as the United States, helps them bring a different perspective to those who need it most. Need a lift? Call us 260 229 2276.
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