We were rather overwhelmed by the range of appropriate thoughts in all our readings this morning! God’s words through Isaiah, quoted above (Ch.33 v.2) arrested our attention. Jesus is the “arm of the Lord” – soon we will read Isaiah’s famous 53rd chapter which starts “to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed.” (see the cross reference in John 12 v.38)
God accomplished salvation for us through Jesus. He looks for all those who accept that salvation, or are seeking for it, to look to him at the start of every day. The whole verse in Isaiah says, “O LORD, be gracious to us; we wait for you. Be our arm every morning, our salvation in time of trouble.”
To Isaiah and those listening to him as a man of God in those continuously troubled times, we see many messages which are meaningful to us today. “The LORD is exalted … he will be the stability of your times, abundance of salvation, wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is his treasure.” [v.5,6] We must try hard to understand how, having a mind which is in awe of God is a “treasure” of great value. In contrast, “the sinners of Zion are afraid; trembling has seized the godless; who among us can dwell with the consuming fire?”[v.14]
The fearful attitudes that overwhelmed the godless then, will be replicated in the final fearful time as our world reaches its climax. We read 5 days ago in Hebrews of the “removal of things that are shaken … in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.” [Ch.12 v.27-29]
Think about fire. It destroys – but it also cleanses ready for a totally new start. Australian bushfires illustrate this. So what happens to those who survive “everlasting burnings”? The next verse in Isaiah tells us, “He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly … and shuts his eyes from looking on evil … your eyes will behold the king in his beauty” [v.15,17] having been “our salvation in time of trouble.”
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