Isaiah 64–The Reality of Sin and Forgiveness

Isaiah makes the case for a fallen Israel.  Now, remember this is a long time before any of the devastation was present.  It had to be strange reading by the king, but looking back, we know God revealed to Isaiah a full picture of the fall, the dispersal and the redemption and restoration of His people.  Still Isaiah seems to humbly be approaching the Lord and requesting a life of forgiveness, redemption, and restoration–WHY? Because that is what Dads do.  No matter how mad God becomes, He still loves us more.

So, Isaiah reminds God of His greatness and glory.  Additionally, He is reminding God that We are His kids.  He asks God to relent from His anger, though well-deserved and asks that we be forgiven and restored.  While the request is for the Israel of Isaiah’s time, it pours over thousands of years to present day when we and the world can know Christ personally and God eternally. We need to become humble and realize the scope of God’s Love and our sinful hearts. Like Isaiah, we need to approach the Lord with reverence and gratefulness.  He loves us and wants us to be personally connected to Him for now and forever.  We, like Isaiah, know God’s love and ability to forgive and restore us.  We simply need to accept the love and walk in submission to His leadership.  

God Bless You


[a]Oh, that you would burst from the heavens and come down!
    How the mountains would quake in your presence!
[b]As fire causes wood to burn
    and water to boil,
your coming would make the nations tremble.
    Then your enemies would learn the reason for your fame!
When you came down long ago,
    you did awesome deeds beyond our highest expectations.
    And oh, how the mountains quaked!
For since the world began,
    no ear has heard
and no eye has seen a God like you,
    who works for those who wait for him!
You welcome those who gladly do good,
    who follow godly ways.
But you have been very angry with us,
    for we are not godly.
We are constant sinners;
    how can people like us be saved?
We are all infected and impure with sin.
    When we display our righteous deeds,
    they are nothing but filthy rags.
Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall,
    and our sins sweep us away like the wind.
Yet no one calls on your name
    or pleads with you for mercy.
Therefore, you have turned away from us
    and turned us over[c] to our sins.

And yet, O Lord, you are our Father.
    We are the clay, and you are the potter.
    We all are formed by your hand.
Don’t be so angry with us, Lord.
    Please don’t remember our sins forever.
Look at us, we pray,
    and see that we are all your people.
10 Your holy cities are destroyed.
    Zion is a wilderness;
    yes, Jerusalem is a desolate ruin.
11 The holy and beautiful Temple
    where our ancestors praised you
has been burned down,
    and all the things of beauty are destroyed.
12 After all this, Lord, must you still refuse to help us?
    Will you continue to be silent and punish us?

Isaiah 8 Part 1–How Prophet’s Name Their Kids

Isaiah’s first Son was mentioned in Chapter 7, Shear-jashub which means A remnant shall return.  Now in Chapter 8, we meet Isaiah’s 2nd son Maher-shalal-hash-baz which means “the spoil speeds, the prey hastens.”  It must have been difficult to be God’s messenger.  Not only do you work for God, no small career move, but then God tells you what to name your children so that they could be a walking reminder of what lies ahead. 

Isaiah did as God told him.  His sons were reminders to the nation that their behavior would cause the promised land to be swept away.  The promising news was, however that a remnant would return.Isaiah also gave a second message of hope to Judah, the news was that God would allow Assyria to go far but only SO far. Israel’s sin would cost them, but, never doubt that God still loved His chosen people and would be there for them.

  The most difficult part of parenting a nation was having to allow them to reap the price of their sin.  Adonai never, never stopped loving them or wanting them to enjoy peace and prosperity. It is still the same these thousands of years later.  God still loves us.  He still sends His prophets to warn us of what lies ahead. The Lord does so, lest we forget that our actions have consequences. 

He also does so to remind us that while things may seem dismal, Adonai is still large and in charge.  We must never lose hope.  We need to be the people that pray for revival, grace, forgiveness, and restoration.  Then we will be joyful to name our child עססתרעד אנד רעויועד! Revived and restored!

God Bless You


Then the Lord said to me, “Take a large tablet and write on it in common characters,[a] ‘Belonging to Maher-shalal-hash-baz.’[b] And I will get reliable witnesses, Uriah the priest and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah, to attest for me.”

And I went to the prophetess, and she conceived and bore a son. Then the Lord said to me, “Call his name Maher-shalal-hash-baz; for before the boy knows how to cry ‘My father’ or ‘My mother,’ the wealth of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria will be carried away before the king of Assyria.”

The Lord spoke to me again: “Because this people has refused the waters of Shiloah that flow gently, and rejoice over Rezin and the son of Remaliah, therefore, behold, the Lord is bringing up against them the waters of the River,[c] mighty and many, the king of Assyria and all his glory. And it will rise over all its channels and go over all its banks, and it will sweep on into Judah, it will overflow and pass on, reaching even to the neck, and its outspread wings will fill the breadth of your land, O Immanuel.”

Be broken,[d] you peoples, and be shattered;[e]
    give ear, all you far countries;
strap on your armor and be shattered;
    strap on your armor and be shattered.
10 Take counsel together, but it will come to nothing;
    speak a word, but it will not stand,
    for God is with us.[f]

Isaiah 5 Part 1–The Vineyard Story

Isaiah shares the pain of the Lord in a practical way.  God invested so much time and energy to prepare, protect,  and provide for Israel. From the moment He led them from Egypt, He cared and led the chosen people into a promised Land.  His goal was always for Israel to be His ambassadors to the world.  They were to remain separate from the cultures of the world–all the while, leading the world to a loving Father.

Sadly, repeatedly, when Israel became prosperous, they walked away from God. Rather than leading the world to the Lord, they chased the world and all that sparkled and shined. Like the parable alluded, rather than producing lives for the Lord, they produced more sin and hedonism. God tried everything to bring the people back, judges, kings, and prophets–none could turn the people from their sin. So, like the vineyard owner, God took down the protection and the prosperity He provided and allowed Israel to reap the consequence of their behaviors and choices.

It was a heartbreak for the vineyard owner, God, to let the world overrun what He had spent so many years building.  At that point, God knew nothing would change the hearts of the people He freed and restored.  He let them do what they wanted and just removed His protections and provisions. He loved His chosen and hated to see them continue to live independent of His leadership. Like the vineyard owner, God tried everything to restore the hearts of the people,  but He is not foolish and knew it was time to walk away.

For us and our current world, God has patiently waited for us to return the values of our forefathers.  Selflessness and honor were the cornerstones of society. As prosperity grew, those values receded to make way for materialism and pride.  Each person has become the center of their own universes, without any regard for others.  After generations of slowly abandoning God and the values He placed in the world–God knocked down the vineyard walls and closed the watchtower.

Chaos has ensued. Families have crumbled and authority has been disregarded.  The wolves of the world have now infiltrated and destroyed the foundations God put in place.  To God, it is a heartbreak. For us, it is time to repent and to return to the values of our forefathers.  Help me Lord to return to the values you placed in this world so that we can once again follow you and enjoy your restoration.

God Bless You


Let me sing for my beloved
    my love song concerning his vineyard:
My beloved had a vineyard
    on a very fertile hill.
He dug it and cleared it of stones,
    and planted it with choice vines;
he built a watchtower in the midst of it,
    and hewed out a wine vat in it;
and he looked for it to yield grapes,
    but it yielded wild grapes.

And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem
    and men of Judah,
judge between me and my vineyard.
What more was there to do for my vineyard,
    that I have not done in it?
When I looked for it to yield grapes,
    why did it yield wild grapes?

And now I will tell you
    what I will do to my vineyard.
I will remove its hedge,
    and it shall be devoured;[a]
I will break down its wall,
    and it shall be trampled down.
I will make it a waste;
    it shall not be pruned or hoed,
    and briers and thorns shall grow up;
I will also command the clouds
    that they rain no rain upon it.

For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts
    is the house of Israel,
and the men of Judah
    are his pleasant planting;
and he looked for justice,
    but behold, bloodshed;[b]
for righteousness,
    but behold, an outcry!

Joshua 7 part 2–The Hard Part of Leading

Joshua had no choice.  There was a member of his people that directly disobeyed God.  A nice cloak a bar of Gold and some silver seemed to be worth the lives of Achan’s fellow Israelites.  So, Joshua brought Achan out and asked for the truth. Achan confessed the goods retrieved and Achan, his family and all that he had were destroyed.  What a heartbreak.  God could not tolerate the sin and Joshua could not look the other way. 

This was truly the worst part of leading.God puts us in positions where we must decide between what is easy and what is right.  What is easy always feels great at first, but usually fails to address the problem and ultimately causes more harm than good.  As a person that loves and follows the Lord, one must seek Him and do the things that honor Him.  Sometimes that is heart-wrenching and painful. 

When we do follow the Lord, He will honor our choices and bless us.  Joshua did the right thing.  The people of Israel followed Joshua’s lead and the sin was dealt with and the people were able to move on.  That was part of being the shepherd of this people, and Joshua did that job very well.

God Bless You


So Joshua rose early in the morning and brought Israel near tribe by tribe, and the tribe of Judah was taken. 17 And he brought near the clans of Judah, and the clan of the Zerahites was taken. And he brought near the clan of the Zerahites man by man, and Zabdi was taken. 18 And he brought near his household man by man, and Achan the son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken. 19 Then Joshua said to Achan, “My son, give glory to the Lord God of Israel and give praise[b] to him. And tell me now what you have done; do not hide it from me.” 20 And Achan answered Joshua, “Truly I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and this is what I did: 21 when I saw among the spoil a beautiful cloak from Shinar, and 200 shekels of silver, and a bar of gold weighing 50 shekels,[c] then I coveted them and took them. And see, they are hidden in the earth inside my tent, with the silver underneath.”

22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent; and behold, it was hidden in his tent with the silver underneath. 23 And they took them out of the tent and brought them to Joshua and to all the people of Israel. And they laid them down before the Lord. 24 And Joshua and all Israel with him took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver and the cloak and the bar of gold, and his sons and daughters and his oxen and donkeys and sheep and his tent and all that he had. And they brought them up to the Valley of Achor. 25 And Joshua said, “Why did you bring trouble on us? The Lord brings trouble on you today.” And all Israel stoned him with stones. They burned them with fire and stoned them with stones. 26 And they raised over him a great heap of stones that remains to this day. Then the Lord turned from his burning anger. Therefore, to this day the name of that place is called the Valley of Achor.[d]

Everybody Loses–Genesis 3 Part 2

When one thinks of the price of sin, it is really staggering.  In an instant, the world changed from being a paradise where all were living in harmony, to a place of discord–where death became real and chaos began to take its toll.  Animals had to begin to fear men.  Gardening became hard work, not passionate caretaking.  People lost trust with God, and he with people–and a lovely friendship came to a dramatic and heart wrenching end. 
 
Men hurt themselves, no doubt–the serpent had definitely scored and scored big.  God was devastated, men were separated and the world was turned on its head.  The only great news was, as the creator, God continued to have the last word.  All parents know the pain of seeing their kids choose poorly–But, we all also know  that, like God, we never give up and we never give in–even in the most dire moments.
 
The story of the fall is a story of dramatic loss–but, it is also the story of the power and love of an all powerful, all knowing and timeless God.  The serpent scored big, no doubt, but God wins in the end! In our own journey, we can never overlook the unalterable and ultimate victory we receive–as God takes the world in the end.  We also cannot forget that he knew of man’s choice, its cost and the price that would be paid.  Despite that, he loved us enough to allow us the choice and remained faithful, to this day, to provide a response for that choice.  In the midst of the chaos–God will still show his love and return the order that will ultimately bring peace and joy back to his chosen.
 
God Bless You
And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”

The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

14 So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,

“Cursed are you above all livestock
    and all wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
    and you will eat dust
    all the days of your life.
15 And I will put enmity
    between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring[a] and hers;
he will crush[b] your head,
    and you will strike his heel.”

16 To the woman he said,

“I will make your pains in childbearing very severe;
    with painful labor you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
    and he will rule over you.”

17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’

“Cursed is the ground because of you;
    through painful toil you will eat food from it
    all the days of your life.
18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
    and you will eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your brow
    you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
    since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
    and to dust you will return.

To Know or To Live–Genesis 3 Part 1

In retrospect, I think I would have chosen immortality.  But, it seems that from the beginning, we have always wanted to know more.  We could never be content with the way things were, we always needed to move forward.  If I only knew the answer to this question, this issue, this life stage–then I would be content. So said Univac, IBM, Apple, Microsoft…Google.

It was the same at the beginning.  Eve was mistaken–she thought being as smart as God was the answer–it was not. Knowing both good and evil simply drove men from God—not toward him. Then the folks at Babel thought reaching God was the answer, it was not. Building toward heaven simply made men prideful and self absorbed. Throughout time, men have tried to emulate the independence God has, in order to become God’s themselves.  So much wasted energy–If men would have sought to emulate God’s character, rather than his independence, then we would have enjoyed his freedom.

Adam and Eve were free to enjoy the world and to enjoy life–that was not good enough.  They wanted to control life, That was the big lie. We will never be able to control life.  The harder we try, the more entangled we become.  If you want to be like God–seek him first and foremost.  When you do, you will realize His greatest gift is the gift of freedom and life.  Seek that, not knowledge and independence–then you can be like your heavenly father!

God Bless You

The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?”

“Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied. “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’”

“You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.”

The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves

The Advocate–1 John 2 part 1

As an attorney, one of my favorite qualities of Christ is him as our advocate.  He knows us for the sinners that we are.  He knows we are frail and daily subject to falling into sin and independence from him.  Still, despite that, he intercedes on our behalf.

Oddly, there stands Satan–the prosecutor; accusing us of the sin he so conveniently placed in front of us, swaggering to the bench and saying to God–he is so evil, look at all he has done.  Meanwhile, Christ stands at our side, points to the accuser and says, “That sin is forgiven and forgotten, because I paid the price.

Grace is not a license to sin, though.  We should be seeking to follow him daily and closely.  If we do, we do not desire to disappoint him. We instead seek to be like him—selfless and surrendered.  That desire to follow is the best sign we are a part of the family. Help me Lord to follow you closely today.

My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.

And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments. If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.

In God We Trust–2 Samuel 24

In whom do you trust? On American currency, it says in God we trust.  But as you look at the actions of our nation, there is little that would evidence the phrase on our money. The nation of Israel mere known as God’s chosen people and throughout their history, they had acquired lands, received provision and won battles all with his direction and power.  David, the king after his own heart had relied upon God’s protection and provision throughout his life and reign…except for this time.  He decided he needed to know if he had ample troops to go to war and win.  This from the king that had defeated all enemies at God’s direction.  The need to be self-reliant overtook his need to be submitted to God and free from the enemies and entrapment of the world. It seemed like “no big deal”, but was as great a sin as a king or nation could commit.

In our lives, we are faced with the same challenge each day.  Do we focus on freedom or independence.  It is God that saves us and leads us to freedom.  If we trust and follow him, he will protect, provide and propel us into freedom.  But, like David, some days we just want to make sure that we are ready to take the helm…just in case God can’t handle it.  It is in those days that our desire to be independent from God rears its ugly head.  When we decide to live independent of God, we open ourselves up to the sins of pride, and all other forms of self rule that will destroy us.  We, like David need to recognize that independence and freedom are different and at polar opposite ends of the spectrum.  We simply need to seek him first and allow him to add everything else—Matt 6:33. As humble followers of God, we can experience his protection and provision and live a life free from captivity.  Help me Lord to walk humbly in your freedom.

God Bless You

But the king insisted that they take the census, so Joab and the commanders of the army went out to count the people of Israel. First they crossed the Jordan and camped at Aroer, south of the town in the valley, in the direction of Gad. Then they went on to Jazer, then to Gilead in the land of Tahtim-hodshi[b] and to Dan-jaan and around to Sidon. Then they came to the fortress of Tyre, and all the towns of the Hivites and Canaanites. Finally, they went south to Judah[c] as far as Beersheba.

Having gone through the entire land for nine months and twenty days, they returned to Jerusalem. Joab reported the number of people to the king. There were 800,000 capable warriors in Israel who could handle a sword, and 500,000 in Judah.

10 But after he had taken the census, David’s conscience began to bother him. And he said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly by taking this census. Please forgive my guilt, Lord, for doing this foolish thing.”

A Broken Heart–2 Samuel 18 part 2

Don’t Judge—David was delivered and all was back on track…BUT—His son was now dead.  He died a traitor and a hater of his Dad.  What response could any father offer.  His heart was broken his sin exposed the trouble he started reached its pinnacle. David was devastated. The devastation displayed by David was not much different than the response of any father—including our heavenly father.  God hates sin.  He allows those that sin to experience sins results.  But, as he allows that to happen, it literally breaks his heart.

We need to follow God’s lead and as we do we will experience his favor and his provision.  But we must also know hat he will allow us tp experience the result of our selfish independence.  It will devastate him and break his heart, as it would any father.  That is why he calls us to be holy.  He asks us to submit t his leadership and walk freely from the bondage of our sin.  Follow him and do not break your Lord’s heart.

God Bless You

28 Then Ahimaaz called out to the king, “All is well!” He bowed down before the king with his face to the ground and said, “Praise be to the Lord your God! He has delivered up those who lifted their hands against my lord the king.”

29 The king asked, “Is the young man Absalom safe?”

Ahimaaz answered, “I saw great confusion just as Joab was about to send the king’s servant and me, your servant, but I don’t know what it was.”

30 The king said, “Stand aside and wait here.” So he stepped aside and stood there.

31 Then the Cushite arrived and said, “My lord the king, hear the good news! The Lord has vindicated you today by delivering you from the hand of all who rose up against you.”

32 The king asked the Cushite, “Is the young man Absalom safe?”

The Cushite replied, “May the enemies of my lord the king and all who rise up to harm you be like that young man.”

33 The king was shaken. He went up to the room over the gateway and wept. As he went, he said: “O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you—O Absalom, my son, my son!”[g]

God Corrects His Own-2 Samuel 12 Part 1

God disciplines those he loves.  David sinned greatly.  He knew it and God knew it. David had hoped that covering up the sin, would somehow make everything better, but, God was not going to allow it.  God sent Nathan to expose David’s sin, and to help David understand the import of his actions.  The parable put things into perspective for David—David saw for the first time that he had become what he despised.  That was the beginning of repentance and restoration. 

As his kids, God also intervenes in our lives to mold and shape us into his image.  When we allow sin to stay in our lives, God has a way of exposing the sin and helping us to recognize what it has done to us and to others. If we are sensitive to his leadership, he can guide us to repentance and restoration.  He is first and foremost a loving Father—his desire is to shape us to be like him and enjoy the peace and freedom that comes with that. Help me, Lord to be sensitive to your leadership and humble and discerning to your correction.

God Bless You

12 So the Lord sent Nathan the prophet to tell David this story: “There were two men in a certain town. One was rich, and one was poor. The rich man owned a great many sheep and cattle. The poor man owned nothing but one little lamb he had bought. He raised that little lamb, and it grew up with his children. It ate from the man’s own plate and drank from his cup. He cuddled it in his arms like a baby daughter. One day a guest arrived at the home of the rich man. But instead of killing an animal from his own flock or herd, he took the poor man’s lamb and killed it and prepared it for his guest.”

David was furious. “As surely as the Lord lives,” he vowed, “any man who would do such a thing deserves to die! He must repay four lambs to the poor man for the one he stole and for having no pity.”

Then Nathan said to David, “You are that man!