Sunday, June 15, 2014

Hope-in that day and Today

Read Isaiah 4.

God never leaves us without hope.  Even with the stinging indictment against Judah in chapter 3 into verse 1 of chapter 4, there is hope for the future.

Yes, the Babylonians would come and take most all of them away.  Everything would be lost with only a remnant remaining in the land.  The resettlement did not begin until after 70 years of captivity.  However, even a cursory reading indicates much more than a return of the people.  God is not through with His people, nor has He forsaken His unconditional promises made to Abraham.  There is a hope and a future for the Jews.  One day, as explained in Romans 11, "...all Israel will be saved" (v.26).

A key indicator is the phrase "in that day."  Most often, those words move the prophecy to that future day when Messiah will rule and reign over the world from Jerusalem.  Other passages teach that reign on earth will last for 1,000 years.  What will "that day" look like?

1. Messiah will be glorified. (v.2)
In John 15, Jesus referred to Himself as the Vine.  Here, and in Jeremiah 23:5 and Zechariah 3:8, Messiah is called the Branch.  The later speaks to Messiah's lineage as He will be a branch of the family of King David (see Matthew 1).  This gives Him the legal right to sit on the throne as King of Kings and fulfill the promises made to David in 2 Samuel 7.

2. The people will be holy.  (v.3)
No longer will they be known for rebellion and openly sinful.  They will be and behave as God's people, set apart just for Him.

3. The nation will be cleansed. (v.4)
Immorality and violence characterized the sins of the past.  But "in that day", the people will live in forgiveness and the land will be washed from all "the filth" of their history.

4. God's presence will be visible. (vv.5-6)
Just as Israel experienced in the wilderness wanderings of Exodus, so "in that day" the very personal and caring presence of God will be felt and seen.  Everyone in the world will know that the LORD once more has taken up residence in Jerusalem.  This has not been evident since the Temple veil of the Holy of Holies was torn at the crucifixion (Matthew 27:51).  The flaming fire not only speaks of judgment but also will provide comforting warmth and light in the cool of night.  The canopy of a cloud will provide protection during the heat of the day, "a refuge and a shelter."

These elements God wants to fulfill in each of us today.  When we allow Him to rule and reign as Lord of our lives, we experience His forgiveness, cleansing from our past, and each moment enjoy His wonderful presence.  "You have made known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore." (Psalm 16:11)

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