Saturday, August 27, 2011

Unfailing Love

Men’s Bible study following breakfast this morning at Calvary Chapel of Dayton, Ohio led by Pastor Dave Elkins. You can hear his teaching online here.

Working our way through Isaiah found us in Isaiah chapter 30 today. Very interesting, very powerful material. There is so much there, but I want to comment on what jumped out at me there in chapter 30 and some of the discussion.

It was the very first sentence (verses 1 and 2a) where my attention was first drawn: “Woe to the obstinate children,” declares the LORD, “to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin; who go down to Egypt without consulting me;”

Here I saw a repetition of Abraham traveling to Egypt without first consulting with the LORD and all the trouble he got into. It is the same in my life as well. When I consult with the LORD about my plans, doors open and close in very different ways. If I see doors closing after asking for His advice or approval, I take that as His answer. If the doors open after asking, then I take it as His approval or lack of disapproval. I have found I do not want to “go down to Egypt without consulting” God.

What follows in Isaiah is God’s curse on Israel for “look(ing) for help to Pharaoh’s protection, to Egypt’s shade for refuge” (v2b). The consequences go on for a number of verses, but in verse 15 we find “The Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel says, ‘In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.’” Our Heavenly Father once again shows His love and mercy offered to Israel and by extension to the rest of the world – if only we will accept it. Israel at this time did not for the verse concludes, “but you would have none of it.” Like so many of us today (including me) Israel refused this wonderful gift from our LORD and they literally ran away (see verses 16 and 17).

Nonetheless, God through Isaiah makes sure Israel knows of his love even after they have run away, in the very next verse (18) “Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!” Like a loving husband or wife who forgives a spouse who has failed in their covenant vows, God demonstrates his unfailing love.

The measure of that love is noted in verses 23 and 24 after Israel rids itself of all its false idols as He blesses Israel greatly when, “He will also send you rain for the seed you sow in the ground, and the food that comes from the land will be rich and plentiful.” Even the animals of Israel will be blessed for “In that day your cattle will graze in broad meadows. The oxen and donkeys that work the soil will eat fodder and mash, spread out with fork and shovel.”

Take away: Wait upon the LORD, consult the LORD in prayer if you (I) want to experience the blessings and mercy in your (my) life through His unfailing love.

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