Daily Update #179

Pause:  

Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations.  The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does.  

    Psalm 145:13

Quite properly, all of us place great emphasis on making sure we deal with people and organisations which we can trust.  If you’re out shopping for something you will probably go along to a retailer (or these days a website) which you can trust and you examine the goods you are planning to buy carefully to make sure that they are fit for the purpose you intend for them.  If they are in any way suspect, you may think again and decide not to buy.  

If this applies to routine purchases, it is even more important when you’re buying something big or expensive.  We take the trouble to get a survey if we’re buying a house and pay an expert to give their opinion that the house is worth what we are considering paying.  We seek the help of someone reliable and put our trust in them.  

I wonder, do we always apply the same prudent approach to the most important thing we have, our very lives?  Are we careful to ensure that we entrust our souls, our very beings, to God who is trustworthy in all he promises?  I have been reading a book on the major religions.  It covers Hinduism (987m adherents), Buddhism (509m), Judaism (13m), Christianity (2,300m) and Islam (1,600m).  A big question when considering matters of faith is:  can we trust the teaching of this faith?  Or putting this another way, how reliable are these teachings?  

Our passage in Isaiah today takes this point head on.  Chapter 41 opens with a court room scene, as the Lord calls the nations in and commands them to be silent before him.  He states that it is he who has summoned judgement in the shape of Cyrus from the east, much to the consternation of the peoples who have been subjugated.  The Lord mocks idols and then turns to reassure his people Israel, whom he has chosen.  He takes hold of Israel’s right hand and comforts them by assuring them of his help.  Not only this, the Lord is the redeemer of his people, he is the Holy One of Israel.  

God’s people will become a tool to carry out his judgement, which we see in the metaphor of the threshing-sledge.  The Lord will use his people to remove the wicked and worthless and to purify a people for himself, a people who will rejoice in the Lord and glory in the Holy One of Israel.  The Lord will answer the poor and needy with plenty and will bring water to the desert, bringing forth plenty from land which was barren.  The reason for this is so that people will see it and know, so that they may consider and understand that the Lord’s hand has accomplished this, the Holy One of Israel has created it.  

All this is abundant proof that the Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does.  

This side of the cross of Jesus, we see clearly how the Lord’s plan of redemption was accomplished.  The Lord Jesus came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.  His resurrection is the tangible evidence that justice has been established on earth (Isa 42:4).  The beautiful metaphor of springs of water in the desert is just a hint of the amazing Redeemer in action as he initiates the re-creation of the world as we know it, all of this to be consummated when he returns in righteousness to judge the living and the dead.  

So be reassured, indeed be confident, in the truth of the gospel which we are called to share with any who will receive it.  We are not following cleverly designed myths and methods established by man.  We are relying on the eternal promises of the completely trustworthy God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  The Lord, our Lord, is creator and Redeemer.  This Christmas let’s take time to rejoice in the Lord and glory in the holy one of Israel, who acted in history and who takes hold of our right hand and helps us!  

Prayer

Lord Jesus, 
thank you for serving each one of us as you came to be the Redeemer; 
thank you for saving us from sin and destruction and instead giving us life and purpose; 
thank you for answering us, the spiritually poor and needy, in our search for life and hope, through the redemption which you achieved, paying the price for our sin.  
Enable us to serve others by helping them to hear your word and the hope which you offer to all who will trust you.  
We ask this for the honour and glory of your name.  

    Amen

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