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RCCG Miracle Land Dundalk
Wednesday, October 04 2023

Contributor: Ngozi Roberts

In this chapter we are encouraged to recognize the dominion and power of God, who even in our disobedience, extends His mercy and promises redemption. It challenges us to re-examine our faithfulness, to trust in God's plan and promises, and to move away from spiritual 'Babylon', which is a symbol of everything that that keeps us from achieving God's plan and purpose for our lives.
The Reproach of the Israelites and God’s Sovereignty (48:1-8) The Jews prided themselves with respecting Jerusalem, temple, respecting Jehovah as their God. Yet God criticised them for living a superficial devotion. There was no holiness in their lives. They was no sincerity in their religion. They were not obedient to God's Word. In the prophecy God reveals to them how He foreknew them and that they were born into sin, therefore disobedience was in their nature, so sin follows them natural. Reminds us of the scripture

Psalm 51:5 KJV “Behold, I was shaped in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me”.

ASV “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity; And in sin did my mother conceive me”

In verse 1 the emphasis that was placed on the refence to the Jews was so evident that He wanted them to pay attention to Hear ye this, O house of Jacob, which are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah, which swear by the name of the LORD, and make mention of the God of Israel, but not in truth, nor in righteousness. So, He calls them repeatedly by what they pride themselves as and went on to point that though they claim to be all these, yet they do not obey Him in truth and do not follow Him in righteousness! The Israelites received so many promises and blessings, yet God says there is no Genuity to their relationship with Him.
As we go along its important that we think about ourselves in this journey, are we the type that showcases ourselves as over righteous ones, holier than thou Christians yet our hearts are far away from Him? Food for thought!

God declares His foreknowledge and the power to fulfil prophecies, letting them know how well He knows them. Emphasizing that He had foretold events before they occurred to prevent the Israelites from attributing them to false Gods. He points out their obstinacy and their refusal to listen to His commands. Confirming to them that he knew them from their womb that they were rebels, sinners and wicked. He emphasised on His works, giving them irrefutable evidence of His foreknowledge and power. So that they will not think that it came from their idols. In other words, letting them know that those things He said He will do came to pass.

Mercy for His Name’s Sake Vs 9-15 The Israelites had no defence for themselves on why God should spare them, nothing to plead with God, why He should have mercy. God was so unhappy with them, yet, He decides to contain His anger and show mercy. He rather chose to refine Israel and refrained from destroying them. This is not the kind of refinery that is used for silver or gold but the kind of refinery that goes through affliction. It is called furnace of affliction. Why would He do such a thing? He says it is for His own sake. So that His name will not be polluted, and no one take His glory. God will not share His glory with false idols or anyone for that matter. Interestingly, He allows affliction to come to the life of His people for the same reason He shows mercy! And that is for His name’s sake! To show forth his glory! Amazing!

So after having revealed how sinful they were, God revealed the reason He showed mercy or deferred His anger which is because He wants to bring glory to himself. Note we all did not deserve God sending his Son to die for us but it’s because He showed us mercy why? Because it exhibited His glory. He is the centre of the universe. So, He has the right to say that He does it for His glory so when we consider his greatness then we understand why. When we look at God’s work in us, our family members, our neighbours, the universe we see His glory!

One lesson we ought to learn from this is that there are times when God allows us His children to go through challenges and afflictions and he does these for our own good and for His glory. It is true that most people who are in the right path with God today would have gone through a lot of afflictions. When such people look back, they would understand why God took them through such affliction. He would mould us and allow us to go through the furnace so that we become fit for the purpose which He has ear marked for us. It is comforting to Gods people that God will secure His own honour. Hence, it is all for His glory! God went on to emphasize in Vs 12-13 why He can do whatever He likes. He lays out His right to do so.

I am he; I am the first, I also am the last. Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens: when I call unto them, they stand up together.

In other words, no one can make this kind of claim except me your God! So, they ought to listen to Him, the God that loves them. For them to know that He is being a God that can make and unmake He declares he will raise a man that He loves that will deal with the Babylonians and Chaldeans and set the Jews free. This man turns out to be Cyrus an unbeliever! He says He loves this Pegan king! Why? Because God said He has called him and will make his way prosperous. That reminds us of how God used Pharoah as a tool to showcase His glory and set the children of Israel free. So, it is Gods prerogative who to use to bless anyone. It might be an unbeliever or believer, it’s all up to Him as long as His children are set free from whatever bondage. He can use anybody!

Gods’ Guidance and call to leave Babylon and Trust in Him
Vs 16 – 22

The Spirit of the Lord is declared, emphasizing the idea of God's direction and help for His people. In the prophecy the Lord declares and reminds them that He is the Lord that teaches them things that is good for them. The God that leads them in the way they should go for prosperity and peace. Just as He still does even till now for example in 2nd Corinthians 6:14-18 teaches us not to be unequally yoke with unbelievers and it is just for our own good! He does these things so we can benefit for them.

In Vs 18-19 He continues to stress to the Jews that if they had paid attention to His commandments, they would have been revived, would have been at peace. God laments on all the blessings and benefits that they would have received if they have paid attention and adhered to his commands. This is also true for us even now. When we pay attention and attend to His commands in obedience, we will surely reap the blessings from His promises.

The prophecy declares to them of their release from captivity and how joyous it will be. They will be so free to declare and express their freedom and joy to the ends of the earth telling them how their God had delivered them from bondage. This is like our experience when we get born again and how free we feel that we want to tell anyone that cares to listen. He likens this event to the time He set the Children of Israel free from Egypt and how he led them through the wilderness and caused waters to flow from the rock and was always with them. He will always take care of those that walk in obedience to Him. Note that the chapter ended with a note of warning that there is no peace for the wicked i.e., the unbeliever.

Chapter 49
Gods Servant: A light and Salvation to the Nations

Isaiah 49 shows God’s enduring love and promise to His people. It teaches us that, in the midst of trials and tribulations, God's promise of salvation and restoration remains sure. His plans for us are of prosperity and not of hopelessness and His love is unshakeable. Let this be an inspiration of hope for everyone facing life's challenges today.

God's Servant’s Mission (Verses 1-6)
In the previous chapter the prophecy was about a deliverer that will deliver the children of Israel from the Babylonians. The deliverer was to bring them back to their homeland. However, in this chapter there is another deliverer that is being talked about, the Servant of the Lord, likely a representation of Christ, declaring His God-given mission. He is to bring salvation to the ends of the earth. He is to be a light not just for Israel but also for the Gentiles (the non-Israelites), revealing God’s salvation to the all the nations.

God's Promise & Assurance to Israel & all Nations (Verses 7- 21)
The Father is the Lord sending His Son as Redeemer and Saviour to all. Even though the people He came to save condemned Him, yet He submitted Himself for our salvation. Christ therefore brought mercy that released us from the curse of the law and renewing grace that released us from the dominion of sin. Note, wherever God brings His people no evil shall befall them. Those who follow divine guidance closely may expect divine comfort even though there are difficulties in the way, yet the grace of God will carry us over them and make even the mountain become a way.
God assures the forsaken Israel of restoration, portraying a time when even kings will bow to them. Nations are going to flock to Israel to acknowledge that their God is good He promises to answer their prayers, provide for them, and comfort them. Let us therefore rejoice because God will have compassion on His own because of his covenant.

In anguish, Zion feels forgotten by God. However, God reassures Zion, likening His love for them to a mother's love for her child. God has a tender affection for his church and people, if a mother cannot forget her babies, how much more God. As long as we have scriptural evidence that we belong to his redeemed flock, we ought to be sure that He will never forsake us. Therefore, let us make our calling and election sure and rejoice in the hope and glory of God. Zion is described as afflicted widow, bereaved of her children, but is reassured that numbers of children shall flock to her, and she is guaranteed that they will come to be a comfort to her. God says he will bring back their children. They would have thought the children are no more, but He will bring them home from all places and it’s going to be a great time of rejoicing. He also promises their land will be too small to accommodate their children, which indicates a prosperous future. This suggests times when the church is few in number, yet we are reassured that the desolation shall not last for ever and God will repair them. That is why we ought to remember to deal caringly and carefully with our converts and new beginners in church.

The Gathering of Israel (Verses 22-26)
God affirms He will make the nations, to return His people from all corners of the earth. He also vows to contend with those who oppose His people and even though His people entered the net of the evil one by right, yet He declares that He will set them free as the lawful captives shall be delivered. God declares that he will save our children even if they are in the hands of the enemy. This will make them know that He is the mighty one of Israel. Note that we are the bride of Christ and joint heirs to his kingdom as though we were lawful captives to the justice of God, yet we were delivered by a price of unspeakable value. So, this chapter concludes with a promise of salvation and vindication for Israel.

Isaiah 48 is a reminder of God's steadfast commitment to His people, despite their persistent disobedience. God admonish the Israelites for their obstinacy, reaffirms His sovereignty and authority, reveals His divine foreknowledge, and calls them back to Himself, promising deliverance from Babylonian captivity. The chapter gives insight to our human weakness, God's patience, and the power of redemption.
So, 3 things to learn here, firstly, God due to the obstinacy of the children of Israel re-iterates the fact that he is a God that declares a thing and it comes to pass. Secondly God is a God that can have mercy. He can defer his anger and instead mould us through the furnace of affliction so as to come out fit for His purpose and thirdly, there is no peace for the wicked. Those that chose not to obey the commands of God will not enjoy Gods kind of peace.
Chapter 49 reveals the profound prophecy of the Servant of the Lord Jesus Christ and His divine mission. God's unfailing love and his promise to restore Israel was revealed and it offers a message of hope for both the nation of Israel and the world at large. So, this chapter concludes with a promise of salvation and vindication for Israel.

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