I still have the third part of my little series to publish – it is my FAITH LIFE WORD (technically a phrase but that’s not important right now)
But I felt compelled to write this this morning.
I am in my apartment alone, eating breakfast and doing my devotional. I turn in my bible to my normal reading pattern and Jesus speaks to my spirit and says “Go to Isaiah 55”
I was like oh Lord you mean 58 I’m sure because that is about the garden and I love gardens.
“No. 55.” It was a firm inflection. The Lord is usually very gentle with me. Sometimes He is also very sassy. Many weeks ago I made a decision (which is very difficult for me, middle child syndrome – eldest and youngest always get their way. Don’t believe me? Ask a middle child – it is true haha) Anyway, I made a decision. Well the exact opposite of the decision was presented in front of me and it had me very confused. I asked the Lord “Jesus what are you doing?” in a playful and yet exasperated and confused manner.
He replied and I quote “Whatever I want” and He giggled.
You may not think God giggles but He does. We wouldn’t be able to giggle if He didn’t – He did create each of us after all.
ANYWHO – I turn to Isaiah 55. Please read this passage on your own as it is an amazingly hope-filled chapter of the bible.
The title is “An invitation to abundant life”
Jesus said “I come to give life and life to the full [abundant life]”
This is an invitation to come closer to Jesus. Where when we are thirsty, there is water that never dries up. Where when you are without money, there is food and wine and milk that has no price. Where the only thing to eat, is good and we can delight ourselves in the abundance of Jesus. (Application of verses 1-2)
This is an invitation to be in conversation with Jesus – intimate conversation where no-one else can hear. It says in verse 3 “Incline your ear, and come to me. Hear, and your soul shall live.”
Incline means to lean into, lean close to and we do this in order to hear what Jesus is saying. And whatever He is saying to us – each individually – is meant to give life to your soul. Life to your soul – like a big bear hug (if you like hugs) or someone who is praying for you and encouraging you even when you feel like giving up. That is what Jesus wants to do for each of us. He so desperately wants to give life to us – we need to incline, come close, hear, listen, accept His words, and let them take root in our lives.
He promises to make an everlasting covenant with you, with me JUST as He did with David. King David – the man after God’s own heart. That is the relationship He wants with YOU. With me. With every single person on the planet – even the ones you hate. Even the ones I hate. He loves them – and we should follow His example. (Application of verse 3-4)
This next section – I’m bawling. Can barely read. I have longed to be a missionary since my first missions trip. I felt the desire when I was in college and it was dismissed by someone I called for advice as the fact that they thought I was just in hype mode from a really good service. Not bitter just a recounting of events. So missionary heart – verse 5
“Surely you shall call a nation you do not know, and nations who do not know you shall run to you, Because of the Lord your God, and the Holy One of Israel; For He has glorified you.”
A nation I do not know and nations who do not know you will run to you – that speaks to my desire. The God-given desire to share with nations the love of Jesus that brings life. It brings abundance when all you know if poverty.
Verse 6-7 is another invitation to come close to Jesus. To seek Him while He may yet be found. It isn’t a one-time invitation that He didn’t really mean, that He half-hearted gave because it was an awkward situation. He keeps repeating Himself because He truly means it when He says “come to me”
Verse 8-9 embrace His ways. Embrace His thoughts. Reject your ways. Reject your thoughts. They are of a lesser value and lesser vision that His. At first glance it may sound like I’m saying “check your brain at the door” but I’m not. God uses folly to confound the wise and SOOOOOO many people think they are wise and that their ways are the best ways…and He is just giggling saying “look! This is the opposite of what you think and YET IT IS SO MUCH BETTER!” That is the beauty of His ways – He is doing them, we do not have to do and it still come s out better than if we were trying to get it done our way!
10-11 Everything God has designed and created and done – never returns VOID. Meaning, it never fails at accomplishing its intended purpose. Rain falls to bring water to the earth so that it may bring forth buds from seeds to feed those of us who eat anything on planet earth. But it isn’t just about natural occurrences but it is about His WORD AS WELL! “It shall accomplish what I (AKA THE LORD) please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I (AKA THE LORD) sent it” [I read it as in the new thing for which I sent it.]
His ways. His thoughts. His purposes. His intentions. His Word. His prospering. None of it is our responsibility to create it, to intend for it, to think it, to make the way, to say it initially (we repeat His promises to remind ourselves in faith what He has already said). It is His responsibility. Our job, our responsibility is to obey. That’s it. Whether the task be great or small – it is easy to obey if we are willing.
12-13 We go out with JOY. Being led in PEACE. The very land around break out in singing and clapping when we listen and obey the Lord. Life giving side effects will spring up instead of pain inducing things (the cypress and myrtle trees pop up instead of the thorn and the brier). BUT these pop up as a sign of God’s divine mercy. Of God’s love. Of His mercy and power. It isn’t about us. Never was. It is ALL ABOUT GIVING GLORY TO GOD.
The land isn’t singing because of us – it is singing because God’s love and power are flowing through us. The earth loves God’s glory just as much as we do. “The very rocks will cry out” if we do not. To me, that means when we praise Heaven AND Earth enjoy the praise of Almighty God. The earth is God’s creation in all it’s beauty just as we are God’s creation in all our beauty.
I hope I didn’t bore you with my crying-inducing devotional this morning. But I really felt like I needed to share…cause I did.
I hope this encourages someone…if not it at the very least encouraged me.