Today’s Bible Reading: Isaiah 28:14-30:11; Galatians 3:23-4:31; Psalm 62:1-12; Proverbs 23:19-21
The leaders of Jerusalem believed that destruction would never come upon them. They clung to their arrogance and worldly ways (Isaiah 28:15). But nothing man can do or think can out maneuver God. All that these leaders thought would be exposed as lies (Isaiah 28:17-21). Instead of our own erroneous world-view, we need to build our confidence on Jesus – the cornerstone of God’s truth (Isaiah 28:16).
In Isaiah 29 God refers to Jerusalem as “Ariel” which means Lion of God (Isaiah 29:1). God does not mean this in a good way. God was using the term sarcastically since Jerusalem was full of pride. He was going to humble Israel (Isaiah 29:3). This is a recurring theme in the Bible. Pride is the root cause of man’s problem. God is all about solving our problems. Therefore He has to humble us. Its for our own good.
The amount of pain that we have to endure in order to be humbled is up to us. We can plead guilty and have a relatively easy go of it. Or we can resist and make it difficult on ourselves. The choice is ours. God wants to cure us. Do we want to be cured?
Notice, though, that once we are humbled God will protect us (Isaiah 29:5-7). God will never abandon us. His goal is not to push us away, but to draw us closer to Him. Pride distances. Humility closes that distance.
Any distance between ourselves and God is our fault (Isaiah 29:13). God lets us create this distance. He loves us. But love does not chase. Love does not control. Love allows for freedom of thought and decisions.
God hates man-made religions with their meaningless repetitions and memorizations (Isaiah 29:13). People think behavior like this pleases God but it does not. They engage in it because it makes them feel good about themselves. That is the point of religion.
Religion is man’s attempt to right himself with God through his own behavior. But this can never work as we read several times this year, including yesterday. We cannot keep the rules well enough to be saved. That is why God came to earth as Jesus to die and go to hell in our place. His death did for us what we were incapable of doing for ourselves.
Paul reveals a very important concept in Galatians 3:26. Not every human being is one of God’s children. We are all His creation. But we are not all His children. Only those who are saved through faith in Jesus are adopted children in God’s family. And as His children, we are heirs to His promises (Galatians 3:29). That is, we get the complete benefit of all He has to offer.
Many religious denominations do not understand this. They think, and teach, that everyone is God’s child. But that is not supported by God’s word. Sadly, this false teaching is giving many, many people a false sense of security. They think they are saved and are going to heaven simply because they exist. But that is not true. Hopefully they will come to know the truth before they die.
But there is a price to be paid for all this. Not by us. But by Jesus. Jesus paid for our adoption by dying a slow, agonizing, painful death on the cross and then descending into hell in our place (Galatians 4:5). As a result, we can call God “Abba” (Aramaic for “daddy”) and have full rights as any natural born child (Galatians 4:7).
LIfe can shake us up sometimes. We can look for support from people – but they have their own problems and inabilities (Psalm 62:9). We can look for support from wealth – but that is not reliable (Psalm 62:10). The only sure place we can find support and safety from the trials of life is God (Psalm 62:7).
The company we keep is important. If we want to go places in life we need to hang around with other people who want to go places too. We should not be hanging around with people who are wasting their lives (Proverbs 23:20-21).
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