READ: Isaiah 50-51
THINK: Just last week I heard a powerful message about the state of the church today and the hope we have in Christ to redeem. The words of Isaiah are similar to the words of the message I heard. I would love it if you would walk with me through these chapters and really soak up the still relevant words of this ancient prophet.
Israel sinned and God allowed the consequences of that sin to hit. I live in a broken city in small town Iowa and I see a people similar to Israel. There are generations of sins here and the consequences have hit. Lack of faithfulness in marriage has lead to hundreds of kids without fathers. Those kids are then the ones who rob the coffee shop, get in ﬁghts and have a child of their own. You know how it goes….brokenness leads to brokenness. And it breaks my heart. What can we do in the midst of that? What did Isaiah do?
In verse 5 Isaiah tells of his integrity in the Lord and the beneﬁts he reaps from that. He cannot escape the brokenness of the city he lives in, but he does have hope even though tough things happen. He is mocked and even spit on, but he trusts in the power of God to press on. Again I relate this to my city. I live here and cannot escape the evil around me; the screaming matches I hear from my neighbors and the need to be careful in certain areas at night. However, I can have a different attitude about all of that. Instead of fear, like Isaiah I can have hope. But Iʼm still troubled. What about the rest of these broken people, living in sin and fear?
Isaiah speaks to Israel about pursuing righteousness and seeking God. He tells them that this is the way out of the pit they are in. He reminds them that God created them and they should look to him for help and comfort. Repentance, turning from sin and turning toward God, is possible, but people must be humble about it. They needed to remember that it was God who would save them and work a miracle in their lives, not their own good works. I believe this message is still true today. God still has compassion for lost people who have turned their backs on him. It is not too late for this city to repent and turn toward a loving God.
The word must go out though. Israel had to be told to turn from their sin. So do the people in this city, and in your city. God says his “justice will become a light to the nations.” We must be the ones bringing that light to all people. And this good news lasts forever, God says his salvation is eternal.
Going back to the message I heard last week, we must be serious about bringing the good news to those around us. We can talk all we want to people about God (and we should! please hear that) but unless God chooses to be merciful to us as a people it makes no difference. We have sinned and deserve to live in the wreckage of that sin. The only reason we donʼt have to live in that is because of Godʼs compassion. We have to seek God. We must pray on behalf of our cities, schools, families and friends that God would be compassionate and pull us up out of this wreckage. God will do incredible things we cannot even believe if we are willing to seek him and ask him for his presence in the lives of those around us. God wants to show himself in our lives and in our worlds. Ask him to do amazing things. Ask him to work in the brokenness around you. He will listen to the cries of the righteous and he will show compassion.
PRAY: Pray that the Holy Spirit would burden your heart for the broken people around you. Pray that you would be faithful to seek God on their behalf.