REST TO THE WEARY

Isaiah 28:11-12 – Indeed, He will speak to this people through stammering lips and a foreign tongue, He who said to them, “Here is rest, give rest to the weary and here is repose,” but they would not listen.

Yesterday, we saw how God chose to speak through the Assyrians as their conquering army was poised to swoop in and take Israel captive. God’s people mocked the word of the Prophet and rejected the protection that Jehovah was offering His people.

It is interesting how the Scriptures can have more than one meaning, and prophecies can have a couple of applications. The apostle Paul, in 1 Corinthians 14:20-21, chose to use Isaiah 28:11 to explain the purpose of the “gift of tongues.” Paul says, “Do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature” (1 Corinthians 14:20). In Isaiah’s passage, he reveals that Israel was not being mature. They acted like children as they mocked the Prophet. The Corinthians were misusing the “gift of tongues.” They acted immature in the operation of the gifts of the Spirit. In 1 Corinthians 14:22 Paul teaches, that tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe, but to unbelievers.

In Isaiah 28:10-12, the stammering lips and a foreign tongue was a “sign” to Israel. When God poured out His Spirit as recorded in Acts 2, once again “tongues” was a sign to Israel. This time, it was evidence the kingdom of God had come with the out-pouring of the Holy Spirit, and the accompanying sign of tongues. Paul is reminding the Corinthians “tongues” was God’s means of getting His people’s attention. Isaiah said, “This is the rest whereby I will cause the weary to rest, this is the refreshing, but they would not hear.” The “rest” was found in receiving God’s warning through the sign of pending judgment. In Acts 2, the rest is found in receiving the Spirit who brings the Good News of the kingdom of God through the Apostles’ preaching.

The rest and refreshing for the people of God is found in an open heart poised to receive God’s word by making the needed corrections and moving in the direction of God’s will. The Spirit of God has come with gifts that will refresh God’s children as they receive them. Many resist the Spirit’s gifts because they seem strange or because their hearts are fixed on other things.

Today, let us choose to be mature in our thinking. Open your heart to what God has for you. He may choose to speak to you through His written Word or through another individual. Holy Spirit, lead us to be aware of when You are speaking, though it sounds like a stammering lip, help us to hear and obey.

ORDER ON ORDER AND LINE ON LINE

Isaiah 28:10 – For He says, “Order on order, order on order, Line on line, line on line, A little here, a little there.”

What is Isaiah speaking about through the Spirit of the living God? I was taught early in my Christian walk that this meant God gives us a little here and a little there. That thought may be true in regard to how God deals with His children, but it is not what the Prophet had in mind. He is describing how the Lord saw the Israelites as a mocking people. In response, the Prophet is mocking them in what he has to say from the Lord.

How do we receive the Word of the Lord? Many of God’s people today, as Israel of old, regard lightly God’s Word to them. It is easy to reject a sermon when the minister begins to deal with one’s heart condition or one’s attitudes. Today, many want the minister of the gospel to make them feel good about themselves. There are those who feel safe because they are sitting comfortably in a church with a pastor who is feeding them pabulum. Israel, in Isaiah’s day, was comfortable in their religion and their compromise of God’s true purposes through them.

God began to speak to His people through the Assyrians who threatened the Israelites’ safe abode. The Assyrians represented a pending judgment to the people of God. They spoke a language that was foreign to the Hebrews. God was warning Israel to repent and turn back to Him. They refused to listen to the Spirit of God through the Prophet. They continued to mock the Prophet’s word. Calamity came upon them.

Today, as in Isaiah’s day, the Lord is looking for His people to open their hearts to Him. In this passage, God used foreigners that did not speak the Hebrew language to be the instrument of His judgment. What is the Lord using in our lives? Could it be the threat of radical Islam? What about the possibility of economic collapse? Could it be poor leadership in the State and Federal government?

Ask the Spirit of God to increase your respect and honor of God’s Word. Ask Him to protect you from mocking the Word of the Lord in your life, and open your heart to hear and receive His corrections. Ask Him for power in the Holy Spirit to live godly in an ungodly culture. Pray for revival!

I WILL TEACH TRANSGRESSORS YOUR WAYS

Psalm 51:13 – I will teach transgressors Your ways and sinners will be converted to You.

A result of our salvation should be to “teach transgressors God’s ways.” Once we deal with our own issue of iniquity (lawlessness) and our sin nature by receiving God’s work to save us through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, we should turn our attention to others. An evidence of true conversion is a concern for others that are as lost as we once were.

David had asked for a “willing spirit.” Peter tells us that “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish, but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). When David recognized his depravity and confessed his sin, he desired to be an instrument to help others that were in the same condition. A “willing spirit” is one that aligns itself with the will of God. The Holy Spirit has come to “reveal the Father’s will.” From that revelation, we are to align our self with God’s will and pray for the Holy Spirit to lead us to do the will of God. It is clear, God’s will was to heal David and re-establish Him in God’s Divine Purpose. David, in turn, began to focus on other broken lives around him.

Is our relationship with God all about our need being met or do we also have that component of “a willing spirit” to do God’s will? Another way of expressing this concept would be to ask God to “give us a willingness to do His bidding.” God has called us to be His representative to others. First by wholeness in our own life, and then to declare God’s desire to save and restore others to God’s salvation.

My testimony is of my own “depravity” and God’s “love” toward me. He has answered my prayer which is after that of David’s: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10).

Lord, please help me to be willing to do Your will by sharing with others how You forgave my sins and clothed me with Your great salvation so rich and so free. Give me grace to lead others to Your wonderful love and presence.

I WILL BE SUSTAINED BY A WILLING SPIRIT 

Psalm 51:12 – Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and sustain me with a willing spirit.

As we consider the life of David and his revelation concerning his depravity and his desperate need for God’s Holy Spirit, we also observe that he confesses he had lost his joy and a willing spirit. Very few people live in joy. There is a difference between being happy and being joyful. Happiness depends on things going well in life. Joy is an inward feeling that is there whether all is well or not. Our salvation in Christ is the fountain of our joy. I had a fellow employee ask me this question one day as I entered the shop, “What gives you the right to be happy all the time?” He did not know the difference between “joy” and “happiness.” It gave me opportunity to tell him of the source of my joy that he saw as happiness.

I love how David ties together his request for restoration of the “joy of God’s salvation” and “a willing spirit.” David recognized that true salvation comes from the willingness of his inner man. A willing spirit is the foundation of true submission to the will of God. Many times people say they are willing to serve God, no matter what, in the emotion of the moment. To serve God takes “a willing spirit”! It is the health of the spirit of a person that will sustain. A willing spirit comes from God Himself.

Over many years of ministry, I have found that the root of people’s struggles can be located in “a broken spirit,” The hurts of life and the hurts caused by others can break an individual’s spirit to cause them to give up trying. God’s Holy Spirit wants to heal the broken spirit, but it begins in taking personal responsibility. First, acknowledging one’s own sin against God. Second, one must release others who have hurt them. The Holy Spirit will then begin the process of healing the “broken spirit” and creating a “willing spirit,” which will become the key to sustaining the individual. The Holy Spirit will restore the joy of God’s salvation and sinners will be converted as a result (Psalm 51:13).

Thank You, Lord, for what You did for David. For the joy of Your salvation, which is my portion as well. Heal my brokenness and sustain me with a willing spirit. Let me see sinners converted as a result of Your mighty work in me.

THAT YOU MIGHT NOT STUMBLE

John 16:1 – These things I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from stumbling.

It should be no surprise that the “world” hates true believers. The system of the world is against all that God has established. The three major systems of the world that resist God’s plan and purposes are Governments, which are driven by ego and pride to control people, Economics, which is driven by greed and separates classes of people, and Religion, which seeks to oppress the masses through fear and domination. God the Father has His plan, called “The Kingdom of God.” The Kingdom of God is ruled by a benevolent Father through His Son who is full of grace and truth and the Holy Spirit from whom flows righteousness, peace, and joy.

What a contrast between God’s kingdom and the world’s systems dominated by the kingdom of darkness under Satan’s control. Jesus defeated those systems through His overcoming life. He sent His Holy Spirit to overcome those systems through “Spirit-filled and Spirit-led believers.” The world will persecute us as they did the Lord and the early church. Jesus warned His disciples concerning the times in which they lived. His word of truth rings true in our day as well. Those disciples, filled with the Holy Spirit, squared off against the powers of hell manifested through the systems of men and overcame even unto death.

Many of God’s people stumble when affliction and persecution comes, because they have not read or have not believed the words of Jesus. Our Lord wants to keep us from stumbling, but we must accept His word and be filled with His Holy Spirit in order to stand. Paul expressed it this way, “Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm” (Ephesians 6:13-14).  We live in an evil day, but the enemy’s time is short. His complete defeat is near. Jesus judged him in His victory on the cross and overcame Satan in the power of His resurrection. His church is commissioned with the assignment of cleaning up the mess. As His servants, we are to declare to the world the freedom Christ has made possible from the kingdom of darkness. The Holy Spirit makes available to every believer overcoming power to live above the system of this world.

Believe the words of Jesus as given to His first disciples. Be prepared to be persecuted for His Name’s sake. Be filled with His Holy Spirit and stand firm, resisting in the evil day. Lord, grant me grace to stand and not stumble. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit every day. Use me to demonstrate Your overcoming life in the power of Your Holy Spirit and lead others to Your victory.

GOD’S WILL IS FOR US TO LIVE ABOVE REPROACH

1 Thessalonians 4:3 – For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality.

Paul sent Timothy to Thessalonica to strengthen and encourage the Thessalonians in their faith. Paul was concerned that they would be hindered from following Christ because of the afflictions they were suffering. The opposition was coming

through their own countrymen from the very beginning of their service for Christ. Paul was concerned that they would grow weary and give opportunity for Satan to hinder their growth. In their culture, as with ours, there was much immorality. Satan uses affliction and difficulties to discourage us and draw us back into fleshly desires. Fleshly gratifications only last a short time. Paul wanted them to understand the true purpose of affliction. God uses affliction to help complete what is lacking in our faith.

Each time a believer chooses to trust God in the times of affliction by going through the difficulties and their faith becomes stronger and stronger. Paul is contrasting two opposite sides of the struggle. First, God’s will is our “sanctification.” This addresses our separation to His kingdom and to His kingdom purpose. It begins in the spirit, but is always tested in the flesh. God is seeking to raise us up as a people of sanctification and honor. This is what living above reproach really means. If we are ridiculed for a righteous lifestyle, it brings honor and praise to God. If we choose to walk in the flesh, we become a reproach to God’s kingdom purpose.

The Father sent the Holy Spirit in Jesus’ name to be our Helper. We must draw from His almighty power to be sustained when afflicted. He is the one who supplies all our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. This is not just material needs that so many are claiming, but our need for His holiness, His character, and His strength when we feel like giving up. Resist the broad road of just living for the flesh and the feel-good moment. The life separated to God is the life filled with fruitfulness and fulfillment.

Lord Jesus, I know that You gave Your all for me. You lived above reproach and totally honored Your Father. Help me, by the power of Your Holy Spirit whom You have sent, to live above reproach and honor the Father by faith in Your precious blood.