Submissive And Obedient

Thursday, July 17, 2014, 2:30 a.m. – the Lord Jesus put the song in mind, “Arise and Shine.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Isaiah 66 (NIV).

Who Tremble

“These are the ones I look on with favor:
those who are humble and contrite in spirit,
and who tremble at my word.” ~ Is. 66:2b

God has regard for and approves of those who are humble (not prideful), submissive, obedient, repentant (who turn away from sin), and who are respectful of God; who honor him as the holy God he is, and who revere and respect his holy word (Cf. Ps. 51:17; Ac. 3:19; Ac. 9:31; Ac. 17:30; Ac. 20:21; 2 Co. 7:10; Phil. 2:12; 1 Pet. 1:17; Rev. 14:7).

So, what should this look like? Well, for one, I believe we must come to the cross of Jesus, humbled at the very notion that our God would have died for our sins, and that he would love such ones as us who are so utterly sinful. We must acknowledge our own sinfulness, and realize we are no different from anyone else. We are all sinners (See Ro. 3:23). Then, in accepting God’s invitation to his great salvation, we must willingly die with Christ to the sins which once enslaved us, we must allow the Spirit of God to transform our hearts and minds away from sin and to God, and we must then walk in Christ’s righteousness and holiness, in the power and working of his Spirit within us, no longer conformed to the ways of this world (See Ro. 6-8; 2 Co. 5:15; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 4:17-24; Tit. 2:11-14 & 1 Jn. 1-5).

Then, as we grow in our relationships with Jesus Christ, in our daily walks of faith with him, we continually, by the Spirit, put to death the misdeeds of our bodies (See Ro. 8:13; Ro. 12:1-2; Eph. 4-5; & Heb. 12). We resist Satan, flee temptation, and we draw near to God (See Jas. 4:6-8; 1 Co. 6:18; 2 Tim. 2:22). We spend time daily at Jesus’ feet, listening to him speak to us through his word, and through his Spirit within us, and then we do what his word teaches us (See Jas. 1:22; Ro. 6:17; Heb. 5:9; & 1 Jn. 2:3; 3:22; 5:3). Jesus is now our Lord, i.e. he is now the one in charge of our lives. No longer is our desire to live in sin and to live for our own selfish desires, although we will still be tempted in that way, but our desire is for our Lord and to please him (See Gal. 6:8; Col. 1:10; 1 Thess. 4:1; 2 Tim. 2:4).

Their Own Ways

But whoever sacrifices a bull
is like one who kills a person,
…and whoever burns memorial incense
is like one who worships an idol.
They have chosen their own ways,
and they delight in their abominations;
so I also will choose harsh treatment for them
and will bring on them what they dread.
For when I called, no one answered,
when I spoke, no one listened.
They did evil in my sight
and chose what displeases me.”

In contrast to those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who respect and honor God’s holy word, are those who worship the “gods” of their own making, and who choose to go their own way, instead of following God’s way. Instead of delighting in the Lord, they find great enjoyment in their own disgusting and revolting acts. Instead of sitting at Jesus’ feet each day, listening to him speak, and doing what he says, they don’t listen to God, and they don’t answer the call of God upon their lives. And, instead of their desire being for the Lord and for doing what pleases him, they do evil in God’s sight and they choose what displeases him. This may be speaking only of those who make no claims to faith in Christ at all, yet the reality is that many who profess the name of Jesus as Savior of their lives live more like this than they do like the humble and contrite who live in respectful reverence of God’s word.

Your Own People

Hear the word of the Lord,
you who tremble at his word:
“Your own people who hate you,
and exclude you because of my name, have said,
‘Let the Lord be glorified,
that we may see your joy!’
Yet they will be put to shame.

Jesus Christ said that his followers would be hated as he was hated. Even his own people hated and rejected him. He told his brothers that the world hated him because he told them that what they did was evil. Yet, his own brothers rejected him and mocked him. His own family members thought he was crazy and they wanted to remove him from his work, probably because he was an embarrassment to them. The religious leaders of his day were jealous of him, hated him, rejected him, falsely accused him of being of Satan, and hounded him day after day, trying to discredit him. And, eventually they succeeded in falsely arresting and beating him, in giving him a mock trial, and then in hanging him on a cross to die, as though he was a common criminal, and although he had done no wrong.

If we are truly following Jesus Christ with our lives, we have forsaken our lifestyles of living in sin and for self, we have chosen the way of holiness, and we are walking in Christ’s righteousness and holiness, all in the power and working of His Spirit within us, we will be hated. And, it won’t be just the people of “the world” who will hate us, either. In fact, they may be in the minority of those who hate and reject us. Remember with me, if you will, that Jesus’ greatest opponents were from among his own family members, his own people from his own nation, and from among those who called themselves God’s holy people. His strongest adversaries, though, were the religious leaders, who were threatened by his teaching and the fact that people were following him, as well as they were insulted and bothered by his honesty in how he so pointedly addressed their own sins of hypocrisy.

So, don’t be surprised if some of your greatest persecution arises from your own people, whether from those within your own nation, town, family or church community. The more closely you walk with the Lord, and the more you listen to his voice and you obey his word, and the more you separate yourselves from this sinful world and you are set apart to God and to his service, the more you will be hated, rejected and treated with disdain, because you stand out, and you are different from (unlike) the world.

Since the institutional church of today, at least here in America, for the most part, has adopted the ways of the world in order to reach the world, if you do not join in with them, you will most likely be hated and rejected by them, and either made to feel as though you are not wanted, or you may actually be asked to leave because you don’t “fit” their mold, or because they were warned against people like you who have “strong convictions,” or because they were trained to “filter out” those who are not a “good fit” for what they are doing.

Judgment and Hope

Hear that uproar from the city,
hear that noise from the temple!
It is the sound of the Lord
repaying his enemies all they deserve…

“Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad for her,
all you who love her;
rejoice greatly with her,
all you who mourn over her…

“I will extend peace to her like a river,
and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream;
… and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.”
When you see this, your heart will rejoice
and you will flourish like grass;
the hand of the Lord will be made known to his servants,
but his fury will be shown to his foes…

This last chapter of Isaiah pretty much says what is said throughout the book. The people of God have been warned against their idolatrous and adulterous ways. Judgment has been pronounced. Calls for repentance and obedience to God have been proclaimed. Yet, the people did not listen when God called and they did not answer. They ignored the warnings and the calls to repentance, and they continued in their evil and wicked ways. So, God must send judgment as his mercy in order to bring his wayward people back to him.

Yet, there is good news! The church will be revived and she will return to her Lord. So, those of us who have mourned and wept over the adulterous church of today can be comforted and we can rejoice in knowing that God will revive his church forlorn. In judgment, the people of God will be scattered, and yet some of them who survive the judgment will be dispersed among the nations so that they may proclaim the glory of God and the gospel of salvation wherever they go (are sent). And, many people will come to faith in Jesus Christ. Amen! Jesus will return for his bride, and we will forever be with our Lord. Then there will be a new heaven and a new earth. All sin, sadness, sickness, pain, heartache, and rejection will be gone! God will wipe away every tear from our eyes.

This song (below), based off Isaiah 60, is an encouragement to our hearts, that even though we may see the church in great need of revival, and we may be heartsick over seeing so many who profess the name of Jesus still walking in the ways of this world, revival will come. It will come through judgment, but still it will come. Many who now hate and reject us, and who truly reject Jesus Christ by how they live their lives each day, will turn their hearts and lives over to Jesus Christ, and they will follow Him in his ways. Amen! So, we are to be encouraged, and we are to let our lights shine before humankind. And, we are to show those who still walk in wickedness the way to life in Jesus Christ. Amen!

Arise and Shine / An Original Work
March 6, 2014 / Based off Isaiah 60

Arise and shine; your Lord has come.
Allow His light to flow through you,
For many walk in wickedness.
Show them the way to life anew.
Arise and shine. Your Lord loves you.

Lift up your eyes, and look about.
Some do believe, while others doubt.
Believe in all God’s promises.
The many will, In Christ, find rest.
Lift up your eyes, and you’ll be blessed.

Arise and shine; salvation comes
To all who trust in Christ, God’s Son.
Forgiven of their sins, they’ll be,
When they repent on bended knee.
Arise and shine, so all will see.

Lift up your eyes, and see your Lord.
He will revive his church, forlorn.
Though humans have forsaken you,
They will find Christ, and walk in truth.
Lift up your eyes; God honors you.