[Feb 17]--Intervention

Isaiah 59:15-21

            Boy, the Bible can get pretty depressing at times, can’t it? Someone might try to claim that the Bible is filled with “fairy tales,” but I think a lot of people have it turned around. Anyone who believes that humanity is basically good and that sin is no big deal are indulging in a fairy tale which is far more delusional than anything Disney ever presented. The Bible is starkly honest, to the point of bluntness, about our dire situation.
            But there’s a reason why the term “Gospel” means “good news.” First you have to confront the bad news, then you’re ready for the second half. The Bible doesn’t present us as being left on our own in the mess we created.
            In America we value our independence: In fact, that’s the name of our founding document, the public declaration of which we celebrate in July every year. We tell stories about someone pulling themselves up “by their own bootstraps.” That might be admirable in the business or political world, but in the spiritual realm, it’s disaster.
            Have you heard the saying “If you want something done right, you gotta do it yourself”? That pretty much sums up today’s reading, doesn’t it? If the Lord had waited for us to solve our problem ourselves, he would've waited forever. We were in a “worst case scenario,” and there was no way we could ever pull ourselves out of it. All the religions in the world, all the philosophers in history, all the great thinkers could never taken us one inch out of our dilemma.
            So he had to intervene. Now, we need to think carefully here. By all appearances, today’s reading is mainly talking about the second appearance of Jesus, not his first. Isaiah had plenty to say about his first arrival, which we’ll see in a few days, but this passage is referring to when he returns.
            But the principle still remains, since you can’t have his 2nd coming without his first. But when the Lord has finally had enough of earth’s rebellion, he'll come back and set up his kingdom for all to see. We can have all types of disagreements over the details, but that’s way beyond the purview of this devotional.
            This is a picture of the Lord dressed for combat. He’s going to war here, and you can pity his enemies. The image seems to be the same as that of Revelation 19. This is not a humble carpenter who’s meekly submitting to a horrible death. He’s coming to kick. . . well, you know, and to take names.
            And what will be the result of this? All the world will follow him and obey him and “fear” him. Just remember that “fear” in the Old Testament, as regards to fearing God, is not talking about being afraid of him. It’s mainly talking about a reverent worship, shorthand for having a right relationship with him.
            Who will be involved in this? People all over the world, from every tribe and community and nation, will see what God has done and worship him.
            “The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins.” That’s the key. He’s coming in power and glory for those who turn away from doing things their way towards doing things his way. And my friend, you’re either in one group—his enemies, or you’re in the second group—his redeemed children.
            The interesting thing is that’s already started in a sense. Yes, I think he will come again in power and glory, but I also think that this was started in his first coming. He saw our plight and knew that if he didn’t intervene, we were sunk. He came down and conquered the spiritual forces arrayed against us, and he offers each of us a choice. Which group will we be in? It all starts with restoring the broken relationship we have with him. Once we step into this “covenant” he’s referring to, then his Spirit will live within us, and his word will be on our lips.
            You don’t have to wait for him to come on the clouds for this to happen, at least in your personal life. You can have his Spirit right now. You can have a right relationship with him right now. Do you have it? If not, why not?

Lord Jesus, I long for the day  when I see you face to face. I can’t wait to see every knee bow down before you and acknowledge you as Lord. But until then, I will drink of your Spirit and have your word on my lips. I’m not waiting.

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