Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Isaiah 62:1-4 (ESV)
For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,
and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet,
until her righteousness goes forth as brightness,
and her salvation as a burning torch.
The nations shall see your righteousness,
and all the kings your glory,
and you shall be called by a new name
that the mouth of the LORD will give.
You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD,
and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
and your land shall no more be termed Desolate,
and your land Married;
for the LORD delights in you,
and your land shall be married.

Because of the sin of God’s people, they would be abandoned, forsaken, and desolate. During Isaiah’s time, Israel fell to Assyria. 140 years later, in 586 BC, Judah fell to Babylon. God allowed their fall because of their idolatry and disobedience. They would have been viewed as forsaken by God. Jerusalem was desolate. They would have felt abandoned. How does one go from being called Desolate to being called My Delight Is in Her? That is God’s promise to his people.

The truth is, they were desolate, but never forsaken. God did not abandon his people, he disciplined them. Jesus message to the church in Laodicea was, “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent” (Rev 3:19). Bad things happen to God’s people for three reasons. 1. We live in a fallen world where bad things happen to everyone. 2. We have an enemy who is trying to discredit the name of God, and stop the gospel. 3. God disciplines those he loves. No matter which is the cause of your current pain, darkness, or distress, God promised that he would never abandon his people. “He said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’” (Heb 13:5-6).

Even when Jerusalem’s walls were rubble and the temple was destroyed, God’s people had this promise to cling to, “You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate, but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her” (Is 62:4). That promise gave Daniel hope. That promise gave Esther purpose. That promise motivated Ezra and Nehemiah to rebuild. They understood that devastation is not the same as rejection.

Too often we judge our relationship with God by our experience and our emotion. When we feel close to God we assume everything is as it should be. When we do not feel God’s presence, we feel abandoned or rejected. When bad things happen, we cry out, “God, where are you?” And he responds, “I am right here in the darkness with you.” The problem is, our experience often shouts so loudly that we fail to hear the still, small voice of God assuring us of his presence.

God has never abandoned us. If we are believers, then God’s Spirit dwells within us whether we feel him or not. God’s presence surrounds us, whether we sense him there or not. God’s faithfulness never abandons us, whether we feel abandoned or not. We are in Christ, and in Christ we are His Delight. Celebrate his presence today despite your circumstances. Rejoice in his promise, and hold firmly to his faithfulness. “You shall be called My Delight Is in Her” (Is 62:4).

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