Isaiah For the Rest of Us: Part 3

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For behold, the Lord God of hosts
    is taking away from Jerusalem and from Judah
support and supply,[a]
    all support of bread,
    and all support of water;
the mighty man and the soldier,
    the judge and the prophet,
    the diviner and the elder,
the captain of fifty
    and the man of rank,
the counselor and the skillful magician
    and the expert in charms.
And I will make boys their princes,
    and infants[b] shall rule over them.
And the people will oppress one another,
    every one his fellow
    and every one his neighbor;
the youth will be insolent to the elder,
    and the despised to the honorable.

For a man will take hold of his brother
    in the house of his father, saying:
“You have a cloak;
    you shall be our leader,
and this heap of ruins
    shall be under your rule”;
in that day he will speak out, saying:
“I will not be a healer;[c]
    in my house there is neither bread nor cloak;
you shall not make me
    leader of the people.”
For Jerusalem has stumbled,
    and Judah has fallen,
because their speech and their deeds are against the Lord,
    defying his glorious presence.[d]

For the look on their faces bears witness against them;
    they proclaim their sin like Sodom;
    they do not hide it.
Woe to them!
    For they have brought evil on themselves.
10 Tell the righteous that it shall be well with them,
    for they shall eat the fruit of their deeds.
11 Woe to the wicked! It shall be ill with him,
    for what his hands have dealt out shall be done to him.
12 My people—infants are their oppressors,
    and women rule over them.
O my people, your guides mislead you
    and they have swallowed up[e] the course of your paths.

13 The Lord has taken his place to contend;
    he stands to judge peoples.
14 The Lord will enter into judgment
    with the elders and princes of his people:
“It is you who have devoured[f] the vineyard,
    the spoil of the poor is in your houses.
15 What do you mean by crushing my people,
    by grinding the face of the poor?”
declares the Lord God of hosts.

16 The Lord said:
Because the daughters of Zion are haughty
    and walk with outstretched necks,
    glancing wantonly with their eyes,
mincing along as they go,
    tinkling with their feet,
17 therefore the Lord will strike with a scab
    the heads of the daughters of Zion,
    and the Lord will lay bare their secret parts.

18 In that day the Lord will take away the finery of the anklets, the headbands, and the crescents; 19 the pendants, the bracelets, and the scarves; 20 the headdresses, the armlets, the sashes, the perfume boxes, and the amulets; 21 the signet rings and nose rings; 22 the festal robes, the mantles, the cloaks, and the handbags; 23 the mirrors, the linen garments, the turbans, and the veils.

24 Instead of perfume there will be rottenness;
    and instead of a belt, a rope;
and instead of well-set hair, baldness;
    and instead of a rich robe, a skirt of sackcloth;
    and branding instead of beauty.
25 Your men shall fall by the sword
    and your mighty men in battle.
26 And her gates shall lament and mourn;
    empty, she shall sit on the ground.

 

Chapter 3 brings to mind a plethora of situations that I have personally gone through…I will not bore with you each individual detail but just let me say, I have a problem trusting God.  In my sinful nature, given a choice to figure out a problem with my own resources or cling to God with limitless power, I will choose my own lousy ideas and flimsy notions every single time. Our finances seem to be plummeting…what do I do? I get angry with the people who seem to be causing my problem, I become anxious and overwhelmed trying to maneuver the situation myself, I get frustrated with my husband for not changing the circumstances…but do I ask God for help?….NO.  I am struck by some weird unexplainable health problems…what do I do? I complain that I can’t do all the things I want to do, I search every medical website I can think of, I nearly have a nervous breakdown because I get stuck in traffic on my way to a doctor’s appointment and I even fail to thank God when I mysteriously get better because I didn’t find the actual answer for the problem.  But it never at any point in that mess occur to me to just trust God.

Isaiah is describing a similar situation in relation to the people of Israel.  Time after time God’s people snub their noses at the One true provider and helper because they are trusting upon multiple other sources as their ultimate savior.  In reading this chapter I find myself in complete gratitude for God’s mercy upon me because when the Israelites behaved in a similar way, His response was “You want to trust everything else instead of me?  What are you going to do when you have none of those things? What are you going to do when you have nothing?” Because they boast in their belongings he takes from them their most basic needs. Because they cling to knowledge, He takes away the wise people who they leaned on for council. Because they trusted in beauty, He stripped away all things of splendor and loveliness.

So the questions I can pose to myself…and to anyone who is reading…What do you trust in more than you trust in God? Do you long for your bank account to grow so that you feel secure and safe? Do you need to get the right diagnosis from the doctor so that you won’t feel worried and anxious anymore? Do you cling to the opinion of man because you can’t seem to see the true value you hold in God? What will you do when all is stripped away from you?…Will it have to come to the point where you are without money, without beauty, without a home, without your health before you truly trust God?

 

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My Closet Makeover: A Work in Progress

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My husband finally had enough of all my clothes so he kicked me out…of our closet.  Since we moved into our house almost four years ago he and I have shared a closet in our bedroom. Our 1950s home did not accommodate for this 2010s couple who both love dressing up. When we first bought the house I thought the closet looked huge…it was twice the size of the last closet we had tried to stuff our clothes into. But after cramming sweaters into an already maximized closet space for three years in a row, he and I both decided that we needed to find a new solution to our closet problem.  Thankfully he did not decide to throw my clothes on the lawn or anything dramatic like that…at least not before I found this picture.

My husband had already moved his office around quite a few times in order for me to have my own craft room so I was not about to ask him or any other member of my family to give up a room for me just for a glorified closet. So, after a little ingenuity, a lot of hard work and a little online shopping, I gave my craft room a little more functionality.  It now operates as a closet as well….and a changing room (after I put up a curtain).  Here is a slightly messy picture of the final product.  I still have a little clutter to clean-up but I am so happy with the final outcome.

Isaiah For the Rest of Us: Part 2

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It shall come to pass in the latter days
that the mountain of the house of the Lord
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
and shall be lifted up above the hills;
and all the nations shall flow to it,
    and many peoples shall come, and say:
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the house of the God of Jacob,
that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths.”
For out of Zion shall go the law,[a]
and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between the nations,
and shall decide disputes for many peoples;
and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war anymore.

O house of Jacob,
come, let us walk
in the light of the Lord.

In the first part of chapter 2, Isaiah prophecies that the new Jerusalem will be the center of all other nations. (This is not necessarily the geographic location…but that is a dispute that I’m not going to get into right now).  All the nations will be drawn to God’s established nation to learn how to live.  And God will ultimately rule over everything and bring peace to all who come to Him. Isaiah is urging God’s people to return to Him and walk in His light.  This totally makes sense for them…not just on a spiritual level but on a practical level as well since they are in constant turmoil as they seem to always be in some sort of skirmish with one country or another.

Have you wandered far from God? Are you experiencing a time of peace or a time of turmoil in your life? God is the source of peace and only in Him can we experience true rest and true absence of turmoil.  How would your life be different right now if you answered Isaiah’s plea to “walk in the light of the Lord”…if you turned from the darkness of the world to serve, trust and fellowship with God?

The Day of the Lord

For you have rejected your people,
the house of Jacob,
because they are full of things from the east
and of fortune-tellers like the Philistines,
and they strike hands with the children of foreigners.
Their land is filled with silver and gold,
and there is no end to their treasures;
their land is filled with horses,
and there is no end to their chariots.
Their land is filled with idols;
they bow down to the work of their hands,
to what their own fingers have made.
So man is humbled,
and each one is brought low—
do not forgive them!
10 Enter into the rock
and hide in the dust
from before the terror of the Lord,
and from the splendor of his majesty.
11 The haughty looks of man shall be brought low,
and the lofty pride of men shall be humbled,
and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.

12 For the Lord of hosts has a day
against all that is proud and lofty,
against all that is lifted up—and it shall be brought low;
13 against all the cedars of Lebanon,
lofty and lifted up;
and against all the oaks of Bashan;
14 against all the lofty mountains,
and against all the uplifted hills;
15 against every high tower,
and against every fortified wall;
16 against all the ships of Tarshish,
and against all the beautiful craft.
17 And the haughtiness of man shall be humbled,
and the lofty pride of men shall be brought low,
and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.
18 And the idols shall utterly pass away.
19 And people shall enter the caves of the rocks
and the holes of the ground,[b]
from before the terror of the Lord,
and from the splendor of his majesty,
when he rises to terrify the earth.

20 In that day mankind will cast away
their idols of silver and their idols of gold,
which they made for themselves to worship,
to the moles and to the bats,
21 to enter the caverns of the rocks
and the clefts of the cliffs,
from before the terror of the Lord,
and from the splendor of his majesty,
when he rises to terrify the earth.

Isaiah then goes on to say that God has rejected His people…this really describes a temporary abandonment. His children, for a time, have lost the blessing and protection of God and are reaping the consequences of their actions. The hearts of the people are hardened because they have turned more toward idols and riches and the aid of foreign nations. But eventually all pride and self-reliance will be crushed and God will receive the proper exaltation.   I have observed in my ow like that this point of utter humility is the time when God blesses, protects and uses people for His glory. That is where Isaiah longed for God’s people to be…even if it meant them going through some very difficult times.  Through the seemingly unrelenting consequences that were falling upon God’s people, God was going humble and shape them. The final verses in this chapter are dedicated solely to declaring how serious Isaiah is about pride being such a horrible downfall.  God is a jealous God who will not stand for men trying to take His place or attempting to give His glory to something else.  We are called to be humble, and that is the only way we can come before God. The only true way to be humble is to see God for who He truly is (an awesome, superior, all-powerful creator) and seeing yourself for who you really are (a wretched, lowly, weak sinner).

Are you going through some difficult circumstances in your life right now? Maybe God is using this frustrating time to bring you to a place of true humility so that you can be used to exalt Him. What have you allowed to take the place of God? How has your view of God and yourself effected the way you live your life?

22 Stop regarding man
in whose nostrils is breath,
for of what account is he?

I am continually convicted by this final verse of chapter 2. Though I know where my salvation came from, who holds my life, who guides my steps and whose plan I am ultimately called to pursue, I constantly seek the approval of man and trust in their hands for my security.  People make promises but only God can completely keep them.  People offer safety but only God can truly protect. People offer love but only God’s is unconditional. In the last few weeks I have been overwhelmingly disappointed with people…but what I’ve come to realize is that it is not the people who have failed me, it is I who have failed God by trusting in someone other than Him.

Who or what do you trust in for stability, security, and fulfillment in your life?…the government, the bank, your family, your church, your spouse, your children, your friends, your job? Each and every one of these things will fail you at some point in your life.  What do you do when one of those things do fail? Do you run to another temporal solution or do you run to God? Whose approval do you strive for? Why would any other opinion matter besides the one who holds your life in His hands, the one who deserves all glory and recognition?

Siblings Make the Best Friends

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Last week my little princess decided that she wanted her brother to sleep in her room. We told her that it would be fine for the weekend so she would have to wait til Friday. But it wasn’t going to be as simple as just putting the little dude to bed in a different place….she had a big plan for making it the perfect night of fun.  She started on Monday planning out the sleepover activities and finally by Thursday she couldn’t stand it anymore and she finally talked us into letting her have her sleepover a day early.

The first event of the night was making “fresh baked cookies” (she was very insistent upon them being fresh baked). At this point Nana and Papaw stopped by to join in the fun. The princess said this made the night even more special. Then there was a costume contest and she asked specifically for there to be trophies for the best costumes…so she won the prize for prettiest and her brother won the prize for cutest. After that, we moved on to the dance party.  Yo Gabba Gabba was the music of choice.  Next there was fingernail painting…and even Nana got a special manicure.  Then we made shadow puppets and the kids stayed up to watch a Dora movie.  When I went to check on them at 10:30 the littlest one was still awake and asked to go to his own bed. (And yes, my two and a half year old still needs his pacifier at night…don’t judge)