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If Jesus’ death on the cross was a solution to humanity’s problem, we humans have a serious problem.
Isaiah was not shy about making known to the nation the destructive nature of self-sufficient pride and the self-centered abuse of the vulnerable by the powerful.
A considerable portion of the Book of Isaiah reveals the arrogance and brokenness of humans. Interspersed in the Book are glimmers of hope that God will bring humanity to a blessed end.
God’s Hopeful Plan
God is not an impersonal force who delivers judgment with mechanical regularity. He is a Father, who desires the best for his children, even when they rebel against him.
Chapters two and four paint pictures of a glorious future, even though the present-day behavior of God’s people is awful.
Future blessing is made possible because of the “Branch of the Lord,” who is none other than the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
Isaiah writes, “On that day the Branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and glory of the survivors of Israel” (Isaiah 4.2).
When the Messiah walked the streets of Jerusalem, the people expected glory and blessing from God. They did not expect him to cleanse the Temple and to challenge the religious leaders in the Temple complex.
Yet, John was able to see the true glory of Jesus, “the Branch of the Lord.”
John wrote this about Jesus, “And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a Father’s only son, full of grace and truth” (John 1.14).
Something has to happen before the glorious future becomes reality for all of the world. We have to reach a point where we see our pride, self-sufficiency, and rebellion the way God sees it.
Once we turn away from self-exaltation and rebellion, cleansing and healing can take place.
A tragic misunderstanding of holiness is that it is believed to be narrow, negative, and nauseating. That is such a self-defeating misunderstanding.
Holiness is God’s gift to us. Think about it like this. Who is the wisest, most joyful, most loving, most fulfilled being of all?
If you don’t answer, “Jesus,” you’ve missed it.
Holiness is being like Jesus, nothing more and nothing less. If that doesn’t get you excited, read the Gospels and see the amazing personality and actions of Jesus.
Isaiah pointed to holiness and what it takes for all of us to become holy, to live a Jesus-kind-of-life.
He wrote, “Whoever is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy, everyone who has been recorded for life in Jerusalem,
“Once the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning” (Isaiah 4.3-4).
Here’s the good news. People who have progressively become exactly the opposite of who Jesus is, have the opportunity to become like him.
One of the great joys of my life is to see the words of Ezekiel come true in the lives of people I know. God plans to cleanse and transform our lives for our absolute good.
“I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you.
“A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:25-26).
This new heart and new life cost God the sacrifice of his Son on the cross. His blood was shed for the forgiveness of our sins.
As Jesus at the Passover meal with his followers, he said, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26:28).
The “Branch of the Lord,” the Messiah, spent six hours on the cross to give us a new heart, a new life, and a fantastic future.
Future Presence and Protection
Isaiah describes the future with big brushstrokes of information.
“Then the Lord will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over its places of assembly a cloud by day and smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night. Indeed over all the glory there will be a canopy.
“It will serve as a pavilion, a shade by day from the heat, and a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain” (Isaiah 4.5-6).
What the future will exactly look like only God knows. However, there are some compelling images.
The “cloud by day” and the “flaming fire by night” are images of God’s presence. Quite frankly, if God is there we don’t need to know anything else.
With God also comes his glory. The magnificent character of God will be like the atmosphere we breathe on that day.
Imagine being surrounded by the love, joy, and peace of God on a 24/7 basis without end. That is what we have to look forward to.
To enjoy the present and future that God has for us, we need to experience the transforming activity of Jesus Christ.
On this Good Friday, let’s determine to live in the fullness of all that Jesus died for us to have.
About This Blog
Rudy Ross is an excellent student of Isaiah. Rudy and I have a video you can see on the Bob Spradling YouTube Chanel.
Rudy will bring a different dimension to Isaiah than what is in my blog. I hope you will check out and enjoy my interviews with him.
I am indebted to a book by Dr. John Oswalt on Isaiah for his insights into this powerful book.
If you have a prayer request, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood Baptist prayer team will pray for you.