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Dr. Henry Blackaby in his highly respected book, “Experiencing God,” makes the point that God is at work in the world. As God is at work, he invites people to join him in the work. When we join God in what he is doing, we will profoundly experience God.
God called Abraham to join him in the redemption of the world. This father of the faith provided the blueprint for what working with God is all about.
“Now the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.
“‘I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.
“‘I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed'” (Genesis 12.1-3).
God’s agreement or covenant with Abraham and his descendants involves the following:
— God intended Abraham’s descendants to have the land we call Israel as their own.
— Abraham’s family grew to be a great nation just as God promised.
— God promised to bless Abraham’s descendants and to protect them from the ill will of others.
— God was at work to bless the entire world, and he invited the family of Abraham to join him.
Not a Great Bargain
God let Abraham’s descendants know that they had plenty of limitations, and were his chosen people because of grace.
“It was not because you were more numerous than any other people that the Lord set his heart on you and chose you—for you were the fewest of all peoples.
“It was because the Lord loved you and kept the oath that he swore to your ancestors, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who maintains covenant loyalty with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations” (Deuteronomy 7.7-8).
That’s the way it always is. God graciously gives us the privilege of working with him. As we labor beside the Creator, he reveals his faithful, powerful, and loyal nature to us.
Enter the Gentiles
Rudy Ross and I produce YouTube videos for the blog. Rudy is Jewish and I am a Gentile. Jewish people were the first blessings to the world. Jesus is the Jewish Messiah, who brought salvation to all through his death on the cross.
As we get further into Isaiah, we will discover how Jesus fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy 700 years after it was given.
Both Rudy and I have the opportunity to be living examples of Peter’s truths about us.
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2.9).
— As followers of Jesus, we have been incorporated into the family of God.
— We are two men, among a nation of people that are set apart for God’s purposes.
— We have been transferred from darkness to the light. Our lives are a witness to the world of God’s marvelous light.
God’s Provision for His People
God’s chosen people are not guaranteed an easy path but are promised God’s provision. Let’s examine God’s provision in a verse-by-verse fashion.
— Verse 9
Thus says the Lord:
In a time of favor I have answered you,
on a day of salvation I have helped you;
I have kept you and given you
as a covenant to the people,
to establish the land,
to apportion the desolate heritages;
God answers prayers and grants his followers’ help and salvation.
The land promised to Abraham has been lost to Hebrew people multiple times in history. The Exodus from Egypt, the return from Babylonian captivity, and the establishment of Israel as a nation in 1948 are examples of God’s faithfulness to his promise.
— Verse 10
Saying to the prisoners, “Come out,”
to those who are in darkness, “Show yourselves.”
They shall feed along the ways,
on all the bare heights shall be their pasture;
Deliverance from slavery and captivity demonstrates God’s power and faithfulness. One hundred and fifteen years after Isaiah wrote his book, God’s people experienced the reality of being delivered from exile in Babylon.
People at Maywood Baptist Church see people delivered from addiction and destructive lifestyles nearly every week. One man who said, “Let’s never get accustomed to the miracles,” reminded us of how God sets the slaves free.
— Verses 11-13
They shall not hunger or thirst,
neither scorching wind nor sun shall strike them down,
for he who has pity on them will lead them,
and by springs of water will guide them.
And I will turn all my mountains into a road,
and my highways shall be raised up.
Lo, these shall come from far away,
and lo, these from the north and from the west,
and these from the land of Syene.
God does not promise an easy road from slavery to freedom. His provision is promised for those who make the long, difficult journey.
Hardships are common among Jesus’ followers, but we learn much about God’s love, faithfulness, and grace during hard times.
About This Blog
Rudy Ross and I produce a daily video of these blog articles on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel. Rudy is Jewish, a Christian, and an excellent Bible student. The videos present insights from a dialogue with the two of us.
I am indebted to Dr. John Oswalt, who has written an excellent two-volume commentary on Isaiah for insights into the Book of Isaiah.
Please email your prayer requests to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood Baptist Church prayer team will pray for you.