We serve a merciful God who said of Himself to Moses:
“The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth…”
Through Christ, God’s abundant grace and mercy towards mankind is evidenced eternally. With this in mind as new Covenant believers we can picture a Father with His outstretched hands ready to receive us back again and again following genuine repentance. He is quick to forgive us our sins and remembers them no more. In this Word of encouragement and a call to repentance and restoration in intimacy with Father, we are reminded by Isaiah of God’s ways in relation to His disobedient people and His expectations of them, applicable now as in biblical times.
Let us Return & Remain! God’s “…Hand is Stretched out Still” (Isa.9:12,21 KJV).
Key scripture: Isaiah 9:8-21
We are living in the extremity of times when God’s people are more self reliant and have turned away from God more than ever before.
As I read Isaiah 9:8-21 theLORD in his rebuke of Ephraim or Israel was showing me that these things are happening now in the church and the land in general to a great extent.
There are people who are saying in “pride and arrogance of heart” (vs 9) that when hard times occur in their lives or things are not going well, they will prevail because they will know what to do in their own strength (vs 10). However God makes it clear that if you say you are His and you think you can prevail without him, then in effect you are building castles in the air or you are in delusion!
Such an attitude constitutes living for oneself and not God and such people will be “devoured with an open mouth” (vs 12) of the enemy as the Lord will allow the enemy to have free reign in their lives. God does not permanently forsake His people now as he never forsook biblical Israel, however he gives them over to the lusts of their flesh or whatever they uphold in preference to God and His ways. God always hopes that his people will change their ways and repent.
Some might snigger at the choice of key scriptures (Isaiah 9:8-21) and exclaim “Oh but this is the Old Testament ! There is grace in Christ”. Indeed but it is not an excuse to keep sinning. God is the same yesterday, today and forever more.
It is true Jesus Christ who brought forth the New Covenant came to perfect the law of Moses (Old Covenant) and the “types” of animal sacrifices and high priests were awaiting His coming, however we serve the same God of the Old Testament who is the one who came in the person of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the incarnate Christ. His personality and requirements in relation to holy living did not change. We are reminded of this many times in the New Testament. A key example is Peter’s quote of who God is and what He requires from His people:
“15But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do, 16for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” 17Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially,live your lives in reverent fear duringyour temporary stay on earth. 18For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life you inherited from your forefathers 19but with the preciousblood of Christ, a lamb without blemishor spot. 20He was known before the foundation of the world, but was revealed in the last times for your sake…(1 Peter 1:15-20 KJV).
The sixteenth verse of 1 Peter 1 quotes Leviticus 11:45, 19:2, 20:7.
Christ himself says “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father” (John 14:9) and “me and my Father are one” (John 10:30). As believers in Christ, we are positioned as kings and priests unto God (Rev 5:10) with the anointing and authority of the overcomer as King Jesus (Rev 12:10, Rom 8:37, Luke 10:18/19) and with the priestly anointing through him, our Royal High Priest (Psa. 110:4/Heb.6:20) to minister before God for the sake of ourselves and others. In this position, we have the righteousness of Abraham through Christ (2Corinth. 5:21, Romans 4:21-22, Gal 3:13-14).
John in his epistle says “5And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. 6Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. 7Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. ” (1 John 3:5-7 KJV).
Therefore our mindset as believers in Christ, New Covenant believers that is, should be as ones who daily cultivate sinless lives through living in obedience to God’s Word. In addition, praying, singing worshipfully unto Him and seeking to hear Him speak strengthens our relationship with God and helps us to live in the spirit so as not to fulfil the lusts of our flesh.
The writer to the Hebrews writes about how during the wilderness journey from Egypt to Canaan (the promised land) some did not enter Canaan or “His rest” due to disobedience. This was what God was rebuking Ephraim for in Isaiah 9:8-12; their disobedience constituting self reliance and separation from God among other things which resulted in them suffering the chaotic consequences.
Not only did God give Ephraim or Israel over to their enemies, he also cut of “head (the leaders and honourable) and tail (prophet that teacheth lies) from Israel” (Vs 14/15), this is because
“the leaders of this people cause [them] to err; and [they that are] led of them [are] destroyed.” (vs 16)
In addition, it states that “..the Lord shall have no joy in their young men, neither shall have mercy on their fatherless and widows: for every one [is] an hypocrite and an evildoer, and every mouth speaketh folly” (vs 17).
The acts of God that unleashes His wrath are described by God through Isaiah as the land burning and going up in smoke as well as being in darkness (vs 18/19). Even people shall be “as the fuel for the fire” (vs 19), in other words used by God in his time of wrath to allow division, contention dissatisfaction and lack.
This is all because God’s people suffer when they choose to disobey him and this suffering sadly escalates as “the people turneth not unto him that smiteth them, neither do they seek the LORD of hosts.” (Isaiah 9:13 KJV).
God spoke clearly of His nature when Moses went up to Mount Sinai to get the 10 commandments.
“Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; 7who keepslovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin;yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourthgenerations.” 8Moses made haste to bow low toward the earth and worship” (Ex.34:6-8).
Moses interceded for the people asking for God to pardon them despite their iniquity and disobedience and God said he was going to make a covenant with them and perform miracles that has never been produced in all the earth and that he will drive out their enemies and give them the land of Canaan (Ex 34:8-11).
Brethren, let us therefore be reminded that although God is a consuming fire (Heb.12:29) and does not tolerate disobedience and He is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth” (Ex 34:6KJV), let us also always remember the abundant grace we have in this New Covenant dispensation through Christ who came to perfect the law of Moses received on
Mount Sinai that was expressed as “the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire,…unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest…” (Heb 12:18 KJV).
If God’s “hand is still upraised” in relation to Israel’s disobedience as repeated by Isaiah twice (Isa.9:12, 21). How much more would He not extend His hand of mercy out to us through Christ?
In our position as “Kings and Priests” of God through Christ, we have access to God intimately. The writer of Hebrews describes this intimate place in God clearly as our coming
“unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, 23To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.” (Hebrews 12: 22-24 KJV).
Let us therefore use every opportunity God has provided us in obedience to His Word to attain and remain in this realm of intimacy with God to fulfill our predestined purpose on earth which includes being his effective vessels of world transformation.
Deborah is a Minister with prophetic, prayer, teaching and writing ministries under the umbrella of Bearwitness-Forerunner Ministries International. She is also a published Author & Poet.
Ministry Website: http://www.bearwitness-forerunner.org
Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/nyamekyede
For more Inspirational teachings, devotionals, poetry, and prayers, visit “Manna from on High” Blog http://www.readywriterps451.org
©Jan.2017 Deborah E. Nyamekye