Monday, January 8, 2018

Isaiah Post 38 Mercy, Hypocrisy, and Sabbath Blessings (Chapter 58)

Chapter 58 opens with the admonition to "tell my people their transgression." Without the acknowledgement of sin, there is no gospel.  People must know that it is our sin that keeps us from a relationship with our Creator, and they must know that there is One who shed His innocent blood in order to pay our price for us.

Atonement requires blood

In verse 2, we are told that they think they DO seek God and that they DO delight in Him and His justice.  But then they pose the question, "Why haven't You seen our fasts or notice our afflictions?"

Verses 3-7 record a rebuke of their hypocrisy. They are doing evil to innocent people, but then pretend to do good by fasting and being religious.  But God wants justice and mercy before sacrifice.

Yeshua often confronted this attitude with the religious leaders. 

Mercy is better than sacrifice

Verses 8-11 outline the blessings that will come by treating people the way God has commanded, without the hypocrisy. In fact, the picture we are given of this promise is quite vivid:

Then your light shall break forth like the morning,
Your healing shall spring forth speedily,
And your righteousness shall go before you;
The glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer;
You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’

Verse 12 then addresses those among you –  the passage is speaking of future Jewish people who would raise up the foundations of Israel – old waste places, foundations of many generations. This building up of the land is a repeat of  Isaiah 44:26, and it is happening today in Israel.

I love the two titles that they are given:
  • Repairers of the Breach
  • Restorer of Streets to Dwell in
The next two verses wrap up this chapter, mentioning the Sabbath again, (which we spoke about in the previous post on Chapter 57). This appointed times of the LORD, including the Sabbath, will also be kept in the 1000 year kingdom, along with animal sacrifices. How do we know this? You can read Ezekiel chapters 44-46, which describe the coming Messianic kingdom.

There is blessing in this particular obedience:
“If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath,
From doing your pleasure on My holy day,
And call the Sabbath a delight,
The holy day of the LORD honorable,
And shall honor Him, not doing your own ways,
Nor finding your own pleasure,
Nor speaking your own words,
Then you shall delight yourself in the LORD;
And I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth,
And feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father.
The mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

Experiencing the Sabbath in Israel is a beautiful thing.  Cell phones are turned off, cars stay put, and people simply enjoy resting in the LORD and having fellowship with one another.  It is harder to celebrate in our culture, because the world continues to swirl around us all weekend long.

It has been said that historically, it wasn't that the Jews kept the Sabbath, but that the Sabbath kept the Jews.  Wherever they have been in the world, the Sabbath was honored.  And now it has been brought home to the land of Israel.

Every Friday evening, Jewish people all over the world enjoy communion with one another and with God as they light candles and serve bread and wine at their Shabbat tables.  Bread and wine!  And not  only that, but they sprinkle their bread with salt. (Salt is a preservative). Can you imagine the aha moment, when they see Who has been symbolized in their celebrations all these years?

I can hardly wait to celebrate the Sabbath with King Messiah and all His people together!

The next post is available.  To read it, click here.

If you would like to start at the beginning of this series on Isaiah, click here.

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