On Sunday we went to church with some friends of ours. To give you the background, the South Island is at “Orange” which means unlimited gatherings of the vaccinated, but no more than 50 if vaccine passes are not used. The elders of the church met and said: we will not be divided, so we will meet by 50s.
A neighbour asked us to attend the local Christmas fair after church. A secular event. It required a vaccine pass. We left.
We will not be divided.
Isaiah is not writing at a time when there was no war, all was at peace, and Jerusalem was triumphant. The opposite was happening: there were continual wars, the kings of Israel and Judah were often apostate, and both Kingdoms were soon to perish. Jerusalem was soon to be destroyed.
But he was writing about a time ahead. Christ predicted a second destruction of Jerusalem (it was read in Church today) and there are still mountains and valleys and hard, rough roads to go on.
The time of redemption of this world is not here, and we cannot hurry it. It will happen on God’s time.
40 Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and cry to her
that her warfare is ended,
that her iniquity is pardoned,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand
double for all her sins.
3 A voice cries:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
4 Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
5 And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all flesh shall see it together,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
6 A voice says, “Cry!”
And I said, “What shall I cry?”
All flesh is grass,
and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.
7 The grass withers, the flower fades
when the breath of the Lord blows on it;
surely the people are grass.
8 The grass withers, the flower fades,
but the word of our God will stand for ever.
9 Get you up to a high mountain,
O Zion, herald of good news;
lift up your voice with strength,
O Jerusalem, herald of good news;
lift it up, fear not;
say to the cities of Judah,
“Behold your God!”
10 Behold, the Lord God comes with might,
and his arm rules for him;
behold, his reward is with him,
and his recompense before him.
11 He will tend his flock like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs in his arms;
he will carry them in his bosom,
and gently lead those that are with young.
22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
I said to one of my mates today that the struggles and difficulties we have prepare us for the next ones. This is one of the most challenging times I have dealt with: he has dealt with more, but he sees the same thing.
If you think that you are not groaning with all of creation waiting for the return of Christ and true justice you are a fool.
Disappointment with God seems to come the closest to describing why people quit God when life issues come along. They were promised something that was not true, or they personally believed something that was not true, and upon being disappointed, didn’t stick around to look past the pain.
I don’t know what to say. That is, I am experienced in being disappointed by God and life, and I can easily give a correct theological understanding of pain and sorrow, but Disappointment is not the sort of thing that can be understood via IQ.
There have been times when I couldn’t relate to God the Platonic Form of Truth, Justice And Other Neat Stuff, too. Those times, I looked to Christ because He also lived a normal life. He cried with relatives died, he took vacations when the workload got to Him, endured toothaches and teenage awkwardness and working a job.
Emmanuel, “God with us”. Neither above nor below, but one who did His own tour in the trenches under the leadership of scumbag politicians.
The final thought for this morning is this. When this time ends, and Christ returns, there will be an accounting. For that will be true justice, and true justice is terrible. It will only be Christ who spares us.
And for every injustice and hurt we have suffered, Christ suffered more. He has redeemed us. And therefore we no longer belong to the scumbag politicians (Thanks Gunner, for that one. I’m going to use it a fair bit), though they are jealous of anyone that does not worship their political ideology.
We belong to Christ. We do not belong to these satanic leaders. They know their time is short, and therefore they rage.
Do not be them. Do not be like them.