“Remember this, fix it in mind, take it to heart, you rebels. Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please. From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do. Listen to me, you stubborn-heated, yo who are far from righteousness. I am bringing my righteousness near, it is not far away; and my salvation will not be delayed. I will grant salvation to Zion, my splendor to Israel.” (Isaiah 46:8-13)
Present historical conditions do not reveal the ultimate reality of history. Historical memories of what God has done must live on to kindle hopes of what He is going to do. God can and will do what He pleases to bring about His purpose. God is not only righteous in His own nature, but He is seeking to establish righteousness in all His people on the earth.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:
Precious Abba, in Your lesson for us this day, You are clear, direct, and full of grace towards us Your people. You already are what You want us to become. You want us to be righteous, compassionate, loving, forgiving, and You desire this for all of us on this island home of ours. You have been patient with us, though the time is coming and will come, when time will run out and You will send Jesus back to this earth in all of His glory. It will come to set things right, that we have failed to do or have just not felt it was necessary to do. Help us in our lack of understanding, Abba, that we might realize how close we are to Jesus’ return, before it is too late. It is in Jesus’ name that we pray. Amen
THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“For a healthy heart, exercise your faith!”
“When you tell these people all this and they ask you, ‘Why has the Lord decreed such a great disaster against us? What wrong have we done? What sin have we committed against the Lord our God?’ then say to them, ‘it is because your fathers forsook me.’ declares the Lord, ‘and followed other gods and served and worshiped them, They forsook me and did not keep my law. But you have behaved more wickedly than your fathers. See how each of you is following the stubbornness of his evil-heart instead of obeying me. So I will throw you out of this land into a land neither you nor your fathers have known, and there you will serve gods day and night, for I will show you no favor. However, the days are coming,’ declares the Lord, when men will no longer say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt,’ but they will say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites up out of he land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them,’ For I will restore them to the land I gave their forefathers. ‘But now I will send for many fishermen,’ declares the Lord, ‘ an they will catch hem. After hat I will send for many hunters, and they will hunt them down on every mountain and hill and from he crevices of the rocks. My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from me, nor is their sin concealed from my eyes. I will repay them double for their wickedness and their sin, because they have defiled my land with the lifeless forms of their vile images and have filled my inheritance with their detestable idols.” (Jeremiah 16:10-18)
The best prophetic message dealt with the national history of God’s rebellious people. The prophets described the sin which deserved judgment, announced the judgment God would bring, and then pointed beyond judgment to hope for renewal and righteousness. In so doing the prophets revealed how seriously God takes human history and demonstrated the concrete foundation of the biblical definition of salvation. Salvation always has an historical beginning point and effects a change in historical existence. Salvation leads to fuller life and meaning in the world, not escape from the world. God’s salvation His life cleansing or purging of us. When He saves us, He purges away our dross and impurities, for salvation involves discipline at times to lead us to obedience. God’s restored people will reflect His righteousness and faithfulness.
“In the thirty seventh year of the exile of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the year Evil -Merodach became king of Babylon, he released Jehoiachin king of Judah and freed him from prison on the twenty-fifth day of the twelfth month. He spoke kindly to him and gave him a seat of honor higher than those of he other kings who were with him in Babylon. So Jehoiachin put aside his prison clothes and for he rest of hi life ate regularly at the king’s table. Day by day the king of Babylon gave Jehoiachin a regular allowance as long as he lived, till the day of his death.” (Jeremiah 52:31-34)
Jeremiah’s inspired book does not end with a ringing proclamation of victory and hope. Instead it concludes with a modest historical report of kindness to an old, exiled king in his last days. From the small historical glimmer, God’s people were expected to write a note of hope signaling the beginning point of fulfillment for Jeremiah’s prophecies. The king was dead. The promise of hope of God’s Word lives pm forever.
SECOND THOUGHT of the DAY:
“The word of he Lord came to Haggai a second time on the twenty-fourth day of the month. Tell Zerubbabel governor of Judah that I will shake the heavens and the earth. I will overturn royal thrones and shatter the power of the foreign kingdoms. I will overthrown chariots and their drivers;horses and their riders will fall, each by the sword of his brother. ‘On that day,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘I will take you, my servant Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel,’ declares the Lord, ‘and at I will make you like the signet ring, for I have chosen you,’ declares the Lord Almighty.’” (Haggai 2:20-23)
Language describing God’s past historical actions gives assurance of future deliverance. God does not lose the power to control all other nations, and He repeatedly affirms His intention to deliver His people in time of need. God declared His blessing upon Zerubbabel, bestowing upon hims power to lead, initiating His work of renewal and care through the king. The king bore God’s signature power to reveal God’s will in the world. In affirming the descendant of David, God renewed His commitment to His messianic promises through David’s line.
God promised leadership to the remnant community. The leader would have authority, being God’s signet ring, to sign approval on activities among His people. Zerubbabel served as governor of the returned exiles in Jerusalem. All accounts show him to be a righteous man who sought to please God. God uses faithful servant leaders to serve and guide His people, and God alone calls His people to serve Him