““Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me,” – Isaiah 46:8-9 (ESV)
For those who through Jesus Christ are living with the promise that our new life will last for eternity, it is still good to remember from where we have come. Not remember how or what but where we were once before God pulled us out of the miry muck of sin and death and set our feet on solid ground. Remembering God and thinking about what He has done and who He is. His attributes and His characteristics, help us remember to keep our focus on Him in spite of the chaos of our world that invades our peace, disrupts and stirs up our temper, or attacks our disposition. Remembering and standing firm on what we know about God helps us not to let our temper loose on anyone else. Remember, He has promised this: He is God, our God, and the only true and living God. There is none like Him, none that can compare. It is God who promises us in today’s passage “There is none like Me.” Many times we are challenged to think the gods of other’s religion are real but they don’t exist as anything other than entities opposed to our LORD God the Almighty.
“You who have been carried by Me from birth And have been carried from the womb; Even to your old age I will be the same, And even to your graying years I will carry you! I have done it, and I will bear you; And I will carry you and I will save you.” – Isaiah 46:3b-4 (NASB)
We all had a mother who gave us life while we developed in her womb for nine months. When we were born our mothers cared for us and carried us with that care from that time until we left home as a mature young adult. For some this was a mother who adopted us. Normally by the time we are old age, our mothers have gone and are no longer with us. But God also has been with us from the time of our conception, knitting us together in our mother’s womb and then watching over as we grow and develop. But God is never done. He is always with us carrying us just as our verse says. Even when our hair turns gray and for some falls out or thins out, God is carrying us. He has done it and continues to. The things God promises to do to help us all our lives is to carry us! It is as if He has already done so, and will bear, and carry again, and finally save us. Yes at the end if we have believed God saves us from eternal death and gives us eternal life.
“Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My plan will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’;” – Isaiah 46:10 (NASB)
The prophet Isaiah wrote many great passages in the book with his name. He was guided and inspired by the Holy Spirit to write what God wanted kept as a record. Chapter 46 is one of the chapters that has a great amount of promises from God. In this verse (v. 10) God declares his omniscience which is a term we use for God’s infinite knowledge and understanding of things past, present, and future. For God there is no difference between the beginning and the end of time because He exists beyond the boundaries of time. It is these boundaries that keep us looking back remembering and looking forward anticipating what God has said. He has a plan and it is in place and it is working. It continues to work without fail even though in it are many human failures and many failures by the evil forces. Only God is perfect and he assures us that He will accomplish all according to His good pleasure. Rest my friends in the promises of God. Not the smallest part of any one of them will fail to be fulfilled. His plan will be accomplished.
“I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins. Put me in remembrance; let us argue together; set forth your case, that you may be proved right.” Isaiah 43:25-26 (ESV)
The Children of Israel and all whom God the Father has chosen for His own seemed to ever fail Him. Often they acted as if there was no hope for them. and it looks like there is no hope for us either as we hope to live according to how God has called us to live. In the next verse (27), Isaiah states our problem. God said, “Your first father sinned, and your mediators transgressed against me.” Over and over the pattern is for God to rescue us, His people, from our failed efforts to please Him. He does it for His own sake because He first loved us, then He chose us before he created the world (Ephesians 1:3-5), then He provided the only way for us to be saved by grace through a faith, which He gave us (Ephesians 2:8). Our verse today promises that He is the One who blots out our transgressions, and removes them from His memory. If that is difficult to believe He challenges any honest seeker to set forth any argument that they think proves otherwise. It cannot be done honestly if one is truly seeking God’s absolute truth.
“Because of the iniquity of his unjust gain I was angry and struck him; I hid My face and was angry, And he went on turning away, in the way of his heart. “I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will lead him and restore comfort to him and to his mourners, Creating the praise of the lips.” – Isaiah 57:17-18 (NASB)
Context is important to learn doctrine from the Scripture given to us by God. Today we have a promise of grace from God even when we resist it. Yes, we may well attempt to resist his grace but when God chooses, He can and will overcome our resistance. When we are rebellious, He disciplines us just as in this passage about His people’s iniquity he “strikes them and hides His face:” Their response is not repentance but resistance toward God. Their backsliding ways continued. Their hearts remained turned away from the Lord God. The all-powerful sovereign God promises to heal them. He promises healing according to His will. We are chosen by God yet we wander off the path. He disciplines us to bring us back. We are cared for by God always. Even if we stubbornly resist his chastening, we still receive His grace. Merciful God promises to heal us. Therefore, we never boast that we have returned from backsliding. We fall on our faces before the Lord and with trembling joy thanking him for his irresistible grace that conquered all our resistance. Without that grace we would never know God as Lord and Savior.
“By the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 1 Corinthians 15:10 (ESV)
Grace is not only God’s unmerited favor to do good for us when we don’t deserve it. It is also enabling power, an actual power from God that acts and makes good things happen in us and for us. God’s grace is God acting in us to make us work hard, to make us keep our commitments and resolutions (if they are appropriate). Apostle Paul says he worked hard: “By the grace of God…I worked harder than any of them.” Paul says, “Work out your own salvation,” and adds, “for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12–13). Grace is power from God to do good things in us and for us. This grace is promised to us. It was applied in our past and it will be applied in our future. If you have ever watched water go over a water fall and wondered why it seems endless – think Niagara Falls – that is what grace is like. It’s ever flowing over the waterfall of the present, from an inexhaustible river of grace from the future, into the ever-increasing reservoir of grace in the past.
“ For the Lord GOD helps Me, Therefore, I am not disgraced; Therefore, I have set My face like flint, And I know that I will not be ashamed.” Isaiah 50:7 (NASB)
When once we decide that we will no longer fight the efforts of God to help us by attempting to make our life a DIY project, we will find help from the Lord GOD. When we try to do it ourselves, what happens is that our failures will eventually bring us to shame. It is a shameful thing, a disgraceful action to reject the help of God. If we think we can manage any single small part of our lives we should certainly be ashamed of ourselves because our shame will be known by all when the day of visitation is here. Setting our face like flint means we take a course that we purpose to not waver from. That’s a resolution worth making, don’t you think? Not only Isaiah talked about this, listen now to what the apostle Peter wrote to us. “Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?”*
*1 Peter 4:16-17 (ESV)
“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: For the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; He also is become my salvation..” Isaiah 12:2 (KJV)
Looking for a good reason to trust a sure thing? So much has be uncertain in the past. Maybe our lives have been turned upside down because of the turmoil that rolled over us and flattened us. There is one who we can trust and cling to the promises He has given to us. Yes, there is. We can trust without fear because our strength comes to us from our LORD JEHOVAH. This means the LORD our God is our strength where we have none. And it is true we have no strength of our own that will carry us through the year ahead so if we do not trust in the strength we have from God, we have no strength at all. We will end up on a heap of depression and despondency. We will be lost in the woods and sinking in the sea. Who will save us? The LORD JEHOVAH will. If we step out in faith, and put our trust in His word and guidance, we will not fear but we will stand up on a high place singing our song of salvation and praise to the LORD OUR LORD. It’s a sure thing.
“Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear. Isaiah 65:24 (ESV)
Each of us carries burdens that drive us to seek help and answers from God. So we talk to Him in our prayers⸺both spoken and thoughts which we address to our Lord God. How then, do we perceive that God hears our prayers? We know He does because the Bible tells us that the effective prayer offered with clear conscience and relationship with God will be answered and bring about much in the way of answers. Sometimes we may talk about heaven being so far away. However, it is within speaking distance to those who belong there. The greater context of this verse is about a time yet to be. But we see a promise in this verse even for us today. We are promised that God knows our prayers before we speak them and he both hears and answers them according to His will⸺as we learn elsewhere in the Scriptures. Whatever we ask, according to God’s will, we receive to the glory of God. So it is in this promise today. God answers before we even call and hears before we even voice our requests. Yet, we continue to pray according to the will of God.
“Indeed, while following the way of Your judgments, Lord, We have waited for You eagerly; Your name, and remembering You, is the desire of our souls. At night my soul longs for You, Indeed, my spirit within me seeks You diligently; For when the earth experiences Your judgments, The inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.” Isaiah 26:8-9 (NASB)
As the days on the calendar of this year tick off one by one, the favorite pastime of the media is to fill their time with memories of the year. This year we may find this activity less enjoyable than it has been in past years. For those of us who have put our trust and faith in Jesus Christ, we can always count of the blessing of remembering that He has been with us on this rocky path. It is wonderful to have close fellowship with our Lord. This was the prophet Isaiah experience and he writes about it in today’s verse. As we walk with the Lord we find that He satisfies the deepest desires of our heart. Those desires are those which come from Him and they are pure and good. When God created human beings He wanted to have fellowship with His creatures. And God made us so that we would desire to be close to Him. So we find true satisfactions when we are close to Him. We are able to say that our inner being yearns for God night and day. Isn’t that a comforting promise we have been given today?