Wednesday, September 30, 2015

For your benefit...

[Isa 48:17-18 HCSB]
17 This is what the LORD, your Redeemer,
the Holy One of Israel says: I am Yahweh your God,
who teaches you for your benefit,
who leads you in the way you should go. 
18 If only you had paid attention to My commands.
Then your peace would have been like a river,
and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.

When God teaches me, it's for my benefit. It's NOT for my ruin, nor to punish me, nor to swat me if I'm, it's for my BENEFIT. Hebrew word for that is ya'al, which is most commonly translated as PROFIT in the KJV. He will lead me in the way that I should go...because He is leading me for my benefit, and because He says, "I will act for my own sake, indeed, my own, for how can I be defiled? I will not give my glory to another." (Isa. 48:11) He teaches me what I need to know so that I can have a life of peace, and therefore for my benefit. This, in turn, brings glory to God.

This will challenge at least one person's view of God, at least in some way. If we understand the very nature of God in the first place, this verse would be clear and straight-forward. However, if we see him as one who is quick to punish and slow to reward, then it will be hard to believe that He is teaching us things that will benefit us in the long AND short run. It would be hard to submit to His leadership because if we doubt His good intentions and motives, following where He leads will be nearly impossible. But if you understand how much God wants the best for his children, then it would make saying "yes" to him that much easier.

Pay attention to His commands. When God pays attention, he has to respond. So we ought to do the same. If you pay attention to someone, you respond to them. If you are not paying attention, you won't know what's happening to or with them, and you won't respond to them.

If I follow the commands of the Lord, what will happen?
--The benefits will be tangible.
--Peace will flow like a river in your soul
--Righteousness will be like the waves of the sea
    Does this mean abundance? Does this refer to strength? Power? It may be all these things, but it may also have something to do with our influence on other people, because waves have a tendency to move outward from the source of motion. I don't know, but this is what I've come up with. If you have better ideas, let me know in the comments.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

He Carries Us

[Isa 46:4 NLT] 
I will be your God throughout your lifetime--
until your hair is white with age.
I made you, and I will care for you.
I will carry you along and save you.

I ran across this verse during my devotional time this morning, and I had to look up a word that was mentioned in this verse. But first, allow me to give you the same verse, in the NASB:

[Isa 46:4 NASB] 
Even to your old age I will be the same,
And even to your graying years I will bear you!
I have done it, and I will carry you;
And I will bear you and I will deliver you.

Did you see the word "bear" in the second translation? The Hebrew word for bear is "cabal", which means the following:
çâbal, saw-bal'; a primitive root; to carry (literally or figuratively), or (reflexively) be burdensome; specifically, to be gravid:—bear, be a burden, carry, strong to labour. (Strong's definition)
Gravid refers to pregnancy, carrying a child in the womb, literally bearing the child in pregnancy and then laboring towards birth. How much work does the child need to do to stay in the womb of its mother? How much work do we need to do to stay in the hands of our Father, our whole lives? The answer to both questions is the same...none. He says it RIGHT THERE in the verse, in the next line even! I have done it, and I will carry you.
Our salvation does not--I repeat--DOES NOT--DOES NOT depend on us, but on Him, and Him alone. He said it in the last line, doesn't he? "I will carry you along and save you."