Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Shalom for your Home

Isaiah 31-33 includes one more Woe, wrapping a series of four Woes against God's People. This last one chides the children of Israel for relying on Egypt for military assistance, economic benefits, daughters for kings and royal officials, and ideas for religion and morality. Israel was delivered out of Egypt, they were not to go back. They traded the LORD - the One who delivered to the Promised Land, for Egypt - the ones who enslaved and abused them for centuries. Israel was fearful of the new superpower Assyria, so they sought to shore up their defensive strength through a shaky and unreliable partner in Egypt. Why do people do that?

But God, in his loyal love, shouts out to them: "Return, you Israelites, to the One you have so greatly revolted against." What kind of God is this, who wants back those who betray, neglect and disdain their Sovereign? Grace, that's what it is.

In this section, Isaiah also has a few choice words for the women of Jerusalem, for those who felt very secure in their city, so secure that they paid little attention to God and his requests and commands. They had Egypt's pledge of support, who needed to head down to the Temple for the sacrifices? And these disdainful deeds reveal the condition of their heart: God was only minded when he was needed. God desired their hearts, he wants them to delight in him - and they don't.

So God casts a vision for them of what he can bring about through them, if they will go along with him, respect him, honor him, obey him. For those that give God loyal love, he will bless, but for those that disregard him, who pour out profanities against their fellow neighbor, those whose arrogance and disdain for their fellow neighbor is unending, for those that pay no attention to God or the consequences of their deeds upon Creation...God will have to discipline and bring about justice.

He would rather see all his people, the whole world dwell in homes of shalom. So he works to bring this about. Yet some resist His Way, which is to their own restlessness. But God preseveres, working through His people yet today to bless the world and bring shalom to each home. Keep letting him bring shalom into your neighborhood through your home.

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