16 December 2019 – Isaiah 35:4-5 (NIV)

16 December 2019 – Isaiah 35:4-5 (NIV)

Scripture

say to those with fearful hearts,
    “Be strong, do not fear;
your God will come,
    he will come with vengeance;
with divine retribution
    he will come to save you.”

Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
    and the ears of the deaf unstopped.

Reflection

Isaiah, the author of this verse, lived during a time when most of the people had turned/were turning away from God, evil and injustice was rampant; a small portion remained faithful but were understandably probably discouraged by what that was going on that time.  His role was to warn everybody of the consequences of their life choices and call them to repentance, and encourage the ones who still followed God to continue to hope and have faith in God, that He would come and make things right.

This sentence is part of Isaiah’s prophecy about Jesus’ first coming from Isaiah 35. What an encouragement it must have been for the faithful to know that God saw them and lit up their spirits! Through Isaiah, God acknowledged the challenging time his followers faced and how they felt – their hands had become feeble, their knees were giving way, people were living in fear.   And God tells them not to fear, He will come and save them and mete out justice.  They did not live to see Jesus come to earth, and truth be told, they probably did not have the same expectations of what God would actually do; but these words helped this small faithful band to continue trusting God despite their circumstances and passed on their faith to the next generation and so on, until the generation that met Jesus.

And we know God did come, in the form of a human – Jesus.  Jesus fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy – he healed the blind, deaf lame and mute.  He also let people know that everyone – believers and unbelievers – must face God’s judgement when we die, where we evaluated as to whether we have been “good enough” in God’s eyes to get into heaven instead of facing the default eternal death sentence and whatever other punishments He chooses to mete out.  That will be a time of real vengeance, where the punishment is really going to hurt, and keep hurting forever.

However, he also provided the only way to escape this and qualify for heaven – that route is only available to those who will count not our own life works as merit, but solely on entrusting ourselves on His death for our sins.  And when we fully rely on what He did, we can be less concerned about how tough life is today, or about whether we have done enough to get to heaven, because we know when we die and judgement comes, we are safe because Jesus has carried us and clear the bar of perfection on our behalf.

Thoughts for the day

  • If your current circumstances have given you symptoms of feeble hands, shaky knees and/or a fearful heart, take a moment to absorb that God sees what you are going through, and He will come and save you, meanwhile He wants you to hang in there and keep trusting Him. What does it look like for you to be strong in Him and not fear your present situation where you are today?
  • Knowing that God will deliver a satisfying just sentence for eternity, and knowing Jesus also restrained himself when he was put on trial and the cross, know and decide now that you can withhold the “petty vengeance” (relatively speaking to what He’s going to do) you intend/hope to exact on this other party who has wronged you.
  • Some of us have already experienced God’s divine interference in our lives on this side of heaven – He’s delivered us from some awful times – how and when will you tell others about how He came to your rescue?

Prayer

Dear God and heavenly father, I can be so tired sometimes and I know you see it.  But your son Jesus said “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”  So I throw myself wholly throw in your arms today and every day. I believe you will have my back always, Lord.  Give me the deep rest, stamina and strength I need to keep enduring and run this race of life well for you.  While I’m in this, and when I’m through this, and the next time things get touch, give me ready words and the opportunity to speak of your marvelous grace, kindness and deliverance.  Amen.

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By |2019-12-13T09:30:31+08:00December 16th, 2019|Categories: Week 3|0 Comments
Sandy Ng - Manna Xintiandi CG Leader
Sandy is from Singapore and has been working in China since 2005. She joined SCF in 2008 when she moved to Shanghai and is part of Manna Xintiandi.