the LORD alone will be exalted …

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Isaiah 2:6-17

For you have rejected your people, the house of Jacob,

because they are full of things from the east

and of fortune-tellers like the Philistines,

and they strike hands with the children of foreigners.

 Their land is filled with silver and gold,

 and there is no end to their treasures;

 their land is filled with horses,

and there is no end to their chariots.

 Their land is filled with idols;

 they bow down to the work of their hands,

 to what their own fingers have made.

  So man is humbled,

 and each one is brought low—

do not forgive them!

  Enter into the rock

and hide in the dust

from before the terror of the LORD,

 and from the splendor of his majesty.

 The haughty looks of man shall be brought low,

 and the lofty pride of men shall be humbled,

 and the LORD alone will be exalted in that day.

 For the LORD of hosts has a day

against all that is proud and lofty,

against all that is lifted up—

and it shall be brought low;

 against all the cedars of Lebanon,

 lofty and lifted up;

 and against all the oaks of Bashan;

 against all the lofty mountains,

 and against all the uplifted hills;

  against every high tower,

 and against every fortified wall;

  against all the ships of Tarshish,

and against all the beautiful craft.

  And the haughtiness of man shall be humbled,

and the lofty pride of men shall be brought low,

 and the LORD alone will be exalted in that day.

When everything that is man is removed, and everything of creation is removed, only God remains.  If God remains above and after all is destroyed, something is known about His power.  In that place we can see that He and He alone is worthy of honor, glory and praise.  It is wise to take note of His power.  How blessed we are that he loves us and knows his own.

…man shall be brought low,…

the LORD alone will be exalted in that day.

…man shall be humbled, …

the LORD alone will be exalted in that day.

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Lamenting sin’s destruction…

Ezekiel 32:1-8

And it came to pass in the twelfth year, in the twelfth month, on the first day of the month, that the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, take up a lamentation for Pharaoh king of Egypt, and say to him:

​‘​You are like a young lion among the nations,

​​And you are like a monster in the seas,

​​Bursting forth in your rivers,

​​Troubling the waters with your feet,

​​And fouling their rivers.’

3 “Thus says the Lord GOD:

​‘​I will therefore spread My net over you with a company of many people,

​​And they will draw you up in My net.

4 ​​Then I will leave you on the land;

​​I will cast you out on the open fields,

​​And cause to settle on you all the birds of the heavens.

​​And with you I will fill the beasts of the whole earth.

5 ​​I will lay your flesh on the mountains,

​​And fill the valleys with your carcass.

6 ​‘​I will also water the land with the flow of your blood,

​​Even to the mountains;

​​And the riverbeds will be full of you.

7 ​​When I put out your light,

​​I will cover the heavens, and make its stars dark;

​​I will cover the sun with a cloud,

​​And the moon shall not give her light.

8 ​​All the bright lights of the heavens I will make dark over you,

​​And bring darkness upon your land,’

​​Says the Lord GOD.

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/tools/printerFriendly.cfm?b=Eze&c=32&v=1&t=NKJVP>

We don’t hear much anymore about how God feels toward sin.

“…When I put out your light,…”

This is a lament for those who became so proud they denied God and claimed their achievements as the result of their own doing without the help of a Creator.  In this poem we can hear the utter distaste God holds for pride and rejection.

“…you are like a monster in the seas,

​​Bursting forth in your rivers,

​​Troubling the waters with your feet,

​​And fouling their rivers.’…”

He passes judgment and clears the land of the influence of sin upon mankind.  God has not changed, but thankfully He has provided us with the way of the cross to find redemption for the payment of sin.  He has gone to such lengths to gather his creation to himself through the sacrifice of his only Son;  and yet today we see evidence of the same pride around us in our nation.  How it should break our hearts to hear and see such disdain for the God who created them and the Lord who died and conquered sin for them.  Readings in Ezekiel continue to bring us back again and again to a place of deep gratitude for the cross and its redemption.  Thank you Jesus, and blessed be the name of the Lord.

Do you fully realize how much God loves you?

Who rules?

John 12:37-50

But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him, that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke:

             ​​​“Lord, who has believed our report?

              ​​And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?”

​Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again:

              ​“He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts,

              ​​Lest they should see with their eyes,

             ​​Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,

             ​​So that I should heal them.”

 These things Isaiah said when he saw His glory and spoke of Him

Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

Then Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me.  And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me.  I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.  And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak.  And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.”

 When God speaks something is created.  Jesus speaks everlasting life.  He says anyone who hears His words receives light and will not live in darkness.  Jesus says He speaks what God has given him to say; they work together.  So then how can we not hear, receive and declare?  How can one see, believe and not declare because what man thinks is more important than what God thinks?  If one has this much knowledge and understanding, how can one not rather be pleasing God than man?  And how can one hear the words spoken by Christ not keep them?  Christ says he did not come to judge–judgment was already declared…he came to fulfill his assignment which would provide salvation from the consequences of sin.  That judgment was already in place.  However, rejecting Christ leaves one right where we were before Christ; and so judgment comes, not from Christ but from our own rejection of him. 

That rejection includes not keeping his words.  How can one avoid that?  We must know and understand his words and his message.  That comes from study of his life and words.  That comes from asking the Lord for wisdom, asking the Holy Spirit to give understanding.  When Jesus is rejected, we are not only rejecting him but also the one who sent him, God the Father.  When a representative from one country to another is rejected and sent back, the embassy closed, it is not just a rejection of the individual but also of the country who sent them.  “When a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me.”  Mankind or God?  Who carries the weight in our estimation, who do we serve, who rules?  Our choice either condemns us or sets us free.  When we find ourselves asking  what will they think;  lets rephrase to what will God think?

Rejection results in desolation

Luke 13:31-35

 At that time some Pharisees said to him, “Get away from here if you want to live! Herod Antipas wants to kill you!”

 Jesus replied, “Go tell that fox that I will keep on casting out demons and healing people today and tomorrow; and the third day I will accomplish my purpose. Yes, today, tomorrow, and the next day I must proceed on my way. For it wouldn’t do for a prophet of God to be killed except in Jerusalem!

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me. And now, look, your house is abandoned. And you will never see me again until you say, ‘Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the LORD!’

 Desolation for those who reject the one who loves them, created them, longs to hold them close.  So many times we hear the heart of God cry for His people who will not have Him.  He offers, they refuse.  The Creator shunned by the creation and therefore the creation is left desolate.  We ask why? when we look at the pain, suffering and oppression in our world and here is an example of why…by choice, a choice made that affects not only the ones making the choice.

 Jesus continued his ministry to those who would receive and would not be hindered from that task by threats.  We too can follow the example set by him to be faithful to hear his voice, to share, so  that those who will respond may do so.  Let us make the heart of God sing!

Walk away…

Luke 9:51-56

When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.  And he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make preparations for him.  But the people did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?”  But he turned and rebuked them. And they went on to another village.

Human nature wants to retaliate.  Jesus demonstrated a different nature.  He walked away.  Were they being threatened?  No  Was anyone being harmed in any way?  No.  Was their pride receiving offense?  Yes.  Jesus did not take offense.  He walked away.

 How do we react to attacks?  Do we also want to call down fire from heaven?  Jesus walked away; went to another village.  When confronted, can we also  just walk away?  Jesus rebuked James and John for their reaction to the rejection from the village.  Reacting in this manner is the human nature rising again.  Who is in control?  When we react in this manner with like actions are we not giving control to the offender?  Walk away; they have made their choice.  It is not a reflection on us.

Rejection…

Luke 4:16-30

And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,

 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,

because he has anointed me

to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives

and recovering of sight to the blind,

to set at liberty those who are oppressed,

to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him.  And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”  And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. And they said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” And he said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Physician, heal yourself.’ What we have heard you did at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.” And he said, “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown. But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months, and a great famine came over all the land, and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff.But passing through their midst, he went away.

 We cannot help someone who does not wish to receive it.  He did not do the miracles and healing work He did elsewhere in his hometown; there was no belief, no faith, no wish to receive His message.  What He found here in His hometown was a desire for a show.  We find that today in many places.  People do not want real, do not want anything that will require a change, giving up a selfish lifestyle.  They want a show, a feel-good experience with no commitment.  Jesus requires commitment and promises a share in His suffering.  Not what many want to hear.  With it comes the adventure of a lifetime; satisfaction that comes from being reunited with the one who loves us, died for us, and works alongside us.  With it comes meaning in life. 

 Take away – We should not be surprised if rejection comes from those closest to us.  Jesus experienced it and gave examples of others who did as well.  Like Jesus moving through the crowd and going on his way, we can move through the rejection and go on our way continuing to spread the Word of God. …he has anointed me  to proclaim good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives  and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”  Jesus had a mission, we join in that mission; as He did not allow anything to deter His completion of that mission we also can continue in what He has given us to do not allowing anything to deter our completion of that work.