And Old Testament Verses
— Isaiah 6:9 And he said, “Go, and say to this people: “‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’ 10 Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and blind their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.”
— Isaiah 53:1 Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
John repeats some of the most troublesome Words in the Bible. They are God’s judgement given to Isaiah to let unbelievers know He will use their unbelief for His purpose. Not all judgment of God is punishment, but it is always reality. God sets the rules. He has judged this group of unbelievers will be made deaf, blind and dull of heart. I see that, but I wish it weren’t so.
What possible purpose could the Sovereign Lord have in making such a judgment? Why has He identified these unbelievers in this way? He’s obviously not punishing them for what He’s done. I have an idea that this judgment has to do with the reality of grace and glory.
I wonder if what He has seen in this group of people is the nature of man’s heart to listen but not heed His truth and see that truth as a useful tool to manipulate life but not believe it’s His power. The nature of God’s Sovereignty is driven by grace that must respond to belief. Could it be that God has judged these unbelievers in order to protect the integrity of His grace for those who DO see with their eyes, and hear with their ears,and understand their transformed heart is for the sake of God’s glory and for His purpose.
“God is sovereign over all belief and unbelief.
He knows exactly how to plan both of them in ways
that exalt his sovereignty and preserve man’s accountability.”
Cited from the ESV
— Isaiah 49:8 Thus says the Lord: “In a time of favor I have answered you; in a day of salvation I have helped you; I will keep you and give you as a covenant to the people, to establish the land, to apportion the desolate heritages
— Isaiah 55:6 “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near;
— Psalm 32:6 Therefore let everyone who is godly offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found; surely in the rush of great waters, they shall not reach him.
— Psalm 69:13 But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness.
Look at 2 Corinthians 6:2 and ask these valid questions. When is the “favorable time?” Is it when God listens…or when you speak to Him? Are you aware that God is saving you right now? Can we expand the comfortable little box for that word “salvation” from one and done for eternity to a continuous stream of activity for life? When we became a follower of Jesus Christ there was a spiritual sigh of relief because God saved us to Himself for all eternity. God has affirmed Himself in these scriptures with words like “I have” and “I will.” They have secured the past and the future but that “a” has become the big idea that God is continuously saving in the “present” There was “a day of salvation” but that was then. This is now.
Isn’t the reality of “seek the Lord while he may be found” necessary now? “Now” is the day we need to be saved from drowning in the unexpected flood of circumstances of daily life. The Lord reminds us of His past faithfulness in our past encounters with Him. I have listened to your prayers, I have answered, I have helped and saved you — remember how you found me then? It was a favorable and acceptable time between us. Don’t miss the reality that those memories of “found” time with me are the time you knew I was near. Those times are past, the present is now. Now I will keep you just as I did before — I remember, do you? Now is the time I set for “everyone who is godly [to] offer prayer. “O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness…Behold, now is the favorable time — behold now is the day of salvation.”
— Amos 9:11-12 “In that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen and repair its breaches, and raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old, that they may possess the remnant of Edom (Mount Esau) and all the nations who are called by my name,” declares the Lord who does this.
— Jeremiah 12:15 And after I have plucked them up, I will again have compassion on them, and I will bring them again each to his heritage and each to his land.
— Isaiah 43:7…everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.
— Jeremiah 14:9 Why should you be like a man confused, like a mighty warrior who cannot save? Yet you, O Lord, are in the midst of us, and we are called by your name; do not leave us.”
— Daniel 9:19 O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people are called by your name..
Rebuild and restore are common themes in the New Testament. Throughout the Bible that is a common theme. For a couple of days this week I’m at the ocean with my daughter and son-in-law and as God so often does He’s made a connection I can see with my own eyes to these passages. Two hurricanes battered this area last fall and as a result of that, the work of rebuilding and restoring what was lost is obvious. The rebuilding is the cosmetic fix but the restoration of what was lost is the ultimate goal.
Acts quotes Amos saying the Lord has said the “remnant of mankind” will include Gentiles He’s called by His name. What is “after this”? Why does Amos refer to “a remnant of Edom? Why do they want that remnant back? What does that word “back” really mean? Why is Acts referencing Amos to explain Gentiles who are called by the Lord’s name? Now Lord read me your truth from the Old Testament written to confirm it’s connection to the New Testament.
I learned two “new” ancient Greek words studying for today. “Ethne” was a name used to refer to Gentiles or nations and “Laos” referred to the “people of God” the name the Jews called themselves. Amos has chosen to use Laos to refer to Gentiles including them as “people of God.” Gentiles who hadn’t become Jews but had remained Gentiles and been called by God’s name way back then in the Old Testament.√ After this? After the “remnant of mankind,” Jews and Gentiles alike have been shaken and sifted to removed their sin, then “I will rebuild its ruins, and I will restore it. Then they will seek the Lord.√ Edom [Mount Esau] a kingdom thought to be founded by the angry, wronged brother of Jacob. Esau will be restored to complete the restoration of the Kingdon of God.√ And now we come to that word “back.” The word that says it all. God had never had any other plan but for His Kingdom to a) be rebuilt and b) be restored to the perfection He’d created in those first days of Genesis. And finally we have our name the Lord Himself has given us, Christians, followers of Jesus Christ and Daniels plea to make our own — “O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people are called by your name” — who makes these things known from of old” in “this” day.
Posted in Amos, Daniel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, New Testament, Old Testament, Wednesday
Tagged “New”Ancient Words, By the Lord’s Name, People of God, Rebuilt, Restored
(AO) = Amos 9:11-12 and Jeremiah 12:15
(AQ) = Isaiah 43:7, Jeremiah 14:9, & Daniel 9:19 ESV
Amos 9:11-12 “In that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen and repair its breaches, and raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old, that they may possess the remnant of Edom (Mount Esau) and all the nations who are called by my name,” declares the Lord who does this.
Jeremiah 12:15 And after I have plucked them up, I will again have compassion on them, and I will bring them again each to his heritage and each to his land.
Isaiah 43:7 …everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.
Why should you be like a man confused, like a mighty warrior who cannot save? Yet you, O Lord, are in the midst of us, and we are called by your name; do not leave us.”
Daniel 9:19 O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people are called by your name.
This kind of study and reading is still unfamiliar, time consuming and more confusing than I imagined it would be. Amos added a surprise detail with a footnote of it’s own for Edom [Mount Esau.] Esau is thought to have founded the kingdom of Edom. This is the same Esau who sold his birthright swearing an unbreakable oath to satisfy a temporary need. Esau will be restored! The Lord’s compassion has reached into a sketchy past and restored a lost heritage. It’s the picture of humanity isn’t it? Those citations were sidebar details I would have missed without believing they could become contemporary accents that confirm the purpose God has always had in mind; to be in the midst of; to hear, forgive, pay attention and act on behalf of those who are called by His name and created for His glory.
I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent these last few days floundering my way through what seems like countless rabbit trails to get to the point where I could write that one paragraph. I can tell you when I put that period after that phrase “His glory” in that last sentence I felt like I’d just come up for air. It’s the comfort of a recorded and cited Biblical history that includes people like me in His story today.
citing Isaiah 56:7
…these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.”
and Jeremiah 7:11
Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, I myself have seen it, declares the Lord.
This is my first attempt at using a new study idea based on a book — Old Made New[a]. It’s a how-to book with a different premise; to let the New Testament read the Old Testament to me thru its citations. I’m going to use the Scripture references in the book for my post each Wednesday and pay attention to those citations. What is it about them that mattered to Jesus and may change my mind about what I read? Here we go…Week 1.
The Book of Jeremiah was written between 630 and 580 B.C. and Isaiah was written sometime during the ministry of Isaiah (approximately 740–701 B.C.). I can’t be the only one who’s forgotten the antiquity timeline is a countdown. So…Isaiah wrote first, then Jeremiah. Their words show the progression of their choice to neglect those old words. Luke is reminding his readers that Jesus saw their choice and grieved over the loss of God’s purpose for the purity of His house of prayer.
Jesus had paused to look over the city as he neared Jerusalem and was moved to tears over the “things that make for peace” that are no longer visible there. They no longer had any claim to innocence. The passage of time showed the result of neglect to those old Words. Jeremiah had to pass along God’s harsh observation about His house looking like a den of robbers. I don’t know how to explain why Jesus chose such uncharacteristic behavior in the Temple. Maybe it was anger, frustration, judgment and grief all combined at their willing acceptance of what had been lost. Did they even notice the decline?
I’ve noticed something because of following those citations in this passage. My emphasis changed as I read from wondering about Jesus’s unexplainable behavior to thinking about mine. It’s a choice to pay attention to old Words like Isaiah’s promise of acceptance and Jeremiah’s warning about neglect. It’s become a reality check about not neglecting old Words. Romans 8:12 says we do have an “obligation.” Our obligation to the “house that is called by [God’s] name is not our innocence, Adam took care of that. It’s our choice! Jesus is calling us to choose purity and He’s given us a completely different how-to Book filled with everything that can make that a reality in our life.
[a] Old Made New
Isaiah wrote about restoring the sight of the blind as part of the Messiah’s ability…And the Lord said:
— Isaiah 29:18 In that day the deaf will hear words read from a book,
and the blind will see through the gloom and darkness.
— 35:5 And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind and unplug the ears of the deaf.
— 42:7 You will open the eyes of the blind. You will free the captives from prison, releasing those who sit in dark dungeons.
Jesus speaks to his disciples in a third party-like conversation about the cause of blindness and Him being the Light of the world. That’s a Messianic claim! Then He physically takes direct action by coating over the man’s eyes with clay he’s just made. The mixing of the mud is evidence of “violation” of working on the Sabbath! He never tells the blind man his sight is going to miraculously be restored. The blind man must choose to risk responding to Jesus and go to the pool to wash. That’s a step of faith!
The sticking point for the Pharisees was complicated. Twice Jesus had confronted the Pharisees hypocrisy [John 7:23 and Matthew 12:5]. Jewish rules had legitimate provisions for violating the Sabbath in specific cases like circumcision in order to obey Mosaic law, temple service or the birth of a baby. Isaiah’s words, a broken rule, the eyes of a blind man being opened and an itinerant rabbi who claimed to be the Light of the world became their sticking point. Isaiah’s words were a trusted part of the Pharisees Messianic history and according to their own rules denying a miracle of God was unbelief. The evidence of acknowledging this miracle might prove Jesus to be the Lord Isaiah wrote about. That didn’t mesh with what they’d carefully mapped out for the coming Messiah. They couldn’t risk choosing to take that next step of faith.
In that day you will sing:
“I will praise you, O Lord!
You were angry with me, but not any more.
Now you comfort me.
See, God has come to save me.
I will trust in him and not be afraid.
The Lord God is my strength and my song;
he has given me victory.”
With joy you will drink deeply
from the fountain of salvation!
In that wonderful day you will sing:
“Thank the Lord! Praise his name!
Isaiah 12 NLT
he weeks leading up to Christmas are one of the rare times when the hearts of complete strangers are softened by music, lights, food, parties, friends, family…and gifts. Softened enough that what Isaiah says to us may touch them as well. There will never be a better time than Advent to “lift up your voice”…and bless someone. I’m asking you to be brave enough to respond to the people that cross your path everyday between now and Christmas with a simple no-cost gift of blessing. Saying God bless You doesn’t come naturally to me so I’ve been sitting here jotting down ideas of ways to fearlessly speak that blessing. Isaiah’s timeless truth, “do not be afraid,” has finally hit home for me. Most of us find it easy to say Thank You but it’s the first three words of this blessing that make it the gift. Have courage — speak because you may be the only person they’ll ever hear these words from — God bless you…
…for your kindness
…for your cheerful greeting
…for ringing that bell
…for opening that door
I’ll practice on you. God bless you — with opportunities to let your voice be a blessing for others in these days leading up to Christmas. God bless you — with courage to speak these unfamiliar words of blessing to a stranger, friend or a family member this Christmas. They may never hear anyone else speak those words to them. Who knows who else nearby may hear them and be blessed too? Who knows…as your ears hear your own voice speak them…they may become a blessing for you too.
John 12:37 Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, 38 so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: “Lord, who has believed what he heard from us, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” [Is 53:1] 39 Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said, 40 “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and turn, and I would heal them.” [Is 6:10] 41 Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him. 42 Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God. ESV
What is the general theme of the passage?
The Sovereign Lord has set guidelines to control what is seen, heard and believed by every heart. John records some of the most difficult Words in the Bible from Isaiah; that God will withhold Himself from those who’s heart’s desire would only lead them to abuse His Grace. God alone knows exactly who to reveal Himself to. He alone knows the hearts that have created a lord of their own ideas to give them what they want. Those hearts are not interested in wanting God who desires to give them what they need “for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.”
What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
God sets the rules. His heart’s desire is to accept confession and heal but His perfect and timeless knowledge knows the reality of each heart.
What does it say about people?
It’s possible to know the reality of the Lord enough to know what His heart’s desires are, without understanding He knows the truth of what your heart wants and acts accordingly to preserve the integrity of His Grace.
Is there truth here for me?
I can’t even count how many times I’ve heard the phrase “wants versus needs.” Usually it’s been cherry-picking that phrase in relation to accumulating “stuff.” John and Isaiah have thrown Grace into that picture. Can I accept admitting my need for Jesus is part of the gift of Grace rather than a crutch or weakness? Can you? Now I think I see what Isaiah saw; when I confess my need for Jesus, the wants of my heart change and I experience the reality of “the glory that comes from God”…His Grace for my need…Jesus.
32 The Pharisees heard the crowd whispering such things about him[Jesus]. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees sent temple guards to arrest him. 33 Jesus said, “I am with you for only a short time, and then I am going to the one who sent me. 34 You will look for me, but you will not find me; and where I am, you cannot come.”35 The Jews said to one another, “Where does this man intend to go that we cannot find him? Will he go where our people live scattered among the Greeks, and teach the Greeks? 36 What did he mean when he said, ‘You will look for me, but you will not find me,’ and ‘Where I am, you cannot come’?”37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified. 40 On hearing his words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.”41 Others said, “He is the Messiah.” Still others asked, “How can the Messiah come from Galilee? 42 Does not Scripture say that the Messiah will come from David’s descendants and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?” 43 Thus the people were divided because of Jesus. 44 Some wanted to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him. ESV
What is the general theme of the passage?
Every day of this Festival there was a ritual water drawing that reminded people how important God’s provision of access to good water had been to their history with Him and that His provision for the survival of their ordinary daily lives still depended on that access. The “hope” of this week was that God might choose this water offering as a means of access to the Messianic age. The Festival water was drawn each day from the Pool of Siloam, known as the “well of salvation,” and poured into a bowl that drained onto the altar.a “On the last and greatest day of the Festival Jesus compared Himself to that water…“Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.” That made Jesus a problem the Pharisees couldn’t ignore. Some remembered Isaiah’s promise when like water poured “…on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants [44:3]…and they were talking! Some saw beyond the ritual of that poured water flowing through that bowl onto the altar of God for exactly what it was; Jesus was the bowl that promised access to the future Spirit of God.
What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
Jesus’s time of physical accessibility to them is short. God has sent Him and He is returning to that certain and exclusive place. That place is a destination even thirsty and curious people will not be able to find without Jesus.
What does it say about people?
What thirsty people need is a willingness to accept the water…and drink!
Is there truth here for me?
I think Jesus could add “I am the bowl” to His identity statements. Jesus is the “bowl” that directs the living water drawn from God’s own heart to the Holy Spirit. “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” Ezekiel 36:25-27 NIV
a Water Libation Ceremony