Look, My Servants Shall...But You...
Sunday, May 1, 2016
Every good story has within it the concepts of right and wrong, good and evil. What is the favorite program on TV right now? Game of Thrones? Anybody here willing to admit they are fans? If a story teller gets people's attention, they will paint a picture that makes you want to choose your favorite characters and there will be an element of values involved. There will be some sort of conflict.
God's story is no different. The Bible is about right and wrong, good and evil. God's story begins with creation. When He made something, He pronounced it good. When He made man He said it was very good. Right from the start He gave us a job to do and a guideline for doing it. We were to be fruitful and multiply and to take care of His creation. There was only one prohibition.
Man lived in a relationship with his Creator from the very beginning. God expected to be obeyed. He declared from the beginning that He was Lord. He loved His creation and desired to interact with us, but He expected to be obeyed. When we disobeyed, we gave evidence that we do not trust Him. We died spiritually. The only way to be restored was for God to give us something that we could not do for ourselves. We needed to be forgiven. This forgiveness was purchased for us when Christ died on the cross. We receive it by admitting that we need it and trusting God to give it.
Here in Isaiah, God continues to tell us that if we want good from life, we need to obey Him. Our relationship with Him, must be a relationship of Lord and servant. This God we serve is a God of love, but He insists that we accept Him as He is. He loves us unconditionally, and He expects us to love Him the same way. If you accept Him as He is, you must accept that He alone has the right to tell us how to live.
Isaiah presents these last few chapters of his messages as God's answer to the prayer that he prayed. As we pick up reading today God continues to show us what He wants, and what He promises to His Servants, but also what will happen to those who refuse to put their trust in Him. Read with me Isaiah 65 verse 13:
13 Therefore, thus says the Lord God, "Behold, My servants shall eat, but you shall be hungry. Behold, My servants shall drink, but you shall be thirsty. Behold, My servants shall rejoice, but you shall be put to shame.” NASB
God says that His servants will eat, but those who do not serve him will be hungry. I think He is talking about more than food here. Jesus called Himself the bread of life. There is a hunger built into us that only God can fill. We were created to have fellowship with God.
Our purpose, and really all that has been created shares this purpose, is to glorify our Creator. Some of us will do that willingly, others will fulfill that purpose in ways that are less than pleasing to them. Those who do not accept the relationship with God that HE offers will not have the deep need we have built into us fulfilled.
Jesus told the woman at the well that He would give water and that she would never thirst again. I believe this thirst is what God has shared with us through His servant, Isaiah. Those who recognize that God loves them and that He is Lord will have this deep spiritual need met. Those who refuse, will continue to experience this thirst and hunger as long as they reject the relationship that God offers.
This is not to suggest that God does not also meet our other needs such as our physical hunger and thirst. He can and He does. However these are not our greatest need. We need God above all things. He is the source of our life. We are only truly alive when we are attached to Him, that is, when we walk with Him. This is why Jesus said that the first and greatest commandment is to love God. This is why He gave us the Great Commission. He wants all to come to a saving knowledge of the truth. He wants His people to share the love and grace of God with others.
God also spoke here of rejoicing. “My servants shall rejoice, but you shall be put to shame.” From my personal experience, there is no greater joy than to know that God loves me.
There have been times when God has needed to point out to me the attitudes, thoughts and actions that were not based on what He was leading me to do. I was living according to my natural state, not as God was directing me to live through the Spirit and His Word. He chastised me. He did not reject me and tell me I was no good, that He did not love me. If I got that message, it was not from Him, but from my old nature, or from our enemy.
In those times, God helped me to know and understand that He sees me as I really am. There is nothing in me that He does not know. Spiritually I stand naked before God. Sometimes I remember this is truth. Other times, I think, and act, as if God does not really know me and that He does not see me when I begin to slip in my love for Him and my love for others. But the truth is He does see.
“My servants shall rejoice, but you shall be put to shame.” When we put our trust in God and accept the truth that we are loved and that we are God's servants, we have a great deal to rejoice about. On the other hand, when we reject Him and His Love and His Lordship, we will be put to shame.
God offers forgiveness and treats us as if we have never sinned, when we acknowledge that we have sinned. In dying, Christ took upon Himself our sinfulness. He sacrificially offered Himself so that we might be restored to life.
We who have put our faith in God, to love us and to lead us, have something to rejoice about. They who refuse to accept Him will be put to shame when they are forced to acknowledge the truth that God has tried to get them to accept.
What does God say is the source of blessing? Where does good come from? God sets the standard for mankind. Good is serving God. Evil is rejecting Him as Lord, as the One True God.
There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who have put their trust in God and those who refuse to put their trust in God. This is not just any God. He is Creator. He is Our Maker, Lord of All. Those of us who have put our trust in Him see ourselves as His servants. We have made a choice. The choice is to live with Him as Savior and as Lord, or to refuse to do so.
He sent His Son, Jesus, to prove to us that He loves us and to show us how to live. Jesus demonstrated for us what a servant of God does, how he lives. When push comes to shove, we say, as Jesus said, “Not my will, but Thy will be done.”
The theme of Jesus' life, as he walked upon the earth, in the flesh, was to call people to follow Him, to accept Him as Lord. He healed people, He fed them, He gave them comfort, and He called them to trust Him and to trust the Heavenly Father.
This was Isaiah's message as well. Put your trust in God. Believe that He loves you. Commit your way to Him and He will lead you to peace, and joy. God will take care of you if you trust Him.
My servants shall... but you... God's servants are cared for by God. Those who refuse to trust Him and obey Him, have no assurance of God's care. Pick up reading in verse 14.
14 "Behold, My servants shall shout joyfully with a glad heart, But you shall cry out with a heavy heart, And you shall wail with a broken spirit. 15 "And you will leave your name for a curse to My chosen ones, And the Lord God will slay you. But My servants will be called by another name. 16 "Because he who is blessed in the earth Shall be blessed by the God of truth; And he who swears in the earth Shall swear by the God of truth; Because the former troubles are forgotten, And because they are hidden from My sight!”
17 "For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind. 18 "But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; For behold, I create Jerusalem for rejoicing, And her people for gladness. 19 "I will also rejoice in Jerusalem, and be glad in My people; And there will no longer be heard in her The voice of weeping and the sound of crying.”
20 "No longer will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, Or an old man who does not live out his days; For the youth will die at the age of one hundred And the one who does not reach the age of one hundred Shall be thought accursed. 21 "And they shall build houses and inhabit them; They shall also plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 22 "They shall not build, and another inhabit, They shall not plant, and another eat; For as the lifetime of a tree, so shall be the days of My people, And My chosen ones shall wear out the work of their hands. 23 "They shall not labor in vain, Or bear children for calamity; For they are the offspring of those blessed by the Lord, And their descendants with them.
24 "It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear. 25 "The wolf and the lamb shall graze together, and the lion shall eat straw like the ox; and dust shall be the serpent's food. They shall do no evil or harm in all My holy mountain," says the Lord. NASB
God says, “My servants will be called by another name.” But you... your name will be as a curse.
God says, “I create a new heaven and a new earth.”
God says, “I will also rejoice in Jerusalem, and be glad in My people; And there will no longer be heard in her The voice of weeping and the sound of crying.”
God says, "It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.”
God rejoices in His people. Those who are in Christ are new creations. We have been restored to the life giving relationship with God that He created us to share with Him. He loves us and wants all to know Him and His love.
God calls us His Servants. We are the children of God. We are members of His kingdom and through Him we reign. The story has been written. The end is in view. Will you choose good or evil? Will you choose to accept God's offer of life?
Will you join Him and be His witnesses? Are you a servant of your Creator?