Saturday, December 31, 2016

Change the World? First, Change Your Clothes Part XXII

In our pursuit of Yeshua in the Old Testament, we have three verses in Isaiah that speak to this upcoming new year with the idea of salvation.  I am writing this on the 31st of December, and the words ring out with as much hope now as they did for His people then.

First, Isaiah 61:10:

          I will rejoice greatly in the Lord,
          My soul will exult in my God;
          For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, (yeshua)
          He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness,
          As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland,
          And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
Beautiful and powerful.  No one would agree that the world today is in a lovely place.  In fact, it is very far from it.  Regardless of our recent presidential election's result, the world is still in chaos. The wolves are circling and closing in closer and closer to our front door.

Not too dissimilar to Isaiah's time.  Isaiah was speaking to Judah and Jerusalem, who were steeped in sin.  He foretold of God's desire for repentance and if His people choose to continue without doing so, judgement would fall hard and fast.  Isaiah (whose own name means "God is salvation") also speaks of a future time with kingdom ruled by the Messiah, the Deliverer.

So, these words are powerful in our time, as well as in Isaiah's. We must be covered in His garments. The kind of covering we make--religion, trying to be good enough, following rules--is ultimately inadequate. Adam and Eve could no more cover their sin with a few fig leaves sewn together than we can cover our sins with what we do:  "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away."(Is. 64:6)

So, in order to change the world, we need a change of clothes. And not designer (of our own making) clothes, but ones bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus:  "God paid a high price for you, so don't be enslaved by the world." (1 Cor. 7:23) and "knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ." (1 Pet. 1:18-19)

If we are wrapped in His garments, what will people see?  Him in you. "Where ya get those threads?" is an opening to declare the greatness of Him working in you.  People who know us and our story of His work in us will be amazed and know that it could not have been by us alone that we have prevailed.

If we are wearing His garments, it's for a wedding. Weddings are public events: we are to go out and be His light to a world steeped in darkness: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." (Matt. 5:14-15)

We are so dressed to declare His glory, not to earn His love and approval. Jesus accomplished that for us: "In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us." (Eph. 1:4-8).  

Now, we have a mission in our new "uniform." Isaiah 62:1 declares, "For Zion's sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem's sake I will not remain quiet, till her vindication shines out like the dawn, her salvation (yeshua) like a blazing torch." If we are arrayed in a wedding clothes, how can we remain silent? We are excited about our Bridegroom, and we want to share that we can be rescued from sin and death through Him! Jesus declared Himself: "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (John 8:12)

Light should not be hidden for darkness then claims the victory. Isaiah 62:11 then calls out this hope: "The LORD has sent this message to every land: 'Tell the people of Israel, 'Look, your Savior is coming. See, he brings his reward with him as he comes.'"

Hope is here, now, even in the darkest times.  Why?  Because hope is not just a good intention or warm feeling floating out there.  Hope is a Person:  Yeshua, Jesus, our Bridegroom.  He clothes us now to bring His message to the world and He will return to restore this planet.

He truly makes the new year new.

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