1020.) Good Friday from Isaiah

March 29, 2013
"The Beautiful Mess"  painting by Daniel Bonnell (Woodland Lutheran Church, St. Paul, MN)

“The Beautiful Mess” painting by Daniel Bonnell (Woodland Lutheran Church, St. Paul, MN)

Isaiah 53 (New Living Translation)


The sky peels back to purple
and thunder slaps the thighs of heaven,
and all the tears of those who grieve
fly up to clouds and are released
and drench the earth.
The ones who see and hear
that all is lost.
The only One named Savior
upon a cross.
The ones who believed and loved
huddle together
All night long
the angels weep.

–Ann Weems



Samuel Barber wrote “Adagio for Strings” in 1938 as part of a work for string quartet;  he then transcribed it for voices in 1947 as a setting for the “Agnus Dei.”  Performed by The Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world,
have mercy upon us.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world,
have mercy upon us.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world,
grant us peace.


1 Who has believed our message?
To whom has the Lord revealed his powerful arm?
2 My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot,
like a root in dry ground.
There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance,
nothing to attract us to him.
3 He was despised and rejected—
a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.
We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.
He was despised, and we did not care.

"Christ on the Cross" oil on canvas by El Greco, 1577.

“Christ on the Cross” oil on canvas by El Greco, 1577.

4 Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;
it was our sorrows that weighed him down.
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,
a punishment for his own sins!
5 But he was pierced for our rebellion,
crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed.


Alas! And Did My Savior Bleed
–Isaac Watts

Alas! and did my Savior bleed,
and did my Sovereign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
for sinners such as I?

Was it for crimes that I had done
He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! grace unknown!
and love beyond degree!

Well might the sun in darkness hide,
and shut its glories in,
When Christ, the Mighty maker, died
for his own creatures’ sins.

Thus might I hide my blushing face
while his dear Cross appears;
Dissolve my heart in thankfulness,
and melt mine eyes to tears.

But tears of grief can ne’er repay
the debt of love I owe;
Here, Lord, I give myself away–
‘tis all that I can do.


6 All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.
We have left God’s paths to follow our own.
Yet the Lord laid on him
the sins of us all.

Romans 5:12-15 (New Living Translation)

When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.  Yes, people sinned even before the law was given. But it was not counted as sin because there was not yet any law to break.  Still, everyone died—from the time of Adam to the time of Moses—even those who did not disobey an explicit commandment of God, as Adam did.

Now Adam is a symbol, a representation of Christ, who was yet to come.  But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ.

7 He was oppressed and treated harshly,
yet he never said a word.
He was led like a lamb to the slaughter.
And as a sheep is silent before the shearers,
he did not open his mouth.
8 Unjustly condemned,
he was led away.
No one cared that he died without descendants,
that his life was cut short in midstream.
But he was struck down
for the rebellion of my people.
9 He had done no wrong
and had never deceived anyone.
But he was buried like a criminal;
he was put in a rich man’s grave.

"The Entombment" oil on wood by Raphael, 1507 (Gallerai Borghese, Rome)

“The Entombment” oil on wood by Raphael, 1507 (Gallerai Borghese, Rome)

10 But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him
and cause him grief.
Yet when his life is made an offering for sin,
he will have many descendants.
He will enjoy a long life,
and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands.
11 When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish,
he will be satisfied.
And because of his experience,
my righteous servant will make it possible
for many to be counted righteous,
for he will bear all their sins.

John 10:14-18 (New Living Translation)

“I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd.

“The Father loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again. No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.”

12 I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier,
because he exposed himself to death.
He was counted among the rebels.
He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.

“Fix your mind on the mercy of God,
His love for us,
and all that He suffered for our sake.”

–Teresa of Avila


Images courtesy of:
Bonnell.    http://images.fineartamerica.com/images-medium-large/the-beautiful-mess-daniel-bonnell.jpg
El Greco.    http://www.artnet.com/magazine_pre2000/news/tully/tully209.asp
crown of thorns.    http://eardstapa.files.wordpress.com/2008/11/crown-of-thorns.jpg
1 + 3 = 4.   http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41Z5yfMgiXL._SL500_SS500_.jpg
Raphael.    http://www.abcgallery.com/R/raphael/raphael26.html
Good Shepherd icon.    http://i271.photobucket.com/albums/jj152/toulasmom/GoodShepherd.jpg
heart.   http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-_DudPUl0p0Q/TscP_Vc9eEI/AAAAAAAAB0w/ZQ74gS9bR_U/s400/HEART+LOU.jpg

1019.) Isaiah 66

March 28, 2013

I66 peace like a river

Isaiah 66   (ESV)

The Humble and Contrite in Spirit

The opening words of the last chapter of Isaiah were written to the unrepentant people of Israel.  They need not think that, in that condition, they can please God by building a temple for Him.  After all, He is enthroned in heaven with earth as His footstool.  The dwelling place He desires is the heart of a person who is humble and contrite:

–William MacDonald (and all following notes in red)

Thus says the Lord:
“Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool;
what is the house that you would build for me,
and what is the place of my rest?
All these things my hand has made,
and so all these things came to be,
declares the Lord.
But this is the one to whom I will look:
he who is humble and contrite in spirit
and trembles at my word.

Those who are impenitent offend God by their religions observances.  When divorced from practical holiness, their sacrifices and offerings are crimes and abominations.  They can choose their hypocritical ways, but they cannot choose the consequences.  God will do that:

“He who slaughters an ox is like one who kills a man;
he who sacrifices a lamb, like one who breaks a dog’s neck;
he who presents a grain offering, like one who offers pig’s blood;
he who makes a memorial offering of frankincense, like one who blesses an idol.
These have chosen their own ways,
and their soul delights in their abominations;
I also will choose harsh treatment for them
and bring their fears upon them,
because when I called, no one answered,
when I spoke, they did not listen;
but they did what was evil in my eyes
and chose that in which I did not delight.”

I66 overcome

Those faithful, God-fearing Jews who tremble at His word will be persecuted by their own community.  The wicked persecutors will think that they are doing God service, as is evidenced by their pseudo-pious taunt, “Let the Lord be glorified, that we may see your joy,” that is, your joy at being miraculously delivered.  But the Lord will intervene to shame their foes:

Hear the word of the Lord,
you who tremble at his word:
“Your brothers who hate you
and cast you out for my name’s sake
have said, ‘Let the Lord be glorified,
that we may see your joy’;
but it is they who shall be put to shame.

“The sound of an uproar from the city!
A sound from the temple!
The sound of the Lord,
rendering recompense to his enemies!

Rejoice with Jerusalem

“Before she was in labor
she gave birth;
before her pain came upon her she delivered a son.

I66 something new

Who has heard such a thing?
Who has seen such things?
Shall a land be born in one day?
Shall a nation be brought forth in one moment?
For as soon as Zion was in labor
she brought forth her children.
Shall I bring to the point of birth and not cause to bring forth?”
says the Lord;
“shall I, who cause to bring forth, shut the womb?”
says your God.

I66 old-jerusalem-leonid-afremov

The day of Israel’s restoration will be a time of great rejoicing in Jerusalem:

10 “Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her,
all you who love her;
rejoice with her in joy,
all you who mourn over her;
11 that you may nurse and be satisfied
from her consoling breast;
that you may drink deeply with delight
from her glorious abundance.”

12 For thus says the Lord:
“Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river,
and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream;
and you shall nurse, you shall be carried upon her hip,
and bounced upon her knees.
13 As one whom his mother comforts,
so I will comfort you;
you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.

I66 mother-comforting

“This is a peculiarly delightful metaphor. A father can comfort, but I think he is not much at home as the work. When God speaks about his pity, he compares himself to their father: ‘Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth, them that fear him.’ But when he speaks about comfort, he selects the mother. When I have seen the little ones sick, I have felt all the pity in the world for them, but I did not know how to set to work to comfort them; but a mother knows by instinct how to do it.”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

14 You shall see, and your heart shall rejoice;
your bones shall flourish like the grass;
and the hand of the Lord shall be known to his servants,
and he shall show his indignation against his enemies.

Final Judgment and Glory of the Lord

 I66 watch-the-lord-is-coming

The Lord’s Second Coming will mean the unleashing of His fiery indignation against all idolaters and rebels.  He sees them going through ceremonies to make themselves ritually clean, only to engage in the most abominable idolatrous practices.

15 “For behold, the Lord will come in fire,
and his chariots like the whirlwind,
to render his anger in fury,
and his rebuke with flames of fire.
16 For by fire will the Lord enter into judgment,
and by his sword, with all flesh;
and those slain by the Lord shall be many.

17 “Those who sanctify and purify themselves to go into the gardens, following one in the midst, eating pig’s flesh and the abomination and mice, shall come to an end together, declares the Lord.

18 “For I know their works and their thoughts, and the time is coming to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and shall see my glory, 19 and I will set a sign among them. And from them I will send survivors to the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, who draw the bow, to Tubal and Javan, to the coastlands far away, that have not heard my fame or seen my glory. And they shall declare my glory among the nations. 20 And they shall bring all your brothers from all the nations as an offering to the Lord, on horses and in chariots and in litters and on mules and on dromedaries, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, says the Lord, just as the Israelites bring their grain offering in a clean vessel to the house of the Lord.

I66 Songs of Ascents

Psalm 126   (NIV)

A song of ascents.

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
    we were like those who dreamed.
Our mouths were filled with laughter,
    our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
    “The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us,
    and we are filled with joy.

Restore our fortunes, Lord,
    like streams in the Negev.
Those who sow with tears
    will reap with songs of joy.
Those who go out weeping,
    carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
    carrying sheaves with them.

21 And some of them also I will take for priests and for Levites, says the Lord.

22 “For as the new heavens and the new earth
that I make
shall remain before me, says the Lord,
so shall your offspring and your name remain.
23 From new moon to new moon,
and from Sabbath to Sabbath,
all flesh shall come to worship before me,
declares the Lord.

24 “And they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.”

The book of Isaiah closes with a sobering contrast, revealing the ultimate, eternal importance of this present life. Each life can choose its destiny: worship or the worm. Which is it for you?

–David Guzik

All this brings home the folly, futility and sinfulness of pursuing our own way, carrying out our own designs and turning after that in which God cannot take pleasure, instead of waiting upon Him, listening to His voice and delighting in the fulfillment of His will.  Through our walking with God He fulfills, and will fulfill, all the promises of His Word.  He responds to delighted confidence in Him, by adding an Amen to His assurance.  The peace of an obedient heart and a trusting spirit is that which enjoys the sunshine of His countenance and the calmness of holy communion with Him.

–W. E. Vine

THE END of the book of Isaiah.



HERE  is Chris Rice singing an old favorite which matches up so beautifully to this chapter:  “It is Well with My Soul.”  The first words of the hymn are from v. 12 of this chapter — When peace like a river . . .   (The song finishes at 4:38.)


English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
peace like a river.    http://i68.photobucket.com/albums/i25/Conormacnessa/Religious/Isaiah66_12.jpg
I have overcome the world.    http://25.media.tumblr.com/12bc50b96a95c7ed02b2e9715e26b50a/tumblr_mio55jxZHE1qhmhdfo1_500.jpg
I will not cause pain.    http://tsjphotography.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/259519997247405601_SpATKz9U_f-494×640.jpg
“Old Jerusalem” by Leonid Afremov.    http://images.fineartamerica.com/images-medium/old-jerusalem-leonid-afremov.jpg
mother comforting a sick child.    http://images2.parentsconnect.com/editorial_images/12/mother-comforting-sick-child-280×280.jpg?quality=0.6&height=200&width=200&
Watch therefore.    http://www.agodman.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/matt24-42-watch-the-lord-is-coming-1024×767.jpg
Song of ascents.    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-8Kd22dGSv50/UUEgsOwWE6I/AAAAAAAADA8/kNGy43HdWI0/s1600/Songs+of+Ascents.jpg

1018.) Isaiah 65

March 27, 2013
"Peaceable Kingdom"  by Gisela Fabian, 1998.

“Peaceable Kingdom” by Gisela Fabian, 1998.

Isaiah 65   (ESV)

Judgment and Salvation

shallow repentance

I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me;
I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me.
I said, “Here I am, here I am,”
to a nation that was not called by my name.
I spread out my hands all the day
to a rebellious people,
who walk in a way that is not good,
following their own devices;

God is willing to receive Gentiles even while continuing to reach out with love to Israel.

Romans 10:16-21   (NIV)

But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?”Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. But I ask: Did they not hear? Of course they did:

“Their voice has gone out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.”

Again I ask: Did Israel not understand? First, Moses says,

“I will make you envious by those who are not a nation;
    I will make you angry by a nation that has no understanding.”

And Isaiah boldly says,

“I was found by those who did not seek me;
    I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me.”

But concerning Israel he says,

“All day long I have held out my hands
    to a disobedient and obstinate people.”

a people who provoke me
to my face continually,
sacrificing in gardens

–a common location for fertility religions

and making offerings on bricks;
who sit in tombs,

–there to consult with the spirits of the dead

and spend the night in secret places;
who eat pig’s flesh,

–prohibited in the Levitical code

and broth of tainted meat is in their vessels;
who say, “Keep to yourself,
do not come near me, for I am too holy for you.”
These are a smoke in my nostrils,
a fire that burns all the day.
Behold, it is written before me:
“I will not keep silent, but I will repay;
I will indeed repay into their lap
    both your iniquities and your fathers’ iniquities together,
says the Lord;
because they made offerings on the mountains
and insulted me on the hills,
I will measure into their lap
payment for their former deeds.”

I65 seedsower

Galatians 6:7   (NLT)

Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant.

promise of blessing

8 Thus says the Lord:
“As the new wine is found in the cluster,
and they say, ‘Do not destroy it,
for there is a blessing in it,’
so I will do for my servants’ sake,
and not destroy them all.
I will bring forth offspring from Jacob,
and from Judah possessors of my mountains;
my chosen shall possess it,
and my servants shall dwell there.

I65 grape-cluster

The picture of Isaiah 65:8 is striking. The idea is that God finds a few “good grapes” among the corrupt cluster of His people. It is for the sake of these — for My servants’ sake — that the Lord shows blessing and restores.  J. Alec Motyer says,  “Found suggests that the grapes were oozing as they were picked and that this was specially prized. Hence there is some good . . . Marvellously, then, the Lord finds his people a blessing, and he prizes and guards them.”

Harry Bultema writes, “If the Church had clearly understood this simple example, then, it would not have dared to teach Israel’s total rejection. Even as He would have saved Sodom for the sake of five righteous people, so He will spare Israel, His vine, for the sake of His servants, the cluster of good grapes.”

–David Guzik

10 Sharon shall become a pasture for flocks,
and the Valley of Achor a place for herds to lie down,
for my people who have sought me.
11 But you who forsake the Lord,
who forget my holy mountain,
who set a table for Fortune
and fill cups of mixed wine for Destiny,
12 I will destine you to the sword,
and all of you shall bow down to the slaughter,
because, when I called, you did not answer;
when I spoke, you did not listen,
but you did what was evil in my eyes
and chose what I did not delight in.”

contrast of consequences

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;
14 behold, my servants shall sing for gladness of heart,
but you shall cry out for pain of heart
and shall wail for breaking of spirit.
15 You shall leave your name to my chosen for a curse,
and the Lord God will put you to death,
but his servants he will call by another name.
16 So that he who blesses himself in the land
shall bless himself by the God of truth,
and he who takes an oath in the land
shall swear by the God of truth;
because the former troubles are forgotten
and are hidden from my eyes.

Jeremiah 4:2   (NLT)

“Then when you swear by my name, saying,
    ‘As surely as the Lord lives,’
you could do so
    with truth, justice, and righteousness.
Then you would be a blessing to the nations of the world,
    and all people would come and praise my name.”

New Heavens and a New Earth

17 “For behold, I create new heavens
and a new earth,

I65 new heavens new earth

Peter used this promise to encourage believers to holy living:

2 Peter 3:13   (NIV)

But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.

and the former things shall not be remembered
or come into mind.
18 But be glad and rejoice forever
in that which I create;
for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy,
and her people to be a gladness.
19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem
and be glad in my people;
no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping
and the cry of distress.
20 No more shall there be in it
an infant who lives but a few days,
or an old man who does not fill out his days,
for the young man shall die a hundred years old,
and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed.
21 They shall build houses and inhabit them;
they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
22 They shall not build and another inhabit;
they shall not plant and another eat;
for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be,
and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
23 They shall not labor in vain
or bear children for calamity,
for they shall be the offspring of the blessed of the Lord,
and their descendants with them.

I65 Before I called
24 Before they call I will answer;
while they are yet speaking I will hear.

25 The wolf and the lamb shall graze together;
the lion shall eat straw like the ox,
and dust shall be the serpent’s food.
They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain,”
says the Lord.

I65 jerusalem


HERE  is English tenor Charles Craig (1919-1997) singing “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, lift up your voice and sing!”  It is interesting to me how many phrases of this song connect to ideas in Isaiah 65.

Last night I lay asleeping
There came a dream so fair,
I stood in old Jerusalem
Beside the temple there
I heard the children singing
And ever as they sang,
Methought the voice of Angels
From Heaven in answer rang

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem!
Lift up your gates and sing,
Hosanna in the highest.
Hosanna to your King!”

And then methought my dream was chang’d
The streets no longer rang
Hush’d were the glad Hosannas
The little children sang
The sun grew dark with mystery,
The morn was cold and chill
As the shadow of a cross arose
Upon a lonely hill
As the shadow of a cross arose
Upon a lonely hill

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem!
Hark! How the Angels sing,
Hosanna in the highest,
Hosanna to your King!”

And once again the scene was chang’d
New earth there seem’d to be,
I saw the Holy City
Beside the tideless sea
The light of God was on its streets
The gates were open wide,
And all who would might enter
And no one was denied.
No need of moon or stars by night,
Or sun to shine by day,
It was the new Jerusalem
That would not pass away
It was the new Jerusalem
That would not pass away

“Jerusalem! Jerusalem
Sing for the night is o’er
Hosanna in the highest
Hosanna for evermore!”

“Hosanna in the highest
Hosanna for evermore!”


English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
Fabian.   http://www.fabianfinearts.com/main/wp-content/uploads/paintings/large/Peaceable%20Kingdom%20-%201998%20-%2020×24%20-%20Framed.jpg
planting seeds.    http://westmainbaptist.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/seedsower.jpg
grapes.    http://www.foodwineheaven.com/DSCN0905-Merlot-grape-cluster.jpg
new heavens and new earth.    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Lhtz0YYGyYU/Tcs2eBBAeFI/AAAAAAAACBw/g2QsLPy4Jtw/s1600/new+heavens+new+earth.jpg
before I called.    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/–GTwAiWxQm8/TuTCUA7OMJI/AAAAAAAAA2M/241e9AGLOtc/s1600/Before+I+called.jpg
Jerusalem in sunlight.    http://www.endtimes.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/images/gifs/jerusalem.jpg

1017.) Isaiah 64

March 26, 2013

I64 potter

Isaiah 64   (ESV)

The Prayer of the Remnant

Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down,
that the mountains might quake at your presence—
2 as when fire kindles brushwood
and the fire causes water to boil—
to make your name known to your adversaries,
and that the nations might tremble at your presence!
When you did awesome things that we did not look for,
you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.

I64 wait

From of old no one has heard
or perceived by the ear,
no eye has seen a God besides you,
who acts for those who wait for him.

You meet him who joyfully works righteousness,
those who remember you in your ways.
Behold, you were angry, and we sinned;
in our sins we have been a long time, and shall we be saved?
We have all become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.
We all fade like a leaf,
and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

I64 fade like a leaf

I believe that justification by faith is the foundational truth of Christianity. You cannot know true rest and peace until you are convinced you can never be made right in God’s eyes by your own works of righteousness.

If you don’t understand the perfect righteousness of Christ that is yours by faith, you will lead a life of toil and sweat. You’ll spend your days trying to please God through legalistic, hopeless attempts to establish your own righteousness. But the truth is, you’ll never have any righteousness to bring to the Lord!

No doubt you are familiar with the passage in Isaiah that says all our righteousness is as filthy rags in God’s sight (see Isaiah 64:6). This does not mean God despises our good works — not at all. We should do good works, but if you think your good works merit your salvation, that they allow you to stand holy before God, then they are nothing but filthy rags!

You may feel good because of the good works you do and even enjoy a moment of victory whenever you resist temptation. You feel righteous, that God’s favor is on you.  The next day, however, you fail. You fall back into a sin and suddenly you lose all your joy. You think the Lord is angry with you and wonder if you have lost your salvation.

It is a roller-coaster ride of emotional highs and lows — of up-and-down, hot-and-cold, sin-and-confess — according to how good or bad you think you have been on any given day. It’s a life of misery because you are trying to please God in your flesh!

Beloved, no righteousness of the flesh will ever stand before God. Even the best people among us, the most moral, godly saints, have fallen short of God’s glory. None of us can ever be accepted in the Father’s eyes by our good works. We are accepted by Him only as we are in Christ!

“For ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). When we turn to Jesus with saving, self-emptying faith, we become one in Christ. Being “in Christ” means God credits Jesus’ righteousness to us. All our sins are washed away because of His work, not ours!

–David Wilkerson

There is no one who calls upon your name,
who rouses himself to take hold of you;
for you have hidden your face from us,
and have made us melt in the hand of our iniquities.

But now, O Lord, you are our Father;
we are the clay, and you are our potter;
we are all the work of your hand.

I64 potter's hands at work

Old Spanish saying seen in a potter’s studio in Spain:
“God made the first pot and it was man.”

Be not so terribly angry, O Lord,
and remember not iniquity forever.
Behold, please look, we are all your people.
10 Your holy cities have become a wilderness;
Zion has become a wilderness,
Jerusalem a desolation.
11 Our holy and beautiful house,
where our fathers praised you,
has been burned by fire,
and all our pleasant places have become ruins.
12 Will you restrain yourself at these things, O Lord?
Will you keep silent, and afflict us so terribly?



As we face and confess our own sins, and wait with hope for the Lord to make us new —  HERE  is Libera and “Abide With Me.”

  1. Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
    The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide;
    When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
    Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me.
  2. Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
    Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away;
    Change and decay in all around I see—
    O Thou who changest not, abide with me.
  3. I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
    Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness;
    Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
    I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.


English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
potter.    http://www.heartlight.org/graphics/gallery/isaiah64_8.jpg
mountains and lake.   http://jacquelinejoseph.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/is644-01.jpg
We all fade like a leaf.    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3185/3055905163_7f9633030d.jpg
potter’s hands.    http://101mobility.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/pot.jpg

1016.) Isaiah 63

March 25, 2013

I63 lovingkindness

Isaiah 63   (ESV)

The Lord’s Day of Vengeance

A question and an answer:  Who is this?

Who is this who comes from Edom,
in crimsoned garments from Bozrah,
he who is splendid in his apparel,
marching in the greatness of his strength?
“It is I, speaking in righteousness,
mighty to save.”

This is the Lord’s reply to the question in the prophecy. He identifies Himself by what He says (I, speaking in righteousness) and what He does (mighty to save).

A question and an answer:  Why is your apparel red?

Why is your apparel red,
and your garments like his who treads in the winepress?

“I have trodden the winepress alone,
and from the peoples no one was with me;

In God’s great plan of the Ages, Jesus will accomplish two things alone. First, He atones for our sin alone. He alone hung on the cross, bearing the weight of all our guilt. Second, He judges the world alone. God does not need us to execute His ultimate judgment; we leave that to Him.

I trod them in my anger
and trampled them in my wrath;
their lifeblood spattered on my garments,
and stained all my apparel.
4 For the day of vengeance was in my heart,
and my year of redemption had come.

It is a mere day of vengeance, but an entire year of redemption. Each phrase is simply a poetic way of saying “time,” but God fittingly uses the picture of a day in communicating His vengeance, and a year in expressing His grace.

I looked, but there was no one to help;
I was appalled, but there was no one to uphold;
so my own arm brought me salvation,
and my wrath upheld me.
I trampled down the peoples in my anger;
I made them drunk in my wrath,
and I poured out their lifeblood on the earth.”

The Lord’s Mercy Remembered

I will recount the steadfast love of the Lord,
the praises of the Lord,
according to all that the Lord has granted us,
and the great goodness to the house of Israel
that he has granted them according to his compassion,
according to the abundance of his steadfast love.

I63 v7

from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael

All kinds of things are reminders of the lovingkindess of the Lord.  Friends, letters, flowers, pictures, all these and many more speak of the wonderful lovingkindness of our God to us who are unworthy of even one of His good gifts.  As we think of all His love has already given us, and of the multitude of His lovingkindnesses which we have experienced, our prayer becomes glad and grateful and full of thanksgiving.  Prayer starts from a place of joy and confidence.

But sometimes we are tempted to discouragement.  So often we have believed that what we asked was about to be given, and then have been disappointed.  But delays are for the trail of faith, not for its discouragement.  Often we have had to wait for years for our best and dearest gifts.  When they came we looked up to our Lord in adoration, “Lord, this was worth waiting for.”  So it will be again.  He has done so much for us.  Will He not also do this that we ask Him today?

For he said, “Surely they are my people,
children who will not deal falsely.”
And he became their Savior.
In all their affliction he was afflicted,
and the angel of his presence (that is, the Messiah) saved them;
in his love and in his pity he redeemed them;
he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.

I63 carried dragged

Yes — kicking and screaming —  🙂

10 But they rebelled
and grieved his Holy Spirit;
therefore he turned to be their enemy,
and himself fought against them.
11 Then he remembered the days of old,
of Moses and his people.
Where is he who brought them up out of the sea
with the shepherds of his flock?

I63 M crossingtheredsea

Psalm 106:8-12   (NIV)

Yet he saved them for his name’s sake,
    to make his mighty power known.
He rebuked the Red Sea, and it dried up;
    he led them through the depths as through a desert.
He saved them from the hand of the foe;
    from the hand of the enemy he redeemed them.
The waters covered their adversaries;
    not one of them survived.
Then they believed his promises
    and sang his praise.

Where is he who put in the midst of them
his Holy Spirit,
12 who caused his glorious arm
to go at the right hand of Moses,
who divided the waters before them
to make for himself an everlasting name,
13     who led them through the depths?
Like a horse in the desert,
they did not stumble.
14 Like livestock that go down into the valley,
the Spirit of the Lord gave them rest.
So you led your people,
to make for yourself a glorious name.

Prayer for Mercy

15 Look down from heaven and see,
from your holy and beautiful habitation.
Where are your zeal and your might?
The stirring of your inner parts and your compassion
are held back from me.
16 For you are our Father,
though Abraham does not know us,
and Israel does not acknowledge us;
you, O Lord, are our Father,
our Redeemer from of old is your name.
17 O Lord, why do you make us wander from your ways
and harden our heart, so that we fear you not?
Return for the sake of your servants,
the tribes of your heritage.
18 Your holy people held possession for a little while;
our adversaries have trampled down your sanctuary.
19 We have become like those over whom you have never ruled,
like those who are not called by your name.

I63 strong-tower


A treat for you today!  HERE  is the Robert Shaw Chorale and “Praise the Name of the Lord” from Vespers by Rachmaninoff.


English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
lovingkindness.    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_i-yCnc1MSOs/TT_Wi_35YvI/AAAAAAAAADQ/whlhG9Bfpns/s1600/January25%252C2011%252CIsaiah63-7.jpg
Isaiah 63:7.    http://www.billybear4kids.com/desktop/wallpaper/scene-sets/christian/800×600/isaiah63-7.jpg
carried and dragged, cartoon by Kris Straub.    http://www.journella.com/uploads/editor/394/resize_1345688486_journalImage.jpg
crossing the Red Sea.    http://api.ning.com/files/6V81SuvLHxhnPs2AYBmHXlObpABRn69JNINstE0hxHhbmHPSOnuXMI8y-DSURdRG7A3FnDG2l4iJTUBuFt77XixmxJQMuH0W/crossingtheredsea.png
strong tower.    http://praisemoves.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/strong-tower1.jpg

1015.) Isaiah 62

March 22, 2013

I62  bridegroom and bride

Isaiah 62   (ESV)

Zion’s Coming Salvation

For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,
and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet,
until her righteousness goes forth as brightness,
and her salvation as a burning torch.
The nations shall see your righteousness,
and all the kings your glory,
and you shall be called by a new name
that the mouth of the Lord will give.

I62 new name
You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord,
and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.

I62 crown

Jeremiah 13:11   (NRSV)

I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, says the Lord, in order that they might be for me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory.

You shall no more be termed Forsaken,
and your land shall no more be termed Desolate,
but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her,
and your land Married;
for the Lord delights in you,
and your land shall be married.
For as a young man marries a young woman,
so shall your sons marry you,
and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
so shall your God rejoice over you.

On your walls, O Jerusalem,
I have set watchmen;
all the day and all the night
they shall never be silent.

I62 watchman

The watchmen are there not because God needs any reminding, but because we, as people, do. God loves us so much that He puts such mechanisms in place so that we can see how seriously He takes His covenant obligations. We hear the prophets reminding God of His promises or read about the angels interceding for Israel and we know that God, being good, will honor His word. It is for our benefit, not His, that He does this.

–Gail Sanders

You who put the Lord in remembrance,
take no rest,
and give him no rest
until he establishes Jerusalem
and makes it a praise in the earth.
The Lord has sworn by his right hand
and by his mighty arm:
“I will not again give your grain
to be food for your enemies,
and foreigners shall not drink your wine
for which you have labored;
but those who garner it shall eat it
and praise the Lord,
and those who gather it shall drink it
in the courts of my sanctuary.”

I62 MarriageSupper

Revelation 19:9   (NIV)

Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.”

10 Go through, go through the gates;
prepare the way for the people;
build up, build up the highway;
clear it of stones;
lift up a signal over the peoples.
11 Behold, the Lord has proclaimed
to the end of the earth:
Say to the daughter of Zion,
“Behold, your salvation comes;

I62 nativity

Luke 2:10-12   (ESV)

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

behold, his reward is with him,
and his recompense before him.”
12 And they shall be called The Holy People,
The Redeemed of the Lord;
and you shall be called Sought Out,
A City Not Forsaken.



HERE is “Surely Your Salvation Is Coming” composed by Esther Mui.  The pictures of Jerusalem and Israel are quite lovely.


English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
bridegroom rejoicing.    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-Ux20A2bYKU8/UN_aYPFUUWI/AAAAAAAABp4/UG_yIWOXAe8/s1600/isaiah+62v5b.jpg
Revelation 2:17.    http://media-cache-ec4.pinterest.com/192x/02/18/17/0218179c85173e53c6b908b22abadab0.jpg
crown.    http://endoftheworld.net/Jesus/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/imperial_crown_small.jpg
wedding supper of the Lamb.   http://www.pawcreek.org/media/2010/06/MarriageSupper.gif
olivewood nativity set.    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-xLVoiW8fEK8/TvUxpb5AZOI/AAAAAAAABT4/wGvN3Iw4NM8/s1600/star+of+wonder+300px.jpg
watchman.    http://genewolfenbarger.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Whos-On-The-Wall.jpg

1014.) Isaiah 61

March 21, 2013

I61 beauty for ashes

Isaiah 61   (ESV)

The Year of the Lord’s Favor

I61 Jesus

Luke 4:16-21  (NLT)

When he came to the village of Nazareth, his boyhood home, he went as usual to the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read the Scriptures. The scroll of Isaiah the prophet was handed to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where this was written:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,
    that the blind will see,
that the oppressed will be set free,
    and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.”

He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down. All eyes in the synagogue looked at him intently. Then he began to speak to them. “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!”

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.

I61 trumpets

We are familiar with this passage as a proclamation of Christ’s victory over death and sin. Yet Isaiah is using the language of Jubilee here. He is saying, “Let the trumpets blast announcing the cheerful, joyous year of liberty our Savior has given us!”

This passage also refers to the scene of Christ’s ascension into glory. The heavenly Father, after beholding the awful sufferings of His blessed Son, prepared for Jesus a glorious entrance into heaven. Indeed, as Christ made His ascension, He was escorted by a host of angels and multitudes of chariots: “The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place. Thou hast ascended on high” (Psalm 68:17-18).

Our finite minds cannot begin to conceive of this glorious event. As Christ approached the eternal city of God, riding on His white horse, He was escorted by this huge procession. And as He entered the gates, the trumpets of God began to sound: “God is gone up with a shout, the Lord with the sound of a trumpet” (Psalm 47:5).

This was the joyful sound—the trumpets blaring, announcing the believers’ year of Jubilee! The sound proclaimed to all humankind, “I have made provision for you to walk out of prison, to be restored to your family, and to have everything you need for a fulfilled life. You are free to live without fear of any enemy. Enter now into My joy!”

–David Wilkerson

They shall build up the ancient ruins;
they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
the devastations of many generations.



HERE  Rebecca St. James sings “You Make Everything Beautiful” while the verses above are presented in calligraphy.


Strangers shall stand and tend your flocks;
foreigners shall be your plowmen and vinedressers;
but you shall be called the priests of the Lord;
they shall speak of you as the ministers of our God;
you shall eat the wealth of the nations,
and in their glory you shall boast.
Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion;
instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot;
therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion;
they shall have everlasting joy.

For I the Lord love justice;
I hate robbery and wrong;
I will faithfully give them their recompense,
and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.

I61 rainbow

Hebrews 13:20-21   (NIV)

Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Their offspring shall be known among the nations,
and their descendants in the midst of the peoples;
all who see them shall acknowledge them,
that they are an offspring the Lord has blessed.

I61 dress

10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord;
my soul shall exult in my God,
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation;
he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,

as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11 For as the earth brings forth its sprouts,
and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up,
so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise
to sprout up before all the nations.


English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
beauty for ashes.     http://www.polyvore.com/cgi/img-set/BQcDAAAAAwoDanBnAAAABC5vdXQKFlRWQWcyTENvUjZPSnNSUW5xMGJaOXcAAAACaWQKAXgAAAAEc2l6ZQ.jpg
Jesus teaching.    http://www.pastorken.com/blog/uploaded_images/Jesus-Teaching-716314.jpg
trumpets.    http://dedication.www3.50megs.com/jpg/trumpets.jpg
rainbow, a sign of Noah’s covenant.   http://images.fineartamerica.com/images-medium-large/rainbow-covenant-will-borden.jpg
dress, drawing by Dana Hixson.   http://year27.com/wp-content/uploads/120619_Isaiah61_10_DANAHIXSON.jpg