Sunday, February 8, 2009

My God, His Wonders & Perfect Plans - Isaiah 25:1

"O LORD, You are my God;
I will exalt You,
I will give thanks to Your name;
For You have worked wonders,
Plans formed long ago,
with perfect faithfulness." (vs1)

Over the past 2 years I have probably stopped to meditate on this verse more than any other in all of Scripture. Here it is falling before me on this LORD's Day morning. What a great way to prepare to worship my God.

Isaiah 25:1 is in a picture frame right next to my kitchen sink so that I can be reminded of its truths over and over throughout the day. This is one of those spiritual multi-vitamins that I take often. It fortifies and nourishes me again and again. Its message helps me to think on "whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, excellent, and worthy of praise" (Ph 4:8). Here is a power packed verse that enables me to "take every thought captive." It steadies me in the swirling storm. It comforts me in the times when I am afraid. It strengthens me when I am weak as water. It moves my heart to exulting praise! Here is a golden nugget that I have hidden in my heart that I might not grumble against my God.

Life is often hard. In my finite state, I rarely understand the providence of God as it is unfolding before my eyes. My vision is blurred, my view is blocked. The forest of the fall skews my ability to see the fertile valley clearly.

It seems that I'm looking at the back side of the Persian rug of life and from my perspective things don't always seem well planned out - things often look like a bunch of ugly knots! But things are not always as they seem. This verse has been an anchor for me when the winds blow hard and has helped me to catch a glimpse of the "rug" of my life from God's side - oh, and from His perspective it is beautiful!

+"O LORD, you are my God." Here is covenant comfort. Yes, God is GOD. But, because of His electing grace granted to me in Christ Jesus, He is not only God but He is MY God! "I will be your God and you will be my people." He is mine and I am His! I am in a relationship with Him because He has entered into a relationship with me. He is my God and in His sovereign mercy He set the wheels in motion from eternity past to adopt me as His own. It is all of Him, none of me, and I am humbled beyond words! May Paul speak for me:

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. 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 upon us. In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention.... In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will." (Eph 1:3-11)

"Oh, the depth of the riches both of the widsom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the LORD, or who became His counselor. Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to Him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen. (Ro 11:33-36)

"O LORD, You are my God" and it is true only because of your own sovereign mercy and lovingkindness. I have brought nothing to my salvation but my sin. Even my faith is a gift of You (Eph 2:8-9)! "Amazing love how can it be!" When I am tempted, tried, and terrified here is a divine cordial. The LORD is my God!

+"I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name." Because He is my God I will praise Him and I will thank Him. The covenant relationship - this bond set in blood that has inseparably knit me to Him and Him to me - should move me to praise and thanksgiving.

I was by nature a child of wrath (Ep 2:3) justly deserving of His dipleasure. I was a dead child (Eph 2:1) and God went to the orphange of the dead and plucked me out, gave me new life, and called me His beloved! "Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul my life, my all!"

He is my God! I will exalt Him! I will give thanks to His name! To know God is to praise God! To know God is to thank God! To be known by God is beyond expression but must move us to praise and thanksgiving! If we are not moved we are not known! O LORD how gracious and glorious You are!!! I will exalt and thank You this day!

+"For You have worked wonders..." God is My God and He is worthy of all my praise and thanksgiving for His sovereign work of redeeming and adopting mercy to me, but He is also worthy of praise and thanksgiving because of the wisdom of His divine decrees.

He has worked wonders. He is a God of omnipotent power. Think of this:

  • He has made the world and all that it contains out of nothing but the word of His mouth.
  • He sent the flood and destroyed all the wicked of this world while saving and securing Noah and His seed inside an ark.
  • He opened the barren wombs of Sarah, Rachel, Hannah and Elizabeth.
  • He sent the plagues to Egypt and yet His own people were set apart and spared.
  • He parted the Red Sea that Israel might escape Egypt on DRY ground and closed it back up that their enemies might be stopped in their sin.
  • He sent manna and meat from heaven to feed His children in the wilderness.
  • He slaked their thirst with water from the rock.
  • He felled the walls of Jericho with only a march and a shout.
  • He provided a kinsman redeemer for Ruth.
  • He made a boy to defeat a giant with a stone and a sling shot.
  • He conquered the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmal by burning up a water soaked offering.
  • He gave the widow a vessel of overflowing oil in the midst of a famine.
  • He humbled Nebuchadnezzar with madness and then restored him at the proper time.
  • He became the Word made flesh and was born of a virgin.
  • He turned water into wine.
  • He cast out demons.
  • He fed 5,000 with 5 loaves and 2 fish - and there were leftovers!
  • He gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, cleansing to the leper, leaping to the lame.
  • He conquered death and hell when He rose from the grave.
  • He has pulled many a camel through the eye of a needle (Lk 18).
  • He has saved me!

He has worked wonders. He still works wonders. He is my God and I will exalt Him and give thanks to His name!

+"...plans formed long ago..." The wonders He has worked long ago and the wonders He is working right now are part of a sovereign design. All of these wonders are planned. Things don't happen by accident, by chance or by dumb luck. Things happen by the sovereign counsel of God. "His sovereignty rules over all." (Ps 103:19). "He works all things according to the counsel of His will" (Eph 1:11).

A.W. Pink, the great Baptist pastor says of God's sovereignty:

“The sovereignty of God may be defined as the exercise of His supremacy. Being infinitely elevated above the highest creature, He is the Most High, Lord of heaven & earth. Subject to no one, influenced by none, absolutely independent; God does as He pleases, only as He pleases, always as He pleases. None can thwart Him, none can hinder Him.”
God has sovereignly ordained the steps of our lives. My ways and days are planned. I am who I am and where I am by sovereign counsel. As His child by covenant mercy, those planned steps, whatever they may be have "fallen out in pleasant places." Even the so-called frowning providences of my life (and know that there have been many in Lori's journey) have all ultimately been good for me. I would change none of them!

How can I say that? Because my sovereign God is also a good God! The wonders He has worked, the plans He has formed have been formed "with perfect faithfulness." Do you see the grand beauty of the last part of verse 1? The steps He has ordained for me are perfect for me. His actions toward me are consistent with the faithfulness of His character. This good and holy God is faithful to be good and holy in all He does.

God is faithful to His cherished children in whatever His omniscient wisdom is pleased to bring their way. He knows best what we need most. "Whate'er my God ordains is right." The path I am on was carved out by a sovereign and faithful design.

He is my God, He works wonders, He forms faithful plans. He is God and I will exalt and give thanks to His name!

My times are in Thy hand, my God I wish them there;
My life, my friends, my soul, I leave entirely to Thy care.
My times are in Thy hand, whatever they may be;
pleasing or painful, dark or bright, do what seems best to Thee.
My times are in Thy hand; why should I doubt or fear?
My Father's hand will never cause His child a needless tear.
My times are in Thy hand; Jesus the Crucified,
those hands my cruel sins have pierced are now my guard and guide."
(William F. Lloyd, 1824)

"O LORD, you are my God; I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name; for You have worked wonders, plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness."

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