Monday, March 23, 2009

Promises to Me and to My Children- Isaiah 44

"But now listen, O Jacob, My servant;
and Israel, whom I have chosen:
Thus says the LORD who made you
and formed you from the womb,
who will help you,
'Do not fear, O Jacob My servant;
and you Jeshurun whom I have chosen.
For I will pour out water on the thirsty land
and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring
and My blessing on your descendants;
and they will spring up among the grass
like poplars by streams of water.'
This one will say, "I am the LORD's'
and that one will call on the name of Jacob;
and another will write on his hand,
'Belonging to the LORD',
and will name Israel's name with honor.
(vs 1-5)

The first 8 verses of chapter 44 give an interesting description of who we are and what the resulting blessings of who we are in Christ consist of.

As the people of God we are said to be His servants, His chosen, and His creation (vs 1-2). I'm struck by the intimate language which is used regarding our creation. God says "I formed you from the womb." God is acquainted with us. He doesn't mass produce mankind but personally and individually knits each of us together. The Psalmist declares "For You did form my inward parts; you did weave me in my mother's womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made" (Ps 139:13-14).

That personal "knitting" is true of every person. God is the Creator of all and as the Grand Potter He has formed all of His creation for His own divine purpose (Ro 9:21-23). All of mankind is made in the image of God - and because of that there is a value upon every human. However, there is a special mark placed upon the redeemed - not because of any intrinsic difference between them and others - we are all sinners who are deserving of His wrath and displeasure (Ro 3:9-23) - but we are specially marked out because of His grace!

Isaiah says we are not only created by God but that we have also been "chosen" by Him. The book of Ephesians declares this same truth:

"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." (Eph 1:3-8)

"For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works that no one should boast." (Eph 2:8-9)

God is our Creator, Redeemer, Father, Friend, and Master. We are formed by God and we are chosen by God. He has adopted us into His family and into His service. In light of the intimacy of this relationship we are reminded once again "do not fear", for our good Master will be our help. He has promised to meet our needs. "Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?" (Mt 6:26). "And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." (Ph 4:19)

While our God daily meets a bountiful amount of our needs, in this text three particular needful blessings are mentioned.

1. He "will pour out water on the thirsty land." Several times prior to this passage Isaiah has pointed out the thirst quenching kindness of our God. Each time I have run across those references I am reminded of Christ's words in the beatitudes: "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied" (Mt 5:6); and of His words to the Samaritan woman in John 4: "whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life." Spiritual thirst shall be slaked. "Those that are sensible of their spiritual needs and of the insufficiency of the creature to supply them shall have abundant satisfaction in God." (Matthew Henry). O Lord, make me sensible of my needs that I might drink fully of the living water.

2) He will pour out "streams on the dry ground." He will make "streams in the desert" (Is 35:6). When His people find themselves weary, He will give them the refreshing and reviving rivers of grace that their desert-like souls so desperately need. "Those that are barren as the dry ground shall be watered by the grace of God." (Matthew Henry). O Lord, when I am weary and heavy laden, when I find myself parched in the desert of this world have mercy and pour out reviving grace.

3) He will "pour out [His] Spirit on your offspring." Here is the culmination of the promise. He will give us His Spirit - the "life giving" Spirit (Jn 6:63). And not only will He pour out His Spirit upon us but the text says to "our offspring." The covenant blessings are to our descendants, to our children and to our children's children. As a parent there is great comfort for me in these words. I am striving by God's grace to point my children to the glorious hope that is found in my God. I am daily pointing them to their need for Christ - and daily acknowledging to them their Mom's continued need of God's grace. Here, as in many other places, God's promises to me are said to have an application to Joshua and Elizabeth. As I am faithful to my responsibilities (which in itself is an act of free grace) He will be faithful with His promises.

"It is the Spirit who gives life" (Jn 6:63). It is the Spirit who "guides us into all truth" (Jn 16:13). It is the Spirit who "helps us in our weaknesses" (Ro 8:26). It is the Spirit who bears in us the fruit of "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control" (Gal 5:22-23). It is the Spirit who "seals us for the day of redemption" (Eph 4:30).It is the Spirit that will assure us that we "abide in Him and He in us" (1 Jn 4:13). This is the Spirit that He says He will "pour out on our offspring."

And here are His own words regarding our descendants: "And they will spring up among the grass like poplars by streams of water. This one will say, 'I am the LORD's'; and that one will call on the name of Jacob; and another will write on his hand, 'Belonging to the LORD,' and will name Israel's name with honor." (vs 4-5)

In a world of fading grass they will be like tall poplars planted by nourishing water. They will own my God to be their God!

My Great covenant keeping God, You who supply all of my needs, my greatest need is your Spirit and in mercy You have given Him to me. My children's greatest need is your Spirit. In Your mercy, remember Your own promises to my children and make Your life-giving Spirit effectual in and to them. "For the promise is for you and your children...." (Acts 2:39).

A child of the King and a mother of covenant children,


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