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Isaiah 41:17-43:13

The oppressed and the poor look for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched from thirst. I, the Lord, will respond to their prayers; I, the God of Israel, will not abandon them. I will make streams flow down the slopes and produce springs in the middle of the valleys. I will turn the desert into a pool of water and the arid land into springs. (Isaiah 41:17-18 NET.)

Reading these two verses brought these Words of Jesus to my remembrance,

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. (Matthew 5:6 NET.)

Everything that is written in the Prophets is found in Jesus. I believe it is not until we get to the place where we are like the dear, with his tongue hanging out from thirst panting for water (Psalm 42:1), that God will quench our thirst and satiate our hunger. When we stop filling ourselves up with things that will never satisfy our thirst then God will come in and give us Streams of Living Water.

I have always loved the first four verses of Isaiah 42 from the very first time I read it.

"Here is my servant whom I support, my chosen one in whom I take pleasure. I have placed my spirit on him; he will make just decrees for the nations. He will not cry out or shout; he will not publicize himself in the streets. A crushed reed he will not break a dim wick he will not extinguish; he will faithfully make just decrees. He will not grow dim or be crushed before establishing justice on the earth; the coastlands will wait in anticipation for his decrees." (Isaiah 42:1-4 NET.)

I’m not sure what specifically in and about these four verse bring me such joy and comfort but I think for me it gives me guidelines in determining or discerning who, is ministering the Gospel. Are they, am I really being led by the Holy Spirit? Or am I being led by my own flesh? When I see or hear people preaching in the street or subway. I ask, “Are they following these guidelines?” Are they witnessing or are they being a witness by their comportment. Can people see in them, can they see in me the indwelling of the Holy Spirit?

God also gives Isaiah a scathing indictment in chapter 42 against God’s people then, and now.
18 "Oh, how deaf and blind you are toward me! Why won't you listen? Why do you refuse to see? 19 Who in all the world is as blind as my own people, my servant? Who is as deaf as my messengers? Who is as blind as my chosen people, the servant of the LORD? 20 You see and understand what is right but refuse to act on it. You hear, but you don't really listen."

Yet, despite all of these charges, we are still God’s people because He loves us unconditionally.

Ephesians 2:1-22
But now in Christ Jesus you who used to be far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, the one who made both groups into one and who destroyed the middle wall of partition, the hostility, when he nullified in his flesh the law of commandments in decrees. He did this to create in himself one new man out of two, thus making peace, and to reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by which the hostility has been killed. (Ephesians 2:13-16 NET.)

These are awesome verses. The Law that kept God Chosen People, the Jews, separated from the Gentiles, that’s me, was done away with. He made two different people, the ones who were given the Law and the ones who were not, into one people group. Even if we refuse to accept that Jews are God’s Original Chosen People God still sees us as One. Even if the Jews fail to accept the Gentiles as part of their family, God still sees us as One Family. We are family not because we accept and are endeared to everyone; we are family by way of Blood, the shed Blood of Jesus Christ.


Proverbs 23:29-35

For a while, I have seen alcoholic beverages as bottled “spirits.” In fact there are still stores in Manhattan that use the phrase, “Wines and Spirits” in the title that identifies their business. I live in the Borough of Brooklyn or Kings County, part of New York City, and my borough is also known as the Borough of Churches. A church building should be a place where folks get together who are filled with the Holy Spirit. However, we know that there are churches all around the world where there is no Spirit: they have a counterfeit spirit. Coupled with the “bottled” spirits we find in liquor stores and those places that operate under a counterfeit sprit these verses, at least to me, do not deal exclusively with the imbibing of many alcoholic beverages.

Whatever the choice, fake sprit or one from a bottle, the consequences are the sam, you will find yourself shipwrecked, so beware.

Grace and peace,
Ramona

I hadn't been doing these readings lately -- I had switched to a chronological Bible for the last few months, but it was not going well. I haven't even gotten to any New Testament readings yet, and to have JUST OT readings was getting tedious for me. I decided to come back to this and use my chronological Bible alongside it for historical context. Anyway, this is my first day back, and it had to be God directing me back to this, because I REALLY needed this passage in Isaiah today. My 13-year-old son has been enthralled by the Curiosity series on the Discovery Channel, and I've been watching it with him to help him with any questions or anything that comes up that is contradictory to our faith. The last episode we watched was about the end of the world. I generally avoid disaster-type movies because of how much they trouble me. I am an EXTREMELY empathetic person, and it is far to easy for me to actually insert myself and my children into those situations and be haunted by weeks. Watching this episode of Curiosity was like watching a disaster movie, but with scientific evidence to back it all up -- it was horrifying. So to come here today for the first time in months, without knowing what passages I would be reading today, and see Isaiah 43 -- it was like God whispering to me that it was okay. Whatever happens, God will walk with me through it. And he already knows what the future will bring. He created me and my children "for such a time as this." We will be okay because God goes with us.

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