Grace and peace to you!
If our lives were a garden, what kind of garden would we be? Interesting how our day can shift in just a moment in time! That is if we can be flexible. This morning an interesting topic came up, and I began to research it. It was one simple word– dry. My plan: to thoroughly examine this concept throughout Scripture.
The first suggested reference was Isaiah 58:11: “And the LORD will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire in scorched places, and give strength to your bones, and you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.” (NASB)
I was totally hooked and fully submitted to where God would lead this particular thought because WHO wouldn’t like to find themselves guided in all the day-in and day-out decisions which are required of them? Who would not love to have every desire satisfied; especially in the dry and scorched places!! How often do we find ourselves in desperate need of strength? A well-watered garden is a perfect example of a beautiful and quiet place; usually with songbirds singing and just an all around quiet peacefulness-a delight to the senses! Can you just picture such a place? A person who personifies this description?
If you’ve been around awhile, you know it is a must for me to go back further into the text to make sure I have a grasp of as much context of the passage as I can for correct understanding; so I dialed back to Isaiah 57:14 for greater understanding.
The later part of Isaiah 57 is all about God’s forgiveness for those who are repentant. Interestingly, it is more about God’s actions and responses to His people. Verse 13 clearly states that whoever trusts in God will inherit the land and possess His holy mountain. God instructs Isaiah to rebuild the road; moving all rocks and stones. It’s to be a smooth road without rocks and stones so that His people can return from captivity to the safety, protection, and freedom in His presence. They had been led away captive by greediness and the desire to go their stubborn ways. Now, it is His desire for them to return to live with Him in the high and holy place; His requirement– a contrite (remorseful) and humble spirit.
Many will think this is a steep price to pay; others fail to see any need for remorse or humility. For those who find it within themselves to return to Him, He promises restoration and courage. In fact, He also has a promise for those who had remained in their stubbornness. Though He was angry, punished the greedy and withdrew from those who kept to their stubborn ways; He declares that He will heal them.
He pledges comfort for the mourners; also, abundant peace. But for the wicked, there is no peace. They will be like a churning ocean; without rest.
In Isaiah 58, we come across the contrast of real and false worship. False worship is described distinctly as worship that is self-seeking, self-pleasing and done with the expectation of recognition or reward. Some would call this form or worship religion rather than relationship; which is God’s heart for His people. Finally, we get to what the Lord, our God describes as His fast. The fast that God finds pleasing:
1. Bring freedom to those wrongly imprisoned.
2. Lighten the burden of those in your charge.
3. Free the oppressed; those subject to harsh treatment or treated as subservient. (remove chains of bondage)
4. Feed those who are hungry.
5. Shelter the homeless.
6. Clothe those who need clothing.
7. Do not hide from relatives that could use your help.
I find it very intriguing that there are exactly seven things that God lists in this passage. Isaiah is part of the Old Testament and is written originally in the Hebrew language. Hebrew tradition gives a numerical meaning to numbers. Seven is defined as the Divine number of completion; a covenant promise; and some say the number of perfection. So is there a promise or a covenant promise attached to the above behavior? Let’s explore…
Let’s pick up in verse 8 of Isaiah 58: ““Then your salvation will come like the dawn, and your wounds will quickly heal. Your godliness will lead you forward, and the glory of the LORD will protect you from behind. 9 Then when you call, the LORD will answer. ‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply. “Remove the heavy yoke of oppression.
Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumors! 10 Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.
11 The LORD will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring. 12 Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities. Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls and a restorer of homes.” (NLT)
Five Promises or Results of the Lord’s Fast:
1. Your salvation will come like dawn.
2. Your wounds will heal quickly.
3. Your godliness will lead you forward.
4. The glory of the Lord will protect you from behind.
5. You will call, and God will answer; He will quickly reply.
You might be interested to know if you don’t know already; the meaning of the Hebrew number five is God’s grace. God’s grace is abundant in our lives when we find ourselves submitted to His plan and purpose for us. As you can see in the above passages of scripture; our repentant and submitted life to the things which are of greatest importance to the heart of God causes His abundant grace to flow in our lives and allows us to abide in a place of peace, beauty, and fruitfulness!
May His grace abound to you in all you do!
What an interesting question that was posed today in the current Bible study I am doing! Why do you love God’s Word? It was followed with this proposal…consider a friend or acquaintance asked you this question because they did not understand your love for the Bible and you were too taken off guard to respond at the time. Now, you sit down to write a note or letter to explain… How would you explain? So here goes lets give it a try…
I was taken aback a bit by your question today and needed a little time to process
your inquiry because many emotions rose up within me at that moment. Too many to
put into words immediately. God’s Word is life and health to me! Without it, I would
not be the person I am… I probably would not be alive and certainly would not even
resemble the person you know. His Word has been the source of strength to carry on in
the darkest of days, when sorrow, grief and loss were so very overwhelming that easily I
could have crawled into a dark hole, given up and disappeared. It has brought comfort
and peace in the most frightening of times; it has been my source of encouragement
when all seemed lost and I felt totally alone; it has been a well of hope springing up in
the driest of deserts; a balm to heal my heart when it has been wounded or too heartsick
to even move. His Word has been freedom to a soul held captive by her circumstances
and it has flooded joy into a heart teaching me that joy is available even in the times
where happiness is elusive and circumstances are challenging. When I have been wise, it
has offered me the keys to navigate through every passage on this journey of life. When I
have been foolish, He has drawn me back to it to lovingly shine light on the areas that
could have been better navigated and teach me better ways for the future. Yes, it is life;
strength; comfort; peace; encouragement; healing; freedom; joy; direction; and
instruction. God’s Word also displays my Father’s character, shows the greatness of His
love, and tells me who I am In Christ. In Him, we are called friend; son or daughter;
beloved; accepted; redeemed; justified; set apart; precious; blameless; chosen; and
kings and priests…just to name a few. It contains everything needed to live a victorious
life and to avoid the pitfalls life tends to throw our way. It is a precious gift and a much
needed tool for my life. Dear friend, I hope this at least in part answers your question
and thank you! for challenging me with this question. It is good to be challenged; to be
able put words to such deeply felt emotions and beliefs and to bring to remembrance
why we hold something or someone so dear and precious. It keeps it fresh to us and
prevents us from taking it for granted!
Grace and peace to you my friend!