Read Isaiah 24
How can devastation be celebrated? The prophecies in scripture concerning the end times and the return of Jesus Christ are troubling. The imagery is troubling and the fact that they are to be believed as fact is troubling. Yet, the description of the end times is accompanied by celebration, praise and worship. To many of us this is either inconsistent or terribly insensitive. How can both of these realities coexist? The solution to this problem is the word, justice. The prophecy of the end of the earth as we know it is evil without context. In the same way that seeing a young child being forcefully told to go to their room as they cry and wail for pardon is a terrible scene to witness without the context. In order to understand the judgment of the living God in the return of Jesus you have to know Jesus. You cannot make your first step in exploring Christianity the book of Isaiah, chapter 24 and leave it at that. This is a moment, a declaration, a prophecy and in the absence of context you will undoubtedly be led astray by such an incomplete representation of the living God. Does God mean every word he speaks to us through the prophet Isaiah in chapter 24, absolutely! However, we are helplessly incapable of knowing Jesus as our Lord in Savior by limiting ourselves to the book of Isaiah, chapter 24. Have you done this? Has this been your approach to knowing Jesus? Seek to know Jesus. Observe his interactions with people. Listen to how he speaks to people, those who profess faith in him and those who do not. Spend time with Jesus. What you will find is that Jesus is not only good, and merciful but he is absolutely just. His actions are not hasty, flippant, oppressive or wicked. His actions are patient, thoughtful, forgiving and righteous. Proceeding from this place of understanding we are then better equipped to enter into a chapter such as Isaiah, chapter 24. Does God forecast the devastation that will fall upon the entire earth and for all people alike? Yes. Is the scene portrayed one of complete destruction and utter devastation? Yes. However, as God does not change his character like shifting shadows, is the God behind this prophecy the same God you met in Jesus of Nazareth? Yes and it has to! Seek to know Jesus and you will find the righteous judge that you can trust and celebrate.
Read Song of Solomon 7
10I belong to my beloved,
and his desire is for me.
Do you belong to the Lord? Can you answer this question with certainty or do you know what this means to belong to him in the first place? The sin within us fights the influence of any authority that is not our own. The idea that we belong to someone or something else is absolutely offensive to our flesh. To belong to someone else is to relinquish control over life completely to that person. Your rights are the rights that your owner allows you to have. The sin within us cannot fathom such a unreasonable and torturous existence. However, the eternal word of God boldly proclaims such a reality. For this reason many follow their discomfort away from scripture and into the arms of comforting, self-affirming doctrine that has no grounds in God’s word at all. For this reason many reduce scripture and the person of Jesus to helpful assistants that often make good points worth pondering but not good enough to be acknowledged as the whole truth and nothing but. To accept God’s word at face value in this way is to radically proclaim that you have forfeited ownership of your life to the one you now belong to. To be a Christian is not to exist independent of Christ and alongside him. To be a Christian is to exist united with Christ with his spirit living in you. A Christian independent of Christ Jesus is no Christian at all. To accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior is to understand his role in your life as Master, Lord, Owner. Why does this agitate our sinful nature so much? Why do we recoil at the slightest mention of not having authority and ownership of our own lives where we have the rights to make whatever decision we see fit to make? It is because we have not fully realized the depths of our wickedness and the heights of God’s forgiveness and love. The reaction to a “boss” is different than the reaction to a “good boss.” As we spend time in scripture seeking out truth in the person of Jesus Christ we witness the beauty of the Son of God. We are not worthy of his beauty yet we are given this gift by grace simply because he is good and he desires us. “How could he or why should he desire us?” some might ask. Clearly not because we’ve earned it or because we deserve that kind of affection. His love for us is often so true and so unexplainable. So friends, dedicate your life to searching out this love, knowing it, experiencing it and be transformed and let by your Master, Lord Jesus.