Today’s readings.. (1 Samuel 5,6), (Isaiah 51), (Revelation 12,13)
Our Isaiah chapter (51) starts with a challenge! It was a challenge to the people of the nation at that time: he lived through the reign of 4 different kings (see ch. 1 v.1) and Ahaz especially did not live righteously. We read today, “Listen to me you who pursue righteousness, you who seek the Lord …” [v.1] But how successful were they in pursuing righteousness? What is meant by ‘pursue’? In the Hebrew language Isaiah first uses the word in his first chapter, “Everyone loves a bribe and runs after gifts.” [v.23] Interesting! How urgent is our desire to “run after” righteous living?
Remember – the chapter started – “Listen to me!” We cannot succeed in our pursuit of righteousness unless we are listening! Today, that surely means reading! But how do we read? What is our motive in reading? Is it to acquire ‘head knowledge’ to become intellectually clever in knowing about God and all the information in His word?
In the 2nd verse we read, “Look to Abraham your father … I called him that I might bless him.” Look to the example of Abraham, his faith in God, his commitment in carrying out God’s will. Bring to mind the lesson drawn in Hebrews ch. 11 (from v.8) where he is used as a great example of a man of active faith in his determination to serve the true God.
As our world is led more and more by those who have no knowledge of God, some who do not even acknowledge that he exists, the words we read today are an appropriate warning, “My righteousness draws near … lift up your eyes … the earth will wear out like a garment, and they who dwell in it will die in like manner; but my salvation will be forever; and my righteousness will never be dismayed.” [v.5,6]
The next verse says, “Listen to me you who know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear not the reproach of man … my righteousness will, be forever, and my salvation to all generations.”
May we all have such clearness of vision in our hearts that we “pursue righteousness” so that v.11 is true for us, “the ransomed of the LORD shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”