Light in the Darkness Day 2: An Act of Rebellion

Hear me, you heavens!  Listen, earth!  For the Lord has spoken:

“I reared children and brought them up, but they have rebelled against me.  The ox knows its master, the donkey its owner’s manger, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.”

Ah, sinful nation, a people whose guilt is great, a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption!  They have forsaken the LORD; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on him.  Isaiah 1:2-4

One of my favorite movie lines of all time comes from the classic James Dean/Natalie Wood film, Rebel Without a Cause.  Upon adult interrogation, Dean’s character is asked the question, “What are you rebelling against?”  The cool as a cucumber teen calmly and cheekily replies, “What have you got?”  My 5 year old seems to have adopted Dean’s response as a life philosophy.  My husband and I have to choose our battles carefully.  While we want our children to become independent thinkers and problem-solvers, we also want them to adhere to some general principles of civilized society.  There are rules to be followed and standards to be upheld.  But it can be a hard balancing act.

The truth is, rebellion seems to be something that is inherent in each and every one of us.  From the very beginning, rebellion has been part of the story of humanity.  Adam and Eve rebelled against God’s statutes by eating from the Tree of Knowledge, thus abandoning the perfect existence in Eden God had so painstakingly created. The people of Israel continued to rebel against God, despite the lavish love He poured upon them.  The book of Isaiah finds the nation of Israel in a state of complete apostasy.  Leaders and prophets had led the people into organized acts of idolatry.  The government was corrupt, unjust, and oppressive.  Look at the words Isaiah uses to describe God’s chosen people:

See how the faithful city has become a prostitute!  She was once full of justice; righteousness used to dwell in her–but now murderers!  Your silver has become dross, your choice wine is diluted with water.  Your rulers are rebels, companions of thieves; they all love bribes and chase after gifts.  They do not defend the cause of the fatherless; the widow’s case does not come before them.  Isaiah 1:21-23

From the very beginning, God designed a perfect plan for His people to follow.  At the heart of the plan, was the command to honor God above all else.  God established the “if…then” covenant with His people.  If you honor me….if you keep my commands…then you will live in peace and fulfillment. God knew His people would be surrounded by cultures whose people did not revere and worship Him.  God knew the temptation to depend on the false gods and idols of their neighbors would be great.  But God chose to trust His people–His children–His beloved creation.

But, as in the Garden of Eden, when the people had gained their footing…when they were comfortable and secure…when their crops grew and their endeavors prospered…when their leaders gained international prominence and recognition…the people forgot their God. They turned from the One who had Delivered and Nurtured them to worship the gods of their own making.  They rebelled against the laws of the Lord.  They threw off that easy yoke to wrap themselves in a noose made of greed, lust, consumerism, materialism and ego.  God’s people turned away from the Light and were plunged into Darkness.

In what ways have you found yourself rebelling against God in your own life?  What were the direct and indirect consequences of that rebellion?

While rebellion against God can plunge us into Darkness, God’s Light continues to shine as a beacon of hope.  Remember, in this season of Advent, that while the consequences of our personal and collective rebellion can be dear; God’s love overpowers it all.

For the people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.  Isaiah 9:2

Blessings and Peace,

Sara

Light in the Darkness Day 1: God Moves Beyond Us

As I have been working on lots of IRL projects lately, my blog has fallen a bit (TON) behind.  I am reposting my Advent series from last year.  I LOVE the book of Isaiah–there is so much beauty and hope to be found in his words.  Please join me as we prepare, once again, to welcome our Savior into the world.

Blessings and Peace,

Sara

 

Welcome to my new Advent series, Light in the Darkness: An Advent Study on the Book of Isaiah.  I have to tell you, I have always been drawn to the book of Isaiah.  I especially like the poetic sections.  The author (or authors) have a way of painting our Almighty God with words that fill me with awe and wonder and an incredible peace and unshakable hope.  When my soul needs a boost, I often turn to Isaiah.

But Isaiah is not all about feeling good.  The prophet speaks harsh words of truth in love to a people who have unabashedly turned from the One who called them and rescued them and formed them into His own.  The God of Isaiah is full of righteous anger directed at the people of Israel.  Through the kings of Assyria and Babylon, God will strip the people of all they have.  God will remove them from the seat of His Glory, exiling them as slaves once again.

candle 2

The book of Isaiah is the story of humanity in one of its most dramatic forms.  God creates His people and builds for them a perfect world.  And yet, His people rebel against the One who loves them, who fights for them, who sustains them.  Lured by the false gods of this world, the people turn their backs on God, and the consequences of their rebellion result in utter devastation.  The world they have known collapses around them.  There is no one to save them anymore.  They are torn away from their homeland, forced into servitude in a land far away.  Their cries for help, for mercy, seem to go unheard.  But then, God acts.  With amazing and abundant love God reaches out to save His people.  He rescues them from captivity.  He redeems them and restores them to His glory.

And He makes a promise.  One day, God will dwell with His people.  One day, His justice and righteousness will become a beacon which guides all humanity.  One day, God’s Kingdom will be restored, and all people will live in the light of His glory.  A Savior is coming.

The people of Isaiah’s time had no idea who the Messiah was or when and where he would come.  It was a promise they never saw fulfilled.  They might have understood Isaiah’s promises in a completely different context.  To an extent, those promises were fulfilled in their time.  God saved them.  God redeemed them.  God restored them.  God sent messengers and deliverers to dwell among them.  The triumphant return from Babylon may have been seen as the closure to the message of the prophet Isaiah so many years before.  But looking back across time, it was only the beginning.  God’s ultimate deliverance was still to come.

God had a much greater plan.  God’s plan stretched beyond the people of ancient Israel–sweeping far beyond the reaches of their understood land and time.  God’s plan for His creation unfolded thousands of years later in a tiny rural town in a tiny country.  And His plan is still unfolding in ways we cannot see or imagine.

God is not done yet.  And although we cannot see or understand the grand architectural design it doesn’t mean that God is not moving beyond us.  God is generations ahead of where we are, putting things in place to unfold hundreds or thousands of years from now.

“Comfort, oh Comfort my people…” Isaiah says.  God is not done with you yet.  “Prepare the way for the Lord!” (Isaiah 40:1-3)

God is not done with you yet.  As you prepare to receive the gift of the Savior once again, I would love for you to join me as we look to the past to understand our present and to glimpse the wonderful Glory that is in our future.

Here is a breakdown of the next 24 days:

Each day there will be a bit of Scripture from the book of Isaiah on which to meditate.  Sometimes I will provide commentary.  But other times I will leave the commentary to the Holy Spirit!  Each of the 4 weeks of Advent have been given an overarching topic for reflection and contemplation.  I like to call them the 4 R’s of HIS-story.

Week 1: Rebellion

Week 2: Rescue

Week 3: Redemption

Week 4: Restoration

Thanks for joining me today.  I pray that the Holy Spirit may use this to bless you this Advent season.

Blessings and Peace,

Sara