Today’s readings are Isaiah 49-53

Click here to read today’s passages on BibleGateway.

Rabbit Trails

Isaiah 49 is overflowing with references to our Messiah and we’re going to see that in other parts of our reading today as well. In fact, some of the dialogue is written as if it is taking place between the Father and our Messiah.

~~~The Interesting Thing About Names~~~
Isaiah 49:1 The Lord called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name.

This is a direct reference (prophetically, because it was yet to happen) of when Messiah was predicted and given a name before He was even born.
You recall what that name is and what it means, right? Transliterated, His Hebrew name is Yeshua. Which means “YHWH will save us.”

Refresher time! Transliterated, you keep using that word. What does it mean? I’m glad you asked.
-Transliteration means translate a word from the alphabet of one language to another. By transferring the word to the nearest corresponding letters in our alphabet, it helps us to pronounce the word.
-The Hebrew alphabet is a strange looking alphabet to us and obviously, few of us can read it. Therefore, we have to find the nearest sounding English letter in our alphabet in order to spell out the Hebrew words we want to share.
-Messiah’s name in Hebrew is יהושע. If most of us saw His name on its own, we wouldn’t be able to pronounce it. However, if we take those Hebrew letters and translate them to the nearest sounding English letters, we’d get Yeshua or Yehoshua, or one of many other ways people spell it when transliterating His name. Either way, we now can read that and know how to pronounce it in Hebrew, even though we can’t read Hebrew. I hope that made sense.
-Interesting note: Joshua, the man Moses appointed to take his place as leader of the Israelites upon his death, had the same name as Messiah but it ended up being translated to Joshua in English and Messiah ended up being called Jesus. The reasons why are about a year long rabbit trail on a good day so we’ll keep on trucking.

Isaiah 49:15-16 “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
WOW. Clear allusion to Messiah and the HOPE for us all in this!

Isaiah 49:22-26 is yet another strongly worded passage describing the love YHWH shows to Israel. It boggles the mind that so many have been taught, and teach, that YHWH has abandoned Israel as His chosen people. Fables like this can only be perpetrated on a people who do not respect or regard the word of YHWH enough to actually read it. Note how many times He refers to Himself, throughout Scripture, as the God of Israel or the God or “mighty one” of Jacob. He wraps them up in His identity and even identifies Himself, time and again, through association with them.

Isaiah 50 begins with the Father calling to task those who doubt His devotion, steadfastness, and care – also His word.

Did I divorce you? Okay, show me the certificate. Did I sell you? Okay, tell me who I sold you to?

Then He goes on to explain that it was they who put themselves in these situations but regardless, He is still God and has all ability to redeem them.
So there is that.

Isaiah 50:2 immediately makes me think of Numbers 11:23. I’ve had the Father speak a strikingly similar phrase to me once when I was in fervent prayer over a matter. The similar phrases, which we must remember, are said multiple times in the Bible and their meaning is the same: Is my arm too short to redeem you from this? Is my hand shortened, that you don’t think it can do this simple task? In other words: Do you not realize who I am? 
The Lord, God has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary. Isaiah 50:4
Remember, when we give our life over to Him, He uses us for His good purpose. This is no small or light matter. He will give us words to say that need to be said, and He will make those listening hear what needs to be heard. I have actually had speaking engagements in the past where folks will come up to me afterward and tell me that something I said was an answer to a matter they had been praying fervently about. The surprising thing is, the words they have told me they heard were not words that I spoke, so I know from personal experience that when you turn yourself over to Him, you can sometimes speak and regardless of what you say, HIS words will be heard from your lips.

Let’s think about what this verse is saying for a moment though. A tongue of those who are taught – we can consider this people who are wise in YHWH’s word and teachings. That I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary – How is this wise person using their speech? To encourage and strengthen others. What do you think their Facebook posts would look like? I often say that we can know what we really worship by looking at our last five Facebook posts.

Isaiah 50:5 The Lord God has opened my ears, and I was not rebellious; I turned not backward.
We all come to these forks in the road where the Father reveals more of Himself to us and we must make a choice to follow Him or turn to our own ways. Chances are, each of us have decided on our own ways more than once. But the timing of us all being here, in the Word daily, at this point in history is no accident. The Father has opened our ears and at this point, we decided not to be rebellious and not to turn back.  Father strengthen us and embolden us in our following of you. Teach us to stop focusing on the world and its distractions. Let us see them for the demons they are, seeking to pull us away from you, and let us instead pull away from them and draw near to you.

“Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness, who seek YHWH.” Isaiah 51:1

The word for listen here is Shema, as in the greatest commandment, when Messiah was quoting Deuteronomy 6:4, Shema Israel. When the Father uses this word the intent is not just to hear but to hear and do. Shema is a double call to action. What does it mean to pursue righteousness and seek YHWH? Where do we find instructions for both? By following and living by His Word. We see this further explained throughout the passage. Check out this portion from Isaiah 51:4
Give attention to me, my people, and give ear to me, my nation; for a law will go out from me, and I will set my justice for a light to the people. My righteousness draws near and my salvation has gone out Isaiah. 51:4
Listen to me, you who know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear not the reproach of man, nor be dismayed at their revilings. Isaiah 51:7
Sidenote: The original word for law here is “torah”.

  • How does the Father view His laws in light of these verses? 
  • What is the defining characteristic of those who know righteousness? Hint: something is in their heart.

Now, let’s look again to the terms of that new covenant.
33 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Jeremiah 31:33
This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel
    after that time, declares the Lord.
I will put my laws in their minds
    and write them on their hearts.
I will be their God,
    and they will be my people. Hebrews 8:10

If you go read the verses both before and after those I quoted you’ll see that the author of Hebrews is directly quoting Jeremiah when he recites the terms of the new covenant.

  • What is the Father putting in their heart? What is the purpose of this? Ezekiel 36 tells us

26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Ezekiel 36:26-27

The Father putting His law in our hearts will cause us to want to obey Him. No more looking for shortcuts, fast lanes, or back doors. We will WANT to live as He wants us to live and follow in His ways. This is the sign of the new covenant. No longer saying “it’s too hard to obey Him” or “we can’t possibly keep all the commandments”. Instead, we will stand in agreement with Him when He says that the things He asks of us are not too hard for us. And after we begin to live this way we will freely admit “He is right. His ways are far easier than the ways of the world.”

Warning: Take a deep breath and read this whole thing before you get defensive or offended: I always try to quote the author of Hebrews quoting Jeremiah when I reference the new covenant for a very specific reason. You see, without realizing it, most of us start out far more Paulinians than we are Christians. What I mean by that is that many (not all but a huge amount) modern believers in the church today have a belief system based more on the writings of Paul than on the word of God. The big problem is that, in these cases, those writings of Paul have been taken out of context, untethered from their rightful foundation in YHWH’s word.

I was one of those. Man, when I was a younger Christian I LOVED me some Paul and I would immediately declare that He was my favorite apostle and his letters were what I focused all of my studies on. But the thing is, I liked what I thought Paul taught, which, to my Biblically illiterate mind, was that we can all do our own thing and shouldn’t be judging others for doing their own thing because each person just had to figure out what their own thing was and God loved us all doing just that. Add in the mix that, out of context, I thought He gave us permission to toss out 90% of God’s law and it is easy to see why Paul’s writings, untethered from Scripture, would be a favorite to our “Me” culture.

In short, I didn’t realize it, but I treated Paul as if he was a heretic, and my favorite heretic at that. Now, I want to be clear here, in actuality Paul did not teach against YHWH at any point. Let me state that again:

Paul did not teach against YHWH at any point.

However, if you untether Paul’s writings from all foundational scriptures, its really easy to believe that he did and thereby excuse pretty much whatever you want to excuse. In my case, Paul’s writings, taken out of context and with no real examination, gave me the seal of approval on my lukewarm spirituality.

Once I began at the beginning and gave God’s word its proper authority, the words of all others lined up perfectly beneath it and the Bible came into focus in an entirely new way. At that point, I began to see Paul as a God fearing, commandment obeying, gospel preaching warrior for YHWH. As we continue to read we will see that Paul never contradicted YHWH and he did, in fact, live according to His word. And we will all be able to proudly raise our hand if asked “Who loves them some Paul!?” Hang onto your hats! We’ve covered a lot and picked up a lot of pieces to this wonderful puzzle we’re forming right now, but everything comes into even clearer focus once we get to the gospels!

“Give attention to me, my people, and give ear to me, my nation; for a law will go out from me, and I will set my justice for a light to the peoples.
My righteousness draws near, my salvation has gone out…Isaiah 51:4

In Isaiah 51:4 and Isaiah 51:7, the original word translated to law is Torah. This has a double meaning. It can refer to the first five books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. It can also refer to the Father’s instruction or laws.

I say this because I want you to know what it means and not be scared of that word. The Father tells us that He will bring all of His people together again in the end times and His Torah is something that connects us all.

However, we as Christians aren’t really familiar with that word and don’t use it in our daily vocabulary but our Jewish brethren do.
In fact, before I started really studying the Word in this new way, I thought “The Torah” was a different book entirely, some extra biblical teaching that I wanted to stay away from in order to follow YHWH. Now I know it is simply a term that describes something very dear to all believers. Anyway, I just wanted to put that out there because nomenclature shouldn’t be something that creates further division and there may very well come a time in the near future, as prophecy unfolds before us, in which knowing the meaning of that word may build a bridge.

Isaiah 53 – Messiah, Messiah, Messiah! See Him in all of this chapter and let me know what sticks out to you or strikes a chord with your heart in the group comments.

Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned – every one – to his own way; and YHWH has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

It is easy to see our Messiah as the “Him” in this passage and many of us see that and feel it so deeply in our hearts that we don’t pay attention to what else Isaiah is saying here.

All we, like sheep, have gone astray..

Isaiah, one of the greatest prophets, is including himself in this. If a man who walked this closely with YHWH can point out that even he has gone astray and turned aside to his own ways, how much more so does this apply to us? He reiterates “we have turned – every one – to his own way…”

Every. one. We have turned to our own ways. None are exempt. Let us – every one – turn back and repent today.

~Hang in There~
I know a lot of you are feeling a bit overwhelmed at the pace with which we are moving through Isaiah. The pace hasn’t changed since we started the Word but Isaiah does seem to grab our attention and heighten our desire to take rabbit trails and linger over the word.

I want to encourage you – not to slow down, but to try to find additional time to spend in the Word. Perhaps get up a bit earlier, give up a tv show you watch, read the Bible on your lunch break, listen to the Bible as you work if possible, read a little more in the evenings or throughout the day. We have little pockets of time in many places if we look. I know this seems like a lot as it is, but this is what the Father has laid on my heart this week and I’ve been doing just that, carving out additional time to spend in the Word. Know that any time we devote to Him only blesses us with more of Him.

This is just the beginning. Reading the Bible through, in its entirety, is not something a Believer should do only once. We should have the goal of reading the Bible through many times in our life, more than we can count! Each time we will learn more, linger over different books, and seek the wisdom of the Father on different levels.
So hang in there, He’s got this!

May your time with the Father richly bless all that you do today.

Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21

We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!

May YHWH bless the reading of His Word!

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Christy Jordan
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