Sometimes we get a glimpse of the incredible variety and diversity among even things that usually look very similar.
While that sentence sounds like gibberish, I am thinking of the glorious beauty that God gives each Autumn when the leaves on most deciduous trees change from their traditional green color into an incredible pallet of colors of various intensities, hues and shades.
As we were driving through the mountains of Virginia recently, the views from the highway were breathtaking as the colorful leaves broadcast their praise to their Creator. The beautiful views in the mountains made me think of the Scripture speaking of the joy we can have through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
In Matthew Poole’s in-depth commentary on Isaiah 55, he says the scripture speaks of an invitation to seek spiritual blessings from Jesus Christ, who was sent by the Father. We should come to Christ speedily, by repentance, and rest assured that His grace is infinite, His Word is powerful and that believers in Him will have joy eternal.
In Isaiah 55:12-13 God is speaking, and it reads as follows:
“For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle; and it shall make a name for the LORD, an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”
The mountains and hills and the trees of the field will break forth in singing and clapping their hands at the joy of the Lord and at His reign.
Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter IV.1 says:
It pleased God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, for the manifestation of the glory of His eternal power, wisdom, and goodness, in the beginning, to create, or make of nothing, the world, and all things therein whether visible or invisible, in the space of six days; and all very good.
Scripture confirms this statement of faith. See for example:
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him.
Psalm 33:5 says:
He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love [goodness] of the LORD.
This world was created by our God for His glory, and even the plants and animals were created for His glory. In fact, we, too, were created by God and it is our incredible privilege to live for His glory and to love Him supremely.
Beloved, does your spirit soar when you consider the love that the Lord has for you? Do you look around at this beautiful time of the year and see the Lord’s hand outstretched before you?
Open your eyes and see the marvelous works of God. Praise His name and come to Him in repentance and love. Bless His name throughout your days, and the peace of our Lord will rest upon you eternally.
Father, thank You for evidence of Your love and blessing as we look around us during the beautiful autumn days. I pray that I would not take these blessings for granted but that I would praise You and glorify You each day that I live. In Jesus name, I pray.
“Who … me? I didn’t do it!” Ever hear anyone say that? Have you heard your young children say that? Did you ever say that?
It is a common thing to hear, especially when there is some disaster that just happened and your young children are all standing around pointing fingers at each other and exclaiming, almost in unison, “I didn’t do it?” even as the incriminating evidence is still sticking to their fingers!
Recently, our granddog Haley was exploring the backyard when she apparently decided to get up close and personal with something that had run under the house. We don’t know what attracted her undivided attention, but that is the only reason we can imagine that she pushed her way through the latticework so that she became imprisoned under the porch.
When she did not come back in the house when we called for her, our grandson found her looking out through the latticework and he had no idea how to get her out. The place she pushed through was blocked from the other direction, so she was literally stuck there.
After trying various things to retrieve her, we broke some of the slats and, ultimately, after a good bit of tugging, it folded down so she could walk out unscathed. Here is a picture of the broken lattice with her laying on the porch with that “Who, Me?!! I didn’t do it” look!
This is virtually the same thing that Adam and Eve told God, way back long ago when they were in the Garden of Eden.
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.”
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.
But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
Adam — “Who, Me? Don’t blame me … I didn’t do it … the woman you gave to me did it!”
Eve — “Who, Me? Don’t blame me … I didn’t do it … the serpent deceived me!”
Me – “Who, Me? Don’t blame me … I didn’t do it!”
You — …
Finger pointing began millennia ago when Adam pointed to Eve, she pointed to the serpent and God said “Out of the Garden!” Genesis 3:24. No matter what you want to call it, the Bible gives a name to any disobedience to God … SIN.
We read of sin in the very next chapter of Genesis where God accepts Abel’s offering but rejects Cain’s. God says in Genesis 4:7: “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.”
Did you know that according to a computer word search of the English Standard Version of the Bible, the words “sin”, “sins”, “sinned”, “sinning”, “sinful”, “sinner” and “sinners” are used a total of 423 times.
In other words, “sin” is an important concept to God because it reflects our direct disobedience to His commands. It reflects our refusal to obey Him which, in effect, puts us where God should be. And, it will bring the same punishment on us as it brought to Adam and Eve – we will be cast out from God’s presence because a holy God cannot and will not countenance a sinful creature in His presence. Judgment is the only response to our sin just as Adam and Eve experienced expulsion from the Garden.
The Westminster Confession of Faith says this about sin:
Every sin, both original and actual, being a transgression of the righteous law of God, and contrary thereunto, doth, in its own nature, bring guilt upon the sinner, whereby he is bound over to the wrath of God, and curse of the law, and so made subject to death, with all miseries spiritual, temporal, and eternal.
Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 6.6.
However, in Romans 5:19 we read that there is hope for sinful man:
For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.
This promise is reaffirmed in 1 Corinthians 15 we read:
For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. … Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
1 Corinthians 15:22, 45.
Again turning to the Confession of Faith, we read:
Man, by his fall, having made himself uncapable of life by that covenant, the Lord was pleased to make a second, commonly called the covenant of grace; wherein he freely offereth unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ; requiring of them faith in him, that they may be saved, and promising to give unto all those that are ordained unto eternal life his Holy Spirit, to make them willing, and able to believe.
Because of Jesus Christ, we can be made alive and have a life-giving spirit. Because of Jesus Christ and His death on the cross, He became sin for us. Because of God’s grace, we can be clothed in Jesus’ righteousness, thereby becoming acceptable to God through His blood shed for us.
Haley looked at us as if saying “Who me? I didn’t do anything wrong!” She well may have been following her nose and not paying attention to what she was doing.
But that same line of thought does not apply to you and me. We do know what we are doing and many times it is sin – it is direct disobedience to what God wants us to do – and that is enough to cut off our relationship with God, forever. We need to find help outside ourselves, and that help was sent from God in the God/man Jesus Christ, who lived a sinless life and who took our sin on Himself, who died and was buried, and who rose again to life evermore.
Praise the Lord that He saves us through His sacrificial death as an atonement. Thank Him for His obedience to God the Father, and thank God for His mercy and grace that was extended to us. Thank the Holy Spirit for His work in convicting us of sin and of sealing us to salvation through His power.
Praise His Holy Name!
Father, I pray that you would bless these words and that the readers would be encouraged, strengthened and renewed in their faith and focus on You.