Monday, January 16, 2012

One Minute Devotion: Isaiah 54:17

Isaiah 54:17

No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgement thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from me, saith the Lord.

Never has a passage in the bible been more misunderstood, abused, and misused than this verse. For those seeking instant gratification, you have come to the wrong text. Contextually, it is directed at the people of Israel informing them that God would see them through no matter what enemy they may face, specifically, the Babylonians. That although they felt as though they were losing the battle in the present, the war has been most definitively won in their favor for the future. You may also note that there is much more to this scripture than you have ever been made aware. That is why it is so crucial, upon examining the word, that you dig deep into the text's history, purpose, and meaning. First, we must realize that there is utterly no weapon that can thrive against God. If you look at the second portion of this verse, you see that this is the heritage or inheritance freely given to those who serve God. Those who are made righteous, not by their own actions or words, but by the Lord. So no weapon formed against those who serve God will prosper. So why then do we feel bruised, beaten, and defeated so many times in our lives? How many times have you felt naked on the battlefield, with no armor, weapon, or entourage to speak of? Remember context is everything and there is always a deeper meaning of God's Holy word. If we break through the surface, we will find it. For the Israelites, they were about to experience a dark and dismal period of near total decimation. Their enemies would literally take them to the brink of extinction. Wouldn't that appear as though the weapons used against them not only prospered but did so abundantly? Isaiah is a book of prophecy, not of the things experienced in the present, but a foretelling of what is to come. What the end of the journey will look like. For those of us who live in NC, when we travel to the beach at Myrtle Beach, SC for a summer break, it seems like an endless journey with no, true direct, route. But as my wife says, "if you follow the signs, you will get there." In the prophecies of Isaiah to Israel, although the journey seemed endless, even hopeless, he provided them with the signs to let them know they would eventually arrive at their destination, a destination of salvation. This verse lets us know that although the enemy is at the gate, heavily equipped and well armed, in the end their effort will not prosper. Victory in Christ is always ours. It comes to us in three parts. First, that victory is eternity through Christ's grace and salvation. Which for Paul the apostle, who faced numerous weapons, felt that was enough to outweigh all of his sufferings. Second, through every trial and turmoil, if we hold steadfast to God through our faith in His sovereignty and providence, we will grow spiritually and develop a deeper, more intimate relationship with our creator. Finally, it equips us to face the next onslaught, better prepared, more secure, and holding tighter to God's hand as we face the smoke and fire of tragedy and hardship. So the weapon may pierce, wound, and even draw blood, but it will not crush or destroy us. In conclusion, I think the last eight words of this verse are the most compelling, "their righteousness is from me saith the Lord." We are unworthy of His righteousness, yet his enduring love bestows it upon us liberally. The fact is that righteousness belongs to and comes from God and God alone. When the battle comes to you, do you panic or do you pray? What weapon forged by sin do you face daily? Is it prospering? If so, its not a victory for it, it is a surrender by you. God bless.

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