Lesson 3 -- first quarter 2006
December 18, 2005
© Copyright 2005
Probing Your Own Heart
What is your experience with the promises of God?
Have you proclaimed His praise recently?
Building on Some Foundational Concepts
Amid desolation we can know joy, comfort, and redemption.
"Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem..." (Isaiah 52:9). What kind of advice (OK, maybe command) is this?! If I've been wasted, why exactly should I be joyful, why should I sing? Well, because the Lord is with me, comforting me in my desolation and then redeeming me from it. So witnesses Isaiah in the conclusion of the above verse: "...for the LORD hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem." When in desolation, that too easily becomes my focus. Then joy and singing, comfort and redemption, are far from me. When in desolation, I want God to be my focus. Even for that, though, I need His help.
As God promises, so He does.
So testified Mary. She declared, "As a witness to His mercy, He has helped His servant...just like He told our forefathers He would do." God does not promise, and then neglect to fulfill it. He does precisely as He commits Himself to do. That's right, commits. When we read God's promises in the Scriptures, we can accept them as done. We can rest in them because we can rest in Him. We needn't make excuses for Him. We needn't try to find loopholes for Him. If He promised it, He can do it and He will do it. Period. Glorious period!
Praise is the proper response to the promise-keeping God.
Praise works great as a joint venture -- "sing together." Praise results from focusing on God -- "for the LORD." Praise is a heart-response to the deeds of God -- "the LORD hath comforted...he hath redeemed." Praise strives to see the yet-undone through the lens of Already Good As Done -- "waste places...he hath redeemed." Praise's flower exudes its greatest fragrance and beauty when it comes from those who have plenty of reason to complain -- "ye waste places."
The message bearer is precious in the eyes of the Sender.
"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!" (Isaiah 52:7).
Questions and Responses
But why is the message bearer precious in the eyes of the Sender?
The one who takes the message is precious to the Sender because the one who needs the message is precious to Him as well.
"The Lord is...not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).
"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Romans 10:13).
"As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!" (Romans 10:15b).
What difference does it make to you that message bearers and message receivers are precious to the Savior? Does that reality affect your life in any way?
Consider what the Sender placed between the two Romans 10 verses quoted above....
"How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent?"
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