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The Time of Joy and Rejoicing

(Isaiah 65:17-25)

Lesson 9 -- first quarter 2002
January 27, 2002

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2001, Christian Light Publications


Some places I do not like to visit or even pass through. Some things I do not like to hear or see. Some people I prefer not to associate with. These all bring back memories and feelings which even yet can pain and trouble me. And even without those places, people, sights, and sounds to serve as triggers, occasionally I still remember. Then, if I am not on my guard and disciplined, I can go around and around as in a whirlpool, down, down, down.

But some day those memories shall flee away because God will "create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind" (Isaiah 65:17). Some day those mental sounds and images will be gone. And that day may be soon. Perhaps you will read these words at a time when all this is finally reality. Or perhaps you will never read these words because all of this is finally reality. (I don't pretend to know how it will all come to pass.) But whatever the case, that time of newness and freshness may come upon us at any time.

Are you ready? I believe I am ready. But millions are not. And among those millions are family members, friends, and other acquaintances. So I would just as soon that day didn't come yet, as wonderful as it sounds to me. The thought of these people being on the wrong side of eternity troubles my soul.

So what do you think I should do about the matter? And how about you?

God also

Another part of today's lesson touches my heart as well. This great time of joy and rejoicing which I anticipate will be a time of divine joy and rejoicing as well! Not only do we get to be glad and rejoice for ever in that which God creates, but also God Himself "will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people" (Isaiah 65:19). What a time that will be for everyone!

Nonetheless, we need to come back to the reality of the present. God shouldn't have to wait till then to joy and rejoice in His people. He wants to delight in us right now!

What can we do about that? In addition to the lesson five comments, here you have a few more options if you want to bring pleasure to God.

Showing mercy. Micah 7:18 proclaims that "He delighteth in mercy." The context of this verse indicates that it means that God delights in showing mercy. I think we can then also conclude that God finds pleasure when we show mercy toward others. In our homes, communities, and congregations we have myriad opportunities to show mercy. What an opportunity to bring joy and rejoicing to God now; don't miss it!

Choosing obedience. In 1 Samuel 15:22 we find this truth strongly stated: God has great delight in obedience. No matter how much we can offer to Him and sacrifice for Him, the pleasure He derives from such service is far less than the pleasure brought to Him by a listening ear and an obedient heart. This ought to motivate us to obey in those areas which we already know. It should also move us to seek out new areas in which to obey. What a great opportunity to bring great delight to the Lord; let's not overlook it!

There you have two more clear, specific ways to bless God. Read Ezra 10:11 and its context for another clue on how to please God. What a wondrous "project" we have, being His people and bringing Him pleasure (Psalm 147:11).

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