Guaranteed!

Isaiah 9:1-7

Whenever you receive a guarantee, remember that it is only as reliable as the one offering it.

Consider Isaiah 9:1-7, one of my favorite passages about the coming Messiah.

What magnificent promises it gives about Him! It says He will be:

  • light in our deepest darkness;
  • joy greater, richer, and wilder than anything we can imagine;
  • complete freedom from everything that binds us;
  • an eternal ruler who is Himself: wisdom (“Wonderful Counselor”), unlimited power (“Mighty God”), unfailing love (“Everlasting Father”), and complete peace and well-being (“Prince of Peace”)

God then closes all His magnificent promises about His Messiah with this guarantee: “The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this” (v.7b). Look carefully at that guarantee.

Zeal is a strong emotion, sometimes translated “love”, sometimes “jealousy”. It is that deep, burning, unquenchable fire of love that burns in the heart of God toward us, His children. Realize that love is as weak or as strong as its source. Despite our passionate promises, human love is at times selfish, shallow, and wavering. It is as weak as we are. Since we are flawed and inconsistent, so is our love. But God’s love is as intense, powerful, and unchanging as He is. Who can imagine the eternal, unquenchable fire of love burning in the heart of Almighty God!

The next term in the guarantee is the word LORD; in the original Hebrew, “Yahweh”. The scriptures give us many “names” for God, many descriptions of Who He is and what He is like. “Yahweh” is God’s name for Himself. It’s related to the name He uses in Exodus 3, in the story of the burning bush. He has just called Moses to an awesome task. He is sending him to the Israelites to promise that their God is about to free them from the most powerful ruler on earth. Moses is apprehensive about the assignment, so he says, “The people will ask who sent me. How should I answer them?” God responds to Moses with a form of the name “Yahweh”. He tells Moses, “If they want a name for me, if they want to summarize me with a label, give them this one: ‘I AM WHO I AM’” (v.14).

The next word, Almighty, is actually the Hebrew word “sabaoth”. It sounds similar to the word “sabbath”, but there’s no relation. We hear the word in verse 2 of Martin Luther’s stirring hymn, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”:

Lord Sabaoth, His name;
From age to age the same;
And He must win the battle.

“Sabaoth” means “hosts” or “armies”. So “Lord Sabaoth” is “Lord of hosts”, or “Lord of all the heavenly armies”. Imagine that. Picture the mightiest army on earth, spread out in vast array, complete with all its weaponry. Then try to picture “the Lord of all the heavenly armies”. See Him standing there, with all the unimaginable powers of heaven behind Him, waiting at His command!

So our guarantee can be read this way: “The deep, burning, unquenchable, unchangeable love of I AM WHO I AM, Lord of all the heavenly armies will accomplish this.” Now that’s a guarantee!

Remember, guarantees are as reliable as the one offering them. Regarding human beings, Isaiah 2:22 says,

Stop trusting in man,
who has but a breath in his nostrils.
Of what account is he?

Psalm 146:3-4 says,

Do not trust…in mortal men, who cannot save.
When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
on that very day their plans come to nothing.

Don’t rely on human beings for anything permanent. We and all our plans and best intentions are always just one breath from extinction.

But with God, His mightiest works show us only the fringes of His robe. The vastness of the universe gives us but a faint whisper of Him (Job 26:14). Who can fathom the rock-solid certainty of a guarantee signed by the unchanging love of Yahweh, I AM WHO I AM, Lord of all the heavenly armies!

God has promised you that Jesus will be light, joy, and freedom beyond your wildest dreams. You can trust Him!

He says that Jesus will bring you all the wisdom, power, love, and peace of God. You can trust Him!

He calls you to seek only Jesus Christ and make His love your only treasure. You can trust Him!

He assures you that Jesus is the pearl of great price and urges you to eagerly turn loose of everything else to gain Him. You can trust Him!

You can grasp the promises of Almighty God and know that they will always be absolutely true. You can hold to them and live by them in the face of everything that life and death brings.

“All God’s promises are YES! in Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 1:20, para.).

Our Brother is Lord of all things in
this world and
the next,
all things seen and unseen,
in heaven and earth.
We are secure and
eternally,
extravagantly blessed in Him.

Hymn: All We Need

Psalm 36

Psalm 36:5-9 is an exuberant picture of the
goodness and greatness of Almighty God,
here captured in vv.2-3 of this hymn.
That picture is framed with
the smallness and sinfulness of the human heart (v.1) and
our response of simple faith in such a wonderful God (v.4).

Recording
Printed Music

Without You, O God, we are selfish and vain,
Consumed with our glory, our comfort, our gain.
Deceived by this world and the sin we ignore,
We’re smiling and polished but wrong to the core.

But Father, Your truth and Your unfailing love
Engulf all the vastness of heaven above.
Your holiness floods all the fathomless deep
And all the creation You nurture and keep.

Lord, You are the fountain, the source and the sea
Of life and its glories, of all that will be,
The ocean of peace, of all justice and right,
The Good of all goodness, the Light of all light.

We turn from the darkness and look up to You,
So thirsty for all that is lovely and true.
We ask Your forgiveness, Your rightness restored,
Our Loving Creator, our Father, our Lord!

by Ken Bible, © 2018 LNWhymns.com.

People of God

Fresh Views of Timeless Truths

For the next two weeks, consider the marvelous privilege of being part of the People of God. This free pdf download is a tapestry of prayers, scripture, meditations, and new hymns for public or personal worship.

It is part of the new series, Fresh Views of Timeless Truth, focused reflections on key topics.

LINKS:
Free pdf of People of God
Complete list of available volumes in Fresh Views of Timeless Truths

Wisdom in Our Ignorance

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out! (Romans 11:33, NIV)

We human beings are inherently ignorant. Physically we live a fraction of a second on a grain of sand in a universe that is ancient and vast beyond all imagining. Our perspective and objectivity are minuscule. Our view of truth is highly tainted by our personal prejudices and selfish desires. To claim that we understand reality, or that our minds and limited senses are an accurate gauge of reality, is laughable. Ignorance is common to each and every one of us.

God in His greatness has chosen to reveal Himself to us. And by degree He graciously helps us understand reality as we understand Him. He has given us His own Spirit to enlighten and guide us.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay (2 Corinthians 4:7, NIV). As we trust His revealed Truth and faithfully speak the Truth and live the Truth, we need to remember our limitations and the weakness of the vessel in which we hold His treasure. Our understanding of our great and boundless God is always only partial.

Yet God’s promise to us is this:

  • God, who through the millennia has spoken to us in many different ways, has spoken fully and finally in Jesus Christ, His own Son (Hebrews 1:1-2).
  • In Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ (Colossians 2:9-10a, NIV).

All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Christ (Colossians 2:3). If you desire wisdom, if you want understanding, seek Him.

In Jesus Christ
we have infinite room to
discover,
grow, and
become.

Hymn: The Truth of God Is Greater Far

By Your Breath

This hymn reminds us of
 the Bible’s wonderful truth:
by the breath of His mouth God spoke creation into being;
by the breath of His mouth He fills us with His Spirit; and
by the breath of His mouth He inspired all Scripture.
What a beautiful picture of
God’s personal, powerful love!

Recording
Printed Music

By Your breath, all creation;
You the Source, You alone;
Sovereign love simply speaking.
All that is is all Your own.
Then to us pure self-giving.
Into dust O what wealth!
Into earth, dirt and ashes,
Glorious God, You breathe Yourself!

By Your breath, Christ incarnate,
God and flesh fully one.
Glimpse in Him new creation,
Heaven’s promise now begun.
Christ in us – what a wonder!
Perfect peace, holy health,
Life complete, boundless being –
Into us You breathe Yourself!

By Your breath, holy scripture,
Spirit-born, Spirit-breathed,
Living Word, perfect wisdom
In Your loving heart conceived.
Father, Son, Holy Spirit,
Teach, correct, shape, renew.                  
Plant Your seed, ever growing,
Ever fruitful unto You.

by Ken Bible, © 2020 LNWhymns.com.

Resting in You

There remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.
(Hebrews 4:9, NASB)

Father, You are wisdom.
Your working is deeper,
higher, and
more far-reaching than I can imagine.

You are absolute power.
You do what pleases You.
No one challenges Your mighty arm.
Nothing stops Your purpose.

Father, You are love.
Nothing exhausts Your gentle compassion.
Nothing strains Your joyful self-giving.

So when You whisper, I will listen.
When You lead, I will follow wherever You go.
When Your will brings me
delay or
sorrow or
sacrifice,
I will love You and
trust You and
rest in the rightness of all You do.

The best place to be is
where God has put you.
Do not look beyond it, and
be content there
moment by moment.
(paraphrased from Francois Fenelon)

Hymn: Peace in Christ

Thank You for the Beauty of This Day

Here is a morning hymn that expresses
the beauty,
the glow,
the quiet joy of
walking with Your God and Father.

Recording
Printed Music

Thank You for the beauty of this day,
Each little gift You’ve given.
Thank You for Your calls to work and play,
The whispers of Your wisdom.
Thank You for the colors of Your love,
The rainbow of Your goodness.
Thank You for the sweetness of Your face,
Your presence in and through us.

Trusting You,
Finding rest in You –
Father, keep it true today.

Thank You for the hope in every day,
The peace of walking with You.
Thank You for Your call to simply pray,
The joy of living in You.
Father, how unchanging is Your love
In every gift You’ve given,
Showing in the sweetness of Your face
Our sure and simple heaven. Amen.

by Ken Bible, © 2000 LNWhymns.com.

Magnificent God

Fresh Views of Timeless Truths

For the next two weeks, ponder God high and lifted up with Magnificent God, a free pdf download. It is a tapestry of prayers, meditations, and hymns that focus on the transcendent God.

This volume in the Fresh Views of Timeless Truth series provides an additional feature: links to a complete recording of the entire volume – prayers, meditations, and hymns, with instrumental background music.

LINKS:
Free pdf of Magnificent God
Complete list of available volumes in Fresh Views of Timeless Truths

Do You Hear Him?

I will listen to what God the Lord will say,
for He promises peace to His people.

When we suffer,
God speaks to us in the midst of our trouble.
He wants to draw us out of our distress
into deliverance,
into a spacious place that is wide open and free.
He wants to lead us to a banquet table
filled with all the best food.
(Psalm 85:5; Job 36:15-16; para.)

Creation is God’s song about Himself.
Are you listening?

He speaks in the thunder.
Do you tremble at His majesty?

He speaks in a small whisper.
Don’t let your desires drown out His voice.

He speaks in the silence.
Are you resting in Him?

He speaks through pain and distress.
Do you still trust His tender love?

He speaks through a thousand daily pleasures,
calling you to find constant joy in Him.

Your Father is always speaking.
As you trust Him,
you will hear Him.

Father, help me to
hear and obey
every word You speak to me,
for each word is
loving and
wise and
for the best.

Hymn: Voice of God

Psalm 13

In our most desperate times,
he question that often boils to the surface is,
“How long, O Lord?”.
This Psalm-hymn helps us express that question
with a faith firmly rooted in
our sovereign, loving God.

Recording
Printed Music

How long, my Lord, how long?
I need You, God unseen!
I cry, I pray but feel ignored,
Unheard, unloved, unclean.

Deep sorrow floods my heart.
The darkness closes in,
With evil gathering all around
And weakness all within.

But here I stand in Christ,
Your pure and pleasing Son.
I claim His faith and speak His prayer:
“Your will, not mine, be done!”

I trust Your love, my God,
Whatever time may bring.
I hold to what can never change
And rest, rejoice, and sing!

by Ken Bible, © 2018 LNWhymns.com.