Because of the importance of Israel and its people, and my personal love for The Land, I’m inviting you to join me through the key Old Testament book of Isaiah. Each day I’m posting some simple thoughts about this complex prophet.
“When the Spirit is given to us from Heaven, deserts will become orchards thick as fertile forests.” (v15, CEV). Guess what? I believe the Holy Spirit has been given to us! It happened first on the day Jesus rose again. And then again on the day of Pentecost, as recorded in Acts 2.
From John’s Gospel: “Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”” (John 20:22, CEV).
From Luke’s account of Pentecost: “Peter said, “Change your life. Turn to God and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, so your sins are forgiven. Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is targeted to you and your children, but also to all who are far away—whomever, in fact, our Master God invites.”” (Acts 2:38-39, MSG).
Back to the promise from Isaiah 32: “Honesty and justice will prosper there, and justice will produce lasting peace and security.” (v15-16, CEV). He continues: “And where there is right there will be peace… quiet lives and endless trust. My people will live in a peaceful neighborhood in safe houses in quiet gardens.” (v18, MSG).
When does this happen? After the Spirit has been given to His people. Again, this is something that has already happened. He has given us the opportunity to live in peace as we trust in Him.
Deserts will become orchards. Peaceful neighbors. Quiet gardens.
For those with endless trust.
There’s that word again. Can we trust God above all else? We must!
If you’re new to this journey through Isaiah, you can start here.
Today started as yesterday began… and even how Friday dawned… As the sun came up I began to weep and mourn. For today was to be another day without my Messiah. The Sabbath was not kind to me this week. Most of the day I sobbed uncontrollably. We met with the others and cried together. Tears of confusion and anger. Tears of disappointment and fear. What would our lives look like now? Oh, how I loved Jesus. When He healed me of my seven demons, my whole world flipped right side up for the first time in years. Of course, I followed Him, I served Him, I loved everything about Him… On Friday afternoon I gazed up into His beloved face as the sky behind Him grew fierce and black. I stayed until He breathed His last. I fell to my knees in horror as the soldier pierced His side. I helped Joseph and Nicodemus take the body down from the cross, cleaning it as best we could in the short time before Shabbat.
The new week began today with the same heaviness deep in my heart. I went to the tomb to properly anoint the body with oil and spices. I kept hearing His promises echo in my head… “I will never leave you nor forsake you…” There was an eerie darkness in the garden. The birds, normally singing loudly in the pre-dawn springtime, were unusually quiet. I wondered how I would roll away the stone.
As I arrived at the burial spot, I was confused because the entrance to the crypt was wide open. Was this the right place? Had I misunderstood Joseph’s directions? As I looked inside, I saw an empty slab in the darkness. A cold breeze slapped my face! Immediately my anger increased as I wondered who had stolen the body? I ran to tell Peter and John and they quickly competed to see who could get there first. They both confirmed my initial discovery and left me standing in front of the vacant tomb.
I sobbed uncontrollably for what felt like hours. I paced back and forth. I fell to my knees. I shook my fist at heaven. Something prompted me to look inside once more. I saw two angels sitting about six feet apart. An empty burial cloth lay between them. They asked me why I was crying? Why do you think? There is a massive hole in my heart and the pain is great!
I looked away and began to leave. A man was nearby; I thought he might be the gardener. I couldn’t see his face for the sun was rising over his right shoulder. He too asked me why I was crying. With all my heart I asked him if he had taken the body someplace.
He spoke my name. “Miriam. Mary.” My heart skipped a beat as I recognized the familiar, loving voice of Yeshua! In that instant, I recalled a time when the Lord told us that He was the Good Shepherd… and that the sheep know His voice… I spun around quickly, like a dancer! My weeping suddenly turned to great joy as I recognized my Lord and fell at his knees! “Rabboni!”
He’s alive! He spoke to me first! He told me to go tell the others. I would say that I can’t believe it, but I do believe it! He has risen! I have seen the Lord!
There was great sorrow and weeping last night. And the night before that… But today… today… joy has come with the morning!
The actions, words and thoughts, perhaps, of Mary Magdalene, as recorded in John 20.
What do you do when you feel sorrow or sadness? Run to Jesus! Listen to His words in Matthew 6:
“Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place… Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.” Matthew 6:6 (MSG)
Oh, to sense His grace… You’ll find it as you meet Him in your prayer closet each day.