“Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the LORD:
Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn;
look to Abraham, your father, and to Sarah, who gave you birth.
When I called him he was but one, and I blessed him and made him many.
The LORD will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins;
he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the LORD.
Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing."
Little Johnny informed his Bible class teacher that he had finally figured out the Old Testament. She wanted to hear more, especially since there was a lot of the Old Testament their class hadn't studied. Johnny said, "Well, after the story of creation, and the story of the flood, and the story of the Ten Commandments, the Old Testament is just a book about people disobeying God, and God sending someone to tell them they need to stop that. It happens over and over and over."
Johnny may be onto something there. People who are blessed by God and become the chosen of God, do seem to have difficulty trusting God and maintaining their allegiance to Him. The Bible reference above is evidence of Johnny's analysis. It comes at a time when the prophet Isaiah has been commissioned by God to bring Israel back to Him. Notice God speaking through Isaiah as chapter 51 begins, "Listen to me." In this case, God was calling on them to remember their heritage, remember from whence you came. That is a great step we take in our life's return to God also. The memory in the mind of man is a strong force. We may hear it called conscience but it can simply be a time of remembering our roots and the spiritual formation from days gone by.
God spoke again through Isaiah just a few verses later, and repeated the urgency by saying, "Listen to me." In this instance God reminded Israel that His law would be proclaimed, and His justice would become a light to the people. He wanted them to know that through His mercy and justice, their salvation was coming soon.
Then God spoke again in the same chapter of Isaiah. You guessed it, he started with "Listen to me," and this time he addresses those people who know right from wrong and have a love in their hearts for God's law. He further assures them His righteousness will endure forever and His salvation will spread from generation to generation. We, too, find ourselves on that roller-coaster of disobedience, and seeking forgiveness. We experience the ups and downs in our relationship with God. His message to us is the same as the one he gave through Isaiah, "Listen to me." Remembering our heritage, remembering God's decrees, and remembering His righteousness is forever, brings us to our knees in our search for Him.
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