Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Brave New World

Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights.
I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations.
He will not cry out or raise His voice, Nor make His voice heard in the street.
A bruised reed He will not break And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish;
He will faithfully bring forth justice.
He will not be disheartened or crushed Until He has established justice in the earth;
And the coastlands will wait expectantly for His law."
I am the LORD, I have called you in righteousness,
I will also hold you by the hand and watch over you,
And I will appoint you as a covenant to the people,
As a light to the nations,
To open blind eyes,
To bring out prisoners from the dungeon
And those who dwell in darkness from the prison.
                     An Ancient prophecy, otherwise known as Isaiah 42:1-7 22

When God makes a campaign promise, it isn’t just a political maneuver.  Rather, God is actually interested in changing the world.

Unlike Cyrus, Churchill, Charlemagne or any other world leader, God is well aware of every person suffering in all the world.  Every baby born with AIDS, every mother with too little nutrition to feed her infant, every village with poisoned water, every man imprisoned for religious reasons, every son kidnapped by a militia, every daughter enslaved for sex, every abused wife, every man who is slowly dying every day to feed his family—God knows every one of them. 

And as we saw in Psalm 146 in the first chapter, God has provided for them all.  The means to feed, deliver, heal, and save all of these people are available.  However, we all live in a system that distributes wealth, food, medicine, freedom and hope to those who don’t so desperately need it.  Rather, all of these resources are granted to those who already have what they need, and now has the resources to horde what they want, even at the cost of many who do not receive what they need.

God is wanting to change all that.  So that way he no longer has to share in the suffering of the many.

So we have the promises that God made above.  In many of these promises, God focuses on His people, whom He has chosen.  God centers on this people not because He wants to ignore the rest of the world, but because of—guess what?—His promise.  He stated often that it is through this one people that all the peoples of the world will obtain His promises.  It is as if God poured all the grain of the world into one huge silo, not for storage, but for distribution.  The promises fulfilled are not meant to remain with God’s people, but are to be distributed to everyone. 

Thus, the promise of land isn’t for the few wealthy, it is for the poor masses.23

The promise of provision of food and clothing isn’t for some religious folks but for the world.24

The promise of God’s Spirit isn’t for just the chosen, but for the Gentiles.25

The promise of deliverance from captivity isn’t just for Israel, but for every poor person in every nation.26

The basic promises of Ezekiel 36, Psalm 37 and Isaiah 61 weren’t the only grandiose promises God had given to his people.  Again, God had been king for a long time, and he had made many promises to his people.  Some of them were because of his reputation, as in Ezekiel 36.  Some of these promises were made to make sure that the people wouldn’t feel that they were going to be punished forever.  Others were promised simply because of God’s justice—to see right prevail.

·      God promised that he would bring a new king.27
·      God promised that the new king would bring justice to everyone who lived in the land.28
·      God promised that people would be healed of their illnesses.29
·      God promised that all oppressors would be judged.30
·      God promised that the power of the nations would be destroyed by his new kingdom.31
·      God promised that those of his people who had died would be resurrected.32
·      God promised that there would be a time of peace under a ruler concerned about the poor.33

God’s promises listed here weren’t just promising some good for a few people.  God was promising a complete change in the world system—a utopia for those who were loyal to God alone.  When you talk about healing for everyone (the best medical plan ever!) and destruction of all oppression (greater justice than simply throwing “bad guys” into prison!), then you are talking about seeing something that the world has never seen!  This is rightly called a “utopia”, which was Thomas Moore’s word for his novel that literally means “no place.”  Thomas Moore was such a cynic. It didn’t exist.  It never had.  Mr. Moore thought it never would. But God was promising that someday it wouldn’t just be an ideal but reality.  The first world order that is truly new. 

Every needy person, all the anawim, in every spot on this world can trust in God’s utopia.  As long as they understand the conditions.  (For every promise, whether spoken or not, has a condition.)

22.  I would also want to put another prophecy from Isaiah here: “Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, And a branch from his roots will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. And He will delight in the fear of the LORD, And He will not judge by what His eyes see, Nor make a decision by what His ears hear; But with righteousness He will judge the poor, And decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; And He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked. Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins, And faithfulness the belt about His waist. And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, And the leopard will lie down with the young goat, And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little boy will lead them. Also the cow and the bear will graze, Their young will lie down together, And the lion will eat straw like the ox. The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, And the weaned child will put his hand on the viper's den.”  Isaiah 11:1-8
This passage is not about animals so much as the poor being on an equal level with the wealthy and oppressors.
23. Psalm 37:10-11; Matthew 5:5.
24. Matthew 6:25-34
25. Joel 2:28-32; Acts 2:16-21.
26. Genesis 12:2-3; Isaiah 66:18-21; Revelation 7:9-17.
27. Isaiah 9:6-7.
28. Isaiah 11:1-8
29. Ezekiel 34:4; Deuteronomy 7:15.
30. Psalm 82.
31. Daniel 2:44
32. Daniel 12:2-3
33. Isaiah 11:6-11.

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