Blessings for righteousness
Isaiah 48:18,19 -
O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea: Thy seed also had been as the sand, and the offspring of thy body like its gravel; his name should not have been cut off nor destroyed from before me.
By today's message the Lord tells us if we were righteous (kept His commandments) then we would experience peace, and our lives would affect others like strong waves of the sea that hit the shores, our seeds (speaks of our spiritual children - people we bring and nurture in the Lord) would be as numerous as the sand and our generations (our natural children and grandchildren) too would be as numerous as the grains of sand. Note two different words for sand are used in this scripture, the first word relates to sand that is formed out of pain (efforts) because it relates to our spiritual children and the second word comes sand formed from the inside (internal organs - seeds in our lions) and relates to our natural generations. The Lord also says our names will never be cut off (from the Book of Life) nor His favour ever taken away from us.
It sounds very easy, be righteous and live happy but that is not so easy. People tried to be righteous since generations and landed up being religious (whom God hate). It is not possible for man to be righteous by Himself without the Spirit of God.
You may think only after we are baptized in the Holy Spirit we are able to keep the commandments of God; that is not perfectly true. Yes, we are only able to keep the commandments of the Lord after our baptism of the Holy Spirit but it is not because we are baptized we keep. We may have seen many who even after being baptized backslide and grieve the Spirit of God.
Like grace which is available through Jesus Christ for all mankind yet no man can avail this grace unless he or she has faith. It is only by faith we can have receive the grace of Jesus Christ. In the same way to be righteous is impossible unless we are holy. It is only through holiness we can be a righteous people. God has always commanded us to be a holy nation for He is a Holy God.
To be holy we need to understand what it means. In Hebrew the word means 'to be sanctified', 'to consecrated', 'separated unto God' and in Greek the word comes from 2 words which mean 'to be pure' and 'to cherish' respectively. When we sum the words we get a clear meaning of holiness.
Being holy does not mean to be in solitude or living like a sage. It simply means a person who keeps evil away from his or her life. We get a good understanding how to live a holy life from scriptures. The word is first used not to any man but to a part of land. When the Lord appeared to Moses in a burning bush, seeing this awesome sight as Moses drew near to the burning bush the Lord instructed him to remove his footwear and come bare footed towards the bush. The burning bush represented the glory of God and as Moses drew near to the glory of God even though he was walking on the same ground yet as he came near it God did not want him wearing his shoes.
Our legs symbolize our walk / journey of life that is why washing another's feet symbolizes forgiving that person, washing our own feet means asking God for forgiveness. When Jesus said wash each other's feet He was not talking of hygiene or about social service but about forgiving each other as He forgave us.
Wearing footwear symbolizes putting on a worldly cover on our lives, in other words living a worldly life. As we draw closer to God / His glory we are called to give up our worldly lives and live the life God has set us to (shown in Jesus Christ). Again I state, that does not mean to isolate ourselves from people or the world. Can a farmer be called a farmer if he stays far from his farm or a shepherd called a shepherd if he says far from his sheep or does not go to search for them when lost? Jesus symbolized holiness to light which is not only pure but shines and overcomes darkness. Darkness cannot stop light, it passes through it and when it hits its purpose it becomes visible.
When we get baptized in the Lord, we repent from our evil life and desire to live a holy life; this enables the Holy Spirit to help us in our walk of righteousness. So as we grow in our desire of holiness we allow the Spirit of God to work more and more in us and through us, and thus help us grow in righteousness.
Paul puts the whole message in simple words "flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart". Only spiritual immature lust for things of this world and as we people of God flee from them (not fight them) we can live a righteous life full of faith, love and peace and thus become a holy soul. James also says the same in other words "resist the devil, and he will flee from you". He does not say fight the devil (who is called the father of lies and all fornications), but says resist him (his ways, his nature) and he will no longer affect you or cause you to fall.
Today the Lord is telling us to separate ourselves from things which are not godly, things that cause us to do/be evil. As we keep far from evil we will be able to keep His commandment and be more and more blessed. Jesus goes on to say "it is better to cut a hand or remove an eye that causes one to sin", He was not instructing us to cut hands or become physically blind but telling us to be innocent and keep away from evil deeds or from seeing evil things, rather than fight them after they have affected or influenced our lives.
[ Prayer Starter ]
Father God, You alone are Holy and thus the beings in Heaven call out your Name as Holy, Holy, Holy unceasingly. You separated yourself from your creation when darkness came into existence, but You did not give up on your creation. You send your Son (who was a integral part of You) to help us overcome this darkness. He came as man and showed us how to live a righteous life by being holy; He was called the Holy One. Help us Lord to understand not to fight the devil (evil nature) but to resist him and become holy and righteous people with the help of your Spirit...
This prayer we make in Jesus' Name, Amen.
[ Reference ]
Exodus 3:5 - And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.
Acts 7:33 - Then said the Lord to him, Put off your shoes from your feet: for the place where you stand is holy ground.
Acts 4:30 - By stretching forth your hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of your holy child Jesus.
2 Timothy 2:22 - Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Revelation 4:8 - And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.
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