Thursday, February 10, 2011

February 11, 2011

"Ariel, Ariel," means Jerusalem, Jerusalem. It actually means "altar hearth." It is most likely means Jerusalem since it is the place where sacrifices are consumed by fire. Isaiah states that God is going to punish and save Jerusalem because of their hypocrisy. He would use Assyria to produce a burning fire of wrath on Jerusalem. Why? Isaiah 29:13 states: "Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me."

Wow! How often today do Christians practice hypocrisy. Doing one thing at church and another things at work or school or in the community. God does not expect us to be perfect, but He does expect us to be humble and admit our mistakes. However, so many do wrong and only are sorry if caught. Note that this very thing is what caused God to punish Jerusalem. Why do we expect different?

Isaiah continues his discourse about putting our faith in others and not in Him. Jerusalem had put their faith in Egypt to protect them from Assyria. God states that Egypt will only bring death, but trusting God will be salvation. Some time later Hezekiah will become king of Judah and call the people back to the Lord of Host. The king of Assyria will come to destroy Jerusalem, but God will work a miracle for His people and save them, not Egypt (See 2 Kings 18 - 19).

As I listen to the radio and television these days I am reminded of how people today are worried about the fall of Egypt and the future of the Camp David Accord signed in 1973. The future is in God's hands. He has already told us that the Arab nations around Israel will one day surround Jerusalem to destroy it, but that God will save His people one final time. We are possibly seeing this truth unfold. Don't worry about Israel. We need to worry about our relationship to God. Are will giving lip service to Him, but our actions are against Him?

I feel sometimes today that we Christians are living in our culture doing wrong and hoping God will overlook our actions. We often function under the belief "that it is better to ask forgiveness than permission." That is a dangerous place to be. It is true that God will forgive, but He really desires holiness on our part. If God would not spare Israel from punishment or His Son from OUR punishment, don't think we will escape.

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