Sunday, January 22, 2006
Then and Now
From a distance, when we look at mountains, they merge into one another as if they really are one disconnected group. However, if we walked straight toward them, we most often find many miles separating them from each other. God expects us to see the future the same way. We know that because of how God presents prophecy in the Bible. Isaiah 9 presents the brilliant long range solution for the nation Judah in the Person of the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, and the Everlasting Father. The future is secure in this promised Messiah (7:14; 9:6). King Ahaz was looking for his own protection through his own reasoning in the nation Assyria, threatened by Syria and Israel. Through Isaiah, God assures him that safety was in Him, not in his own plans. One assurance he gives Ahaz, whether Ahaz wanted to hear it or not, was a coming child that guaranteed the long term protection for God's people. That was then, but what about now?
Many people are more interested in now than then. Part of walking by faith is choosing to grab ahold of the then, living for it, projecting ourselves to that moment through sheer belief. God in His mercy also grants us some now. The now question for Judah was: what about Israel? Israel had become a problem for the southern kingdom and now seemingly endangered her existence. Immediately after that far mountain range of the coming Messiah, Isaiah explains the short term future for Israel, drawing in the closer group of peaks in the big mountain picture. Within this was also a warning to Judah. Israel proudly trusted in herself and what did it get her? Judah too needed to trust the Lord for both for her short and long range future. For every then, God provides a now. See the then in the now and the now in the then; get the beauty of the whole range of God's plan for you.