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Janet's Corner

Home | 2006-2007 | 2005-2006 | 2004-2005
Let's Enlarge Our Tents

Isaiah 62 and Isaiah 54:2

 

Have you ever been startled by what you hear on TV? It has happened to me often, but this time I had such a strong reaction to it. Knowing that my passion is to share the truth of God’s satisfying love and life with women especially, let me tell you what some women are doing as reported on NBC. There is a movement nationwide, through books and TV, for what they called cocktail play dates. There are clubs in New York City where women gather between 4 and 6 PM for one cocktail with their children to defeat the boredom, loneliness or stress of their lives. In California, the women and children actually gather in their back yards around the play equipment with beautiful glasses filled with wine for themselves and juice boxes for their children.

We have been talking about finding satisfaction the last two weeks. And whether we are Christians or not, we can drift toward a multitude of things to fill us, to satisfy us, to relieve our stress or loneliness or emotional or physical pain. Remember our bucket – the one we put down when we find Jesus fills us –meeting our needs, desires, expectations? Just like the woman at the well who saw Jesus as the Christ and left her bucket at the well, we can turn to God and let him satisfy us. Allowing Him to fill us with himself, relieving boredom and stress and loneliness.  Oh how I want to reach these women who are bored, lonely and tell them about Jesus. I wonder how many of those bored and lonely women there are right here in our surrounding communities – in the houses right next door to us, at the playgrounds, in the grocery stores.

What will motivate us to share the truth of the gospel with others?

Let’s look at Isaiah 62: We’ll look at this chapter in the light of three questions.

Isaiah 62:1-5

For Zion's sake I will not keep silent,
       for Jerusalem's sake I will not remain quiet,
       till her righteousness shines out like the dawn,
       her salvation like a blazing torch.

 2 The nations will see your righteousness,
       and all kings your glory;
       you will be called by a new name
       that the mouth of the LORD will bestow.

 3 You will be a crown of splendor in the LORD's hand,
       a royal diadem in the hand of your God.

 4 No longer will they call you Deserted,
       or name your land Desolate.
       But you will be called Hephzibah
       and your land Beulah;
       for the LORD will take delight in you,
       and your land will be married.

 5 As a young man marries a maiden,
       so will your sons marry you;
       as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride,
       so will your God rejoice over you.

 

1.     How do you see Jesus?  Isaiah has seen the Lord! Remember in Isaiah chapter 6? He realized who God is and who Isaiah was and the problem which was created by that difference. He responded to God’s call to cleansing and mission.

So now we see Isaiah in chapter 62 committed to sticking to the mission until righteousness shines and salvation blazes! Have you seen Jesus and responded to his call? What do we need to remember?  We remember that our response to his love is to love others. Our response to Jesus coming to serve us is to serve others. Our response to Jesus finishing his mission is to carry out the mission he left for us. What’s that mission? Look in Isaiah 61:6, 9,11. We will be called priests of the Lord, ministers of our God. The descendants of the Lord will be known among the nations. We are his agents. We will be instruments in His hand to allow righteousness to shine and salvation blaze. And we live by II Corinthians 5:15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

How have you responded to God’s call to cleansing and mission.

 

2.     How does Jesus see you? He gives you a new name! A new name means that there is a transformation in character. You and I know that it is only Jesus that could accomplish that in our lives! He watches over his word to bring about those changes, that transformation. We are actually God’s crown of splendor in His hand! He loves to show us off. We become plantings of the Lord, oaks of righteousness, to display His glory (Isaiah 63). Others see the remarkable work of God in our lives.  We who were Deserted and Desolate, are now called by God, Hephzibah (he delights in us) and Beulah (married). Our relationship with God is restored and God’s view of us is described in two ways. He delights in us or has a strong attraction to us! Secondly, He rejoices over us just like a bridegroom rejoices over his bride. Rejoice refers to the feeling of joy. How does a bridegroom rejoice over his bride? I remember on my own wedding, my husband’s smile and his pleasant words and his joy as his voice echoed in a big old church, “I do.”

Read Numbers 6:22-16. Reminds me of God’s favor and blessing being toward each of us who have believed. 22 The LORD said to Moses, 23 "Tell Aaron and his sons, 'This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them:

 24 " ' "The LORD bless you
       and keep you;

 25 the LORD make his face shine upon you
       and be gracious to you;

 26 the LORD turn his face toward you
       and give you peace." '

 27 "So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them."

In the dark times and the light times we need to be motivated by how Jesus sees us. He delights in us and rejoices over us!

 

 

Let’s read Isaiah 62: 6-7 to answer the last question.

6 I have posted watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem;
       they will never be silent day or night.
       You who call on the LORD,
       give yourselves no rest,

 7 and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem
       and makes her the praise of the earth.

3.     How do we see our mission? Isaiah says there will be watchmen posted on the walls. To guard against any danger, anything that would destroy the mission…the mission is important! To guard and advance the mission, we need to watch and pray! Never being silent – pray unceasingly – with no rest – never giving up until God establishes peace in Jerusalem. Psalm 122:6 says pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Peace in Jerusalem reflects the time after Jesus returns again and establishes a new heaven and earth and we will reign with him! (Isaiah 65:17-19). Prayer is an important part of accomplishing what God has promised and he will use us in that mission. We need to pray that God’s kingdom will come among us here and now – as Jesus taught us to pray – “Thy kingdom come.” Do you know your place in the kingdom? There’s purpose, but also an urgency to this mission . Isaiah 62:10 shows us this urgency.Pass through, pass through the gates!
       Prepare the way for the people.
       Build up, build up the highway!
       Remove the stones.
       Raise a banner for the nations.”

A purpose and an urgency for each of us to prepare the way, build the highway, remove the stones because God has proclaimed…

 11 The LORD has made proclamation
       to the ends of the earth:
       "Say to the Daughter of Zion,
       'See, your Savior comes!
       See, his reward is with him,
       and his recompense accompanies him.' "

 12 They will be called the Holy People,
       the Redeemed of the LORD;
       and you will be called Sought After,
       the City No Longer Deserted.

There is a purpose and an urgency to our mission because Jesus is coming back again and we want others to know Him!

 

I want to look at this mission in a very practical way. One which we will be able to apply to our personal lives, as well as ministry opportunities.

 

Isaiah 54:1-2

 1 "Sing, O barren woman,
       you who never bore a child;
       burst into song, shout for joy,
       you who were never in labor;
       because more are the children of the desolate woman
       than of her who has a husband,"
       says the LORD.

 2 "Enlarge the place of your tent,
       stretch your tent curtains wide,
       do not hold back;
       lengthen your cords,
       strengthen your stakes.

 

Verse one is picture of what God will do  - no longer will Jerusalem be deserted or desolate, but filled. It will not be barren, but fruitful. It will be as God did for Sara. God will make what was barren, fruitful. Many will come to salvation.

So what do we need to do? Enlarge the place of our tent. Stretch out our curtains – open them wide and get ready for more to enter into this life-giving transforming relationship with Jesus. Don’t hold back – Is there anything holding you back from doing that? Maybe your priorities or your activities or your fear of the unknown or your feeling of inadequacy or your need to please others. There also risks that are real when we open up our lives to those around us – risks of being hurt or being rejected or disappointed. Maybe right now God is showing you how He can strengthen your stakes by restoring some relationships in your life that are foundational to your witness in this world. Do what you need to do, in order to strengthen the stakes and lengthen your cords to welcome others into a life-giving transforming relationship with Jesus. That’s the mission Jesus has for us that know Him!!

 

The reason we’re here at Bible Study is to share that hope with those who don’t know Jesus, strengthen our faith, and encourage each other in the mission we have outside of these walls. How do we need to enlarge our tent as Roxbury Community Bible Study? How can we call others to study the word with us? The message will never change, but perhaps the way we do invite others to join us will. One woman shared that she introduced Bible study as a book club. Often we have a book – whether it be a book of the Bible or topical book that we discuss. How can RCBS be used as a tool in the lives of those you meet to bring them the satisfaction only Jesus can give them? We have gone through a process over the years using this verse to give us vision and I think it’s time we look at it again. We strengthened our stakes organizationally, ministering to the children, financially, and in leadership training. We’re ready for more – what is holding us back? Maybe it is lengthening those cords to embrace another generation of women or lengthening our cords as we see the women who are already here and minister to their hearts and their needs.

 

Do you have a new name? What will happen as a result?