Friday, 26th August 2022
Ps Kathy Poon
Section One V1-8 Sin Separates Men from God
V1-2 ‘Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.’ The people of Israel have returned to Jerusalem from Babylon, but when they returned, they saw the desolation of the land, and they had doubt and complaint. What they saw was different from what they imagined, they thought God was not with them anymore, and they decided to create their own revival instead of waiting for God’s timing. They stared to worship the idols and make alliance with the nations around them. They did not have mercy for their own people, and they did not have unity.
A lot of time, when we preach the Gospel and bring people to God, we talk about the blessings, happiness, and abundance from God. But when the blessings don’t come as expected, we then feel like we must create something to show people that we have received the blessings. So, what is true revival? God wants to give the revival to the people, who are called by Him, but it’s by His way and His timing, not ours. In order to receive this revival, we need to turn to God, repent wholeheartedly from our inner man, our spiritual being, be humble, and be obedient. All the outward actions would not matter because they will not last.
V3 ‘For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue has muttered perversity.’ Our sins separate ourselves from God, therefore we must repent before God continually. God has already redeemed His people of Israel from Babylon, but God did not give them the revival, because of their sins. When we are chosen, when we believe in God, and when we are called, God takes us away from our misery, but then we fall back into our sinful life. The things we do or the words we say are full of sins and bring death. Therefore, the revival cannot come to us.
V4-5 ‘No one calls for justice, nor does any plead for truth. They trust in empty words and speak lies; they conceive evil and bring forth iniquity. They hatch vipers’ eggs and weave the spider’s web; he who eats of their eggs dies, and from that which is crushed a viper breaks out.’ Our hearts, our hands, our mouths are full of sins. The real intentions inside our hearts are not pure and our fruits are sinful, which angers God. That’s why we must protect our hearts above all else, we must come straight to God when we realise our hearts are not in the right place, do not let it go easily, because these things will accumulate, and one day, it will hatch out like a volcanic eruption. In every relationship, if we hold and supress our emotions, then they will become the vipers’ eggs, which will one day hatch out and will be difficult to kill. We should come to God every day, to deal with every little emotion we have, to be convicted for sins, for righteousness, and for judgement.
V6-7 ‘Their webs will not become garments, nor will they cover themselves with their works; their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands. Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths.’ When we speak words or carry out actions from our feelings and emotions, then we are very likely to sin and to shed innocent blood. The Bible teaches us to listen quickly but respond slowly. This will help us not to act with our flesh but by the wisdom of God.
V8 ‘The way of peace they have not known, and there is no justice in their ways; they have made themselves crooked paths; whoever takes that way shall not know peace.’ There were times when we were in deep darkness, we cried out to God, and He came to save us. But very soon we would go back to our old lifestyle and do not continue to follow God to the end. May God help us to finish well and to never give up on this path.
Section Two V9-15 The Repentance of Men
V9-10 ‘Therefore justice is far from us, nor does righteousness overtake us; we look for light, but there is darkness! For brightness, but we walk in blackness! We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes; we stumble at noonday as at twilight; we are as dead men in desolate places.’ In the Book of Isaiah, it continues to remind us that the people of God are lack of justice and righteousness, only when we express ourselves from the bottom of our hearts, then we can really receive revival. It’s not about our actions, how we act, what we do, or what we say, but it’s all from the hearts. Our true self will be revealed at home, at work, and in our every day life; and if we don’t have justice and righteousness in our lives, then we will not see light.
V11 ‘We all growl like bears, and moan sadly like doves; we look for justice, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far from us.’ We cannot just ask for the blessings of God and not receive the righteousness of God. When we don’t live right, then how can we expect God to hear our prayers?
V12-13 ‘For our transgressions are multiplied before You, and our sins testify against us; for our transgressions are with us, and as for our iniquities, we know them: In transgressing and lying against the Lord, and departing from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood.’ When sins are with us, when we are rebellious and disobedient, then we will depart from God. Furthermore, we would use excuses to justify our unrighteous acts.
V14-15 ‘Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands afar off; for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter. So truth fails, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. Then the Lord saw it, and it displeased Him that there was no justice.’ When we are not living in the righteousness, the sins will separate us from God, and God will not be with us.
Section Three 16-21 The Arm of God
V16 ‘He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor; therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him; and His own righteousness, it sustained Him.’ We often question God, that even though we are saved and become believers, why do our lives still go through up and down? God never promised a smooth life, but He will always bring salvation for us.
V17 ‘For He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on His head; He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak.’ God’s arm of righteousness will come to us, and if we don’t live in His righteousness and truth, then He will deal with us Himself.
V18-19 ‘According to their deeds, accordingly He will repay, fury to His adversaries, recompense to His enemies; the coastlands He will fully repay. So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun; when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.’ God will deal with His enemies, and in the same way, He will also deal with His people with His arm of righteousness. Because He will not allow the wicked ways of His own people.
V20 ‘The Redeemer will come to Zion, and to those who turn from transgression in Jacob, says the Lord.’ This is a promise for the people of God, the affirmation that the Messiah will come to Zion. God will lift out His arm of righteousness, but also His arm of salvation.
V21 ‘As for Me, says the Lord, this is My covenant with them: My Spirit who is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your descendants, nor from the mouth of your descendants’ descendants, says the Lord, from this time and forevermore.’ Again God reminds us His attribute, He is not just righteous or not just merciful, but He is all of them. He has already given us the Holy Spirit and the His Word to pour down to us, to teach us and to disciple us every day. And not only in our generations but the generations to come.
以赛亚书 59 – 真正的复兴
V1 这时的以色列百姓蒙神恩典得以回到耶路撒冷，然而回归后他们看到国土荒凉，发现现实跟理想有很大差距，因为他们想要看的复兴迟迟没有来，就口出怨言，觉得神没有听他们祷告，于是想用自己的双手来创造复兴。他们开始拜偶像，与周边的君王结盟，一部分热忱的信徒虽然表面守神的诫命，但在日常生活中对同胞没有怜悯，彼此伤害。 我们的蒙恩信主后也好像他们一样。我们听了别人传福音，知道会在生活上得祝福，可是信主之后，却看到自己、家庭或财务似乎没有如之前所期待的那样有好的改变，于是像那些回到耶路撒冷的以色列百姓一样心生怀疑，就想用自己的双手去创造我们想要的复兴，比如参加一些课程帮助夫妻关系或理财，好让自己有一些外在的“见证”，结果偏离了上帝本来要给我们的。真正的复兴是神要赏赐给我们这些蒙恩被主选召的百姓的，不是我们表现出那些给人看到的、自以为是复兴的表面功夫。唯有当我们真正愿意在忧伤痛悔中谦卑悔改、在内心里真实转向神，我们的灵才会苏醒，复兴才会从我们里面自然而然地流露出来。
V11 神的膀臂 – 公义和救恩 – 是一体两面的，我们不能一方面只要神的救恩来赦免我们的罪、拯救我们，但另一方面在对待亲近的家人时在言行上却没有公义。这样，神是不会听我们祷告的。
V21 神再次强调他膀臂未曾缩短，一个是公义的膀臂，另一个是救恩的膀臂。最后给了我们一个很棒的约：他加给我们圣灵和他的话语 – 圣灵的工作和神话语的大能要天天浇灌在我们这些愿意从里面真实被神复兴的百姓，不仅在在我们这一代，并且是到下一代的下一代，知道永远，这是何等美好的应许！