Stark reality

Isaiah’s prophecy begins with a stark dose of reality. (Leanna paraphrase coming up.) “You’re a bad mess of sin and consequences, Israel. God won’t put up with it much longer, so you’d better change. Pronto. Nothing good’s headed your way if you don’t straighten up.”

Those weren’t his words, of course, but they convey the essence. Isaiah’s actual words leave me reeling. Public humiliation. Burning. Unquenchable thirst. Thirty-one verses of too-harsh truth paint a dire picture of the future. I don’t want any of what Isaiah predicted in his opening chapter.

The next chapter is more of the same, but sandwiched in between a description of crushed sinners and the need to hide under a rock because of the judgment to come is a little oasis of words.

In the last days, Isaiah tells us, everyone will want to go to God’s house. They won’t be there to be seen or show off their new outfits. It won’t be the “in” thing to do before lunch at the country club. Instead, many people from all over the globe will stream to the house of God because of one very important reason.

They want to learn God’s ways in order to obey.

We don’t always go to the house of God to learn His ways in order to obey now, do we? But one day we will.

Consider the last days for a moment.

No more weapons, no war, no conflict.

Imagine a time when people everywhere want to learn AND obey God’s ways. The fruit of the Spirit will be in abundance. Can you wrap your mind around a world in which people’s hearts are full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control? (Galatians 5:22-23)

That’s quite a change, isn’t it? I long for that day, yet I confess I’m not ready. I’m not yet full to the brim with the fruit of the Spirit. There are days when pride or anger or judgmental, critical spirit raise their ugly heads and speak through my mouth. I’m probably not the only one with a little not-like-Jesus in me, but I want to be rid of all the old sin so I can be ready for those last days, don’t you?

As we prepare for the coming of the Christ child this Advent season, let’s take it a step further. Prepare our hearts for the future, too.

How do we prepare for the last days?  Here are two easy steps to make sure we’re ready:

  1. Diligent Bible study. Open our Bibles and allow God’s words to cleanse and transform us. Learn God’s ways.
  2. Surrendered obedience. Once we know what God wants, we must choose to obey. 

Learn what God expects and do it. It’s that simple. It’s that hard. 

“And many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord…that He may teach us concerning His ways; and that we may walk in His paths.” Isaiah 2:3

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If you have time, why not stay a while and read a few of my recent posts:

Christmas’ Best Gift: Beautiful Redemption

Advent: Beginning December

Always Begin with Love: A Christian speaks out against Anti-Semitism

The Whining Season

On Being Beloved

If you’re looking  for an Advent devotional guide, consider this one:

It’s available in Kindle format ($0.99) and paperback ($6.00)

Here’s an in-depth, life-changing digital Bible study to help you start the new year:

You can also send either book as a gift through Amazon.

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