Thursday, May 13, 2010

Making Jesus famous

Maybe I'm a slow reader, or maybe I just digest things slowly. I am meandering slowly through the prophecies of Isaiah- the gospel of the old testament. That's why my blog is called "in one ear". Things go in and get stuck inside for a long time before coming out again. The final chapter had already struck me with the climax of God's glory been made known in all the earth. In the build up to this climax a few pieces of the puzzle have been falling in to place for me.
This morning Melody and I were reading chapter 26. As I read through Melody said "didn't you read this chapter yesterday?" It sounded familiar. :) But as I read I wanted to keep reading, it sounded different to yesterday. Things were jumping out at me all over the place. After such a rapid succession of ideas and understanding, we decided to pray through the chapter, point by point that had struck us.
So often scripture has been something for personal application. But then how should verses like- 'Open the gates that the righteous nation may enter, the nation that keeps faith', be interpreted? This is not something that I can act on as an individual. This requires action from a nation, that a nation itself may become righteous. Sometimes we can become so consumed in our western individualistic lifestyles that we do not believe it possible or even right for a group of people or a nation to act together. But I believe it to be God's desire. Still, how can I act on this scripture? I can pray for it to come true, for my own nation and for the nations that God has called me to.
The salvation that the LORD has won for us is powerful. It is to be our strength. In fact Isaiah describes it this way- 'We have a strong city, God makes salvation its walls and ramparts.' Salvation is to be our defence against all forms of spiritual attack. Such attacks can come in the form of discouragement, struggles, sickness and even depression. But we have a strong city to live in. It's God's desire that all nations would live within his holy city.
There are lots of things in this chapter that can be prayers in our lives. "The path of the righteous is level, O Upright One, you make the way of the righteous smooth." This is a promise and a great prayer to pray. Lord, make us righteous like you and make our ways smooth. God can open doors for us in life, according to his will. We have seen this so many times recently, that I am beginning to think that God wants this to be a pattern in our lives. This idea is echoed in verse 12, "LORD, you establish peace for us, all that we have accomplished, you have done for us." This can also be our prayer. It reminds me of all the things the Lord has done in recent times to get us here. The Lord has accomplished this, he has established peace in our lives.
Verse 8 struck me the deepest. "Your name and renown our the desire of our hearts." This is a simple thing to say, but a far deeper thing when true. This has become my prayer. My prayer that my desire would truly be that Jesus would be famous in all the world. My prayer that it would not only be my desire, but that it would come true. My prayer that this would happen in the land in which i live, to the indigenous peoples to which I am called, that Jesus would indeed be famous amongst them. I have a feeling that when this is true, that they will believe also. It's not my job to make anyone believe. The Holy Spirit draws people, but it is my job to make Jesus famous. That's my desire, that's my vocation.
There are many more thoughts developing in me in response to this song of praise in Isaiah. But I guess they will have to churn around inside a little while longer before they rise to the surface coherently.

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