Monday, January 04, 2016

Divine Favor

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Isaiah 60:1-22

 TO CHEW ON: "For behold darkness shall cover the earth,
And deep darkness the people;
But the Lord will arise over you,
And His glory will be seen upon you." Isaiah 60:2

On first reading this morning,  Isaiah 60:1-22 took my breath away. What is this? When is this?

My Bible's notes explain, cryptically, "While these glowing prophetic promises of restoration would bring hope to Israel in captivity, the fullest unfolding is messianic and eschatological" - Nathaneal M. Van Cleave, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 944.

["Eschatology: the branch of Christian theology that studies 'end things' whether the end of an individual life, the end of an age, the end of the world, and the nature of the Kingdom of God" - Dictionary definition.]

So yes, that makes sense. This prophecy foresees not only a time in Israel's history near to the prophet's lifetime, but also predicts end-time events concerning Israel and Jerusalem.

For me personally, though, this passage is a full-color illustration of what God's favor looks like at any time. (In fact, in her book of Scripture prayers Praying with Fire, Barbara Billette quotes freely from Isaiah 60 in her prayer for favor.)

According to Isaiah 60, God's favor:
  • Brings light - Isaiah 60:1,19,20.
  • Causes His glory to be seen upon the favored - Isaiah 60:2.
  • Is a magnetic attraction - Isaiah 60:3.
  • Unites and reunites families - Isaiah 60:4.
  • Attracts wealth - Isaiah 60:5-9,11,16,17.
  • Advances peace and security - Isaiah 60:10-12, 14, 18
  • Exalts and builds up what is worthy of God's glory - "My sanctuary" and "The city of the Lord / Zion of the Holy One of Israel" (Jerusalem) - Isaiah 60:13,14.
  • Brings joy - Isaiah 60:20.
  • Comes with unlikely reversal: "A little one shall become a thousand, / And a small one a strong nation" - Isaiah 60:22.

What's the point of all this favor?
To benefit the individual or nation favored? No. It's all to serve God's glory: "That I may be glorified" - Isaiah 60:21.

As we enter the new year, I don't think we're one bit out of line to pray for the favor shown in Isaiah 60 to be on our lives. But to always do so with one and only one motive—to advance the glory of the all-good, fair, all-seeing, just, loving One, the LORD in whom is not an atom of evil.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for this vivid picture of Your favor. May I so live in the coming year that Your glory and favor rests on me. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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