Hope & Humility
Isaiah lives in light of the tension of what is to come and what is currently going on. In Chapters 2-4 he bookends this passage with a vision of what the world will be once God makes all things right. In the middle, however, he reminds us of the harsh reality of where we currently stand. Human pride is the barrier to heaven. Therefore, humility is necessary for us to be ready for the ultimate hope of the world to come.
Who We Are
Self-awareness is crucial to transformation. While it is often painful, it is the initial step to making any meaningful change. God, through Isaiah, lays the foundation of self-awareness we need to recognize our true condition. We are sinful, rebellious, self-interested, impure, and even our best effort to worship God – if we are sinful – falls woefully short of honoring Him. We need more than what we can provide for justification before Him. We need a Savior and that is just what God provides.
The prophet Isaiah was a man commissioned by God to bring His people a vision. A clear, singular vision of reality about life from God’s perspective. This reality is hard at first, because it tells us the truth about our situation – that we are ungrateful rebels against our Creator. But if you stick with God’s reality it also includes unbelievable truths – that we have a God who can and wants to save, and He is preparing a world of perfection for those who trust Him.
Father Abraham Had Many Sons
The life of Abraham was marked by faithfulness and trust in the promises of God, which was “imputed to him as righteousness.” In the gospel, the righteousness of Christ is imputed to those whose lives are marked by faithfulness. Salvation is not found in stellar law-keeping, but rests in simple Abrahamic faith in, and obedience to, the promise of God to raise up all who believe and to give them an eternal inheritance.
The lingering fear behind our lack of giving is the concern that we wont have enough. Often our hearts long to give more, because we were designed to give, but our sinful minds whisper lies about scarcity. Forced to ask ourselves if we really trust God, giving pushes us to discover the continual generosity of God to always supply our needs.
Decide and Do
Becoming a giver is a matter of discipline. Upon evaluating our income, along with our necessities, God asks us to decide how much we want to give and then make a commitment to follow through. Giving must become a discipline based on commitment, not a reaction to ups and downs.
Everything We Have
We often wonder how much we really should give. The story of the poor widow and her two mites is a great passage to see the warning God has for us in giving, the value He sees in all giving, and the source from which He truly wants us to give from. When we get these right, we’ll know how much to give.
It is common to believe that we give our time, money, and energy to the things our heart is most connected to. Jesus alerts us to the reality that our heart actually follows where we invest, rather than our investments following our heart. Get your investments right and your heart will follow.
The Power of Possessions
Accumulation of things dominates our consumer driven culture. Comfort and convenience are now regarded as necessity. The problem with possessions is not that we have things, but so often those things have us. We become the ones possessed. Jesus wants us free from the power of our possessions so we can use them for the work of God.
Grace Makes Givers
We often think we’ll become better givers the moment we have more. A little extra in the bank, more space in the schedule. The reality is, we only become givers when we fully appreciate how much we ourselves have been given.