We welcome 2018 with faith in God amidst the challenges, uncertainties, and problems that lie ahead. We can put our confidence in the words of encouragement spoken by the prophet Isaiah to the people of Israel. Isaiah 54:1-17 shows us how we can have a good future. We should:
1. Forget our Past Setbacks (vs 1-4). Despite their setbacks of barrenness and widowhood, Israel was called to stretch, enlarge, lengthen, and strengthen as they will spread out exponentially according to God’s plan. Like Israel, we should not let our past failures and current problems hinder our progress.
2. Appropriate God's Power (vs 5-6). God is described as the Maker, the Lord Almighty, the Holy One, Redeemer, and God of all the earth. He is God of immense power and overflowing grace. Nothing is impossible with Him.
3. Invoke God's Promises (vs. 7-10). Our covenant-keeping and compassionate God has promised that though the mountains be shaken His unfailing love will not be shaken. His covenant of peace with us shall not be moved.
4. Trust God's Plan (vs. 11-14). The people who were once afflicted and destroyed await a glorious future. They will dwell in a place of beauty, peace, and righteousness.
5. Hold on to God's Protection (vs. 16-17). No one will be allowed to defeat the people of God. The enemies of Israel are under God's control. No weapon formed against God's people shall prosper. Therefore, whoever attacks them will surrender in the end.
Whatever distressing difficulties, unnerving uncertainties, and daunting challenges this New Year may bring, we are assured to have a good future as we look up to God by FAITH!
Bishop Efraim Tendero
World Evangelical Alliance
Isaiah 54:1-17 (NIV):
1 “Sing, O barren one, who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who have not been in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than the children of her who is married,” says the Lord.
2 “Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes.
3 For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left, and your offspring will possess the nations and will people the desolate cities.
4 “Fear not, for you will not be ashamed; be not confounded, for you will not be disgraced; for you will forget the shame of your youth, and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.
5 For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called.
6 For the Lord has called you like a wife deserted and grieved in spirit, like a wife of youth when she is cast off, says your God.
7 For a brief moment I deserted you, but with great compassion I will gather you.
8 In overflowing anger for a moment I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord, your Redeemer.
9 “This is like the days of Noah to me: as I swore that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth, so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you, and will not rebuke you.
10 For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.
11 “O afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted, behold, I will set your stones in antimony, and lay your foundations with sapphires.
12 I will make your pinnacles of agate, your gates of carbuncles, and all your wall of precious stones.
13 All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children.
14 In righteousness you shall be established; you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near you.
15 If anyone stirs up strife, it is not from me; whoever stirs up strife with you shall fall because of you.
16 Behold, I have created the smith who blows the fire of coals and produces a weapon for its purpose. I have also created the ravager to destroy;
17 no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindication from me, declares the Lord.”
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