Praise is peace, and joy, and freedom. And one of the ultimate defenses against temptation.
And it’s the least we can do…
Even if it is a “sacrifice of praise”… After all, His was the sacrifice of suffering.
I personally don’t think that a life of perpetual gratitude is too high a price to pay.
“Sing unto the Lord; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth.” Isaiah 12:5
My God is a tender Father to the faithful…
But no less a Man of War.
And what a beautiful combination! It means that while He loves me like a daddy loves his little boy, and while He deals with the utmost tenderness and compassion, that’s only half of the story…
Because my Father is also a fighter.
And that means that even as He holds me tenderly, He fights my chains ferociously. He is all business when He deals with our Archenemy, and He’s the ultimate Winner…
While I am in His hands, I’m safe, and free.
It’s the most beautiful place in all the world…
A palace without boundaries, a treasury inexhaustible, a fortress impregnable… The place where the both the strongest and tenderest of God’s treasures are perfectly safe.
But this is not like the vaults or bunkers of the world. It is the place where ultimate freedom, and top security become one. Where the most profound protection expresses itself, not with bolts and locks, but with perfect liberty.
This is the sanctuary of the Most High. The shadow of His wings… His pavilion.
And the fear of the Lord is the key to the door.
“Sanctify the LORD of hosts Himself; and let Him be your fear… And He shall be for [you] a sanctuary…” Isaiah 8:13-14
Then, Lord Jesus, teach us to fear… That we might abide under the shadow of Your wings.
“Mine eyes have seen the King…”
Dreadful, exultant, awesome phrase.
But the young prince is afraid. It is after all, a dreadful, exultant, and awesome scene that has opened before him.
Pictures this: (seriously, try.)
The Almighty God seated high on His throne; the Seraphs (literally: “Burning things”) hovering over Him while they shield their own faces; the entire temple, the massive, glorious palace of the Infinite God, trembling to its foundations at the voice of His announcer; the whole glorious place filled with white smoke because the very air must praise Him… And the entire scene wrapped, and filled, and bursting with a soundtrack like you’ve never heard…
But Isaiah didn’t die. Even though he thought he would…
Because those who submit to the work of grace in their lives have another option.
That’s the one I want…
“Therefore have my people gone into captivity…”
Because they don’t know You, dear Jesus… (v.13) Neither have they known you. Because they have satisfied themselves with a form of Godliness, instead of seeking Your face. Existence is theirs, but they have no life. No power. No victory…
I’m sorry my Father, Faithful Judge. My heart breaks too… There is nothing more You could have done… (v.4)
But You will yet save them.
And Jesus… oh save me too. I am, one of them, after all.
Just let us come to know You.
“When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.” Eph. 4:8
Photo: © Jent Kyle, 2010
The heart that belongs to God is purged. (v.4) It must be so.
But herein lies its glory– its everything…
For when it is purged, it is “clean,” and “beautiful,” “excellent,” “appealing,” “holy,” “glorious,”…
First comes the seed, then comes the harvest. Once a seed is planted, no amount of sun, or rain, or fertilizer can change the fruit it will ultimately bear. If you want a different crop, the seed itself must be replaced…
Thus it is with our thoughts. First comes the thought, then comes the character. When fostered, no amount of pretending, and no external circumstances can change the fruit it will ultimately bear. If you want a different character, the thought must be replaced…
“Say to the righteous that it shall be well with them. For they shall eat the fruit of their doings.” Isaiah 3:10
Judah is a mess… The Lord Himself cries over His chosen ones.
Brute beasts know their masters, but these people, a peculiar, royal generation, have lost face recognition. They were holy, now they are profane…
It wasn’t always that way though… Verse 21 says this harlot was once called faithful. This den of murder was once a throne of righteous justice. Their vaults and treasuries now filled with dross once contained real silver…
And how did it happen?
I just have one thought this morning… A thought proven true over and over again by history, and by far too many people I love.
If it takes nothing else, it will cost you your discernment…
And what more can you lose?