+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!
Opening – (Northumbria Community)
One thing I have asked of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life; to behold the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple.
Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory.
Reading: Isaiah 62-66 (NLT)
Isaiah’s Prayer for Jerusalem
+ My heart yearns for Jerusalem – Because I love Zion, I will not keep still. Because my heart yearns for Jerusalem, I cannot remain silent. I will not stop praying for her until her righteousness shines like the dawn, and her salvation blazes like a burning torch.
The nations will see your righteousness. World leaders will be blinded by your glory. And you will be given a new name by the Lord’s own mouth. The Lord will hold you in his hand for all to see—a splendid crown in the hand of God.
+ The Bride of God – Never again will you be called “The Forsaken City” or “The Desolate Land.” Your new name will be “The City of God’s Delight” and “The Bride of God,” for the Lord delights in you and will claim you as his bride. Your children will commit themselves to you, O Jerusalem, just as a young man commits himself to his bride. Then God will rejoice over you as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride.
+ Watchmen who pray – O Jerusalem, I have posted watchmen on your walls; they will pray day and night, continually. Take no rest, all you who pray to the Lord. Give the Lord no rest until he completes his work, until he makes Jerusalem the pride of the earth. The Lord has sworn to Jerusalem by his own strength: “I will never again hand you over to your enemies. Never again will foreign warriors come and take away your grain and new wine. You raised the grain, and you will eat it, praising the Lord. Within the courtyards of the Temple, you yourselves will drink the wine you have pressed.”
+ Prepare the way of return – Go out through the gates! Prepare the highway for my people to return! Smooth out the road; pull out the boulders; raise a flag for all the nations to see.
The Lord has sent this message to every land: “Tell the people of Israel, ‘Look, your Savior is coming. See, he brings his reward with him as he comes.’”
They will be called “The Holy People” and “The People Redeemed by the Lord.” And Jerusalem will be known as “The Desirable Place” and “The City No Longer Forsaken.”
Judgment against the Lord’s Enemies
Isaiah 63 (NLT)
Who is this who comes from Edom, from the city of Bozrah, with his clothing stained red? Who is this in royal robes, marching in his great strength?
Why are your clothes so red, as if you have been treading out grapes?
“I have been treading the winepress alone; no one was there to help me. In my anger I have trampled my enemies as if they were grapes. In my fury I have trampled my foes. Their blood has stained my clothes. For the time has come for me to avenge my people, to ransom them from their oppressors. I was amazed to see that no one intervened to help the oppressed. So I myself stepped in to save them with my strong arm, and my wrath sustained me. I crushed the nations in my anger and made them stagger and fall to the ground, spilling their blood upon the earth.”
Praise for Deliverance
I will tell of the Lord’s unfailing love. I will praise the Lord for all he has done. I will rejoice in his great goodness to Israel, which he has granted according to his mercy and love. He said, “They are my very own people. Surely they will not betray me again.” And he became their Savior.
- In all their suffering he also suffered, and he personally rescued them.
- In his love and mercy he redeemed them.
- He lifted them up and carried them through all the years.
But they rebelled against him and grieved his Holy Spirit. So he became their enemy and fought against them.
Then they remembered those days of old when Moses led his people out of Egypt. They cried out,
- “Where is the one who brought Israel through the sea, with Moses as their shepherd?
- Where is the one who sent his Holy Spirit to be among his people?
- Where is the one whose power was displayed when Moses lifted up his hand—the one who divided the sea before them, making himself famous forever?
- Where is the one who led them through the bottom of the sea? They were like fine stallions racing through the desert, never stumbling. As with cattle going down into a peaceful valley, the Spirit of the Lord gave them rest. You led your people, Lord, and gained a magnificent reputation.”
Prayer for Mercy and Pardon
+ You are our Redeemer – Lord, look down from heaven; look from your holy, glorious home, and see us. Where is the passion and the might you used to show on our behalf? Where are your mercy and compassion now? Surely you are still our Father! Even if Abraham and Jacob would disown us, Lord, you would still be our Father. You are our Redeemer from ages past.
+ Return and help us – Lord, why have you allowed us to turn from your path? Why have you given us stubborn hearts so we no longer fear you? Return and help us, for we are your servants, the tribes that are your special possession. How briefly your holy people possessed your holy place, and now our enemies have destroyed it. Sometimes it seems as though we never belonged to you, as though we had never been known as your people.
Isaiah 64 (NLT)
+ Make the nations tremble – Oh, that you would burst from the heavens and come down! How the mountains would quake in your presence! As fire causes wood to burn and water to boil, your coming would make the nations tremble. Then your enemies would learn the reason for your fame! When you came down long ago, you did awesome deeds beyond our highest expectations. And oh, how the mountains quaked!
+ There is no God like you – For since the world began, no ear has heard and no eye has seen a God like you, who works for those who wait for him! You welcome those who gladly do good, who follow godly ways. But you have been very angry with us, for we are not godly. We are constant sinners; how can people like us be saved?
+ You have turned away from us – We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind. Yet no one calls on your name or pleads with you for mercy. Therefore, you have turned away from us and turned us over to our sins.
+ Still, we are your people – And yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand. Don’t be so angry with us, Lord. Please don’t remember our sins forever. Look at us, we pray, and see that we are all your people.
+ But we are in ruins – Your holy cities are destroyed. Zion is a wilderness; yes, Jerusalem is a desolate ruin. The holy and beautiful Temple where our ancestors praised you has been burned down, and all the things of beauty are destroyed. After all this, Lord, must you still refuse to help us? Will you continue to be silent and punish us?
Judgment and Final Salvation
Isaiah 65 (NLT)
The Lord says,
+ I was ready and waiting – “I was ready to respond, but no one asked for help. I was ready to be found, but no one was looking for me. I said, ‘Here I am, here I am!’ to a nation that did not call on my name. All day long I opened my arms to a rebellious people. But they follow their own evil paths and their own crooked schemes.
+ But you stink – All day long they insult me to my face by worshiping idols in their sacred gardens. They burn incense on pagan altars. At night they go out among the graves, worshiping the dead. They eat the flesh of pigs and make stews with other forbidden foods. Yet they say to each other, ‘Don’t come too close or you will defile me! I am holier than you!’ These people are a stench in my nostrils, an acrid smell that never goes away.
+ I will repay you – “Look, my decree is written out in front of me: I will not stand silent; I will repay them in full! Yes, I will repay them—both for their own sins and for those of their ancestors,” says the Lord. “For they also burned incense on the mountains and insulted me on the hills. I will pay them back in full!
+ But, I will preserve a remnant – “But I will not destroy them all,” says the Lord. “For just as good grapes are found among a cluster of bad ones (and someone will say, ‘Don’t throw them all away—some of those grapes are good!’), so I will not destroy all Israel. For I still have true servants there. I will preserve a remnant of the people of Israel and of Judah to possess my land. Those I choose will inherit it, and my servants will live there. The plain of Sharon will again be filled with flocks for my people who have searched for me, and the valley of Achor will be a place to pasture herds.
+ The rest are destined for the sword – “But because the rest of you have forsaken the Lord and have forgotten his Temple, and because you have prepared feasts to honor the god of Fate and have offered mixed wine to the god of Destiny, now I will ‘destine’ you for the sword. All of you will bow down before the executioner. For when I called, you did not answer. When I spoke, you did not listen. You deliberately sinned—before my very eyes—and chose to do what you know I despise.”
Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says:
- “My servants will eat, but you will starve.
- My servants will drink, but you will be thirsty.
- My servants will rejoice, but you will be sad and ashamed.
- My servants will sing for joy, but you will cry in sorrow and despair.
Your name will be a curse word among my people, for the Sovereign Lord will destroy you and will call his true servants by another name. All who invoke a blessing or take an oath will do so by the God of truth. For I will put aside my anger and forget the evil of earlier days.
+ I will rejoice over a new Jerusalem – “Look! I am creating new heavens and a new earth, and no one will even think about the old ones anymore. Be glad; rejoice forever in my creation! And look! I will create Jerusalem as a place of happiness. Her people will be a source of joy. I will rejoice over Jerusalem and delight in my people. And the sound of weeping and crying will be heard in it no more.
- “No longer will babies die when only a few days old.
- No longer will adults die before they have lived a full life.
- No longer will people be considered old at one hundred! Only the cursed will die that young!
+ Long life – In those days people will live in the houses they build and eat the fruit of their own vineyards. Unlike the past, invaders will not take their houses and confiscate their vineyards. For my people will live as long as trees, and my chosen ones will have time to enjoy their hard-won gains.
+ Blessed life– They will not work in vain, and their children will not be doomed to misfortune. For they are people blessed by the Lord, and their children, too, will be blessed.
+ Answered prayer – I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers!
+ Peace – The wolf and the lamb will feed together. The lion will eat hay like a cow. But the snakes will eat dust. In those days no one will be hurt or destroyed on my holy mountain. I, the Lord, have spoken!”
Isaiah 66 (NLT)
This is what the Lord says:
“Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Could you build me a temple as good as that? Could you build me such a resting place? My hands have made both heaven and earth; they and everything in them are mine. I, the Lord, have spoken!
+ Blessing and curse – “I will bless those who have humble and contrite hearts, who tremble at my word. But those who choose their own ways—delighting in their detestable sins—will not have their offerings accepted.
- When such people sacrifice a bull, it is no more acceptable than a human sacrifice.
- When they sacrifice a lamb, it’s as though they had sacrificed a dog!
- When they bring an offering of grain, they might as well offer the blood of a pig.
- When they burn frankincense, it’s as if they had blessed an idol.
- I will send them great trouble—all the things they feared.
For when I called, they did not answer. When I spoke, they did not listen. They deliberately sinned before my very eyes and chose to do what they know I despise.”
+ Vengeance – Hear this message from the Lord, all you who tremble at his words: “Your own people hate you and throw you out for being loyal to my name. ‘Let the Lord be honored!’ they scoff. ‘Be joyful in him!’ But they will be put to shame. What is all the commotion in the city? What is that terrible noise from the Temple? It is the voice of the Lord taking vengeance against his enemies.
+ Birth of a new nation – “Before the birth pains even begin, Jerusalem gives birth to a son. Who has ever seen anything as strange as this? Who ever heard of such a thing? Has a nation ever been born in a single day? Has a country ever come forth in a mere moment? But by the time Jerusalem’s birth pains begin, her children will be born. Would I ever bring this nation to the point of birth and then not deliver it?” asks the Lord. “No! I would never keep this nation from being born,” says your God.
+ Rejoice and be glad – “Rejoice with Jerusalem! Be glad with her, all you who love her and all you who mourn for her. Drink deeply of her glory even as an infant drinks at its mother’s comforting breasts.”
+ Peace and prosperity – This is what the Lord says: “I will give Jerusalem a river of peace and prosperity. The wealth of the nations will flow to her. Her children will be nursed at her breasts, carried in her arms, and held on her lap. I will comfort you there in Jerusalem as a mother comforts her child.”
+ The Lord is coming – When you see these things, your heart will rejoice. You will flourish like the grass! Everyone will see the Lord’s hand of blessing on his servants—and his anger against his enemies. See, the Lord is coming with fire, and his swift chariots roar like a whirlwind. He will bring punishment with the fury of his anger and the flaming fire of his hot rebuke. The Lord will punish the world by fire and by his sword. He will judge the earth, and many will be killed by him.
“Those who ‘consecrate’ and ‘purify’ themselves in a sacred garden with its idol in the center—feasting on pork and rats and other detestable meats—will come to a terrible end,” says the Lord.
+ All nations will see my glory – “I can see what they are doing, and I know what they are thinking. So I will gather all nations and peoples together, and they will see my glory. I will perform a sign among them. And I will send those who survive to be messengers to the nations—to Tarshish, to the Libyans and Lydians (who are famous as archers), to Tubal and Greece, and to all the lands beyond the sea that have not heard of my fame or seen my glory. There they will declare my glory to the nations. They will bring the remnant of your people back from every nation. They will bring them to my holy mountain in Jerusalem as an offering to the Lord. They will ride on horses, in chariots and wagons, and on mules and camels,” says the Lord. “And I will appoint some of them to be my priests and Levites. I, the Lord, have spoken!
+ You will always be my people – “As surely as my new heavens and earth will remain, so will you always be my people, with a name that will never disappear,” says the Lord. “All humanity will come to worship me from week to week and from month to month. And as they go out, they will see the dead bodies of those who have rebelled against me. For the worms that devour them will never die, and the fire that burns them will never go out. All who pass by will view them with utter horror.”
“Home” – Sam Tsui & The YMCA Jerusalem Youth Chorus
Blessing – (Northumbrian Community)
May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.
+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!
Categories: Life in Christ