God’s Eternal Covenant: Isaiah 59 (3)
Pray Psalm 72.12-15.
For He will deliver the needy when he cries,
The poor also, and him who has no helper.
He will spare the poor and needy,
And will save the souls of the needy.
He will redeem their life from oppression and violence;
And precious shall be their blood in His sight.
And He shall live;
And the gold of Sheba will be given to Him;
Prayer also will be made for Him continually,
Anddaily He shall be praised.
Read Isaiah 59.6-8.
1. How is what we think about related to what we actually do?
2. What is justice? How is justice related to peace?
The sins that ensnare us and move us to evil begin within, in the soul, in our mind and heart. What we think about most often becomes what we desire, and what we desire is what we do. If we fill our minds with sinful thoughts, sinful desires will grow, and we will cover our lives with sinful works (v. 6).
Which is why it’s a good idea to keep a close watch on our thought life (Prov. 4.20-27). The people of Isaiah’s day left off meditating on the Law of God (Ps. 1). They preferred to think about themselves, what might make them comfortable, and how they might enjoy more of the material blessings of the day. They became ensnared in their own sinful webs, and they gave in to every wicked thought and evil desire, shedding innocent blood, and leaving a wake of waste and destruction in their paths (v. 7).
Consequently, what God desired for them – justice and peace (v. 8) – eluded them, and they followed crooked paths instead. But God loves His people too much to allow them to continue straying from His righteous paths. As He disciplined Israel and Judah of old, so He will discipline us if, failing to fix our minds on Him and to dwell in His Word, we desire instead the ways of this materialistic and narcissistic age (Heb. 12.3-11).
Paul reminds us that these things, written so long ago, are meant to comfort and give us hope (Rom. 15.4). By setting our minds on Jesus, exalted in glory, and learning to think with His mind (1 Cor. 2.16), we can desire what Jesus desires, and live in the justice and peace God intends for His people.
1. Explain the role of Scripture and prayer in helping us to keep our thought life in check.
2. What is our responsibility toward one another as believers, when it comes to walking in the Lord’s path?
3. How can we make sure, in every situation, that we are following the path that leads to justice and peace?
They sin with all parts of the body, through hands, feet, tongue. But it is the life inside their minds that sins before all of these once it has fallen into imprudence, so that it cannot recognize the peace that is at hand. Theodoret of Cyr (393-466 AD), Commentary on Isaiah 18.59.6-8
Guard my thoughts, O Lord, so that I may always desire what You desire, and may…
Pray Psalm 72.
Pray that Jesus would reign more and more in your mind and heart, so that you would seek His Kingdom and righteousness in all you do.
Sing to the Lord.
Psalm 72.7-14 (Martyrdom: Alas! And Did My Savior Bleed)
Let righteousness abundant be where Jesus’ reign endures;
Let peace increase from sea to sea ‘til moonlight shall be no more.
And let the Righteous rule the earth, and let His foes bow low;
Let nations praise His matchless worth, and all His bidding do.
The Lord the needy rescues when he cries to Him for grace;
All they who suffer violence find mercy before His face.
T. M. Moore
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006).All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).