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Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Power of Knowing God...

Isaiah 11:1-9 is a Messianic passage and is one of those passages in which Jesus is referenced as the “Branch” from Jesse’s line. The first five verses describe Messiah and his attributes and the last four the results of his rule, an image of perfect peace and harmony. Let’s review it here:

1 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.

2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of power,
the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD -

3 and he will delight in the fear of the LORD.
He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
or decide by what he hears with his ears;

4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.

5 Righteousness will be his belt
and faithfulness the sash around his waist.

6 The wolf will live with the lamb,e
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
and a little child will lead them.

7 The cow will feed with the bear,
their young will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox.

8 The infant will play near the hole of the cobra,
and the young child put his hand into the viper's nest.

9 They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea.

While this is clearly the prophet’s vision from God of a world controlled by God’s Anointed Messiah, there is one phrase that seems to jump out among the rest: “for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord.” The reason this seems to call so much attention is the preposition “for,” which is give the reason or cause of the previous verses. What things, specifically? The lion living with the lamb, leopard and goat, calf and lion, all hunters and their natural prey, and being led by a child. Lions and bears eating straw, no longer carnivores, but grass eaters and infants playing with once deadly vipers. Surely this is a world completely upside down, at least to those ears who would have first heard it, and even to us today. Such behavior is not characteristic of the nature of those predators. What made the difference? The difference lies in the earth being full of the knowledge of God.

I am not trying to take away from the beautiful messianic picture the prophet has given through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. When the Messiah comes it would be a time of righteousness, justice, and peace.

This is just a simple observation. When God is in control and those under His control know Him their very nature is transformed. Coming to know God in salvation completely transforms life. When we yield the control of our lives to God as Lord & Master and accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, we are changed. This is not only a word of hope for a future time, and a description of the incarnate Christ as He came and what things might be when He reigns after the culmination of all things. This is also a basic truth to understand. When God is in control and those under His control know Him, their very nature is transformed.

The question must be raised how is this knowledge of God given? Obviously, through His Word, yes. But God also reveals Himself everyday as we trust Him for each day’s provision [give us this day our daily bread], as we see Him in control of heaven and earth [Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven]. Remember what the psalmist said in Psalm 50:8-15:
8 I do not rebuke you for your sacrifices
or your burnt offerings, which are ever before me.

9 I have no need of a bull from your stall
or of goats from your pens,

10 for every animal of the forest is mine,
and the cattle on a thousand hills.

11 I know every bird in the mountains,
and the creatures of the field are mine.

12 If I were hungry I would not tell you,
for the world is mine, and all that is in it.

13 Do I eat the flesh of bulls
or drink the blood of goats?

14 Sacrifice thank offerings to God,
fulfill your vows to the Most High,

15 and call upon me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you will honor me."

As we recognize what God has done and give Him thanks and praise, He receives glory, as He delivers us from our troubles and we respond in praise and gratitude, we honor Him. We grow in our knowledge of the Holy One as we live through the difficulties of life.

How else can we grow in our knowledge of God? Our praise and gratitude, our exalting God for who He is and what He has done is the essence of worship. Within this prophecy of about Messiah, Isaiah might be saying as we worship, as we get to know God, understand His authority, control, power and majesty, as we are filled with the knowledge of God, our own nature and character will be changed.

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