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Living In Light of Divine Restoration

By Nathan Gibbs

Isaiah 57:17-18, “For the iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth and smote him: I hid me, and was wroth and he went on frowardly in the way of his heart. I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also and restore comforts unto him and his mourners.” (KJV)

Injury is inevitable. At an early age we understand that our bodies are frail. As toddlers we learn to balance, stand and eventually walk, yet we experience many falls along the way. Our journey of learning life includes many cuts, scrapes, bruises and even broken bones. Our bodies are frail indeed, yet our potential for living is great and so we want to live life to the fullest, but to do so requires risk by putting our bodies in danger of harm. Thus a few broken bones and mishaps along the way are expected. God has compensated this human contradiction by making our bodies in such a way that they can heal and recover. Even in dire circumstances where someone has been in an accident where it appears they will never recover, miraculously they do and and we are amazed.

Similarly our spiritual lives are the same. As sinners who have a sin nature from birth, it is likewise inevitable that we will sin. If you have lived any in this world as a Christian, then you understand that failure is part of the Christian life. As children of God, we struggle with failure and rightfully so because sin has its paralyzing effect. The consequences of sin are great and God warns us of these consequences as well as the gravity of sin. Sin in the most basic definition is disobedience to God and obedience to self. Since self is a part of us, then every Christian lives in a battle against self and the powers of darkness. The result of this battle is failure and the consequences of sin, which leave us hurt and beaten.

Surprising God has planned and compensated for this by providing forgiveness and Divine healing. One of the most blessed promises given to Christians is found in 1 John 1:9. “If we confess our sins, than he is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (KJV) This is why Jesus Christ died so that everyone who believes in him can have forgiveness from sin and deliverance from the penalty of sin, which is death in hell. Not only can we experience this forgiveness when we first come to know the Lord and ask Him into our lives to save us, but we are promised this forgiveness daily, hourly and momently. Whenever we come to God and ask forgiveness for any sin including our failures, God promises forgiveness because of the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ on the cross.

Yet thankfully that is not all God does. While seeking God’s forgiveness is a very important part of the Christian life, it is only the first half of God’s wondrous working in our lives. Amazingly God is never surprised by our sin and He always has a purpose for it. Remember when God calls us to Salvation, He also calls us to glorification or also known as sanctification. God’s goal is to separate us from sin and the world and separate us unto Himself. God wants us, from the moment that we call upon Christ as Lord and invite him into our lives, to become more like Him. His plan is to make us like Himself. In order to do that requires a learning and a growing process. Since God is sovereign He wisely uses failures in our lives so we grow as a Christian.

Lets be honest with ourselves, we are extremely selfish and stubborn people who like to go our own ways and do our own things. We like to place ourselves on the throne of our existence, but a Christian is to place God on that throne and let Him rule and reign in our hearts and minds. This is what Isaiah is talking about here in this passage. God told Isaiah that He was wroth because of the covetousness of Israel’s heart. They had forsaken the true God and started to worship other false gods. They coveted the false gods of the other nations around them and desired their way of living. What did they want? They wanted to fulfill their own lusts and pleasures and selfishness, but the God of Israel would not allow it. Therefore they turned to the false gods of the surrounding nations in order to fulfill their own wants and desires. This is the heart of covetousness. Whenever we desire something else that is contrary to God’s laws, then we are exalting what we want above what God wants. In fact the Apostle Paul called covetousness idolatry in his epistle to the Colossians. (Colossians 3:5)

Notice the passage here in Isaiah, God says, “I was wroth and smote him,” and then God says, “I hid me.” God does the smiting or hitting or hurting, etc. God knows exactly what we need in order to break us. Failure certainly does this in our lives. Sin always brings hurt and pain, yet God is using this for our good so He can conform us to His image. God also disappears or hides Himself. Don’t be surprised if God withholds His grace or help while you are pursuing your own selfish desires. God does this on purpose. The bible is clear in the next the chapter of Isaiah that our iniquities separate us from God. (Isaiah 59:2) It is not that God cannot hear us, but He chooses not to. What is God doing, He is withholding divine blessing and help in order to break us, but remember this is all according to His good pleasure and our benefit.

Thankfully God never leaves us or forsakes us. (Hebrews 13:5) In Isaiah, God saw the “ways” of Israel who had sinned against Him and yet He promises, “I will heal him.” We serve an amazing God who loves us and is always faithful. Even in our backsliding and periods of indulgence as we live only for ourselves, God patiently waits. Many people picture God with a hammer or anvil waiting to squash us like bugs at any given moment for any given sin. Yet biblically, God is a loving Father who administers discipline for the sole purpose of bringing His children back to Himself in order to reward them with countless blessings. Yes we have to bear the consequences of our sin and endure the pain sin causes, but God who is long suffering patiently waits for our return because He delights in blessing us not chastisement.

In all this God begins to heal. Like the miraculous recovery from an awful car accident, spiritually God wants to heal us and make us like new. God delights in restoration. God explains to Isaiah, “I will lead him also and restore comforts unto him.” Restoration during biblical times was a word used by a physician, referring to the process of mending broken bones. Much like the lepers who were restored whole, so also God restores the spiritual lepers; making them as though they were never touched. This is what God does. He knows our faults and frailties and He knows what we must go through in order to correct these frailties. The process is long, difficult, painful and many times seems unfair; yet God is sculpting, painting and fashioning His children into His glorious image. Like the potter He breaks the clay over and over again in order to shape the clay into the perfect vessel fit for the Master’s use. This is a marvelous process created by a marvelous God who loves all His children very much.

Lastly a careful examination of the last phrase of this passage is important. Here God tells Isaiah, “and his mourners.” Interesting how God not only restores those who have fallen, but He restores the mourners as well. As in death, the mourners come mourning their loved one. They mourn their loss. This is a natural process of grief and loss. The same is true for spiritual loss. Sin not only hurts God, but it hurts other people. Never underestimate the cascading effect of sin in your life. Sin makes a mess of things and causes not only pain, but many times loss. The adulterer looses trust. The murder looses freedom. The liar looses his friends. On and on the story goes; the terrible consequences of sin. Yet God has planned for this as well, for not only does God restore the individual, but He also can restore the relationship destroyed by failure. There is nothing that God cannot fix and nothing God cannot heal or restore. No problem is too big or person too lost; God can save them all. A broken home, a shattered relationship or a rebellious soul, God delights in restoring them all. May God help us all to live in the light of Divine Restoration.

I want to encourage others with what God is teaching me every day.

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.comCHRISTIAN WRITERMAKE A WEBSITE

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