Demoralized, humiliated, and homesick, God’s people were held captive in exile in Babylon for decades. A century before Nebuchadnezzar’s army destroyed Jerusalem – robbing the temple, tearing down the walls, and burning most of the city – and plucked them from their homeland, God sent words of comfort and hope through his prophet Isaiah. Knowing they would doubt Him and His promises during these tough days, God reassured them that through the devastation His purposes would be advanced, and not thwarted.
These beautiful chapters in Isaiah confront raw emotions, answer difficult question, and reaffirm the promise of salvation for God’s people. In these sixteen chapters, God speaks through his prophet and more than 80 times He commits to a future action. God says, “I will…” He speaks before He is ready to act inviting us to trust in Him As we look back on these words through the lens of the revelation about Christ, we will rejoice in knowing that God kept every promise and brought salvation for His people through His Servant. Begin reading through these chapters and prepare to be shaped by the God who never fails to follow-through when He says, “I will.”
God-given boundaries are not obstacles to be overcome; they create a clear path to freedom.
In Exodus, we see God rescuing the Israelites from slavery in Egypt and establishing a special relationship with them. He marks them as His possession and promises to protect, care, and bless them. He then commands them to respond to His grace by living within certain boundaries to express loyalty to Him and enjoy freedom. These relational and behavioral borders did not unnecessarily bind the people; instead, they led them to freedom.
But what does that story have to do with us? Do these boundaries still apply to Christians? And what place do they have in the larger society today? While our freedom is established in Jesus Christ, these boundaries still have a place. And they will not bind us either. Rightly understood, these boundaries lead us toward freedom.
Living for Christ in our culture is increasingly difficult. The growing tide of hostility toward Jesus and the Bible demonstrates that Christians are aliens or outsiders on this earth. Nevertheless, we are called to live faithfully in the present. But how? How can we endure? How can we obey? How can we stand when it seems all of culture is against us? Peter, concerned for the suffering believers in his day, writes to strengthen them to live faithfully by reminding them of the hope of salvation. This short, practical book is a call to stand firm in the present by living in hope for the future.