Bible Studies
Written by Jim Jordal   
Monday, 02 July 2012


By Jim Jordal

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.  For as the rain comes down and the snow from the sky, and doesn't return there, but waters the earth, and makes it bring forth and bud, and gives seed to the sower and bread to the eater;  so shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return to me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.  For you shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing; and all the trees of the fields shall clap their hands.

Isaiah 55:9-12, WEB

God’s thoughts are more profound than ours. In the passage above he says that as the earth brings forth harvest following the gift of rain, so will his word not return to him empty, but will without question accomplish the reasons why he sent it. In the context of the entire scripture, God’s word comes to deliver humankind from the oppressions formed by evil forces and the fatal hold of sin over the human condition.

So if we are promised deliverance, why does it often seem so far away? An example is found in Genesis 16 when God spoke to in a dream to Abram (not yet named Abraham) about the delay in implementing the Abrahamic Covenant because "the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete." The Amorites were a prominent Canaanite tribe that was hostile to Israel and active in the early Babylonian empire. Their sin had not yet reached the point where God’s judgment was imminent, and therefore God delayed his blessing.

Today the sins of the modern-day Babylonian domination system are not yet complete, so our promised deliverance is delayed. But complete deliverance as prophesied by Isaiah is only postponed, not ended. That’s where faith comes in. Christians are to behave as if deliverance were here now, because in the spiritual sense, it is. We are to replicate in our churches the blessings of the kingdom of God even though it is not yet here in its final form.

When the promised deliverance from the Babylonian yoke is finally achieved, we will "go out with joy." We will depart from the Babylonian system of world wide oppression with unmitigated joy as we fulfill the promise of Revelation 11:14 that "The kingdoms [systems and power structures] of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever."

We shall also "be led forth with peace." Peace is an outcome of justice. Without justice there can be no peace. So the justice achieved under the rule of Christ will conquer war and revolution. The long-awaited reign of the Prince of Peace on his earthly throne will be here.

The joy accompanying this deliverance will so profound that as another translation says, "the mountains and the hills shall go with singing, and the trees of the field shall clap their hands." In scriptural language nations are often depicted as "mountains" while smaller political entities like cities and localities are called "hills." So all of creation—people, animals, land, seas, heavens, and the plant world---will rejoice as the trees of the field literally wave their limbs in joy.

So what about us today? The daily news seems almost universally bad. The political system is in disarray. The economic system is controlled by scions of great wealth who give little thought to the poor or the 99 percent of us who struggle for existence. And the entertainment system celebrates family dysfunction and social disorganization as if it were the only choice. How can one hope to avoid discouragement and despair?

Second Chronicles chapter 20 records how King Jehoshaphat of Judah faced the enemy hordes of Moab and Ammon with no possibility for victory. But as he prayed, "neither know we what to do, but our eyes are on thee." His advice to the frightened people is as relevant now as it was then: "Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established; believe his prophets, and you shall prosper."

The choice is simple: Will we believe God for deliverance or will we trust in human devices? The deliverance will come whatever we do, but will we be discouraged and defeated, or confident and joyful?

You decide!