Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | March 29, 2017

“For you have forgotten the God of your salvation And have not remembered the rock of your refuge.”

Today’s devotion comes from Isaiah chapter 17.

“The oracle concerning Damascus.

“Behold, Damascus is about to be removed from being a city
And will become a fallen ruin.
2 “The cities of Aroer are forsaken;
They will be for flocks to lie down in,
And there will be no one to frighten them.
3 “The fortified city will disappear from Ephraim,
And sovereignty from Damascus
And the remnant of Aram;
They will be like the glory of the sons of Israel,”
Declares the Lord of hosts.

4 Now in that day the glory of Jacob will fade,
And the fatness of his flesh will become lean.
5 It will be even like the reaper gathering the standing grain,
As his arm harvests the ears,
Or it will be like one gleaning ears of grain
In the valley of Rephaim.
6 Yet gleanings will be left in it like the shaking of an olive tree,
Two or three olives on the topmost bough,
Four or five on the branches of a fruitful tree,
Declares the Lord, the God of Israel.
7 In that day man will have regard for his Maker
And his eyes will look to the Holy One of Israel.
8 He will not have regard for the altars, the work of his hands,
Nor will he look to that which his fingers have made,
Even the Asherim and incense stands.
9 In that day their strong cities will be like forsaken places in the forest,
Or like branches which they abandoned before the sons of Israel;
And the land will be a desolation.
10 For you have forgotten the God of your salvation
And have not remembered the rock of your refuge.
Therefore you plant delightful plants
And set them with vine slips of a strange god.
11 In the day that you plant it you carefully fence it in,
And in the morning you bring your seed to blossom;
But the harvest will be a heap
In a day of sickliness and incurable pain.

12 Alas, the uproar of many peoples
Who roar like the roaring of the seas,
And the rumbling of nations
Who rush on like the rumbling of mighty waters!
13 The nations rumble on like the rumbling of many waters,
But He will rebuke them and they will flee far away,
And be chased like chaff in the mountains before the wind,
Or like whirling dust before a gale.
14 At evening time, behold, there is terror!
Before morning they are no more.
Such will be the portion of those who plunder us.”  Isaiah chapter 17.

———–

Today’s Scripture moves back and forth between the prophecy of destruction of Damascus to the prophecy of punishment of Israel.

But, Israel will be left a remnant.  In figurative and fruitful language, the Scripture states:

“6 Yet gleanings will be left in it like the shaking of an olive tree,
Two or three olives on the topmost bough,
Four or five on the branches of a fruitful tree,
Declares the Lord, the God of Israel.
7 In that day man will have regard for his Maker
And his eyes will look to the Holy One of Israel.
8 He will not have regard for the altars, the work of his hands,
Nor will he look to that which his fingers have made,
Even the Asherim and incense stands.”  Verses 6-8.

Israel’s hope, and our hope, is not based in ourselves.

“For you have forgotten the God of your salvation
And have not remembered the rock of your refuge.
Therefore you plant delightful plants
And set them with vine slips of a strange god.”  Verse 10.

We forget the God of our salvation.  We make spiritual idols in our hearts (if not earthly idols made of stone).  We chase after other gods.  
 
We prefer the god of our alleged free-will which we can manipulate rather than the Sovereign God of Scripture Who dictates the terms of His salvation.  “For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”  So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.  …  So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.”  Romans 9:15-18.

Scripture is summarized by Reformed Doctrine in “TULIP”.  Man’s natural condition is “Total Depravity”, the “T” of “TULIP”.  We are dead in sin and hostile to God.  We do not understand.  We do not seek God.  We do not do good.

Our only hope is that God will unconditionally elect us to salvation and do everything that is needed for our salvation from beginning to end:   from the beginning of “Unconditional Election” through “Limited Atonement” through “Irresistible Grace” to the end of “Preservation of the Saints”, the “U”, “L”, “I”, and “P” of “TULIP, the Five Points of Calvinism, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.

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