Showing posts with label Isaiah. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Isaiah. Show all posts

Friday, April 24, 2020

A Christ-Centered, Cross-Shaped Interpretation of Isaiah 10:5-20

In a previous post, Luke 24 and Reading the Scriptures, I made the point that we ought always interpret the Scriptures in a Christ-centered, cross-shaped way. In this post, I seek to apply that to the interpretation of Isaiah 10.

In a literal reading of Isaiah 10:5-20, we see that God allows Assyria to come against God’s arrogant and oppressive people. Then he punishes Assyria for the willful pride and haughty eyes of Assyria and the king of Assyria. The “Light of Israel” will become a fire, the Holy One will be a flame that burns away proud Assyria. Then the remnant of Israel will return to God and rely on the “Holy One of Israel.”

Knowing Christ’s teaching, that the Scriptures are about him, and thus having the veil lifted from our heart, it is not difficult to identify Christ in this passage: He is the Light of Israel, the Holy One of Israel. And knowing that the Lord Jesus is the perfect expression of God’s being, in whom all the fullness of divinity dwells in bodily form, we must therefore reject any interpretation of Scripture that portrays God in any way that contradicts the revelation of God we have been given in Jesus Christ. God will not act in any way that contradicts how Christ acts and what Christ teaches, or else we should have to conclude that Christ is not really the full and perfect expression of God after all.

So if we read this passage as being about God taking retribution on his enemies, we are reading counter to Christ, who teaches us to love our enemies and do good to those spitefully use us. It is also counter to what Paul teaches us in Romans 12. Does God repay evil with evil? No! But God overcomes evil with good, which is precisely what Paul teaches us to do. So any idea of God doing harm to anyone runs counter to Christ and the gospel, and so, simply will not do. Otherwise, we end up worshiping a false god, a petty, Zeus-like deity. But the true God is like Christ.

But if we can only see in Isaiah 10 a god who does harm to anyone, then we are seeing a god who is not worth worshiping, but a petty, jealous, self-centered, self-seeking deity who is quite different from Christ. For Christ loves his enemies, and love simply does not intend harm. Indeed, in the New Testament, we see, through Christ, that God is love. And harming others is nowhere to be found in Christ’s example of love or in Paul’s description of it in 1 Corinthians 13. Christ does not overcome evil by hate or by harm but by the humility of the cross, and it is in the humility of the cross the we see the glory of God, grace of God, and love of God most fully revealed.

There may be several spiritual, Christ-centered interpretations about what is happening in Isaiah 10 and what Christ is doing there. But here is one that strongly impresses itself upon me: I see that there is a persistent theme of pride and arrogance, not only in the behavior of Israel but even moreso in the behavior of Assyria and the king of Assyria.

Willful pride and arrogance are spiritual enemies of the soul, and so enemies of the people of God. But God allows these spiritual enemies to test his people in order to break them of their own pride and arrogance so that they might return to God in reliance upon him. Then God deals with pride and arrogance itself through the one who is the Light, the Holy One of Israel. This is Christ, who is humble and lowly in heart, and who has conquered the pride and arrogance of the world through the humility of death on the cross.

I am reminded of Luke 22, where the disciples are arguing over which of them should be considered the greatest — they are behaving proudly and arrogantly. In verses 31-32, Jesus says, “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

Satan wants to have at all the disciples, to “sift” and test them. Jesus does not prevent this, but he tells Simon Peter in particular that he has prayed for him that his faith will not be completely overthrown, so that when Simon recovers in his faith, he will be able to strengthen and stabilize the others in their faith.

This was on the night before the cross, and Jesus saw that pride and arrogance were testing his disciples. But, of course, through the humility of the cross, Christ destroyed the power of satan, the power of pride and arrogance.

In broad strokes, what I find in Isaiah 10 is God’s people are being sifted by pride and arrogance, but then pride and arrogance are destroyed by Christ, and the people of God return and trust in him. Spiritual enemies test them; the enemies are themselves destroyed; the people turn back to Christ; the people rely on Christ. The progression we see here is the progression we find in the Gospel.

This, then, is an interpretation that takes Isaiah 10 as being about Christ and is shaped by the contours of the gospel — it is Christ-shaped and cross-shaped, which is as it should be. And it does not portray God in a way that contradicts the way of Christ.

This way of interpreting is not a novel approach. The early Church Fathers approached texts like this in the same way I have done above. See, for example, how Origen interpreted the genocide texts in the book of Joshua (Reading With the Church Fathers (Part 3/3)). See also St. Gregory of Nyssa’s “Life of Moses” (it is not very long, and it can be found online).

Of course, no one is obliged to accept my interpretation of Isaiah 10, and I make no claim that it is the only legitimate one. In fact, I noted above that there may be many other legitimate interpretations. But any interpretation of Isaiah 10, or any other Old Testament Scripture, that portrays God in any way that contradicts the way and teaching of Christ ought to be rejected as unworthy of the Christian faith. That is because Jesus Christ is the perfect expression of God’s being (Hebrews 1:3). He is the one in whom all the fullness of divinity dwells in bodily form, so that whoever has seen Christ has seen the Father.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Bring the Good News ~ The LORD Reigns
How beautiful on the mountains
    are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
    who bring good tidings,
    who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion,
    “Your God reigns!”
Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices;
    together they shout for joy.
When the LORD returns to Zion,
    they will see it with their own eyes.
Burst into songs of joy together,
    you ruins of Jerusalem,
for the LORD has comforted his people,
    he has redeemed Jerusalem.
The LORD will lay bare his holy arm
    in the sight of all the nations,
and all the ends of the earth
    will see the salvation of our God.
(Isaiah 52:7-10)
Let the word go out: Good news has come. Break forth with singing. Shout out for joy. Let there be loud rejoicing. Isaiah is speaking about the gospel, the good news, the glad tidings. This is the content, and cause for unrestrained celebration: Your God reigns!

Jerusalem was still in ruins and Israel in exile, but the prophet sees behind the veil and beholds God returning to Zion. Though everything seemed dark at present, Jerusalem would not be forgotten. The Lord would come to console his people, to redeem Jerusalem and set her free.

The consolation of Israel was what Simeon had been longing for that day in the temple when he saw Joseph and Mary bringing their newborn infant into the temple courts. He swept the Christ Child into his arms and thanked God: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.” Then he blessed the baby Jesus: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed.” (See Luke 2:25-35.)

The redemption of Jerusalem is what Anna had been watching for those many long years she spent fasting and praying in the temple. When she saw Simeon blessing Jesus, she immediately recognized what was happening: the fulfillment of Isaiah’s ancient prophecy was at hand. “Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem” (Luke 2:36-38).

This is the good news of “salvation.” The Hebrew word, which the prophet used twice in this passage, is yeshuah. When it is used as a personal name, it is Yeshua, which is translated into English as Jesus — his name means “salvation.”

Salvation is a person, for Jesus himself is the consolation of Israel and the redemption of Jerusalem. He is the good news of the gospel, the Lord who reigns, and he has returned to Zion. The New Testament speaks of the new Jerusalem, a Jerusalem that is free, a Jerusalem that is above, a heavenly Jerusalem that comes down, joining heaven to earth (Galatians 4:26; Hebrews 12:22; Revelation 21:2).

This new Jerusalem is the Church, which is identified as the body and bride of Christ. It is important, however, to understand that the Church in the New Testament is not a separate entity from Israel in the Old Testament. Indeed, the Church is Israel. What was promised to Israel in the Old Testament is received by Israel in the New, by all who come to Jesus the Messiah. Even the nations (the Gentiles) who receive him as King are, to use Paul’s words in Romans 11, “grafted into” the root, which is Israel.

The Lord Jesus has laid bare his holy arms at the cross, where he defeated the powers in the sight of all the nations. And all the earth will know his salvation.

A few years back, I wrote an Advent version of Psalm 122, in light of Isaiah 2, Isaiah 52, Revelation 21, the New Jerusalem and the coming of King Jesus into the world: Psalm 122 and the New Jerusalem.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Do You Not Perceive It?
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. (Isaiah 43:18)
The Lord says through Isaiah, “Forget the former things.” These were not just the bad things that had happened to Israel, such as the bondage in Egypt or even the Babylonian exile Israel now found herself under. They included even God’s great saving act of the Old Testament, the deliverance of Israel out of Egyptian bondage.
This is what the LORD says — he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, who drew out the chariots and horses, the army and reinforcements together, and they lay there, never to rise again, extinguished, snuffed out like a wick: Forget the former things. (Isaiah 43:16-17)
That was a wonderful redemption, and the basis of Israel’s relationship as the covenant people of God. But it was a past event, and what they needed now was a present-day deliverance. God would soon bring them out of Babylon and back home to Jerusalem. Yet even that would become a “former thing” because, historically, although Israel was restored to the land, they still remained under foreign dominion.

But all the Law and the Prophets are ultimately about Jesus the Messiah and are fulfilled in him. It is to him that all the former things point and in whom they find their true meaning. In the Lord Jesus, God brought forth the new thing he had long promised Israel. Jesus is not just another in a long series. He is God’s final word, the perfect expression of God and the one by whom everything in heaven and on earth is turned back to God.

Jesus is the “way in the wilderness” that God promised his people, the way who leads us back to the Father. But he does not just lead us on the way — Jesus is the way. There is no path to follow by which we may find our way home. There is only a person, Jesus the Messiah, the Shepherd who brings us safely back to God.

God also promised “streams in the wasteland,” and it is in Jesus that we discover these waters. To the Samaritan woman at the well, Jesus said: “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:13-14).

On the last and greatest day of the Feast of Tabernacles, while priests performed the water-drawing ceremony that foreshadowed God’s promise of rivers of life-giving water flowing from the temple (see Ezekiel 47:1-23), Jesus stood up and announced, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them” (John 7:37-38). John tells us, in verse 39, that Jesus was speaking of the Holy Spirit.

The way in the wilderness. Streams in the wasteland. Do you not perceive it? It is not a matter of observation. It does not come to us by reason but by revelation. God’s ways are not our ways. Yet God has revealed his way — revealed himself — to us in Jesus Christ, by the Holy Spirit.

There are physical aspects to this revelation: The Virgin Birth, the miraculous ministry of Jesus, the Cross, the Resurrection, the Ascension, Pentecost, and also the sacraments, such as baptism and the Lord’s Supper. These are historical, for in Christ, God has stepped into history in a singular way and joined himself to humanity — he became a human being and dwelt among us. But the meaning of it all must be imparted to us by the Holy Spirit, for it is mystery, and we should otherwise never be able to perceive it at all. Paul speaks of this in one of his letters to the Church at Corinth.
However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” — the things God has prepared for those who love him — these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person's thoughts except their own spirit within them?

In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.

The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:9-16)
In Jesus Christ, God has done a new thing and now it springs forth.

Do you not perceive it?

Father of Glory, give us the Spirit of wisdom and revelation that we may know you more and more. Open the eyes of our heart that we may know the joyful anticipation of what you have called us to, the wonderful inheritance you have placed in us, and the incomparable greatness of the power you are working for our sake ~ through Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Christ the Covenant and the Light
This is what God the LORD says — the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out, who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it: “I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.” (Isaiah 42:5-7)
In the first part of Isaiah 42, God spoke about Messiah, his chosen one in whom he delights and on whom he has put his Spirit. Now he speaks to him. It is a most solemn occasion and God recounts the basis of his authority for what he is about to convey to him. He speaks expressly as the creator of heaven and earth, the giver of life and breath to all who walk the planet. There is none higher, none mightier, none that compares to him in any way.

“I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness,” he says. It is out of his goodness, justice and rightness that he commissions Messiah. It is a powerful display of his holy love. So he commits to lead him as by the hand, and to guard him on through to the completion of his mission.

“I will … make you to be a covenant for the people.” Our LORD is a covenant-making God who commits himself to his people to always do them good. Now he comes to the final, once-and-for-all covenant, the new covenant he promised through the prophet Jeremiah. But Messiah is not just the one through whom God makes this final covenant. Messiah himself is the covenant, in whom all the promises of God are fulfilled.

Lord Jesus is the promise of God’s deliverance of his people, but more than that, he himself is that deliverance. He is the one whom God has sent to open blind eyes, free the captives and release those who dwell in the bondage of darkness. He is the light of God’s glory, revealed even for the sake of the pagan nations, which is to say, the Gentiles, to bring them out of darkness.

The solemnity with which God makes covenant is revealed by the offering of sacrifice, the giving of life, the shedding of blood. In this new and final covenant, by which God forever delivers his people, Jesus himself is the sacrifice, and the blood by which this covenant is cut is his own. This is made plain by Jesus at the Passover meal, on the night he was handed over to wicked hands — the night before he was crucified:
And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” (Luke 22:19-20).
The giving of his body and blood is the covenant act by which Jesus the Messiah delivers us from the bondage and darkness of sin and death, and in partaking of his covenant meal, we participate in the reality and presence of that deliverance and reveal his light to the world. “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup,” Paul says, “you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26).

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Light to the Ends of the Earth
Listen to me, you islands; hear this, you distant nations: Before I was born the LORD called me; from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name. He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver. He said to me, “You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will display my splendor.” (Isaiah 49:1-3)
Messiah, God’s chosen servant, is representative of the whole of God’s chosen nation, Israel. He is the righteous Jew, the faithful Israelite. In a very real way, he is Israel, and so assumes the role Israel was intended to play in the plan of God: to bear the light of God’s glory to the nations. Israel had failed disastrously in that role, which is why Messiah was needed in the first place, to come and deliver her.

Where Israel had failed, however, Messiah would succeed. God would display his splendor through him, yet not without difficulty. For Messiah says, “I have labored in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing at all. Yet what is due me is in the LORD’s hand, and my reward is with my God” (Isaiah 49:4).

In the Gospel, John speaks of the Word, Jesus, through whom the whole world was made, and says, “He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him” (John 1:10-11). In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).

From this it might seem that the mission of Messiah would be largely ineffective — he was rejected by many of his own people. Did Messiah labor in vain? No, because that is not the whole story, not even of this prophecy in Isaiah 49. Messiah leaves it in the hands of the Lord, and the Lord has a plan that is more encompassing than initial conditions might have suggested.
And now the LORD says — he who formed me in the womb to be his servant to bring Jacob back to him and gather Israel to himself, for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD and my God has been my strength — he says: “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth." (Isaiah 49:5-6)
It was not enough just to gather in and restore Israel — too small a thing for what God desired to do. God’s plan through Messiah was to give light to all the nations and reach the whole world with salvation. This was God’s promise to Abraham from the beginning: “All peoples will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:3).

So in the Gospel, John says, “He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:11-12). And in the Sermon on the Mount, though Jesus said that few would find the path to life, he was speaking of the Jews at that time, who within a generation would be facing the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. But in the very next chapter he says, “Many will come from the east and the west [the nations], and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 8:11). The book of Matthew ends with Jesus sending his disciples to make disciples of all the nations (Matthew 28:18-20).

In Romans 11, Paul speaks of Israel’s blindness in rejecting Messiah. Yet it is not a permanent blindness nor a permanent rejection. “Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles [the nations] to make Israel envious” (Romans 11:11). Gentiles who turn to Messiah are “grafted in” to Israel, to be included in God’s promise. The end result: “I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, and in this way all Israel will be saved” (Romans 11:25-26). Jews and Gentiles, counted together as Israel, come finally to salvation through faith in Jesus the Messiah. Yet Paul has even more to say about the reach of God’s saving purpose, which knows no limits.
  • In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to bring to unity all things in heaven and on earth under Christ" (Ephesians 1:7-10).
  • For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. (Colossians 1:19-20)
  • God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. (2 Corinthians 5:19)
  • Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)
  • When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all. (1 Corinthians 15:28)
In God’s eternal plan in Christ, it is too small a thing to deliver Israel and not the rest of the nations, too small a thing to redeem a few and not many, and too small a thing to save only some and not all. Christ is the restorer of Israel and the light for the nations who brings salvation to the ends of the earth.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Way of Christ’s Kingdom

Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his teaching the islands will put their hope. (Isaiah 42:1-4)
On the first day of that final week, Jesus rode into Jerusalem to deliver his people. It was in fulfillment of the messianic prophecy in Zechariah:
Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the warhorses from Jerusalem, and the battle bow will be broken. He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.
This was the promise of deliverance for Israel. God’s Messiah King would come and defeat the enemies, removing their ability to make war. Yet, though he came to do battle, he rode in not on a warhorse but on a lowly donkey. His disciples — not only the Twelve but a whole multitude who were following him — recognized this prophetic fulfillment. They strew his way with their garments in recognition of his royalty.
When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” (Luke 19:37-38)
Their deliverance was at hand, entering into the Holy City before their eyes. The kingdom of God was breaking into the world, just as Jesus had promised, and they rejoiced greatly over it. But were they prepared for how he would bring it about?

Isaiah 42 shows us Messiah as the Servant, on whom was the Spirit of the Lord, and how he would bring justice not only to Israel but to all the nations. Not by the violence of military might — no warhorses for him — nor by riots or brash demonstrations. It would come by meekness, which is not weakness but strength revealed in gentleness. “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.”

The kingdom of God comes by Christ’s patient endurance until the knowledge of His glory fills all the earth. It comes not by terror but by trust in him who is the hope of the nations. It comes not by military overthrow or political machination but by the cross, where Christ poured himself out for our sake and won complete victory over the real enemy. The Servant we see depicted in Isaiah 42 is the Suffering Servant in Isaiah 53, who is afflicted for our sake, to deliver us from our sins and make us whole with his divine peace. This is the way the kingdom of God comes and why Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Sunday must lead to the cross on Good Friday.

Saturday, January 7, 2006

Repentance is a Wonderful Thing

“Come now, and let us reason together,” says the LORD.
(Isaiah 1:18)
Repentance is a wonderful thing. Most people associate it with “sorrow for sin.” Now, sorrow for sin may lead to repentance, or it may even result from it. But that is not what repentance itself is. The Greek word behind it is metanoia and literally means to “change your mind.” In the Bible, it is an exchange of our thoughts and ways for God’s.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
   Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
   So are My ways higher than our ways,
   And My thoughts than your thoughts.”
(Isaiah 55:8-9)
God’s thoughts and ways are much higher than ours, but that does not mean we cannot know them. In fact, God invites us to come and know His thoughts. That is what He means when He says, “Come now, and let us reason together.” In other words, come and learn God’s ways, come and know His thoughts, come and get His wisdom. Proverbs 3:5-6 puts it this way:
Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
   And lean not on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
   And He shall direct your paths.
Many people believe that we cannot know God’s ways and thoughts. They often quote 1 Corinthians 2:9, where Paul says, “But as it is written: ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’” Most of them don’t go on to quote or even read the very next verse: “But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit, for the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10).

So we do not have to be stuck with our own thoughts and ways. We can know God’s thoughts and walk in His ways. My ways are feeble and my thoughts limited, and I am more than ready to get rid of them and receive God’s thoughts and ways.

Thank God for repentance! Now I can wake up everyday and go the Father to learn what new thing He has for me. It is a joy when He shows me where my ways have been ineffective and my thinking has been off. Because then I get to repent, to change my mind and start thinking God’s thoughts about whatever issue I am facing. I look forward to repenting because I know that I am about to receive an upgrade in my life. My own understanding will always ultimately fail, but God’s thoughts and ways will always bring success.

Repentance is a wonderful thing, and a good way to begin every year, every month, every week, even every day. Have you repented today and experienced the delight of changing your thoughts for God’s? His thoughts are found in the Scriptures, and if you ask, the Holy Spirit will open them up to you.