Do not be afraid; you will not suffer shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth, and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood. For your Maker is your husband – the Lord Almighty is his name – the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, he is called the God of all the earth.
These verses are full of assurances: peace in our hearts, confidence in our salvation and rest in the God of the Universe, the Lord Almighty, Who is our Redeemer.
Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
This passage is clearly a prophecy of Jesus, the Christ. Though absolutely innocent, he was pronounced to die by crucifixion – a horrible torturous death sentence. The perfect, sinless lamb, sacrificed for all sin for all time and the punishment HE carried for OUR sins, brought US peace. Such a gift: peace with God, hope of heaven, headed for an eternity filled with God’s love, His family, His praise.
vs. 3 for this is what the LORD says, “You were sold for nothing, and without money, you will be redeemed.” Notice: God is aware of their situation, He knows they were sold and how He will redeem them. vs. 4 For this is what the Sovereign LORD says,”At first my people went down to Egypt to live; lately, Assyria has oppressed them.” God knows their physical and their geographical place on earth. vs. 5 “And now what do I have here?” declares the LORD> “For my people have been taken away for nothing, and those who rule them mock, ” declares the LORD. “And all day long my name is constantly blasphemed.” He hears the mocking and the blasphemy.
Throughout Scripture, beginning to end, the message is the same: God is aware of the circumstances of man. In the case of His people, His children, He has already prepared to help.
My righteousness draws near speedily, my salvation is on the way, and my arm will bring justice to the nations. The islands will look to me and wait in hope for my arm.
This verse clearly says, “salvation is on the way”, yet it was hundreds of years after this before Jesus came, bringing the Good News of eternal salvation. We shouldn’t be surprised, then, when Jesus said, “the end is near…”, but we have not seen it yet in this generation. Time is not something that restricts God, and in the face of eternity, a few hundred years certainly could be called “near”. Like the islands, we wait in hope.
This is why I write these things when I am absent, that when I come I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority – the authority the Lord gave me for building you up, not for tearing you down.
No matter what authority we are given, or the circumstances where we will use that authority, it is always for building the other person up in Christ.
But he (the Lord) said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you; for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest in me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. ***parentheses, mine
I struggle to identify with Paul’s delight in weaknesses in insults, persecutions, etc. Yet, in the 40 years of my life as a Christian, I have indeed experienced the power of Christ in those very instances. In that, I delight. When you are insulted, and you want to lash out, but you hold your tongue and go to the Word of God and prayer, the Lord leads you to work though the insult to a place of grace and forgiveness. THAT is the power of Christ made perfect in weakness. When you suffer persecution for doing right, or even for no explainable reason, and you hold on to the hand of God and slog through it with Him, you learn humility, grace, servanthood, hope and comfort as only He can give. When Christ leads you out of the other side of your trial or struggle to a door He has opened wide to refreshment and restoration, then, you will know Christ’s power is made perfect in weakness.
This chapter is a warning against false teachers. People can talk about Jesus, but if their talk is not about the Jesus of the Bible, the One Who was Sinless, but died for men’s sins, then do not listen. Studying God’s Word daily, knowing what it says, prepares us and equips us fully with the truth. Then, when the false comes along, we recognize it immediately, and are able to reject it.
vs. 4 the weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.
What are these weapons we use that are not of this world? In Ephesians 6:10-18, they are listed as truth, righteousness, Gospel, peace, faith, salvation, the Word of God and prayer. In Proverbs 15:1 : gentleness. In Proverbs 10:12: Love.
We don’t even need to list the opposite ways of the world. The truth is blinding. Our weapons have no similarity to the world’s. The weapons they use fuel more sin, create more havoc. Our weapons break down strongholds of sin and bring peace and righteousness..
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. and God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. vs. 11 You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
Thinking of some ways we can be generous on every occasion since we have been made rich in every way:
Rich in love: so you can love as Christ did, especially the unlovely
Rich in comfort: so you are able to be with someone in great grief and bring solace
Rich in compassion: allowing you to touch others with God’s love no matter your circumstances
Rich in hope: to encourage the downhearted
Rich in wisdom: to counsel and exhort
Rich in friendship: so you can give the gift freely
Rich in mercy: so that when you think you cannot be merciful, it overflows from you
Rich in kindness: so you can seek the good of others, and consider them better than yourself
Rich in wealth even when you are broke: so that you can give to others in need without hesitation
SOW FREELY! YOU WILL REAP ABUNDANTLY!!!
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.
He left the glory and majesty of heaven for dust, sweat and mosquitos. We didn’t even know we needed Him. We did nothing to earn His love and friendship. We were content with dust, sweat ad mosquitos because we thought that was all there was….except….for that gnawing spiritual hunger deep inside. He came and loved us; He told us the Father loved us, and He gave us a glimpse of heaven. That spiritual hunger grew, we embraced His truth and His friendship through salvation. We look forward to leaving the things of earth behind and moving to heaven, but while we are here, we are His ambassadors, drawing others to this amazing grace.