Monday, June 29, 2015


To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness….  (Isaiah 61:3b)

If an offer sounds too good to be true, it usually is.  Often, in our world, things are not as they seem—and the thing that appears to be a steal of a deal turns into highway robbery—for the purchaser.  The old clichés hold true: “Buyer beware,” “You get what you pay for,” and “Read the fine print.” 

A number of years ago I was sucked into attending a timeshare presentation by the offer of a free meal.  That turned out to be the costliest meal I ever purchased!  By the time I listened to the pitch, marveled at how much money I would save on vacations in the long run, and signed the contract—thousands of dollars would be invested in something where the maintenance fees continued to climb each year and the availability of the week I wanted to spend was seldom unavailable.  Finally, I cut my losses and let it go.

This is not to say that there are not some real deals available in life.  Sometimes we run into bargains that are exactly that—and we are foolish not to take advantage of them.

Have I got a deal for you!  How would you like to make heaven and miss hell?  Would you like to trade in your sorrows for perpetual joy?  What about swapping death for eternal life?  How would you like to have God’s blessing rather than His cursing?  Now that is a real deal, and God has extended the invitation!  It is found in Isaiah 61.

God offers a message of deliverance instead of a message of doom (v.1-3).  Isaiah, like all the prophets, was faithful to God’s Word—confronting the people for their sin and proclaiming the dire consequences of their rebellion.  It was not a sermon they wanted to hear, but one they needed to hear.  Much of his message was bad news.  Yet, God wanted the people to know they could trade that in for good news—the best news!  The Lord Jesus would come and fulfill this prophecy (Luke 4:18ff) by delivering us from our sin, into His salvation!  All we must do is trust in Him!  Now that is a real deal!

God offers a word of hope rather than a word of hopelessness (v.4-9).  Eventually, the city of Jerusalem would fall—the Gentiles trampling over the fields and taking over the flocks.  Israel would pay a heavy price for violating the old covenant.  In grace, God would extend a new covenant, the land would be repossessed by them, and blessing would be restored.  Trade hopelessness for hope?  That’s a real deal!

God offers a promise of blessing instead of a place of barrenness (v.10-11).  The curse will be reversed.  Instead of a funeral dirge, there will be a wedding march.  Rather than dressing in black to mourn, the attire will be white for making merry.  The ground that was full of weeds and thorns will be supplanted by fertility and fruitfulness.  Eden blooms again.  We have yet to see it, but God promises it is coming in a brand new age!  You can have this as your inheritance too!  Exchange your way for God’s will.  Turn from the miserable path of sin to the wondrous road to heaven!  It is the deal of a lifetime!

No comments: