Isaiah 35-36 and 2 Thessalonians 2
Hello again! Thanks for joining me for another day!
Isaiah 35 depicts a joyful return of the redeemed of the LORD. There is singing, gladness, no sorrow, and healing (v. 5-10). What an incredible celebration to be part of! I certainly am looking forward to our day of celebration with God. Unlike this celebration, ours will be one that lasts forever and ever, and never has the possibility for someone else to come and bring us back to a broken place. No one to come and scare the righteous and try to deceive them!
In Isaiah 36 the king of Assyria tries to overtake Judah and Jerusalem. Interestingly, the king here is not only using physical tactics to try and capture the cities, but he is also using some mind-game strategies to create doubt in the people and offer a false hope in his own strength. The king tries to convince the people that by surrendering to him they will have security and a new, prosperous land (v. 16-17). He uses the language the people are familiar with and attacks the character of their current leader who follows YHWH. He creates doubt in God’s promises that are not immediately present and begins to offer the easy way out of the situation with empty promises of independent success, security, and familiarity. We see these same types of empty promises coming from politicians, employers, and even our own friends or families at times today. While they may not be empty in what is being offered, they will never satisfy whatever our wants or needs are as they are not promises from God. I believe that Satan consistently tries to use different tactics to pull us away from God and His promises, and people surrounding us can be lead astray on empty promises of what will make them happy, secure, or comfortable.
Throughout the Bible we see a common theme is a warning not to fall for the deception of the current age, to not fall for empty and unsatisfying promises offered by man. This is because no matter what time period, the only promises that will ever fill someone up are those that come directly from God!
Our passage in 2 Thessalonians discusses deception from the ‘lawless one’ who is coming with false miracles, signs, and wonders set out to deceive all those who do not accept the truth (v. 9 – 10). Paul is writing to a church that seems to already be doing a good job of continuing to follow God’s promises despite attempts at deception. He is writing to encourage them to STAND FIRM in what they already know (v. 15). We can know that the promise that Paul writes about (the coming of Jesus) is not one that is empty because he does not write it with the purpose of his own gain, or the purpose of leading us astray from what Jesus himself preached! In general, this is a pretty good standard to judge promises made by others… does it match with what Jesus said? When we use this standard to gauge the reliability of promises we are guaranteed to experience less disappointment and confusion!
I pray over you today and this week that “Our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal encouragement and good hope by grace, encourages your hearts and strengthens you in every good work and word” (v. 16 – 17). Life is hard, full of empty promises, deception, and brokenness. Praise God we have grace and an everlasting promise that is still coming!
-Sarah (Blanchard) Johnson