Sunday, April 5

Worthy Satisfaction

Disclaimer: I actually wrote this post shortly after my previous one and forgot to publish it! But I thought it quite fitting to post today. Happy Easter, world. May you realize your worth to the God who chose you above all else.


As I stated in my previous post, I have been reading in Isaiah for my morning devotions, and I am soaking it all in. Chapter 53, which is one of my favorite chapters, is well-known and often quoted, but reading through it this time I noticed something which I had perhaps not noticed before.

"He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not
Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 
But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. 
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.
And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.
Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors." Isaiah 53:3-5, 7, 9-12

By the people of his times (and often by us ourselves), Jesus was despised and rejected. Men, mere men, rejected the Son of God, and "esteemed him not"-- they deemed him less than themselves, unworthy of consideration. And his reaction? "Yet he opened not his mouth. . . Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied," because "when his soul makes an offering for guilt" he shall "make many to be accounted righteous." Jesus was satisfied by the way things would turn out; he was satisfied to bear our griefs, sorrows, transgressions, iniquities, and our determination of his worthlessness because he could not be satisfied allowing us to remain in sin, in separation from himself and unable to be accounted righteous. Despite our designation of his unworthiness, he deemed us worthy of all his suffering. He deemed you worthy of his crucifixion.

Also, note that verse 10 says that "it was the will of the Lord to crush him." It was God's will for Jesus to sacrifice himself in our place. Why? Because in Jesus' hands "the will of the Lord" (for Jesus to be crushed) would prosper. The result of Jesus' sacrifice (God's will) was that many would be accounted righteous. Though Jesus had no children of his own while here on earth, we who accept his sacrifice in our place become his "offspring." Jesus was satisfied for us to become his progeny-- we who deemed him unworthy of our esteem.

And here's a final note on worth from Isaiah 54:

"'For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,' says the Lord, who has compassion on you. 'O afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted, behold, I will set your stones in antimony, and lay your foundations with sapphires. I will make your pinnacles of agate, your gates of carbuncles, and all your wall of precious stones. All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children.'" Isaiah 54:10-13

Oh afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted, fear not. Jesus has deemed you worthy, and he has plans to give you peace and to make you beautiful.

Wednesday, March 11

What's in a Name?

I don't know why, but for as long as I can remember, I have always been fascinated by names. I love to know what names mean, or what the story behind a name is. I very distinctly remember when I found out what my name means.

I was in Primary class in Sabbath school, and one of our teachers had decided to get plaques with each of our names and their meanings to hang in the classroom. I looked at my brothers' and my friends' names and what they meant, and I was intrigued. Rex- King; Kevin- One of Kindness; Brooke- Lives by the Stream; Stephen- Crowned One; Melissa- Honey Bee.  And then, I saw my name-- Kristin- A Christian. I was quite disappointed. My name meant practically just what it sounded like, and to me at the age of seven or eight, it sounded very boring. I wanted my name's meaning to sound elegant, or at the very least to sound interesting, like Full of Grace, or One of Harmony, or almost anything else. Christian? Really? How mediocre.

Recently for my morning devotions, I have been reading in Isaiah; it is one of my favorite books in the Bible, and as I've been reading, I have noticed that names are important to God too.

"But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: 'Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.'" Isaiah 43:1

"'Fear not, for I am with you. . . I will gather you. . . everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.'" Isaiah 43:5-7

"'For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. They shall spring up among the grass like willows by flowing streams. This one will say, "I am the Lord's," another will call on the name of Jacob, and another will write on his hand, "The Lord's," and name himself by the name of Israel.'" Isaiah 44:3-5

"Who among you fears the LORD and obeys the voice of his servant? Let him who walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God." Isaiah 50:10

He specifically tells Isaiah to tell Israel that they have been called by name and by God's name. God points out that they are to trust in His name and pronounces a future blessing on Israel's descendants who identify themselves with God's name and the name of His chosen people, Israel. God uses names to provide an identity and a sense of belonging to Him.

God even has a special regard for the names of those who do not consider themselves His own. God prophesied through Isaiah to Cyrus, King of Persia who had yet to be born. This is what God said to him: "I will give you the treasures of darkness and the hoards in secret places, that you may know that it is I, the LORD, the God of Israel, who call you by your name. For the sake of my servant Jacob, and Israel my chosen, I call you by your name, I name you, though you do not know me." Isaiah 45:3-4

Verses like these speak to me; they speak of belonging and love. They speak of trust. They speak of promises and blessings, comfort and peace. God calls me by name. I mean something to Him. I am of worth. He desires me to be called by His name and to trust that His name means something. It means home and security. And most of all it means love.

Since my Primary Sabbath school days, I have changed my opinion about my name and have come to truly appreciate its meaning and the honor that it carries.

Kristin Michelle- A Christian, One who is Like God.

And by God's grace, each day I am striving to live up to my name.