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November 29, 2014

Text:  “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create; for behold I create Jerusalem to be a joy, and her people to be a gladness.” Isaiah 65:17-18 

Earth is a place of hardship and sorrow. God intended for earth to be a paradise, a place without curse but providing sustenance for its inhabitants, a life without worry, an eternal existence for man, and endless blessings. However sin came by Satan’s deviousness and because Adam and Eve were corrupted  by Satan’s evil intent.  God changed earth’s conditions by cursing it. Adam and Eve were turned out into this corrupted atmosphere to live and to die. So here we are: we are mortal, degraded by sin, living by our own devices, oppressed by sorrow and woe, separated from God.

Because we live on this earth we are subject to all the terrors that Satan can wield against us. His arsenal is massive and deadly; we are small and vulnerable. Let’s numerate some of the things that we might suffer: famine, drought, flood, disease, earthquake, fire, ravenous beasts, etc.  Closer to our persons we endure: loneliness, heartbreak,  injury, family discord, loss of  loved ones, assault,  war, and many others.  And so God imposed all of these griefs upon all mankind.  God  said to Adam, “And to Adam he said, Because you have listened to the voice of your wifc and eaten of the tree of  which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all  the days of your life…”‘  Genesis 3:17

But listen! There is power aplenty for our assistance! When any of these burdens oppress us we must trustfully  hand them over to God. He is our refuge and redeemer.  “Our God is a God of salvation, and to God, the Lord, belong deliverances from death.”  Psalms 68:20  Through torture, tribulation, and troubles God wants us to trust him and have peace because of his comfort. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalms 46:1  We long for a place of comfort and peace where tribulation and oppression have no part; where suffering and death have no power.   I Corinthians 15:54-56

God, the great encourager, has given us great promises in the gospel of Christ. He has prepared a paradise for the comfort of our troubles, and described  it to us as “new heavens and a new earth” and “Jerusalem”. Focus on this for a moment and realize the exalted and myriad blessings in heaven waiting. In our text we observe that God has Isaiah picture  these blessings as a great storehouse waiting new citizens from earth.  How  elated  we must be!  

Jerusalem!  This is the blessed city that God had chosen for his people to worship him. It was the place of holy convocation three times a year.  It was a place of love and fellowship for the citizens then. The great kings ruled here. Commerce in the city spread across the entire country. The prophets lived and preached here. And the city was unimaginably rich!  The Jews reveled and adored her. Even far away in captivity they  lamented  and sang dirges asking to be restored to their country and its capital, Jerusalem. Psalms 137:1-9

Look up!  Look at the new Jerusalem! The new Jerusalem and the new heavens and new earth await our arrival.  Read of its glory, beauty, peace, riches, and eternal life. Revelation 21:1-27  These things whet our longing for our spiritual blessings. Isaiah 55:1-2 Now is the time to REJOICE! Rejoice for the forgiveness of our sins…for our salvation…for our fellowship with God and his Son…for the peace and protection of God. We can rejoice now for them because God has as good as given them to us already.

“Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say, Rejoice.” Philippians 4:4







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