April 24, 2008

Jesus' New World Order (2)

Isaiah 11:10-16

Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah, nor Judah hostile toward Ephraim.
Isaiah 11:13


Isaiah 11 tells not only of God’s transforming grace among peoples but also of the unity of his kingdom. The Old Testament divided kingdom—Israel (Ephraim) and Judah were often in conflict with one another. They conspired against each other. Both would make alliances with other nations to try to defeat the other! They each claimed to have the only place for true worship, but neither of them actually worshiped God in Spirit and truth (see John 4:19-26). Immanuel came to change all that.

As the gospel expanded from Jerusalem and Judea to Samaria, the book of Acts in the New Testament assures us that the same grace of God that was at work in Judah was also at work in Samaria (Acts 8). The same Spirit that rested on Immanuel was bringing people together.

This is truly a miracle. But that is what God’s grace is about. It changes wolves to be like lambs, lions to be like sheep! How many dangerous criminals have been transformed by God’s grace into servants of Christ? Do you remember Saul of Tarsus? (See Acts 8:1-3; 9:1-31.)

In our day, there is much talk about terrorism. There is so much suspicion, fear, hatred, violence, and war. It seems impossible for peoples to talk with one another, let alone live in harmony. But there is hope. The church has been given a banner of good news for all peoples to see, so that “all nations will rally” to the Lord and King.

Almighty Lord, our world needs your transforming grace. Strengthen your church in the world with your message of reconciliation, in the name of the Prince of Peace. Amen.

About the author — Victor Atallah

Rev. Victor Atallah is the broadcast team leader for The Back to God Hour Arabic ministry and the general director of Middle East Reformed Fellowship. These meditations are based on texts of Arabic broadcasts aired a few years ago and an Arabic commentary on the book of Isaiah prepared for publication. Rev. Atallah and his wife, Lisa, live in Larnaca, Cyprus, where The Back to God Hour Arabic ministry is based. The ministry reaches Arabic-speaking people throughout the Middle East and North Africa, introducing them to Jesus Christ, Savior of the nations.

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