Ephesians 5:21-33; Ezekiel 16; Isaiah 45
The picture is of Israel in exile because of her sins. As Isaiah prophecies the captivity, he also foretells their salvation. “Tell and bring forth your case; Yes, let them take counsel together. Who has declared this from ancient time? Who has told it from that time? Have not I, the Lord? And there is no other God besides Me, A just God and a Savior; There is none besides Me. ‘Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.’” (Isaiah 45:21-22) The exile was punishment for the sins of Israel. They had forsaken God and His Law. They had fallen into idolatry. Ezekiel actually called their descent into sin “harlotry.” Yet God continues to remind them that from the beginning He has called them to look to Him so that they might be saved. God continues to call people to salvation. We are reminded of this as we get set to celebrate the birth of the Savior. We are saved from a life that pulls us away from God. Our sin does this. Our natural mind draws us away from God. When we deal with others we don’t normally make love our first priority. Instead, anger, wrath, hatred all spring up so easily. Our natural state is to use people to get ahead. We are saved from that if we seek God. We treat people the way God would – or at least make better attempts at that. There are consequences to sin. The exile revealed that fully to the Israelites. There are earthly consequences and eternal consequences when we engage in sin. God takes away the eternal consequences when we turn to Him. Ultimately, we are saved from a life without a relationship with God. The greatest joy in life is knowing that we are walking with God on a daily basis. When we look to Him and gain His salvation, there is joy in all sorts of situations. That salvation was revealed more fully in Jesus Christ who paid any penalty we might have to pay. Salvation: an Old Testament concept of God’s love and redemption revealed fully in Jesus Christ.
Lord, thank You for salvation. You continue to draw me back into Your ways. You continue to change my heart and my actions to bring honor to You. Let my life reflect Your love and grace to others.