1 – “Draw me after you; let us run. The king has brought me into his chambers. We will exult and rejoice in you; we will extol your love more than wine; rightly do they love you.” (Song of Solomon 1:4, ESV)
RAF: As a woman in love longs to be “drawn after” the one she loves – to be led, but led out of love, so the Church. When her heart is truly after Christ, delights to be drawn away and led by Him. It is always a sign that the Church (or individual Christians) are no longer love oriented, when we rebel and seek not to be led, but to lead.
Note too, that our tendency with Christ, as with women since the Fall, is to try and seize the lead over time.
2 – ” If you do not know, O most beautiful among women, follow in the tracks of the flock, and pasture your young goats beside the shepherds’ tents.” (Song of Solomon 1:8, ESV)
RAF: Where is Christ to be found? It is not hard. He will be found among His sheep. Follow the tracks.
3 – ” Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth; for the Lord has spoken: “Children have I reared and brought up, but they have rebelled against me. The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master’s crib, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.”” (Isaiah 1:2-3, ESV)
RAF: The decline of God’s people can always be traced to this beginning – a loss of closeness and intimacy with God. A loss of familiarity which leads to a general lack of understanding, and invites all kinds of sin. Heavenly Father, draw me near. Let me know you, know your ways. Let me grow in understanding you and your plans. Let me dwell close to your side. Even an ox knows the voice of its owner. How easily we can lose the distinct sound of your voice. And then we are pray to any and every impostor.
4 – “Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.” (Isaiah 1:16-17, ESV)
RAF: No amount of Church going, choir singing, worship, sacrifice, service, Bible reading, prayer or any other religious activity is a substitute for putting off sin. None.
5 – “And I will restore your judges as at the first, and your counselors as at the beginning. Afterward you shall be called the city of righteousness, the faithful city.”” (Isaiah 1:26, ESV)
RAF: God’s goal for us is holiness – conformity to the image of Christ’s character. If we are not pursuing the same end, we will find our lives at cross purposes to His. Ought we not to be working with Him instead of against Him?
6 – “Their land is filled with silver and gold, and there is no end to their treasures; their land is filled with horses, and there is no end to their chariots. Their land is filled with idols; they bow down to the work of their hands, to what their own fingers have made.” (Isaiah 2:7-8, ESV)
RAF: Heavenly Father, deliver us from the idols of prosperity.
7 – “do not forgive them!” (Isaiah 2:9, ESV)
RAF: The idea is not that there is to be NO forgiveness – the idea is that their sin is not to be overlooked. That as they are, they are not to walk like forgiven men, but need to bear the consequences of their sin so that they might repent. Do not leave us in our sins Father! Deliver us.
8 – “And I will make boys their princes, and infants shall rule over them.” (Isaiah 3:4, ESV)
RAF: Immature leadership is a sign of God’s judgment.
9 – “Tell the righteous that it shall be well with them, for they shall eat the fruit of their deeds. Woe to the wicked! It shall be ill with him, for what his hands have dealt out shall be done to him.” (Isaiah 3:10-11, ESV)
RAF: In all His judgments, no matter how severe – God knows how to retain the distinction between the righteous and the unrighteous. He will distinguish the two in His providences.
10 – “Therefore my people go into exile for lack of knowledge; their honored men go hungry, and their multitude is parched with thirst.” (Isaiah 5:13, ESV)
RAF: With Hosea 4:6, this is not a reference to a lack of information – as so many today seem to teach. It is rather a lack of first hand knowledge of God Himself, and his ways. We have all the information in the world. We can pick up our Bibles and read. But we have not come to know the Author. This, is destruction.
11 – “Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”” (Isaiah 6:6-7, ESV)
RAF: His sin was not purged BY the coal – but his being able to bear the heat of it without pain was a symbol that the sacrifice which had been offered up on the altar had been accepted already. God had made sacrifice even before Isaiah had made his confession. And then God demonstrates the reality of His provision by letting him feel the white hot heat – yet without damage. The atonement had been accepted, even before Isaiah had sought forgiveness. So it is with us in salvation. Christ has already been offered up and accepted. When we come and confess our sin before Him, we find provision has already been made. Atonement has been received. And even the white hot heat of God’s consuming fire can no longer hurt us. What a salvation this is!
12 – ” For the Lord spoke thus to me with his strong hand upon me, and warned me not to walk in the way of this people, saying: “Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. But the Lord of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.” (Isaiah 8:11-13, ESV)
RAF: What an exceedingly timely word for us today – when conspiracy theories literally fill the air waves. Even Christian broadcasters and writers are absolutely preoccupied with them. From the “New World Order” to “911” and everything else in between. All of them doing one thing – making men fear conspiracies, more than or other than – God. It is a great evil.