Summary: Are you free from captivity? All of us have moments when we become captive to the world and to our own sinful will. Thanks to God that He offers not only words of comfort but personal direction so that our foundation will remain on the Word of God once we
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Text: Isaiah 40:1-11
Title: WE”RE DESTINED FOR CAPTIVITY BUT FREEDOM AWAITS!
Date: December 4, 2005
Revelation 13:10 says, “If anyone is destined for captivity, to captivity he goes…” When reading portions of Isaiah and other books of Scripture, it seems clear that if anyone seemed destined for captivity it was the whole people of Israel. God would remind them of His love, He protected them from one enemy after another and what did Israel do in response to our Lord’s goodness; they acted as if they never really knew their God at all. This rebellion of God’s people is quickly defined within the first few verses of Isaiah chapter 1. In those verses we read, “An ox knows its owner, and a donkey its master’s manger, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.” And because the people of Israel did not understand, it appears God had no other choice than to allow them to endure captivity once again.
CAPTIVITY! Now there’s a word that we do not often associate with on a personal level; not unless you are planning to go to jail any time soon or really truly hate your job. I’ve heard some stories from husbands who feel CAPTIVE to the will of their wife and children. We are familiar with CAPTIVE AUDIENCES and CAPTIVATING PERSONALITIES, but living in CAPTIVITY to where our freedom has been completely abolished is not something we are presently enduring or is it?
Have you ever wondered why God’s People had the need to rebel so often in the first place? What was it that made things so difficult for them to live under God’s protective wing? Why couldn’t they simply allow God to be their God? It appears that God’s people eventually felt as if they were being held captive by God in the same way teenagers might feel they are being held CAPTIVE by their parent’s rules and regulations. Eventually, most of Israel would stretch forth their cry for freedom by embracing the things of this world over God and that duplicitous stretching forth ended up making them destined for CAPTIVITY!
God said of Israel that “Righteousness once lodged in her” (Isaiah 1:21) and it is important that we remember that truth. It is far too easy to believe that God’s people, at least the generations that rebelled against our Lord, never really truly had a relationship with Him. But hearing that these people were at one time considered Righteous before God has to hit a nerve within each and everyone of us, because unless you have been in a shell your entire life, you as my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ have followed the same path as the Israelites. We too have stretched out our rebellious arms toward the world due to feeling a weight of CAPTIVITY under God’s direction for our lives. Born into this world, we too were destined to be under CAPTIVITY!
We have all said, “God’s Will be Done” correct? Isn’t it much easier to say those words on behalf of others than it is to say them to yourself? God’s Will is that we love those who do not love us. Have you ever rebelled against God’s design of love when you just could not let go of your anger? Have you ever been in a situation where everything in your life seemed to be falling apart and you just couldn’t believe that God had what’s best in mind for you during those times? Has there been a time in your life when you knew you needed to get in the Word of God and simply refused to do so because of personal anger or despair? In each one of these examples, as we choose to pull away from our Lord, we are basically saying to God the same thing the Israelites once said, “God offers CAPTIVITY and the world offers freedom, so here’s to freedom”
Freedom, at least worldly freedom, offers the greatest form of CAPTIVITY that can possibly exist. Freedom of the world means CAPTIVITY to sin will also be included. Whenever we choose our own will or whatever is behind the worldly curtain that promises great things or better options, what we are really choosing is to live under CAPTIVITY to sin. Our choice initially does not seem to offer anything negative; like a kid who experiments with one cigarette but has no idea that it can lead to an addiction, so is our choice to turn away from God. The addiction will come eventually. The sorrow will rise up, the despair will lay low and the emptiness will some day come to sap our strength. This is what was taking shape in the lives of God’s people Israel when God’s voice spoke the words of comfort we listened to in Chapter 40.