Summary: God does not grudgingly exalt His people, nor does he do so mechanically. God is extremely delighted to exalt His people — at the right time. [in spite of all the negative baggage we associate with Israel’s past]
When God Delights in His People
1. A Swiss guy, looking for directions, pulls up at a bus stop where two Americans are waiting. "Entschuldigung, koennen Sie Deutsch sprechen?" he asks.
The two Americans just stare at him.
"Excusez-moi, parlez vous Francais?" he tries. The two continue to stare.
"Parlare Italiano?" No response. "Hablan ustedes Espanol?"
Still nothing. The Swiss guy drives off, extremely disgusted.
The first American turns to the second and says, "Y'know, maybe we should learn a foreign language."
"Why?" says the other. "That guy knew four languages, and it didn't do him any good." [source: http://www.jokebuddha.com/Swiss#ixzz3eBPAxHXG]
2. That same logic leads people to do foolish things, like bite the hand that feeds them, or allow spite and bitterness to ruin their relationships.
3. God is not like that. Even though Israel rejected Him by turning to idols in the OT and by rejecting Messiah, Yeshua/Jesus in NT, He still plans to enjoy their fellowship and fulfill His promises to them when they finally turn to Him in the End Times. Rather than writing them off, He waits. God demonstrates GRACE, not GRUDGE.
Main Idea: God does not grudgingly exalt His people, nor does he do so mechanically. God is extremely delighted to exalt His people — at the right time. [in spite of all the negative baggage we associate with Israel’s past]
I. God Takes PLEASURE in Exalting His People (1-3)
A. This is true of redeemed ISRAEL
B. This is true of genuine believers in JESUS
He delights in us!
1. Promise God made to Israel will be fulfilled to Israel; secondary implication: to all New Covenant believers via midrash in NT (mystery from of kingdom)
2. God wants us to humble ourselves so that he can exalt us; pride and its attendant craving to control is at the heart of sin & our struggles with sin
3. If we are defiant and entrenched in pride, God will bring us down, just as he did Israel. We need to remind ourselves of the need to humble ourselves; pride directs this criticism at others…church…America…but not self
C. God’s motivation: LOVE for his people and Jerusalem
1. Sometimes it is hard to reconcile God’s love with what happens in life; we hear about God’s glory and how He is glorified by all sorts of things, and we wonder if His love motivates Him to do anything at all… nothing can separate
2. Especially true when we have horrid, traumatic tragedies…
3. Our choice: Go thru it with God or without; God does love you, even though…
D. The right time: God awaits righteousness and SALVATION
1. Because of Israel’s unbelief, according to Romans 11, salvation has come predominantly to the gentiles until the end times; but end time Israel & all believers today are part of God’s kingdom thru righteousness & salvation.
2. Modern Jews are urged to be busy doing good works to atone for their sins, rather than receiving the righteousness that comes by faith in Jesus
3. So many religious people, supposedly Christians, have never repented/rested
E. The nations will note what is SPECIAL about Israel
1. What will be special about Israel then is to be special about us now (light)
2. If Jesus is real in my life, I don’t have to put on a spiritual act (forced/strain)
F. Israel will be given a new NAME, mentioned in vs. 4: Hephzibah
1. When I married Marylu, he last name went from Troppito to Vasicek
2. A name change suggests a new position in life
3. Simon-Peter; Jacob (supplanter)-Israel (he who prevails with God)
4. Hephzibah is translated out in the ESV, “My delight is in her.”
5. Some Christians need new era —from “nominal believer” to “disciple.”
G. Israel shall become like a jewel God proudly DISPLAYS
Application: God holds us in high esteem; we will judge angels! When we talk about self-esteem, the only source self-worth is God; rest is delusion. When we compare ourselves to others, others will all die & be forgotten. Dust. Ecclesiastes
II. God Even WEDS His People Who Are, In Turn, Wedded to a LOCATION (4-5) He delights in us!
A. The imagery of MARRIAGE is used casually as an illustration
B. Israel is the BRIDE of Christ in one sense
C. The CHURCH is the Bride of Christ in another sense
D. Israel will be WED to the Land of Israel in the Kingdom
1. The soul of believers who die go immediately to be with the Lord, but when Jesus returns, they will be joined to their resurrection bodies; human beings — even in eternity — are meant to be both body and soul.
2. In the same way, a people can exist apart from a nation or city; the Jews, for example, had not country for nearly 1900 years. But a people group is meant to be joined to a physical location, married to a land.