Let them listen attentively.
Thus says Yahweh, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
I, Yahweh, your God, teach you what is good for you.
I lead you in the way that you must go.
If only you had been alert to my commandments,
your happiness would have been like a river,
your integrity like waves of the sea.
Your children would have been numbered like grains of sand,
your descendants as many as its grains.
Never would your name have been cut off or blotted out before me.
This seem a strange verse for a Christmas message but Isaiah is the Prophet that chastised the Hebrews and promised them restoration. And this verse choice is to illustrate both. God (Yahweh) proclaims that He is their Redeemer, He is the Holy One of Israel. He is the One who will lead them in the way to go. But he warns the people if they continue to disobey, they are lost. The whole point is follow God, obey and allow yourself to be led by God’s Commandments. If you do so your happiness will flow like a river.
I know about rivers, they effect every thing they pass. As followers of God, we should effect everyone we touch. We are to cause things to grow. Faith in particular. Grace by association. Mercy in all things because God showed us mercy. If we do these thing instead of the ways of the world,we will grow in numbers beyond our imagination. For it was during the time of the greatest persecutions, under Rome and the Jews that the followers of Christ flourished. It was then that as the nations tried to stamp them out, they increased daily. There should be a joy in obeying God. He never intended the commandments to be “punishment” or restricting happiness. So it with great joy that Christ came into the world not to condemn it but to bring Salvation and with salvation there is immense joy.
So the message is simple, Enjoy God! Enjoy the freedom given by obedience. Enjoy the Commandment of God, the Holy One of Israel. This Christmas season as in every season, be joyful, be loving, be merciful. Do not wrap yourselves in sorrow, grief or despair. But reach up to the heavens and make joyful sounds Let you integrity be the sounding board of angels. And be numbered among the saints, those who are to be called holy and blameless. If we seek out the ways of the LORD, Yahweh, instead of trying to justify our sinful nature we will find that life is healthier, happier, more sane. If we reject the deals, the ideals and the desires of the flesh, power and wealth, we will find peace. Through the Word,through the commandments through the mercy of God, we endure hardships without struggle because we surrendered our self to the Will of God. And that is a happy thing.
We are quick to say “Blessing” but that very word means Happiness. So if we are to be Blessed by God,we are to be made happy by God and that is the Way of the Commandments, to make us happy. And in that, even under persecutions and trials, turmoil and threats, we prosper,we grow in numbers as grains of sand worn down from the rocks of Oppression by the River of Life.
Blessing (Happiness) this Christmas.
17 Thus says the Lord,
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“I am the Lord your God,
who teaches you to profit,
who leads you in the way you should go.
18 Oh that you had paid attention to my commandments!
Then your peace would have been like a river,
and your righteousness like the waves of the sea;
19 your offspring would have been like the sand,
and your descendants like its grains;
their name would never be cut off
or destroyed from before me.” (ESV)