A Reflection by Forsyth White

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned – every one – to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”

Isaiah 53:6

How many times have I “turned to my own way?”  So many times a day it is hard to count! Why do I continually forget that Jesus is the only way (John 14:6)? Why isn’t my first thought – go to Jesus with “this?”  Why do I think I ever know better?  Why do I try on my own before going to the One who wants me to give Him my burdens? 

Because I am a sheep. I actually find it comforting that the Bible compares us to sheep, not only here in Isaiah, but all throughout the Bible (Jeremiah 50:6, Luke 15: 5-7,  Matthew 10:16). Sheep are vulnerable, defenseless and have no sense of direction. They also have herd mentality and definitely are not meant to carry a burden!  Without a shepherd they (like me) would be lost. I would be wandering around with a heavy burden without Jesus.  

Of all of the verses in Isaiah 53 – this one makes me feel okay for not having it all together or knowing exactly what I am supposed to be doing all the time. It is nice that the Lord knows I will try to go my own way – and He already had a plan for that.

God knew that we will forget we need a Shepherd. 

And Isaiah 53:6 says that the Lord has [purposefully] laid on Him [Jesus] the iniquity of us all [me included]. 

It doesn’t say “The Lord has laid on each of us our own iniquities…”

It doesn’t say “Because you are all sheep and have gone your own way – you will pay.” 

This verse is full of grace! Undeserved merit! “The Lord laid on Him” what we should have received!  

Isaiah was written 700+ years before Jesus’ birth, but it was God’s plan from the beginning of time to forgive our iniquities through Jesus. He described His own character in Exodus when He says, “… Keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin,”  Exodus 34:7

Although we, sheep, continually go astray – we are also forgiven! (1 John 1:9)

Jesus is our Shepherd AND our Lamb: (John 1:29) “The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” He is the One who shows us the way – and He is the way.  He is our Protector as the Shepherd and our Savior as the Lamb. 

As a sheep – I am eternally thankful for the Lamb. The Lamb who seeks us and pulls us back to Him as our Shepherd.  He knows I will wander but He also seeks me out! Praise God that I am not left to my own devices, carrying my own burdens. 

My favorite poem is by Annie Flint – My favorite part: “When we reach the end of our hoarded resources Our Father’s full giving is only begun…”

He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase;
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.

His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.

Lord, thank You for seeing us so perfectly that You knew before the beginning of time that we would need a Savior. Thank You for being a God I can give my burdens to and fully trust to lead me and guide me in Your way. Thank You for forgiving all of my sins and iniquities. You are the Lord Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth and yet You still see me and love me. Out of Your infinite riches in Jesus You “giveth and giveth and giveth again.”  Thank You, Lord. 

*Photo credit: Forsyth Tynes White

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Once and for All

How many things in life do I wish I could just do once and be finished forever? The list is endless but it definitely includes taxes and laundry. Knowing that I have to do any task again and again greatly diminishes the satisfaction of completion for me. Did I mention laundry?

Can you imagine the thrill of Jesus’ Jewish disciples when they realized that His death and resurrection was a “once and for all” sacrifice?” No more repeat sacrifices at the temple. Sin was forgiven forever through Jesus’ incredible sacrifice!

Isaiah 52:15 says, “so shall He sprinkle many nations….” I recently read that the Hebrew word for sprinkle is “yaz’zeh.” This same Hebrew word for sprinkle is used in the book of Leviticus for sprinkling sacrificial food (from The Complete Jewish Study Bible, pg. 579). This was really good news for the Jewish people! The good news for the rest of us is that Jesus’ sacrifice extended to all nations – forgiveness to anyone who would receive His free gift!

“For by a single offering He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.”

Hebrews 10:14

We are all able to join God’s chosen people and become one His children if we repent and believe in Jesus’ sacrifice. If you are not a believer in Jesus (or “Yeshua,” His Jewish name!), then it may all sound too good to be true. The truth that Jesus’ sacrifice offers forgiveness for our past, present, and future sins is hard for any of us to believe! In fact, even many of us who have been believers in Jesus for decades, still find ourselves in the rut of trying to earn God’s forgiveness. Once we have surrendered our lives to Jesus, the Holy Spirit sanctifies us and changes our hearts.

Can you imagine if we all accepted this astounding gift and let the truth sink down deep into our hearts? Love, joy, and peace would replace our guilt and shame.

Jesus summed it all up on the cross when He said in John 19:30, “It is finished!”

For further reading see Hebrews 10:1-23.

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