In the third chapter of the Bible a talking serpent suddenly begins to converse with a woman. The world has never been the same since that day. At the center of Genesis 3, God announced that a man descended from Eve would one day crush the head of the serpent. Who could have expected that it would be thousands of years before the true Messiah would come?
In Isaiah 27 the announcement of the punishment of the old serpent is given once again, many years after the events of Genesis 3, but still long before the birth of Jesus Christ. The Lord had a great sword that He would use against Satan. He would slay that dragon and protect the pleasant vineyard of His own planting. Israel would be more than the Jews in that day of the Lord’s deliverance. Jacob would take root, like a tree planted by the waterside, and Israel would fill the whole world with fruit.
What a wonderful vision! 700 years after Isaiah, the Messiah at the center of God’s plan was born in Bethlehem. He faced the unbelief of neighbors, the betrayal of a friend, and even death by crucifixion. The church, led now by our resurrected Lord and empowered by the Spirit of God, has experienced much suffering over the course of these many centuries. Like Old Testament Israel, we face the discipline of God. But when Christ returns the chief of fallen angels, the serpent of old, will be crushed, and the enemies of the church will have to stand before the Almighty.
Isaiah tells us that the people of God will one day burn their idols. All men tend toward idolatry. Some resolve to change. Few will destroy their precious objects. There is a spiritual battle today as the church is called to be true to Jesus and the Scriptures in a time of temptation. The serpent has been dealt a death blow through the cross of Christ. Yet that dragon tells his lies and lures many into his snare of temptation. Millions prefer what their eyes can see. They listen to the suggestions of Satan, and reject the Word of God. But some will make a fundamental change of allegiance. They will turn away from the pit of destruction in favor of the kingdom of light.
Our guilt was atoned for when our Savior died for our sins. Yet the true followers of Christ still have a cross to bear. One day all of our suffering will be gone. The victory of God will come in its fullness. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! He has the future firmly in His hands.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Lord God, You rule over all men and angels. You will judge our oppressors, and You will keep us as Your people forever. We will be Your pleasant vineyard. Your church is filling the whole world with the message of Your Son. We believe, and thus we rejoice, even in the day of great persecution and affliction. We know that the troubles that we face now are temporary, but the rejoicing of Your worshiping people from throughout the earth will be eternal.