When I read Scripture, I often see if/then statements. I see the Lord saying that if His people do __________, then He will do ____________. He is a God of great exchanges. (For an example of His great exchanges, dissect Isaiah 61 to see the beautiful gifts He gives us in return for our junk. For another Old Testament example of an if/then statement, check out 2 Chronicles 7:14.)
The if/then statements I’ve dissected lately have come from Isaiah 58. There are many if/then statements throughout the whole chapter, but this blog is focusing specifically on verses 6 – 9.
In verses 6 and 7, the Lord asks us to do the following:
- to loose the chains of injustice
- to untie the cords of the yoke
- to set the oppressed free
- to break every yoke
- to share our food with the hungry
- to provide the poor wanderer with shelter
- when we see the naked, to clothe them
- to not turn away from our own flesh and blood
The Lord says ‘then’, explaining that ‘if’ we do these things (above), He gives us the promises in verses 8-9 when He says:
- your light will break forth like the dawn
- your healing will quickly appear
- your righteousness will go before you
- the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard
- you will call and the Lord will answer
- you will cry for help and He will say, “Here I am”
These promises are awesome, because many of them are specific answers to prayer. Many many times, I have prayed, “Lord, pleeeeeeeaaase let me be healed. Quickly!” I wasn’t aware of this promise from the Lord, but when I saw it in His word, I was greatly encouraged. I love being healed, and more than that I love quick healing! Whether it’s physical healing or emotional healing, I love when the Lord relieves me of it quickly. Who doesn’t!?
Another one of these promises that I love is, “the glory of the Lord will be my rear guard”. I have been reminded multiple times recently to put on my spiritual armor (Ephesians 6). As I was talking with a friend the other day, she mentioned that all of the armor is on the front and there is no armor on the back of us. We know that the Lord goes before us (Deuteronomy 31:8), but what about attacks from the back? I love this promise in Isaiah 58, because we know that the Lord will be our rear guard. We have a defense (the Lord) both in front and behind us. I can battle in confidence knowing this.
One of my favorite promises is that “your light will break forth like the dawn”! The dawn is the evidence or appearance of light in the sky before the sun rises. Dawn is filled with silent, peaceful beauty and is an anticipation in the journey of the sun taking it’s place to shine (to fulfill it’s purpose). This, to me, is symbolic of us being the example of Christ on earth – we are to be the salt and light (Matthew 5:13-14). First of all, this is an awesome command; because Jesus wouldn’t tell us to do something that He cannot do through us. Knowing that being salt and light in the earth is awesome! Actually being the light in the earth is even greater! We are called to be great things in the Kingdom (salt and light of the earth, sons and daughters, heirs of Jesus – Romans 8). Knowing that the Light within me (Jesus – John 1:4) will shine is not only cool because of this, but it’s cool because it’s part of my destiny! My name, Morgan, means ‘Brightness’, and when the Lord gives me this promise I know that He’s speaking directly to me and is calling me to live out my identity.
What do these promises mean to you?
How is the Lord answering your prayers through His promises?
What if/then statements have you been examining in Scripture lately?