The high and lofty one who lives in eternity,the Holy One, says this:
“I live in the high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts.”
Isaiah 57:15 (New Living Translation)
The snow remaining on Mt Hermon in the summer condenses water vapor providing for heavy dew in the areas surrounding the mountain – something highly welcomed during the parching summer heat. Snow cover remains on some portions of the mountain year round, with much of it being snow bound for many months of the year. The waters from the mountain (western slopes) are one of the primary sources of the Jordan River ultimately ending up in the Dead Sea. This beautiful mountain actually has three peaks. While Mt Hermon was an important location to Israel, many of the former nations surrounding the mountain held it in reverence, as evidenced by the root of its name which means “sacred” or “devoted“.
The Making of God’s People
But when all is said and done, God’s Temple on the mountain,
Firmly fixed, will dominate all mountains,
towering above surrounding hills.
People will stream to it and many nations set out for it, Saying,
“Come, let’s climb God’s mountain. Let’s go to the Temple of Jacob’s God. He will teach us how to live. We’ll know how to live God’s way.”
True teaching will issue from Zion, God’s revelation from Jerusalem. He’ll establish justice in the rabble of nations and settle disputes in faraway places.
They’ll trade in their swords for shovels,
their spears for rakes and hoes.
Nations will quit fighting each other, quit learning how to kill one another.
Each man will sit under his own shade tree, each woman in safety will tend her own garden.
God-of-the-Angel-Armies says so, and he means what he says.
(Micah 4:1-4,The Message)
Your Prayers Won’t Get Off the Ground
“Shout! A full-throated shout! Hold nothing back—a trumpet-blast shout! Tell my people what’s wrong with their lives, face my family Jacob with their sins! They’re busy, busy, busy at worship, and love studying all about me.
To all appearances they’re a nation of right-living people— law-abiding, God-honoring.
They ask me, ‘What’s the right thing to do?‘ and love having me on their side. But they also complain, ‘Why do we fast and you don’t look our way? Why do we humble ourselves and you don’t even notice?’
“Well, here’s why:
“The bottom line on your ‘fast days’ is profit.
You drive your employees much too hard.
You fast, but at the same time you bicker and fight.
You fast, but you swing a mean fist.
The kind of fasting you do won’t get your prayers off the ground.
Do you think this is the kind of fast day I’m after: a day to show off humility? To put on a pious long face and parade around solemnly in black? Do you call that fasting, a fast day that I, God, would like?
“This is the kind of fast day I’m after:
to break the chains of injustice,
get rid of exploitation in the workplace, free the oppressed,
What I’m interested in seeing you do is:
sharing your food with the hungry,
inviting the homeless poor into your homes,
putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad,
being available to your own families.
Do this and the lights will turn on, and your lives will turn around at once. Your righteousness will pave your way. The God of glory will secure your passage. Then when you pray, God will answer.
You’ll call out for help and I’ll say, ‘Here I am.’
A Full Life in the Emptiest of Places
“If you get rid of unfair practices,
quit blaming victims,
quit gossiping about other people’s sins,
If you are generous with the hungry
and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out,
Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness,
your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight.
I will always show you where to go.
I’ll give you a full life in the emptiest of places—
firm muscles, strong bones.
You’ll be like a well-watered garden,
a gurgling spring that never runs dry.
You’ll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew,
rebuild the foundations from out of your past.
You’ll be known as those who can fix anything, restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate, make the community livable again.
“If you watch your step on the Sabbath
and don’t use my holy day for personal advantage,
If you treat the Sabbath as a day of joy,
God’s holy day as a celebration,
If you honor it by refusing ‘business as usual,’ making money,
running here and there—Then you’ll be free to enjoy God!
Oh, I’ll make you ride high and soar above it all.
I’ll make you feast on the inheritance of your ancestor Jacob.”
Yes! God says so!
Isaiah 58:1-14 (The Message)
“Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life.”Philippians 2:14-16
Announce Freedom to All Captives
The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me because God anointed me.
He sent me to preach good news to the poor, heal the heartbroken,
Announce freedom to all captives, pardon all prisoners.
God sent me to announce the year of his grace—
a celebration of God’s destruction of our enemies—
and to comfort all who mourn,
To care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion,
give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes,
Messages of joy instead of news of doom,
a praising heart instead of a languid spirit.
Rename them “Oaks of Righteousness”
planted by God to display his glory.
They’ll rebuild the old ruins, raise a new city out of the wreckage.
They’ll start over on the ruined cities,
take the rubble left behind and make it new.
You’ll hire outsiders to herd your flocks and foreigners to work your fields,
But you’ll have the title “Priests of God,”
honored as ministers of our God.
You’ll feast on the bounty of nations, you’ll bask in their glory.
Because you got a double dose of trouble
and more than your share of contempt,
Your inheritance in the land will be doubled and your joy go on forever.
“Because I, God, love fair dealing and hate thievery and crime,
I’ll pay your wages on time and in full, and establish my eternal covenant with you.
Your descendants will become well-known all over.
Your children in foreign countries Will be recognized at once as the people I have blessed.”
I will sing for joy in God, explode in praise from deep in my soul!
He dressed me up in a suit of salvation, he outfitted me in a robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom who puts on a tuxedo and a bride a jeweled tiara. For as the earth bursts with spring wildflowers, and as a garden cascades with blossoms, So the Master, God, brings righteousness into full bloom and puts praise on display before the nations.
I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God;
for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation,
He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. (Isa. 61:10)…
I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire,
that thou may be rich; and white raiment,
that thou may be clothed,
and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear;
and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. (Rev.3:18)
Psalms 22:3 and 114:2 both tell us that God inhabits His praises;
and in Psalms 84:11-12,
“For the LORD God is a sun and shield:
the LORD will give grace and glory:
no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.
O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusts in thee.”