Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign LORD comes escape from death. Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ…
who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, the one who fills your life with blessings so that you become young again like an eagle. For He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. The righteous eat to their hearts’ content, but the stomach of the wicked goes hungry.
Do not let the oppressed retreat in disgrace; may the poor and needy praise your name. Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. “Because of the oppression of the weak and the groaning of the needy, I will now arise,” says the LORD. “I will protect them from those who malign them.” He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free. He ransoms me unharmed from the battle waged against me, even though many oppose me. My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you–I, whom you have redeemed.
The Woman, Her Son, and the Dragon
A great Sign appeared in Heaven: a Woman dressed all in sunlight, standing on the moon, and crowned with Twelve Stars. She was giving birth to a Child and cried out in the pain of childbirth.
And then another Sign alongside the first: a huge and fiery Dragon! It had seven heads and ten horns, a crown on each of the seven heads. With one flick of its tail it knocked a third of the Stars from the sky and dumped them on earth. The Dragon crouched before the Woman in childbirth, poised to eat up the Child when it came.
The Woman gave birth to a Son who will shepherd all nations with an iron rod. Her Son was seized and placed safely before God on his Throne. The Woman herself escaped to the desert to a place of safety prepared by God, all comforts provided her for 1,260 days.
War broke out in Heaven. Michael and his Angels fought the Dragon. The Dragon and his Angels fought back, but were no match for Michael. They were cleared out of Heaven, not a sign of them left. The great Dragon—ancient Serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, the one who led the whole earth astray—thrown out, and all his Angels thrown out with him, thrown down to earth. Then I heard a strong voice out of Heaven saying,
Salvation and power are established!
Kingdom of our God, authority of his Messiah!
The Accuser of our brothers and sisters thrown out,
who accused them day and night before God.
They defeated him through the blood of the Lamb
and the bold word of their witness.
They weren’t in love with themselves;
they were willing to die for Christ.
So rejoice, O Heavens, and all who live there,
but doom to earth and sea,
For the Devil’s come down on you with both feet;
he’s had a great fall;
He’s wild and raging with anger;
he hasn’t much time and he knows it.
When the Dragon saw he’d been thrown to earth, he went after the Woman who had given birth to the Man-Child. The Woman was given wings of a great eagle to fly to a place in the desert to be kept in safety and comfort for a time and times and half a time, safe and sound from the Serpent. The Serpent vomited a river of water to swamp and drown her, but earth came to her help, swallowing the water the Dragon spewed from its mouth. Helpless with rage, the Dragon raged at the Woman, then went off to make war with the rest of her children, the children who keep God’s commands and hold firm to the witness of Jesus.
Spread Out! Think Big!
“Sing, barren woman, who has never had a baby.
Fill the air with song, you who’ve never experienced childbirth!
You’re ending up with far more children
than all those childbearing women.” God says so!
“Clear lots of ground for your tents!
Make your tents large. Spread out! Think big!
Use plenty of rope,
drive the tent pegs deep.
You’re going to need lots of elbow room
for your growing family.
You’re going to take over whole nations;
you’re going to resettle abandoned cities.
Don’t be afraid—you’re not going to be embarrassed.
Don’t hold back—you’re not going to come up short.
You’ll forget all about the humiliations of your youth,
and the indignities of being a widow will fade from memory.
For your Maker is your bridegroom,
his name, God-of-the-Angel-Armies!
Your Redeemer is The Holy of Israel,
known as God of the whole earth.
You were like an abandoned wife, devastated with grief,
and God welcomed you back,
Like a woman married young
and then left,” says your God.
Your Redeemer God says:
“I left you, but only for a moment.
Now, with enormous compassion, I’m bringing you back.
In an outburst of anger I turned my back on you—
but only for a moment.
It’s with lasting love
that I’m tenderly caring for you.
“This exile is just like the days of Noah for Me:
I promised then that the waters of Noah
would never again flood the earth.
I’m promising now no more anger,
no more dressing you down.
For even if the mountains walk away
and the hills fall to pieces,
My love won’t walk away from you,
my covenant commitment of peace won’t fall apart.”
The God who has compassion on you says so.
“Afflicted city, storm-battered, unpitied:
I’m about to rebuild you with stones of turquoise,
Lay your foundations with sapphires,
construct your towers with rubies,
Your gates with jewels,
and all your walls with precious stones.
All your children will have God for their teacher—
what a mentor for your children!
You’ll be built solid, grounded in righteousness,
far from any trouble—nothing to fear!
far from terror—it won’t even come close!
If anyone attacks you,
don’t for a moment suppose that I sent them,
And if any should attack,
nothing will come of it.
I create the blacksmith
who fires up his forge
and makes a weapon designed to kill.
I also create the destroyer—
but no weapon that can hurt you has ever been forged.
Any accuser who takes you to court
will be dismissed as a liar.
This is what God’s servants can expect.
I’ll see to it that everything works out for the best.”
Stretch the Borders of Life
At that time, this song will be sung in the country of Judah:
We have a strong city, Salvation City,
built and fortified with salvation.
Throw wide the gates
so good and true people can enter.
People with their minds set on you,
you keep completely whole,
Steady on their feet,
because they keep at it and don’t quit.
Depend on God and keep at it
because in the Lord God you have a sure thing.
Those who lived high and mighty
he knocked off their high horse.
He used the city built on the hill
as fill for the marshes.
All the exploited and outcast peoples
build their lives on the reclaimed land.
The path of right-living people is level.
The Leveler evens the road for the right-living.
We’re in no hurry, God. We’re content to linger
in the path sign-posted with your decisions.
Who you are and what you’ve done
are all we’ll ever want.
Through the night my soul longs for you.
Deep from within me my spirit reaches out to you.
When your decisions are on public display,
everyone learns how to live right.
If the wicked are shown grace,
they don’t seem to get it.
In the land of right living, they persist in wrong living,
blind to the splendor of God.
You hold your hand up high, God,
but they don’t see it.
Open their eyes to what you do,
to see your zealous love for your people.
Shame them. Light a fire under them.
Get the attention of these enemies of yours.
God, order a peaceful and whole life for us
because everything we’ve done, you’ve done for us.
O God, our God, we’ve had other masters rule us,
but you’re the only Master we’ve ever known.
The dead don’t talk,
ghosts don’t walk,
Because you’ve said, “Enough—that’s all for you,”
and wiped them off the books.
But the living you make larger than life.
The more life you give, the more glory you display,
and stretch the borders to accommodate more living!
O God, they begged you for help when they were in trouble,
when your discipline was so heavy
they could barely whisper a prayer.
Like a woman having a baby,
writhing in distress, screaming her pain
as the baby is being born,
That’s how we were because of you, O God.
We were pregnant full-term.
We writhed in labor but bore no baby.
We gave birth to wind.
Nothing came of our labor.
We produced nothing living.
We couldn’t save the world.
But friends, your dead will live,
your corpses will get to their feet.
All you dead and buried,
wake up! Sing!
Your dew is morning dew
catching the first rays of sun,
The earth bursting with life,
giving birth to the dead.
Come, my people, go home
and shut yourselves in.
Go into seclusion for a while
until the punishing wrath is past,
Because God is sure to come from His place
to punish the wrong of the people on earth.
Earth itself will point out the bloodstains;
it will show where the murdered have been hidden away.
But your dead will live; their bodies will rise. You who dwell in the dust, wake up and shout for joy. Your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead.
“Ephraim’s wickedness is on record. The record of the people’s sins is safely stored away. They have the opportunity to live again, but they are not smart enough to take it. They are like a baby who is about to be born but won’t come out of its mother’s womb. “I want to free them from the power of the grave. I want to reclaim them from death. Death, I want to be a plague to you. Grave, I want to destroy you. I won’t even think of changing my plans.”
For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith…children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. 1 John 5:4, John 1:13
God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
You find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to Your Word, You let me catch my breath
and send me in the right direction.
Even when the way goes through Death Valley,
I’m not afraid when You walk at my side.
Your trusty shepherd’s crook makes me feel secure.
You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies.
You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing.
Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life.
I’m back home in the house of God for the rest of my life.
He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; He will remove the disgrace of His people from all the earth. The LORD has spoken.
“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” Isaiah 25:8.1 Corinthians 15:55