When we get married or when we are in a committed relationship it signals that we have decided to change our position and our status. It indicates our perspective of life and how we will approach life, moving forward, has changed or is changing. People who are in committed relationships do not approach life with the same carefree attitude like say a single person or someone who is not in a committed relationship. For a single person it is OK to go out and party or hang out with the guys or the girls because they do not have the same considerations and responsibilities that a person in a committed relationship has, namely the other person. People who are out all the time generally are looking for something. If you already have everything you need, there is no need to go out looking for something else. The idea is whatever I need, I will find in the person I am with.
And so, as we commit ourselves to Jesus, we are making a statement both to Christ and the world. We are declaring that we have found the one we love, we will seek no other, and thanks for the offer, but I think I will stay at home. When we commit ourselves to Christ it prompts Him to change His position towards us.
The Bible says, “The rain falls on the just and the unjust.” The rain that falls on the unjust is coincidental, they just happen to be in the right place at the right time. When they try to duplicate or replicate an outcome they discover they cannot. Why? The rain has already fallen. It may or may not fall again and there is not telling when it will fall. The just, on the other hand, can expect not only rain, but also torrential showers of blessings. God is much more intentional about the way He blesses the just. The just have changed their position towards God understand that God is the author and source of every good gift, and it is with this understanding that the just seek God, they seek Christ, they seek first the things of heaven and because of this everything they need is added to them. The unjust simply seek, and seek, and seek, and usually never find the fulfillment they are looking for.
This history of Israel is one of seeking God, God responding to them, Israel becomes disenchanted with serving God and seeks other gods, God let’s them go, Israel gets in trouble and comes back to God, and God takes them back. Sound familiar? The prophet Isaiah spoke about a time when Israel would not longer find it necessary to pursue other gods, but would give her heart and soul to God and live out her life with God in a committed loving relationship.
The writer of Isaiah declares that he will not keep silent until that day comes. There is something about good news that makes you want to shout it out from the rooftop and go up to the highest point and just let everyone know that something good is about to happen or is happening. Good news is the adrenaline that keeps believers going in the midst of hardship, tough times and rocky and uncertain situations. Good news propels us forward when we know the tide is about to turn and things are going to get better. Good news will wake you up out of a dead sleep and keep you up thinking and dreaming about the better days that are coming.
The writer points out that, “The nations will see your righteousness, and all kings your glory.” It is amazing to consider that when God blesses us people notice. The blessings of God are so awesome and awe inspiring that you cannot help but notice how God is working in and through a person’s life that He is blessing. The other side of this is that very often those who are blessed are sometimes the last people to recognize what God is doing and how God is blessing them. But, when they wake up and see they join everyone in the chorus with everyone else, Our God is an Awesome God.
One of the things that Scripture reveals is that God’s blessings are not limited to only believers. Unbelievers also reap God’s blessings. The difference lies in the abundance of blessings and God’s intent to bless. It is here that we see God playing the favorites. When God decides to bless it is in response to an individual’s decision to commit themselves to God and God’s service. In other words, the abundance of God’s blessings and God’s intent to bless us are tied to our change in status with God. This positional change is reflected by God when God recognizes us by the new name He has given us. The text says, “You will be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will bestow.”
In western culture names are used as labels to distinguish one person from another. In Scripture a person’s name identified them and stood for something specific. The names of God, for example, found throughout the Scriptures reveal and provide us with a portrait of the character traits of God. Jehovah Jireh – the Lord will provide (Gen 22:14); Jehovah Rophe – the Lord who heals (Ex 15:22-26); Jehovah Shalom – the Lord our peace (Judges 6:24); Jehovah Roi – the Lord our shepherd (Ps 23); Jehovah Shammah – the Lord is there (Ezekiel 48:35). These are but a few of the names of God as recorded in the Bible. The point is that in Hebrew culture a name signified a person’s worth, character, reputation, authority, will and ownership.
In fact, names are so important to God that there were times when God Himself changed a person’s name. God changed Abram (high father) to Abraham (father of many nations), Sari (my princess) to Sarah (mother of many nations), Jacob (trickster) to Israel (having power with God); Jesus changed Simon (God has heard) to Peter (rock) and Saul (asked for) to Paul (small).
It is clear from the Scriptures that whenever God changed a person’s name it was an indication that God was ushering the new and that a departure from the old had occurred. It also indicated that a change in status and change in position with God and the person had also occurred.
Our text goes on to highlight some of the benefits and implications of this change in status and position. I should add that these benefits and implications are universal and are applied to every believer who is in Christ.
One of the benefits of our position in Christ is that God gives us a new sense of purpose. If we want to discover our purpose we must ask the question, whom are we living for, God or ourselves? If we say we are living for ourselves then our purpose in life is to establish our own destiny, plan for and work towards meeting our own needs and generally living a life that is fulfilling and pleasing to us. I wonder, how is that working out? I find it interesting that we can have or acquire most of what we want and desire and still be miserable, discontented, and generally not thrilled with our lives – we feel as though something is missing. I believe it would be helpful for us to bear in mind that careers, family, friends, finances, and level of education are only intended to take care of parts of our being and cannot take care of our total being. These things speak to our physical, social, and emotional self. There is still our spiritual self and until we make a spiritual connection there will always be a sense and feeling like something is missing. God has a special purpose for each of us. When we give ourselves over to God and allow God to use us, we discover a) how God wants to use us, and b) a greater sense of fulfillment.
Verse 3 says, “You will be a crown of splendor in the LORD’S hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God.” Two things, a crown has a place and a crown has a special purpose. It is important to note that the crown is not on God’s head but rather it is in God’s hand. This suggests that God intends to use the crown in different ways and at different times. When we place ourselves in God’s hand we will find our place and purpose. We will discover that when we are in God’s hand we will no longer experience any ruts or stagnation in life because everyday will bring a new experience and a new opportunity for God to use us for His glory and our fulfillment. Everyday will feel like Sunday as God ushers in something new, something different and taking us to different places and higher heights. All the while we are discovering and realizing a new sense of purpose.
Another benefit of our position in Christ is that God will give us a new identity. Like purpose, if we want to find out our identity we must ask who are we, and who shapes our character. In God’s scheme of things identity grows out of purpose. To borrow a scientific concept form speaks to function. If you want to know what something is look at how it is being used.
Verse 4 says, “No longer will they call you Deserted, or name your land Desolate. But you will be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah for the LORD will take delight in you, and your land will be married.” In other words, God will pour out His favor on us and in our lives when we give ourselves over to Him to fulfill His will. Now, here again, even unbelievers can receive God’s favor. The question is how do you want to get paid, occasionally or regularly? Think about it this way. When parents look at their children they see two things, they see a product of themselves and they see a picture of themselves. As the realization sets in that this is a product and replica of me, parents in turn shower their children with love and gifts. When we change our position toward God and move closer to Him, God responds by pouring more of Himself into us transforming us into His image and the image and likeness of Christ. With each passing day that God continues to pour Himself into us God also begins to see a product and replica of Him. We begin to realize the outpouring of God’s favor, God’s blessings in our lives and come to the conclusion that the Lord has taken delight in us because we have taken on His identity.
A third benefit of our position in Christ is that we have a new relationship with God. If you want to know about your relationship with someone, ask how committed am I to this person and how committed are they to me?
The writer says in verse 6, “I have posted watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the LORD, give yourselves no rest, and give Him no rest till He establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth.” As we change our position toward God we will discover a new relationship with God in Christ. We will discover a new sense of belonging. In the book of Hebrews, the writer says, “Are not angels ministering spirits sent to those who will inherit salvation.” When we are in Christ, God dispatches His angels to keep watch over us. God posts them as watchmen around us and when there is any sign of danger their job is sound the warning alarm. They form the first line of defense. If an intruder should breech our first line of defense, we are instructed to call on the LORD ourselves and to keep calling until God answers. Literally, we must bug God. We must bug God like mosquitoes and flies and gnats bug us on a hot humid summer day.
It is important for us to understand that when we are in Christ, we belong to God. Our position in Christ dictates that God is responsible for our welfare and wellbeing predicated on the fact that we have committed and given ourselves over to God for the fulfillment of His will. Our position in Christ also dictates that we represent God because we wear His name. The bearer of God’s name has the authority to act and speak on behalf of God as God gives that person utterance or the words to speak. Our position in Christ dictates that we now must work collaboratively with God in Christ to continue to expand God’s kingdom here on earth by sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with all who do not know Him and making ourselves available to God to be used by God for the accomplishing of God’s purposes.
My friends, as you can clearly see the benefits of being in Christ far outweigh life outside of Christ. We all must make a choice, will we continue to live for ourselves and rely on ourselves with uneven results, or will we come to or come back to God through Jesus Christ and assume a position in Christ and allow God to satisfy and fulfill us – the choice is ours.