“‘But a redeemer will come to Zion, and to those in Jacob who turn from transgression,’ declares the Lord.” (Isaiah 59:20)

It’s a self-explanatory verse, yet the online commentaries by the so-called “experts” reveal that many don’t want to accept it for what it actually says. I often wonder why people are so willing to accept Isaiah 53 as prophesy, yet unwilling to accept the rest of his words. Is the Bible only partially true?

Just as I picked and chose this verse to make a point, others like to pick and choose other verses. The debates are perceived to be “won” by those who can quote more verses that appear to prove their point. I recently realized that the debates are pointless. In Saul’s (Paul’s) writings to Timothy, he says not to quarrel about scripture. He was paraphrasing Titus 3:9, which says, “But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless.” He goes on to say, “Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them.” I am learning to start taking that advice.

Today’s verse begins with, “A redeemer will come to Zion (Israel).” That’s simple, and most agree on its meaning. But then, it says, “and to those in Jacob who turn from transgression.” Turn from transgression? What does that mean? According to Webster, the definition of a transgression is “a violation of a command or law.” So this verse could be written to say, “But a redeemer will come to Israel and to those who stop violating the commands (or laws).” Simple, right?

OK, but that’s not what we hear when we sit in the pew chairs, is it? Nope. For the most part, we’re told that all we have to do is believe in Him, and we are automatically “saints.” But that is far from scriptural truth, and I trust God’s word much more than that of any man.

Folks, the enemy is sin. Our Messiah came to teach us how to live a sinless life, as He did. He expects us to follow His example. He suffered and died to redeem us from the transgressions that occur as a result of our stumbling, not for the ones we choose to commit over and over again. We’ll make mistakes, but we can’t take advantage of Him.

There are those people who go to church for about an hour a week, often out of habit. But they spend the other six days and twenty-three hours showing their true selves to God. Do they really think they are fooling Him? Are they actually believing in Him, or in the version of Him that they choose to create? There is one God, yet mankind has created multitudes of variations. It’s time to get back to basics.

God’s word is not as complicated as people want to make it. The stories contained within are sometimes connected in complex and intricate ways, but the word itself is simple. Do we truly believe that He appreciates what we’ve done with it? Translation after translation, denomination after denomination, interpretation after interpretation? What is really going on? Why? Who’s really pulling our strings?

Sometimes I get frustrated, as you can see today. My frustration is not with any of you, or with any other person. It’s with the enemy’s skill. He is so good at diverting the truth, because it is our nature to prefer his version than God’s. Even though I know that the truth will ultimately prevail, waiting patiently isn’t always as easy as I wish it was.

And that is why those of us who seek and embrace the truth must patiently endure together. He is coming soon, and everything we’ve wanted to understand will become clear. We will all worship the same God, in the same way, just as He wishes we would do now. Until then, we will have our struggles, just as it is written. His word is good, and our struggles are good too, even though they’re difficult. They’re designed to bring us closer to Him, even when they don’t appear to. One day, we’ll all understand.

I’m sorry about my rambling this morning, and my intention certainly isn’t to bring anyone down. But just as the prophets spoke some uncomfortable truths, sometimes I do too. Read today’s verse. Read the whole chapter, and the rest of Isaiah. Read the whole Bible. Put the pieces together yourself.

As children, we used to play with puzzles. What was more satisfying, when we did it ourselves, or when someone did it for us? God’s puzzle isn’t difficult to put together. But His is different than any we’ve done before. When someone else does it, we can’t see the picture, but when we do it ourselves, it becomes crystal clear. Open your Bible, and begin work on the puzzle. What you’ll see is absolutely magnificent!

Have a great day everyone!

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