Those who are left in Zion, who remain in Jerusalem, will be called holy, all who are recorded among the living in Jerusalem. Isa 4:3
A week ago my company left. It’s taken me days to get my house back in order. I mopped the sun porch where the cat stayed, washed the sheets, cleaned the bathroom, and vacuumed up a ton of debris. When I was done, it was like my head was clean, too. Looking around at the spotless floor and furniture gave me a sense of clarity and peace.
There’s something about getting things in order that strikes a chord with me, and I think it dovetails nicely with today’s devotional.
Isiaiah 4:3 says that God’s people left in Jerusaelm would be called holy. It was always the Lord’s intention for his people to be holy. He said in Exodus 19:5-6, “Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”
Of course, through history, Gods’s people were often anything but holy. So God instituted a plan to shake his people up and refine them. That’s what Isaiah 4:3 is about. Earlier, in Isaiah 3 we read about the destruction that would overtake the Hebrews. “They parade their sin like Sodom; they do not hide it. Woe to them! They have brought disaster upon themselves.” Isa 3:9
But then in Isaiah 4, God promised a restoration. A remnant would remain, and this remnant would be purified. The cool thing is this action was only a part of God’s amazing master plan to enable everyone to be his holy people. Look at these later verses of Isaiah:
- And there will be a highway called the Way of Holiness. The unclean will not travel it, only those who walk in that Way–and fools will not stray onto it. Isa 35:8
- Behold, the LORD has proclaimed to the ends of the earth, “Say to Daughter Zion: See, your Savior comes! Look, His reward is with Him, and His recompense goes before Him.” And they will be called the Holy People, the Redeemed of The LORD; and you will be called Sought Out, A City Not Forsaken. Isa 62:12
God intended to make his people holy through a divine removal of their unholiness. Isaiah 4 goes on to read, “The Lord will wash away the filth of the women of Zion; he will cleanse the bloodstains from Jerusalem.”
Of course, we know this was untimately fulfilled with Jesus, and the incredible salvation we have through him! “But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” I Cor 6:11
Wow. Do we remember that we are holy? That’s how the early Christians saw themselves. They were even called “saints,” which is the Greek word, “hagios,” that can also be translated, “holy.”
- “To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints.” (I Cor 1:2) (You can find other instances of Christians being called saints in Acts 9:32, 9:41, 26:10, Romans 1:7, 8:27, 12:13, 15:25, and the list goes on.)
So back to my analogy about cleaning. I’m not like a German house frau. My home isn’t always spotless. But when my house goes on the market, that’s a different story. Then I am wiping things down and vacumming every day! My goal is not as much to clean, but to maintain the cleanliness.
So the way this all ties in is that we repent, and God makes us clean and holy, like when we do a deep cleaning on our house. But just like I maintain the domestic tidiness when my house is for sale, it’s also up to us to maintain the holiness of our heart. (Okay, it’s not a perfect metaphor, but work with me.)
And the verse that is powerful for me and I’ve been using lately is, “Remain in me, and I also will remain in you.” (John 15:4) If I stay centered in God, it keeps me from cluttering up my heart with all kinds of other things. It keeps me dealing with my sin. It reminds me of what is important.
Here is a video I got from my life coaching studies that actually helps me with this. It’s an exercise in staying focused. When I do it, I think of being focused on God, not this guy’s face! I think of myself choosing to think of God instead of the million other things that distract me. I picture myself settling into Jesus and staying in him.
Oh, how troubled and distracted we can be! Our insides can feel like our house after a toddler play date!
God has made us holy, and when we center in him, we can maintain this holiness and feel clarity and peace.
Ahhh. Do some belly breaths, and inhale God’s goodness. It’s going to be okay.