Isaiah 29 & 3 John

Isaiah 29

    Ah, Ariel, Ariel,
        the city where David encamped!
    Add year to year;
        let the feasts run their round.
    Yet I will distress Ariel,
        and there shall be moaning and lamentation,
        and she shall be to me like an Ariel.
    And I will encamp against you all around,
        and will besiege you with towers
        and I will raise siegeworks against you.
    And you will be brought low; from the earth you shall speak,
        and from the dust your speech will be bowed down;
    your voice shall come from the ground like the voice of a ghost,
        and from the dust your speech shall whisper.
    But the multitude of your foreign foes shall be like small dust,
        and the multitude of the ruthless like passing chaff.
    And in an instant, suddenly,
        you will be visited by the LORD of hosts
    with thunder and with earthquake and great noise,
        with whirlwind and tempest, and the flame of a devouring fire.
    And the multitude of all the nations that fight against Ariel,
        all that fight against her and her stronghold and distress her,
        shall be like a dream, a vision of the night.
    As when a hungry man dreams, and behold, he is eating
        and awakes with his hunger not satisfied,
    or as when a thirsty man dreams, and behold, he is drinking
        and awakes faint, with his thirst not quenched,
    so shall the multitude of all the nations be
        that fight against Mount Zion.
    Astonish yourselves and be astonished;
        blind yourselves and be blind!
    Be drunk, but not with wine;
        stagger, but not with strong drink!
    For the LORD has poured out upon you
        a spirit of deep sleep,
    and has closed your eyes (the prophets),
        and covered your heads (the seers).
        And the vision of all this has become to you like the words of a book that is sealed. When men give it to one who can read, saying, “Read this,” he says, “I cannot, for it is sealed.” And when they give the book to one who cannot read, saying, “Read this,” he says, “I cannot read.”

    And the Lord said:
    “Because this people draw near with their mouth
        and honor me with their lips,
        while their hearts are far from me,
    and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men,
    therefore, behold, I will again
        do wonderful things with this people,
        with wonder upon wonder;
    and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish,
        and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden.”
    Ah, you who hide deep from the LORD your counsel,
        whose deeds are in the dark,
        and who say, “Who sees us? Who knows us?”
    You turn things upside down!
    Shall the potter be regarded as the clay,
    that the thing made should say of its maker,
        “He did not make me”;
    or the thing formed say of him who formed it,
        “He has no understanding”?
    Is it not yet a very little while
        until Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field,
        and the fruitful field shall be regarded as a forest?
    In that day the deaf shall hear
        the words of a book,
    and out of their gloom and darkness
        the eyes of the blind shall see.
    The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the LORD,
        and the poor among mankind shall exult in the Holy One of Israel.
    For the ruthless shall come to nothing
        and the scoffer cease,
        and all who watch to do evil shall be cut off,
    who by a word make a man out to be an offender,
        and lay a snare for him who reproves in the gate,
        and with an empty plea turn aside him who is in the right.
        Therefore thus says the LORD, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob:

    “Jacob shall no more be ashamed,
        no more shall his face grow pale.
    For when he sees his children,
        the work of my hands, in his midst,
        they will sanctify my name;
    they will sanctify the Holy One of Jacob
        and will stand in awe of the God of Israel.
    And those who go astray in spirit will come to understanding,
        and those who murmur will accept instruction.”

(Isaiah 29 ESV)

3 John

    The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth.

    Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

    Beloved, it is a faithful thing you do in all your efforts for these brothers, strangers as they are, who testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God. For they have gone out for the sake of the name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles. Therefore we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth.

    I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority. So if I come, I will bring up what he is doing, talking wicked nonsense against us. And not content with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers, and also stops those who want to and puts them out of the church.

    Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God. Demetrius has received a good testimony from everyone, and from the truth itself. We also add our testimony, and you know that our testimony is true.

    I had much to write to you, but I would rather not write with pen and ink. I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face.

    Peace be to you. The friends greet you. Greet the friends, each by name.

(3 John ESV)

3 John: It is one thing to know truth but a different matter entirely to actually walk in truth. When I look out my window at the rain falling hard and steady, I know that if I wish to keep my new suit dry then I need an umbrella. It’s one thing to know that an umbrella is needed to keep me dry in the rain, but it’s a greater matter entirely to actually go back upstairs and grab the umbrella. 

What good is it to know truth and yet to not walk in the truth that we know? John says, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” As a man who was devoting his whole life to spreading the truth of the gospel and teaching others all that Jesus had commanded, of course it brought John incredible joy to be able to see those he had been reaching out to and teaching to actually be putting into daily practice the very things they knew should characterize the Christian life. 

How many of us today may treasure God intellectually but treat ourselves with our daily behavior? It’s one thing to know that Jesus is our Savior-King who has redeemed us from the curse of Sin and has promised to return in glory to set up His Kingdom here on earth, but it’s quite another to actually trust His salvation, surrender to His lordship and live in confident hope of His imminent return.