Friday, December 18, 2009

Fill 'er Up

Isaiah 11 & 12

Life is full of filling and emptying. Every day, ever hour, every minute we are either filling something or emptying it (e.g. your lungs!). Bathtubs, coffee mugs, stomachs, dishwashers, gas tanks, laundry machines, bank accounts- the list goes on and on! And this pattern of fullness and emptiness is also central in the Word of God.

In the creation account (Genesis 1) God creates and separates space (days 1-3) and then fills in those spaces with His creation (days 4-6). He brings fullness out of emptiness.
God then passes this same mandate to mankind telling Adam to "fill the earth and subdue it (v. 28)."

Later, during the days of Noah, the earth becomes so "full of violence" and causes God's heart to be "filled with pain," so God fills the earth with waters of His judgement (Gen. 6:7 & 13).

At very important moments in the history of Israel, God's glory comes and fills first the Tabernacle (Ex. 40:34) and later the Temple (1 Ki. 8:11).

Here in the book of Isaiah, we have already had our share of fullness and emptiness.
The people of Judah have be full, but full of all the wrong stuff: superstition, divination, unmerited wealth, and idolatry (2:6-8).
But then Isaiah has that amazing encounter with the Living God, and the Seraphim declare
"Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory." (6:3)

Humanity as a whole has rejected God and therefore embraced emptiness, because it is impossible to have real fullness without Him. But that is not the end of the story, and here God makes an amazing promise, that is echoed later in Habakkuk:

Isaiah 11:9b
"for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea."

Habakkuk 2:14
For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD,
as the waters cover the sea.

That is the plan. God is working "to reconcile to Himself all things (Col. 1:20)."
These verses are not mere hopes or sentiments- they are the promises of God and therefore reality. And in order to see them through, God Himself did his part of emptying and filling.

In Philippians 2, we see the extent of which Jesus Christ emptied Himself of the privileges of deity and instead He: made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross!

With His last words on the cross he said "It is finished! (John 19:30)." The same word would be put on a bill or receipt, meaning "Paid in full!"

Maybe your life is empty. You can try everything under the sun (see Solomon, King) but it will not ultimately satisfy. Maybe your life is too full. Full of activity, full of pride, full of yourself. In either case, the solution is the same-Jesus Christ. And your life will be a foreshadowing of that great verse- filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD.

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