Thursday, April 12, 2012

Lapis Lazuli (I heart you)

Here comes another round of I <3 U! The last edition can be found here! If you liked the format of that post, with the music and such.. here is another song that you can quietly listen to while reading Isaiah 54! If you don't have a bible with you, you can go to www.biblegateway.com and read there. Throughout this post I will be referencing NIV. I greatly encourage you to read through the entire chapter before continuing on with the rest of this post.

(I do not own this music)

Once again, this chapter is full of great promises and great hope, I can't wait to uncover it all with you. If you stop after verse 1 you could be confused, it might sound as if God is condemning marriage and mothering. But, this is not at all what he is saying. Instead of reading verse 1 and thinking that we must be called to never marry, think of it this way; God appointed each of us a period of time of singleness, in that singleness we are called to follow God as well as we can. Let's face it, if you have a husband (or wife) to take care of, or to make sure you spend enough time with, it could put a damper on your relationship with God. Only God knows when we can handle the balance between family and God. God's telling us to shout for joy with the opportunity we have to serve God with no strings attached. The next two verses tell us to open up our hearts, home, and life to God's people. To open up and let others into our lives and to care for them without holding back.

Skipping down to verse 4: "Do not be afraid; you will not suffer shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood." If you have never been shamed or humiliated by either your faith or your singleness... I'd like to talk to you. People will shame you, they will look down on you for faith and for lack of a partner. But, God will not. The people that truly matter, will not. The second half of this verse pretty much says "you'll thank me for it later". When we get to a resting place in life, where we can look back on our youth; we won't regret not having a boyfriend or girlfriend to hang on. I've never had anyone tell me (over the age of 25) that they regretted the time in highschool when they didn't have someone to hang all over. But, that is a lesson for a different time...

Verses 5-12 are my favorite. My maker is my husband. The "bible" definition (I don't know what that is, but if you go on dictionary.com and scroll all the way to the bottom of the search page, it's there) of husband is " the "house-band," connecting and keeping together the whole family. A man when betrothed was esteemed from that time a husband (Matt. 1:16, 20; Luke 2:5). A recently married man was exempt from going to war for "one year" (Deut. 20:7; 24:5)." God is our house-band. My maker is what connects and keeps the whole family together. :) "the holy one of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth" it's like the ending of a really good book when you find out just who THAT person really was. The God of all the earth is my redeemer, husband, houseband, connector.

This post is getting a little long, so read over the next few verses and stop right after 9. If you don't know the story of Noah you can read it in Genesis 6. Long story short, God wiped out all of humanity because of their repulsive sin. "To me, this is like the days of Noah, when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth. So now I have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again" (Isaiah 54:9). I was angry with you because of your sin, I HAD to turn my face in anger. But not anymore, I have a solution, I will never ever be angry with you again. I love you. Verse 10 tells us that although this earth is temporary and can be shaken "my unfailing love for you will not be shaken". God's love can't fail, it can't even be shaken. It's as sturdy as sturdy gets!

This next one is my favorite out of this whole chapter, which might confuse you a little bit. I love this verse so much, it's hanging on the wall next to my bed. "O afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted..." (that's us!) "I will build you with stones of turquoise, your foundations with sapphires." We are afflicted beings, people come against us, and as much as we can say 'sticks and stones may hurt my bones but words can never hurt me'. It's not true. That's crap. We are a city lashed by storms on the right and left, but God's going to build us up. He's not JUST going to build us up. He's going to build us up with stones of turquoise and sapphire. Another word for 'sapphire' in this verse is lapis lazuli.

I did a little bit of research and the lapis lazuli (blue stone) is an incredible shade of blue. For the longest time, people could not make a fake dye that matched the deepness of this blue. It's referred to as 'ultramarine' which means 'beyond the sea'. The stone is thought of as a stone of friendship and truth. When a gem cutter cuts this lapis lazuli, they will many times turn up their nose. When the gem is cut it puts off an odour. Many gem cutters can tell the intensity of the color from the smell it puts off. When you wear the stone a lot, it could become kind of matte and dull, but no matter how matte and dull the stone gets, it can always be polished and brought back to its original beauty. This gem is one of the most expensive blue gems that is around the world today. Let's summarize: I am an afflicted city, I have many a storms coming my way from day-to-day. But, God is going to build me up with walls made of lapis lazuli, one of the most expensive blue gems of our time. In fact, one of the most magnificently colored blue gems of our time. He's going to build me up in friendship and in truth, and people will be able to tell from the smell I put forth (not literal smell) how intense my color is and how close to my original magnificence I am. But, don't worry! No matter how hard those storms hit and how dull my color gets, I can always be polished back to my original beauty by my maker.  Wow.

Read over the rest of the chapter yourself and look at how God says he will protect us and how he shows that he created the people who will come against us. Although he did not create the evil that will come out of them, he created them and knows them as well as he knows us. I really am unsure of how to end this post, but if nothing else, take the knowledge about the lapis lazuli and treasure that in your heart.
~ Jessica

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