A remnant

goose-178143_640Isaiah 1:9: Except Jehovah of Hosts had left a remnant for us, a few, we would be as Sodom; we would be as Gomorrah. (LITV)

Jonathan, Saul’s son, said that it is nothing with God to save with a few or with many (1Samuel 14:6-15). And he went into the camp of Philistines, with his armour bearer, just the two of them, with that understanding. Definitely, he was a man of strong faith.

He did not wait to get permission, to get a consensus, he did not call for volunteers and he caused such a commotion. After killing a few in direct combat, God sent an earthquake to back up his audacious initiative.

In the time of Gideon, God told him to go and deliver Israel as one man, but he thought he was very small (Judges 6-7). He thought he was the least person in Israel that should be considered for that job. Eventually with only a few hundred people he led the people to strike the enemy. God said he did so that Israel will not think that she made it happen by her own strength and so become puffed up.

David as one man defeated the army of Philistine (1Samuel 17). Goliath has put himself forward from among the them are a representative, as a champion, and asked that someone from Israel come forward for a one-on-one battle, instead of the full armies confronting each other. He was so sure of himself, sure of his war experience, sure of his big spear and his giant stature.

But David showed up as someone without those credentials. But he came fully kited with trust in God and at the end of his encounter with Goliath, David stood with his cut-off head in his hand and the remaining army of the Philistine fleeing, not believing their eyes.

The one in whom they trusted was downed by a young lad barely weaned from his mother’s breast milk. They did not know that out of the mouth of babes and suckling God has ordained strength to silence the enemy (Psalm 8:2).

God used a young man, with only a stone and a sling, with virtually no experience on the battlefield to give Israel victory at that time over their perennial enemy, cause to flee the battlefield in total disarray.

God is not so enamoured by the crowd as he is with the state of people’s heart. He sees the heart and not the appearance. He said though many people call him lord, lord; he only regards those who do what he says (Luke 6:46). Many may shout Jesus is Lord, but a few live it.

He said there are two roads, one to life and the other destruction. The one to destruction has popular appeal, it is a broad road, many find it; it is the place for the crowd. But the road that goes to life is narrow, and a few find it. It is the path to the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14). The high calling is highly costly. Few can pay the prize.

God asked a question: Who shall I send, who shall go from us (Isaiah 6:1-8)? Isaiah answered: here am I send me. He decided to choose what God chooses, leave his own preference to embrace God, to speak the words of God, while others speak their own words, he chose to represent God while other represent themselves. He represents the remnant. And God told him not to fear what the people fear nor come to their ungodly conclusion (Isaiah 8:12-13).

The bible says, everyone do proclaims his own goodness, but a faithful man who can find (Proverbs 20:6)? Those who look out for themselves are many but those who look out for the things of God are few.

David prayed, help lord, for the godly man ceases and the faithful perish among the sons of men, i.e. they are going into extinction, getting fewer and fewer in number, those who hold to moral values are diminishing in number (Psalm 12:1). They are a remnant, rear breed and hard to find.

Paul wrote that in the last days the Spirit expressly says that many shall become lovers of themselves; abandoning the love of God (2Timothy 3:1-2). But there will be a remnant. Will you be one of those who stay true to the end? Jesus said he who endures to the end will be saved (Matthew 24:13).

When in the wilderness and the children of Israel fell into idolatry, Moses was angry and the wrath of God was burning against the people. And Moses called out: who is on the Lord’s side (Exodus 32:20-35)?

And the tribe of Levi stood up to be counted. Though one of the tribes of Israel, that day they began to journey to distinction in that nation.

Moses asked them to do something dangerous, something that will make them hated by men, hated by their brothers. Moses said they should take up dangerous instruments and kill their brothers and sisters from other tribes. And they obeyed. They chose relationship with God over relationship with their brothers, obedience to God over social expectations, similar to what Jesus said that if you do not hate your brothers and sisters you cannot be his disciples (Luke 14:26).

On the discipleship gate, there is no sign saying: everybody qualifies. Everybody is called but not everybody is accepted, not everyone qualifies (Matthew 22:14).

When Gideon blew the trumpet, in the time of the Judges, over thirty thousand showed up for war, but when the screening was done, only 300 were left.

These passed the test of fearlessness and the huddle of inner dispositions which was reflected in their physical posture when they wanted to get water from a river. You will think you have more chance of victory with such a crowd when you want to defeat an enemy, but in God’s calculation, having a crowd is not always linked to victory.

That means when you want to go forward in the will of God, you cannot act based on consensus, it is not about who agrees with you or who does not, who supports you or who does not, who sees things from your point of view or not.

When Jesus said he was going to die on the cross, his best pal, Peter was firmly against it (Matthew 16:21-23). Jesus did not say that he will go and think about it. He was harsh to Peter, telling him: get behind me Satan. He surely did not walk based on consensus but the will of God.

Similarly, when God asked Noah to build an ark to prepare a remnant when he planned to send a flood to the earth to destroy every living thing (Genesis 7). The only people saved were Noah and his family. Jesus revealed what happened at that time will repeat itself, in which people will continue in their previous lifestyles and normal social engagement when a major catastrophe was coming on the earth. The majority were blinded from the import of the moment while Noah and a few people member of the family was saved. Only a remnant was saved.

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2 thoughts on “A remnant

  1. Interesting Isaiah 1:9 refers to a literal remnant that had survived the Assyrian attack and as a reference gave confidence to the readers that when required Jehovah God would again provide escape. Had Assyria been successful they would have ceased to exist like many other nations conquered by Assyria.

    Jehovah’s saving power becomes a core theme in Isaiah and is designed to develop our faith in the creator. From this basic point we can develop the understand of remnants in the Bible as we are told of those who survive the war of the great day of God Almighty as being a crowd but the death toll is massive therefore he demonstrates his saving power.

    It is worth delving a little deeper into Isaiah to understand why the Jews needed this book and Daniel to pinpoint the arrival of the Messiah.

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