Isaiah has provided a lot encouragement to me this week which has been a roller coaster ride. Isaiah 41:10 instructs us not to fear because God is with us. He will strengthen us. He will help us. He will uphold us by his righteous right hand. What does every child want when he or she wakes up afraid of monsters under the bed? The child wants someone who isn’t afraid of monsters to be with them. Isaiah says God isn’t afraid of any of our monsters and he chooses to be with us and help us.
Isaiah reminds us to trust in God. In his day, relying on horses was common military wisdom (Isaiah 31:1). In our day, we can rely on all kinds of things before we turn to God. When Sennacherib, king of Assyria, threatened Jerusalem and insulted God, Hezekiah wisely prayed to God instead of trusting in horses, chariots and making alliances with foreign governments. God wiped out 185,000 Assyrians all by Himself sending the great world power home in defeat (Isaiah 37). Sennacherib learned God was different than all the gods of wood and stone he had defeated in other lands.
In Daily Power, Craig Groeschel, describes faith as an invisible bridge. This word picture captured my attention. I can see some glad souls who would never slow down because they’ve achieved every man’s dream and have turned their car into an airplane! I see some doubting souls who would abruptly stop at the end of the road and never get on the bridge. I see others inching across the bridge for fear they will drop off the side even though they can see other cars in front of them. And I wonder which one I am….
I’ve finished reading Ecclesiastes in my One Year Bible. It is a disturbing book written by Solomon who had the best of everything and was the wisest of all men, but here he ponders if any of his life had any meaning or value! Yet all of us can relate at some time in our lives—and we don’t have the resources nor the wisdom Solomon had! When we are disillusioned, I think Solomon’s advice can be summed up: Enjoy life whenever you can, invest yourself is some kind of work, and fear God and keep his commandments.
Most of the Bibles I grew up with had the words of Jesus in red. You always knew that when you came to red letters in the Bible those were the very words of Jesus. Paul writes in II Corinthians 3:2-3 that the Corinthian people were like a letter from Paul—known and read by everybody. Then he says we are a letter from Christ Jesus because when people encounter us they should encounter Jesus if the Holy Spirit has transformed us our hearts and lives. May God make us all red letter Christians!
I thought I had gotten along in life pretty well without one, but recently I bought a jackknife to carry and use—as opposed to the ones cluttering my closet shelves. It has become essential. A friend pointed out as I bought it that I couldn’t even open the package it was in unless I had one. In the two weeks that I’ve had it, I have used it a half dozen times every day. I could have lived the rest of my life without having a jackknife handy at all times, but I’m glad I took this life detour.
As I read through II Chronicles it occurs to me that when a king of Israel or Judah chose to seek the Lord he first removed the false altars to pagan gods and he torn down the Asherah poles. The false altars and Asherah poles had crept back into the culture of God’s people by the time the next godly king came along. Apparently, it is our nature to satisfy ourselves with substitutes for the real thing! Seeking the Lord will always involve the painful work of removing the false substitutes for God to which we have become addicted.