November 2nd, 2020 – Monday Evening
“For thus says the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel: ‘In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength.’ But you would not.” ~Isaiah 30:15
This verse perhaps takes first place on the “sad” Bible verses list. The audience or subject is Israel, the rebellious and wicked nation that was supposed to be known as the people of God. This verse comes in the middle of a section that is full of the LORD’s rebuke of His people and the pronouncement of judgment upon them. This particular verse reiterates the hardness of the heart of Israel even in the face of the LORD’s offers of mercy and grace.
I know that I mentioned having a tender heart or a bitter one in one of my recent emails, but I think it is vital that we revisit the topic. It is important to note that Israel had the corner on the LORD’s favor and blessing – they had been chosen as His people and they had been given His Word. Everything they needed, spiritually and physically, was supplied for them in their relationship with the LORD; He was there to bless and to prosper. Yet, they neglected Him and His Word and went their own way. Then, when He rebuked them and sought to bring them back, they refused; they willingly chose the way of death and destruction instead of repenting of their sin and returning to the LORD.
You and I, as followers of Christ, have been given EVERYTHING we need for life and godliness in Jesus (2 Peter 1:2-4); God has not left a stone unturned (so to speak) in regards to His provision for us. He loves us and has called us, chosen us, adopted us, redeemed us, filled us, equipped us, and commanded us; just like a father who loves and cares for his children, so the LORD loves and cares for us. Yet, how easily we have strayed and do stray from Him and His Word! Instead of staying and finding Him sufficient, we refuse what is satisfying in order to pursue what is emptying. We forsake the goodness, grace, and mercy in order to have our own way, thereby reaping trouble, worry, anxiety, despair, pain, and bitterness. We trade intimacy, confidence, and rest for separation, floundering, and uneasiness; we give up EVERYTHING and get NOTHING back.
Let me give you a few examples: 1. When faced with trouble, we turn to ourselves, each other, the “experts”, organizations, etc. for the answer instead of praying, confessing our sins to each other, seeking the Lord and His mercy, caring for each other, etc. 2. We value our own opinion above everyone else’s and treat others with disdain or superiority. 3. We live a self-centered life that always considers our desires, comforts, pleasures, etc. to be the most important driving factor. 4. We do not honor each other in every way, especially those closest to us (spouse, children, parents, etc.). 5. We are busy with life, but not with living as an ambassador of the King of Kings.
Tomorrow (or today, depending on when you read this) we are planning to have a day of fasting and prayer for our nation. Guess what… Our prayer for repentance and revival needs to start with a focus on us. You and I need to return and rest in the Lord GOD; we need to find our strength in quieting our souls before Him and trusting Him above our own foolish hearts. His offer of salvation, strength, healing, and provision still stands in Christ Jesus; He has not changed and His mercy still endures forever. He is still worthy of ALL of who we are and have and He is still capable of transforming every part of who we are. This isn’t pie in the sky…this needs to be the reality in our everyday, every moment lives. He stands ready to do what He has promised to do. The question is: Are we willing to let Him do it in us?