Has this scenario ever happened to you?
You see something happen that you feel is outrageous or ridiculous. Instead of just thinking it’s ridiculous, you talk to other people about how crazy it is.
And in the middle of going off about it, it occurs to you that, though you may not have done this exact thing, you violate the same principle in another, obviously more righteous, way. Ha.
And then you feel like an idiot and a bit outrageous yourself.
This happened to me last week. Thankfully, God and I were the only ones that heard me going off about the stupidity I observed. But now I’m putting it into the blog…
I’m reading thru the book of Isaiah right now. In the past, I’ve read sections of it but never the whole book. Sometimes it feels like a very depressing string of stories. Over and over God is telling Isaiah what He’s going to do with this nation that keeps turning their back on Him and doing their own thing. They made groves and gardens to worship other gods. Not only that, they MADE, as in with their own hands, some ‘new’ gods that they then worshiped.
Gods they literally made with their own hands they now prayed to and expected to receive answers and favor from.
Now I may not be the brightest light in the harbor, but if you can make a god on your own, why would you then pray to it and ask it to do anything for you that you can’t do on your own??
If you made it, then it only stands to reason that it can’t do anything that you can’t do. After all, you gave it the function that it does have; how could it now turn around and do something for you that you couldn’t put into it to do?
As I was thinking about the pure ridiculousness of the idea of my creating a god for myself then asking it to do things for me, bless me, give me favor, it STRUCK me-
I DO THIS.
Lord, help me, I DO THIS!
Sure, it might not be an idol like they created in Isaiah’s day, but it might be a business that I’ve built and now started relying on for my provision instead of on God.
It might be a ministry that I’m involved in that is working well, and now I think it is the answer for people instead of Jesus.
It might be a wonderful marriage that is life-giving, and now I think I need that more than I need relationship with Jesus.
It could be all these things in reverse.
You may think if you can just get this business up and running, then your needs will all be met. If you can just find Mr. or Mrs. Right then your life will finally be all that you dreamed it might be. It might be that you think if you can just get out of this wreck of a marriage then your life will become easier.
When I am debt-free…
When we build our dream house…
When I find a job…
When I meet the perfect person…
When I feel better…
When my friends respect me…
When I finish this project…
When I’m victorious over this temptation…
The list goes on and on.
#1 thing I am learning from Isaiah-I can’t have anything in my life that I place in front of God.
#2 that I’m learning is-God and His promises have the answer to every one of my questions.
The reality is, there is ONE answer to all our issues, our questions, our doubts.
There is ONE place we can find peace, rest, and never-ending joy.
There is ONE thing that will never leave us feeling empty.
That place is JESUS and following His plan and direction for my life.
#3 God is a thorough Redeemer and can turn devastation around in ways that we can’t fathom.
There are so many instances where God is reminding Isaiah how desolate the country is and how depraved the people are. But in the next verses He reveals how He is going to turn things around for Israel as they turn back to Him and how decisively He is going to defeat their enemies.
In the middle of lots of chaos, God shines His light. At any point, we can turn to Him. He has the answers we are looking for, the peace we long for.
Reading in Isaiah has been encouraging. Sometimes, I admit, I’m slogging through, but I’ve found so much hope for areas of my life that feel more destitute and dry than life-giving and fruitful. God sees those places and has a plan of redemption for them.
Have you ever read or studied the book of Isaiah? I’d love to hear what you have found there!