Today’s Reading: Isaiah 43:8–45:13
It seems to me that within our passage today, God keeps bringing us back to the fact that He is the Creator God – or more accurately OUR Creator God – the Sovereign Almighty! This is the first and most helpful realization for us as we start to reach out to SEARCH for the living true God! He stresses that we are His witnesses! – He has chosen us! – if that were not so, we would be “dead in the water” so to speak – not a chance of even getting started! How much will you and I realize today that we are His witnesses – both in conveying His character to others in our relationships but I suspect in noticing today that He is truly alive and working in us today!
What a comfort that God tells His people that He will recover them from Babylon, when they had not even been taken captive yet – like 1 Corinthians 1:28 assures us that God has chosen, the things that are not, that He might nullify the things that are, that no man should boast before God. So the way that God does things is not our way of doing things and near the end of our reading today, He argues with those who would call Him to account for using a heathen king, Cyrus, who had no concept of God or Who He was, to bring back His people back to the land again and build His temple. So I am comforted when I can’t understand what He is doing (His thoughts are way beyond mine – ‘like the heavens are higher than the earth!) I remember His promise to make all things work together for GOOD – for I belong to Him, despite my waywardness, and He will redeem me and be with me all of my life! As one of the sections says, “He will pour out His Spirit.” And I know the secret of Ephesians 1 – I am SEALED by the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption!” So in Romans, Paul assures me that NOTHING can ever separate me from the love of God.
So what is your feeling when you come to the section on ‘the futility of idolatry’!? Truly futile! Why would you think that a stick of wood, which can be used for cooking something to eat or keeping warm – can be molded into a god who can save or protect or deliver from troubles!? And before we protest that we don’t worship idols – consider that we think (or at least I sometimes do) that we ourselves, our intelligence, our friends, or whatever our hearts trusts in most – can truly deliver us and bring meaning into life! And then most painfully of all realizations for me, is when I realize what I have been thinking! – that the gifts God Himself has given me in life – like this man using some of the wood of his idol to meet his needs, and then forming an idol out of the rest of the wood – I have used the gifts God gave me in life to comfort me, then progressed to the point where I can’t get along without it, or I use it for MY OWN gratification! The greater the gift, the more harmful the misuse of it! No wonder God in exasperation here says, “He feeds on ashes, a deluded heart misleads him; he cannot save himself or say, “Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?” Dear Lord, You do get right to the heart of things!
And so the messages continues using the remainder of how great God is, to continue on His discourse on how Jerusalem will again be rebuilt, and lest anyone would laugh at such a ridiculous idea, He plainly tells whom He will use and then because of His characteristic of knowing all, goes on to defend His right to use whomsoever He wishes! I suspect if they are like me, they were a people outraged at the idea of God by-passing His own people for help and using someone I would normally brush aside as not qualified! But I hear His wistful whisper in my ear – NO ONE will glory in My presence – I will do things in a right way and no one can attribute salvation (for them or you) to themselves, but only to Me! And my heart and Scriptures tell me, that is not because He is proud and selfish, but He is so very loving and anything He does personally will not be screwed up as I am so apt to do when I do things! No wonder it says “He works all things after the good pleasure of His will!” – especially when it has to do with His own people! Rejoice with me today that we are SO important to His dear loving heart!