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Lent 2017: You Are Mine: Day 8

The Lord of Hosts, the Only Refuge

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Today's Text: Isaiah 7:1-25, Isaiah 8:1-22, Hebrews 9:24, 1 Peter 1:14-16

Text:  Isaiah 7:1-25, Isaiah 8:1-22, Hebrews 9:24, 1 Peter 1:14-16

I’ll be the first to admit that when I read a book like Isaiah, I immediately want to understand all the history. As a former world history teacher, I really should already have this stuff down pat, but I don’t. So I dug back into my old lesson plans to see what I could rediscover about Assyria.

Historians suspect that the world’s first organized society developed in the “cradle of civilization” between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers (modern-day Iraq and Syria). It was fertile land, easy to farm, and smack-dab in the middle of the biggest landmass in the world. If you wanted to be a farmer, a businessman, or a conqueror, you couldn’t find a better jumping-off point. That’s why over the centuries, so many different empires fought to claim that land. None were as strong or ambitious as the Assyrians; their empire was the first to make militarism the central policy of state.

Around the time of Isaiah, Assyrians were on the warpath. They’d already amassed a great amount of land to the north and east, and had their sights on Egypt. God’s people were literally right in the way. In addition to that, the kingdom of Israel had fractured into two pieces: Judah in the south and Israel in the north. At just the time when God’s people needed to be strong and unified against a foreign threat, they were deeply divided. At the beginning of Isaiah chapter 7, we’re told that the king of Judah and all of his people were afraid for their lives. They had two enemies to contend with, Assyria and Israel. In many ways, they felt surrounded, defenseless.

And yet, they were not alone. In the midst of these harrowing geopolitical circumstances, Isaiah told the people of Judah, “Be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid” (Isaiah 7:4). Isaiah also makes a strange promise: the people would receive a sign that God was still good. A virgin would give birth to a child and His name would be Immanuel—God with us (v.14).

The rest of the prophecy was hardly pretty poetry. Judah saw Assyria as an enemy, and as Isaiah explained, God planned to use that enemy to accomplish His purposes. Egyptians were like flies, Assyrians were like bees—and they were coming to infest the land. Assyria would be a like a razor that arrived to cut off all of God’s people’s hair, leaving them in humiliation (v.20). With that as their future, how could the people of God be careful, keep calm, and remain unafraid? How was God with them?

God is with us, even in calamity. Our fear is not proof that our God is absent.

So often I want an Isaiah in my life. I want someone to come and tell me specifically what’s going to happen this year, next year, and the year after that. I want details. Dates. Times. I want a sign. In reading today’s passages, I realize that even if I got what I wanted—even if someone like Isaiah really did come to tell me what was to come—it might only lead to more confusion. It would likely only lead to fear of my circumstances, rather than fear of my Lord.

Perhaps all I really need to hear are the promises. Perhaps all I need to do is wait.

You are to regard only the Lord of Hosts as holy.
Only He should be feared;
Only He should be held in awe.
He will be your sanctuary.
- Isaiah 8:13-14

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Claire Gibson is a freelance writer and editor whose work has been featured both locally and nationally in publications including The Washington Post, and Entrepreneur Magazine. An Army kid who grew up at West Point, New York, Claire is currently growing roots in Nashville, Tennessee. She loves her husband, Patrick, and their dog, Winnie.

  • Bethany Lauer

    Wow, wow, wow. This hit HARD…but that good kind of hard. Thank you, Lord.

  • I love this: And I will wait on the Lord: Waiting on the Lord is not passive inactivity. It means to wait on the Lord as a waiter would wait on a table. It means to be totally attentive to the Lord, focused on His every move, and responsive to His every desire.

  • Thank you for explaining this passage! I was so confused when reading it, so I really appreciated you clearing things up!

  • Danya Ho

    God is with us, even in calamity. Our fear is not proof that our God is absent.

  • I am a highly emotional woman who allows herself far too often to be driven by it. I am reminders today that although this is my reality, I don’t need to allow them to dictate to me what is truth. God alone is truth and in the midst of my circumstances, rather than allowing my emotions to control and have their way, I can and I must listen instead to the voice of truth who is always by my side! Thank you.

  • I am in a season of waiting and today’s devotional truly spoke to me. At mass and during the week we discuss worry -worrying about the future and how it steals joy from today. So often I want to know what is going to happen in my life today, tomorrow or a year from now. The truth is, I fear I would be even more miserable if my own Isaiah showed up. Would I worry even more if my plans didn’t turn out just right?

    I am hoping this Lenten season will help me to live more in the now and to stop stealing the joy from today, tomorrow and weeks to come by simply living for today.

    You are enough, Lord. Allow me to put my complete trust and faith in you because your timing is the only timing I need.

    • Hannah Booker

      Hi Katy, I can relate to your feeling of living in fear. I find myself becoming stressed in the evenings and anxious about what’s to come tomorrow…much less, the next week, month, and year. I’m trying to learn to mind my own business because I am not the Lord of my own life. It’s no concern of mine what is to come, I am simply here to live my life to honor Him and glorify Him in whatever may come. I am finding that by focusing on this I live with much more joy and peace, and much less anxiety.

      I hope you find peace in your season of waiting.

  • Kristena

    This year is my Year of No Fear (exodus 10-14) and this verse from Isaiah is so reaffirming that fear is reserved for our Lord and God only.

  • This was exactly what I needed to hear. I’m struggling with my next steps in life and what I should do and I just want God to come tell me but this reading is guiding me to wait and have hope. Couldn’t have come at a better time. It’s not my timing but the Lords timing for me.

  • Vonda Hecht

    Be determined to wait. It doesn’t always come easily. At least, not for me. Waiting is hard when I feel like a storm is coming. I’m used to preparing. However, I could be preparing for something that never reaches me.

    • Katie D.

      Very well said! How many storms have we prepared for that we never should have feared? I’m struggling to wait for God’s plan and timing in my own life right now, and your statement spoke straight to my heart.

  • Churchmouse

    We’ve all experienced the sudden hurricanes of darkness. They come in the form of a pink slip, a diagnosis, a midnight phone call. The darkness descends and we cannot take the next breath. Our mind swirls. Our imagination goes to even darker places. When the initial shock begins to wear off, we people of the Cross default to Isaiah’s words : “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light ; a light has dawned on those living in the darkness.”. In our dark nights of the soul, we still have the Light. And where there is Light, darkness dies. Hope rises. Strength returns. We can breathe. Praying for all of us who need to be reminded of this today. Hold on. Be still. Know He is God and He is there. His Light shines. This darkness will pass. It has no choice. It has no option. The Light wins. Every time.

  • This devotional was so soothing to my soul. Just like Claire writes, I so often want someone to tell me that x, y & z are going to happen. I want to know, and I want to know NOW what my future holds. But that’s not the way God has designed our hope. Our hope is not in knowing we are going to get the things we want, or even in knowing what perils await us. We only can hope in God’s good promises and fear our Creator. Patience, surrender, and trust are the three words I feel the Spirit has laid on my heart today. Thankful for God’s mercy.

    • CiCi Reid

      Kellie, those three words (patience, surrender, trust) are exactly what I feel as though I am lacking during a season of unemployment. I have a strong vocational calling, and I have been frustrated and even angry that I am not able to put it to use at this present moment. Today I will pray for patience, trust, and surrender to my Father’s plan for my career.

  • Dear Lord,
    Thank you for always showing me and revealing to me exactly what I need. You are enough. You are all I need. Help me to be obedient. Help me to not be conformed to my old ways. You are holy. Make me holy. May I be transformed by what you teach me and by the Holy Spirit in me, so that I can stand the test and rest in your plan and sovereignty. I trust in your perfect will. I stand in awe of you, waiting for the day when all is made clear. Until then, may I praise you more and more, and shine your light in the darkness. Amen.

  • Jillian Johnson

    Isaiah 8:9-10 Just hit me that the Lord is telling them (Judah) to do nothing in response to the approaching and encroaching enemies (Assyria or Israel) because He has the upper hand. “Don’t make a plan or prediction. Don’t prepare for war unless you want to be broken.” Verse 11 then reminds them that they are to fear the Lord and He alone. Not the armies advancing or the thought of their destruction or the loss of a kingdom. But the Lord. God is with us. Whom shall we fear?

  • Father God, hear the cries of your daughter, Stephanie. Allows her to feel the presence of Your overwhelming love for her. Heal her internal scars Father God. We know Father, she is perfect in Your eyes. May she know Father that is all she needs, no other opinion matters but Yours Lord. In Jesus name we pray, amen.

  • Today’s message was just what I needed to hear- be careful, be calm and don’t be afraid- as an obedient child of God- staying obedient and not conforming to my former ignorance is hard – I have been down that road- I would much rather hold onto the faithfulness of God. So I wait- after 9 months separated from my husband- I will wait for God, I will hope in him.

  • Stephanie

    I am really struggling to trust God because I recently had a difficult and traumatic experience that’s changed my body physically, maybe for good. I am having trouble healing emotionally from the experience. While I know that God will use this for my good, and I do love him. and I know I should trust him, I truly am not. I guess it is good to be honest about that. I am praying that I can grow closer to God and that this experience will refine my faith.

    • Clare

      Praying for you, Stephanie.

    • Marissa

      Praying as well! You are strong and God is by your side!

    • Shannon

      Praying for healing in mind, body and spirit Stephanie. Sometimes what life and God hand us is difficult to process and handle. May He be with you and walk you through this difficult time so that you may heal, know and trust Him and his plan and come out better than before.

  • It’s so crazy how God’s timing works. I was just telling a friend today about the timing of God’s plans. And reminding her of proverbs 19:21, how we always want to have a plan and for it to work out our way. And then we get disappointed when it doesn’t work out our way. Loved the part saying “even if we were told exactly what the plan was, that may cause even more confusion.” That’s so true and it is a great reminder. Just so crazy that I was talking about this with my friend and then I read about it in the Bible! Thank you Jesus.

  • I really wrestled with this passage today. I am a planner to the core, I strive when everything is thought out, and I struggle with not knowing all the details. Relying on the details and plans keeps me narrow focused and prevents me from seeing the bigger picture. I no longer fear God. I put the focus back on me and what I have control over, rather than God’s immense power and love. To be honest, it’s kind of selfish. I love how Claire wrote, “I realize that even if I got what I wanted… it might only lead to more confusion.” I never really thought about how confusing more details could be. Where is my trust in God? Where is my faith in knowing that God ultimately has everything in control, regardless of what earthly “power” I think I have? I am so thankful that I have this daily study to put everything into perspective and bring it all back to Jesus.

  • Melody Suarez

    I needed this today. So many things I have been fearing this week. And it’s only Monday. Thank you Jesus for your goodness

  • God alone will be my sanctuary. My place of refuge and of safety. My reflection tonight is on what that means for me. It means that it’s in Him that I am always welcome. It is in Him that I find peace, where I am loved. He is the light in this dark world. In Him I find my hope. Tonight, I am thanking God for being so big and for having it all figured out.

  • How hard to imagine – and accept! – that sometimes God’s plan and God’s timing stretch not only over years but generations. How hard it must have been for Judah to accept that their struggles would end in the coming of Christ- but not until they were gone from the Earth! But what a comfort to know that He knows what he is doing thousands of years before- that He can see so much farther. How many times in my life can I look back on what I would have wanted to happen- things I’d consider struggles and tragedies- that looking back actually prevented more struggles, made me stronger and more prepared for what was ahead, and most importantly brought me back to my knees in prayer, remembering who I was- and whose I was. ❤

  • It sometimes feels as if you’re being punished when you don’t get what you want. Like God isn’t granting your prayers because you’ve done something wrong. It’s humbling to be reminded that we can never know the future and whatever God has in store is greater then we could have imagine, even if it’s not exactly what we wanted. However it is difficult to rectify this truth with current feelings. For example, if I don’t get married and have a family I would be devastated and would find it difficult to find joy and contentment in what God provides, however great. And this is the sin I struggle with everyday.

    • Amy

      I’m with you. I’m almost/most of the time/sometimes to the point that I just trust that God’s plan is greater than my wishes and do believe that some day I’ll look back and smile and praise him. I pray and it’s often answered that I learn to love now…that now is enough, that my community is enough, that his love is enough. That his promises are for this side of heaven. God loves us and knows and understands and has a plan. I believe that.

  • As a person who suffers from an anxiety disorder it truly never occurred to me that knowing the future could create more worry or concern or fear than the unknown. What a realization! I am currently working on trying to rest in his sanctuary and rely on only him. I am so grateful we have a God that allows us to do just that!

    • Stormye Puffer

      Maggie – what a beautiful realization! Thank you for sharing!

  • I’ve often had this thought too, but just for the decisions that lead me to a fork in the road. This is where I wanted a clear, tangible God. Send me a letter in the mail to tell me I’m on the right path. This man is who you are meant to marry, this is the career path you’re meant to be on, you won’t be a mother… But, if I knew all the answers would I still depend on God? I’ll be honest, maybe not. Lately, I felt like I haven’t heard to voice of God, but on 3 separate occasions I’ve had random messages. I feel like God is telling me I’m stronger than I realize, what you are doing is making a difference, and I am more amazing than I realize. (The exact random messages I received) It pretty amazing.

  • I feel like there is so much that I don’t know about who I am and over and over it seems to be that God reveals to me the sin in my life and the wickedness of my heart. I have been struggling with all this feeling like a failure and that I am not the person that I should be and that God is calling me to. This lesson was so needed! That in the midst of all this confusion and hardship I am not alone. I like how she said “God is with us, even in our calamity. Our fear is not proof that our God is absent.” No matter how scary, no matter how hard, depending on the Lord in the midst of our fears and hardships is the best thing we can do.

    • Stormye Puffer

      Emilia, thank you for sharing this. It is so sweet to know that He is always there. Grateful for you!

  • I needed these words today. I feel storms approaching in my own life. It’s hard not to be fearful when expectant of calamity. I am praying for eyes that focus solely on the Lord and a Spirit that is able to bear fruit in this present moment.

  • Alexis Maycock

    Thank you for this reminder. We are to be calm. Trust God. And fear no man or no circumstance. Amen, I receive this word.

  • So often I want an Isaiah in my life. I want someone to come and tell me specifically what’s going to happen this year, next year, and the year after that. I want details. Dates. Times. I want a sign. In reading today’s passages, I realize that even if I got what I wanted—even if someone like Isaiah really did come to tell me what was to come—it might only lead to more confusion. It would likely only lead to fear of my circumstances, rather than fear of my Lord. ~ it is like you took the words right of my head. I am struggling right now with very stressful situations at home and work. I had to quit my job and blah blah, but I feel so stuck right now. But through all this, I feel like the Lord is being patient with me while I drawl back to him again. It is times like this I wish there was a glue or rope so I would never stray. But we are not perfect, just loved by the one who is.

    • Kyla Joy

      Grateful for your words, Joanna.

      I, too, had to quit my job and blah blah blah. Seriously! Feeling stuck. I know deep down that the Lord holds me tenderly through all of this…yet it is difficult when I don’t know which step to take next. May the Lord continue to be the light unto our paths. We only need to know the next step. May we remember his faithfulness & cling to him!

      *Thank you, Lord, for your faithfulness. My heart wavers, but you never do. Hear my cry, and listen to my prayer.
      When my heart is overwhelmed, lead my to the Rock that is higher than I.*

    • K

      Be holy. Fear God. Wait upon the Lord. Thank you Amy.

    • Stormye Puffer

      Joanna, I loved reading this. I’m a planner, too! But it is a nice reminder that even if we knew everything it wouldn’t fix it all. We have to rely on the Lord for that. Grateful for you!

  • so relevant to our time

  • ~Amy F.~`

    I think Isaiah 8:13 sums up so much of the simplicity of the Christian life. Behavior? Be holy. Attitude? Fear only God. My natural tendency is to plan and consider and obsess over the details, but this verse reminds me that God’s way for me is much less complex. Focus on Him: because He is holy, be holy (1 Peter 1:15-16); because He alone is God Almighty, fear nothing but Him. May I bring this awareness of who He is into my thoughts and actions today. May I learn to focus on Him alone!

    “Sanctify the LORD of hosts Himself; and let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread.”

  • Betsy Hunter

    God’s timing is perfect, this is just what I needed to read and reflect on today. I’m geared up for the battle,

  • Jaw dropping this morning as I prayed for understanding of God’s plan in my life and a sign on where to go and what to do next. After reading this and realizing even if I did have an Isaiah, I would still be afraid of the circumstances, rather than trusting in our sovereign God. It’s so helpful to come to these pages and have God give us just what we need, reminders. Reminders to wait on the Lord, reminders that we really only need to hear the promises of our God, and regard only Him as holy. Praying for you all this morning! ❤

    • Stormye Puffer

      Maggie – such wonderful words, and so true! Thank you for sharing. Grateful for you.

  • Summer Russell

    I love the insight that we all crave details but the truth is that details would not extinguish our anxieties but only fuel them. In facing the future, the key is to turn our eyes to the holiness of God and to trust His provision in the midst of possible pain.

  • I, too, have been guilty of wanting an Isaiah in my life, someone to tell me exactly what’s going to happen and WHEN so that trusting God seems easier. Today I have a date with my husband/business partner/creative collaborator to assign names and goals to the dreams in our hearts. I needed to read this today, as a reminder not to assign DATES to these thing, but rather to fear the Lord and trust that whatever His plans are, I’m in good hands. A glimpse of His goodness is enough to undo me – I’m not sure what I’d do if I saw His whole plan laid out in blueprint form! Teach us to rest where we are at, God – to stop striving and start trusting You more.

    • Stormye Puffer

      Kylee, love this application from this morning’s reading. Thank you for sharing!

  • Amber Galleguillos

    Today’s study really hits home for me. I am a person naturally given to fear and worry. I have slowly been trying to change that. About a year and half ago I realized that all fear paralyzes us. It makes us useless. Once I established this thought, and the more that God and his Word worked in my daily life the more freedom I gained. I recently have been battling that fear again in different ways. Instead of fear or the end of the world, or fear of pain and death in my childrens life, it has become a fear of not being able to raise them in God’s truth in a world that decays by the day. A fear that the teenage girls I coach, worrying that reaching them is impossible. Because they do not understand things like responsibility, commitment, resilience. That they will be knocked down by life and not get back up. I praise God and thank you for writing this today and reaffirming that our fear does not mean that God has checked out on us!

    • Stormye Puffer

      Amber, thank you for sharing this! I’ll be praying for God to grant you peace and to eliminate these fears with His overwhelming power and might! Thankful for a God who is BIG and in control!

  • Keri McCue

    “God is with us, even in calamity. Our fear is not proof that our God is absent.” – Sometimes this is all someone needs to hear first thing in the morning <3 Our fear is not proof, it's just our sinful humanity!

    http://www.littlelightonahill.com

  • Obedience…then falling away..REPEAT… truly a picture of me..the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak…so easy to become lazy & look to my own selfish wants….BUT (love that word!!)…
    HALLELUJAH for IJohn 1:9… “If we confess our sins, He is faithful & just to forgive our sins & cleanse us from all unrighteousness!!! AMEN !!
    HALLELUJAH..what a Savior!!
    Father, open my eyes to the sin that so easily besets me…bring them to light & help me confess my sins ..THEN REJOICE IN YOUR GREAT SALVATION!!!

    • Amber Galleguillos

      Praying that our spirit will keep in Gods grace and love to keep willing the flesh to die daily!

  • So appreciate the history lesson with this one! These are the kinds of verses that normally make me feel way over my head. I can disentangle a lot of good stuff in here but I have a question I hope someone maybe knows the answer to.

    I’m struck by God telling them to test him. In church this week we read about Jesus’ trials in the desert where he notes it is written that you shouldn’t test God. Which seems more in line with that what the first speaker Ahaz says (but I get the sense the first speaker isn’t the protagonist here). And then Isaiah says that they will be given a sign. Is this somehow tied to the issue of testing God since it follows directly after? Trying to wrap my head around that sequence of verses.

    • Vivian Williams

      In verse 10 we see God speaking to Ahaz (the king of Judah) and telling him to ask him (God) for a sign yet ahaz refuses to do so. Isaiah replies to Ahaz saying he is testing the patience of men and God. Then he goes on to explain the sign that will be Jesus. I don’t know if this is an unique example but I have never before seen God telling someone to test him. It almost seems like an “I dare you” moment! How interesting

      • Stormye Puffer

        Vivian, I thought that was interesting, too! I also noticed how Ahaz was so overcome by fear that he wouldn’t even do what God was asking him to! Thanks for sharing, friend!

    • Dorie

      I was confused by that too but this is what I think is the answer: When Jesus was in the desert and satan told him to throw himself off of a cliff it was more like a dare. It was as if he was saying, “Hey Jesus, I dare you to jump off this cliff and see if God saves you.” But God doesn’t play games like that. Whereas with King Ahaz it was more like God was saying, “I’m here for you and you’re people. Let me show you. Just ask me for a sign and I’ll show you how faithful I am.” So it’s not like God wants people to test him as a game or a dare. He doesn’t want people to say, “Hey God, I bet you won’t do this.” But he does want people to test him so he can show that he is the real deal. He did the same thing with Gideon and with others.

      • BML

        Maybe a perspective is: God says test me or in other words trust me and let me show you that I am always faithful to my people.

      • Jillian Johnson

        Yes!! I feel like Ahaz missed an opportunity to see God work a miracle in his own lifetime because he was too {insert a multitude of feelings but trusting}.

  • Carrie Rogers

    Amen!

  • Katalina

    While I’m waiting- John Waller. Perfect song for this devotional and for anyone who needs a little reassurance in their faith <3

  • Today’s reading has shown me to be repentant for the fear I often feel in my life. It is not honoring to God and shows a lack of faith. Thank You for your sweet forgiveness God!

  • Katalina

    This is where faith comes in and why it is so important. We say we have faith because we believe in God… but what kind of testimony can we give when we don’t HAVE FAITH. It’s not about just the good circumstances we go through, faith is needed in the moments where faith, for people on Earth, probably shouldn’t exist. But God is so Great and He always has a plan ready with an outcome that will only benefit us in one way or another. Faith is to have patience, to believe when no one else will, and to stay strong even when it seems like God is at a standstill. Sometimes God tests us to see of we truly do have faith in Him. Nothing happens out of coincidence. There have been and are so many instances in my life that I’ve had my faith tested… but because I’ve been through a lot of them, my faith has only grown stronger because God has proven FAITHFUL every single time. It’s not easy to believe in something you can’t physically touch, but oh, how I definitely feel God’s presence constantly in my life. I’ve witnessed God’s mercy, God’s love, God’s promises. He’s made me a testimony for others and I want people to have faith like I do and learn together to truly trust in Him, because I don’t have a perfect faith. But to grow together in letting Go and letting God can only serve us well in life. He is faithful to us, has He given us any reason why we shouldn’t be faithful to Him?

  • rebecca7395

    Isaiah 7:9b, “If you do not stand firm in your faith, then you will not stand at all.” This verse jumped out at me when I read it. Of the many instructions God gives in this passage (calm down, be quiet, don’t be afraid, don’t fear what they fear), I think this verse is the linchpin of them all. How are we to accomplish all the above things God said, especially if we have just heard all this terrifying news? We must stand firm in our faith, in our belief that God is Holy and Just, and that He is in control. We must rest in the knowledge of His love and goodness, and that He has a plan and sees the end, and knows how He will work everything for our good. 1Peter 1:14, “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance.” Regardless of what our hearts would tell us – to be afraid of our circumstances, to fear the future – we are to cast aside that ignorance and stand on God’s Word. How hard that can be to put into practice! How easy to be swept up in the fears of this world. Heavenly Father, help me to trust in You more and more each day. Help me to stand firm.

    • KLWOODMAN78

      This is very well said. I have been thinking about your this concept written out so beautifully by you. “We are to cast aside ignorance and stand on God’s word” in light of being in this world yet not of it, not bound by the ideas of how to live placed on us by the world, but rather “to regard only the Lord, as only He should be feared (Isaiah 8:13). This is so the desire of my heart, but I desperately need the strength of He who is Holy, Holy, Holy to get me there.

    • Elle

      This verse jumped out to me as well! (Any hope for a second graphic for this week :) ?). Not an easy thing to achieve but it makes so much sense and really does seem to the foundation of everything else.

    • Kendra

      Thank you for your words!

    • Rachel

      Thank you, Rebecca, for your insight here. I love it when I, and others, have some other verse jump out that brings a new light to what we’re studying today. I completely agree that this verse seems to be what holds everything together here. If we can’t stand firm in our faith when things are going reasonably well, then how will we be able to turn to Him in faith when things get tough? As you said, “We must stand firm in our faith, in our belief that God is Holy and Just, and that He is in control.”

  • Kasey Summers

    God is always with us! We are never alone! Reminds me of the Kari Jobe song called we are not alone. Very comforting!

  • 12 “Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. 13 But the Lord of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. 14 And he will become a sanctuary and a stone of offense and a rock of stumbling to both houses of Israel, a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

    We can step outside of the anxieties of the world–intimidating bosses, scary news stories, etc.– because we believe in an almighty God holds all of that in His hand. It’s so freeing to know that the only one we are commanded to fear is the one who, in Isaiah, promises to crash in and save us.

  • Sarah D.

    Trusting God in all things…even in the hard times. He is good all the time. He is with me all the time. Just have to trust. Remember His promises. They will never fail.

  • Isaiah 7:4, “Be careful, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your heart be faint….”

    The past two months have been full of unknowns for our family as my husband’s hotel is in the literal final days of an ownership sale and a major business culture change. He is saying goodbye to staff/friends who haven’t been retained, staff/friends who are choosing to leave and wrestling with other hard changes from the new ownership, as well as trying to run the actual business in the midst and deal with business changes that directly affect our family. All of this has us wondering about our future here in Cincinnati, about decisions we must make for our family’s benefit, about the plans WE hoped for, for our future, for my young business here. When there are so many unknowns, our minds can certainly get the best of us and we have had our moments but we have held fast to scripture, to Psalm 46:10, “Be Still, and know that I am God”, so Isaiah 7:4 speaks to me in a big way as we continue this path. I know what I would like to see from all of this but it may not be remotely what God intends and so we will continue to pray over it all and specifically will be praying Isaiah 7:4 over our family, over our kiddos as their natural concerns come up, over our eldest as she fears a move that will likely leave her behind … this alone grieves my heart and while I do not believe that the Lord is calling us to leave right now, I don’t see the change we need in front of us BUT I know God’s timing isn’t the same as mine and while our season here may appear to be ending, God has an amazing way of showing up when I think the cards have all been dealt. So while I know that our move to Cincinnati four years ago had us hoping it would be the last of many moves, I also know that there is always a bigger picture and while I may grieve my plans, I know that God’s are always greater and that whether He keeps us here and provides here or asks us to leave, our future will be full of mercies and miracles, and I can’t wait to see what God will do. I know the enemy is banking on my family falling apart in this but because we know 1 Peter 1:14-16 to be true for us, we will stand strong in obedience to God and as our enemy descends on our home and our life, we will gird our hearts, our minds and ready our spirit for God’s guidance.

    Friends, I covet any prayers you are willing to give, as this week is a hard one for my handsome guy and though he is handling it well, I know the sadness he feels, the tired he feels and the concerns he has. I see how they weigh on him and I am prayerful that he continue to feels God’s peace in this final week of sale and in the coming months. Thank you all. ~ B

    • Michele

      Prayers for you all during this time of waiting and wondering. ((Hugs))

    • Michelle Fletcher

      Praying for you doll!

    • Heather (MNmomma)

      Lifting you all up in prayer. Huge hugs for you my friend!

    • Stacie

      Prayers for you and your family this morning! I can so relate to what you’re going through – my family seems to be in transition all over the place as well and though we have no idea what lies ahead we know that God is good and God will lead and guide. May you feel just an overwhelming sense of his peace and presence in the hard places and know He has a plan for each one of you!

    • Andee

      Prayers for you and your family ~B~. Blessings of peace and strength!

    • Joanna

      Praying for you and your family, B!

    • Stormye Puffer

      We are all praying for you and asking the Lord to move clearly in this time of uncertainty for you. Grateful for you always!

    • Tina

      Dearest, lifting you and yours up in prayer…. Praying God be with you all in this time of uncertainty… this time of decision making… I know that you know this, but God IS with you all… He is going, and has gone ahead to work all things for good… He is a good good father…. isn’t He?
      Sending you and yours hugs filled with love across the pond…..Blessings..xxxxxxx

  • Today’s passage reminded me of Romans 8:28 – For we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. I love the reminder that God is present even in our calamity. Oh what a reminder we need! I think it’s so interesting that God doesn’t simply instruct Ahaz to not be afraid, but He also says to be careful and to keep calm. Be careful. To be careful you have to take intentional effort to take care whether it’s a person or situation. You are aware. Alert. Intentional. Committed. Living without fear is not something we can just flip a switch a do without taking care to consult the life that is Christ every single day. We cannot live our lives on our own and not have fear and feel panic. But as Isaiah reminds us in chapter 8, we are to consult the living…not the dead! And when we do we find the great promises of a God who sends a Savior. When we do we can be like Isaiah who says I will wait for the Lord, even though my circumstances feel overwhelming and terrifying. I will put my trust in Him because I know Him. When we take care and keep calm in our calamity, God will meet us in our fear with a promise. He doesn’t promise that there will not be pain, and He doesn’t guarantee safety. However, He does promise His life through Jesus His Son. I remember an Andy Stanley sermon series from a few years ago called In the Meantime, and He would always say there is always a purpose and a promise in every circumstance. We may never know the purpose of our struggle/pain/circumstance, but we will always know the promise – God’s grace is sufficient. We can know this promise because Isaiah’s prophecy of the virgin giving birth has been fulfilled! May we rejoice in that promise. May we be women who take care and live unafraid!

  • What translation does Isaiah 8:13-14 come from?

  • “So often I want an Isaiah in my life. I want details. Dates. Times. I want a sign.”
    This spoke straight to my heart. I am a few weeks pregnant and the fear is overwhelming. I have my first doctor’s appointment today, and I have found myself leaning on this day more than God. Proof that baby is OK. Details on his/her development. Numbers. Dates. Heartbeat.
    “Perhaps all I really need to hear are the promises. Perhaps all I need to do is wait.”
    Father, help me to run to You as my sanctuary. In You alone will I find the peace and joy You have for me in this season.

    • Rhonda

      Praying for you, dear Emily. That you will fully trust in Jesus and then you will feel his all-encompassing Peace…only from Him. As the old Sunday School song sings, “He’s got the little bitty baby in His Hands”. I pray that you will sing these words out loud and fully believe! Sing for you, too…”He’s got the mama and the daddy in His Hands…He’s got the whole world in His Hands!” xoxo

    • CJ

      Praying for a peaceful heart dear one. <3

    • Stormye Puffer

      Praying for you, Emily. Asking for peace and a healthy baby!

  • As a planner and a perfectionist, 8:10 is direct and convicting, but something I definitely needed to hear.
    “Devise a plan; it will fail. Make a prediction; it will not happen. For God is with us.”
    May we rest in His divine plan alone, because it is far better than anything we can dream up.

  • I only have the Lord to be afraid off

  • “You are to regard only the Lord of hosts as holy. Only he should be feared; only he should be held in awe. He will be your sanctuary.”

    Fear/worry/doubt can easily become an obsession but what a beautiful reminder it is to stand in awe of Him, who is our sanctuary, instead of giving sin the upper hand.

  • Makenzie Sammons

    My prayer today: LORD, DRIVE FEAR FROM MY HEART SO I CAN FEAR ONLY YOU!

  • Wasn’t that a sweet word? He does not need to prove Himself to me or reveal His plans to me. He is I AM.

  • Kristina Sterchy

    God is with us, even in calamity. Our fear is not proof that our God is absent.

    Yesterday my pastor reminded us of this truth: GOD IS STILL ON THE THRONE. Despite what ever attacks the enemy has in store for us – GOD IS STILL ON THE THRONE. Am I choosing to live my life in this truth, filled with joy and peace and resting in Him? Or am I choosing to live consumed by this earthly life? Praise be to God, for he is still on the throne!

    • Elisa Barry

      Thank you for sharing!! I’m keeping those words close to my heart this week; GOD IS STILL ON THE THRONE!! “Be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid.” God is always with us.

    • MamaCrazy

      I just love this. I will walk away with your message today and keep it on my mind! God is still on the Throne. Despite whatever attacks the enemy has in store for us- God is still on the Throne.!
      thank you for sharing :)

  • Kathleen

    Rest our hope and worry in Him – in the midst of all chaos.

  • People seem to be living in such fear right now – fear of those who are “other”, fear that what we have will be taken away, so much fear. I was so drawn to Is. 8:12-14, “Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. But the Lord of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.” And he will become a sanctuary…”
    Fear and dread aren’t words I like to use for God. I’d much rather talk about His grace and mercy. But He is holy and I am a sinner, and this holy God hates sin. If I am walking in sin I should be fearful and I should feel dread. My sin causes Him pain, but it also makes Him angry. However, because of the cross I have been washed in the blood of Christ and I have been made holy, pure, and clean. I have access to the presence of God and it’s when I come to Him in fear and dread because of my sin, He forgives me and He becomes my sanctuary. Today I will rest in that promise.
    Be blessed, beautiful daughters of God!

    • cassie

      I too feel the fear that is all around us int he world today. sometimes Recently I have let the fear and worry rest on me and I dread that feeling. I pray ti God when this happens and he takes it all away! May God be with you and us all!

    • Jaida

      Thank you for this. It blessed me a lot :)

  • Christina

    I find it interesting that the Lord tells Ahaz to ask Him for a sign, but Ahaz refuses to do so (7:10). Why would he not ask the Lord for a sign? And then for him not to ask for a sign wearied God, and the sign He gave in spite of not being asked seemed so common, and how could it be significant? He told Ahaz to ask for a huge sign, something unmistakable. Yet He gives a simple, easily missed sign when not asked. I don’t have any real commentary on this, other than I wonder what I need to learn from it. Any insight is welcome! Have a blessed Monday, sisters!

    • Makenzie Sammons

      HI Christina! The notes I have from past teachings from our pastor show that Ahaz wanted to appear righteous by saying he would not test God like that. What really was going on was that God had told Ahaz to ask, but Ahaz didn’t really want to know what God would tell him. Present-day application is that oftentimes we make up excuses, like we don’t want to bother God, that stop us from communicating with him. We shouldn’t let anything stand in our way from what God has to tell us. I know I struggle with this and constantly have to ask God for his patience and forgiveness when I neglect him! I hope this helps! Happy Monday!

    • Audrey

      You know what I think is really cool is that God responds to Ahaz’s self-righteousness with a sign that will bring true righteousness.

  • Tochi Heredia

    Sometimes I feel that after a season of blessing, there must come a season of tribulation. To balance it out, you know?
    What we’ve been learning about the past week, opened my eyes to the way God operates: He never lets us go. He uses calamity and pain, as well as calm and fullness, for His purposes. Nothing leaves His sight, everything blesses us with His strength.
    I’ve been looking for a job for a while now, and I was starting to feel as if God was looking the other way.
    I prayed and prayed for the right position and guess what: I start today!
    I wasn’t even looking for a job like this, it came out of nowhere. I’m so scared to mess it up, but I can go to the office today and rest that God is with me, wherever I go.

    May you find strength and encouragement in His word today to deal with everything that comes your way this week, sisters! ❤

    • Kristal

      How wonderful!! Good luck today! God has answered your prayer!

    • Brandi

      Congrats on the job! And thank you for sharing an answered prayer! Thank you for allowing us to see a God working in your life. Helps us to be mindful that He is working in ours as well! He is always as work!

    • Stormye Puffer

      Tochi, what a praise!! It is always so sweet to clearly see the Lord responding to our prayers (closed doors and open ones). Excited for you and praying for your first day!

  • Carole Price

    Claire thank you so much for this commentary. I found it incredibly helpful. I get so confused with what was happening everywhere at that time. Thank you Father that despite our unsureness and turmoil and whatever is going on around us you are always there. You will not leave us nor forsake us. Thank you for your promise and the comfort you bring at all times. In your precious name. Amen.

  • God is with us, even in calamity. Our fear is not proof that our God is absent…. this is the truth I take away today…. that though I may be fearful, I am never alone, God is with us always, whatever the journey looks like… good. Bad. Confusing. Fearful. He is with us…
    I absolutely love that way of thinking… believing… knowledge…
    Thank you Clare, with love and hugs..

    Sisters. Praying God turns His face to shine on you and yours today… May you know His Grace and presence in all you do, say and are…Love, love, love. Xxx

  • Churchmouse

    “At just the time when God’s people needed to be strong and unified against a foreign threat, they were deeply divided.”. Claire, you remind me that when I am forewarned I can be forearmed. I am forewarned throughout the book of Isaiah as God speaks through him. I need to be strong and united to the Holy Spirit so that I can withstand any foe. I need to be armed with the Word, with it firmly in my head and in my heart. I cannot be a double minded person and expect to block the blows from the enemy. This is true for me personally and for my family. We are strongest when we are united. This is true also for my country. Unity gives my nation strength. Division only diminishes. I’m grateful and committed to daily take up the armor of God. I grasp the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. I am dressed for battle. I am prepared and armed. I have the mind of Christ. I wait for His orders. He may say to move out. He may say to stand my ground. May I have the resolve to obey my Commander -in -Chief.

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