Lent 2017: You Are Mine: Day 16

Judgment Against the Nations

by

Today's Text: Isaiah 21:1-17, Isaiah 22:1-25, 1 Corinthians 15:54, 1 Peter 2:6

Text: Isaiah 21:1-17, Isaiah 22:1-25, 1 Corinthians 15:54, 1 Peter 2:6

We’re in the thick of Isaiah’s prophecy now, about a third of the way through the book we call by his name. But if you’re like me, things don’t feel much clearer than when we first began. So far in our reading, I’ve come across more questions than answers. But I think that’s okay. I think this feeling we’re feeling (are you feeling it, too?) is by design. We are not meant to feel comfortable here.

Isaiah’s prophecy to this point, both in general and in detail, is dark. If his message were one of those Magic 8-balls we had when we were kids, we’d shake it and it would say, “Outlook not good.” Judgment was coming. This was certain.

“Looking” is a recurring theme in these two chapters. We see it in chapter 21 when the Lord tells Isaiah, “Go, post a lookout; let him report what he sees” (v.6). The watchman sees what the Lord said he would: horsemen approaching in pairs. “Babylon has fallen, has fallen,” the Lord replies. “All the images of her gods have been shattered on the ground” (v.9).

As readers of Isaiah’s prophecy, we look, too, watching the scene through our modern-day imaginations. And we see it: destruction and devastation, pain and anguish. We see a kingdom fall along with its false gods—gods incapable of rescue.

Further into chapter 21, we see the lookers again. In his oracle against Dumah, Isaiah reports: “One calls to me from Seir, ‘Watchman, what is left of the night? Watchman, what is left of the night?” (v.11). Desperation echoes in the repetition; surely there is something good, somewhere off in the distance? And there is—for a moment. “Morning has come, and also night,” the watchman replies (v.12). There is hope, sure, he says, but it won’t last.

In short, Isaiah 21 leaves us right where we started: lost in darkness and despair, no hope to be found among us.

No hope to be found among us.

Hope had to come to us. And Hope did, though we refused to see Him (John 1:10-11).

In chapter 22, Isaiah’s prophecy pivots to an oracle against Jerusalem, the holy city itself. Though referred to here as the “Valley of Vision,” Jerusalem was blind. They’d built up walls of self-reliance and weapons of their own strength, all in vain. They looked to themselves, forgetting their God. The prophet says to them:

“You made a reservoir between the walls for the waters of the ancient pool, but you did not look to the One who made it, or consider the One who created it long ago.”
- Isaiah 22:11

God called Israel to repent, but they had a party. God offered them solace, but they celebrated their futility instead. God said “Look!”, but they would not see.

What about us? Will we look? Not just to the future, hoping for a bright light on the horizon. Not to ourselves, drawing strength from our empty wells. And certainly not to whatever shallow joy we can cook up on our own. No, we look to the Lord of Hosts.

The Lord is the One who establishes kings and kingdoms, and He is the One who remains after they fall.

The Lord is the One who calls out to those in darkness and implores them to see His face—beautiful, holy, good.

The Lord is the One whose holy justice cannot overlook sin, and He is the One whose merciful compassion provides sin’s remedy at His own expense.

The cross of Christ was the darkest point on the landscape of humanity, but that sacrifice purchased our rescue. Because of Jesus, His death and glorious resurrection, death itself “has been swallowed up in victory” (1 Corinthians 15:54).

Devastation is still all around us, and we are bowed down, dismayed (Isaiah 21:3). But we look. We look to Christ. We look to Christ and we return to Him, repenting of our sin and trusting Jesus, the only true and lasting Hope.

Thanks be to God and to Jesus Christ, our eternal, incorruptible Savior. Amen.

SRT-LENT2017-Instagram16s

  • I’m definitely in a season of life that God is tearing away all of my “man made idols” that I’ve put up so that I can see him more clearly. It hurts. But I suffer with gratitude knowing one day, whether a year from now or one day in eternity, I will thank him for this season as it drew me near to Him and forced me not to rely on my own strength, but fully rely on the strength of the Lord. Death is swallowed up! Oh death, where is your victory? Oh death, where is your sting?

    • She Reads Truth

      Kait, thank you for sharing this. We are praying for you in this difficult season. Grateful for you!

      – Stormye

    • Millie

      That is exactly what is happening to me right now. My main idol has left me and I feel alone and fearful. It is hard to trust.

  • What an amazing reminder that when we are in the thick of things, completely distracted by the world and feeling alone, it is in those moments God can be showing us himself- his redemption- his mercy if we choose to go to him and look up.
    Lord help me get my face off of my problems and onto you. You are faithful.

  • I always feel so trapped; trapped by my own creation of anxiety. Yet, the Lord calls me to be free and I cant find Him because I have pushed myself away.
    I know i am headed toward destruction, yet here I stand taking to steps to the Lord and falling further away right afterwards.

    I do not know what is my anxiety and what is the Lord speaking to me anymore.

    • Kara

      I used to have the same problem separating my anxious thoughts from Gods words. I was so desperate to control my world that I gave him very little room to work. I would challenge you to try and make space to listen for him every day and give up to him every anxious thought. May he show you his love and help you discern his vs your words.

    • Noelle

      Anxiety had a grip on me since I was very young. It wasn’t until I was able to give it to Him and learn the difference between His words and my own (or, so often, those of the enemy) that I was freed. I still struggle with anxious thoughts and self doubt. When I start hearing those thoughts, though, I remember Who my God is. He would never tell me things that would tear me down, make me feel lost, or make me feel anxious. He gently and lovingly guides me toward His will for my life. The enemy uses the anxiety to offer chaos; God offers peace. Next time your anxiety starts creeping up on you, analyze the thoughts – are they helpful and uplifting (conviction CAN be uplifting!), or are they hurtful and disheartening? God offers PEACE!

    • Claire

      A scripture for you today – James 4:7 ‘Submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you.’ As Kara said, offer them up each time…it may be hard but it’s worth it. Bless you!

    • Amanda

      Correct me if I’m wrong but I think basically (how I’m reading it) what you are asking is ‘how do I know what is from God or from my anxiety?’ My pastor said something not long ago that has stuck with me and is how I now help to differentiate the two (bc I have the same problem). He said, ‘what does Gods word say? If your anxious thoughts go against His word then you indeed know that it’s not from God but from the devil. Seek the word, know what it says so that you can start to differentiate the truth vs not the truth.
      And know you are not alone in this! Take care!

    • She Reads Truth

      Brie, praying for you. Asking the Lord to remind you that He controls all things and to give you peace. Thank you for letting us know how to pray for you.

      – Stormye

    • BML

      God wants us to take every thought captive to His obedience through the e a inaction of that thought with His Word, 2 Corinthians 10:4-5.

    • Holly

      I’ve been in this place very recently, and off and on throughout my whole life, and I can tell you that God calls his people back to him. For a long time, I wanted to come back. I knew I was living in my own destruction, overtaken by depression and anxiety, but I wasn’t truly repenting. I was allowing the enemy to shame me, make me feel unworthy of forgiveness, and I tried to hide from the Lord. But He continued to draw me in, so I spent time in the word. I am not proud of this, but at first it was begrudgingly. I was trying to understand on my own without asking God to reveal himself. I wasn’t listening. Before long though I could feel Him working in my heart. He spoke to me through scripture, and used it to call me to true repentance. He showed me that the source of my anxiety was entirely contradictory to His word.

      What I’m saying is, you are here. Seek Him diligently and you will find Him (Proverbs 8:17). Continue to trust that He is who He says He is and allow Him to work out His plan for your good. Let Him be your source of hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) Praying for you today!

  • The devotional today really helped me to study the readings in Isaiah. Great understanding of what we are looking to in Jesus. Very humbling to read these chapters.

  • Debbie Simler-Goff

    This is so true and makes me think of the day age we are living in now. Oh how I believe that the Lord is reaching to our nation… And I watch, pray, and wonder what our response will be.

  • I read and reread and reread today. I couldn’t get through it. But I’m glad I finally did. This week has been so emotional. I’ve cried several times a day. I’ve been so devastated with school. I feel like I keep studying and studying and failing and failing. I thought I’d pass this test and found out I didn’t pass at all. Heartbroken and discouraged. I don’t know what God has in store for me. I know I wouldn’t have gotten into school without Him working it out for me. This was a good reminder to keep my focus on Him and He will make it work out the way it’s suppose to. I think I’ve put so much focus on what I’m doing that I forget it’s His doing. I pray He makes it obvious to me. I’m at such a loss and feel so broken. But He is my creator. I know He can put me back together in the most spectacular way possible if I trust and wait for Him.

    • Candice

      Praying for you. I know how difficult school can be but god put you there for a reason. Stay focused, you got this!

    • Jenn

      I’m sorry. I’ve been there too. I’m lifting you up in prayer right now. May you feel His peace surrounding you.

      • SB

        Thank you Jenn! Prayers are deeply appreciated! Especially peace right now! For my families sake if not just my own!!

    • She Reads Truth

      SB, praying for you in this. Asking the Lord to give you endurance in this time of heartbreak. Not only endurance, but victory! Grateful for you.

      – Stormye

  • oh, how thankful I was for the devotion piece today! Feeling overwhelmed with the reading and not understanding it all. I was just telling a friend that i have been desperately looking for ways to ease my pain and grief through books, sermons, friends, shopping, etc. I simply keep forgetting to look to my Jesus and keep looking! He holds the victory and can call me out of my darkness. Writing it down…Look to the ONE, keep my eyes on Jesus!

  • Because of Jesus, His death and glorious resurrection, death itself “has been swallowed up in victory” (1 Corinthians 15:54).

    Devastation is still all around us, and we are bowed down, dismayed (Isaiah 21:3). But we look. We look to Christ. We look to Christ and we return to Him, repenting of our sin and trusting Jesus, the only true and lasting Hope.

    ___

    Death is swallowed up in victory. It can be convenient to read these words and shelve them in the back of our minds as we read, latently believing that this is only referring to Christ dying and rising again, and the epic and final restoration that is to come. But this death can also be used to describe anything not of God that we face today – any sin, any name-calling, anything that brings us shame. A word was spoken to me that made me feel utterly despondent and in despair, and a nudge whispered to my spirit that instead of spiraling out of control as I would have in the past, I should reread the devotion for today. After all, I “got it”, but did I really GET it?

    And there at the end, was the glorious phrase “death is swallowed up in victory”, followed by the description that we are bowed down and dismayed. How accurately this described my very moment, just moments ago. These concepts aren’t abstract – they aren’t foreign. They are for us in our SPECIFIC moments, and I think when we believe the lie as we open the Word that these truths of Scripture aren’t for our lives personally is when we fail to connect to the power of Christ. I know that’s true for me. So I’m deciding now that no matter WHO says a word to me of judgment, no matter how authoritative it may feel, no matter how spoken with conviction or declaration OR how shame-inducing what may have transpired may have felt – GOD has the last word over us. And He, through Jesus says “mine”. He, through Jesus says, “it is well”. And it occurred to me that no matter what we may need to do or “be” in our personal lives and vocations, we can try to be our best and improve always but certainly must never take it a step further and speak condemnation over ourselves in despair. We have a Hope, THE Hope – and unless we have gone on willingly sinning or hurting others in unrepentance, we are freed from guilt and shame.

    Writing all this through for myself, but also for anyone else who may be feeling shame today. We, like these people of old, may only see and feel destruction and war and utter ruin within ourselves right now, but Jesus desires to call us out of darkness and see ourselves as He does. We do not have to live in our own destruction because of what He has done at the cross – and for me, it is time NOW to actually believe it and walk it out, should I ever begin to dream of showing His love and mercy toward others.

    • Kristi

      Wow, thank you so much for this. I have been struggling a lot at my job these last few months and I’ve been fighting feelings of shame and failure, especially today. As I studied the selected verses a few minutes ago, I felt like God was using them to speak to me about my work struggles. And then, to go to the comments and see this one first – it’s just another confirmation of that. So thank you again for taking the time to share your insight with us. It was exactly what I needed to read today.

      • J

        Praying for you right now, Kristi! I know the Lord has so much GOOD in store for us both, and will open wonderful doors no man can shut. May His peace sustain you and courage fill you as He uses you at work, and may you hold on during this challenging time!

        • Claire

          Brene Brown has a fabulous TED talk on shame and vulnerability. Both of your posts brought this to mind. Have a listen if you haven’t heard them before (or even if you have!). Such powerful talks!
          Blessings on you both :)

      • She Reads Truth

        Kristi – thank you for sharing this. Praying that the Lord continues to speak to you through His Word. Grateful for you!

        – Stormye

    • Jody Heavenrich

      Love this and so appreciate your insight!!! Thank you for sharing

  • Lord, this is so me…. You are always there calling, correcting, caring and I choose to take just a little bit of your grace-enough to get me through the day or current trial but not enough to blow my mind, my heart, my will wide open to completely submit and look to You. I choose control, comfort, entertainment and a false sense of security over your powerful grace time and time again. Forgive me.

    • J

      Wow – this is something that so accurately describes my heart and my walk that it totally floored me to read your words. Thank you, Linnea, for articulating so adequately this struggle of the heart. Something that needs to be said and confronted in order to walk in newness with Christ. Praying for us both for the courage to surrender. Taking your words with me today!

    • Julie

      I felt that these words so described my thoughts as well. I was awed today while reading Isaiah. After I read the reading I said this out loud and felt such peace. Thank you Linnea for articulating this prayer.

    • Christina

      I can echo this prayer. Forgive me, Lord. Change my heart.

  • I love the truth that you bring to the table every day. I love that you point out that there is more questions than answers. A pastor recently said we are supposed to have a dialogue with God, not a monologue, so when more questions arise when we ask 1, it’s how it’s supposed to be. LOVED that!

    http://www.in-due-time.com

  • Man, I was getting so upset from the reading yesterday and the readings today. I felt like so much was happening and I just wasn’t understand. But I love the connection she made today about being in place of despair and uncertainty. She said that we’re not meant to feel comfortable here. And I think that made me connect with this portion of the study on an even deeper level. Thankful for a God that uses those feelings of frustration and discomfort to draw me closer to Him.

    • She Reads Truth

      Meg, glad you were encouraged! Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

      – Stormye

    • Mandy

      I think a lot of us were/are feeling the same way. That’s why I love reading these comments!

    • Sarah K

      Whew – Me too!!

  • Melody Suarez

    I’m having a hard time understanding the scripture. I know the commentary is supposed to help but sometimes I feel like I’m reading and now fully knowing what I’m reading. Is it because its prophecy?

    • PronetoWander

      I’m having trouble too. I’ve started reading the devotion first and the scripture after, so that I can get a feel for what’s going on or at least understanding what it means. It’s not perfect but that system has been helping me more.

    • johanna tropiano

      One thing that has been helpful for me is to read it twice. Once in the ESV, then again in NIV or The Message. The second time reading it through makes it so much more clear. I hope that’s helpful!

      • Mandy

        I also read it once in my NIV study bible with the study notes and then in the Message. I’ve also used the Shepherd’s Notes on Isaiah if I’m really having problems understanding or connecting.

      • Susie

        Definitely going to start doing this!

  • I pray that we “look to the One who made it,” and “consider the One who created it” instead of relying on our own wealth in all our decisions. I pray that we would listen to the call to humble ourselves before God (weeping, wailing, shaven heads, and the wearing of sackcloth), instead of numbing ourselves with a party (joy and gladness, butchering of cattle, slaughtering of sheep, eating of meat, and drinking wine, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!”).

  • Oh I appreciate this response so much. Between this Isaiah study and the Leviticus readings on the Daily plan, I have been reading so much about the wrath of God, but underlying all this doom and destruction is exactly what you point out in your response: redemption and hope, if we look to the Lord.

  • I appreciated today’s reading so much! I’ll admit I’m right there with the author often feeling lost in Isaiah’s complexity. But she captured the main point so well and really brought it together for me here. We are hopeless without Christ, and Judah was hopeless without God. They tried everything on their own and it was futile. How grateful we are for God’s mercy displayed in Christ! PS – If you all are looking for a great Christian historical series that brings Isaiah and the Old Testament to life, read Gods & Kings by Lynn Austin.

    • Lori

      Ohhh- I forgot about that series. I think I read one of the books years ago. Thank you for the remainder!

    • Kate

      I just finished God & Kings and loved the historical context it provides :) gives me at least a small frame of reference in this study!

  • Amber Galleguillos

    I am struck by verses 21:3,4. ” At this my body is raced with pain, pang seize me, like those of a woman in labor; I am staggered by what I hear, I am bewildered by what I see. My heart falters, fear makes me tremble; the twilight I longed for has be come a horror to me.” And then in 22:4, “Therefore I said, Turn away from me; let me weep bitterly. Do not try to console me over the destruction of my people.” This is so powerful. Isaiah is so upset he feels actual pain and fear from witnessing what is to come. He shares Gods’ pain. He weeps. I often feel the same reading things that are happening in the world through social media and the media.

    • Yes, these verses are catching me, too. The horror of what was coming must have been so overwhelming..and watching the people turn away from the only Help that would save them….As you have said it is so hard to watch those around us walking in the folly of false securities. It is hard, as well, to recognize that I have been doing the same thing. Isaiah 22:11 hit me hard as I was reading. Sometimes I get so busy fixing that wall that I do forget who put it there in the first place and WHY it is there. (but you did not look to the One who made it , or have regard for the One who planned it long ago. Is 22:11b)

  • Tessa Black

    In my study, I was led to re-write Isaiah 22:8-11 with what we should do when looking to the Lord. I hope this helps y’all as much as it did me:

    “Look to Jesus. See His steadfast love. Collect memories of His faithfulness. Count His promises. Make His name known.”

  • My freshman year in High school, my class was asked a question; Would it be better for a leader of a country to be feared? Or to be loved? There was all kinds of answers like feared because it’ll keep everyone on their toes or loved because people will feel safe and vice versa for why not. Some leaders chose fear, like Hitler, while others chose love like MLK Jr. Our God chooses to be both. Feared by His people in a way that will always have them seeking Him and should they not, consequences will arise according to what they have done. Loved by His people in a way that makes Him the One and Only. Our God is just and if a certain situation we may be going through doesn’t seem fair, there’s always a reason behind it. We can’t forget that He has given us hope. Even in our darkest days, the sun will always rise because the light He provides can never burn out.

  • THEN…here comes 22:22…”I will place the key of The zhouse Of David on his shoulders: what he opens, no one will close no what he closes, no one will open” !!! What a Hope!! Here comes our Jesus… our Redeemer… our Savior.. Hallelujah!!!!

  • Post a lookout…Keeping watch…looking dark…

  • Diane Huntsman

    They’d built up walls of self-reliance and weapons of their own strength, all in vain. They looked to themselves, forgetting their God. … how often is this a picture of me.. it’s tempting to read through this book with an attitude of judgement.. like how in the world can a people be so ignorant to the God who loves them and attempts to woo them to Himself.. them there it is. A sentence or two that taps me on the shoulder and says eh hem, this is you.. one of the major downfalls of our do it yourself culture is the believing that we only need God for the really hard stuff.. that we can place him on our shelves until a super challenging trial hits.. every time I reach for the “do it herself” kit I forget God.. I am building my walls of self reliance one do it myself at a time.. I need to practice the hymn, “I need Thee every hour” and be mindful that I need to look to Him for the smallest of decisions and practice reliance upon Him in all things big and small.. waywardness begins at the smallest decision to be independent of God.. may we be mindful of scripture that tells us loud and clear, “without Him I can do nothing.” But “with Him I can do all things.” Moment by sweet moment relying upon the One who knit us together in our mothers womb. Forgive me Lord for the many moments I think I have it on my own.. I do not.

  • “Let us eat and drink,” you say, “for tomorrow we die!” This verse really stood out to me. They had lost all hope. My study bible notes hit the nail on the head and said when people are hopeless they respond with despair or self-indulgence. Our response should be to trust God. He is our hope. I went a step further and googled the definition of hope. Of course it means to have a feeling of expectation and desire for something to happen but it also means to have a feeling of trust. How often to we lose our trust in a situation? God has authority over ALL things. Why can’t we just trust in Him and HOPE that He has a bigger plan?

    • She Reads Truth

      Thank you for the encouragement this morning, Mandy! Grateful for you.

      – Stormye

    • Erin

      This helps me understand a bit clearer what is going on in our culture- lots of hopelessness.

  • Carrie Rogers

    I need you Lord. Thank you that your mercy is new this morning.

  • rebecca7395

    This is a very solemn study, which I fully expected, but it amazes me how reading through books of the Bible changes as we mature. After being saved in my 20s, I read Isaiah and thought mainly of how the people were getting their just desserts. Which of course is true, but rather heartless. After having 3 children, Bible reading tended to be a rushed and hurried affair, especially as it pertained to the Old Testament. I’d read it many times before, knew the story, yep, those people were being punished….now in my 40s, with my firstborn in college and pregnant with number 6, these passages fill me with concern and a deep compassion. How much I identify with God as a parent, having begged His children to pay heed, to obey His Word, only to finally come to the place where He knows they must be punished. Our Father doesn’t look at the punishment as something He enjoys, it breaks His heart, but He must do it because He is Holy and Just. I have been there as a parent. And I know I have put the Father in that position myself with my own waywardness. How many times have I been a hearer of the Word, and not a doer? And how often have I looked at the mess our nation is in, our world, and felt the weight of concern for all the souls who only live for themselves, deliberately pushing thoughts of their Creator to the side? Yet God, in His greatness, calls each and every one of us to Himself, and provides a Way. This has never meant more to me than now.

    • Ann

      Rebecca, thank you for your thoughts. When I first studied Isaiah I was pregnant with my third son. Now my last “arrow” of six, a daughter, is in college. God, our Father, is holy and just, but compassionate too. We can only pray that our nation would repent and give Him the glory He is due. And pray too that each of us has a heartfelt desire to make disciples. May your sixth bring Him glory!

    • She Reads Truth

      Rebecca, what beautiful insight! Thank you for sharing. Praying for you and baby number 6 this morning.

      – Stormye

    • Allee

      Love your perspective! I will have to reread again once I’m a mother.

  • Caroline Harris

    “The Lord is the One whose holy justice cannot overlook sin, and He is the One whose merciful compassion provides sin’s remedy at His own expense.”

    Thus far in the Lent series, we have been reading the bleak environment of God’s people and the surrounding countries. At times the LORD is the stereotypical “God of the Old Testament” displaying his might, wrath, and judgement. However, the writer of today’s thought reframes the Old Testament God of my childhood teaching with a God that is pure and holy and cannot dwell in the presence of sin. He is the God that set into motion perfect law that bring order to chaos, peace to restlessness, and direction to waywardness.

    The lesson I keep learning through reading Isaiah is that the punishment given to all of these sinful people and countries is the very punishment I deserve. Sin is sin regardless of the year, culture, or circumstance. Sin is breaking God’s natural and written law, which causes an imbalance in our relationship with Him. The only way balance can be restored is through punishment, which we all feel because the LORD put a sense of justice within us.

    But Praise be to God that he sent his Son, a piece of His holy, pure, and divine self to take on my punishment for my sin. The LORD desperately longs for union with His people that he found a way to act justly according to the law He set in place, but sparing us so that we may we reunified and reconciled to Him through the death, burial, and resurrection of our Savior.

    Thank you to all of the writers thus far in the series for making Isaiah palatable and bringing to light the goodness and mercies of our LORD.

    • Maria

      “Sin is sin regardless of the year, culture, or circumstance” thank you for this Caroline! Reading Isaiah sometimes feels like reading a history book – I forget that I’m part of the story. I am grateful too, for the way it’s made palatable in this study.

    • She Reads Truth

      Amen, Caroline! Thank you for sharing. Encouraged by your words this morning!

      – Stormye

  • Barbie Oates

    People will say, “Eat, drink and be merry!” Do they not know the next line…..”For tomorrow we die!” If they did they might not post these words in their kitchens. Praying for God to speak daily to me and for me to be ever listening and discerning his will in my life. Thanks for the study. I love it!

  • What conviction Isaiah 22 brings! Verse 8 talks about how the Lord stripped away the defenses of Judah. God was doing something among them to teach them, but rather than using that to turn to Him they took life into their own hands. They tried to patch holes. They tried to build a reservoir for water. They probably thought they were doing the right thing by repairing Jerusalem…isn’t that what God would have wanted? Except they completely forgot God in all of their work. How often do I do what I think would please God, forgetting God in the whole process? What if the pain I’m trying to avoid or fix from my life is actually a gift from God to draw me back to Himself and here I am just trying to patch gaping holes with bandaids? This morning is bringing deep conviction to this self-reported perfectionist planning woman!

    • Cassie Kendall

      Audrey,
      I am definitely a perfectionist planner myself! We have to let ourselves look to God before, while, and after we plan. Praying for both of us today :)

    • Rebecca

      Thanks for your words Audrey! Just what I needed to be reminded of…”What if the pain I’m trying to avoid or fix from my life is actually a gift from God to draw me back to Himself and here I am just trying to patch gaping holes with bandaids?”

      • Meg

        Thank you for this. My husband has been going through a stressful time at work over the last month and God has been calling to him through it. It’s an unsettling time for us, as we’re unsure what will come of his work situation and I’m about to give birth to our first baby but we are trying to remember that God is in control. If you think of it, pray that he would have the ability to act with integrity and Christian witness as things blow up at work and that I would know how to best support him through it.

        • J

          I just prayed for you, Meg! I am so sorry for what you are experiencing right now. You are an excellent example to us all of having your priorities in the right place in the midst of trial- desiring that your husband’s witness and integrity for Christ be paramount to all else that you are surely feeling overwhelmed by. May the Lord swiftly bring a solution for your husband’s work that is a solid and perhaps yet unthought of and unforeseen blessing for you and your family – may He bring you peace and tangible hope as you carry your dear child, and may He use you in exactly the perfect way that suits your family to uplift and support your husband in what he is going through during this time. Continue to seek first the Kingdom, and may restoration and a new way for you all be ushered in. In the Name of Jesus.

    • Liz

      Thank you Audrey for such a clear picture of these words in Isaiah!! No more bandaids…. we need to drawer nearer and see & listen to what God may be doing.

    • candacejo

      Wonderful thoughts that made the song “Blessings” by Laura Story come to mind…
      Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
      What if Your healing comes through tears
      What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know Your near
      What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WvgzjNb_X3Q

    • Lara

      I am with you! Becoming more and more convinced of this truth! Beautifully said!

    • ~Amy F.~

      Audrey, I’ve been wrestling with this very issue myself. I am also a perfectionist planner, and sometimes I find myself trusting more in my methods than in Christ. I want to be more disciplined and organized, which are good things, but when I begin to depend on my self-improvement strategies as the means of “fixing” my life, I keep myself from realizing my need to seek God. Thank you for drawing my attention to this area of my life!

  • Oh are we in a potential “Jerusalem” type of season right now. We have buckled down and focused our hearts on Christ in this period but I know that the enemy hides, wringing his hands, in wait for the moment to jump in and have us “building up walls of self-reliance and weapons of our own strength”. As life would have it, the takeover I mentioned a couple of weeks went off without a hitch for my husband and his staff, although less than 48 hours into the new ownership and he saw and heard things his heart didn’t like. He was asked to manage people he cared about in a way that he wasn’t comfortable with and when concern was voiced, he was told to leave and so here we are, my husband with no job at present and myself in my “off” season. I know it is a place that could easily have us turning to our own abilities, fixing our eyes on what we can control but I am prayerful with each day that passes in this that we have our eyes on Christ, that we hear clearly His plan and that our feet walk steadily in that direction. It is easy to live in this “YOLO” kind of way and do whatever we feel we want to do in this but we know God is being clear and commanding us to “Be still” … so be still we will. Prayerful that my husband and I only see Christ, in those moments of worry or concern that we see the Cross and in the periods of despair, confusion or even sadness we see the bright light that is Hope because we know through Christ we have all we ever need.

    • Cassie Kendall

      Praying for you both today! Those seasons can be tough and a little scary, but I’m glad you have faith that will get you through!

    • candacejo

      Oh, B, my prayer is for strength, peace and confidence in a God who never fails even when the darkness surrounds us. Draw on your past victories as reminders that He will do it again! ♥

      • ~ B ~

        Thank you, friend! I am so thankful for prayers our way right now. Holding tight to God’s promises and looking forward to see how He works this all out! :)

    • Pam

      Praying for you and your family.

    • Alexis

      Prayers for you and your family during this season of waiting. May this turn into a great blessing and your husband be led into a job that is perfect for him and blesses you all bigger than the previous one did.

      • ~ B ~

        Thank you, very much, Alexis. I am so prayerful that this new job, whatever and whenever it may be, will bless my husband so much more.

    • She Reads Truth

      Praying for you and your family today. I know this time of uncertainty is hard and I’m grateful for the fact that our God is constant when our circumstances are not. Praising the Lord for your obedience in this time. Grateful to have you in our community!

      – Stormye

    • Nads

      Praying for you. I find Lent is often the season of most blessings and most warfare from the enemy. God bless.

  • Christina

    “The people were behaving in a very different manner from how the *Lord intended them to behave. The people only cared about their own pleasures. They did not bother themselves about God’s instructions. They had not obeyed him. And their actions showed that they were not sorry about their evil behaviour. The people did not really expect to ‘die tomorrow’. It was merely a way to say that only today’s pleasure interested them. The *Lord knew the future. These people would never change their behaviour. So they would never qualify for him to forgive them.” (commentary on Isaiah 22:12-14 from http://www.easyenglish.info/bible-commentary/isaiah21-30-lbw-nh.htm)

    I tend to be so self-reliant and forget to pray for direction. I want to be one who looks and sees, not one who listens but doesn’t hear.

  • anne jones

    “The Lord is the One whose holy justice cannot overlook sin, and He is the One whose merciful compassion provides sin’s remedy at His own expense”…………thank you Father for your mercy and grace on me. I am holding onto this promise for dear life.

  • Thank you!

  • Thank you for your words this morning. It is helpful for our context to where we are in the Book. It does feel so heavy, as it should be, and it is a reminder that the only way out is to look to Him.

  • Love how the answer is always the same. Jesus.

  • Churchmouse

    These are hard words from Isaiah, deep and dark. Who would really want to hear them? The world then, as now, seems to be a hot mess. Who could possibly straighten it all out?!? Surely, if there was a way, someone would have thought of it by now. Therein lies the problem. Man looks for answers and solutions horizontally. Oh Man, look UP! Look at your Creator! He has the wisdom and the power. He has, He is, the only Way! His name is Jesus! Look no further. He has come. He is here. Indeed He has never left. So look! Look to Jesus. When reading the news, look to Jesus. All is not lost when you look to Him. Grab hold. Do not despair. Cry out. Repent. Return to the One who remains faithful to the end. May we all fix our eyes on Jesus in the midst of whatever darkness we are in. He is the Light of the world. There is hope.

    • Caitie

      Yes! Beautifully written, Churchmouse. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed by the world’s troubles, but all we need to do is look to him. What a blessing that is. Amen!

  • MamaCrazy

    A little bout of anxiety here this morning. on day 3 of what may be the worse strept throat one can feel (of course 100xs worse in the early morning hours). It’s a couple hours before sunrise and my house is quiet other than the freezing rain falling outside. All my children and husband are fast asleep. I’m almost 7 months pregnant with our final number four. Insomnia, sore throat and pounding ears have me sipping tea with the desire to fall asleep and have my heart rate relax. In the end, I pour over these words and look to Jesus to hug me and take my hand this morning. To help me feel better and be strong to start today. We’re going to be snowed in with a shut down town for a bit and I pray that I can remain calm and start to feel better as the sun comes up..

    “If you’re suffering right now, you don’t have to pretend it’s all good. You don’t have to add, ‘But praise God.’ When Jesus was hours from crucifixion, he didn’t sing in the garden or act hyper-spiritual. He was sweating blood. He asked the Father for a way out. But Jesus ultimately went to that cross with joy: not a shallow consolation that knows no pain, but a joy deepened by sorrow and recognizing the hurt of humanity. God is always trying to make you more human and not less. You can cry out in agony. In that honesty, God is establishing great character in you. Such a Christian is both happier and sadder at the same time, because they long for a better home and already have one. “

    • Lindsey

      Praying for your healing, mama!

    • Candy

      Praying you feel better and can conquer your day!

    • Lynne

      It’s tough for us mom’s when we’re sick . . . No sick leave!!!!! I’m praying for your healing and for your strength (physically and mentally)! Hang in there! God has got this!

    • Hilary

      Praying for quick healing!

    • Joan

      Sweet mamacrazy, praying healing, encouragement and a new peace & strength from the Lord that will surprise even you!

    • candacejo

      Lord, please touch this sweet Mama’s body today and bring healing, strength and peace to her wearied heart and aching throat. In Jesus’ name ♥

    • Lana

      Thank you for this. Just prayed that you feel God’s warm hug and that he also heals your throat. Praying this will be a cozy day for you!

    • She Reads Truth

      Absolutely praying for you this morning. Asking the Lord to heal and grant rest. Grateful for you.

      – Stormye

  • A massive challenge to be a people who does not simply eat drink and be joyful to suppress the challenges of life but rather weep and mourn before God who will bring true hope

  • Absolutely looking today to the One who establishes kings and kingdoms, the One who calls out to those in darkness and implores us to see His face- beautiful, holy, good, the One whose merciful compassion provides sins remedy at His own expense….

    Looking to Jesus today, in all I do, say and am…..
    Thank you Jesus for the cross, that stands for my hope, my deliverance.. Thank you Jesus…

    Love you Sisters… always… every blessing .. xx

    Here’s,a great song to go with today’s devotion…… listen… breath in… take heart… x

    https://youtu.be/ISqrD8zgm8c

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