First of all, I have to give a giant "thank you" to whoever thought up the idea of the Bible in chronological form. I have struggled for years with various formats to read the Bible through. I usually do well until I get to Isaiah. All the doom and gloom stuff makes it difficult for me to get through. (remember, I am the girl who only watches a movie if it has a guaranteed happy ending.) I just didn't get it. Until now. Reading through chronologically makes everything fall into place. I finally understand why Isaiah says and feels the things that he does. And although I love reading the Psalms, I often felt like I was be-bopping back and forth between praise and thankfulness and woe and fear and anger as I read them. However, now that we are reading them in the order that they were written, the continuity is beautiful. (It's like a story. Imagine that!)
Anyhow, here are the things that spoke to me this week.
I loved God's response to the king of Assyria. Sennacherib was strutting around, all puffed up about the mighty things he had done. And God says, "Have you not heard? Long ago I ordained it. In days of old I planned it; now I have brought it to pass." (2 Kings 19:25) In other words, "you would be doing none of those things if I had not allowed it. " How many times to I strut around, proudly congratulating myself about things that I really had no part in, other than being in the path that God chose to take? Do I give glory where glory is deserved?
Following along those lines, Psalm 75:2-3 says, "You say, "I choose the appointed time; it is I who judge uprightly. When the earth and all its people quake, it is I who hold its pillars firm." All things happen in God's timing, not mine. And when things don't turn out quite the way I expect, God is there, holding me firmly.
We had a truly worshipful church experience today which made these words all the more hard hitting this evening: The LORD says, "These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men." (Isaiah 29:13) How many times to I go to church and sit in the service and think about a world of other things while mouthing the words to praise songs? How many times do I enter the sanctuary with a prayerful and repentant heart, ready to praise Him and hear the words that He has for me? (and why do I feel like I have to go to an "event" just to get a word?)
Where is the god who can compare with you— wiping the slate clean of guilt,Turning a blind eye, a deaf ear, to the past sins of your purged and precious people?You don't nurse your anger and don't stay angry long, for mercy is your specialty. That's what you love most. And compassion is on its way to us. You'll stamp out our wrongdoing. Micah 7:18-19 The Message
See, God has come to save me. I will trust in him and not be afraid. The Lord God is my strength and my song; He has given me victory.” Isaiah 12:2
As for me, I look to the Lord for help. I wait confidently for God to save me, and my God will certainly hear me. Micah 7:7
Blessings to you this week. For more insights on the Word this week, check out Bev's blog and the wisdom you'll find there.