Friday, September 7, 2012

I'm afraid to not lash out in anger.

There have been times in my life when I wanted to exact revenge. Moments when the fury of the world could have flown from my fingertips or mouth. There are definitely times I regret things I have said and actions I have taken.

You know the feeling, right? Anger pouring from your eyes. Frustration overwhelming your breath. Hate not being held back at all. They have done something which needs to be repaid. They have said something that hurt you or someone you love and all you want to do is hurt in return.

The best advice I got is to let it be.

There are a bazillion reasons someone will lash out at us. Usually, when it is all boiled down it is because they themselves were hurt. It’s hard to remember that in the moment, but it is the truth. Are there people who are simply evil and so angry all they want to do is hurt people? Yes, though they may have been hurt so deeply we could never understand. Generally speaking, however, the person you are so angry at can justify their actions in some way.

I have faced a situation where someone I loved was hurt by words of another. The first thing I did after putting up a defense was try to bring peace to the situation. When the attacks of the other wouldn’t stop I got angry. Very angry. I wanted to send words back which would hurt and pain, but those around me knew better than I. When we are in the midst of our pain we can’t see anything else. Thankfully I have people who are willing to support me and guide me when I become blinded. We chose to let it be, and gain distance. The distance helps me breathe, letting it be allows me to trust God.

You see, occasionally I want to act out again. Some days I feel I have been given the perfect opportunity to do to them what was done to us. The question which halts me: What is the purpose? They have made it clear the only way they see things is their way. They have made it clear there will be no change on their part. Anything I do will only exasperate the situation. Anything I do will only make it worse. I have to let God work things out. And sometimes this is hard, but it pushes me further in my trust with God than I have trusted before.

Yes, this time is hard, but trust God to handle it. It shall pass.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The fear God won't take care of your enemies.

Isaiah 10:24-25
Therefore, this is what the Lord, the Lord Almighty, says:
“O my people who live in Zion, do not be afraid of the Assyrians,
who beat you with a rod and lift up a club against you, as Egypt did.
Very soon my anger against you will end
and my wrath will be directed to their destruction.

There is much I do not know. I am still learning, and through these studies God is guiding my knowledge and giving me wisdom. Sometimes while I get a glimpse of one thing, I am often left with questions regarding another. This passage is such.

I have said before I do not understand how God allows evil. It makes sense  to me if it is our free will which causes it. However, these verses put free will and God’s sovereignty together side by side. I also do not know how God dealing with the nation of Israel crosses over to how God deals with us each individually. Is this a reminder there will always be those who follow God, even if it is small? I don’t know. I don’t have these answers, but I would like to take a look at what we can glean from this section of scripture.

Regardless of why something bad happens, we can see here it will not be forever. When the Israelites were in Egypt it was not for punishment reasons. God built them up into a strong nation there, one who could survive a desert and eventually fight other armies. Here the Israelites are under the Assyrians due to Ahaz’s mistake, but Isaiah says it will not last long. Soon, very soon, they will be released from that authority, just as they were released from Egypt.

I think the second thing we can see is God will avenge us. He will take care of those who oppress us, for whatever reason they were used. It releases us from trying to avenge ourselves, which would very likely put us in the same position as the Egyptians and Assyrians.

Question 1: How do you deal with hardships on a day to day basis? What about the times when the hard lasts longer than just one day. Do you trust that God is with you? Do you trust He will bring you through it?

Question 2: Is there bitterness in your heart? Have hard times left you hardened looking for vengeance and your own justice? May you hand that responsibility over to God and trust just as He takes care of you He will take care of those who oppress you.
It’s not always easy to know
Questions arise and answers are few
Help me rely on who I know you to be
Help me lean into who You are
Thank you for taking care of it all

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Remnant's Fear

Isaiah first spoke God’s word regarding the Assyrians to Ahaz warning him not to take shelter under their army. Isaiah also spoke to Ahaz’s son Hezekiah letting him know God would take care of the Assyrians. In between he spoke to the remnant of Israel to bring them hope and peace so they would know they were not forgotten..

O my people who live in Zion, do not be afraid of the Assyrians,

I am so glad the Lord of All has sent this message. These times are hard and it’s easy to think we are forgotten. I know some have not turned from God, and He knew they needed affirmation and encouragement. Ahaz chose wrong and brought this down on the nation, but those who still follow should not give up hope.

who beat you with a rod and lift up a club against you, as Egypt did.

Ah, these times are hard. I have heard some compare it to when our ancestors were in Egypt. We know nothing of what that time was like except what was passed down, which are varied stories depending on who is speaking. God, however, knows what happened. He reminds us those times were very hard indeed, but He took our nation through those times. There was an end to the hard times then, and there will be again now.

Very soon my anger against you will end and my wrath will be directed to their destruction.

The Assyrians have been the tool which God has disciplined us and brought us back to Him. He is good and true to His word. This time will pass, and then the Assyrians will feel the rod and club. They have no idea how they were used by God, but God will punish them for their arrogance and pride and harshness. And then the remnant will have hope.

Isaiah 10:24-25

Therefor, this is what the Lord, the Lord Almighty says: "O my people who live in Zion, do not be afraid of the Assyrians, who beat you with a rod and lift up a club against you, as Egypt did. Very soon my anger against you will end and my wrath will be directed to their destruction. (NIV)

Therefore thus says the Lord, the Lord of hosts, O My people who dwell in Zion, do not be afraid of the Assyrians who smites you with a rod and lifts up his staff against you, as [the king of] Egypt did. For yet a little while an My indignation against you shall be accomplished, and My anger shall be directed to destruction [of the Assyrians]. (Amplified)

Reformation Study Bible:
More encouragement for the remnant.
The instruments of destruction will themselves by destroyed.

Matthew Henry's Commentary:
A promise of grace to the people of God, to enable them to bear up under affliction, and to get good by it. Great encouragement given to them not to fear this threatening storm, but to hope that, though for the present all the country was put into a great consternation by it, yet it would end well, in the destruction of this formidable enemy. And this is intended to quiet the minds of good people in reference to all the threatening efforts of the wrath of the church's enemies. If God be for us, who can be against u? None to do us any harm.
God's anger against his people is but for a moment, and when that ceases, and is turned away from us, we need not fear the fury of any man, for it is impotent passion.