Friday, October 26, 2012

I'm afraid to trust God.

God is God.

I guess I am a slow learner. I get things in layers, and as they build on top of themselves I gain new understandings. Sometimes this happens daily. Sometimes I take a lower layer out and relook at it, but I was not graced with the ability to understand and grasp all of who God was when I first met Him.

I am currently learning the Awesomeness of God. His power and control, and yet his grace in giving us choice and mercy in giving us love. Some days it’s all a little overwhelming and I fall back to the habits my heart knows best: fearfulness and defensiveness.

When I find myself in a situation I feel lost in I do not go to God and trust Him with it. My first reaction is to either become fearful or defensive. I don’t want to fall back into those positions anymore.

God is God.

He knows what I am struggling with, and gratefully I know He is the One working within my heart. I can trust Him to continue to teach me and help me learn. But do I trust Him in the moment?

The moment someone says a hateful word to me, do I give grace?
The moment I am unsure of how someone will respond, do I move forward?
The moment I will be in the presence of my enemy, do I trust God to set the table?
The moment I am ignored, do I trust God sees?

Not always. I will be honest and say I am not there yet, but I can feel changes happening. Yes, for every two steps forward I take one back but I am moving. I’m not frozen where I was. I am becoming more of who I was meant to be.

God is God.

Do you trust Him to defend you? Do you trust Him to use whatever you are going through for your benefit? Do you trust Him to never leave you? Our circumstances are sometimes difficult and hard, but as one friend of mine said when she was in a very difficult place… if we don’t’ trust God then, when do we trust Him?

I’m grateful God is a patient God. I’m grateful He is God.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The fear God isn't God

Isaiah 44:8
“Do not tremble, do not be afraid.
Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago?
You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me?
No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.”

As mentioned in the previous post, this “afraid” in the Hebrew is not the same that has been used before. This word is “yarah” and it means “to be frozen in fear.” To be frozen.

Have you been there before? Have you ever been so fearful that you could not do anything? I have been near it, and maybe I have been emotionally, but I can’t say I have been physically. The question, however, is not how we made it to such a point, but what do we do when we get there?

How gracious of God to remind us of exactly who He is. He is our King, our Redeemer, the first and the last. He is not surprised to find us where we are, and He is there with us in the middle of it. He has not left us. The King stays with His people, fighting. He will pay for our redemption, our return. He always has been, and He always will be.

Now with that settled he tells us not to be frozen any longer. As Aslan in CS Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia breathed on the statues to bring them back to life, so God breathes on us. We should not be fearful to return to God. He knows how we strayed, but His grace and mercy wrap us up when we look to Him. Oh, yes, when we search for Him with our whole heart we will surely find Him. There need be no fear there.

Question 1: What is fear keeping you from doing? What has frozen inside of you? Do you remember all that God has done? You are His witness, and when you bear testimony it will strengthen your faith.

Question 2: Who have you looked to for confidence in the past? Who have you looked to for help? Hear what God says. There is no one like Him. He alone gives us a solid foundation to stand on. Look to Him alone.

Dear Lord
We are just as fickle as the Israelites
We judge, assume, turn aside, and wander
Forgive us, Father.
Forgive us for doing anything else
but trusting You.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Exiles' Fear

6 verses later we still find ourselves in Isaiah 44 for the next time God says, “Do not be afraid.” What I found interesting is this afraid was from a Hebrew word used only ever here in the Bible. Did it change the meaning? It only made it more powerful.td>

Isaiah 44 8
God told us not to be fearful for we come from Him, and He is our future. But what future do we have? We are exiles in a land that is not ours, with no power to do as we please or go where we want. Where is the Lord in this?

This is what the Lord says – Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty:

Our last king on this earth has been gone for so long. But God, our Lord, He is our king. He is our hope. He is who will rally us… and redeem us. Oh to be redeemed. To be restored to our land. And God… how we don’t deserve it yet you offer to be our Redeemer.

“I am the first and I am the last; Apart from me there is no God.

Yes, Lord. We have sinned in our worship of these other gods. We have strayed in this land we have been placed in. We strayed in the land you gave us.

Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and lay out before me what has happened since I established my ancient people, and what is yet to come – yes, let him foretell what will come.

You were our God who took us out of Egypt. You are our God who leads us still. We chose foolishness when we chose to follow these wood and metal figures who do nothing. You Lord are the one who prepared the way for us here. You Lord are the one who we are indebted to. Lord, forgive us.

Do not tremble, do not be afraid.

I do feel frozen. We have messed up for so long. How could we have chosen this, and how can you ever forgive us?

Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago?

Yes. You did, Lord. You told us we would mess up, and you have told us you will redeem us. Thank you.

You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.”

No, Lord. We commit to You alone. Forgive our wandering hearts. There is no other like You.

Isaiah 44:8

Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one. (NIV)  
Do not tremble and do not be afraid; Have I not long since announced it to you and declared it? And you are My witnesses. Is there any God besides Me, Or is there any other Rock? I know of none. (NAS)  
Fear not, nor be afraid [in the coming violent upheavals]; have I not told it to you from of old and declared it? And you are My witnesses! Is there a God besides Me? There is no [other] Rock; I know not any. (Amplified)

Ashbury: Against the backdrop of Israel's unfaithfulness, Yahweh's fidelity is now portrayed. vs 25 may refer to false prophets within the Israelite community or the ubiquitous diviners in the Babylonian culture, or both. None of them believed Israel had a future. But God had a different idea: Jerusalem would be inhabited and restored. And just as amazing he will use the pagan King Cyrus to accomplish his ends.

Matthew Henry: Was there any other Rock, or Protector, that could defend them? None besides could foretell these things to come, or which God by his prophets gave notice. All was set in order in the Divine predictions, as well as in the Divine purposes. Could any other have done so? Who can compare with Israel's Redeemer and King?

Scott Grant: The Lord's point in this section is to communicate to Israel, by clear statement, presentation of evidence, and a rhetorical question, that "There is no God besides me." Israel there fore is to be fiercely monotheistic. ... But it's not simply a question of whether the Lord is the only God; it's a question of his dependability. That's why He adds to the question, "Or is there any other Rock?" The imagery of a rock is that of a solid, dependable place of refuge, The Lord, through his control of history and his establishment of Israel, has shown himself to be a solid, dependable place of refuge for his people. The Lord answers his own question suggestively, "I know of none."

David Guzik: When we really know who God is, and his great wisdom and authority over all things, it erases all fear in our lives.