Pastor’s Column Fall 2019
Therefore, the Lord longs to be gracious to you,
And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the Lord is a God of justice;
How blessed are all those who long for Him.
O people in Zion, inhabitant in Jerusalem, you will weep no longer. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears it, He will answer you. Although the Lord has given you bread of privation and water of oppression, He, your Teacher will no longer hide Himself, but your eyes will behold your Teacher. Your ears will hear a word behind you, “This is the way,walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left. And you will defile your graven images overlaid with silver, and your molten images plated with gold. You will scatter them as an impure thing, and say to them, “Be gone!” Isaiah 30:18-22
Our family home was in Tennessee for thirty-odd years. We lived in a beautiful wooded area, in a little valley among gently rolling hills. The creek alongside our yard trickled gently in summer. It was easy to jump over it, or to explore for various plants and critters in and around it: blackberries, frogs, fireflies. But, in fall and spring, when rains were heavy, the creek would swell to a small river. It completely overwhelmed the culvert meant to carry it under our road. Water rose to the very edge of the yard some five or six feet deep. The force of water is stunning – and can be dangerous.
We search through many places, persons and things in the world for something that holds through storm and flood. In the days of the Prophet Isaiah, Judah’s king was tempted to seek a very unwise alliance with Egypt. They were strong and well equipped for war. Egypt seemed to be a source of safety and protection from Judah’s enemies to the north. The reasoning was,“my enemy’s enemy is my friend.” Judah had already experienced oppression and loss from invading nations. The Lord sent word by His prophet that a Teacher, a Shepherd would come to the nation. The Prophet Isaiah preached that trusting in Egypt and her military might would be disastrous. And Egypt did overrun Judah, betraying and plundering the people.
Instead, Isaiah taught the people who would listen to him that the compassionate love and true justice of God are our hope and guarantee. Isaiah himself brought God’s loving admonitions to the nation. His prophecy, at the same time, gives assurance that in a generation yet to come there would be a Teacher who is God Himself – Messiah – to be our constant guide and protector. “Your ears will hear a word behind you, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right or to the left.” (Is 30:21)
In Jesus Christ, God is no longer “hidden” as though He were far away in another realm or dimension. No, in our Savior we see God made flesh. We hear his words in the Scriptures of both Old and New Testaments. Jesus is present with us. He is our eternal “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” Nothing can move or remove the eternal love and compassion of our God. Divine grace is freely and fully given to us who believe and trust in His life, death and resurrection to everlasting life. Follow His voice. Do not make an alliance with the enemy.
Lord, guide us in these days of uncertainty! Make our hearts and minds sensitive to Your Word– Your prompting. Hold us close in Your loving embrace. Help us make choices and decisions worthy of the Jesus followers we long to be. Amen.