“If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all” – Isaiah 7:9
External actions come from internal decisions and faith is the invisible motivator inwardly that brings about visible actions outwardly.
Our ability to remain constant and committed to a course of action depends not on our willpower or physical strength, it is the natural byproduct of having ‘SEEN’ something by faith that we just can’t let go.
When you have truly perceived something by faith, you end up standing firm not to prove a point or win an argument, but because it’s the only logical response. Others may be surprised or wonder at the level of confidence but to the person of authentic faith, there is literally no other choice!
Preparing for a church leaders meeting yesterday I had this verse going around in my head:
“Do you not know, have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth” – Isaiah 40:28
And I found myself stuck on that insight that God is the creator of the ends of the earth.
Now we all know that the earth is round and doesn’t have a physical ‘end’ but there’s lots of places where the land runs out and the oceans begin. Those places are like the ‘ends of the earth’.
We can reach those places in life too – where it’s like we’ve used up all our energy and strength, and we’ve reached the very end of all that we can do ourselves. We come to the end of our earth.
Often, in those moments, we blame ourselves for perhaps taking a wrong turn, or not hearing the voice of God right. But has it ever occurred to us that God Himself is the ‘Creator of the ends of the earth’?
In a way, it means that there are times in our lives where God ordains the land to run out. Where we come to the end of what is naturally possible and we can’t go any further in our own strength or wisdom. But He hasn’t created the ‘ends’ to frustrate us or to box us in – but rather, to give us the moment to shift into another gear.
Chapter 40 of Isaiah ends with these words…
but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles [….]
God ordains places where the land runs out in our lives… because it’s time to fly!
Maybe you’re at earth’s end today – you’re tired and weary, and ready to give up. But you don’t have to stop. You don’t have to retrace your steps. You just have to get into that place where you wait on the Lord. He will give you strength and help you make the transition. Nothing can stop you when you’re powered with His strength
Isaiah 8:20 – To the law and to the testimony! if they don`t speak according to this word, surely there is no morning for them.
We often think of the role of the prophetic as revealing the future. This is part of role – but true prophets will always point people back to what God said. They hold fast and refuse to move from it. This is why the true prophets of old were so unpopular – the nation of Israel didn’t want to obey what God had already said – but they were always keen to hear something new from God regarding their future.
To cater for this desire, false prophets sprung up left, right and centre. They told the people what they wanted to hear – and the people loved it. The only problem was, God never sent them!
To the law and to the testimony! As unexciting as it may appear – God is saying here that if the prophets don’t speak according to this word, then there is no morning for them. They won’t last out the night!
If you want to move more in the prophetic, then you need to be a regular and large consumer of the Word of God. Although God definitely wants to encourage people by giving them insights into the plan and destiny He has for them – He has already spoken much of what He wants to say to them through His written word.
So we can either give people ‘a word’, or we can give them “The Word”. One is changeable and open to influence from whatever we happen to be into at the time – the other is constant, pure, sharper than any two-edged sword, and good for teaching, correcting and training in righteousness.
Isaiah 8:12 – Don’t you say, "A conspiracy!" concerning all of which this people shall say, "A conspiracy!" neither fear you their fear, nor be in dread of it.
Under their current king, the house of David was making deals and entering into an alliance with Assyria. Some of the Israelites thought it was a good thing, others were crying “conspiracy”!
But regardless of what the people were saying – Isaiah has been instructed not to drop down to their level of fear and negative talk.
When people start getting scared of what will take place, all kinds of fearful words can escape their mouths – words of gloom and misery. But what’s important is that we don’t drop down to the level of those around us, but we maintain and hold on to what God has said. God’s Word anchors us, and prevents us from being blown to and fro by every wind that comes through.
If you’re around people who are stricken with fear today because of events that are happening or uncertain of their future – it’s your job as a priest not to leave them (or join them!) in that place, but instead to help lead them to a place where they can hear the Word of God. Remind them of the promises of God – and of His faithfulness to those who love Him. Move their faith from the sinking sand to a sure foundation.
Isaiah 8:18 – Behold, I and the children whom Yahweh has given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from Yahweh of Hosts, who dwells in Mount Zion.
We often think of signs and wonders as miraculous events that either happen in the heavens, or things like healings or prophecies.
But here we can see that the prophet Isaiah and his children are ‘signs and wonders’ in Israel. Their way of life, their existence, their message – it was all given by God as a sign and wonder to the nation of Israel.
Signs have a tendency to stick out. Wonders have a tendency to be misunderstood. So although the calling was exciting – there was a massive personal cost to Isaiah to living as a “sign and wonder”. He was immensely persecuted and lived a difficult and hard life. Jesus was the ultimate sign and wonder – God come in the flesh to bring a message to humanity, be sacrificed for their sin and rise three days later.
We know that we live in days that the Lord is releasing “signs and wonders”. And although we will certainly see an increase in the supernatural power of God released – many of these ‘signs and wonders’ will be people – set apart by God and called to a radical and wholehearted existence.
When we live lives that are like this, we will begin to stick out, and be misunderstood. But at the same time we start to shine like stars “in a crooked and depraved generation”, and point the way to salvation.