Surely

Scripture

‘Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’   Isaiah 41:10

Observation

These words, spoken to Israel through the prophet Isaiah, eased the fears of Israel who had a long history of idol worship, forsaking God, and generally acting how ever they wanted.  Israel acted just like I often do.  And just like Israel, I wonder why God punishes me.  OK, so Babylon didn’t invade my city but there are other consequences to bear for what goes in my life today.  And just like with Israel, those consequences serve as a wake up call — HEY!  COME BACK HERE!!  DO WHAT YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO DO!

Isaiah’s words foreshadow those of the New Testament:

  • “I am with you” compared with  “…I am with you always…”  Matthew 28:20
  • “Do not anxiously look about you” compared with ” Be anxious for nothing…”  Philippians 4:6
  • “I will strengthen you” compared with ” After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.”  1 Peter 5:10 
  • “I will help you” compared with “ I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever;”  John 14:16

And finally, “I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”  This speaks of the Lord Jesus Christ –  “So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.”  Mark 16:19

It is by the very power of Jesus Christ — the right hand of God – that I am forgiven my sins.  By His blood my sins are washed away.  I deserved to be punished but Jesus bore that punishment for me.

Application

In all that plagues me, and makes me anxious, and fearful I need to remember not to navel-gaze and cry out “why me?”  From my knees – an attitude of prayer – I need to look to the Cross, then get up and look in the Tomb.  And remember, I am being held up by His righteous right hand.

Prayer

Father, I recognize that I have sinned against You.  There are consequences for this.  I am so thankful that the ultimate consequence has been placed on Jesus.  I pray that Your Holy Spirit would remind of this regularly.  May You be glorified.  In Jesus’ name I pray…Amen

Be Very Courageous

Scripture

Therefore be very courageous to keep and do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, lest you turn aside from it to the right hand or to the left.  Joshua 23:6

Observation

Joshua gives his farewell speech to Israel before he dies.  He tells them to uphold what the LORD has instructed.  It’s written down so it should be easy.  He challenges them to be courageous.  That’s the nice way  of telling them, “Don’t be a coward.  Don’t do whatever you want.”

Application

It’s cowardly not to obey God.  I may ask why I should follow the Law of Moses.  Simple…Jesus came to fulfill the Law (Matthew 5:17).  That means  by obeying and following Him that the world will hate me, persecution is likely, and I will have a cross to bear daily.  In general, I will need to “be very courageous.”   Or, I can do whatever is easier, live the “good”life,  disobey God, and be a coward.

Prayer

Lord, it is difficult to be courageous.  Help me to be brave.  Thank You.

But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.  Joshua 24:15b

It’s That Simple

Scripture

Christ [sent me]…to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.  1 Corinthians 1:17

We preach Christ crucified.  1 Corinthians 1:23

Observation

Paul’s approach was direct.  It is the same as Peter’s in Acts 4:33.  It confounded the wise.  It is the godly precursor to Occam’s Razor (the simplest solution is the best) and it’s pop-culture equivalent, the K.I.S.S principle — Keep It Simple, Stupid.

Application

Christianity has, culturally speaking, gotten complex.  Books are written on how to do every conceivable thing from prayer to evangelism to baking cookies the Christian way.  Sermons are so complex that they often have a sermon just to set up the sermon.  I long to have a simpler Christianity were Christ and Him crucified are preached, where the resurrection gives power, and expectation of God’s Spirit moving is happening.

Prayer

Lord, thank You for the cross.  Help me to remain simple in my life that i will better proclaim Your Name…

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