Still thinking about walking by faith– when I don’t know what God is doing or how he’s leading. This passage has stuck with me all week.
Fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with(R) my righteous right hand.
Love this passage– why shouldn’t I be afraid? Because God is with me. I’m reminded that true biblical contentment comes from understanding the presence of God (Hebrews 13:5). I can be content and joyful with uncertainty!
When the poor and needy seek water,
and there is none,
and their tongue is parched with thirst,
I the LORD will answer them;
I the God of Israel will not forsake them.
18(AD) I will open rivers on the bare heights,
and fountains in the midst of the valleys.
(AE) I will make the wilderness a pool of water,
and the dry land springs of water.
19(AF) I will put in the wilderness the cedar,
the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive.
I will set in the desert(AG) the cypress,
the plane and the pine together,
20that they may see and know,
may consider and understand together,
that(AH) the hand of the LORD has done this,
the Holy One of Israel has created it.
Since I live in a desert, I understand firsthand what happens when water comes to a dry land. It’s spectacular. The desert land is very very thirsty. This passage reminds me that I need to hunger and thirst after righteousness, as Jesus says, but my tendency is to hunger after things that don’t satisfy (See Isaiah 55!).
Set forth your case, says the LORD;
bring your proofs, says the King of Jacob.
22Let them bring them, and(AI) tell us
what is to happen.
The imagery here makes me laugh. I can imagine a bunch of idols placed along a ledge as God quizzes them about their abillities. I can imagine the futility of asking them to tell the future.
Tell us the former things, what they are,
that we may consider them,
that we may know their outcome;
or declare to us the things to come.
23(AJ) Tell us what is to come hereafter,
that we may know that you are gods;
(AK) do good, or do harm,
that we may be dismayed and terrified.[b]
24Behold,(AL) you are nothing,
and your work is less than nothing;
an abomination is he who chooses you.
I know I started this section thinking about physical idols on a shelf, but I finished the passage wondering how often I fret against God. My idols are less than nothing. In contrast, God shows us his power and might.
25(AM) I stirred up one from the north, and he has come,
(AN) from the rising of the sun,(AO) and he shall call upon my name;
he shall trample on rulers as on mortar,
as the potter treads clay.
26(AP) Who declared it from the beginning, that we might know,
and beforehand, that we might say, “He is right”?
There was none who declared it, none who proclaimed,
none who heard your words.
27(AQ) I was the first to say[c] to Zion, “Behold, here they are!”
and(AR) I give to Jerusalem a herald of good news.
28(AS) But when I look, there is no one;
among these there is no counselor
who, when I ask, gives an answer.
29(AT) Behold, they are all a delusion;
their works are nothing;
their metal images are empty wind.
I’m particularly struck by God’s comment that there is no counselor to be found among our idols to answer our questions. It’s not that people can’t give us advice, but counsel that satisfies like water to a hungry ground comes only from the Lord.
That’s all for today.