Tag Archives: Isaiah 10

Solace in the Storyboard

“Woe to the Assyrian, the rod of my anger,
    in whose hand is the club of my wrath!
I send him against a godless nation,
    I dispatch him against a people who anger me,
to seize loot and snatch plunder,
    and to trample them down like mud in the streets.
But this is not what he intends,
    this is not what he has in mind;
his purpose is to destroy,
    to put an end to many nations.”
Isaiah 10:5-7 (NIV)

As I write this post, citizens of the U.S. are enduring a strange and depressing Presidential election. The two most unpopular candidates for President in history are running against one another. It’s enough to make even the most optimistic citizen groan in despair for the fate of our country.

I’m taking a smidgen of solace this morning in a theme that occurs across the writings of the ancient Hebrew prophets, and appears in this morning’s chapter. God used even the worst nations and leaders for His good purposes. The Assyrians were not good people at the time Isaiah was writing. They were deplorable. Yet, even though they remain completely ignorant of the fact, God says that He will use them purposefully in the writing of the Great Story.

I received my absentee ballot and filled out every section except the vote for President. It sat on our kitchen counter for days as I agonized over my choice. I know that I am not alone in my agony. This morning, I am comforted by the reminder of the Assyrians. My hope and faith is not in a man or woman, nor even a nation – but in the Author of Life. I believe that no matter who wins this election, the action of the Great Story will continue to unfold according to God’s story board.

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Chapter-a-Day Isaiah 11

S7300939_800x600 Each morning he'll pull on sturdy work clothes and boots, and build righteousness and faithfulness in the land. Isaiah 11:5 (MSG)

This past winter we started a construction project that will continue through this coming summer. It's partially finished and the upstairs part looks beautiful. But, there's also a downstairs part that looks really ugly, bare and dirty. Someday it will be beautiful, but for now it's more than a bit unsightly and anyone who ventures down there will get dirt on them.

I remember when I was a young man I felt the expectation and need to be perfect through-and-though. I was really uncomfortable with some of the unsightly parts of my character and my flawed humanity. So, I dressed up the "upstairs" parts of me that looked finished to perfection and tried to hide the door to the basement where others could see the bare, ugly mess that was just as much a part of me as the finished parts.

I'm reminded this morning that Jesus, the Branch of Jesse, came to do a work in me until it's completed. I am still under construction as God builds righteousness, faith and Christ-like-ness in me. There's a lot to be done. A construction site is a messy, muddy, dusty, and chaotic place. You can't dress a construction site up with a nice area rug and pretend that it's a finished room.

Somwhere along the way I gave up trying to pretend I'm a finished project. I decided to let people see the messy part of me that's under construction. They'll just have to pardon the mess. To my amazement, loved ones were not only gracious, but more than willing to get thair hands dirty and help with the work.

 

Chapter-a-Day Isaiah 11

S7300939_800x600 Each morning he'll pull on sturdy work clothes and boots, and build righteousness and faithfulness in the land. Isaiah 11:5 (MSG)

This past winter we started a construction project that will continue through this coming summer. It's partially finished and the upstairs part looks beautiful. But, there's also a downstairs part that looks really ugly, bare and dirty. Someday it will be beautiful, but for now it's more than a bit unsightly and anyone who ventures down there will get dirt on them.

I remember when I was a young man I felt the expectation and need to be perfect through-and-though. I was really uncomfortable with some of the unsightly parts of my character and my flawed humanity. So, I dressed up the "upstairs" parts of me that looked finished to perfection and tried to hide the door to the basement where others could see the bare, ugly mess that was just as much a part of me as the finished parts.

I'm reminded this morning that Jesus, the Branch of Jesse, came to do a work in me until it's completed. I am still under construction as God builds righteousness, faith and Christ-like-ness in me. There's a lot to be done. A construction site is a messy, muddy, dusty, and chaotic place. You can't dress a construction site up with a nice area rug and pretend that it's a finished room.

Somwhere along the way I gave up trying to pretend I'm a finished project. I decided to let people see the messy part of me that's under construction. They'll just have to pardon the mess. To my amazement, loved ones were not only gracious, but more than willing to get thair hands dirty and help with the work.

 

Chapter-a-Day Isaiah 10

Schoolyard bully. And on that Day also, what's left of Israel, the ragtag survivors of Jacob, will no longer be fascinated by abusive, battering Assyria. They'll lean on God, The Holy—yes, truly. Isaiah 10:20 (MSG)

I still vividly remember my first experience with a bully. I was a 2nd grader at Woodlawn Elementary school. I had been excused from class to use the bathroom and he came in. He was in 3rd grade and a lot bigger than me. He started to threaten me for no other reason than to see the fear in my eyes and feel a sense of sadistic power. He started telling me he was going to find me after school and beat me up. I was so scared it was a good thing I was already in the bathroom.

I can still remember the terror. My heart pounded. I could think of nothing else the rest of the day. I was terrified of the final bell and my walk home. Even when I got home I was petrified. I worried about the next day at school. I worried about going into the bathroom and finding the bully there. I worried about walking to and from school. I had a hard time getting to sleep. I couldn't get the bully out of my mind, and how I could possibly elude him at every point of my day.

It's easy to get focused on problems and troubles. They seem so huge and overwhelming. If we're not careful, the people who plague us and our daily pains can take up a disproportionate part of our mind share. It's hard to keep things in perspective if our eyes are only zeroed in on that which we fear.

Jerusalem, under seige, were so taken with their enemy, the bully Assyria, that they were psychologically defeated. The prophet Isaiah's eye, however, was not looking at the Assyrian army surrounding the city. He was looking to God. Isaiah saw that God was about to provide an amazing, miraculous deliverance.

Where will I focus my thoughts today?

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and trixer