Tuesday, July 3

A collection of thoughts

Scripture: Isaiah 6-7, 2 Chronicles 26-27, Philemon


Something different today—a collection of thoughts from today’s reading.

Isaiah 6:8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord asking: “Who should I send?  Who will go for us?”  I said, “Here I am.  Send me.”

I want to be available to the Lord like this.  “Here I am.  Send me.”  Isaiah answered God’s call even though the assignment was difficult.  God sent him with a message to people who wouldn’t listen or respond.  God sent him anyway, and Isaiah said yes and went anyway.  Would I have gone knowing that nothing but failure and rejection awaited me?  What motivated Isaiah to say “send me” on a doomed mission?  I think it was a vision of the Lord.  When you see God, everything else becomes secondary.  This is another spin on the message I gave this weekend from Luke 7—much forgiveness results in much love.  A vision of God’s greatness and mercy makes you willing to do anything for him.  “Here am I.  Send me.”

Isaiah 7:4 Say to him: “Calm down and be quiet.  Don’t be afraid or cowardly because of these two smoldering sticks.”  7:9 If you do not stand firm in your faith, then you will not stand at all.

King Ahaz of Judah is terrified by the military alliance of the Northern Kingdom of Israel and Aram who are moving against him.  Isaiah is sent to him with this message: “God’s got this.  Calm down and be quiet.  Don’t be afraid.  Trust me.”  I face situations that cause me fear and anxiety—and I think the Lord whispers, “Calm down and be quiet.  Trust me.”  Will I trust Him—stand firm in my faith—or will I cave in to fear and worry and not stand at all?  Deep breath…God’s got this!

2 Chronicles 26:15-16 So Uzziah’s fame spread even to distant places, for he was wondrously helped until he became strong.  16 But when he became strong, he grew arrogant, and it led to his own destruction.  

I’ve grown strong over the years, and I know it’s been because of the Lord’s help.  But I don’t want to grow arrogant.  I want to be humble, dependent on God.  Uzziah’s pride led him to think he was above the rules, that he could do whatever he pleased, that he knew better than everyone else.  I don’t want to go there.  I am the Lord’s servant.  I got here by following; I want to keep following, and not think I’m above the rules or know better than everyone else.  Be humble; keep learning; lean on Jesus.

Philemon 1-2 To Philemon our dear friend and co-worker, 2 to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church that meets in your home.

This is a personal letter from Paul to Philemon, but he addresses it not just to Philemon, but to two other individuals and the church!  It was to be read by all of them!  This would be like me giving personal instructions to one person from the stage before the whole church.  Why would I do that?  I would do it if I wanted everyone to know what was going on, what was expected, and if I wanted the person to be accountable to the community for following through.  There was no way that Philemon could just blow this off.  Everyone heard and knew.  It’s the power of community—the power of positive peer pressure.  Sometimes we need to be more public in our challenge to obedience.  

Prayer:  Thanks for speaking to me in so many ways today, Lord.  Now help me to live out what You said.