A funny thing happened on the way to Isaiah 30

Before we jump in, make sure to pop back on Friday when I’ll be starting the blog tour for the 2018 Chaiya Art Awards compilation, ‘Where is God in our 21st century world?’ I’ll be interviewing one of the finalists and sharing some images from the book.

For now, back to Isaiah…

I look back at the notes I made when reading Isaiah 29 and 30 and wonder why on earth I decided to share this stuff! I remember feeling challenged and chastised after 29, then after reading 30, going back to it again and again, I was burning with a desire to grow up and be humble in the church work I’m involved in. To rid my self of the attitude I had when reading 29.

I now want to qualify and quantify some of the things I wrote, cos I’m a bit embarrassed by them. But… I’m going to go ahead share my ponderings with you anyway. This would probably be a good time to remember what I said in, ‘The Isaiah Disclaimer‘ about you being gentle on me etc… 😀

Some verses really stood out to me in Isaiah 29

v.13 “These people come near to me with their mouth and  honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.”

v.15 [They] hide their plans from the Lordwho do their work in darkness and think, “Who sees us? Who will know?”

vv 23, 24  When they see among them their children, the work of my hands,
they will keep my name holy; they will acknowledge the holiness of the Holy One of Jacob, and will stand in awe of the God of Israel. Those who are wayward in spirit will gain understanding; those who complain will accept instruction.”

I started thinking about all the people who could benefit from reading these verses. People (I feel) honour God with their lips, but not with their lives.  People who (I feel) live as if the Lord can’t see them, and how foolish it is.

I made a little list in my head. A list of the wayward and complainers I know, wondering how long it will take them to recognise the holiness of the Holy One of Jacob!

I started to pray for those people and when it came to naming them individually the first name that came out of my mouth was my own. I realised how arrogant I was! I spent some time asking God for forgiveness and prayed more generously for my list of people. I felt quite sheepish after that.

Then it was Chapter 30’s turn to challenge me!

Once again, my ‘squishy’ view of God and my instinct to shy away from the image of an angry wrathful God was brought into focus here. There is no condemnation for those of us in Jesus, but God always has, does, and will, hate disobedience.

And he shows it in chapter 30. The accusations against his people are ones he could make about me too…
Going places I’m not supposed to go
Making plans without consulting him
Forming alliances that are not for my spiritual benefit
Wanting only to hear nice, pleasant things – and rejecting His correction

And though consequences of these actions are promised, verses 15 and 18 show that more grace follows…
“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it…Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!”

I prayed a lot after this chapter. I felt like a weak and arrogant ‘leader’ after 29, but chapter 30 called me to sit up and suit up. Here’s the prayer I wrote down..

“Father God, please help me. Develop my service to you in the right way. Keep me humble. Make me like you – a hater of sin, a lover of repentance – and this nowhere more than in my own life. Help me be more gracious as a leader. Please guide me Give me confidence and let my confidence in you encourage others.
Lead me Lord I pray, in Jesus Name, Amen.”

Please pray it with me, or if you don’t need too, pray for me.
Sorry this was a long post. 🙂 xx

See you Friday when I kick off the 2018 Chaiya Art Awards blog tour…

Photo credit: Jonny Back
Photo credit: Jonny Back