“Cheaters never win,” “Liars never succeed for long,” “You can’t throw the mud of gossip at others without getting muddy yourselves”. We have heard and experienced all these phrases over our lifetimes, right? Worldview thinking that is without God and His way of thinking would believe and behave as though cheaters do win, liars will succeed with their rendition of “fake it ‘til you make it.” Worldview thinkers believe that throwing mud on anyone who opposes you is the right way to win an election, get the promotion at work or simply please certain family members so you can get what you want from them.
When God does work through people, tell it, says Isaiah. I have a story of God’s power and glory in troubled times. We were on vacation traveling from Massachusetts to a hotel at Niagara Falls last Friday evening. We were about 20 minutes from our destination when a warning light came on telling us the electrical system was failing. We had just replaced the vehicle’s battery the preceding Friday in this same town so we thought it had something to do with that. Our only option was to pray we could make it to where help to fix it could be found. We rolled into Niagara with electrical items shutting down one by one very quickly. The vehicle completely stopped rolling in the middle lane in front of a Ford dealer—5 minutes before the service bay was to close—on a Friday night!
But God had all the steps ready to solve our problem. The service manager, hearing our story and seeing our stress, sent us to rest and wait in the lobby while he took a charger to try to get the vehicle from traffic into the bay. The first news was that since they were closing, we would have to wait until Monday for anyone to look at the problem.
Then, God took charge. “I have an idea, wait here,” said the Service Manager. He went to the bay and talked the last service tech leaving for the day to just “take a look”. He did and found the problem immediately—a slipped alternator belt. The tech stayed late and replaced the belt within minutes. We were back on the road in under an hour. The expense of hotel was spared and the service bill was very fair and minimal. They could have taken advantage of us—but they did not. God had it all figured out before we got there! To God be the glory for working through these two men who saved us. We were grateful and expressed our thanks with hugs all around! These men who had big smiles on their faces probably went home for the weekend full of the peace of God in their hearts.
According to God’s message through Isaiah, the wicked will never have peace.
Who are the “wicked”? Sometimes we are! In wicked times we lose God’s gift of peace. We must stop and ask, “Do I really believe what God says is really real or not”? Our behavior (without thinking about it) will reflect what we believe—always. God sees our hearts and knows what we really believe about Him. We cannot fool God. Want peace—even in troubled times and challenging circumstances? Here is how to get peace and maintain it. God tells His people, “I am God, your God, who teaches you how to live right and well. I show you what to do, where to go.” Rely, trust, have faith in the One and Only who does not lie, cheat, fake it, or condemn us.
Trust in God who is always with us, wants the best for us and has the power to do whatever He says He will do. Allow his teaching to refine and polish us by fire until we reflect who He is in our being. Ironclad promises will never fail. Great is His faithfulness!
Isaiah 47, The Message
Tested in the Furnace of Affliction
1-11 “And now listen to this, family of Jacob,
you who are called by the name Israel:
Who got you started in the loins of Judah,
you who use God’s name to back up your promises
and pray to the God of Israel?
But do you mean it?
Do you live like it?
You claim to be citizens of the Holy City;
you act as though you lean on the God of Israel,
For a long time now, I’ve let you in on the way I work:
I told you what I was going to do beforehand,
then I did it and it was done, and that’s that.
I know you’re a bunch of hardheads,
obstinate and flint-faced,
So I got a running start and began telling you
what was going on before it even happened.
That is why you can’t say,
‘My god-idol did this.’
‘My favorite god-carving commanded this.’
You have all this evidence
confirmed by your own eyes and ears.
Shouldn’t you be talking about it?
And that was just the beginning.
I have a lot more to tell you,
things you never knew existed.
This isn’t a variation on the same old thing.
This is new, brand-new,
something you’d never guess or dream up.
When you hear this you won’t be able to say,
‘I knew that all along.’
You’ve never been good listeners to me.
You have a history of ignoring me,
A sorry track record of fickle attachments—
rebels from the womb.
But out of the sheer goodness of my heart,
because of who I am,
I keep a tight rein on my anger and hold my temper.
I don’t wash my hands of you.
Do you see what I’ve done?
I’ve refined you, but not without fire.
I’ve tested you like silver in the furnace of affliction.
Out of myself, simply because of who I am, I do what I do.
I have my reputation to keep up.
I’m not playing second fiddle to either gods or people.
12-13 “Listen, Jacob. Listen, Israel—
I’m the One who named you!
I’m the One.
I got things started and, yes, I’ll wrap them up.
Earth is my work, handmade.
And the skies—I made them, too, horizon to horizon.
When I speak, they’re on their feet, at attention.
14-16 “Come everybody, gather around, listen:
Who among the gods has delivered the news?
I, God, love this man Cyrus, and I’m using him
to do what I want with Babylon.
I, yes I, have spoken. I’ve called him.
I’ve brought him here. He’ll be successful.
Come close, listen carefully:
I’ve never kept secrets from you.
I’ve always been present with you.”
Your Progeny, Like Grains of Sand
16-19 And now, the Master, God, sends me and his Spirit
with this Message from God
your Redeemer, The Holy of Israel:
“I am God, your God,
who teaches you how to live right and well.
I show you what to do, where to go.
If you had listened all along to what I told you,
your life would have flowed full like a river,
blessings rolling in like waves from the sea.
Children and grandchildren are like sand,
your progeny like grains of sand.
There would be no end of them,
no danger of losing touch with me.”
20 Get out of Babylon! Run from the Babylonians!
Shout the news. Broadcast it.
Let the world know, the whole world.
Tell them, “God redeemed his dear servant Jacob!”
21 They weren’t thirsty when he led them through the deserts.
He made water pour out of the rock;
he split the rock and the water gushed.
22 “There is no peace,” says God, “for the wicked.”
WHAT DO WE LEARN—HOW DO WE RESPOND?
God can be trusted in all things. Trust God!
Don’t be wicked in the world. There is no peace for the wicked. Live for God and receive His gift of peace.
I am still in grateful praise for what you did for us last Friday evening. To you be the glory for all you have done, are doing and will do to refine us, polish us, and prepare us to tell your story so others will know you, too! I love you, Lord with all my heart, mind, and soul. I love you not just I can get something from you, I just love you. I love who you are and how real you are to all who believe in you. Thank you for teaching us to trust you more and more.
In Jesus Name, Amen