“When you least expect it—expect it!” When our kids would try to overtake their dad in tickle wars or harmless pranks, this was his warning to the little ones who thought they could win against their dad. They rarely defeated their dad who was wiser, stronger and ready to act when necessary. He also protected them from danger, always looking out for the holes in life they could fall into. He provided help in troubles like flat tires and cars that wouldn’t start as they grew to be adults. He taught them to be responsible so they could pass on this knowledge to their kids. When sinful acts tried to put a wedge between us, the relationship was and is still there. This is parenting, mentoring, and letting go, all at the same time. God, our Father in Heaven, responds in much the same ways.
Sin is a tireless tool of the evil one thrown out of heaven for trying to be God, which is the ultimate sin. Sin is lying to cover up the other sins such as gossip, manipulation of others to get them to do what you want them to do, pride of thinking you are the best, arrogance of letting people know you are the only one in charge, self-satisfaction in all kinds of perverted ways because you think you deserve it and finally the sin of blaming God when life falls apart for living away from God’s wings of protection, provision, and wisdom.
Nope, says Isaiah, “there’s nothing wrong with God. The wrong is in us.”
Isaiah 59, The Message
We Long for Light but Sink into Darkness
1-8 Look! Listen!
God’s arm is not amputated—he can still save.
God’s ears are not stopped up—he can still hear.
There’s nothing wrong with God; the wrong is in you.
Your wrongheaded lives caused the split between you and God.
Your sins got between you so that he doesn’t hear.
Your hands are drenched in blood,
your fingers dripping with guilt,
Your lips smeared with lies,
your tongue swollen from muttering obscenities.
No one speaks up for the right,
no one deals fairly.
They trust in illusion, they tell lies,
they get pregnant with mischief and have sin-babies.
They hatch snake eggs and weave spider webs.
Eat an egg and die; break an egg and get a snake!
The spider webs are no good for shirts or shawls.
No one can wear these weavings!
They weave wickedness,
they hatch violence.
They compete in the race to do evil
and run to be the first to murder.
They plan and plot evil, think and breathe evil,
and leave a trail of wrecked lives behind them.
They know nothing about peace
and less than nothing about justice.
They make tortuously twisted roads.
No peace for the wretch who walks down those roads!
9-11 Which means that we’re a far cry from fair dealing,
and we’re not even close to right living.
We long for light but sink into darkness,
long for brightness but stumble through the night.
Like the blind, we inch along a wall,
groping eyeless in the dark.
We shuffle our way in broad daylight,
like the dead, but somehow walking.
We’re no better off than bears, groaning,
and no worse off than doves, moaning.
We look for justice—not a sign of it;
for salvation—not so much as a hint.
12-15 Our wrongdoings pile up before you, God,
our sins stand up and accuse us.
Our wrongdoings stare us down;
we know in detail what we’ve done:
Mocking and denying God,
not following our God,
Spreading false rumors, whipping up revolt,
pregnant with lies, muttering malice.
Justice is beaten back,
Righteousness is banished to the sidelines,
Truth staggers down the street,
Honesty is nowhere to be found,
Good is missing in action.
Anyone renouncing evil is beaten and robbed.
15-19 God looked and saw evil looming on the horizon—
so much evil and no sign of Justice.
He couldn’t believe what he saw:
not a soul around to correct this awful situation.
So he did it himself, took on the work of Salvation,
fueled by his own Righteousness.
He dressed in Righteousness, put it on like a suit of armor,
with Salvation on his head like a helmet,
Put on Judgment like an overcoat,
and threw a cloak of Passion across his shoulders.
He’ll make everyone pay for what they’ve done:
fury for his foes, just deserts for his enemies.
Even the far-off islands will get paid off in full.
In the west they’ll fear the name of God,
in the east they’ll fear the glory of God,
For he’ll arrive like a river in flood stage,
whipped to a torrent by the wind of God.
20 “I’ll arrive in Zion as Redeemer,
to those in Jacob who leave their sins.”
21 “As for me,” God says, “this is my covenant with them: My Spirit that I’ve placed upon you and the words that I’ve given you to speak, they’re not going to leave your mouths nor the mouths of your children nor the mouths of your grandchildren. You will keep repeating these words and won’t ever stop.” God’s orders.
WHAT DO WE LEARN—HOW DO WE RESPOND?
We learn that sin comes on slowly—like boiling a frog in a kettle, so aptly illustrated by George Barna in his prophetic book long ago by the same name, “The Frog in the Kettle.” Put a frog in a warm bath and he will enjoy swimming around in it. Turn up the heat, ever so slowly, until the warm water is boiling him to his ultimate demise—death. That is exactly how sin works. Sin “looms on the horizon” slowly, Isaiah writes, making its way into our lives in ways, turning up the heat ever so slowly that we don’t feel or see it at first.
But God sees it. He wonders why no one is doing anything about the injustice, hate and darkness of it all. So, God shines a Light on the world so people will see who are becoming more blind with every step. God then, when evil least expected it, sent a Savior—Jesus Christ, His own Son, to defeat the enemy and make all things right between God and mankind.
But we must believe to be saved from the sin in the pot that is rising to a boil.
One of my favorite authors, Joni Eareckson Tada relates, “Though gradually, though no one remembers exactly how it happened, the unthinkable becomes tolerable. And then acceptable. And then legal. And then applaudable.”
When we least expect it, expect it. The enemy is still at work with limited power with the tricks of his trade that he has had since the beginning of creation—self pride. He has learned to move slowly and strategically with a goal to have a whole generation who does not know God or who Jesus is and what He did for them. Are we going to allow him this outcome? Will God? I don’t think so.
When we least expect it, expect God to act on our behalf for “Greater is He that is in me/us, than he that is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)Jesus said this to remind us our war is not against each other but against the one not made of flesh and blood but of the spirit of evil—all that is not God. Know that God will use us in the battle against evil. Be ready. Put on the whole armor of God! (Ephesians 6)
Isaiah relates, “’As for me,’ God says, ‘this is my covenant with them: My Spirit that I’ve placed upon you and the words that I’ve given you to speak, they’re not going to leave your mouths nor the mouths of your children nor the mouths of your grandchildren. You will keep repeating these words and won’t ever stop.’ God’s orders.”
We defeat evil when we love God with all our hearts, minds and souls and love each other the way God loves us and live in obedience to His will and ways.
God wins in the end. We all win when we really believe what God says and does is really real. “Because faith makes invisible things real, and visible things unreal, earthly dissatisfaction becomes the road to heavenly satisfaction.” –Joni Eareckson Tada
You cannot be where sin resides. So, I repent of all sin in my life so you can abide within me. I’m not perfect. I need you. Thank you, Jesus, for your perfect forgiveness, making me whole and holy before God, making things right with God so our relationship can grow in healthy ways. Thank you for redeeming me and setting me free to love like you love, pointing the way out of sin and onto a road of peace and joy with eternal love and life forever! YOU are where I want to be!
In Jesus Name, Amen Truly, greater are YOU in me than he that is in the world. I trust in you, dear Jesus!