Scripture: from verse 4
…stay calm and unafraid; don’t be demoralized by these two smoldering stumps of firewood…
Observation: The book of Isaiah was written during the time that Israel was split into two countries: Israel and Judah. In this chapter, the son of the king of Israel and the king of Aram (one of their pagan neighboring countries) teamed up and attempted (unsuccessfully) to attack Jerusalem, which was the capital of Judah. The people of Judah were understandably frightened, and this verse is part of Isaiah’s word of encouragement for them.
I liked the description of the two men as smoldering stumps. All of their “blazing anger” was unable to conquer anything while God stood against them. They could burn and rage as hot as they wanted, but all it accomplished was to make themselves weak. Without God, they were just lumps of wood.
I mean, I can see the appeal. I find it quite easy to get angry about the foolish decisions of others. Being angry means I don’t have to think clearly (because everything is already perfectly clear) and I don’t have to worry about the other point of view (because obviously there isn’t one) and I don’t have to love.
But that anger accomplishes nothing. Well, that’s not quite true. I suppose it entertains me for an evening, and if I’m not careful it irritates my husband when I’m *still* talking about that. But it certainly doesn’t change the situation, and it only makes me weaker.
If I want to change the situation, the only way I can do that is by stopping and praying and asking God what to do. He generally tells me to stay out of it, of course, and if He does tell me to do something it is generally loving and mild and certainly not in line with what my anger was hoping for. But if I’m not moving with God, I’m about as useful as a lump of firewood.
Application: Stay calm in the face of anger – your own or others’. Ask Him what to do instead of doing what makes sense. Emotions like fear and anger tend not to give very good advice anyway.
Prayer: Father, thank you for taking away my fear and giving me a spirit of power and peace and a sound mind (1 John 4:18, 2 Timothy 1:7). Help me learn to move with you instead of against you. Amen.