Isaiah 38

Scripture: from verse 15

I will go humbly all my years,
remembering how bitter I was.

Observation:  The chapter begins with King Hezekiah getting sick, and God sending Isaiah to tell Hezekiah that he was going to die.  Hezekiah prayed and wept, and God sent Isaiah again with the news that God had changed His mind and Hezekiah would live after all.  Once he had recovered, Hezekiah wrote about the experience, and how difficult it was to have no control over his body or his fate, to be weak despite trying to be strong, and to know that God could end his life at any time.

C. S. Lewis pointed out that we have all sorts of funny notions about ownership: we think we own our bodies, and our time, and all sorts of things.  We have very little control over our bodies, and often even less over our time, and the little bit of control that we do have was given to us by God.

I would have blogged this chapter yesterday, but I found the whole incident bewildering: why would God make Hezekiah sick if He planned to heal him as soon as he prayed?  Rereading Hezekiah’s poem today gave me the answer: because Hezekiah was trying to do things under his own power.

I don’t know exactly what Hezekiah was doing, and as none of us are royalty I don’t suppose it matters.  But we all try to do things on our own.  We all try to talk ourselves out of temptation instead of asking God for aid.  We all try to be courageous on our own instead of asking for peace.

Our willpower is less our own than we think.  Studies show that willpower runs out – experimental subjects who had to use self-control for one task will have less self-control in the next task.

So we who are in God should rely on Him as the Source of our willpower.  He is the only one who never runs out, who does not get tired from making decisions.  He is the one who sees the bigger picture, who can number our days and see our eternities.  And I don’t really know how we do this, but I don’t have to.  I just ask Him.

Application:  Ask God where you need to be relying on Him more.  (And drink some juice – apparently glucose boosts willpower.  Brains are weird.)

Prayer:  Father, thank you for making me.  Thank you for making our brains as such strange and wonderful machines.  I praise you because you have none of my limitations.  You are never overwhelmed, never tired, never low on blood sugar.  Help me to turn to you when I am.  Amen.

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