Scripture: from verse 2
[Abraham] was but one when I called him…
Observation: The passage says that if we are seeking the Lord, we should look to Abraham, who was only one person when God called him, but God called him and blessed him and multiplied him to create a kingdom of priests and a holy nation (1 Peter 2:9).
Genesis 15 says that Abraham believed God, and God counted it as righteousness. This is quoted in Galatians 3 and Romans 4, so it’s pretty important. That word “believed” is aman, which is the root of “amen.” It means to support, to confirm, to trust in, to be established.
So if we are seeking God, we are to look at Abraham’s example. And Abraham’s example is one of very simple faith: if God told him to do something, he did it. If God made him a promise, he believed it.
Application: What has God told you? What promises should you be believing?
Prayer: God, I praise you because you are the Faithful One, who never fails and never changes. I praise you because your word is good. Help me to believe in it the way you want me to. Amen.
Scripture: from verse 4
I name you, though you do not know me.
Observation: God is speaking to Cyrus (probably the king of Persia) here, saying that God has chosen to bless and enrich Cyrus because by doing so He will bless Israel.
I’ve noticed lately (or rather, God pointed out) that I lack faith in certain areas. So I’ve been praying for more faith, but without really believing that I’ll receive what I ask for, because that’s part of the faith I’m lacking. Logic and scripture both indicate that my prayer will be answered, mind you. I just don’t believe it yet. (In other news, brains are not nearly as rational as we might wish.)
So I’m asking God to move unilaterally, because I can’t move to meet Him. And part of me worries that it doesn’t work like that: that nothing will happen unless I do something to increase my own faith. That God has better things to do with His time.
But the truth is that God has nothing better to do with His time. The truth is that He delights to bless me. The truth is that He named me before I knew Him, and He will continue to pull me close. And if I don’t believe those things, that’s my problem. My worries don’t change who God is.
Application: Ignore your worries and let Him work.
Prayer: God, thank you for naming me before I knew you. I praise you because you are not limited by your nature, but can move and work to do your will. Please bless me and teach me about yourself. Amen.
Scripture: verse 7
If you say to me, “We trust in the Lord our God,” is it not He whose high places and altars King Hezekiah has removed, saying to Judah and to Jerusalem, “You shall worship before this altar”?
Observation: “Me” in this quote is an officer of Assyria, sent to demand Israel’s surrender. This is a very crafty piece of gaslighting (making false or misleading statements in order to make the audience doubt their own knowledge.) The high places and altars Hezekiah destroyed were for the worship of other gods, and it was the Lord who commanded his people to worship at His altar in Jerusalem. But most people (being only human) did not have the clear understanding of God’s law that would combat this deception, and as a result I am sure that many of them did begin to doubt in God’s support.
Satan played the same trick in the Garden of Eden, twisting God’s law to pull Adam and Eve away from the truth. (Admittedly Adam and/or Eve helped out in that case.) He played the same trick when he tempted Yeshua. He plays the same trick today.
So what do we do? We stay close to the truth. Experts dealing with gaslighting sociopaths take notes or recordings of their conversations, and keep a record of what has happened, so that they can clearly see the contradictions that present themselves. We can do the same thing, by keeping God’s word and God’s truth in front of us, so we can see clearly.
Application: Keep reading His Word. Recognize lies for what they are.
Prayer: Yeshua, I thank you that your are the Source of Truth. I thank you that you will never lie to me and you will always defeat lies that try to hurt me. Please help me to remember your truth and not be confused. Amen.
Scripture: from verse 7
The sandy mirage will become a pool…
Observation: This is one of the “when the Lord reigns everything will be wonderful” chapters. I know two different songs based on verses from it, which is not a record but still pretty good.
Mirages are false promises. They seem to offer relief and refreshment and a whole new life, and then when we turn towards them they vanish. Over and over and over again.
But God doesn’t make false promises. His world does not contain things that seem to be and are not. What He offers is real, and we can trust Him.
Someday we will be able to trust our renewed senses. We will know the truth instinctively, and it will not vanish as we approach. God promises life and life abundantly.
Application: Trust in the Lord. He doesn’t vanish.
Prayer: Yeshua, I praise you because you are Truth and you do not change. Thank you for being willing to reveal truth to me, and to guide me to real refreshment. Help me to trust you and not my own guesses. Amen.
Scripture: from verses 14 and 15
We will then no longer be infants tossed about by the waves and blown along by every wind of teaching, at the mercy of people clever in devising ways to deceive. Instead, speaking the truth in love…
Observation: It shouldn’t be a surprise that we all start as infants. It’s not human nature to discern truth instinctively; we need to be taught. The previous verses were about the structure God set in place to make sure His people got the teaching they needed – emissaries, prophets, proclaimers, shepherds and teachers. This isn’t something God takes lightly.
And it isn’t something we should take lightly either. There’s a warning in here, against being too content to be an infant, and against insisting that we can figure it out on our own, without teachers and shepherds. If we don’t seek out those who speak the truth in love, we are vulnerable to those who seek to deceive.
Application: Listen to those who speak the truth in love. Listen to people who know more than you. This isn’t confined to theology, either, given some of the medical quakery out there. It isn’t fun to listen to truth, but it’s much more rewarding than watching the equivalent of those Baby Einstein movies all day.
Prayer: Yeshua, help me to grow to full knowledge in you. Lead me to the teachers you want me to learn from, and help me to listen to them. Thank you for being Truth, and therefore reliable. Amen.