Scripture: from verse 17
Instead of bronze I will bring gold,
and instead of iron I will bring silver;
instead of wood, bronze,
instead of stones, iron.
Observation: In the wake of 9/11, Rabbi Jonathan Cahn pointed out that at least two leaders quoted from Isaiah 9:10, swearing to rebuild stronger than ever. This was a rather foolish thing to do, as Isaiah 9 is about people who ignore the Lord’s warnings and rely on their own strength to rebuild.
But here, God is promising a similar rebuilding. The rebellious leaders promised to replace fig trees with cedars; God promises to replace wood with bronze. They were going to replace brick with dressed stone; God promises to replace stone with iron.
The difference, of course, if that God is the source of this new strength. We can try to create our own strength, using the best ideas and materials available to us, but our efforts will never work as well as if we’d relied on God in the first place. His ways are higher than ours. His Spirit can amplify our strength in ways we would never have predicted.
Application: Rely on His strength, now your own
Prayer: Father of Light, I praise you because everything that has been made was made by you and for your purposes. I praise you because you created this world and allowed me to play in it, like a child in a sandbox. Thank you for taking delight in the castles I create. Help me to rely on you to accomplish what I cannot. Amen.
Scripture: from verse 3
More holy than the holiest holiness
is Adonai–Tzva’ot [Lord of Armies]!
Observation: Holy means set apart, and different, and other. It means outside the box. It means not in the normal category.
And then there’s God, who is so far beyond apart and different and other that we don’t even have words for it. All we can say is that He’s beyond everything else we don’t understand. God is Not Like Us.
Which is just as well, really. The Greeks and Romans had gods who were like us, and as a result they all kept getting turned into things or cursed or saddled with ridiculous wars because some prince or other was an idiot. (Paris, I’m looking at you.) We may fear God, but at least we don’t have to fear the pettiness and resentment that a powerful human would inflict.
But we should fear God. Because we don’t understand Him, so we can’t control of manipulate or bargain with Him. He calls all the shots and makes all the rules. There is no higher power or rulebook to appeal to, because He is the Higher Power.
We are blessed, then, that He bends the rules in our favor. That He has made promise after promise to bless us and give us life. There’s no greater power for Him to promise by, of course, but He promised by Himself (Hebrews 6).
We don’t understand God. We can’t control Him. But we don’t have to. He blesses us anyway.
Application: Don’t assume you’ve got God figured out. You don’t.
Prayer: Father, I praise you for being far beyond what I can imagine or understand. Help me to keep from making assumptions about what you want and how you work. Thank you for blessing me and keeping me safe and teaching me truth beyond what I could figure out on my own. Amen.