Tag Archives: our struggle is not in flesh and blood

Isaiah 60:11-22

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.

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Isaiah 7:1-12

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.

Colossians 1:6-10

Scripture: from verses 9 and 10

We ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will…so that you may live lives worthy of the Lord and entirely pleasing to him, being fruitful in every good work and multiplying in the full knowledge of God.

Observation:  “Be fruitful and multiply” was the first commandment given to humans: God told Adam and Eve to have children and fill the earth.  That command is echoed here, with a twist.  Instead of merely having children and expanding the population, the call is for spiritual growth which expands and strengthens the kingdom of God.

A kingdom is where people do the will of the King.  We can’t expand the kingdom of God is we don’t know what His will is.  So we ask God to show it to us.  Every good work and everything we learn about God and how things work in the spiritual realm stems from learning what God wants.

Application:  Seek God’s will and do it.  Strengthen the kingdom.

Prayer:  Holy Spirit, help me to know God’s will and follow it.  Help me to bring light and life to your kingdom.  Help me to multiply in the knowledge of God.  Amen.