Tag Archives: truth

Isaiah 37

Scripture: from verse 7

 he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land…

Observation:  God is promising Israel that the general attacking them will fall without any action of theirs: he will hear a rumor and return home, where he will be killed.

It just draws such a strong contrast between God and humans.  On one hand we have the general, who has to make decisions with the best information he has, and as a result he is swayed by every rumor and whisper that comes to him.  On the other hand we have God, who not only knows exactly what is happening (and therefore has no need to wait for rumors to trickle in) but knows what will happen, without even trying.

And we have the general, relying on people who bring him information in return for money or power or favor, so that he can never be quite sure who is telling him the truth and how much they know.  And we have Israel, relying on the Maker of the Universe, who cannot be bought or and is not deceived and knows everything, who tells us what we need to know freely.

Remind me again why we insist on relying on our own understanding?

Oh, that’s right.  Because we’re human, and humans are awfully silly sometimes.

Application:  We can’t stop being human, and we’re probably not capable of never being silly, but we can choose to make the wise decision for now.  Ask God to tell you what you need to know.

Prayer:  Father, I praise you because you are Truth and you will never let me be deceived if I ask you for insight.  Please help me to do so.  Amen.


Isaiah 35

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.

Isaiah 31

Scripture: from verse 4

their voices do not upset him…

Observation: Israel has been turning to Egypt for help (again) and God is highlighting how much more powerful He is than Egypt, by comparing Himself to a lion that the shepherds are yelling at.  Occasionally, of course, there was a shepherd (like David) who was able to drive off a lion, but most of the time the lions could safely ignore the shepherds they encountered.  The shepherd didn’t even factor into its plans.

That’s how God feels.  Our strength and plans and resources don’t even figure in His calculations unless He feels like including them.  We are not nearly as big as we thing we are.

And really, that’s just as well.  Even when we’re doing okay, we almost never really have everything figured out.  There’s always an unexpected factor or event or person to throw our plans out of whack.  The 2005 movie The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has one character murmur, “Best-laid plans of mice,” and when he is corrected, he adds, “I don’t think men had much to do with it.”  And while I’m pretty sure the mice aren’t running the show, I agree with him that we aren’t either.

Application:  In all your ways, acknowledge Him (Psalm 3).  He’s bigger than you.

Prayer:  Yeshua, I praise you for being bigger than me.  I praise you because you understand my world considerably better than I do.  I praise you because the things that threaten me do not bother you.  Thank you for protecting me.  Help me to remember that you have already set my plans.  Amen.

Isaiah 5:16-30

Scripture: verse 20

Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who change darkness into light
and light into darkness,
who change bitter into sweet
and sweet into bitter!

Observation:  One of the things I like about God is that He is truth.  God is the fundamental Source of logic in Creation.  When tomorrow follows today in the correct sequence, it is because God is truth and He doesn’t change.  When I throw a ball and it follows a trajectory that can be calculated from the strength of my throw and the weight of the ball and the pull of gravity and a few key equations, it is because God is truth.  When I add two and two and get four, it is because God is truth.

Truth isn’t unknowable.  It isn’t relative.  The facts of a situation vary, of course, but the bedrock structural logic of the universe is true and does not change.  This isn’t always pleasant – tomorrow may be sad, the ball may hit someone in the face, and I may have been hoping that two and two would magically be five today – but it is still far safer than the alternative.

And then there’s people who say that nothing is knowable and we should rejoice in the mystery.  That humans are supposed to be nasty and brutish.  That evil is good and good is evil.  Some of them are simply confused, of course, and God has grace for that.  But for the people who look at what they know to be true and decide to believe otherwise, God has something else coming.  Because He is truth, and He will not change Himself to accommodate a lie.

Application:  See the truth.  Believe it.

Prayer:  Father, thank you or creating logic and physics and things that are true, that we can explore and study and learn about.  Thank you or creating a world that is stable and full of new mysteries for us to uncover.  Help me stay on your bedrock of truth.  Amen.

Colossians 2:1-5

Scripture: from verses 2 and 3

…that [you] may have all the riches derived from being assured of understanding and fully knowing God’s secret truth, which is — the Messiah! It is in him that all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden.

Observation:  Paul’s goal is for us to have all the benefit of knowing the Messiah.

I’m somehow reminded of Yoda by this.  Admittedly I did see a Yoda-related video on YouTube earlier, so perhaps that is why.  But Yoda is a little tiny creature with 900 years of wisdom and experience and knowledge of the Force inside him, and he’s the only source for that knowledge in the entire galaxy.  He doesn’t look like much, but he has everything.

And Yeshua is the wellspring of life.  If the Force existed, He would be the Source of the Force, the only one capable of seeing every thread and intersection as well as the pattern of the whole.

There’s a lot we can figure out on our own.  But if we want to Truth, the real powerful ground-level truth that is capable of keeping us safe and making us whole, we have to go to the Source.

Application:  Seek the Truth.  Seek His face.

Prayer:  Yeshua, I praise you because you are the Source of everything I need, and you have every answer to every mystery.  You are the one who can show me the beauty you created.  Help me to seek your face and not be satisfied with partial truths.  Amen.

Colossians 1:1-5

Scripture: from verse 4 and 5

The love you have for all God’s people…springs from the confident hope that you will receive what is stored up for you in heaven.

Observation:  We don’t always like people.  I certainly don’t always like people.  I don’t like people when they don’t listen to me, or when they talk too much, or when they refuse to think clearly about some subject.  I have the unfortunate tendency to think ideas are more important than people, and I can ride roughshod over the needs of others if I’m not careful as a result.  Sometimes listening is more important than being right.

And I think that’s one of the things that is stored up specifically for me in heaven: answers.  Clear, elegant truths that make sense of everything that happens on Earth and unlock new and fascinating questions to explore.  And (I hope) the knowledge that everyone else around me also sees God clearly, and God is Truth so because they see Truth and I see Truth we’ll be able to think about things together and not get caught in weird circular logic and human anchoring biases.

Stupid anchoring bias.

And so I can love people even when I don’t like them.  Even when they are wrong – not just mistaken (which I don’t mind) but actually refusing to see reason – I know that someday I won’t have any biases and they won’t have any biases and the conversation that I’m finding so frustrating will be long gone and forgotten.  Because Truth is waiting.

God already counts me as perfect.  I’m not.  Hopefully I can love others for how our relationship will be, even if I don’t like where it is.  It’s not like I’m perfect either.

And this is different for every person, but God still has stored in heaven exactly the treasure you are hoping for.  Time.  Affection.  Pleasure.  Power.  Creation.  Sleep.  Everything we desire – everything we dislike other people for interrupting – God has stored up for us.  The current delay is just a drop in the ocean of promise.

Application:  Look to heaven.  God has what you need.  You don’t have to push at others or take from others to get it.

Prayer:  Yeshua, help me to be better at seeing things from your perspective.  Help me to know that you have all the answers, and that all things will pass but your Truth.  Help me to love others the way you do.  Amen.

Leviticus 27:22-34

Scripture: from verse 29

No person who has been sentenced to die, and thus unconditionally consecrated, can be redeemed; he must be put to death.

Observation:  Something that was unconditionally consecrated was holy to Adonai; it could not be redeemed or sold or otherwise un-consecrated.  This included people sentenced to death for crimes against God or the community.

When we were discussing God’s commanded wholesale slaughter of various people groups in the Old Testament, my mom once pointed out that God wasn’t necessarily condemning them all.  He was simply making it so He could deal with those people individually.  By preserving His plan for His people, He made it possible to offer grace to those people through Yeshua, the culmination of that plan.

What we see is not all there is.  Executing criminals also meant putting them in God’s hands, where they could be dealt with with perfect justice and perfect love.

Obviously today we don’t go around stoning people.  But we can acknowledge that God is dealing with people and we can’t always see it.  Sometimes we are called to leave others to Him.  We want to teach and correct and remind and push, but that may not be what we’re called to do.  Other people are also holy to God, and we should let Him deal with their faults in His time and in His way.

And the truth is that we too are condemned to die.  We were dead in our sin (Eph 2) and had no hope.  We are unconditionally consecrated to God.  And we cannot be sold or transferred, because we are especially holy to Him.  He has plans for us.

Application:  Trust God to be teaching others.  Let Him teach you.

Prayer:  Yeshua, thank you for making it possible for me to have grace.  Thank you for making me holy.  Help me to trust your plans.  Amen.

Leviticus 26:23-46

Scripture: from verse 36

The sound of a driven leaf will frighten [you], so that [you] will flee as one flees from the sword and fall when no one is pursuing.

Observation:  This is one of the penalties for not following God’s will: the land will be overrun and most of the people will be captured and taken away, and the remainder will live in fear.  If God’s people followed His will, this would be true of their enemies instead.

I used to struggle with social anxiety.  Actually I still do, but it’s much, much less than it used to be.  And as a result there was almost always a couple of people who I was quite convinced hated me.  I don’t know where the idea came from, but I would misinterpret every glance and comment as disdainful and critical.  And it would make me feel sick and sad and tired, and I never knew what to do about it.

And that’s what life is without God.  Without His perspective, we see things wrong.  A blowing leaf looks bigger than it is, and the beginnings of a real storm look insignificant.

Application:  Look for God’s perspective before you react.  Don’t get caught up in your own perceptions.

Prayer:  Father, thank you for being the Truth that is at the core of creation.  Thank you for holding all things together.  Help me to see things the way you do.  Amen.

Leviticus 26:1-22

Scripture: from verse 6

I will give peace in the land — you will lie down to sleep unafraid of anyone.

Observation:  The passage lists the blessings that will result from walking in God’s ways, as well as the punishments that will result from refusing to do so. I liked this one – a promise that God would remove wild beasts and protect them from attack, so they would be able to lie down and sleep unafraid.

In that time, all common sense argued against sleeping in the open.  Someone could attack you or rob you in your sleep, or you could be hurt by a snake or scorpion or lion or wild dog, or if you avoided those fates, there was still the hot sun to burn you during most of the year.

But in God, we can defy common sense.  His peace includes protection from people and animals and even the elements.  If we follow where He is leading, we don’t have to worry.

We tithe, and let Him protect our finances.  We reach out to others as He shows us, and trust Him to guard our hearts from being hurt.  We remain chaste, and trust Him to arrange our sex lives.  He provides for all our needs according to the riches of His glory (Phil 4:19).

Application:  Lie down and sleep in peace.  Ask Him to handle the things that are causing you anxiety.

Prayer:  Father, thank you for protecting me.  Thank you for reversing common sense so that I can rest.  Thank you for covering all my anxieties.  Amen.

Ephesians 5:26-30

Scripture: verses 29 and 30

Why, no one ever hated his own flesh!  On the contrary, he feeds it well and takes care of it, just as the Messiah does the Messianic Community, because we are parts of His body.

Observation: The context here is that of marriage: husbands take care of their wives because the husband and wife are one flesh, so caring for her is like caring for himself.  And indeed, ignoring or mistreating one’s spouse is generally an excellent example of shooting yourself in the foot.  But what caught my eye is the assertion that no one ever hated his own body.

As a teenager, I used to shave my legs dry, when I consented to shave them at all.  No shaving cream, no soap, not even water.  And yes, I got terrible razor burn.  My memories of shaving are mostly of embarrassment – embarrassment over having leg hair, embarrassment over not having shaved, embarrassment over having to ask to have the bathroom to myself, embarrassment over the time it took.  So I snuck upstairs when people were doing other things and shaved as quickly as I could, usually with somebody else’s razor because I hadn’t admitted I needed one.  (I probably owe my sisters an apology for that one, come to think of it!)

And I’m not sure what exactly was going on in my head, but clearly something was.  Somehow I’d gotten the idea that taking care of myself was wasteful.  So I didn’t.  Not in scary dangerous ways – I never struggled with eating disorders or anything of that sort – but in little ways.

But Messiah takes care of His body.  He takes care of me.  And He wants me to take care of myself.  He made me, and I am not a waste.

Application:  You aren’t a waste either.  Your body, your emotions, your ideas – God made them and God loves them.  It’s okay to use your resources to care for yourself.

Prayer:  Messiah, thank you for caring for me.  Thank you for making me the way I am and for loving me enough to die for me.  Help me to move with confidence in your love.  Amen.