Do Not Lose Heart!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014, 8:15 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put the song “Have Thine Own Way, Lord” in mind this morning. Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Isaiah 7 (quoting selected verses in the NIV).

They Could Not!

When Ahaz son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, was king of Judah, King Rezin of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel marched up to fight against Jerusalem, but they could not overpower it.

As I read this passage of scripture this morning, I was immediately encouraged by these words, “They could not overpower it.” Amen! We, the people of God today, Christ’s followers, have enemies, too, though our true struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the authorities of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the “heavenly realms” (See Eph. 6:10-20). This is not to say we don’t have physical flesh and blood enemies. We do. What this is saying, though, is that the true battle is a spiritual one, not a physical one, and it is fought in a spiritual realm, not a physical one, and that our true opposition is Satan and all his hordes. Yet he does, often times, use human instruments to do his dirty work, sometimes without them even being aware they are being used, I believe.

Yet, the encouraging aspect of this passage, as applied to believers in Christ Jesus today – the New Jerusalem – is that Satan cannot overpower us. Amen! We are children of the King of kings and the Lord of lords, and we serve the all-powerful, all-knowing and completely sovereign and only true God of the universe. Therefore, nothing can touch us but what God allows it, and he allows it for a purpose, for he is far above all rulers and powers, and God the Father has placed everything under his feet. All things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and through him all things hold together, i.e. he is completely supreme over all things (See Eph. 1:20-23; Col. 1:15-18). Even throughout what he permits, he will give us all the grace, strength, wisdom and discernment we need to endure, to stand strong in our faith, and to be victorious over Satan and his attacks against us, because we have Jesus Christ, our victor, living inside and out through us. Amen!

Shaking in our Boots

Now the house of David was told, “Aram has allied itself with Ephraim”; so the hearts of Ahaz and his people were shaken, as the trees of the forest are shaken by the wind.

Have you ever given way to fear based off a rumor? I am sure I have. Have you ever had Satan whisper lies into your mind and try to convince you things are true which are not true? Has he ever plagued you with doubts or with what ifs? Has he distracted your mind with all kinds of flittering thoughts, which then multiplied one on top of the other until you were convinced that what was in your thoughts was the reality of a situation, when it was far from the truth? Has he convinced you that people were against you who were not against you at all, or that someone meant something mean by what he or she said, when that was not in that person’s thoughts or heart at all? Basically, have you ever been fearful based off a rumor or a lie of Satan or a paranoid thought or concern over what might happen? Well, that was the situation here. They were afraid based off a rumor of what MIGHT take place. And, so they needed a reality check BIG TIME. Maybe we do, too.

Don’t Be Afraid!

Then the Lord said to Isaiah, “Go out, you and your son Shear-Jashub, to meet Ahaz at the end of the aqueduct of the Upper Pool, on the road to the Launderer’s Field. Say to him, ‘Be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid. Do not lose heart because of these two smoldering stubs of firewood—because of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and of the son of Remaliah. Aram, Ephraim and Remaliah’s son have plotted your ruin, saying, “Let us invade Judah; let us tear it apart and divide it among ourselves, and make the son of Tabeel king over it.” Yet this is what the Sovereign Lord says:

“‘It will not take place,
it will not happen…

This was the reality check for them – “It will not happen.” Not only that, but that the enemies they feared did not have what it took to see it through. Evidently their enemies’ talk was BIG, loud and fierce, but they didn’t have the strength or power to back up their threats. That isn’t always the case. Sometimes what we fear is very real, and it truly is going to happen, so our reality check, then, is more so to trust God, to believe in his words to us, to believe in his sovereignty, love, mercy and grace to us, and to have faith that he will supply us with all we need to make it through whatever difficulties lie ahead.

So, the lie can be a threat or a rumor of something that will never happen, and for the purpose of making us afraid, or it can be to instill doubt and fear inside us concerning real situations, getting us to believe that God is not all-powerful and completely sovereign, and that he will not be with us, and/or that he does not have what it takes to see us through very real and tangible and difficult situations. Either way, though, whether real or imagined, or a “what if,” we should still not be afraid, we should not lose heart, but we should put our faith in God believing that he will work all things out for our good, and that he has a purpose for and in it all, and that he will supply all we need to make it through. Amen!

Stand Firm!

If you do not stand firm in your faith,
you will not stand at all.’”

The strong encouragement (exhortation and/or rebuke) for us here is that if we do not stand firm in our faith, we will not be able to stand at all against our enemies’ attacks, whether they are based in reality or they are based in fictitious situations. We have to daily put on the armor of God (See Eph. 6:10-20). This means that daily we must put our faith into practice in our everyday situations. When Satan attacks us with his lies, it is absolutely essential that we fight against those lies with the truth of God’s word. It is of necessity that we resist him and all his temptations and darts of doubt he throws our way, and it is vital that we draw near to God in full assurance of faith.

We must also throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, so we can run this race of the Christian life with perseverance, and it is crucial that we remove from our lives all obstacles to our faith, obedience, and surrender to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives. And, it is absolutely necessary for us to be in daily fellowship with our Lord, willfully surrendering to him in not allowing our flesh to regain control over our lives, but that we walk daily in his Spirit and in love.

Immanuel – God with Us

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

The reason we are able to stand firm in our faith, and we are able to stand strong against Satan’s schemes against us is because Jesus Christ – Immanuel – God with us - took our sins upon him, crucified and buried them with him, and then rose victorious over death, hell, Satan and sin so that we, too, can be victorious! Amen! We can do so because he is absolutely sovereign over all things, and he has all situations, which we will or might encounter, completely in hand (under his control, rule and authority). Therefore, we can trust him, believing that he has our best interest in mind, and that he will work all things out for good for those who love God and who have been called according to his purpose.

We can also stand firm in our faith because we have the living God within us, living his life out through us for his glory. He will give us all we need to stand firm and to resist Satan. So, we can believe everything he has said, and we can trust him fully with every situation that comes into our lives, and then trust in his power, wisdom and strength to see us through – all for the glory of God, and for his purposes and will, and for our good. Amen! Help me, Lord, to believe that always, and to put that faith daily into practice. Thank you!

Have Thine Own Way, Lord / Adelaide A. Pollard, 1862-1934
George C. Stebbins, 1846-1945 / Tune: ADELAIDE, Meter: 54.54 D

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine!

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o'er my being absolute sway.
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me!