#37 for November 8
After I’d been forgiven and called to be one of God’s instruments, God spoke to my heart through His Word, particularly Isaiah, in a mighty way. Isaiah 41:10-13 became a lifeline to me. I memorized verse 10 and used it as a weapon against attacks of fear:
“Fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you
with my victorious right hand,” (Isaiah 41:10b)
Isaiah must have felt terrified when he saw the Lord and realized his sin (when he said “Woe is me! For I am lost.” 6:5). I can relate to that; fear overwhelmed me as the full consciousness of my sinful heart came into focus:
I’ve let emotions rule me! I know now I can’t trust them. Will I continue to be deceived? How can I make decisions wisely? How do I know whether I’m rationalizing or not? Will God ever be able to use me again?
“There is no fear in love,
but perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18 RSV).
Once we’ve been forgiven and receive God’s love, we don’t need to fear because God is with us. If we love the Lord, he’ll protect and help us.
I continued to search for answers to my questions.
Humbled by God’s mercy, I realized the consequences of my sin could have been much worse. God’s gentle discipline encouraged me that he would also keep his promises to bless me.
God’s presence became vividly real to me through repeating these words in Isaiah 41: 9-10. I also looked forward to the day promised in verses 11-12:
“Look, all who were angry at you will be ashamed and humiliated; your adversaries will be reduced to nothing and perish. When you will look for your opponents, you will not find them; your enemies will be reduced to absolutely nothing,” (Isa. 41:11-12 NET)
I was in the thick of spiritual battle. I knew the devil still wanted to destroy me both physically and emotionally, although he had already lost the battle spiritually. It meant a lot to me to know the LORD my God held my right hand and said, “Don’t be afraid, I am helping you,” (v.13 NET)..
Then Isaiah returns to the court argument. The jury must make a decision. Will you worship the idols or will you worship the Holy One of Israel, Almighty God, our Creator? In Deut.6:1-9, Moses instructs Israel to obey God so “it may go well with you.”
In America today, people don’t usually worship idols of wood and stone as in Israel’s day, but there are things many people consider more important than God. Our relationship with God must be top priority in our lives in order for our lives to function correctly. In Matthew 4:10, Jesus said we should worship the Lord alone.
The reason the Lord wants us to put him first is so he can bless us.
Lord, you are our strength and provider. You are the One who knows all the answers to our questions and our lives. Almighty God, You are Creator and the one who sustains our universe. Yet, you have chosen us to be your instruments! I’m glad to put you first!
—Judith Vander Wege