Who do you listen to most? What sounds and images model your mind? In the depth of the night as you listen in semi slumber to your inner soul, what rises to fill your dreams or inhabit your nightmares?
We humans are complicated psychological beings. It’s amazing how many things we can find to distort our perceptions on life and bring us to discouragement and needless fear. The Lord is constantly calling His people to listen to Him so that they can come back to a true perspective on things.
In Isaiah 49:3 the Lord calls His people:
“He said to me, “You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will display my splendour.”
However, the years of suffering and the yoke of bondage have deadened this joyous vocation. Words of faith lie entombed under a discouraged declaration:
“But I said, “I have laboured to no purpose; I have spent my strength in vain and for nothing…”
Despite the conviction of a future “reward in the Lord’s hand”, the people have lost their sense of destiny. They are tired, fruitless failures. In many senses they are speaking the truth of their present experience. However, they need to hear once again the words and commissioning of the Lord. (Verses 5-13)
The heart of these words is in verse 6:
“he says: It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.”
Let us turn away from the negativity of our own judgements and experience and cleave afresh to the living words of the Lord which catapult us anew into our destiny as a people of light.
However, the wound of despair and rejection runs deep and in verse 14 we find another broken hearted cry:
“But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.”
Jesus himself experienced the same desolation on our behalf as he hung broken and forsaken on the cross.
Such experiences are inevitable as we pioneer the paths of life and suffering. However in the midst of this we need to hear the one voice which brings us to reality, resurrection and love.
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has born? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands…”
God’s overwhelming love always triumphs but we need to create an environment in our lives to receive this love which is so often cradled by heavenly words overheard in Biblical meditation.
Why not make Isaiah 50:4 a lifelong habit?
“He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.”
Don’t let fear or rejection deprive you of love.
Meditate the precious verses from 1 John 4:18.
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.”
My own love is so imperfect and limited. It has no power to break the bondage of fear. Only a crucifixion of self and a faith, grace filled abandonment to Christ can infuse us with the free gift of His perfect love.
Love in this context is the sacrificial “agape” love which gives itself wholeheartedly. It is all about a costly act of the will rather than just a nice feeling. And the word “perfect” comes from “telos” which means “goal or destiny”.
Sacrificial love with a purpose casts out fear! Jesus incarnated this love with a purpose as he set his face like a flint to go to Jerusalem and die a cruel death on a wooden cross.
We too, as His body on earth, are also called to share our part in this love with a purpose.
A young French man challenged me recently by his testimony. He said simply that every moment that was not lived for someone else was a wasted moment! Let’s make every moment count by turning to God in prayer, and our neighbour in service.
Let us again overhear our heavenly commission:
“I will also make you a light for the Gentiles that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.”
Extract from the book “A Fruit in Season”
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