God’s word is alive! I love that! I love that these verses were real and relevant in the context and the time in which they were written. And I love that these same words, written thousands of years ago, can leap off the page at you and bring comfort and direction to your today and the circumstances that you find yourself in. I don’t know how it works for you, but for me it’s almost like God takes a highlighter pen across the page, a passage will suddenly resonate in my heart in a way that lets me know that He is speaking. He loves to speak to us, and not just to the person next to us, or through the person next to us. And He speaks all the time – through sunsets, and friends, and stories, and movies, and science, and dreams, and ….. you get the idea. Jesus is The Word of God (John ch 1:1) so how can He be silent? But at the times we find it hard to hear (and in the times when it’s easy) I love that we have a bible full of wisdom and truth and encouragement.
I remember as a very small child that this chapter, Isaiah 54, was like writing in the sky for my parents who were trying to move house. I don’t recall all the details but I know there were little phrases in the passage that God really used to let them know that the house they were buying was the right one. In the NIV (which was the translation of choice at the time) verse 12 talks about battlements made from rubies and gates of sparkling jewels – the house they were buying had a textured pink glass in and around the front door that looked a lot like rubies! It mentions a black smith in verse 16; “See, it is I who created the blacksmith who fans the coals into flame and forges a weapon fit for it’s work” and at the bottom of the garden was the old village blacksmith! This chapter also contains this wonderful promise for me and my sister that we will be taught by the Lord and have great peace! The way these little “coincidences” worked like sign posts to God’s purpose for my mum and dad brought such encouragement and faith to follow what they felt God was saying to them. Don’t you just love it when that happens?
The last few years as a church in Brighton this scripture has been highlighted again and again – encouraging us to stretch out to the left and the right and not to hold back! This process of enlarging our tent involves lengthening our cords and strengthening our stakes. To stretch out is at times painful and to strengthen tent pegs there are occasions when it feels like you are being hit over the head repeatedly by a large mallet! Ouch! But in these times of challenge and hardship God is preparing us to receive the promise of nations! The promise of abundant fruitfulness in barren places. The promise of spiritually desolate cities like Berlin, Amsterdam and Brighton being rebuilt with precious stones. The promise that our children are being taught by God and will know His incredible peace. And also the massive comfort in knowing that no weapon fashioned against us can succeed! For me personally this last season has been one of much stretching and strengthening, but I love that the first word of this chapter is an instruction to Sing! Can’t you just imagine this incredible team of tent putter-uppers singing as they work? We sing our praise to Him who alone is worthy! We sing even while we are still waiting for our breakthroughs because we know that He is always good, our Redeemer, our Maker, our Husband, the God of all the earth!
The very next chapter talks about God’s word not returning to Him empty but achieving the purpose for which He sent it, just like the rain and snow falling on the ground and causing it to bud and flourish! His voice changes everything. Praying you hear Him today.
With love, Rach