~~i want to be everything you dreamed when you called my name~~

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Resting on THE Rock

I was reading in Isaiah this morning (such a cool book by the way...) and thought I'd share some thoughts...ISAIAH 28
So I was thinking...very few people can relax on a boat during a raging thunderstorm with swelling waves and pummeling rain, or in an airplane surging through turbulent winds (think...the storms we've had around here lately!), or in the midst of a hurricane or an earthquake. If you've ever been on a boat during a bad storm, maybe you know what it's like to grope for a secure place to stand. When we are in situations like this, we find ourselves stumbling, grasping for anything to hold us steady - and praying for a firm foothold on steady ground. Good news! (good news mom - I got a scooter..haha, I love my nephews) Anyway - there IS a sure foundation on which to stand, Someone who will keep us safe and guide us by the hand through the most intense turmoil imaginable, Someone who will allow us to find rest, when all around us is turmultuous and threatening.

God's message to the northern kingdom in this passage was that the people could find their rest in Him. It hadn't taken long for the Isrealites to become rigid and ritualistic in their observance of God's law. Rather than getting to know God, and encountering Him, they had turned his words into a rule book. Their basis for facing life's issues had become adherence to an inflexible list of do's and don'ts. Rules in and of themselves, however, are insecure and ultimately unsatisfying. Isaiah captured the essence of the philosophy of the Israelites of his day by referring to it as a complex system of "Do and do, do and do, rule on rule, rule on rule; a little here, a little there - so that they will go and fall backward, be injured and snared and captured" (Isaiah 28:13)

The children of God were so preoccupied with obeying all theh rules that they had begun stumbling all over one another. Surprisingly God's counsel to his people was to slow down and be still - to rest. We can almost hear God's gently appeal, whispering on the winds of the storm: "Quit trying so hard! There is nothing you need to do except enjoy me! I have provided everything for you, so step out of the storm you have created and relax!"

Now I'm not condoning a sloppy lifestyle of living and flirting with sin, and then just saying Jesus wont care and he winks or something. That is not what Im talking about. Because its Gods kindness that leads us to repentance. When we figure out that God is a God of kindness, we want to turn from everything that hinders love. I dont want to take advantage of the kindness of God. Kindness leads to repentance, not sloppy lifestyles.

Anyway - Isaiah reminded the people that there was a "stone" on which they could rest without ever experiencing dismay. This stone is one hundred percent safe and secure, a place of reprieve from the endless round of doing and rule-keeping. That stone is Jesus, God's Son, the "sure foundation" (vs. 16) for all of life (see also Psalm 118:22 and 1 Corinthians 3:11).

Peter quoted Isaiah's words and encouraged believers to become people of integrity who are not blown away by the storms of life. As we live holy lives we become strong and immoveable (see 1 Peter 2:4-12).

So relax, settle down, trust him!!! And find joy in your journey of faith (Matthew 11:28).

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