This is the beginning of a calling to deny myself, to deny the plans I have for myself and my future and submit to His...not because I am forcing submission but because I am answering the call He has placed on my life...because I long to be a well watered garden.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
A Well Watered Garden
And if you give yourself to the hungry And satisfy the desire of the afflicted, Then your light will rise in darkness And your gloom will become like midday.
And the LORD will continually guide you, And satisfy your desire in scorched places, And give strength to your bones; And you will be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail. Isaiah 58:10,11
Isaiah 58 begins with the Lord telling Isaiah to declare to the Israelites that they are in sin. Although they are a righteous nation who delights in God, they cry out to him, asking why He does not notice their fast and their humility. God tells them that their fast is about forcing their flesh to behave, but that the fast that He chooses is completely different.
This is where it gets good!
Is this not the fast which I choose, To loosen the bonds of wickedness, To undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free and break every yoke? v. 6
Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into the house; when you see the naked, to cover him; and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? v. 7
God doesn't desire a fast where we focus on the flesh and what we aren't supposed to do, He wants us to focus on the things that He HAS called us to do. Either way we are denying our flesh but one way is positive, acceptable to the Lord. The other is oppressive and counterproductive.
These are the verses that the Lord gave us when we were praying about our short term mission to China over the summer. Little did we know that during that trip we would be called to take it more literally than we expected. But it goes on...with promises and encouragement!
Then your light will break out like the down, and your recovery will speedily spring forth; and your righteousness will go before you; the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. v.8
Then you will call and He will say, 'Here I am'. If you remove the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness, v.9
Do you love that? The promise of Jesus going before you as your righteousness and the glory of the Lord as your rear guard? Could it get any better than that in a world of such uncertainty? Our call is simple...Deny yourself...after that it could be hundreds of thousands of things every single day but there is always a promise...there is always that certain encouragement.
And if you give yourself to the hungry And satisfy the desire of the afflicted, Then your light will rise in darkness And your gloom will become like midday. v.10
And the LORD will continually guide you, And satisfy your desire in scorched places, And give strength to your bones; And you will be like a well watered garden, And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail. v.11