“We all like sheep have gone astray. We have turned, each one, to his own way.” ~Isaiah 53:6
Each Sunday, I try to post a devotional thought for you to meditate on. Sometimes it will be something out of my own studies and prayers. Other times – like today – it will be from another source.
Today, I am posting a very personal piece written by Sherrian about learning to trust in God during the difficult times:
I was reading something recently where someone was comparing the wanderings of the children of Israel to their own life. It is quite a common thing to do, and understandably so . I’ve heard many sermons where Christians are compared to those stiff-necked people in one way or another, or even the way African American slaves viewed their plight as parallel to the Israelites trying to flee Egypt.
One of the most memorable titles of a sermon I got to hear was, “Lord, you got me out of Egypt, now get Egypt out of me!” As humorous as that is, it is also a sincere cry to be free from the sin within, now that we’re free from the bondage of sin.
Even now as my daily Bible reading is taking me through the books of the Law, it is impossible to ignore the legacy of sin that is regenerated with every human that is born. “We all like sheep have gone astray. We have turned, each one, to his own way.” ~Isaiah 53:6
What we constantly want is our own way, even if that way leads to destruction.
Reading what God’s people went through is like watching a scary movie. The audience may be aware a killer is lurking around a corner, and cries out to the tv screen for the character not to wander there, but you know they can’t/won’t heed your cries.
Having heard a lot of these bible stories since childhood, I want Israel to make different decisions. It’s hard not to think, “but God’s presence is right THERE with you. So much you’re afraid to go near. So much that you could die! How could you still sin? Choose life. Choose God!”
Then I’m drawn back to the reality of my own life. “but God’s Spirit is right HERE within me. So much that I don’t have to fear approaching the throne of grace. So much that I never have to fear death again! How could I still sin? Choose life. Choose God!” Yet sometimes I want to return to “Egypt” like they did.
At one point, the Israelites were hungry and all they could think about was the type of food they had in Egypt. They all of a sudden forgot the heavy burden, the harsh treatment, the abuse – they just remembered some food. Some paltry meal, some small satiation that was forgotten in the moments it was devoured.
That is me.
For the believer, sin comes at a price. We don’t relish in our sin, we hate our sin. We understand the way it hurts God, and holds consequences for others in our lives. Yet, for various reasons, motives, and periods of time, we still allow ourselves to be caught in the deceitfulness of sin.
We allow ourselves to be lied to, forgetting the hurt and the consequences, the shame and the regret. We allow the momentary pleasure to seem much more lasting and far reaching in our minds than the paltry morsel that it truly is.
When we’re in a wilderness (yeah, I’m being allegorical too ), a hard place, a place of testing, a place of lack, it is tempting to want to go backwards. For me, I just hate the build up of what I’ve left behind as something more satiating and grandiose than what’s really there. Why lie to myself? Why believe the lie?
The truth is, the cross is EVER before me. Christ says to the church at Laodicea in Revelation 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” What’s even more interesting is before that in verse 17 Christ says, “For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.” They were also believing a lie! They were fooling themselves. Yet, he offers them Himself. He doesn’t leave them there.
They didn’t realize their need for Christ. Not a one-stop need (this passage isn’t about initial salvation, this passage was TO believers), but a constant neediness that keeps us moving forward towards Him!
Sometimes the hardest thing for me is knowing when something is REALLY in my heart as opposed to just a strong momentary desire, or a conviction that just isn’t as deep-rooted as it should be. Know what I mean? It feels real, but doesn’t mean that it is.
That’s how I feel about acknowledging my need for Christ. It’s head knowledge. I can say it. I believe it. I don’t always ‘feel’ it – because things aren’t always going wrong, or things are going too wrong. I want it to be rooted in my heart, so that when I’m tested, I’ll be purified.
Revelation 3:18-20 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. 21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.
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