Friday, July 16, 2010

2010 – July 16 – The Hard Lesson of Submission

Study from God’s Word Isaiah 48: 16 – 50: 11 … Passage for Reflection: Isaiah 50 : 6 – 7 … NIV 6 I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting. 7 Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame.

My Journal for Today: In today’s highlight passage from Isaiah’s teaching/preaching/prophesying, Dr. Smith, presents one of the hardest lessons we must learn as followers of the One Who would come to redeem God’s people from their sinful disobedience. And here today Isaiah is preaching this lesson to hard-headed, stubborn children of God who found it almost impossible to “get it,” … to understand and internalize the one lesson which their one-day Messiah would model for them; and that was the lesson of humility.

I don’t know about your story, but my story of rebellion from God and my choices – for years of my young adult life – was one of walking away from the teachings and life-modeling of Jesus Christ; and my life was replete with the opposite of humility; and that, of course is prideful and arrogant, self-directed living. And that was both Israel and Judah in the days that God had to turn them over to the Babylonians so that they could learn humility, the days where Isaiah was prophesying and teaching about humility.

As Dr. Smith points out from the passages he had me read and study from God’s word today, we need to learn the lesson of humbly learning and following God … #1 when we absolutely know that we’re deserving of the punishment/circumstances we incur because of our disobedience or rebellion. However, #2, we have to also learn the tougher lesson of being humble and following God even when we have lived right before God and the circumstance we incur are unjust or “just not right!” And it is the latter where Jesus, our Messiah and Redeemer, gave us the perfect model as, during His passion, He walked to the cross, humbly following the path His Heavenly Father had place before him, … a path of unjust mocking and even death as the Lamb of God. If you’ve seen the movie The Passion of The Christ, you’ve gotten just sampling of what that must’ve been like. And that is the humility which is our model that the Apostle Paul wrote about in Phil. 2: 5 – 11 [linked]; and it is the model which Isaiah prophesied by today’s passage which would be followed by their Messiah centuries later.

Now, on to application, we have to ask ourselves whether we really believe and live by such God-written truths as Prov. 3: 5-6 and Romans 8: 28 - which I hope you already have memorized) which require absolute humility and surrender to a God Who ALWAYS loves us – no matter what the circumstances of life are in our lives. And we must ALWAYS allow God the latitude to lead us into and through the valley of the shadow of death in our lives so that we can/will get to the green pastures He has promised us (see Psalm 23). The challenge is that we don’t know whether those green pastures will occur in this life or gloriously in the New Jerusalem (i.e., heaven); but even if our life involves unjust mockery, punishment from an anti-God world, or even death in Christ’s Name, we just walk as did Jesus to the cross, … in absolute surrender to the Father … and as Christians, to our Lord and Savior and Messiah, Jesus.

Hence, I am challenged by the lesson today; because my selfish heart (see Jer. 17: 9) so often causes me to think “Why me, Lord?” And my flesh gets me hung up as it did the Apostle Paul writing about his weaknesses in Romans 7: 14 – 24 [also linked]. But then I read and internalize the truth of Romans 8 [I hope you know the hope we glean from humbly internalized this passage]; and I’m lifted to realize that I may not have the strength to be humble, as it says in 2nd Cor. 12: 9; but God will give me, through His grace, His strength to cover my weakness [i.e., also the promise of 1st Cor. 10: 13]. The question will always be can we humble ourselves in surrender to these truths.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, I pray that any who read with me today, will join me in the trek of humility, seeking Your strength to help us walk humbly on the path where You lead us. Amen

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