Study from God’s Word… Isaiah 29: 22 – 24; Is 27: 2-13; Is 32: 12-20; Is 33: 2-16; Is 33: 17-24 … Passage for Reflection: Isaiah 33: 23 … NIV Your rigging hangs loose: The mast is not held secure, the sail is not spread.
My Journal for Today: Dr. LaGard Smith today in The Daily Bible In Chronological Order has brought me through the reading of Isaiah’s prophesies concerning the return of God’s people to Zion (when the Messiah comes again), about God’s forgiveness for those who have had their faith securely placed in the true Messiah, and how God’s people will be restored for eternity into a deep and abiding relationship with their Lord. What a hopeful sequence of passages this is for any believer.
But in the midst of all of this prophesy is today’s highlight verse, we read a warning to these same believers and a picture of what their lives were like at the time of Isaiah’s prophetic warnings. It’s like the Prophet couldn’t help make a snapshot observation in today’s verse about how Jacob and Judah were living in those days; and it is an ample picture of how those who’ve succumbed to the world’s way are living today, non-believers for sure, but unfortunately believers in Christ as well.
The word picture from this passage has to do with how a sailor, or especially a ship’s captain, must attend to the elements of their ship so that the vessel will be worthy to sail. And Dr. Smith today asks his readers – inspired by this little passage from Isaiah 33: 23 – to think of a large sailing ship, perhaps a racing vessel, cutting through the waves, bent over under the pressures of the prevailing winds, to rapidly move through the waters, perhaps even through a storm. And Smith reminds us that it takes great preparation for such a vessel to be able to sail out of a harbor into the seas of life, where there are always storms to deal with, and to be able to find and cut through those winds, successfully negotiating through the waters without crashing or falling apart as the ship traverses to its destiny.
Think about it, my fellow sailor. If your ship (i.e., your life values, your direction, your purpose) is not securely rigged and your course is not successfully planned against the charts of the seas (i.e., in this case from God’s word), your ship is going to be vulnerable to sinking when that ship encounters storms or high winds. If you haven’t carefully rigged the mast and sails, that ship will not be able to withstand the winds of life. AND, if you don’t follow a carefully planned course, navigating carefully along the way, making course corrections as you’re ship is tossed by the winds of life, you will not arrive where you had desired.
I hope I don’t need to bring this out by writing at length here how this word picture applies to our travels through life. We need to have a ship’s captain Who can – and will – take us to THE destiny of our life; and only surrendering the helm of our ship to Christ will do that. We need to have the sails stitched up and the mast securely fastened to the deck for our ship to sail through life; and only our daily devotional life, tying our minds/hearts securely to God’s truth (i.e., His word), can do this. And finally, we cannot sail strongly into the winds of life unless we have our sails unfurled to catch the winds; and that only happens for the believer when he/she has surrendered his/her mind/heart to the blowing force of God’s Spirit, propelling us with God’s power through the storms of life.
I hope you can see it, my friend; and I pray that your ship of life is storm worthy. I pray that we all have turned over our ship over to the Captain of our souls for Him to guide us to our eternal destiny. And I pray that we catch the winds of His Spirit in our sails to guide us through the headwinds of life, taking us ultimately into that eternal cove where God’s love and peace abound forever. That, my dear one, is what Isaiah was pointing God’s people toward with this little word picture today; and only we can be the ones to make our vessel for life ship-shape and storm worthy.
My Prayer for Today: Lord, I pray to travel through the winds of life, trusting You as my Captain, and catching the waves of Your Spirit to power my sails. My ship is word ready, Lord; and we travel through life with Your Name on our bough, … His Majesty’s Ship … “Christian.” Amen