Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Forty Mile Lift

My determination is to share both sides. Yesterday, I shared the ache. Today, I will share the comfort.

Isaiah 41:8-14

8 "But you, O Israel, my servant,
Jacob, whom I have chosen,
you descendants of Abraham my friend,

9 I took you from the ends of the earth,
from its farthest corners I called you.
I said, 'You are my servant';
I have chosen you and have not rejected you.

10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

11 "All who rage against you
will surely be ashamed and disgraced;
those who oppose you
will be as nothing and perish.

12 Though you search for your enemies,
you will not find them.
Those who wage war against you
will be as nothing at all.

13 For I am the LORD, your God,
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
I will help you.

14 Do not be afraid, O worm Jacob,
O little Israel,
for I myself will help you," declares the LORD,
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.

This past Sunday, our pastor talked about Cain and Abel. He said we all think we're Abel, doing what's right in the eyes of the Lord, bringing acceptable sacrifices, pleasing to God.

But it's not true. We're all Cain. All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags. There is none who understands. There is none who seeks for God.

There is none righteous, no, not one.

I sat all through the sermon feeling very Cain-like, until the pastor made a small point, almost in passing. He said despite Cain's murderous actions and whiny complaints before Almighty God, His Creator protected him.

The same is true of Israel as a whole. God refers to His chosen as a worm, in verse 14 above. "For He Himself knows our frame. He is mindful that we are but dust" (Psalm 103:14).

And yet, God's wormy, dusty children are precious to Him, because He created us in His image.

Cain was precious to Him.

Israel is precious to Him.

I am precious to Him.

And because I am precious to Him, I need not be dismayed, because He is strengthening me, He is helping me, and He is upholding me with His righteous right hand.

(And He will cause all who rage against me to be ashamed and disgraced. So there.)