There’s so much going on in the world. Have you been feeling besieged, encircled by circumstances that overwhelm you at times?
I sense God saying, buffer our spirituality so we don’t become a grieving, raging, hostile, embittered generation despising God’s goodness.
We don’t want this…Isaiah chapter 8, verses 21 - 22 says, “Distressed and hungry, they will roam through the land; when they are famished, they will become enraged and, looking upward, will curse their king and their God. Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom…”
So, how do we safeguard our faith against this societal trend and remain on the offensive, moving in faith, advancing God’s kingdom in this hour?
In Isaiah chapter 8, the prophet spoke to the people of Judah to trust God. Encircled by warring armies, rather than look to God, they chose to find refuge in a political alliance with Assyria, a grand mistake, for many would experience that “fearful gloom” for lack of trust.
Isaiah chapter 8 is a divine blueprint to empower faith in today’s season of panic so we avoid that gloominess.
Reach out for God’s hand
It begins with the prophet himself being tempted to be caught up in the panic of the people besieged, as the enemy drew closer. Perhaps it was a little similar to Kiev being encircled by Russian army presently.
How much more did the Jews feel tormented as they endured the times of Holocaust when some six million perished.
But, God’s grace is there for his people. The bible says in Isaiah chapter 8, verse 11, “The Lord spoke to me, with his strong hand upon me.”
When bad surrounds, know that God hasn’t left you!
In Christ, God’s strong hand Christ is in us, yield and you will be made strong. Yield also to good conscience, righteousness and strong godly convictions and be filled with hope and love.
His hand on us enables positive self-talk. That’s important because the decisions and steps you take this week are going to flow out of the relentless conversations going on inside you.
Fear God rather than fear what’s coming!
As these new ideas of his possibility and perspective fill you, resist the fear.
God told Isaiah in chapter 8, verses 11 - 13 to resist thoughts of fear due to external circumstances but instead to fear him!
“…warning me not to follow the way of this people. He said,…do not fear what they fear .... The Lord Almighty is the one you are… to fear…”
For example, maybe you keep fighting and clashing with your spouse, it’s unbearable. Stop fearing to become a divorce statistic.
Fear God by allowing his strong hand to grab hold of you. Forgive in his strength. Show mercy as God forgave you in Christ. You are no longer under God’s wrath. And forgive yourself, the devil wants to ensnare you in self-contempt.
Make effort to appreciate and compliment your spouse’s contributions. Humble yourself and seek God to understand how you are called as a couple. Rend hearts. Love each other with a renewed love in Christ. Apply this in church relationships too.
Nothing usually changes unless we do. So, arrest the fear, go from panic to peace and start taking steps forward with God’s leading. Things will come good!
Revel in God’s refuge
The next thing God says, to those who fear him is that, “He will be a sanctuary.” (Isaiah chapter 8 verse 14)
Sanctuary means safety. His presence brings peace. A heightened sense of presence comes through his power and gifts of the spirit.
I prophesied to a businessman recently, he would see his meetings go superbly well, I saw three gatherings. ‘That’s spot on’, he responded with a glowing countenance. ‘I just had three, wow, God is real!’
He was revelling in God as a refuge. God’s refuge provides perfect safety in the midst of today’s storms. Tap into it! God’s refuge is his church, stay connected, draw encouragement.
Break, don’t be broken
The prophet goes on to say, after God being a sanctuary, “for both houses of Israel he will be a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.”
At some point we all stumble on the stone of Christ. We look at our situation and have to choose the way of faith.
We will ask things like, ‘how can God be good, look at the all the hate and destruction. How can Jesus be God in the flesh and his forgiveness save me?’
One person stumbles allowing their heart to break, weeps over their sin and is overwhelmed by his love, their pride is purged away. Healing occurs.
Bliss, hope arises, things can certainly come good.
However, others intentionally harden and continue to resist the truth, on the day of God’s wrath, despite pleading for mercy, that stone will break the stubborn. God forbid!
Seek God’s light
Finally, the prophet says, verse 16: “bind up the testimony, …I will wait for the Lord…Here I am, the children the Lord has given me. We are signs and symbols from the Almighty”.
In other words, Isaiah’s words from God are totally trustworthy. Waiting on God means not just sitting, but like a waiter in a top restaurant, being continually attentive to God’s leading. They had true light, and were to avoid occultic snares.
Isaiah’s kid’s names were prophetic to warn of coming events that occurred, so people trusted God. Similarly, we as God’s children all embody a unique message, for one another and a world in darkness.
Friends, as mentioned, we don’t want the final words of Isaiah chapter 8; believe, things can come good.
Here is a video I made for Jewish people, Paul said, preach first to Jews, then Gentiles.
I sense God desiring to rally his faithful remnant who know their Messiah Yeshua.
Mark Rusic was born in Melbourne and has a bachelor in Mechanical engineering. He became a missionary to many suffering hardship and poverty on Madura Island in Indonesia, for about 4 years, from 1990. He has worked as a pastor-life coach over the past 17 years in Hope International Ministries. Mark is also an artist and author and has also written two books which are a collection of his own paintings, photography and poetry. These include ‘Iconic Melbourne of Australia’ and ‘Iconic Animals of Australia with a voice to release your giant potential within.’ He has been counted among some of Australia’s best-selling authors since 2014 and is a public speaker in various community groups, organisations and churches. He has a special grace to help people find and release why they were born. See iconiccolours.com for more information about Mark’s services.