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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Lessons Learned

The past couple months have been spiritually trying for me. I've been asking God to change me into His likeness more and more each day, and I certainly have found out I need a LOT of changing to do! At first it was quite depressing to realize my true character was anything but nice and kind. I suddenly realized I had a whole lot of work to do and was in great need of an ENTIRE transformation. That's how much sin I have to fix! It's very hurtful but helpful at the same time. There have been so many things He has been teaching me that I will probably have more posts about the lessons I've learned over the past couple of months, but for now I wanted to focus on one important thing I have been learning: having faith.

As some of y'all know, I have been doing a Bible study at a local church in the area, separate from my current church, because it doesn't conflict with my work schedule. I have thoroughly enjoyed it too! I'm so glad God opened this opportunity for me to continue my Precept Upon Precept Bible studies. This semester I finished Esther, and I have now started studying the book of Isaiah. It is anything but easy. I have studied several other books of the Bible, and none have come close to the complexity of Isaiah. It's been challenging and rewarding. In particular Isaiah 7 has been quite a blessing to me. Here is a section of it:

And the LORD said to Isaiah, "Go out to meet Ahaz, you and Shear-jashub your son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool on the highway to the Washer's Field. And say to him, 'Be careful, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your heart be faint because of these two smoldering stumps of firebrands, at the fierce anger of Rezin and Syria and the son of Remaliah. Because Syria, with Ephraim and the son of Remaliah, has devised evil against you, saying, "Let us go up against Judah and terrify it, and let us conquer it for ourselves, and set up the son of Tabeel as king in the midst of it," thus says the Lord GOD: "'It shall not stand, and it shall not come to pass. For the head of Syria is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is Rezin. And within sixty-five years Ephraim will be shattered from being a people. And the head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is the son of Remaliah. If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all.'"
(Isa 7:3-9 ESV)

Once I reached this section in Isaiah, I was told to cross-reference other Bible passages about Ahaz. I initially found out that Ahaz was a very wicked King. So the thought that came through my mind was, "Why is God promising HIM deliverance? Why is He good to someone like THAT?". I went through a couple cross-references in Kings and Chronicles as well concerning what Ahaz did after God told him about the deliverance from his enemies. Now what do you think someone who has been specifically told by God Himself not to fear does? Not fear and take comfort, right? Well, not for Ahaz. Instead, he went out and took the money from the House of God and gave it to the king of Assyria, begging for their help. After continuously begging for the Assyrian's help, they gave in and conquered his foes. Talk about a slap in the face! Ahaz desecrated God's temple, the God who just promised victory to him, and then trusted in MAN rather than GOD. How unbelievably disrespectful! Did Ahaz honestly disbelieve God would do what he said? I was shocked at the way he treated the word of God that was spoken directly to him. As I thought of this, I suddenly realized I was like Ahaz. I'm a sinner saved by grace, but I still sin. Just like Ahaz heard the voice of God and disbelieved Him, so had I. Instead of trusting in God's Word, I doubted. I grew impatient, and then I ran to man to fix my problems quickly. I sought man to help me, rather than trusting in God's Word. I was guilty of being just as wicked as Ahaz. And just like that, God showed me I was no better than Ahaz. I realized that sometimes we are no better than those who were before us. It takes a lot of hard work to have faith and trust that God will do what He says, even when directly spoken to us! I seem to think that God has forgotten about me and my situation and that He needs me to workout the situation for Him. I know He doesn't, but I treat Him that way. Then this verse came to mind about Moses' words of faith when standing up against the Egyptians,

The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.
(Exo 14:14 ESV)

Imagine that. God is fighting for us while we wait. We don't need to grow impatient or take matters into our own hands. God sees our situation, He has heard our prayers for help, and He is working, though we cannot see it. We have only to be silent though while God answers our prayer. Silence shows patience and obedience to our Father. It shows that we trust He is handling the situation. Silence is something I've been working on as well. It's a very powerful way of placing our faith in His hands.