I often hear people say things like “You can’t trust anyone” or “I help everyone but no one is there when I need help.” In Isaiah 36, the question is asked, “Who are you counting on?” That is such an important question. I ask you today, who are you counting on?
Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, was threatening Jerusalem. A message from the king’s chief of staff was sent to King Hezekiah asking who he was counting on and to make an attempt to get an alliance to be formed. Instead, King Hezekiah understood the great alliance he had—he called out to the Lord for help. The Lord promised victory and not only did an angel kill the Assyrians at night, but the king met his end at the hands of his very own sons.
People will always fail you. There is no one in your life that can always be there for you and never let you down. People are finite, imperfect, and limited. God never forsakes. God can do the impossible. God loves no matter what you have done. He forgives. He pours out His grace. He fills you up with His Spirit and never leaves your side. So who are you counting on?
“Do you think that mere words can substitute for military skill and strength? Who are you counting on, that you have rebelled against me?” – Isaiah 36:5 [NLT]
As a mother, I remember the days when my children would eat something and get food all over their faces. I would get out the napkin, wet it and get their faces ready to see the world. Still today I check their faces before we leave just to be sure they are clean. And yes, I check mine as well.
In Isaiah 6, the prophet is standing before God and he immediately acknowledges that he is sinful. He understood that he could not stand before God filthy. God is holy. Then an angel takes a burning coal and touches Isaiah’s lips. The angel says, “Gone your guilt, your sins wiped out” (MSG).
If we accept Jesus and what He did for us, our guilt is gone – our sins are wiped out too. Through the blood of Jesus, we no longer live condemned, but we are made as white as snow. But we have to acknowledge that we are sinful. We have to acknowledge our unclean lips. Even after we repent and accept Christ into our lives, there is a need of daily repentance of our sins. The blood of Jesus wipes out each sin, but for each one, we must bow before the Lord and acknowledge our need for repentance.
“Then I said, ‘It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips. Yet I have seen the King, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.’ Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal he had taken from the altar with a pair of tongs.” – Isaiah 6:5-6 [NLT]
We do not always know where God is leading us and we certainly cannot predict the future. We are to walk in faith, trusting that God is faithful. When Abraham was tested, he was told to sacrifice his son Isaac, and Abraham went forward guided by his faith. God had promised Abraham many descendents. God had promised Abraham blessing. Abraham trusted God and pressed forward.
When it was time to sacrifice Isaac, an angel of the Lord called out to Abraham, telling him not to go forward with the sacrifice. When Abraham looked up, he saw a ram in the bush. God had provided the sacrifice that Abraham needed. In verse 8, Abraham had told Isaac: “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son” (NIV). God surely provided with this ram.
If you are going through something right now and you are wondering if things will be okay—remember that God always has a ram in the bush. You might be expecting something different. You might not know what to expect. You might be too exhausted to even look—but the ram is there. God always provides what we need to get done with what we are called to do for Him. Live expecting that ram.
“Then Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in a thicket. So he took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering in place of his son.” – Genesis 22:13 [NLT]
Many people can remember Lot’s wife getting turned into a pillar of salt in Genesis 19, as God was destroying Sodom and Gomorrah. We cannot only consider Lot’s wife looking back, showing that she could not leave her sin behind. We also need to note the hesitation of Lot. He was commanded to leave with his daughters, but verse 16 notes that he hesitated, causing the angels to grab him.
Lot was not jumping for joy to leave Sodom—the angels grabbed him and took him from Sodom. He hesitated. He considered what he would be losing by leaving Sodom. He considered if he should go or stay. We do the same thing at times when we are living in sin. We consider if we really need to give up certain sin. We hesitate.
Today if there is something that God is trying to weed out of your life, don’t turn around, don’t hesitate. God knows what is best for you. Trust Him and walk forward with confidence.
“Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.” – Romans 6:16 [NLT]
“When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. ‘Get up,’ he said, ‘take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.’ So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘Out of Egypt I called my son.’”– Matthew 2:13-15 [NIV]
Joseph was told to “Get up” in 2:13 and we read a verse later, “So he got up.” We don’t read of excuses. We don’t read of Joseph doing anything else other than obeying the word of God. Again in verse 20, he is told to “Get up.” Once again in verse 21, it says, “He got up.” Again there is no discussion about Joseph making excuses or doing anything else other than obeying the word of God.
Joseph is a great example of a man who walked in faithful obedience. After a visit from an angel, he married Mary despite considering the possibility of sending her away quietly because of her pregnancy. Now we see him not once, but twice, relocating at the snap of a finger.
Is God calling you to “Get up”? Is God pointing you in a particular direction? If so, is your response to follow? Are you sitting and constructing a list of excuses and other alternatives? Are you dragging your feet? Today, consider what God is calling you to do right now. It might not be something simple or something welcomed—but perhaps there’s something God is working out within His big picture of life that we cannot grasp.