“You who dwell in the dust,
wake up and shout for joy.”
~Isaiah 26:19b (NIV).
This verse is normally associated with life after death. And therefore, we naturally extend that offer to both this life and the next, as it applies, i.e. in heaven.
The backslider—and I’ve certainly been there—is blessed in their rising from the dust; out of the mire of their sin.
Most people think of backsliding as the phenomenon where people slip quietly away from the church, or let their relationships with God cool off, at times for the rest of their lives. But, equally pertinent to us is the phenomenon of daily or momentary backsliding—and the lack of spiritual discipline and conviction of faith.
Backsliding, then, is as much a daily temptation and reality as it is anything. This merely underscores the importance of a repentant approach to everyday life—the role of remaining as humble, and as Spirit-cognisant, as the moment will allow.
And we’re reminded in a rough day how difficult this process can be. We feel abjectly out of touch spiritually, cast into the dust. We feel just like we did before we were saved.
And this is not a bad thing, for we all have a touch of spiritual amnesia from time to time. God is using this slipping-back as a gentle reminder we’re to rely on him; his strength in our weakness.
One of the single greatest blessings any Christian can enjoy is the favour of God post-sin, and to know that sense of freedom from any Divine condemnation. Until we truly realise that God is the most compassionate and understanding being we’ll ever know—surpassing at a whole different realm the most forgiving person any of us have ever known or heard about—we can be tricked in our resounding self-condemnation. We’re so often our own worst enemies. We’re not God. So, why do we believe in ourselves—and believe the self-condemnation—and not believe in him and his forgiveness? Why do we hold onto our guilt and shame?
No matter what we’ve done, we can reach into the ‘rest-of-God’ (the Sabbath-rest) in our returning to him. To simply know this, is power.
At any time at all we can ‘wake up and shout for joy.’ Let’s live this reality once more!
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.