Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Heavenly Assurance – from the Book of Comfort

‘See, it is I who created the blacksmith

who fans the coals into flame

and forges a weapon fit for its work.

And it is I who have created the destroyer to work havoc;

no weapon forged against you will prevail,

and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.

This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,

and this is their vindication from me,’ declares the Lord.”

~Isaiah 54:16-17 (NIV).

Living the life of faith can be tough. Sometimes baby believers and new converts are not told that living for Jesus complicates many things rather than making everything suddenly easier.

This is why assurances like the one above should be promoted, and often, so we can be reminded of the many benefits God has assured us of, despite the difficulties of living the Christian life, e.g. conforming as much as possible to the moral code of holiness, for instance, to name just one.

God Alone is Judge, Destroyer and Vindicator

Some of these are hard concepts, for we’re apt at thinking of God positively, i.e. as good, loving and graceful. Besides these, God is also Judge (over all of us), Destroyer of evil and Vindicator for those abiding in the Spirit.

We search forward to John 15 to find Jesus’ reassuring words—shadowing obedience—when the disciples will abide in him, fruit will abide in them (verses 5-8).

Besides vindication, the Lord is sovereignly capable with using, for Divine purposes, human skill (blacksmith), mechanical devices (weapon), evil purpose (destroyer) and outcome (to prevail).[1] All these are at God’s total disposal and control—and they are for us when we’re for God, i.e. when we’re unequivocally faithful.

God is abjectly Sovereign. Our only chance for safety is to be found in the Divine.

A Sovereignty We Can Trust – Even, Especially Even, in The Judgment

Although there are undoubtedly some very harsh and calamitous days ahead, relating specifically to the final judgment, we can still trust God completely, despite what and any sort of ‘judgment’ we ourselves will become embroiled in. This is a hard word; none of us are beyond sin, and we’ll all face the truth.

We must sustain our joyful and jealous fervour for God, however, come what may, for there are sure to be tests as we draw closer to The Day.

In God’s name only can we be vindicated against any accuser—recalling it is Satan and his agents who do the accusing in any event. Even when we’re thrown Joban-sized tests we must contain ourselves in God, patiently resisting the temptation to backslide; we’re no good apart from God.

Only when we abide continually in the Lord, only then, will we be ultimately vindicated.

A Lesson from Wisdom’s Table

Casting our minds back now to Proverbs 1:20-33 and we find a great lesson that enfolds itself over this one; when we listen to the mighty bellow of Wisdom, taking heed of her warnings and rebukes—the very stilled, yet earth-shattering fear of the Lord itself—we’re engaged with the mightiest Ally, not simply for our contention, but for the purposes of God.

We’re so loath to miss the fear of God; that we might do anything that would miss the mark God sets for us. Only in God is the ultimate safety and eventual ease, with no fear of harm (Proverbs 1:33).

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

[1] J. Alec Moyter, The Prophesy of Isaiah – An Introduction & Commentary (Downers Grove, Illinois, InterVarsity Press, 1993), p. 451.

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