“... therefore says the Lord God,
See, I am laying in
a tested stone,
a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation;
‘One who trusts will not panic.’”
~Isaiah 28:16 (NRSV).
It seems such a basic premise of the Christian faith and yet we’re so apt at running far past it to our own perilous ends. It’s the activity of faithfulness to God in trust that’s coming into sharp focus here.
Picture a Game – Liken it to Trust
The intent of this passage is perhaps picked up from a game I used to play with the youth. From about five yards away one player must hit the other player with a water balloon, and that person’s not allowed to move their feet from the spot, though they may sway out of the incoming water balloon’s way.
In the same way, verses 14-19 possibly allude to a ‘trust game’ where God insists we stay on a line of obedience—his just and righteous line—to which we’ll be afforded protection from spiritual death. Move off the line and we stand alone.
The ‘Tested Stone’ or ‘a Stone of Testing’
This can be read both ways. God has both undergone tests and was and is found totally reliable and warrantable, and is One who imposes tests, or rather opportunities.
Both of these theories stand. We are sometimes reticent in giving credence to the fact that God tests us, viz., James 1:13-14. But there’s perhaps a vast difference between ‘testing’ and ‘tempting,’ for which the latter God cannot do. God cannot sin by ‘enticing’ us. But, for our growth, God will give us opportunities i.e. tests. These are built and purposed in love. They’re designed to push us toward God and onward on his path.
If we trust God we’ll see the test/opportunity for what it is—something that’s very achievable, in trust—and we’ll be thankful for the loving admonishment.
A Word on ‘Panicking’
It is a very human thing to panic. Anxiety is something that is incredibly hard to understand, let alone control and diffuse for those afflicted.
God’s sights here are not on those who are prone to panicking, but on those who due to their lack of trust consequently panic. Do we see the difference? The former is trusting God and yet they’re still prone to inexplicable panic attacks—these are a mystery for which only prayer to God and good therapeutic means could be answers. In other words, simple trust doesn’t manage it. The latter person, however, goes out of their way to wander from trust and they’re burned which leads to panic.
Actually Trusting The Sure Foundation
Those found trusting the Lord will never be disappointed. Though they will inevitably wander slightly from the right path every now and again, their stumbling will remind them of the potential of falling; that trust acceded to is the answer and the way back to God. They re-enter obedience.
Trusting is a practice and it’s one that needs to be practised over and again. Trust is issued faith. And such obedience is roundly blessed.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.