I have been feeling far too human these days. And by human, I mean angry, envious, greedy, and all those wonderfully delicious sinful emotions that I’ve been trying to step away from. I have good reasons too!
- There is such a thing as encouragement, but what I usually get is nagging.
- My living situation is on shaky ground, which is because I can’t find a place to live.
- My job is going well but I am missing Bible Study on a regular basis.
- There are people in my life that are acting like teen-age girls and I want to bitch-slap the bitch out of them.
- I am lonely.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not afraid of the situation I’m in, and while some people hate change I actually enjoy it. But I also really like stability, and that’s not something that is very prevalent in my life right now. I am very aware that if the tension where I’m staying keeps escalating there will be a problem, and I’m aware that I am responsible for my part of things. I am also aware of not really seeing a way out today, and considering I can’t help but take things one day at a time it seems to bring out the worst in me at the worst times.
Today I read Isaiah 49:1-7:
Listen to me, you islands;
hear this, you distant nations:
Before I was born the LORD called me;
from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name.
He made my mouth like a sharpened sword,
in the shadow of his hand he hid me;
he made me into a polished arrow
and concealed me in his quiver.
He said to me, “You are my servant,
Israel, in whom I will display my splendor.”
But I said, “I have labored in vain;
I have spent my strength for nothing at all.
Yet what is due me is in the LORD’s hand,
and my reward is with my God.”
And now the LORD says—
he who formed me in the womb to be his servant
to bring Jacob back to him
and gather Israel to himself,
for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD
and my God has been my strength—
“It is too small a thing for you to be my servant
to restore the tribes of Jacob
and bring back those of Israel I have kept.
I will also make you a light for the Gentiles,
that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”
This is what the LORD says—
the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel—
to him who was despised and abhorred by the nation,
to the servant of rulers:
“Kings will see you and stand up,
princes will see and bow down,
because of the LORD, who is faithful,
the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”
Has anyone else noticed that God likes to remind us that He created us? As it says, “He who formed me in the womb” and all that. I have noticed, because someone else pointed it out, and I am finding it a great comfort today.
The writer of this calls for an audience and then proclaims that he was called by the Lord while in the womb, expounding upon how God likes to remind us that He created us and chose us before there was even a sea monkey in mom’s belly. And then, even though in verse 4 he tells God that he has lived this life for nothing, in verse 2 he goes on and on about how God created, fashioned and hid him so that he could be used as a weapon in the hands of the Lord. It may be that the writer was trying to be humble when he was saying in verse 4 that he had been a nothing and nobody, but it feels to me like something hopeful and terrified. It’s a hopeful thing to say that God has made you with a purpose, to use you as a weapon (sharpened sword = truth. I’ll bet this guy was a talker.) because if it hasn’t happened and it doesn’t happen it’s embarrassing. He was speaking something into being that may not have even happened yet, but in faith so that God would prove Himself. And while it’s so easy to speak things into being that we want to have happen and getting excited about what we are to be used for, there’s always the human side that says we don’t deserve it. This guy had that human side, obviously, admitting to having wasted his life and “labored in vain”. But the redemption in this verse is the last two lines, where he turns it from a pity party into a prayer, saying “Yet what is due me is in the Lord’s hand, and my reward is with my God.”
Now that is speaking in faith, giving up everything that has been and will be to the Lord. He doesn’t ask God for a reward, but he knows that there is one because God is gracious and merciful and loves us more than we deserve. That is something that I’ve been trying to do for a while, and something I encourage others to do as well. It gets really hard to go around life assuming that we will get the worst when God wants to give us His best. So today I am going to try to act like I’m believing it, I’m going to speak it into being, I’m going to remember that He made me and fashioned me to be a tool of His design. And I’m going to kick ass.