If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all. Isaiah 7:9
My brain goes blurry tryin’ to keep track of all the unfamiliar Old Testament places and awfully awkward names. But despite my insufficient knowledge of Biblical world history, I read a verse in Isaiah chapter seven this morning that knocked me to my knees.
Seems King Ahaz of Judah was quivering in his royal boots because his northern neighbors were plotting to conquer his land. But God said, Be careful. Be quiet. Do not fear. Don’t be nervous about these two stubs of smoldering firebrands. (Ouch! That one hurt!) “It shall not stand. It shall not come to pass. “It ain’t gonna happen,” God promised Ahaz.
Assurance of Divine protection would surely be a confidence-builder, but listen to Isaiah’s next sentence: Within 65 years Ephraim will be shattered from being a people. Sixty-five years! Ahaz has these hot-blooded boys breathin’ down his neck and God sends a messenger to say, “Don’t worry, brother. In 65 years they’ll be long gone!” Now how would you feel if you brought a concern before your Master and you got a six-century response time? I don’t know about you but I’m prone to ask for a quick turn-around time for my prayers, like with the ten lepers. They called out to Jesus for mercy. He told them to go show themselves to the priests. And as they went, they were cleansed. Instant healing.
But that wasn’t God’s message to King Ahaz. This issue wasn’t going to be reconciled overnight. God’s plan and purpose was long-range. And all of us have requests that require us to wait on the Lord, so His perfect way and timing can unfold. If that’s your situation, pay particular attention to Isaiah’s closing comment to King A: If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all.
Ooowwee! We could all take that one to heart, couldn’t we?
Are you looking for immediate intervention from your Father? Does He seem to be ignoring your pleas and petitions? Do your prayers for discipline and self-control in your food and fitness feel futile? Is it possible the Lord is using the trial to teach you? To mold and sanctify you? Why did God take 65 years to fully destroy Ahaz’ enemies? Wouldn’t it be insightful to read A’s journal in his old age? Is it possible he was grateful for the many lessons he learned from trusting in the Lord for protection and peace? Remember Isaiah’s parting thought: If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all.
May I pray for you?
Gracious Father, we all falter so quickly and easily. As brother Paul confessed, we don’t do what we should and do what we shouldn’t. All too often we come to You with our prayers, but pout if we don’t receive a rapid response. Your Word is clear, Lord. You teach us through tribulation and time. Those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength. Build a firm faith in us, Jesus. For You are the God of our salvation.