Daily Archives: July 20, 2021

Evening Prayer: July 19th

Loving God, as the sun sets on another day, I thank you that your grace was sufficient. I thank you for the opportunities that you presented and for the strength in the challenges. As I rest this night, renew my heart and mind that you may be glorified tomorrow through me. In the matchless name of Jesus. Amen.

Daily Scripture Passage: Psalm 48:8-14

Psalm 48:8-14 (ESV)

As we have heard, so have we seen
    in the city of the Lord of hosts,
in the city of our God,
    which God will establish forever. Selah

We have thought on your steadfast love, O God,
    in the midst of your temple.
10 As your name, O God,
    so your praise reaches to the ends of the earth.
Your right hand is filled with righteousness.
11     Let Mount Zion be glad!
Let the daughters of Judah rejoice
    because of your judgments!

12 Walk about Zion, go around her,
    number her towers,
13 consider well her ramparts,
    go through her citadels,
that you may tell the next generation
14     that this is God,
our God forever and ever.
    He will guide us forever.

Thoughts to Ponder from Isaiah 7:1-9

Isaiah 7:1-9 (ESV)

Isaiah Sent to King Ahaz

In the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, son of Uzziah, king of Judah, Rezin the king of Syria and Pekah the son of Remaliah the king of Israel came up to Jerusalem to wage war against it, but could not yet mount an attack against it. When the house of David was told, “Syria is in league with Ephraim,” the heart of Ahaz and the heart of his people shook as the trees of the forest shake before the wind.

And the Lord said to Isaiah, “Go out to meet Ahaz, you and Shear-jashub your son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool on the highway to the Washer’s Field. And say to him, ‘Be careful, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your heart be faint because of these two smoldering stumps of firebrands, at the fierce anger of Rezin and Syria and the son of Remaliah. Because Syria, with Ephraim and the son of Remaliah, has devised evil against you, saying, “Let us go up against Judah and terrify it, and let us conquer it for ourselves, and set up the son of Tabeel as king in the midst of it,” thus says the Lord God:

“‘It shall not stand,
    and it shall not come to pass.
For the head of Syria is Damascus,
    and the head of Damascus is Rezin.
And within sixty-five years
    Ephraim will be shattered from being a people.
And the head of Ephraim is Samaria,
    and the head of Samaria is the son of Remaliah.
If you are not firm in faith,
    you will not be firm at all.’”

“Unless your faith is firm you shall not be firm!” (Isaiah 7:9)

Judah’s King Ahaz had reason to be afraid. Assyria was threatening every country in the Middle East. The northern kingdoms of Israel and Syria had invited Judah to join them in a military alliance, but Ahaz refused. He preferred to become a vassal of Assyria. So Israel and Syria besieged Jerusalem, intending to replace Ahaz with a non-Davidic ruler willing to join them. In the face of this threat, Ahaz and his people found their hearts trembling like leaves in the wind.

So God sent Isaiah to reassure Ahaz: “Remain tranquil and do not fear” (Isaiah 7:4). Trust in the Lord to deliver you, he said. If you have trouble trusting him, ask for a sign. But Ahaz chose to rely on Assyria rather than on the Lord. And in that choice, he showed that he preferred the security of a power he could see and feel over faith in an invisible God. Unable to follow Isaiah’s urging to stand firm, he gave in to his fears and asked a pagan king to protect him instead.

What makes you “tremble” today? Perhaps you are perplexed about how to resolve a complicated situation. Perhaps you’re aware of your inadequacies in dealing with a challenge. Maybe all the things going on in the world are causing you anxiety. Perhaps you feel you’ve messed up so badly that it can’t be fixed.

These are good starting points, actually. It’s good to tremble every now and then. It’s one way to be reminded of your limitations and your need for God. But for heaven’s sake, don’t stay there. Move forward! When you find yourself lacking wisdom, lean into God’s wisdom, and you’ll find strength you never knew you had. When you know you can’t do something take a calming breath, and rejoice in God, who can do everything. When you are faced with your failures, thank the Lord that He is faithful to forgive and swift to cleanse your conscience.

Don’t be like Ahaz! God will win out. He has a good plan, far better than anything you can devise. So “remain tranquil and do not fear” (Isaiah 7:4).

Father, I surrender every situation to you today. I believe that you have a good plan for me. I know that you will help me to stand firm. Amen.