August 13, 2007

"The rock from which you were hewn"

Do you ever feel like you’re all alone? Maybe you look around at your workplace and find yourself the only Christian. Perhaps you’re the only believer in your family. Maybe you just look at the world landscape—or even the religious one—and feel like your living on a very small Christian island. I feel like that sometimes. I do. It still dumbfounds me (having moved to Cincinnati from the Deep South) that PRBC is the only gospel community in this neighborhood of nearly ten thousand people! And sometimes it feels impossible that the men and women around us would ever turn to Jesus—and I mean radically, life-changingly, turn and love Christ above all other things. Does it ever feel that way in your office, or factory, or neighborhood, or school building? Then Isaiah 51 has a word of hope for you!

Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness, who seek the LORD: Look to the rock from which you were hewn and to the quarry from which you were dug. Look to Abraham your father and to Sarah who gave birth to you in pain; when he was but one I called him, then I blessed him and multiplied him. Isaiah 51.1-2

Isaiah preached for a long time—and, for much of his ministry, it seemed like very few people were listening. There was certainly a form of godliness in his culture. But the people had denied its power. They didn’t love the LORD; and they didn’t love their neighbors, either. So, much of the book of Isaiah consists of scalding hot warnings of judgment against these careless men and women.

But there were a few people in Israel who hadn’t soiled their garments! There were a few folks who still pursued righteousness and sought the LORD. And there are today, too (don’t forget that when you’re discouraged!). Thus, sprinkled in with warnings and judgment are some of the Bible’s most beautiful and encouraging passages!

And here is the encouragement I got from the Lord in Isaiah 51:

‘Remember, Abraham? He was pretty well outnumbered wasn’t he? Only one man? It did not seem like one faithful man could blossom up into a family tree of godliness—but I did it! It didn’t seem like there was enough rock there to make even a few arrowheads—but out of this one man, I built an entire household of faithful believers…and through, them, sent My Son! So do not be discouraged. You may look around and feel like there is not much to work with. But remember, I don’t need much to work with. I can take this little church (or your little life) and make you a blessing to the neighborhood…and the nations! I am the LORD, Almighty!’

So be encouraged, “you who pursue righteousness.” God is bigger than we even realize. He is faithful, and He will do it. Keep witnessing. Keep praying. Keep hoping. And, most of all, continue to “pursue righteousness” and “seek the LORD”!

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