Truth

Last week, we learned about trusting God from Hezekiah.  I love that even when we lose some battles, even when we give in to fear and doubt and begin to compromise, even if we give to our enemy that which belongs to God, there is still hope for us!

If we lay everything out before the Lord and surrender it into His hands, no matter how much of a mess it may be, He is able to redeem our situation.  God is able to give us a victory and restore to us that which has been lost.

There isn’t a whole lot in this life that we can trust, but the Lord is certainly One who is always trustworthy.  He is the only constant in this ever-changing life.

We recently completed a Bible study going through the book of Isaiah.  We learned the heart-breaking and painful result of not trusting God and walking in rebellion and sin against Him.  When God removed His covering over His people, their enemies came rushing in to overcome and destroy them.

Even in the midst of this correction and discipline, God still pursued His people and reminded them of His promises to them.  If only they would return to Him and place their trust in Him once again, He would deliver and restore and bless them.

Still, the people would not listen to God.  They refused to admit that they had sinned, refused to admit that they had done anything wrong.  God used Assyria as a tool of discipline to correct His people in hopes that they would turn their hearts back to Him, that they would repent.

Isaiah was faced with a decision.  He had to either go along with the rest of God’s people, believing and trusting what they say and do, or, trust in the Lord.

Isaiah 8:11-13;17;19-22

11 This is what the Lord says to me with his strong hand upon me, warning me not to follow the way of this people:

12 “Do not call conspiracy everything this people calls a conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. 13 The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread.”

This word of the Lord to Isaiah is just as relevant and impactful today to us now as it was to him then.

12 “Do not call conspiracy everything this people calls a conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. 13 The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread.”

What is the difference between conspiracy and prophecy?

Conspiracy connects the dots of facts in such a way as to paint a picture that usually leads us to distrust and fear and anger and many of the other fruits of the flesh.  Conspiracies can even contain the word of God and be mislabeled as prophecy, which can make it tricky to discern at times.  Its source is ultimately man’s imagination planning and scheming.

Biblical prophecy has the goal, even when it is a word of warning, of this:

1 Corinthians 14:3

But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort.

Prophecy connects the dots of facts in such a way as to paint a picture from God’s perspective that leads us into His promises.  Prophecy causes us to place our trust in the Lord, to possess peace that surpasses all understanding, and to have hope and many of the other fruits of the Spirit.  Its source is God, Himself.  Therefore, it speaks and reveals truth.

Isaiah responded to God’s warning to him with a commitment.  It is a commitment that we should all make here and now as well.  Isaiah committed not to trust people, not to trust conspiracies, and not to trust the bad reports spreading throughout the nation.  Isaiah said:

17 I will wait for the Lord,

    who is hiding his face from the descendants of Jacob.

I will put my trust in him.

He went on to encourage God’s people to do the same.  He encouraged them to seek after God for themselves and reminded them again of the dire results of failing to do so.

19 When someone tells you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living? 20 Consult God’s instruction and the testimony of warning. If anyone does not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn. 21 Distressed and hungry, they will roam through the land; when they are famished, they will become enraged and, looking upward, will curse their king and their God. 22 Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness.

This may sound a little familiar to the days in which we are living.  Looking around, toward the earth, we see distress and darkness and fearful gloom.  Looking Heaven-ward to the Lord, we see far greater things!  We have hope and we see God’s promises awaiting their certain fulfillment. 

In another quote of Corrie Ten Boom, she said, “If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. If you look at God you’ll be at rest.”

We must place our trust in God and stand firmly on His truth in faith.  There is our only firm footing!

Isaiah 7:9b

If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.

Again, Isaiah goes on to redirect us to this incredible contrast of what we listen to and what we choose to place our trust in:

Isaiah 9:1-3

1 Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan –

2 The people walking in darkness

    have seen a great light;

on those living in the land of deep darkness

    a light has dawned.

3 You have enlarged the nation

    and increased their joy;

they rejoice before you

    as people rejoice at the harvest,

as warriors rejoice

    when dividing the plunder.

Right now, there are a lot of people around us every day living in darkness.  There are a lot of people who are only seeing distress and darkness and fearful gloom.  Their hope has dried up and their expectation is only for bad things to come their way.

We have a living hope!  We have some good news always!  We have the resources of Heaven and the power of God available to us to bring light into their darkness and transformation into their circumstances!  We have the divine opportunity to increase joy instead of multiplying gloom!

Quoting from Isaiah, the apostle Paul reminds us:

Romans 10:13-15

13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Joel 2:32)”

14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news! (Isaiah 52:7)”

What we desperately need today is to hear some truth louder than the facts.  We need some good news to build our hope and faith in the midst of distressful circumstances.  We need truth to break through all of the lies and conspiracies. 

It’s time to rise up and begin fighting the good fight of the faith!  It’s time to start setting some captives free!  It’s time to uncage the truth of God and watch what it can do!

In one of Charles Spurgeon’s sermons entitled “Christ and His Co-Workers” in 1886, he preached it this way:

“Suppose a number of persons were to take it into their heads that they had to defend a lion, full-grown king of beasts! There he is in the cage, and here come all the soldiers of the army to fight for him. Well, I should suggest to them, if they would not object, and feel that it was humbling to them, that they should kindl stand back, and open the door, and let the lion out! I believe that would be the best way of defending him, for he would take care of himself; and the best ‘apology’ for the gospel is to let the gospel out.”

Our responsibility is to share the good news with people.  Our role is to tell people about Jesus and invite them to receive His salvation.  Their response to that invitation is up to them.  However, they can never accept the invitation is it is never extended to them, right?  Unlock the cage of your words and actions and let the gospel out!

Take a look down at those feet of yours.  Those are some of the most beautiful feet on the face of the earth right now!  At the end of those toes are where Heaven meets earth. 

It is right there where the Presence of God is carried out into the world.  It is right there where light breaks through the darkness and where good news shatters the fearful gloom holding people captive!

Within us is the Holy Spirit, the very same Spirit that inspired every one of the authors of the Bible, the very same Spirit present at creation, the very same Spirit who rose Jesus from the grave!

Jesus said:

John 16:12-15

12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”

The Spirit of truth, the Spirit of the Living God, who knows all things, dwelling right here within us.  He will reveal to us secret things, hidden things, the fullness of truth.  He will share through us the truth that sets the captives free!  That makes those some beautiful feet indeed!

Again, Paul wrote:

2 Corinthians 10:3-5

3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

The truth of God demolishing strongholds.  Truth setting us free and keeping us free as we take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ; the source of true freedom.

When we seek God for truth, He’ll reveal truth to us.  He said to Isaiah:

Isaiah 45:19

I have not spoken in secret, from somewhere in a land of darkness; I have not said to Jacob’s descendants, ‘Seek me in vain.’ I, the Lord, speak the truth; I declare what is right.

Though truth is never far from our reach, though it cries out to us day and night everywhere that we go, we must learn to hear it, to see it, to recognize it, and most importantly, to understand it.

When Isaiah was commissioned by the Lord, he was taken into God’s throne room straight into the very Presence of God.  It was here that God sent him out to speak truth to a people blinded and deafened to it.

Isaiah 6:8-10

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”

And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

9 He said, “Go and tell this people:

“‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding;

    be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’

10 Make the heart of this people calloused;

    make their ears dull

    and close their eyes.

Otherwise they might see with their eyes,

    hear with their ears,

    understand with their hearts,

and turn and be healed.”

In the same way, God is sending you and I out this morning.  We are being sent out to speak God’s truth.  That is our mission.  The results are between God and those who hear the good news of His truth.

So get out there, let those beautiful feet bring the light of Christ into an ever-darkening world.  Share some good news with a people who need some hope right now.

Isaiah 8:12

“Do not call conspiracy everything this people calls a conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it.

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