Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Today’s Topic: God Is With Us
Today’s Text: Raise the war cry, you nations, and be shattered! Listen, all you distant lands. Prepare for battle, and be shattered! Prepare for battle, and be shattered! Devise your strategy, but it will be thwarted; propose your plan, but it will not stand, for God is with us. (Isaiah 8:9-10)
Over and over in the Bible parents are commanded by God to give their children specific names. I’m not sure how I would feel about that. What would you do if you had no choice in the naming of your children?
I know of one case where the father of the baby has been given full naming rights. Mom is worried. Dad is having fun with it. It will be interesting to see how it turns out.
In the Bible, names carried great significance. They were used to define physical traits, to proclaim a child’s purpose, to teach character, and to announce God’s plans to man. Names were much more than a popularity or pronounce-ability issue. They even transcended family heritage and honor, as was illustrated in the story of John the Baptist, whose father was criticized by the family for not choosing a name that would honor someone in the family.
When the prophet Isaiah was about to be a father, God gave him a name for his son. Are you ready for this? The name was Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz. It means quick to the plunder, swift to the spoil. God was using the birth of Isaiah’s son to proclaim to the people of Israel what He was about to do to the enemies of Jerusalem.
It’s been a while since we last dove into Isaiah, so here’s a quick refresher. Think fast because it’s going to be fast. King Ahaz of Jerusalem was scared because the kings of Syria and Israel (the Northern Kingdom) were about to invade. Isaiah announced the word of the Lord to Ahaz and told him to stand in his faith. God gave him a sign of a baby born to a virgin. The baby’s name was to be Immanuel, or God with us.
Later, when little Quick to Plunder was born, God revealed his plan to Isaiah. Syria and Jerusalem would be overrun by the Assyrians and destroyed. Then Assyria would attempt to invade Judah. They would conquer most of it but would not be able to overthrow Jerusalem. Twice in the details of the plan God reminded Isaiah of the fact the He was with them. Twice He used the name Immanuel. (See Isaiah 8:6-10)
Things looked bleak for King Ahaz. Two former allies were no enemies. A third and more powerful enemy was on the horizon with troops fully prepared for battle. He was scared. But in it all God had one thing He wanted Ahaz to remember and trust – God is with us! Ahaz needed to remember that God had chosen His people and set them apart for His purpose and His glory. He needed to know that if God is for us, who can be against us!
We need that reminder as well. We need to read and reread Romans 8 until we really believe it and trust it. We need to put every detail of our lives into the context of those promises. We must stop thinking in the flesh and reacting to our circumstances. We must live in the truth that God is with us.
My challenge to you today is this – read Romans 8 as many times as you can, and let the truths sink in. Here are my personal bullet points. Let the Holy Spirit give you your own.
- I am not condemned, but set free from the penalty of sin.
- I now live according to the Spirit of God and not according to the flesh.
- Living in the Spirit of God brings peace.
- Living in the Spirit brings victory over sin
- Living in the Spirit brings fellowship with God and the assurance of my relationship with Jesus.
- The glory of being with Jesus someday overshadows any suffering of today.
- God knows my heart and my mind and knows exactly what I need to be fulfilled in Him.
- Therefore, I can trust that everything God does in my life is ultimately for my good and for His glory because I love Him and have surrendered to His purpose.
- He chose me, He called me, He justified me, and he glorified me…present tense…He glorified me!
- How can I respond in any other way than to say, If God is for me, who can be against me!
- He will give me all I need to live for Him.
- No person has the power over my life to hurt me with their words because God has justified me.
- No one can condemn me because Jesus constantly intercedes for me to the Father based on His sacrifice on the cross for me.
- No person nor any event can ever separate me from God because He is with me and His love is unquenchable and unconquerable.