Friday, January 21, 2011
Today’s Topic: Am I A Shelter?
Today’s Text: Isaiah 32:1-2 See, a king will reign in righteousness and rulers will rule with justice. Each man will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land.
Brrrrr!!! It’s cold this morning. Twenty-five below at my house at 6:00 AM. Makes me wish for a hot sunny day, but then I know I’d complain about that also and be looking for a shady place or some air conditioning. So, we bundle up and live with it. On the bright side, the sun came up again, and there’s hardly any wind. Sure is nice to have a working furnace in the house and a warm office from which to work. Everyone needs shelter from the weather.
The nation of Israel sure went through a lot of “weather” changes, if by weather we mean political and spiritual issues. When they obeyed God, He upheld His covenant of blessing with them. When they disobeyed Him, He upheld the consequences stated in the same covenant. God always fulfills His covenants.
In chapter thirty-one of Isaiah, which at first glance at today’s Scripture makes it appear we have skipped completely, God continues to discipline His people for their rebellion, and also declares the punishment that will fall on the nation of Assyria for rejecting Jehovah. Then in chapter thirty-two God gives a great statement of hope – a King will reign in righteousness.
From a historical perspective, this refers to King Hezekiah, whose reign was one of righteousness and peace. But from a spiritual and prophetic perspective this promise declares the coming of Jesus Christ as King. What joy I find in these words – Jesus is a shelter from the wind, a refuge from the storm, a stream of living water that nourishes and brings life to the desert places, and the rock that provides shade and protection from the scorching sun of sin.
What joy there is in those thoughts. What refreshment of my spirit there is in relationship with Jesus. He stabilizes my life when the winds of adversity blow against me. He protects me from the storms of crisis and gives me peace even in the midst of them. When the thirst of my soul is no longer satisfied with the water of the world and my pursuits have dried up like the sands of the desert, a spring of living water bubbles up from within and satisfies my every longing. And when the stress of life saps my energy like the heat of the noonday sun God invites me into the shade of His presence and I find rest.
Wait…there is a challenge tucked away in the midst of these blessings. Do you see it at the start of the second sentence? The New International Version translates this so that these things are to be true of us as well. We are to be shelters from the wind for others who are unstable. We are to be a place of refuge and peace for those around us who are being battered by the storms of life. We are to be like streams of fresh and refreshing water for those who are not finding satisfaction from the ways of the world. We are to be the place of shade and rest for those whose strength has been sapped by the scorching sun of sin.
You and I. We are the representatives of the righteous King to those living in a weary land. Just as Jesus is our shelter in the time of storm, so are we to be a place of protection for our friends and neighbors when they are being pounded by the winds and waves of adversity. But wait, we are to be like the Rock to more than just friends and neighbors. It is the love of God that will transform our enemies, and what better way to show them His love than to offer them help and hope when they are in their greatest need.
How I praise God for being my Rock, my Refuge, my shelter. Yet I am convicted that I am not those same things to others around me. Lord, make me a servant to others, no matter who they are, that they may see the your love and the hope of glory in me, that they may discover the peace they long to know in you and you alone.