Living What We Learn

Connecting Points

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Today’s Topic:  Living What We Learn

Today’s Text:  Isaiah 50:6-7  I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting.  Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame.

My toes hurt! It’s not the fault of my shoes: it’s much more serious. The pain I feel in my feet is the result of a much larger foot stomping on mine. The owner of that foot had to get my attention because I was walking in the wrong direction. Once I get over the initial pain I will realize He did it because He loves me and is working to develop my character. But it still hurts!

Last Friday God blessed my heart with the words of a song from Isaiah 50:4, and assured me that He loved our morning time together.

On Monday the Lord showed me how He has opened my ears to listen and be taught, and that I should not rebel against what He says.

I was feeling pretty proud of myself as I woke up yesterday to spend a relaxing day off. Then it happened. Mid-way through the day God’s foot came down hard on mine. I was confronted with the selfishness that still exists in my heart. It has been a painful journey that has lasted for eighteen hours now. The latest foot-stomping came when I really read and digested the meaning of today’s Scripture verses.

What good is what you know if you don’t make it a permanent part of your life? Stomp number one.

What good is an open ear if it isn’t connected to an open heart? Stomp number two.

What good is what you say you have learned if it doesn’t change how you behave? Please stop stomping!

The prophet Isaiah is praising God for what the Lord is doing in his life. God has opened his ears so he can learn. He has taught Isaiah the words that will sustain others in their times of trouble. God has taught him how to teach others the truths that will change their lives. Then Isaiah says this, if you will allow me the freedom to put into my own words what verses six and seven say:

“Now that I know who God is and understand what is in His heart for the people of the world, it has transformed my heart so that my actions are completely in accord with God’s heart. When someone tries to physically abuse me because of my love for God, I will gladly offer them my back for the beating, assured that my actions are the message that God wants them to hear so their hearts can be broken by His love. When someone insults me, represented by the pulling out of the beard, I will not defend myself or argue for my rights. When someone brings shame on me by putting me down in public and destroys whatever reputation I think I have by literally or figuratively spitting in my face, I will not hide from them or cover my face from their attacks. When I respond like Christ in these situations, I know that the message I send to them will be the testimony of God’s grace that they need to see. I know these people who are hurting me are in trouble themselves and need to hear a word that will sustain them. My actions are the words God wants me to speak. My confidence is in Christ alone, and in Him I will never be put to shame. Therefore I am determined to show them God’s love.”

Now you know why my toes hurt. Now you know where my heart is being worked on. Now you know how to help me. May I help you in the same way?

Pastor John

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