Isaiah 43:1-7

This passage encourages us to paddle out over some deep and mysterious waters. The depths I am referring to are created in large part by at least two seemingly opposing ideas. One is that man is an independent agent of free will. The other is that God has written a script and that man is just playing his part, some of us wittingly, most perhaps, unwittingly.

This passage references fires and floods as the fear producing threats that Israel would encounter in her pilgrimage with God. The same God is leading us, as chosen ones, on a journey where we too will encounter fear producing threats. It may include being burnt or drowned but for certain ours will at least involve bearing the incredible stress that our vocations, relationships and health issues will create. And as we paddle on we are also aware that a void of true statesmanship haunts the political world from which our leaders are chosen. We ask, or perhaps have given up asking, who will lead us?

I think deep down in all of us there is an awareness that some where far beneath our awareness and all that is visible there are forces at work that are spiritual and cosmic in nature, that with only a modest shift, could suddenly produce a tsunami that would swamp all our little canoes.

Even a near-sighted prophet could predict that the presence of an economic tsunami currently exists. If and when it comes no one will be exempt as to the fear we will be threatened by. Who will save us? Will it be the gold that some are trusting in as their hedge or some other supposed refuge?

Back to the deep waters below us. If you back up a few verses to 42:25 you see it is possible that some who were on fire and are burned were not even aware of it. Somehow they had become accustomed to the heat. (I am thinking again about frogs in kettles). Those who subscribe to a “scripted” cosmology (why things ultimately happen) must adapt to the idea that God, who is on record as loving this world and who desires that not any perish, is permitting the indifference and blindness to the fire that will ultimately consume and destroy.

The theologies that many prescribe to provide them with pat answers as to the script. And they, like the God they have imagined, are indifferent to the heat. In a world where threats of some magnitude are certain, I believe it is wise to acknowledge that God does not exempt His chosen ones from high waters or extreme heat. If our theology creates indifference in any form or exempts us from the potential of earth quakes or tsunamis, we are operating out of an extra-biblical revelation that is a deadly deception.

My beliefs include another player who complicates matters further; that is Satan, who is the temporary ruler of this world, wielding influence from a platform of deception. The deep waters below, in my assessment, are composed of the mysterious interplay of wills; that of God’s, Satan’s and our own. My beliefs trace our earthquakes and tsunamis back to the cosmic tensions created by the war between these three kingdoms. My beliefs, which I pray are grounded in His Word and in a legitimate life experience with Him, do not give me the luxury of exhaustive revelation and the certainties that that a comprehensive light might afford. They do provide me with sufficient revelation to paddle on by faith, trusting in His good and kind nature. My faith is grounded in the idea that, among the three, God’s will prevails in the end.

In His kindness, He has often used the modest little waves that have hit my boat to lead me to repentance which is simply a change of thinking and a redirection of my will. If I am hearing anything along the way it would be something like this, and I will borrow from this passage in composing what I hear coming from His heart;

“My children, trust that I have been and always will be the prevailing Personality in the contest of wills that you are caught up in. Do not fear, for I have redeemed you. As I gave Egypt as ransom for Israel, I have given My Son as ransom for My elect. You are precious in My sight. You are honored and I love you.

Do not fear the coming tsunamis. All my judgements are born of love so that you will awaken from your indifference, delusion and hardness of heart. I am calling even now to the ends of the earth to gather my offspring – everyone who is called by My name, and whom I have created for My glory, whom I have made.

Do not fear. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you. For I am the Lord your God and your Father.”

Lord, teach us to give thanks for the heat of these various momentary trials we are faced with. Help us to harvest the revelation of Yourself you have buried in them for us that is for our benefit and Your eternal glory. May the ongoing story of Your good and loving intention be revealed in the presence of those around us whom You love yet who remain asleep. Allow them to feel the heat and turn to You as their Savior and as their refuge. Amen.

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