April 28

Isaiah 39-41, Psalm 118

We make a big mistake when we decide which issues are worth bringing to God. Many of us treat God like the boss at work. If something is really important or has potentially serious consequences then we bring it to the boss. But most other things we feel we pretty much have it all figured out. Also, when we approach the boss often we frame the conversation to persuade the argument in our direction, not truly desiring his counsel. We make this same mistake with God. We somehow believe that most things we can pretty much control and therefore only "trouble" Him with the difficult decisions. When we do approach Him in prayer how many of us like to help Him along, saying things like, "if you did this or that then it would truly be a blessing". By doing this we place our will over His and miss the whole purpose of prayer, to be in a conversation and relationship with One much greater and much wiser than ourselves; with One whose will is always right.

We see the good king, Hezekiah, make this mistake. When faced with insurmountable difficulties with his nation surrounded by the Assyrians we read what he does in Isaiah 37:14, "And Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord, and spread it before the Lord." This was the right thing, and God guided him and his nation. We then come to an exact opposite approach in 39:1-2, "At that time Merodach-Baladan the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah, for he heard that he had been sick and had recovered. And Hezekiah was pleased with them, and showed them the house of his treasures...There was nothing in his house or in all his dominion that Hezekiah did not show them." We read shortly after from the lips of Isaiah what a grave mistake that was. Hezekiah made the mistake of believing this seemingly harmless letter and meeting did not require the counsel of God. We trust so much in our own ingenuity and logic, but we read in 40:7-8, "The grass withers, the flower fades, Because the breath of the Lord blows upon it; Surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of God stands forever." Our logic is faulty and fleeting at best, but God's Word and counsel are always perfect and never changing. We read in 40:13-14, "Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord, Or as His counselor has taught Him? With whom did He take counsel, And who instructed Him, And taught Him in the path of justice? Who taught Him knowledge, And showed Him the way of understanding?" Using this logic, why do we continually try to sway God in our prayers as though He somehow needs our help.

So, as we go through life, let us bring everything before Him. Let us not be the editors deciding which matters deserve His attention and which don't. We remember David was doing wonderfully until making his decision not to go to war with his troops like usual, he stayed back and soon fell into adultery with Bathsheba and soon arranged the murder of her husband, Uriah ( 2 Samuel 11). This seemingly small decision during a mountaintop period of time for David wound up forever changing his life for the worse. We need God's will in every area at every moment of our life. We are as intelligent as sheep (that is not a compliment), as we are frequently compared to. As Jesus said in John 8:31-32, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you will know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." We need to abide continually with Him for clarity, trusting always in His will for our lives.

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster