Saturday, March 29, 2008

Isaiah 48:17

I've been reading through the book of Isaiah lately. Much of it is speaks to Israel, their constant turning to idols, and God's plan of reconciliation. It's interesting to see that even in Isaiah God is already planning on something much bigger than anyone could have imagined - salvation for the whole world, not just the Israelites.

I came across chapter 48 a couple of days ago and this one verse has continued to stay with me. It says "This is what the Lord says, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go." I've been struck by the idea that God is trying to teach me what is best for me, and to direct me in the way I should go. To me it reinforces that picture of Father God. I get that so much more nowadays. I find myself teaching Hannah all the time about why we make certain decisions, and about why certain things are good and right, and others are not. Sometimes I make decisions for her when she can't handle it, other times I guide her and help her to make the right decision. And sometimes she makes her own decisions, some good and some bad. Is this what God is doing with me? In what ways is He teaching me what is best for me? How does He do it? It really helps me to trust God when I think about Him wanting what is best for me, and trying to guide me into that.

God and I have had some disagreements in the past. There have been several times when I was sure I knew what was best for me, and God had a different opinion. Sometimes I have went ahead and did what I wanted to do, and it has cost me. Other times God's way has been right in front of me and I have chosen to ignore it - again, at a cost. But then there are those times when it seems like God and I are in a rhythm. It's like every decision I make seems to bring me more joy, more peace, and more fulfillment. Not that they are always easy decisions or easy results from those decisions - but it's as if the outcome doesn't even matter. It's the confidence of knowing that the particular decision I've made is the right one - that's what brings joy and peace.

I see the sheer joy on Hannah's face when she makes a decision that pleases me. I love to express that love to her, to bless her with good things, and to wrap my arms around her and tell her how proud I am of her. I love that God is my Father. I love to think of Him doing the same sort of things with me. He wants what is best for me - what kind of a Father would He be if that weren't the case? And yet, how often do I want to do things my own way?

In the Isaiah passage, the verses following 48:17 talk about what could have been if Israel had chosen to pay attention to God's commands and do what He asked. He speaks of peace for them, righteousness, and blessing. God wants these things for His people. Too often we blame God for "allowing" things to happen to us. It makes a lot more sense to say that those things happen most often as a result of our own choices - choosing a way that diverts away from the way that God is seeking to guide us.

At any rate, Isaiah is full of these little tidbits. I love this book, I love the hope that is offered within its pages, and the plan of reconciliation that is revealed. It's a book that reveals the heart of God in very real ways.


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