People of the Dawn

People of the Dawn

I’ve been camped out in the Old Testament for months now during my quiet times, and it has proved to be a rich time.  I am learning things anew, though I have read these passages over and over throughout my life.  Here are some of the gracious gleanings from Isaiah I came away with recently (the last few bits of this are my favorite…the part where redemptive history takes the stage!!).

Isaiah the prophet was living amidst a people who had lost their fear of the Lord. Instead, Judah was mesmerized with the power of military might. Isaiah 8 tells of Judah’s refusal to be content with “the waters of Shiloah that flow gently” and instead prefer or “rejoice over Rezin and the son of Remaliah.” The gently flowing waters of Shiloah most likely refers to their former King Hezekiah’s construction of a water-conduit for his people, while Rezin and the son of Remaliah are the kings of Syria and Israel who have scared the people of Judah into forming an alliance with them to fight the Assyrians. Time and time again in Scripture we see God calling his people to rest in Him alone, not in the might of their hands. But time and again we see the people NOT listening to God and indeed trusting in everything they can see…numbers of soldiers, the strength of horses, and skillful war tactics. God is not impressed or moved by the people’s rebellion against his instruction. And because they persist in their rebellion, waging war in their own strength and understanding, he lets them reap what they have sown…coming under the oppression of the nation they waged war against. This is God’s discipline to them…and ultimately the way He would bring them back to their long-lost fear of and trust in Him.

We can learn so much from these stubborn, strong-willed people, if we’re willing. I know for me, there is often a temptation to trust in only that which I see going on around me as the “truth” of a situation. It is so easy to forget that the unseen, the spiritual realm, is more “real” that what we can see with our eyes. Trusting God at his word is a mark of a humble, submitted Christian. I want to not need to see the proof of how things will turn out, but simply obey God because He has asked something of me…whether a command from his Word or a more personal nudge I feel from Him to take a step of faith in some area. This is how all of God’s honorable men and women from Scripture acted…from Noah, who “walked with God” and built an enormous ark, to Abraham who believed God for a son even though his wife was long past her child-bearing years, to David who fought a giant with a handful of rocks and a sling. This is just the start of the heroes we see in God’s Word. They weren’t perfect, but they feared and trusted in a perfect God. I want to be more like them every day. God is worthy of every ounce of trust we can give.

Who I don’t want to be like is the people who betrayed God, turning their backs on his unseen presence in favor of what they could see with their eyes. God told Isaiah,

Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. But the Lord of hosts him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.”Isaiah 8:12-13

Likewise, God says,

And when they say to you, ‘Inquire of he mediums and necromancers who chirp and mutter,’ should not a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living? To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn. They will pass through the land, greatly distressed and hungry.  And when they are hungry, they will be enraged and will speak contemptuously against their king and their God, and turn their faces upward. And they will look to the earth, but behold, distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish. And they will be thrust into thick darkness.” Isaiah 8:19-22

WOW! A people who “have no dawn” is what God calls these rebellious ones. And they will look to the earth for sustenance because it is what they can see, but they will be sorely disappointed.

But guess what?  God doesn’t leave them in the darkness…not even after all their mistrust, irreverence and willful disobedience to God.  What comes next may surprise you, for we often quote it at Christmastime…this is where we find the Messianic passage that reads:

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined” Isaiah 9:2

AND

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end.”  Isaiah 9:6-7a

I hope this excites you like it does me!  God, hundreds of years before Christ came, foretold that though he would surely discipline his people, he would also not allow them to wander in the darkness forever.  He would rescue them…by a Son. And so He did. And we are part of that today in 2018.  We don’t have to wander around in the darkness and gloom of this world, even though we too, have been willfully disobedient, for we have been given the greatest Light the world will ever know. Emmanuel, God With Us.  As much as I want to be a Noah, or an Abraham, or a David, the truth is we can’t be like them (they didn’t do it themselves either!) until God arrests our hearts…taking us out of the darkness and into his glorious Light.  When that happens, the darkness loses its grip on us, along with sin and death.  We are free to walk as children of God fully and completely.  Our Light has come…we ARE people who have a dawn!!  Rejoice!

 

Kristin Bunting About Kristin Bunting

Kristin wishes you could pull up a chair, enjoy a cup of coffee, and talk with her about how amazing Jesus is. For 33 years she has walked with her Savior, and each year is a new adventure in learning how He is always "Enough" for her, no matter what the circumstance. Kristin is wife to one loving small-church pastor, and never ceases to be amazed at the 3 daughters God has given them to raise. Her one-day dream is to write a book for women, chronicling her walk with Jesus and encouraging them to never quit pursuing the God who loves them.

Comments

  1. “It is so easy to forget that the unseen, the spiritual realm, is more “real” than what we can see with our eyes.” So true, Kristin. Great to see your enthusiasm for OT stories and lessons. When I studied the OT, I remember telling myself that I would never turn my back on the Lord in my old age the way some of the Kings and great leaders did. May it be so. May our faith grow stronger and more trusting every day.

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