During Lent I have been studying Isaiah along with thousands of women across the globe with SheReadsTruth. (I highly recommend them, HeReadsTruth and KidsReathTruth as well y’all) To be honest, Isaiah isn’t all that uplifting and hopeful of a book. In fact it’s chocked full of judgment and discipline on God’s own people.
Yowza…not what I was planning for when I set out in Lent.
I mean yes, there’s valleys full of armies coming for God’s chosen, promises of their captivity and judgment strewn across page after page of Isaiah. But God has a way of showing up in some pretty beautiful ways in the midst of our own plotting and destruction, our own demises we’ve brought on ourselves doesn’t He?
It’s hard to see the beauty of God when we are facing the ugliness of battle, the destruction of selves and lives based upon our own pursuit of other things. When we attempt to rescue ourselves, we find hope and faith are only in what we can accomplish, what we can strengthen in our own might. Even in Isaiah’s prophecy here in chapter 22 you can spot God trying to point them back to Him, to see the error of their own ways and call to mind His pursuit of His people once more.
“You saw that there were many breaches in the walls of the city of David. You collected water from the lower pool. You counted the houses of Jerusalem so that you could tear them down to fortify the wall. You made a reservoir between the walls or the water of the ancient pool, but you did not look to the one who made it, or consider the one who created it long ago.” (Isaiah 22:9-11, CSB)
We miss His creation, what He does and how He works when we pursue rescue on our own terms, in our own means, by our own strength and through our own wills. We miss HIM in the midst of pursuing after lesser things as He pursues us. Our flesh likes to tell us we can make it by in our ways, and then just give God the consideration of our plan. But we miss it all when we don’t consider the pursuit He is undertaking for us. For our hearts, minds, wills and ultimately us.
He desires us, we are His. And yet we find ourselves making weapons of war when He attempts to discipline us. We scurry to build walls upon the things in which He created and set forth long ago. We look to our hands to be our rescue and do not see the Creator reflected in them, instead we see ourselves and our means of saving. We don’t see the nail scars, but our own scars of our flesh.
While the words of Isaiah are hard to swallow, and truly reminding me of the current status of a nation, I am finding God is woven deeply into his words…the beauty of God pursuing us even in the hard, even in discipline and judgment, in order to bring us back. To remind us of Him and Who He is to us and for us and in us.
Thus I am reminded of these words from Tobymac, that ring so true in context of Isaiah, even in the difficult and hard of discipline…
My heart did all that it could to undue me,
but You loved me enough to pursue me.