It is interesting how quickly circumstances can seize our attention. Many that I know are concerned by all that could possibly happen in our economy. The challenge is that it seems like there is no end of attention-grabbing issues. It should not surprise us that the Bible speaks to the follower of Jesus’ response. It is to fear God more than we fear the circumstances around us. It is to fear God more than we fear inflation!
It is not hard to understand why rising housing costs, rising food costs and the rising cost of everything is at the forefront of our thinking. It is because those issues are realities in all of our lives. Now, I understand that some are impacted more than others, but the rising costs of items is something that all of us are experiencing.
The Lord spoke to the prophet Isaiah about being pulled down the drain of focusing on circumstances. We read, “For the Lord spoke thus to me with his strong hand upon me, and warned me not to walk in the way of this people, saying:” (Isaiah 8:11) The situation in Israel was that the consequences of a hard hearted people were on the horizon. The Assyrian nation was coming and would conquer the northern tribes of Israel because of their rejection of their God. Judah who was also in opposition to Assyria would also be facing the same demise as her sister nation to the north. It is in this context that once again God attempts to get the people of Judah, the southern nation, to return to Him. These words to Isaiah are to not be pulled down the proverbial rabbit hole of demise. It did not take a rocket scientist to see that Judah did not stand a chance against Assyria. So they partnered with Aram, but the coalition would fall to the invader.
The issue became one of focus, or trust, for God’s people. Should they allow the talking heads to determine their perspective on life or their relationship with God? The people facing uncertainty were just like us, in that, instead of trusting the Lord, they drank the Kool-Aid of pending doom. And it was true that their situation did not offer any hope. But in placing their trust in their own abilities they missed the fact that God was able to protect them. The Lord reminds Isaiah, “Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread.” (Isaiah 8:12) I am sitting in a context where a popular new channel is blaring in the background. Let me say, it is not a message of hope, but one of all the “conspiracies” unfolding around us.
We need to hear what the Lord says to Isaiah and to us. “But the Lord of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.” (Isaiah 8:13) This is a powerful message to us today. A reminder to keep our focus on the Lord, because He is the one that is in control. He has also promised to watch over His people. I am reminded of His promise, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5b)
Now, this does not mean that we will not potentially face difficult times. It does mean that God will take care of us! So when it comes to fearing God, or inflation, or whatever. Let me encourage you to ponder the Lord’s message to a godly man living in a ungodly culture. Fear the Lord and trust Him, because He has your back!
-Pastor Joe Parkinson