What Do We Do?

26 Aug

Isaiah 51:1-6:

“Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness, you who seek the Lord: look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug.  Look to Abraham your father and to Sarah who bore you; for he was but one when I called him, that I might bless him and multiply him.
  For the Lord comforts Zion; He comforts all her waste places and makes her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of the son.
  Give attention to me, my people, and give ear to Me, My nation; for a law will go out from Me, and I will set My justice for a light to the peoples.
My righteousness draws near, My salvation has gone out, and My arms will judge the peoples; the coastlands hope for Me, and for My arm they wait.
Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look at the earth beneath; for the heavens vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, and they who dwell in it will die in like manner; but My salvation will be forever, and My righteousness will never be dismayed.”

I hear people say it so often: What do we do?  There is an sense of confusion, apprehension, fear or frustration that typically accompanies this question.  I can imagine the people of Israel asking a similar question.  Returning to the land after the exile, it would have been a logical question: What do we do?

And through His prophet, Isaiah, God makes it very clear what they are to do: Listen, look and give me your attention.  These were words that placed God at the center of everything in the Israelites’ lives.  God does not tell them to do anything, yet He tells them to do so much.  He wants them to listen to Him, to His Word, the Law and the Promises.  He wants them to look to Him, to their fathers in the faith and to those whom the promise was given.  And He wants them to give Him their attention, to be focused on Him, to treasure Him and stand in awe of His glory.

I think these words ring true today as well.  We live in a world that fails to view listening, looking and giving our attention to another as real work.  The world says: DO SOMETHING WHY DON’T YOU!  Yet, such a statement already assumes that the kind of actions God calls the people to in Isaiah 51 are not actions.  So often we are swept up in the busy life of ministry, work schedules and family life.  But there is great reward in listening, looking and giving our attention to the Lord.

And what is that reward?  The reward is seeing, hearing and being able to identify God’s work, His great and gracious work, among us. Isn’t it ironic that in this passage, it is God who does the real work?  He is the one who calls (v. 2), blesses (v.2), multiplies (v. 2), comforts (v.3), makes great (v. 3), establishes justice (v.4), judges (v. 5) and saves (v. 6).  We see these things fulfilled in the Gospel, in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  And we will see these brought forth in their fullness at His return and the establishment of His eternal Kingdom.

Is this not good news to share with those who are in pain, lonely, weak, afraid, depressed and oppressed?  And as we seek to live in light of what we hear from God, as we look to His Word, and  as we fix our eyes upon King Jesus, we can walk alongside people and continue to show them the love and the grace that we have received.  O! What a privilege!


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