Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

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4. Comforting Strength – Part 3

Haven’t you heard? Don’t you understand? Are you deaf to the words of God— the words he gave before the world began? Are you so ignorant? 22 God sits above the circle of the earth. The people below seem like grasshoppers to him! He spreads out the heavens like a curtain and makes his tent from them. 23 He judges the great people of the world and brings them all to nothing. 24 They hardly get started, barely taking root, when he blows on them and they wither. The wind carries them off like chaff. 25 “To whom will you compare me? Who is my equal?” asks the Holy One. 26 Look up into the heavens. Who created all the stars? He brings them out like an army, one after another, calling each by its name. Because of his great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing. 27 O Jacob, how can you say the Lord does not see your troubles? O Israel, how can you say God ignores your rights? 28 Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God,     the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. 29 He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. 30 Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. 31 But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

It’s here that we come to Isaiah’s second point. Not only did Isaiah speak of an everlasting comfort but he also spoke of the everlasting Word of God. When all other claims to truth have had their say, only the Word of God will stand. Everything else changes because everything else is based on relative truth, not absolute truth. Philosophies come and go, but only God’s Word remains. The lie of the Nazi’s came and died along with the lie of godless communism. All man made philosophy come to and end because they are not built on God’s truth. 50 years ago many philosophers and theologians were proclaiming that God was dead and also predicting the death of the church. Today almost no one can remember the names of those who made those predictions, let alone the titles of their books, but the church of Jesus Christ is thriving and God is still very much alive. The truth is the church has survived a lot worse persecution. In fact, the light of God’s truth burns brightest when things are darkest. Darkness does not diminish truth, in fact, the opposite happens, darkness actually serves to turn up the truth, making it more visible. A young musician once went to see his old music teacher. During the visit, his elderly mentor took a tuning fork and struck it on the end of the table. He said. “That is ‘A.’” From the floor above them they could hear the voice of a singer rehearsing. “She sings sharp,” the old teacher said with a smile. He struck the tuning fork again and paused as he lifted it and said, “She is sharp, but this ‘A’ — always has been, always will be — 440 vibrations per second. It will still be ‘A’ 5,000 years from now.” The same is true of God’s Word. It was God’s Word yesterday; it is God’s Word today, and it will be God’s Word 5000 years from now. Kingdoms will rise and fall, ideas will come and go. Morality will ebb and flow, the values of the world will change, but God’s Word will remain the one constant in a world of confusing change. Emperor Diocletian tried to revive the old pagan religions of Rome by persecuting and killing Christians. He set up a stone pillar in his honor, inscribed with the words that he wanted to describe his legacy: “For Having Exterminated The Name Christian From the Earth.” If only he knew how far short of his goal he really fell. In truth, his monument was more of a tribute to the endurance of Christianity than it was to him. You see his feeble attempts to destroy Christianity failed miserably just as all attempts throughout the centuries have. Atheists have scoffed at it, critics have attacked it, and unbelievers have rejected it. Another Roman leader made a coffin, symbolizing his intention “to bury the Galilean” by killing Christ’s followers. He eventually admitted that he could not put the Master in his coffin. When the French monarch proposed the persecution of Christians in his dominion, an old statesman and warrior said to him, ‘Sire, the church of God is an anvil that has worn out many hammers.’ So the hammers of infidels have been pecking away at this book for ages, but the hammers are worn out, and the anvil still endures. If this book had not been the book of God, men would have destroyed it long ago. Emperors and popes, kings and priests, princes and rulers have all tried their hand at it; they die and the book still lives.” No other book has been so sifted, scrutinized, and vilified. What book on philosophy, religion or psychology has been subject to such mass attack as the Bible? With such venom and skepticism, with such thoroughness and erudition, upon every chapter, line, and tenet? Yet the Bible still endures and is not only loved by millions but lived out by millions. The Waldensians represented the history of the church with a picture of an anvil with many worn-out hammers lying all around it. At the bottom of the picture, these words are inscribed: “One Anvil — Many Hammers.” Are you looking to the scriptures as your source of strength and guidance or to society? What about you are you trusting in God’s absolute truth or some teaching that will ultimately fail?