Sunday 18 September 2016

Isaiah 54:2-4 : « Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thy habitations; spare not: lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes. Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth; and the reproach of thy widowhood shalt thou remember no more. »

God tells us not to fear. And He tells us not to fear three things: We will not be ashamed, we will not be confounded, and we will not be put to shame.

1) The first fear is the Hebrew booshaw which means « to pale. » It is like when someone is sick and the color runs away from his face. The same thing happens when we experience disappointment in God. The life and joy of walking with Him leaves us and we become pale in the Spirit.

2) The second is the Hebrew word kaw-lawm which means to « be wounded. » It is to suffer hurt or reproach. I believe God’s people experienced this in Isaiah’s time when they saw their relatives living in the northern ten tribes taken into captivity and lost forever. They felt wounded in their faith and their trust in God’s protection.

3) The third is the word kher-paw meaning to « be disgraced. » Just imagine the reproach the nations brought against the God of Israel seeing that half of His people were taken into captivity and lost for thousands of years to come!

There is an enemy to our soul that wants to remind us constantly of our sin and failures of the past. He wants to remind us that we don’t deserve the favor of God. He taunts us with constant accusations against God. The devil wants desperately to make us think that God is neither loving nor good.

But Jesus died on the cross specifically to release us from gaining any favor from God by our own righteousness. Our trust is not in our ability to please God, but our trust is in the death and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus pleased God. And by faith, we are now in Him and can receive the same favor as did Jesus.

It is so important that as we enter this last week of the fast that we move beyond the failures and disappointments of the past. Forget the accusations of the devil and believe the promises of God. What God has promised, He will do.

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