Yesterday God highlighted for me Isaiah 7:9b…
“If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all” ~ ESV.
“If you will not believe, you surely shall not last” ~ NASB.
Looking at verses 1-12, we see Ahaz facing three kings who are out to destroy him and take his territory over. Ahaz starts out to gain the aid of Assyria, but God sends Isaiah to stop him and encourage him to trust in the Lord instead.
This passage so hits home for me in so many areas. I feel God’s call to do something, then, when it gets hard, I want to elicit others help to do what I am called to do, often so I can back out altogether. Many of us desire to do right: work at a job God opened for us, reach a goal, obtain a dream, minister to another in our sphere of influence; but when obstacles get in the way and the road gets rough, instead of trusting in and relying upon God, we wimp out, back pedal, or look to others besides Him for our solution. God may send His word of assurance through many avenues, telling us it will be okay if we will just stay the course and trust Him, but we don’t like pain, so we run in fear, and fail to hear or believe. When this happens, we rob ourselves of the opportunity we have to participate in the great work of God and experience Him as never before.
Here in Isaiah 7, God tells Ahaz that the army coming against him will not succeed. He does not tell him that the battle will not come. Nor does He tell him that his victory will be easy. What He does say is, “If you trust and believe Me, you will be able to stand firm, withstand the battle, and come through to its completion having your kingdom and your crown in tact. BUT if you will not believe, you will not last, but will fall away.”
I read a devotional thought today from SparkPeople.com that spoke to me on this issue. The quote they used is from Frank Tyger, saying, “Most barriers to your success are man-made. And most often, you’re the man who made them.”
Regarding this thought, the author of the devotional writes, “What are you trying to accomplish? Are you trying to stick to a fitness plan so that you will look great this summer? Are you trying to improve a relationship with a friend or loved one? …Whatever you are trying to do, think about a time when you’ve allowed yourself to think, ‘I can’t!’ Why did this happen? Most of the time, it is because of a barrier that you yourself created.
“It is completely natural for you to have this reaction in life. For most of us, when things get tough or when we start to fail, we try to find ways to justify our actions instead of trying to find ways to get over the hurdle. …” (http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/quotes_translation.asp?id=262).
I remember a time when I said to myself, “I can’t do this anymore.” It broke something in me and, for a time, it robbed me of my ability to cope with my daddy’s paranoia issues and minister to him. It even hindered my ability to relate with many others – for a time. When I realized the enemy assault in those words that were not based on truth in Christ and that robbed me of faith in God who equips me for all things, I began the slow road to healing and got back in the proverbial saddle of life again.
We must take care when the hurdles come upon us that we keep our eyes on and our faith in God, or we will be easily knocked off our horses and off the path God has for us. Life is hard, but God is faithful. Seek His face for the assurance needed and stay the course that will get us to the finish line, having accomplished all His good will and purpose. The center of His will is often hard, but it is the safest, most blessed place to be.