Friday, June 03, 2005

Strain or Strength?

“For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel:
In returning and rest you shall be saved;

In quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”
(Isaiah 30:15)

In our Western world, we are often influenced to believe that to get more we must do more. To grow in strength and power we must exert more energy. Success is achieved by arriving early, working hard, staying late. Working as long as needed, no matter the cost. Though elements of this may be true in the world of commerce, it is not so in the kingdom of God.
The kingdom of God operates on principles vastly different. To be strong, you must become weak. To become great, you must become small. To go up, you must bow down. Everything is seemingly backwards and upside down.

In the day of Isaiah the prophet, 8th Century BC, success and status was achieved by frantic, anxious military and political posturing. It is in this context that the word of the Lord comes. Rather than a reliance in one’s military, political or personal strengths, he say’s, let your complete reliance and trust be upon Yahweh. Isaiah is not a pacifist; rather, he believes that trust in Yahweh is the taproot of security. All trust in armaments and alliances, he reasons, is an act of mistrust and idolatry that will only lead to destruction.

“If you do not stand firm in faith,
You shall not stand at all.”
(Isaiah 7:9)

Something happens when we intentionally pull away and pull into God in Solitude and Silence. Salvation (wholeness, freedom, healing, deliverance) is experienced in the midst of returning to the Source, and rest (intermission) in His Presence. Strength is released into our body, soul (mind/emotions/will), and spirit.

It will never happen unless we are intentional about making it happen. The writer of Hebrews even says that there is a rest that remains, but that it is not automatically experience and appropriated by followers of Christ. It is something that we must position ourselves in such a way to partake in it.

“Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest,
lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.”
(Hebrews 4:11)

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