Deuteronomy 23, Psalm 112-113, Isaiah 50, Revelation 20
 

Isaiah 50:4-9
Have you ever struggled to speak of Jesus and His kingdom?  I know I have.  A few years after becoming a believer, I was asked by a person I respected why I was so hopeful and optimistic.  I knew the answer was my faith in God and my trust in Jesus, but I waffled by saying it was just my nature.  As I heard myself, it sounded foolish. 
 
Don't you admire those people who can boldly speak of the glory of our God and Savior?  Isaiah is one of those people.  Do you remember when Isaiah saw the Lord sitting on the throne, high and lifted up in chapter 6?  After being confronted by a holy God, Isaiah offered to speak for the LORD.  In verses 9-12, the Lord tells Isaiah what he is to say and for how long.  It would be worth your time to read the passage, but this is my summary:  Tell the people they hear but don't understand, they see but don't perceive.  Their hearts are dull, ears plugged, and eyes blind.  They will not turn to Me.  Keep preaching the same sermon until their cities are desolate because the people are held in captivity to a foreign country. 
 
Isaiah faithfully told the nation of Judah all God instructed him.  This passage gives us insight into Isaiah's boldness and willingness to speak for God. Verses 4-5 says God gave him a tongue to speak and ears to hear.  Isaiah listened to the words of wisdom and understanding the LORD gave him, and he used them to sustain the weary.  Isaiah did not turn back from the task even though there was considerable opposition.  He was whipped, spit upon and had his beard pulled out.  But since the LORD God helped Isaiah, he would not be ashamed or disgraced.  Instead, he set his face to do as God instructed.
 
Paul says something very similar in 2 Timothy 1:8-12 which concludes with this statement, "But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me."  In 2 Timothy 4:17 Paul adds, "But the LORD stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed."
 
Years ago, if someone had this discussion with me I would have responded by saying, I am sure that's true, but I am not Isaiah or Paul, so what is your point?

After the incident where I failed so miserably to speak the truth, I was disappointed in myself and ashamed for my lack of courage.  Since then when presented with the opportunity, I try to speak what God has taught me.  It does not always come out smooth or eloquent, but I have found it true that the Holy Spirit will use a willing tongue and ear.  He has strengthened me, and I have been able to be a comfort to those in need.
 
My prayer is that God has given wisdom and understanding as you study His word this year.  I pray you use it for His glory by boldly speaking what He is teaching.  My desire for you is the realization of Him being an ever present help, and you experience the joy that comes from declaring the goodness of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  

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