Monday, January 23, 2017

Surrender to His Grace

Over and over again, God’s love for us has been proven by action. We are called to reciprocate. We are called to commit. And most of us will nod our heads in agreement, believing we have committed.

We talk about commitment. I’ve been reading through the book of Isaiah recently and came across this little pearl.

In the year when King Sargon of Assyria sent his commander in chief to capture the Philistine city of Ashdod, the Lord told Isaiah son of Amoz, “Take off the burlap you have been wearing, and remove your sandals.” Isaiah did as he was told and walked around naked and barefoot.
~Isaiah 20:1-2
Oh, ok. Now it’s not enough to simply declare and teach the Word of the Lord. There’s a uniform. But wait, there’s more.

Then the Lord said, “My servant Isaiah has been walking around naked and barefoot for the last three years.
~Isaiah 20:3
Hold on. Three years?!? Isaiah walked around in nothing but what God gave him for 3 years!?! On the bright side, you’d save time doing laundry. But you are going to get a sunburn in some places where the sun don’t usually shine! I am in awe of the commitment that Isaiah displayed.

Let’s play a game. Anybody in the room want to talk about your commitment? Let’s form a line. After each one shares what they’ve done for God, I’ll just ask one question. Would you like to serve in that way….naked???

Consider all the things that happen in church that require volunteers. Now consider them being done...naked.

Stop it! That’s enough!

Listen, I know not every commitment can be compared to another. Simply because God has not called us to some of the more extreme measures that He called some of His prophets, does not diminish our commitments.

But if you’ve ever said there was something you weren’t willing to do, I want you to go back and read Isaiah 20 and ponder what that conversation between God and Isaiah was like.

God: Isaiah, I have a message for you to share with the king of Assyria.
Isaiah: You got it, God!
God: One more thing…you need to be naked.
Isaiah: Hmmm….ummm….couldn’t I just draw a picture in the sand? Perhaps some little naked stick figures?
I believe the conclusion of this matter is grace.

Who else has held the oceans in his hand?
Who has measured off the heavens with his fingers?
Who else knows the weight of the earth or has weighed the mountains and hills on a scale?
Who is able to advise the Spirit of the Lord?
Who knows enough to give him advice or teach him?
Has the Lord ever needed anyone’s advice?
Does he need instruction about what is good?
Did someone teach him what is right or show him the path of justice?
No, for all the nations of the world are but a drop in the bucket.
They are nothing more than dust on the scales.
He picks up the whole earth as though it were a grain of sand.
All the wood in Lebanon’s forests and all Lebanon’s animals would not be enough
to make a burnt offering worthy of our God.
~Isaiah 40:12-16
I don’t know how much wood was in Lebanon’s forests. I also don’t know how many animals were in Lebanon when Isaiah wrote this. The way he writes, my hunch is that there was more than plenty of both. Yet all of it together would not be enough to make a burnt offering worthy of God.

All of our commitments will equal to the same. Not enough.

We need to come to a point of surrender where we trust more in God’s love for us than we do in what we return to Him. We will do things for God. We should. But we do these things as a response for the flood of love and grace that God has poured on us.

Surrender to His grace. Allow it to free you to do what God has planned for only you to do.

We can't commit like the heroes of old. Maybe God doesn't intend for us to. We won't lead like Moses, love like David, sound wise like Solomon or… get naked like Isaiah. But we can aspire for great things to be done through us because God loves us and wants to do great things through us.

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