I wanted to change things up for one day, and instead of going through a passage, instead share how Isaiah has been affecting my life and my responses to a specific situation:
Carol and I closed on a house very recently, and we were very excited – we grabbed the keys, immediately drove to our new place to check it out…and noticed something was wrong as soon as we walked through the door. The kitchen cabinets were on the floor. There was garbage everywhere. We walked around, and the wrongness only got wrong-er – the sinks and toilets had been detached, or taken, and all the ceiling fans were gone. We realized that someone had broken in, and stolen anything of value from our house. And to boot, there was water damage everywhere because they had ripped the fixtures out so forcefully.
I was crestfallen – only moments earlier we were overjoyed at starting our life in the city, and now, moments into that life, we were victims of a crime. Walking from room to room, the thoughts only got darker and more pessimistic – I doubted the wisdom of bringing my little girls into a city full of crime, wondered if I was really built for urban ministry, even toyed with the idea of buying a gun to protect my family, something I had never even dreamed of previously.
But as we drove away from our house, something from Isaiah came to mind, something that I had shared about earlier – it was from Isaiah 5:8-10
8 Woe to you who add house to house
and join field to field
till no space is left
and you live alone in the land.
9 The LORD Almighty has declared in my hearing:
“Surely the great houses will become desolate,
the fine mansions left without occupants.
10 A ten-acre vineyard will produce only a bath of wine,
a homer of seed only an ephah of grain.”
In that posting, I shared how real estate cannot ensure against danger or difficult circumstances, and this is something that Isaiah repeatedly touches upon throughout his prophecies, that God alone is our sanctuary and refuge, and trusting in the protection of other nations or our possessions or idols will only lead to ruin.
I began to realize that I too had crept into the same mentality that the people of Israel had – my house was supposed to bring wealth and equity. It was supposed to be a refuge against crime and the outside world. But God showed me, as he showed the people of Israel, that this is so unwise, because these things fail us so often. God alone is our faithful refuge and our enduring wealth and our eternal hope.
After I remembered the words of Isaiah, I took a deep breath, and tried to regain a Godly perspective on the whole situation: praise God that we weren’t in the house when it was broken into! Praise God that none of our really valuable things were inside the house yet! Praise God they didn’t rip the very pipes and wires out of the walls! Praise God that although our house and the real estate market may let us down, God never does. Praise God!
Isaiah is a very good book for me, and for all of us. In it, Isaiah methodically pricks all of our dangerously flimsy life preservers that we had been placing all our trust and hope into, and instead forces us to focus instead on the only one who can save both life eternally – Jesus Christ.