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Stand firm in your faith, Part 1

5th June 2009

Things were getting scary. The armies of Israel and Syria had invaded Judea, and had reached the gates of Jerusalem. Ahaz, the king of Judea, was trapped inside Jerusalem, and could see no way out. He was frightened for his life:

Isaiah 7v1-2
When Ahaz son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, was king of Judah, King Rezin of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel marched up to fight against Jerusalem, but they could not overpower it. Now the house of David was told, "Aram has allied itself with Ephraim"; so the hearts of Ahaz and his people were shaken, as the trees of the forest are shaken by the wind.

God sent Isaiah the prophet to speak to Ahaz.

Isaiah 7v3-4
Then the LORD said to Isaiah, "Go out, you and your son Shear-Jashub, to meet Ahaz at the end of the aqueduct of the Upper Pool, on the road to the Washerman’s Field. Say to him, ‘Be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid. Do not lose heart because of these two smouldering stubs of firewood — because of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and of the son of Remaliah.

As a Christian, you will experience frightening circumstances sometimes. God's words to Ahaz apply also to you, and to me:

Be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid. Do not lose heart.

You have been redeemed through the love and power of God. You have been brought this far by the same love and power. You have learnt to trust in God. And when a crisis looms, and you can't see a way out, your faith is being tested. Are you going to continue to trust God, or are you going to look for an unrighteous way to fix your problem?

Just like Ahaz, we face real problems, as Isaiah went on to say:

Isaiah 7v5-6
Aram, Ephraim and Remaliah’s son have plotted your ruin, saying, "Let us invade Judah; let us tear it apart and divide it among ourselves, and make the son of Tabeel king over it."

This was no imagined danger. It was real, and deadly serious. But God promised through Isaiah:

Isaiah 7v7-9a
Yet this is what the Sovereign LORD says: "‘It will not take place, it will not happen, for the head of Aram is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is only Rezin. Within sixty-five years Ephraim will be too shattered to be a people. The head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is only Remaliah’s son.

What are nations? What are kings? They cannot stand against the purposes of God. He raises them up and he throws them down. Who are the people threatening you? Can they fight against God and prevail? Never!

But God goes on to say:

Isaiah 7v9b
If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.’"

If we stop trusting in God, and look to ourselves to save our skins, we will fail. God knows what He wants you to do in response to the situation you find yourself in. And His solution to your problems does not include you choosing to sin in an attempt to save yourself.

If God wants you to suffer, you will. If God wants to bring miraculous deliverance for you, He will. Nothing can stop Him, either way.

But we are called to stand firm in our faith. And to trust God that his will for us will be done, that he is always for us, that He is all-powerful, and that He loves us. And we will be rewarded for our obedience, even if it costs us our lives, or our finances, or our reputations.

Psalm 20v7-8
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm.