God our Hope
“O LORD, you are my God! I will exalt you in praise, I will extol your fame. For you have done extraordinary things, and executed plans made long ago exactly as you decreed.”
Isaiah 25:1 NET
Do you ever feel, when you turn on the tv or radio and hear the latest news broadcast that the whole world has gone mad? It just seems to be one bad news report after another; bombings, terror attacks, child abuse, executions of Christians, human trafficking…the list goes on.
I’ve had people who know I’m a Christian say to me ‘how can you still believe in God?’
Well, I’m no great scholar but these things I do know:
God is good. He is faithful. And he is absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt, in control of everything. We, that know and trust in him have sure and certain hope.
Isaiah knew this too.
The first thing we see in the above passage, is that Isaiah had a personal relationship with God. He didn’t just believe in God, he believed God.
“O Lord, You are my God”. Isaiah knows God and addresses Him as his friend as well as his Sovereign.
When you know someone, and others starts to bad mouth that person in your company, or call their integrity into question, you can say with absolute confidence, ‘that’s not who they are. They wouldn’t do that/say that’. That’s how well Isaiah knew God. He knew God’s attributes and personality traits. He knew that God is good and that he always fulfils his promises.
When we know God, rather than just knowing about him, we know with absolute certainty that He is faithful and is true to His word.
Isaiah quickly moves from ‘I’ and ‘my’ to ‘You’.
He takes his focus off himself and what’s going on around him to focus on who God is.
You are my God!
I will exalt You in praise
I will extol Your fame.
You have done extraordinary things, and executed plans made long ago exactly as
We need to take our eyes off our circumstances and fix our eyes on God, who is so much bigger than our problems- no matter how huge they might seem to us.
Isaiah acknowledges that God is sovereign and in control. That God’s plans are excellent and that they are fulfilled exactly as God has decreed.
This is a recurrent theme throughout the Old Testament and many times through the book of Isaiah – here are just three:
Isaiah 14:24 NLT
“The Lord of Heaven’s Armies has sworn this oath: “It will all happen as I have planned. It will be as I have decided.”
Isaiah 14:26 NLT
“I have a plan for the whole earth, a hand of judgment upon all the nations.”
Isaiah 46:10-11 NLT
“Only I can tell you the future before it even happens. Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish. I will call a swift bird of prey from the east— a leader from a distant land to come and do my bidding. I have said what I would do, and I will do it.”
When we takes our eyes off ourselves and and look to God – this is what happens:
1. We see how great God is ( in comparison with our problems)
Isaiah 25:4, 9 NLT
“But you are a tower of refuge to the poor, O Lord, a tower of refuge to the needy in distress. You are a refuge from the storm and a shelter from the heat. For the oppressive acts of ruthless people are like a storm beating against a wall,
In that day the people will proclaim, “This is our God! We trusted in him, and he saved us! This is the Lord, in whom we trusted. Let us rejoice in the salvation he brings!”
This is who God is. This is who I know Him to be. He isn’t some far-off, detached deity up there in the heavens somewhere. He is intimately involved with his children. I love the line- ‘For the oppressive acts of ruthless people are like a storm beating against a wall’ –
Picture The Lord your God as a massive stone wall, stretching as high as the eye can see and almost as wide. See yourself on one side of it and an angry mob on the other, hurling rocks, spears, swords maybe even firing guns, at the wall. But all to no avail. Nothing can penetrate that wall.
2. We Remember We Have a Hope!
Isaiah says in chapter 25:1 ‘you have done extraordinary things’. When we start to remind ourselves of the things God has done in our lives – we all have stories and testimonies of these – it boosts our faith and lifts our hearts and encourages those around us as we share our ‘God stories’.
3. We remember who we are
Isaiah said in chapter 25:1 “(you) executed plans made long ago exactly as you decreed.”
We are a part of that plan!
So does that mean we shouldn’t be affected by the news or what’s going on the world?
I believe we should be. But I believe we shouldn’t add our voices to the voices of despair and disgruntlement of those who have no hope.
The awful news reports can move us to pray in our armchairs instead of sitting there despairing. To go and bring hope to the hopeless, healing to the hurting and love to the lonely and lost.
I love the way 1 Peter 2:8-9 puts it:
” They (that’s the rest of the world who don’t know Jesus) stumble because they do not obey God’s word, and so they meet the fate that was planned for them. But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.”
(Brackets insert mine)
We are called by God to be ‘royal priests’. Ministers of his grace and mercy.
Isaiah 61:1-3 says: “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.”
That’s us! Verse 6 of this prophesy of Isaiah’s goes on to say,
“You will be called priests of the Lord, ministers of our God.”
In conclusion, here’s that verse we started with again. Have a very blessed day. “O LORD, you are my God! I will exalt you in praise, I will extol your fame. For you have done extraordinary things, and executed plans made long ago exactly as you decreed.”
Jill McIlreavy 💜