What Does God Really Want? Part 1

I love to study the Bible and I equally love finding out what God thinks, what He wants, what He likes and doesn’t like. As it happens I’m currently doing an in-depth study on the word “desire” and all it’s forms in the Bible.  I’m doing this to dig deeper into a revelation I saw while cross referencing a couple of passages.  In the process of looking up scriptures that contain the word desire I came upon a passage in Isaiah that I am quite familiar with but today I saw it with fresh eyes since I was looking from a different perspective.  It so gripped me that I needed to sit down and write about it.  There is too much to put in one blog so this will be a series of three in which I take one section at a time.  So don’t judge me too soon.  It’s starts out a little rough but it gets oh so much better!

Isaiah 57 has just explained how the wicked live and pay no attention to how the righteous live or what happens to them.  And even when the righteous do wrong God promises to restore the backslider because He says no one’s spirit within him could handle His silence for too long.  Yet the wicked are promised to no peace at all. (The word wicked there means the ungodly) So I was a little confused when I began to read our text. The Scripture passage is Isaiah 58

58 “Cry aloud, spare not;
Lift up your voice like a trumpet;
Tell My people their transgression,
And the house of Jacob their sins.
Yet they seek Me daily,
And delight to know My ways,
As a nation that did righteousness,
And did not forsake the ordinance of their God.
They ask of Me the ordinances of justice;
They take delight in approaching God.
‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and You have not seen?
Why have we afflicted our souls, and You take no notice?’

It begins by God telling Isaiah to tell the children of Israel what they are doing wrong yet the following description looks by all accounts to be the right things to do.   They are seeking Him daily and delight to know His ways. They want justice and delight in approaching God.  They’ve even fasted!  So what’s the problem?  Why would God say that this is what they are doing wrong?  Well if we read on we will begin to see the problem.

“In fact, in the day of your fast you find pleasure,
And exploit all your laborers.
Indeed you fast for strife and debate,
And to strike with the fist of wickedness.
You will not fast as you do this day,
To make your voice heard on high.
Is it a fast that I have chosen,
A day for a man to afflict his soul?
Is it to bow down his head like a bulrush,
And to spread out sackcloth and ashes?
Would you call this a fast,
And an acceptable day to the Lord?

 

They were performing all the outward tasks and they even liked doing them.  He said they had pleasure in them but they were doing them all for the wrong reasons.  I’m sure we’ve all been there.  We are going through the motions but our hearts, if we’re willing to look, have the wrong motives.  It’s not easy being honest with ourselves but the crazy truth is we aren’t fooling the one whom we are supposedly doing them for.  He see’s everything!  He’s a discerner of our thoughts.
In the midst of our works and service God never wants strife among His children.  They were actually fighting with one another and taking advantage of one another.  They argued and debated which Paul says we should never do.  It doesn’t accomplish anything but division.  God say’s when did I ever tell you to do a fast like that?  It’s all just meaningless rituals at this point.
When we don’t examine ourselves we lose plain and simple.  We’re no better then the wicked who are far from Him.  Being His, being His disciple means being like Him.  It means loving what He loves and hating what He hates.  And yes I did say hate.  He’s been so good to us to show us how to live not just in word but also in example.  Jesus modeled the Father to us so we could enter into His provision and peace.  We will go on in part 2 to explain what God really wants but the kicker is it benefits you.  He’s not a slave driver or someone who’s difficult and hard to please.  No, the truth is, everything He asks of us is for us.
Take some time today and lets examine ourselves honestly.  Why do we do what we do “in His name”?  Is it really for Him?  If it is then that truly is wonderful.  If we need to work on it the good news is that’s all He wants.
Be Blessed today in His presence and I’ll see you in Part 2.

 

By Jaime Luce

“Stay Hungry My Friends”

Are you hungry?  Isn’t it funny how hunger is never really satisfied?  I mean I ate yesterday but here it is today and I’m hungry again.  It’s born in each of us to remain hungry.  In fact, don’t we say that if you have no appetite then you must be sick?  That something must be wrong?  I find it sadly obvious then when we aren’t hungry to know our Savior more or be in His word that we don’t realize somethings wrong.  That isn’t said with condemnation.  Believe me I have been that one too more often than I care to admit.  But why is it we miss the obvious observations when it comes to our own condition and growth in the Lord.  Somehow we don’t want to take responsibility for our own health and maturity.

If you had a child who didn’t want to eat it would greatly concern you.  You would even try to force the child to eat.  You know that he cannot remain healthy and grow if he does not receive the nourishment necessary for life.  Just a quick look at the commercials for children who are malnourished show what can happen and what may be irreversible if not dealt with.

Today while reading from a devotional by Beth Moore called Whispers of Hope, she made a statement that brought a quick yet powerful revelation to me.  She said “I can’t go back and pick up last year’s mercies, and neither can you, but we can receive today’s”. Well immediately I thought of the manna that God provided for the children of Israel while they were in the desert waiting for the promise.

Try to see this with me.  First the children of Israel (note they were called children) were traveling from a place of bondage to a place of promise. All of us start this way.  Even just naturally speaking a child is born with the promise ahead of them of a great life.

Second they were just delivered from a bondage that was all consuming and are now free.  They were just like a baby bound in the womb now born and unattached from the umbilical cord.  That baby needs continual supervision, direction and correction.  This was also the case for the children of Israel.  They are free but now need continual supervision, direction and correction from the Lord through Moses in order to live free. It’s one thing for you body to be free but it’s another thing all together for you mind to be free because your mind will tell your body to walk right back into bondage.  We become born again, set free, yet we need constant supervision, direction and correction to teach us how to walk free which leads me to point three.

They had to learn how to walk.  Just like children, we must learn how to walk with constant supervision, leading and correction otherwise we can hurt ourselves and cause real injury.  No one gets angry at a child learning to walk.  No instead we cheer and celebrate every time they even attempt a step.  We also comfort and encourage when they fall while attempting to walk.  And let me just say, if we aren’t doing this we should.

Fourth and final point, they complained a lot!  Isn’t it ironic how children tend to cry about everything or whine and complain about every disappointment or need and want. They even cry when you’re trying to feed them or give them rest.  Okay, don’t get mad at me but so do we.  Just be honest here.  We complain about a lot of things.  I remember being around 12 years old and being so tired and hungry after school that I stood staring into the refrigerator and just cried.  It was so bad that I actually realized and told myself out loud “Jaime this is ridiculous, go to bed” and I did.  I felt much better afterward.  So this is what leads me to the antidote that God showed me.

The children of Israel desperately needed to learn to trust their Lord.  They needed to understand His heart toward them and how much He loved them and wanted to care for them and take care of them by meeting all of their needs.  He needed to teach them how to depend on Him so again after a very grievous complaining session He told them how He would feed them everyday.  He would leave Manna outside every morning enough for every person for the day to satisfy them.  They were instructed to go out and gather a measured amount for each person and not to take more than told or it would go bad and cause them sickness.  He promised each person would have exactly what he needed and none would be wasted or left over.  And of course this is exactly what happened.  He made sure they had exactly what they needed for their health and well being but not to much or excess.  The thing was though that they had to go gather it everyday except Sunday but they were to gather enough on Saturday for both days.  This was to enforce in them the understanding of how to rest for they had come out of slavery with no rest.  I could go on a rabbit trail here about this but I won’t.  So back to revelation.

We all need the Word everyday to feed us the nourishment we need to be healthy and grow. But this principle applies to more than the Word and prayer.  You may need grace today to face whatever lies in front of you.  You may need mercy for the failures that have trapped you.  You may need strength to get up and do again what drains you.  You may need healing from sickness that plagues you.  You may need peace to calm the storm that rages around or in you.  So there is good news and bad news.  The good news is whatever you need today He has promised He would give you today.  He said His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-24).  That His grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9).  In our weakness He is strong (2 Corinthians 12:11) and that by His stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5).  He even says “My peace I leave with you, My peace I give you (John 14:27).  So here’s the bad news.  If you don’t go gather it you will go without.  Everyday it’s  your choice.  He’s told you what to do and what you need but you have to go get it.

Time is a funny thing.  It races by leaving only memories and for some regrets.  As Beth Moore said “I can’t go back and pick up last year’s mercies, and neither can you, but we can receive today’s”.  God’s been so good and faithful and provided what you need.  Now go get it!

By Jaime Luce