For this is what the high and lofty One says—
he who lives forever, whose name is holy:
“I live in a high and holy place,
but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly
and to revive the heart of the contrite.
I will not accuse forever,
nor will I always be angry,
for then the spirit of man would grow faint before me—
- the breath of man that I have created.
I have seen his ways, but I will heal him;
I will guide him and restore comfort to him,
19 creating praise on the lips of the mourners in Israel.
Peace, peace, to those far and near,”
says the Lord. “And I will heal them.”
In a world that seems to be increasingly angry, violent, vulgar and lacking in all restraint, these words bring me comfort and and a great reminder for me to be humble. It is also a reminder that God intimately knows my ways, and in spite of the good, the bad and the ugly, chooses to heal me and bring me peace.
The last week before Christmas, the kids and I studied a part of history when the nation of Isreal enters a new country that God had promised them with a new, untested leader, Joshua. Before they even start the daunting process of crossing the Jordan at flood stage and attacking people who had scared their parents faithless forty years earlier, God gives Joshua a pep talk:
- As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. (Joshua 1:5)
- The Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)
- Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses (Joshua 3:7)
- Be strong and courageous (Joshua 1:6, 9)
- Be strong and very courageous. (Joshua 1:7)
- Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged (Joshua 1:9)
I think this is especially appropriate to remember that God gave Joshua a God-sized job, told Joshua to rely on Him and that He would take care of the details. Joshua was faithful to God in almost everything and God fulfilled every promise He made. Here is another quote, this time from 66 Love Letters by Dr. Larry Crabb about the central theme in the book of Joshua:
"It is a call to fight. Loving Me and becoming holy requires that you realize there is an enemy within you who will cause you more trouble than all the enemies outside you, than even the devil. I want you to fight, but I want you to fight the right battle...Loving Me and being faithful to My plan requires hating everything in you that is opposed to Me, everything about you that wants someone or something besides Me to have first place in your life. You'll need help discerning what that is." (The italics and boldface font is copied from the book.)
So, this year, I will be strong and courageous, even with the looming fiscal cliffs, the dairy cliffs, the prospect of the country collapsing under the weight of the federal deficit, the prospect of government trying to control our everyday lives, the prospect of nations who want to destroy America having nuclear weapons or carrying our IOU's. I will not be terrified nor will I be discouraged because I place my hope in God's infinitely loving, powerful, and omniscient hands, knowing that He will carry my through whatever He has planned until He completely heals me and brings me home to Him. Hallelujah!