February 7, 2015

Isaiah 38:15 “But what can I say?
He has spoken to me, and he himself has done this.
I will walk humbly all my years
because of this anguish of my soul.

Nothing beats personal experience! Hezekiah had been to the brink of death, and the Lord had brought him back. His response was faith and humility. Recently numbers of fairly prominent people have discarded Christianity: Christian musicians and even a pastor or two. Not included in that are the many who maintain the trappings of religion but ignore it in actual practice. Such people are not in Hezekiah’s group! God had spoken to Hezekiah through Isaiah, but He had obviously echoed it directly in his heart as well, or Hezekiah would not have had this response. Sometimes it takes real suffering to get us to pay attention and really listen to God. God would rather not have to inflict such things on us. David heard the Lord tell him something very pointed and practical: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.” (Psalm 32:8-9) An animal that is responsive to its master’s wishes has it much easier than one that isn’t. How much more then, will we have it easier when we listen to God obediently! However, too many have never opened the door to really experience God and hear what He has to say to them, because the handle to that door is repentance. As long as we maintain our pride and hang onto our sin, we will not experience the fellowship with God for which we were created, and that is a tragedy indeed.

I have experienced God to the point that I am more sure of His existence than I am of my own. However, the difficulty comes in persuading others to open their hearts to experience Him as well. As a pastor I try pretty consistently to encourage the believers in personal devotions, yet the majority of the congregation aren’t consistent, and they hold me in awe because I am. I know that God is speaking to each one of them and I desire earnestly that they hear Him accurately without having to go through something like Hezekiah did, but I see it far too seldom. This has come into sharp focus for me by the Lord’s grace, and I’m being given an opportunity tomorrow to address it in a message to the congregation. I am to allow Him to pour His heart through me, not holding anything back, so that the Holy Spirit may strip away the lies that have been barriers to repentance and faith. I cannot make it happen myself, but He can use me, and I am to be totally yielded.

Father, thank You for Your grace. It’s not often Saturday before I have Your message for Sunday, but this has been a good experience in waiting on You. Thank You for speaking so clearly. May Your Word communicate very, very clearly to each one tomorrow, in the power of Your love and grace, so that this church may be transformed indeed, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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