This Week’s Key Verses: 2 Chronicles 34 (NIV) “Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and followed the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left….”
One morning, about a month ago, I sat down to read God’s word and began at Isaiah 63. I got to verse 19 … “We have become like those over whom You have never ruled, like those who were not called by Your name,” and stopped to ask, is this the state of our society today? Not just American society but it seems that all nations have cast away restraint; they have broken the yoke and burst the bonds, turned their back to God and follow in the path of utter iniquity.
I continued reading … Isaiah 65:1-2, “I permitted Myself to be sought by those who did not ask for Me; I permitted Myself to be found by those who did not seek Me. I said, ‘Here am I, here am I,’ to a nation which did not call on My name. 2 “I have spread out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, who walk in the way which is not good, following their own thoughts …”
And I remembered July 1979. This was me – and Isaiah 65:1 was one of the very first scriptures the Lord spoke to my spirit after I found Jesus. Not that I found Him – He sought me out and circled me with His love. He tracked me down and stood before me waiting for my response. He opened my eyes and I saw He was alive; He opened my mouth and drew me to my knees to acknowledge my sin.
And my sin was not an act but a state, an attitude, what I believed and how I lived. I was my own god, I did what seemed right in my own eyes. To look at me you would think I had it all together; there was no deep gash in my heart, no brokenness in my life. I had not tasted failure – rather I as far back as I could remember I had achieved success in whatever small endeavor I had undertaken. Or so it seemed. I only looked the part, I was clothed in the garments of this world but they covered an empty shell and heart of stone. I did not know that I was lost. I did not see that I was blind. I thought I had no need of God. And I certainly had no passion for the One who died for me.
Oh, the grace of God who calls the one who does not stop to seek His face – who speaks His Name into the ear of one who chooses to be deaf; the passion of Him who calls our name and does not stop until His words have left so deep an imprint upon our life. I ran the way of the world – He waited to bless, and come and make His home within my heart.
Remember the old Shaker song written by Joseph Brackett Jr, called Simple Gifts? This too was a song the Lord used in those early days of my walk with Him.
‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come ’round right.
When we are “in the place just right” we will find ourselves in the valley of delight, a place beyond any that we could dream or imagine. When we give our self to re-focus on the one true God who loves us with a holy passion our heart is tuned to sing His song. Passion for Him is a gift God continues to give each and every day to all who receive it. And when we stray from the simple, when we are drawn to the complex and become entangled in theories and strategies this world offers, we become dull of hearing (Hebrews 5:11), we live in half-light, the shadowlands where joy ebbs. But how wonderful to know that it is never too late to reach up and take the hand of Him who leads us to green pastures, laugh again and let Him sweep you off your feet and dance through life once more.
To hear this week’s message go to www.kpc.org/watch_listen.