Wednesday, May 18, 2022

            In some Bibles, Isaiah 26 is captioned as a “song of praise.”  The prophet blessed and praised God over the span of twenty-one verses.  For instance, we find this often quoted and cherished verse, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you” (26:3).  A few verses later, we read, “Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts” (26:8).  God’s Name reveals His character and will.  He is the great I AM.  To desire His Name means we proclaim it, declare it and write it over our lives and circumstances.  We place ourselves under the claim and protection of His Name.  To desire God’s Name is to desire God Himself.  For the character and being of God cannot be separated from His Name.  He functions and exists as the great I Am so He is right to take that name for Himself.  As the One who created life and spoke the creation into existence, He is the great I AM—the One who causes all things to be.
            The word renown can mean remembrance.  We honor God when we remember Him.  We are to fill our lives with remembrances of God and memories of His presence, goodness, blessings and movements on our behalf.  Isaiah was saying that we are to flood our souls with memories of what God has done and who God is.  Brother Lawrence once wrote, “Let us give our thoughts completely to knowing God. The more one knows him, the more one wants to know him, and since love is measured commonly by knowledge, then, the deeper and more extensive knowledge shall be, so love will be the greater, and, if love is great, we shall love him equally in suffering and consolation.”
            As for God’s renown or memories, we think of an ebenezer.  The Bible says, “Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us’” (I Samuel 7:12).  Ebenezer is only mentioned or named about three times in the Bible. By definition, Ebenezer means “stone of help.” It commemorates a place where we have met God or experienced God’s power and provisions.  It speaks to the mind and heart as a place where we can remember what God has done and where God has moved in our lives.  Remember the hymn, “Here I raise my ebenezer...”
            With this chapter of praise, Isaiah teaches us to give great honor to the Name of God but also to create a space in our faith and life where we entertain cherished memories of His power, grace, mercy, blessings and peace.  Our experiences with God in the past become tremendous encouragements and consolations to us going forward. Isaiah 26:9 says we are to yearn for the Lord in the night and the morning—as one day ends and a new one begins.  Let your final thoughts and memories of the day be centered upon God and let your initial and first thoughts of a new morning be centered on the Lord as well.  End your day with Him and begin your day with Him.  Desire both His Name and His ways.
            One of the enemy’s subtle but powerful strategies is to hide our view of God.  He does this by presenting us with any number and possibility of alternatives.  All of which could eclipse our view and memory of God.  The enemy often works in subtle, sly and slow means so that we do not lose sight of God all at once but rather slowly over time.  We think of the Lord less and less.  We seek Him less and less.  We remember His victories less and less.  His Name and renown have been evicted from our hearts.  The antidote to this is to keep sight of His Name and His deeds.  Keep the memories alive.  Desire to begin days and to end days with thoughts of Him.  Have a great Wednesday!

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