Tuesday, June 7, 2022

           Isaiah 33:3 says, “O LORD, be gracious to us; we long for you.  Be our strength every morning, our salvation in a time of distress.”  We can read these words as a plea or even a petition.  The people were crying out to the LORD God.  If you have ever cried out to God in a moment of distress or fear, then you likely understand how people were feeling in Isaiah’s day.  On the other hand, Isaiah’s petition is a good way to start any day.  It is a good prayer to offer as you rise from a night of rest and prepare for the events of the day.  A few truths stand out in this one verse for us to consider.
            First, we are calling on the LORD.  Remember when LORD is all capitalized in the Bible we are talking about God’s revealed name.  We read LORD as the Great I AM God.  When we call upon the LORD, we are not calling on human power or our own capabilities.  It is a great comfort to know that we can call upon the Creator of the universe.  We can rise each day by calling upon His name.  Imagine, your first conversation every day and any day can be with the LORD.  You might want to call upon the LORD before you do anything else.  What a great comfort it is to go to sleep with the LORD and to wake up with Him and know confidently that He worked the night shift while we were resting.  At no time was the LORD blind or unaware.
            Second, we call out for the LORD to be gracious.  In a word, we are asking for the LORD to treat us better than we deserve.  We are asking for grace and grace is not something that we can make or generate by ourselves.  We are asking for His favor in situations that are not favorable to us and even though we have not earned His favor in any way.  Isaiah longed for grace.  He staked his hopes on the character and ways of God.  We trust His character as well—to be gracious toward us even though we have given Him every reason not to be that way.  Remember the words of Psalm 103, “He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities” (Psalm 103:10).
            Third, we cry out for God to be our strength every morning.  We ask Him to equip and enable us to do what we could not do with our power and strength alone.  Perhaps you need His strength to go to your job, to undergo treatments, to care for children, to earn a living, to pass a test or to do jobs that seem overwhelming and even frightening to you.  Maybe you look to Him to open new doors because old doors have closed to you.  God’s strength is perfect.  Remember Paul’s words in II Corinthians 12:9-10, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”  In our weakness, we are most strong.  That statement seems impossible and sounds counterintuitive.  But it is right.  And, more importantly, He is right and powerful in our confusion and weakness.
            When we recognize the limits of our strength and wisdom, then we are ready to call upon the LORD for the unlimited strength, power and wisdom that He alone possesses.  Isaiah ended his verse by reminding us that God is our salvation.  He saved Noah’s family by the ark.  He saved three men from a fiery furnace in Daniel.  He saved Daniel in a den of hungry lions.  And He saves us by the sacrifice of His Son at the cross.  It is by grace we are saved through faith and not by any human works or efforts.  Isaiah’s verse is a call to place ourselves daily at the LORD’s side and to surrender ourselves to Him.  Have a great Tuesday!
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