Thursday, August 6, 2009

Arouse Yourself to Take Hold of Him - Isaiah 64 part 2

"And there is no one who calls on Thy name,
who arouses himself to take hold of Thee;
for Thou hast hidden Thy face from us,
and hast delivered us into the power of our iniquities."
(vs 7)

I have to say that Isaiah 64:7 has hit me hard. It struck me right between the eyes. Rung my bell. Clocked me good! There are times when we are just stubborn people. Let me rephrase that - there are times when I am just a stubborn person! Why is it that in the middle of affliction we often run from the very thing that will offer us the greatest help - the only help? God has taught me much in the past few months and I am immeasurably grateful!

At times God hides the light of His face from us. At times God APPEARS to be sleeping much like Christ was in the Matthew 8:24. In that passage Matthew writes:

And when He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. And behold, there arose a great storm in the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves; but He Himself was asleep. And they came to Him and awoke Him, saying, 'Save us, lord; we are perishing!" And He said to them, 'Why are you timid, you men of little faith?' Then He arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and it became perfectly calm.

Christ leads His disciples into a boat, knowing that the boat will lead them into a storm. He's omniscient - He is fully aware of everything that is about to transpire. Knowing that the storm is coming and knowing that the disciples will be scared out of their wits, Jesus goes to sleep. He didn't have to go to sleep - He's God. He didn't need a power nap or a super snooze. No, what He needed was to be asleep in the storm in order for His disciples to cry out to Him, to seek His face in their distress, to see their need of Him and acknowledge it. At times God appears to be asleep that we might be serious and tenacious about prayer.

I mention Matthew 8 for a reason. Here in Isaiah 64 the people's iniquity is causing them to wither like a leaf and they are being carried away by the wind- and this is no gentle breeze kind of wind but a great turbulent hurricane full throttle absolute gale full whammy storm wind - we're talking category 5! And what do they do? Rather, what do they NOT do? The don't pray. They don't call on His name. They don't seek His face. They do nothing to take hold of the only anchor that can steady them and keep them truly afloat. Oh, how we need to arouse ourselves to take hold of Him. Watch and pray lest you fall into temptation. Wrestle like Jacob at Peniel. Take hold of Him, in prayer, until He gives you His promised blessing.

Listen to Mr. Henry on this verse: "There was none that sought for grace to reform them or mercy to relieve them. None stirred themselves up to take hold of God. To pray is to take hold of God. It is by faith to take hold of the promises God has made of His goodwill to us. Prayer is to take hold of Him as He that wrestles takes hold of him he wrestles with.

"When we take hold of God it is as the boatman, with his hook, takes hold of the shore. He pulls as though he would bring the shore to him, but really it is to pull himself to the shore. So we pray, not to bring God to us, but ourselves to Him. Those that would take hold of God in prayer must stir up themselves to do it. All that is in us must be employed in the duty, our thoughts fixed and our affections flaming."

Does God's face seem hidden? Does your leaf seem to be withering? Are the winds of the storm beating ferociously upon your boat? Then arouse yourself and take hold of Him. And when even that seems impossible, then beg Him to arouse you and strengthen you to walk in the steps of prayer even if you must walk against the hurricane. His grace is sufficient, cry out for it and don't let go!

Walking, praying, and thankful for a break in the storm

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