March, 2016

“Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness, you who seek the Lord: look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug. Look to Abraham your father and to Sarah who bore you; for he was but one when I called him, that I might bless him and multiply him” (Isaiah 51:1-2 ESV).

Where To LookPastorKeith

Chapters 51 and 52 of Isaiah give specific steps which believers can take when they feel discouraged and forsaken of God. This marvelous section is gathered around the phrase, “Listen to me” which is repeated several times. These give great insight into God's program for the discouraged.

Notice he says that if you are discouraged, look back and see from where you have come! Israel was to look back to Abraham, back to the time before he left Ur of the Chaldees. He had nothing. He was but a rock in a hard place! God called him and gave him everything. Look at Sarah. She was 90 years old before she underwent the labor of childbearing. Yet God multiplied her offspring to become the nation of Israel.

When you are discouraged, look back. You may not be what you want to be, or even what you ought to be, but thank God you are not what you were! Remember Paul's words to the Corinthian believers . . . neither the sexual immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God, (1 Cor 6:9b-10). But the apostle continues, And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God, (1 Cor 6:11). Look back. Has God changed you? Has he altered your inner life and changed your heart?

Then also look ahead, God says, My righteousness draws near, my salvation has gone out, and my arms will judge the peoples; the coastlands hope for me, and for my arm they wait (Isaiah 51:5). Look ahead! A new day is coming! God is at work. We are not headed for darkness and despair, we are headed for peace and light and glory; for power and ministry such as we could never dream. In 2 Corinthians 5 the apostle says, For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond comparison, (2 Cor 4:17). That is what lies ahead. We must go through darkness here for a while, but it will not last forever. Once in a meeting where people were sharing their favorite Bible verses, a man said, My favorite are those verses that begin, And it came to pass. . . When I face discouragement, I too say to myself, It didn't come to stay, it came to pass. As we seek to “live the life” unto Jesus may we hear that is what God is saying to us, “It will not last forever. We are headed for light, for peace, and for glory.”

In His service,

Keith L. Bagwell