Feb 8, 2021
Join us as we explore God’s ancient wisdom and apply it to our modern lives. His word is as current and relevant today as it was when he inspired its authors more than two and a half millennia ago. The websites where you can reach us are alittlewalkwithgod.com, richardagee.com, or saf.church.
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Thanks for joining me today for “A Little Walk with God.” I’m your host Richard Agee.
I don’t know about you, but I’m tired. I’m tired of politics. I’m tired of the pandemic. I’m tired of isolation and social distancing. I’m tired of biased news reporting. I’m tired of social media. I’m tired of the increase in violent crime. I’m tired of the growing disparity between classes. I’m tired of the constant bickering that never accomplishes anything. I’m just tired.
Do you feel that way sometimes? If you do, you’re not alone, and I’m not alone. I think we all experience it at some point. The Israelites experienced it during Isaiah’s prophecies. Judah and Israel crowned more bad kings than good ones during their histories. Few stood up to God’s standard as men after God’s heart. More carried the title “more wicked than his father.”
Most often, the prophets spoke out against the kings’ leadership because of two significant issues. First, they allowed and often participated in the worship of foreign gods, in contradiction to Yahweh’s first commandment to have no other gods before him and his second commandment to never make or bow to any image. Second, the kings failed to care for those who could not care for themselves in society, the widows and orphans who had no means of support. The kings made the poor poorer as they accumulated wealth for themselves.
Finally, God allowed his chosen people and the city where the Jews built his Temple to crumble. First. Assyria led Israel into exile, then Babylonia took all but Judah’s poorest and lowliest into exile. Jerusalem ground into broken stones and burnt timbers.
I look around at our country and see a lot of what Isaiah saw. Our nation seems to crumble around us. A few years ago, we heard about the infrastructure of Flint, Michigan. The lead in the water system poisoning its people because of the antiquated water system in disrepair. Then we heard about the bridges collapsing in several states under the weight of everyday traffic and discovered many of our interstate overpasses stood on the verge of collapse with no repair since erected in the 1950s and 60s. The overhead electric grid serving California sparked several wildfires that destroyed millions of acres of forest, hundreds of homes and killed dozens of people.
Our education system crumbles around us as we place near the bottom of the industrial world with students graduating from high school that can’t read or write above the sixth or seventh-grade level. Math skills among our graduates rank among the lowest in the civilized world, and few of our college graduates are problem solvers. They look for answers on the internet instead.
We saw our political system crumble in this last election cycle as both parties slung mud at each other instead of outlining plans for how they would fix the problems we face. The rhetoric on both sides of the aisle continues to divide us, create distrust among us, discourage meaningful debate, and resolve real issues. We have few statesmen left in either House of Congress as parties vote as a block on every piece of legislation.
And it seems faith has crumbled. Before COVID, attendance across most denominations in the US consistently fell. People didn’t pronounce God dead, but many acted like it. We became a society afraid of telling the truth because we might hurt someone’s feelings. And I agree that truth without grace is disastrous. But so is grace without truth. We must stand for something, and if we call ourselves Christians, we must stand firmly on the commands Jesus gave us. Love God and love others. But we must not only stand on them, but we must also act on them.
Today there are more than 5,000 cults in the United States. A cult is a system of religious veneration and devotion directed toward a particular figure or object. We think of Jim Jones, David Koresh, and others like them, but more than 5,000 small sects register as religious groups worshiping a person or object in this country alone. And collectively, they bring in billions of tax-free dollars. Our faith crumbles.
Israel whined and complained about their plight. I just whined and complained about our plight. Look at any social media outlet and you will see an incredible amount of whining and complaining. But God, through Isaiah has something to say about our complaints. We find these words in Chapter 40 beginning at verse 21.
Do you not know?
Were you not told long ago?
Have you not heard how the world began?
It was made by the one who sits on his throne
above the earth and beyond the sky;
the people below look as tiny as ants.
He stretched out the sky like a curtain,
like a tent in which to live.
He brings down powerful rulers
and reduces them to nothing.
They are like young plants,
just set out and barely rooted.
When the Lord sends a wind,
they dry up and blow away like straw.
To whom can the holy God be compared?
Is there anyone else like him?
Look up at the sky!
Who created the stars you see?
The one who leads them out like an army,
he knows how many there are
and calls each one by name!
His power is so great—
not one of them is ever missing!
Israel, why then do you complain
that the Lord doesn't know your troubles
or care if you suffer injustice?
Don't you know? Haven't you heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God;
he created all the world.
He never grows tired or weary.
No one understands his thoughts.
He strengthens those who are weak and tired.
Even those who are young grow weak;
young people can fall exhausted.
But those who trust in the Lord for help
will find their strength renewed.
They will rise on wings like eagles;
they will run and not get weary;
they will walk and not grow weak. (Isaiah 40:21-31 GNT)
Did you notice? God has this under control. He did for the Israelite and Judahites headed into exile. He did for the disciples and the early church as they faced indescribable persecution. And he does for us right now. God sees what happens to us. He knows what we need, how we feel, the anguish and burdens we carry. But God never gets tired. He never gets weary. His wisdom is beyond understanding. And he strengthens us.
Isaiah tells us the young with all their vitality may stumble and fall and grow tired in their journey. But those who trust in God, the creator of all things, will regain their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and never get winded or weary. They will walk and never tire or faint. Will all those things happen this side of eternity? My aging broken body says, probably not. But there will come a day when Jesus returns to renew and restore heaven and earth to its former glory. He will give us new bodies that never tire. We can enjoy that space with him forever when we give ourselves in faith to him.
This place may crumble around our heads, but we don’t fight against this visible place. It’s okay if it all tumbles down around us. We are citizens of a different kingdom. One that will last forever. We are children of the King and will enjoy the fruit of his renewed creation, a renewed heaven and earth, as part of his family. Our mission now is to introduce other to him through love, so his family can grow. So, do we whine and complain, or do we look at the reality of the spiritual warfare taking place around us a praise God for the hope within us as we love others into his kingdom?
You can find me at richardagee.com. I also invite you to join us at San Antonio First Church of the Nazarene on West Avenue in San Antonio to hear more Bible-based teaching. You can find out more about my church at SAF.church. Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed it, tell a friend. If you didn’t, send me an email and let me know how better to reach out to those around you. Until next week, may God richly bless you as you venture into His story each day.
Scriptures marked GNT are taken from the Good News Translation®: Scriptures taken from the Good News Translation® (Today’s English Version, Second Edition) Copyright © 1992 American Bible Society. All rights reserved.