“Watch Our Lives Closely”

             As I was driving home the other night, I turned the radio on and heard a pastor say we need to “watch our lives closely.” The words wont be exact, but he asked a question along these lines, “Are our eyes, as Christians, opened? Are we paying attention and watching our lives closely or are we walking next to a cliff with our eyes closed?” He said as Christians, we have to be watching our lives closely. I only caught the end of his talk. He was talking about the book of 1 Timothy, but I really didn’t catch anymore than this. It has been something I’ve been pondering since. From this, to Daren’s sermons that are opening our eyes to wordly issues and demonic influences our lives  which is teaching us discernment, to Ronda Coopers talk that hasn’t left my mind about our witness and what that truly is like. Then, studying in Isaiah, ch 30, versus 15-17 really stood out. In context to this before I share the versus, Isaiah at the beginning of ch 30 is talking about Judah and they were to not go down to Egypt for Egypt’s help and the “stubborn children did”. They made an alliance, but not with the Spirit of the Lord. They didn’t ask for the Lords help, but instead they trusted in mans help and Pharaoh’s protection. 30 vs 7 says Egypt’s help is worthless and empty, therefore I have called her “Rahab who sits still.” Then as the chapter moves onto vs 8, It is titled a rebellious people. Ch 30 vs 9 says “for they are a rebellious people, lying children, children unwilling to hear the instruction of the Lord; (vs 10) who say to the seers, “Do not see,” and to he prophets, “Do not prophesy to us what is right; speak t o us smooth things, prophesy illusions, (vs 11) leave the way, turn aside from the path, let us hear no more about the Holy one of Israel.” (vs 12) Therefore, thus says the Holy One of Israel, “Because you despise this word and trust in oppression and perverseness and rely on them, therefore this iniquity shall be to you like a breach in a high wall, bulging out and about to collapse, whose breaking is like that of a potter’s vessel that is smashed so ruthlessly that among its fragments not a shard is found with which to take fire from the hearth or to dip up water out of the cistern.” 


Now onto vs 15 – 17 of Isaiah ch 30. “For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” But you were unwilling, and you said, “No! We will flee upon horses”; therefore you shall flee away; and , “We will ride upon swift steeds”; therefore your pursuers shall be swift. A thousand shall flee at the threat of one; at the threat of five you shall flee, till you are left like a flagstaff on the top of a mountain, like a signal on a hill. 

My David Jeremiah study bible had a very good “for reflection” piece on vs these versus that I wanted to share with all of you. It is titled, “In quietness and strength.” “Sometimes God lets us run the course of our own self- sufficiency until we have proven not only to ourselves, but to everybody else that we cannot do it on our own. Then He says to us in the soft voice of Isaiah, “In quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” Another translation for quietness and confidence would be “Utter trust”: Quietness + Trust = Strength. It is not the world’s formula; it is God’s. 


Quietness means “cessation from activity.” God wanted His people to regroup,  to come to Him, to seek Him in the solitude of their hearts, and to receive His guidance. Our fatal tendency is to think we become strong by exerting ourselves and striving hard after things. But God says this is not the way to achieve strength. The inward fortitude needed to face life’s difficulties comes only as we open our hearts to Christ in the quiet moment, ceasing from activity and letting Him supply guidance, confidence and direction as we reflect on His word.”


If we continue reading on in ch. 30, Isaiah talks about the Lord being gracious and says how the Lord will have the final judgement on the enemies of the Lord’s people. But, sometimes I wonder (talking to myself here as well) how often do we miss the Lord’s warning and guidance. He told the people “Do not go down to

Egypt!” but to trust and rely on Him….what did the people do, they went to Egypt for help. They rebelled.  Then Isaiah shares that since they rebelled, the Lord was going to let their pursuers purse. And following that, the Lord says “in returning” which also means repentance. He calls us to repent and in repentance and rest and quietness and in trust you shall be saved!!! Everything is listed so clearly. Yet, how often do we do the same thing as the people of Judah? We are threatened by something and we turn to other humans and peoples and things to save us, instead of turning to the Lord. I know we are humans, and we will screw up. Praise the Lord for his grace and mercy so we can repent and turn back to him. But do we always do that? Or do we stay stubborn and rebellious? Are we watching our lives closely and noticing when we screw up? Are we keeping our eyes opened to our witness as a Christian or are we just filling the pews on Sunday morning and calling it good enough? Are we being watchman on the wall as we’re commanded and going out and making disciples as we’re commanded? Or are we walking on the edge of the cliff with our eyes closed?  


That’s where rest, quietness, trust come in. If we are being still in the Lord, studying His word, ceasing from activity and letting Him supply guidance, We will find all these answers to all these questions. The answers to life are in His word and they couldn’t be any more plain as day. 17 verses in Ch 30 of Isaiah give us so much wisdom right there. Plus you have Proverbs, Revelation, James, Jude, Job, Ezekiel etc. All 66 books of the bible are filled with His unending wisdom that He so simply and graciously given us. If we would always and in every situation, in everything look to Him wouldn’t that make so many of our situations that we put ourselves into, that much simpler? No, I’m not saying the Christian walk is “easy or simple.” It is difficult. There are spiritual battles to fight every day. Satan is constantly trying to lead us away from the path of the Lord’s. Satan wants to win.  And the more we profess God’s truth, the more people we lead to the Lord and the more we put God into every situation, the harder Satan is going to fight. BUT,  the more we open our hearts and minds to the Lord, the more we allow God in, the more we learn about God, the more wisdom of His we take in, won’t that ultimately make our fights easier? Or least make our battles more “peaceful?” Won’t it cause us to be less rebellious and stubborn? Won’t it cause us to have more discernment so we don’t make the mistakes like the people of Judah did? Yes and Yes and yes! over and over again. In this hustle and bustle lifestyle we’re in these days, it is so easy to fill our days up and not give the Lord the time of day. I’m guilty of it more often than I care to admit. But, the days I do sit down and dive into God’s word for more than a quick 5 minute daily devotion, those days are the days where I find the Lord working. Those are the days that I ALLOW God to work. Because very often, the Lord wants to work in our hearts and change us, but we’re too stubborn to let that happen. Or we’re too busy to let Him in. 


So, as the rambling here comes to a close. I hope this encourages you to want to spend a little more quiet time each and every day with the Lord. I pray we can give him more than 5 minutes. There will always be something else to do, but we won’t get any time back. And if we’re “too busy” in this life that the Lord has so graciously allowed us to have, to spend time with Him, then can we truly expect Him to “have time for us.” We tend to make life more difficult for ourselves than necessary and if we gave the Lord the time of day, how different could situations and our lives as a whole really be? So, let’s make sure we are watching our lives, witness, discernment very closely and if you’re going through a point in time where don’t feel very close to the Lord, ask Him to put the fire for Him back in your heart and with asking him that, diving into His word and talking with Him in the quiet and stillness, I know that fire can be re lit. 


In the Lords precious name. 

~Makayla Nepp


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