James 1v22 “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
How wise am I? Jesus told a parable of a wise and foolish man: the wise man built his house on the rock, the foolish man on the sand. When the storms came, the house on the sand fell flat while the one on the rock stood the test. Jesus likens the two men to two people who listen to what Jesus says: the wise one actually does it, the foolish does not. The danger is that we kid ourselves into thinking we are wise because we know what Jesus says.
It seems to me that our world today severely lacks God’s wisdom. In Isaiah 55v8-9, God says,“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways”, declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” If this is true, then it is vital we listen to God’s thoughts and ways!
We live in a time of political uncertainty. What is God doing with our country? Isaiah also lived through a mix of times under different rulers:
– Uzziah – Isaiah begins his ministry when Uzziah dies. Uzziah’s reign had been a golden age of military prowess and economic growth, but in his later years he became proud and sinned and was inflicted with leprosy.
– Jotham – he was a godly man and led a largely quiet reign
– Ahaz – he was a wicked king who did not follow God’s ways
– Hezekiah – he was a largely good king who had to deal with major political threats and relied on God.
– Manasseh – he was a wicked king who did not follow God’s ways.
Isaiah prophesied both short term disaster for Judah and long term blessing. We see his prophecies worked out in the exile of the Jews about a century later and then in their return (another 70 years) and the coming of Jesus (another 500 years).
We as the people of God belong to the Kingdom of God. Our ultimate identity is not British or any other nationality, but Christ-ish. None-the-less, we seek the good of the place where we live (Jeremiah 29v7 & 1 Timothy 2v1-2). What does that good look like? I am convinced that while there are many ways in which we can seek that, our ultimate way is through introducing people to Jesus – the God-man who brings physical, mental, spiritual, and social healing in all its forms. It is interesting that in 1 Timothy2v1-4, prayer for the political situation quickly moves into a desire of God for people to be saved. As Paul says elsewhere, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation”. This is our hope. Do we believe it? Do we act on it?
May God make us wise.
With much blessing,