Monday, August 18, 2014

Conducting a spiritual Assessment

Read Isaiah 51.

It is good for us to stop on a regular basis and take stock of where we came from and where we are headed.  Granted, we all have things in our past for which we are grateful for God's forgiveness and cleansing.  While we may not wish to dwell on all our history, we do need to honor our heritage.

God called on Israel to conduct a complete spiritual assessment.

1. Look back. (vv.1-2)
The people of Israel exist because of God's calling and unconditional covenant with Abraham.  They were to never forget nor violate their beginnings.  Personally, I am grateful for the spiritual heritage of faith in Christ from my grandparents on both sides of our family.  In addition, there were those who taught me and encouraged my spiritual growth at church.  One's spiritual heritage may not be found in a physical family but from others who pointed us to live for Jesus.

2. Look ahead. (vv.3-8)
Next, God called them to focus what He has planned for their future.  He will mete out His justice and make things right.  One day, all we have known here will be gone.  But forever we will enjoy our deliverance in Christ and our relationship with the LORD.  In the meantime, the Apostle Paul reminds us not to be discouraged with present circumstances.
"For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.  For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)

3. Look Up. (vv.9-11)
Here the people respond to God.  They call upon the One who destroyed Egypt (Rahab) and Pharaoh (dragon), the One who dried up the Red Sea for them, the One who ransomed them and will bring them home singing with everlasting joy.  Remembrances of past deliverances by God encourages us to pray for His power to be displayed today.

4. Wake Up. (vv.12-23)
God's call to the people is "wake yourself" and "stand up."  Stop wallowing in your misery of what happened to you.  God promises to afflict the tormentors and offers His comfort to the afflicted.

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