Life is on the wrong track.
Many people today feel that way for one reason or another. Whether it be politics, cultural issues, moral matters or more prosaically economic realities, much of the Western world senses that times are not so much a’changing as a’worsening.
Writing long ago, the prophet Isaiah faced situations where the society around him was moving from a time of relative prosperity to increasing pressure from neighborhood superpowers. Isaiah’s message was, broadly speaking, quite simple. Trust in God. Do not fear. As Alec Motyer put it, “Justification by faith is not a Sunday truth bearing only on our relationship with God but also a Monday truth for the conduct of life in all its challenges.”
Unfortunately, King Ahaz did not listen to this counsel. Instead of trusting God, he trusted in an alliance with Assyria—and the Northern Kingdom went into exile, the Southern Kingdom became, in effect, a vassal state with King David’s throne depowered, and idolatry was introduced into the very heart of the temple worship in Jerusalem.
Today we too need to not fear but trust in God. It is a deceptively simple message in the context of the many complexities of the geopolitical scene today. Surely, we think, such a faith cannot suffice to provide answers to the profound challenges of our time. But to take that line of reasoning is to reckon without the actual intervention of God himself. God, as a real existent being, not a figment of our imagination (or a projection of wish-fulfillment) is pleased by our reliance on him, and responds to the heartfelt faithful prayers and faithful lives of his people.
One way that I have found helpful to find this redirection in my life is to dedicate a focused week to re-orientating my thoughts and my actions around the God of the Bible. A resource such as 7 Days to Change Your Life can do that: it can help us by focusing a week of effort upon Christ and upon his Word. Sometimes we just need to take stock, take a hard and realistic look at our lives and see which idols we have introduced into the way we live as a defense mechanism against the challenges around us. Having identified those idols, whether money, power, politics, personal reputation or fame, then eschew them in favor of the God of the Bible.
Or as Isaiah put it: “If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all” (Isaiah 7:9).
The above article was published in the January 2017 issue of Evangelicals Now.