The trials for the people of God will continue and the Trials in this life will continue for us until God makes all things new again. We face many challenges because of the sin in the world. Sometimes it is our sin, sometimes it is the sin of others and sometimes it is just because we know that the world is cursed and not the way it is supposed to be. The people Isaiah was addressing were going through some very difficult and trying times and although they were God’s people it did not exempt them from pain and sorrow. Today we will see what we need to remember as we walk through this life and the troubles and sorrows we tend to all face.
Isaiah 26:7 The path of the righteous is level; you make level the way of the righteous.
1) Remember God’s Purpose for your life
“The Path of the Righteous is Set” This does not have to do with how people are living their lives but a course that God has set for those who belong to Him. When you believe in Jesus and what He did for you then you are set on a course to be made holy.
Romans 8:28-29And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,[a] for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
This means that no matter what we are going through that God can use it for the ultimate purpose of our lives which is for us to be like Jesus. (When I say to be like Jesus I do not mean reaching a God Status but to have lives put back into a relationship with God and our lives lived Holy and Pure.) When we have been lied to, lied about, abused and mistreated one thing we can say with all confidence is that God is using this in our life for the purpose of making us more like Jesus. This is why Proverbs 3:5-6 says we have to trust Him and He will direct our paths. God’s main goal for you is to be Holy as He is holy. (1 Peter 1:16)
There are three things that many people get confused about the Christian life when they give their lives to Christ. The first one is Justification: The one-time declaration by God that your sins are forgiven and remembered no more. When we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31) then all our sins are forgiven and done away with. The second one is Sanctification: is the process that we partner with God in as He continues to change us to be more like Jesus. The third step in a Christians life is Glorification: This happens when we leave this earth and we will be like Him. (Philippians 3:21)
Right now we may not understand the purposes of God and the pain and heartache He has allowed to go on in this world but one thing we must remember is that He will use everything for the good of making us to be more holy. While on earth we believe by faith that we have been forgiven for eternity of our sins (Justification) as we continue to work out our salvation (sanctification) until we die or He comes again (Glorification)
The problem arises when we substitute what we think is good for what God thinks is good. Many Christian teachers like to say what is and what is not good but only God can be the determiner of what is good and bad. What I mean is that what looks to us to be bad is really being used by God for good. (Romans 8:28)
Jeremiah 18:1-6 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 “Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear[a] my words.” 3 So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. 4 And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.5 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 6 “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the Lord. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel
The times that if feels as though God is destroying you, you can relax knowing that He is forming you and the fact that you are in His hands should give you peace as you walk through the difficulties of this life. Pain without purpose is miserable but pain knowing it leads you to something better gives you hope. You have the hope that no matter what you are going through God is using for the good.
Isaiah 26:8 In the path of your judgments, O Lord, we wait for you; your name and remembrance are the desire of our soul.
2) Remember whose name is to be great
“Your name and remembrance are the desires of our soul” Unfortunately many people are about their fame and their name and so when life does not go the way they think then they become bitter at others and at God. This also happens to churches and church leaders who are worried about their name becoming great and what they will be remembered for and so buildings are built, books are written, and ministries are made so that they can have a legacy. It is an easy temptation because of pride for us to think about ourselves and how we will be remembered and just making the world about ourselves. Am I alright with no one remembering my name but the name of Jesus being made great?
Exodus 3:15 God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘The Lord,[a] the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.
We have a responsibility to make the name of Jesus great and we do that as we patiently wait on God even while we are walking through terrible times. Only God can use a terrible disease and a tragedy to lead others to Him therefore how we go through difficulty will show others what we truly believe about God.
26:9-12 My soul yearns for you in
the night; my
spirit within me earnestly seeks you.
For when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.10 If favor is shown to the wicked, he does not learn righteousness; in the land of uprightness he deals corruptly and does not see the majesty of the Lord. 11 O Lord, your hand is lifted up, but they do not see it. Let them see your zeal for your people, and be ashamed. Let the fire for your adversaries consume them. 12 O Lord, you will ordain peace for us, for you have indeed done for us all our works.
3) Remember to pursue God
My soul yearns for you in the night. Night is when pain increases, and the questions and doubts are magnified. Our responsibility is to long for God and not the things of the world like those who do not acknowledge God. The temptation is always to seek out other things or means when it seems that God is not at work or that He has abandoned you in your darkest time. Those who have placed their hope and trust in Jesus Christ should see that the things that are happening are God’s way of getting the world’s attention to draw them back to Him. Unfortunately, we get hung up on the same things the rest of the world is longing for instead of longing for God and so the world does not see a difference in the things we are pursuing. Christianity is about a God who loves us so much that He came to earth and died for us to put us back in a right relationship with Him. It is the ultimate Love story.
There is a correlation in verse 11 between your people and your enemies. The wicked people do not acknowledge that God is at work but Gods people should acknowledge it. We are here to point people to God just like the nation of Israel was supposed to point people to God but when we go after other gods and desire other things than God Himself then we do not show others who God really is.
“You ordain peace for us” It is by the work of God that we have received salvation and because of that we can be at peace. The people realized that they were not the source for their salvation and that salvation is only something God can achieve for us. No matter what we go through in this life there is no bigger question we all must answer as to what happens after we leave this earth. How to be at peace with God is a question that everyone of us must know the truth about before we die. John 3:36 says that those who believe in Jesus Christ have eternal life but those that do not still have God’s wrath on them.
26:13-18 O Lord our God, other lords besides you have ruled over us, but your name alone we bring to remembrance. 14 They are dead, they will not live; they are shades, they will not arise; to that end you have visited them with destruction and wiped out all remembrance of them. 15 But you have increased the nation, O Lord, you have increased the nation; you are glorified; you have enlarged all the borders of the land. 16 O Lord, in distress they sought you; they poured out a whispered prayer when your discipline was upon them. 17 Like a pregnant woman who writhes and cries out in her pangs when she is near to giving birth, so were we because of you, O Lord; we were pregnant, we writhed, but we have given birth to wind. We have accomplished no deliverance in the earth, and the inhabitants of the world have not fallen.
4) Remember to Confess your sins
Other Lords have ruled over us When going through trials it is easy to think and feel as if God either abandoned you or does not care. When this happens the temptation to turn to other things besides to God becomes stronger. We believe God has let us down so we might as well drink, do drugs, over eat or turn to other things that numb our minds from the pain. We make excuses for our sins when going through difficult times and say things like, “I don’t blame you for cussing” if I was going through what you were going through I would cuss as well. “I don’t blame you for getting drunk you are going through some difficult times. The people have turned to other gods and other leaders for their salvation instead of turning to God and now their leaders are dead and no longer able to govern the affairs of the earth. Some of the people they were putting their hope in not even their names are remembered.
“In distress they sought you Unfortunately, sometimes God has to get people’s attention through pain but even then, some will ignore it. Some of the suffering they went through was pointless because they still did not turn back to God and they did not lead the world to God through their actions. Like a woman who gives birth to the wind there is no reward because how they were living was not pointing others to God. We must continually remember to seek after God and confess the areas where we did not seek after Him or when we did things by the worlds way in order to show the world that there is a God.
We are called to wait with patience as we walk through the dark days and we can remember what He has promised and what He will do when one day all our pain and sorrow are gone. One day it will make sense but until that time we must remember that God has a purpose, that we are to make His name great, to seek after Him and not other things for peace and comfort, and to always confess our sins to Him.