“But all your feverish plans are to no avail because you never ask God for help.” (in Isaiah 20)
Isaiah had been shown how deeply Jerusalem was in trouble. Beaten down and defenseless… destroyed with little hope of repair… But the people seemed to be resourceful: tearing down their own houses to get stone to fortify the city walls… building a new reservoir in a more secure location…
But Isaiah knew these plans would ultimately do little to stave off the judgement of God. Their plans may have seemed wise, but they hadn’t asked God what He wanted. They certainly had some strong thinking behind their decisions. But it wasn’t God’s thinking. As God called for remorse, the people celebrated mere survival.
God desires more for His people (still today) than just scraping by. He doesn’t want to see His church just limping along happy to have kept the doors open one more day. I wonder if we need to be a little less like Jerusalem… Less confident in our strategies and more trusting in His power to accomplish His mission? I’m not suggesting we don’t need to be smart and creative in how we serve, but only that our creative solutions are utterly useless unless they are rooted in Him…
This plays out on many levels:
As graduation approaches, I wonder if my students are making feverish plans without asking for God’s help? What am I doing to lead them to ask? Are they connected with people like you who can do the same?
In the life of the church, is our first response to trouble prayer or strategy? Are we working on anything big enough to require us to ask God for His help? Do we rely too heavily on our own strategic thinking? What will we do if His help comes in a form that doesn’t fit our plan?
In my own life, have I planned my way out of what God wanted in the first place? Do I need to be backtracking to rediscover what He really wants? When faced with problems, am I consistently seeking God’s solutions or just coming up with my own?
May we seek His help. It’s His mission in the first place and only His power and love can accomplish it. If we aren’t desperately in need of His help, we’re probably not on His mission.