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Brunch 2/15/2006: STABILITY

Brunch 2-15-2006  STABILITY

 

At the Fall Brunch we had our keepsake trunk with some signs and symbols that Isaiah uses to communicate truth to us. And we have continued to look at the signs and symbols of warning or hope that Isaiah used. Remember the star, His hand, the banner, light versus darkness, a sanctuary versus a stumbling stone, a vineyard…his many names  - the Holy One of Israel, deliverer, Lord of Hosts and the list go on.

The one which reflects our theme is the oak tree.

We are signs and symbols…they will be called oaks of righteousness a planting of the Lord to display his splendor.” Isaiah says of he and his family that they are signs and symbols (Isisan8:18). We can not only examine our own lives as we look at the picture of the oak tree, but also demonstrate our faith in the world we live as we allow God to make us oaks of righteousness. Isaiah uses the oak tree in contrast – one that has fading leaves and one that is beautiful!

In Isaiah 1:30 “You will be like an oak with fading leaves…” after rejecting the Holy One of Israel

In Isaiah 61:3  they will be like oaks of righteousness a planting of the Lord to display his splendor…” while trusting in the Holy One of Israel.

An oak tree with fading leaves or displaying God’s splendor.

One will be withered, fruitless, and dry up The other will be dignified and strong in character. I challenge you to reread the first 18 chapters of Isaiah and reflect on how your life is a sign or symbol displaying his splendor. Perhaps there is something in your life that needs a touch of God’s radiance?

 

Today, I want to specifically challenge you in the area of your life as one which displays stability as a form of his splendor, of God’s radiance.

 

Oak trees are usually stable. It takes a lot to uproot them. The very word “stable” means fixed, steady, or strong. It refers to something that is not easily overturned or collapsed. When I think of a tree that is easily overturned or uprooted, I remember the storm in January during which many pine trees were uprooted or cracked in the strong winds. As I drove around after that storm it was clear to me that there were many oak trees still standing, yet the pines were uprooted. My sister said the pine trees along a parkway in Maryland this past weekend were so heavy laden with snow that and couldn’t shake it off, that they were uprooted. Winds or weight can overturn or uproot a pine tree. God uses the symbol of an oak tree, not the pine tree, as a call to us to display his splendor, his radiance. 

 

When the winds or weight of change and circumstances or  just “life” itself happen, we can loose our balance or are shaken to our very core. One of the Olympic commercial for VISA says, “Life takes joy, life takes spontaneity, life takes help. How true that is – Life takes help! What do we count on to bring you help  - to bring you balance, to bring you stability when “life” happens?

 

Isaiah 33:6 says, “He (Jesus) is the stability of your times, a wealth of salvation, wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is his treasure.”

Jesus is the one who gives us stability, who makes us steady, fixed strong or firm. It is not what our stability is. It is who is our stability.

Jesus is our stability:

As I think about God’s word which reveals who Jesus is, there are two verses that come to mind.

I Corinthians 15;58 – “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that you toil is not in vain in the Lord.” As we read the verse preceding this “therefore,” we see the truth that God gives us the victory though our Lord Jesus Christ. His victory over sin and death and Satan is the reason we can be steadfast and immovable no matter what happens in life.

Romans 16: 25 - “Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past.” Jesus is no longer a secret. It is Jesus and his work that gives us stability. He is the cornerstone of our faith. His word gives us principles and truths to live our lives…God’s word  will always do its work in our lives (Isaiah 55:11). It is living and active! A couple of weeks ago when Keith was in the hospital, I sat and read the word of God out loud in the hospital room. How we needed wisdom and understanding and proclaiming God’s word – his promises – is powerful! It is living and active! God honored his word and our prayers.

 

How do we receive this stability of heart and mind?

Isaiah 26:3 gives us the key… “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast (fixed) because he trust in you ( Jesus).”

A mind fixed on Jesus and His word will bring peace -  an undisturbed, settledness into your life. What’s your focus when the winds come or the things of life get so heavy to carry? On God and who He is or yourself and circumstances? There are two truths about God that our foundational to my walk of faith during these times. First is the sameness of Jesus – He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Not changing like me and my life’s circumstances. And secondly – the sovereignty of Jesus. He is in control of all that is happening in my life. He sees it and can carry it. The winds of change or the weight troubles in  life, don’t have to overturn us, if I keep my mind fixed on who He is!

Will you be an oak of righteousness which is stable as you fix your mind on Him?