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Janet's Corner

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Lesson 18: A Nail Driven into a Firm Place

Isaiah continues to speak to the people of Judah as he refers to two men who have been placed in positions of authority. The truth that God reveals to us here is in a form of a symbol for us to understand that Jesus alone is like a nail driven into a firm place on whom we can “hang our lives.”

 

Read Isaiah 22:22b-23a:  “…what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I will drive him like a peg into a firm place.”

 

Let’s look at the beginning of this section in verse 15. During the reign of King Hezekiah, there is steward, Shebna, who is in charge of the palace. He was a man who used his position to secure honor for himself. He bought, probably with the kingdom’s money, a grave sight which would be a monument to him after his death. These types of monuments were reserved for those of noble lineage, which Shebna was not. He was most likely a foreigner who was given this position of authority. And what does Isaiah prophesy will happen to him? Verse 17 and 19 say it clearly. He will be ousted from his position and he will never use the grave, but go into captivity and die there.

 

Then Isaiah continues to prophesy about what God will do. In verse 20-21:

 

” In that day I will summon my servant, Eliakim, son of Hilkiah. I will clothe him with your robe and fasten your sash around him and hand you authority over to him.” God in his sovereignty raises up and places another man in authority. Two important facts here:

 

1.     God calls Eliakim, his servant, not just a steward. He is man who is to be used of God in a special way, not just a man who has a job to do, as was the case with Shebna. There was a special calling on his life.

2.     God would equip him to lead providing him with not only the wisdom, but the authority to lead the people of Judah as he looked to God for the grace to lead in this position.

 

If you look at Isaiah 36:3, you will see this is history. Eliakim is the palace administrator and Shebna has been demoted to secretary.

 

Now let’s look back at Isaiah 22 and learn more about Eliakim. We see that Eliakim is described in three ways:

 

1.     A Loving Father: As a father-like figure to the people of Jerusalem. A leader who is ruling with a shepherd’s heart, not flaunting his place of authority, but ruling with love.

2.     A Faithful leader: He is given authority to pen and shut doors, receiving and performing his responsibilities as a leader with faithfulness.

3.     A Dependable Leader: He will be someone who will be dependable – a peg driven into a firm place. The picture is one of a nail that is lifted up high and driven into a wall. And the nail can hold what is hung on it.

4.     A Blessing: Not only does he receive blessing (seated in a place of honor), but he brings blessing to his people.

 

But there will come a day when this man, Eliakim, will give way (vs 25). He will fall and the load hanging on him will be cut down. There will be a day when he will fall from his place of authority. And the people who have depended on him will also fall. Does this have any application to our lives today as we look at the leaders around us? God does raise up men and places them in positions of authority. He calls them to rule with love and wisdom and faithfulness. Yet, we can’t stake our lives on them. They are only men who can disappoint us, who can fall. Have you ever experienced disappointment as you have looked to a leader with expectation and hope?

 

Does God just leave us hanging there in midair with no one to depend on? No!!!

 

Other than the history that is revealed to us in this prophecy, this points to the one Jesus who is the nail driven into a firm place that will not give way and we can hang our lives on. He alone is the one on whom we can hang our lives:

 

1.     Jesus is the one who opens and shuts doors: Revelations 3:7-8: He has been given the key to the house of David which opens the door into his kingdom and opens the doors of opportunity in our lives to serve Him. 

2.     Jesus is the peg raised up and driven into a wall. Jesus is a nail in a sure place whom will not be cut down or removed. We can look to the right politics, our investments, a lawyer, a family member to give us security, to hang all our hopes and dreams on. We will in some way find disappointment. Only Christ is a nail in a sure place on which you can hang everything. Jesus is the one who will not disappoint us!

 

In Psalm 22:5, even though the psalmist is in a time where he feels forsaken, he remembers that others: cried to God and were saved; that they trusted in God and were not disappointed.

 

Isaiah 28:16 gives another symbol Jesus as the stone, which is the cornerstone of a firm foundation that will not put us to shame as we place our trust in Him. This verse is quoted in the New Testament both by Paul in Romans 9:33 and Peter in I Peter 2:6- 10. Let’s look at this. God is building a people for himself – a forest of oaks of righteousness, if we were to compare it to our theme for this year. God has laid a cornerstone…to some it is precious, but to others they stumble over it. Some stumble over it, as they disobey or do not believe the message that Jesus is the living stone that brings life eternal. Others have come to him (verse 4) and have become living stones themselves! A chosen people, a royal priesthood... declaring his praises (verse 9)!!

 

Isaiah 49:23 says that those who hope in God will not be disappointed.

Are you a woman of hope? Hope is not just optimism, but an assurance based on the God’s love for you demonstrated by Christ’s death on the cross. This hope is poured out into your lives through the Holy Spirit. Romans 5:5. How is that hope built into your life?

 

Romans 5:1-2 gives us our standing in Him…we have been justified by faith and are standing in God’s grace. And verses 3-5 give us two reasons for rejoicing:

 

1.     The hope of the glory of God. – he is our Savior, who has cleansed us from sin by his death on the cross. We now have a sure hope that he can bring himself glory through our lives, becoming those oaks of righteousness that display his splendor.

2.     Our Sufferings: Why can we rejoice in our sufferings? They are the very things that God is using to shape us. To build character and hope.

 

What you are going through right now  - the disappointments in your life or even with God – are meant by God, sent to you special delivery, to bring you to know Him more intimately. To know Him as the one who ultimately and fully loves you and on whom you can “hang your life.” How do we get to the point that no matter what happens to us, we can hang our very lives, our very loves, our very hopes and dreams on the one who is the nail driven into  a firm place. On the one nail which will not fall out or drop you to the ground? Through the very things that disappoint you, which discourage you, which ultimately change your whole life.  Perseverance, character and hope are being built into your life. “And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”

 

Are you a woman of hope hanging your life, your hopes, your dreams on the one who will never disappoint as you trust in Him?

 

Jesus is the nail driven into a firm place on whom you can hang you life!