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Waiting on God in a Desperate Situation

Lesson 25

 

There’s a lot I could teach today from chapters 30-31 of Isaiah – about God’s people sinning and God’s call to them.

 

I’ve chosen a different approach. I believe we can hear the teaching of God’s Word, but miss the application to our own lives. Subsequently, there is no heart change. Today, I would like to share how God used this chapter in Isaiah to deliver me from sin, guilt and self-condemnation. It all revolves around a heart deceived by sin and Satan and a God who can deliver!

 

Last week Casey talked about an impossible situation…Today we’re going to talk about waiting on God in a desperate situation. A situation when there seems to be real urgency to find an answer- to find help. Have you ever been there? I have. I got trapped in my own scheming or planning to find help –in my own desperation, rather than waiting for God.

 

My situation concerned the illness of our son, Keith. Early in his life he was diagnosed with epilepsy and developmental delays. Right from the beginning until this very day, God continues to use Keith’s life to shape me.  God uses all things - for what purpose? To conform us to His image – I had a little crewel picture  that said “God isn’t finished with me yet. I had made it and hung it outside of Keith’s door thinking it was for him, when it really applied to all of our lives.

 

This particular situation happened in the early 90’s. My husband and I were believers, seeking God, but we were desperate to find help in controlling Keith’s seizures. He was on three medications and was not fully seizure free and was like a zombie. I actually had to throw out his school picture for that year. I couldn’t stand to see him in that state. We began a journey on a road which God would use to teach us a lot about ourselves and our God.

First lesson: Isaiah 30:1-3

 

Sin can distort our perspective in any situation –no one is excluded.

 

Judah was looking desperately for someone to save them from their enemies. Assyria was knocking at their door. And what did they do – make a plan of their own to get help and refuge from Egypt. Sin had so clouded their vision that they no longer believed that God could save them.

 

Not only were they not turning to God for counsel, they were going against His will. In Deuteronomy 17:16c God tells his people “not to go back that way (to Egypt) again.” It had brought them only bondage. And now God says to them, turning to outside help for protection or refuge instead of God, will bring them nothing – only shame and disgrace.(vs 3-5). Egypt will proof useless. Judah will not find help or gain any advantage over her enemy.   Egypt is a picture of the world. Going to Egypt indicates seeking man’s way or a materialistic ways. Now, it isn’t in and of itself wrong to make use of human and earthly means. How many of us could do without doctors and paychecks or insurance policies – the list goes on. However, we need to remember that as we make use of these means, they are only instruments in the hand of God to bring about his praise and glory. The leaders of Israel lost sight of this. They put their trust in Pharaoh instead of God. Psalm 20:7 says, “some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we will remember the name of the LORD.” Our chariots and horses can be our own understanding and plans or what we think best or what someone else thinks best. Our own desires, our own conveniences, our own passions, our own interest, our own appetites or our own money distort our perspective and therefore actions. Judah put their hope in their money rather than God’s power: vs 6-7 Judah’s caravan loaded with gifts, travels to Egypt to buy protection. Their trip is dangerous and difficult – they will seek Egypt’s help at any cost. Rahab is a name used to refer to Egypt in the OT. And God identifies Egypt as a ‘do-nothing” (vs7). Judah didn’t want to listen to the voice of truth but only to pleasant words. (vs 8-11). They listened to words that fit their thinking and make them feel good and justified their plans. We take the counsel of others that justifies or helps us rationalize our position. Bottom line comes to who we trust in and who we listen to. God is standing and waiting for us to come to Him.

 

When Doug and I began searching for help for Keith, we heard of a doctor who practiced alternative medicine. Now my experience is not a statement against alternative medicine, but of the dangers of being deceived when your motives are desperate and your guard goes down. Remember we were desparate to find help for Keith and didn’t want to miss God’s help. With my medical background, going the route of alternative medicine was a very unusual way. You know what I heard – a sermon on Gideon who found victory in a very unconventional way. We never questioned God whether this was true for our situation, would he use this unconventional way – we just heard it and believed the way was opened to us. We did not consult God. We heard what we wanted to hear. Sin can distort your perspective.

 Our first trip there was just like the Judeans – dangerous and difficult. One of the worst storms we had ever driven in. We would get there at any cost. We did arrive safely. - By God’s grace.

 

After a few visits, I began to believe that “she” (the doctor) had the answers for Keith. I remember the place on the road before our last visit where I said that to my husband. It was on that visit that this doctor said to me specifically, that they could teach me certain techniques that would help us, help Keith. As they began to demonstrate what is called vibrational medicine to us, it was clear to us that this was not of God. Jesus wasn’t involved in the power that was being released in that room at all. Fortunately, there was no lasting harm to Keith. But just as the Judeans…our plans were like a wall ready to collapse suddenly (verses 12-13). And they did. We knew we could not return – as my husband said, “This is either of God or not of God.” We left, never to return. We found no help. It brought us only shame and disgrace, as we realized where our motives had led us. Sin can distort anyone’s perspective when we are desperate.

 

As I went to a prayer group that week, after they had prayed for me, one of my prayer partners said you must read Isaiah 30. I went home eager to do that. The minute I began, God began to reveal to me what had happened and to heal me of my shame and disgrace. I wondered why God let me go down that path. I saw that we had not found the way to help Keith, God had not really revealed the way. I learned it was to see the depth of my sin. I would never have thought I would have made such a mistake!  He showed me to see the ability of Satan to deceive. I thought God was just confirming things in every step. And most of all I saw Jesus!

 

That brings us to the second lesson.

 

The Sovereign Lord calls to us in our shame and disgrace. When I read verse 15, it was if my hope was restored – there was a way out of this sin and disgrace.

 

It was if the Sovereign Lord called to me personally in this verse- “In repentance and rest is you salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.” It was like taking a bath when I read these verses. I could not have explained them to you theologically, but I knew it was God’s word spoken to my heart. Stop trying to save your son! If you blew it (sinned) and you’re feeling true guilt –repent and rest in me. Don’t try to fight your way out of the situation with words or more of your plans. Rest in me. Be quiet –not just your mouth and actions, but in your heart. I needed to “be still and know that God was God” over Keith’s life. In quietness and trust I would find my strength.

 

Scripture went on to say why would God do that for me. God answered my heart cry.

 

It’s because of God’s grace…Verse 18 shows us God’s posture toward his children.

He’s longing to pour His grace down on us (big pitcher of grace that never runs dry).

 

He rises to show us compassion! Have you ever tried to sit down and give someone a hug. It’s not so easy. Here we see God rising up off his throne and intervening with his compassion, reaching down to embrace us. He’s ready to pour his forgiveness, his love, himself into our hearts!

 

What was God waiting for? He was waiting on me to cry out to Him…He was waiting on me to wait on God. He was waiting on me to stop trying to figure things out, to stop worrying, that we might miss something that would help Keith. He was waiting for me to rest in Him. I cried out to God!

I then began to experience the blessings of waiting on God.

 

As the days and weeks and years passed, we saw the blessings of waiting: vs 18-26

 

1.     No more tears – It wasn’t my shampoo that would prevent me from crying in the shower, but God who wiped away my tears of shame and disgrace. I saw the God of grace and compassion in a new way, as he forgave me and embraced me.

2.     I had eyes to see and ears to hear (vs 20-21) You’ll see your teachers and know the way…”this is the way, walk in it!” I was ready to listen to the truth, after being burnt in the fire. I was alert to the voice of God.

3.     Their was a change in my heart –  (vs 22). I threw away my idol –it was really my ability to figure things out. I can think logically, mke  pln and carry it out. I turned away from that idol and worshipped God, who knew it all and could do it all without my help!

4.     God promised that there would be spiritual growth in my life through this. He would water the seeds of truth that had been planted. And there would be fruit from this experience. God sees our potential and has the power and the love to bring us to that place!

5.     Greater light – vs 26 the sun will be brighter than it ever was. Go back to vs 20 – Even though he gave us the bread of adversity and the water of affliction. He would enlighten our hearts and minds s He healed the bruises and wounds. The light of Jesus would be greater than any other. I learned to discern the presence of Jesus and the lack of his presence.

6.     Freedom from your enemies –  God defeated the Assyrians who are a representation of sin and Satan to us (vs 27-33). God defended Jerusalem (Isaiah 31). God had delivered me from my sin – again! Yet there was an oppression of the evil one that hung over our family. In God’s grace, a missionary family stayed with us and prayed over us for the release from any bondage to Satan’s influence or deception. That is a story for another day. God will defend and deliver from the enemies of your life – that which keeps you from shining the glory of God through your life. He will fight the battle, as you trust in Him!

 

How did God save Keith?  He revealed a very simple plan. As we went back to the neurologist, he came up with the idea of just putting Keith on one medicine, without the others. And it worked!  His plan was so simple, unconventional to the doctor, but God blessed it. Keith’s seizures were under control for a good long time after that…until just recently.

 

Is their a desperate situation that you are facing? Or have faced?

Whose plans are you following? Are you believing God to save you?

Or maybe you need to be healed of the hurts, perhaps even the shame and disgrace, as you went seeking the ways of the world instead of waiting on God?

 

In a desperate situation, God wants us to wait on him.

 

“In repentance and rest is your salvation. In quietness and trust is your strength.”  Are you willing? Willing to wait on God and his plans without scheming and planning on your own to save yourself?

 

God is waiting to pour down His grace and compassion…