This season, we’re blessed with a set of Lenten devotionals by contributing author Lee Hinkle. Find out more about Lee at the bottom of this article, or at hinkledownunder.com.
Isaiah 30:1-2, 8-18 (ESV)
One of the things that arrived on the container this week is an executive white board. It is a heavy piece of office décor that is attached to a wall and, when opened, reveals a white board with two cork boards on the side. It is a great tool for planning and keeping track of things. In our family, that is important. We need places- multiple places- to keep track of what is happening, what is coming up and what we need to remember. When used right, it can seem to make your life efficient and easy. It can give the illusion of control.
Isaiah is speaking to Israel here, but the words can be true of our own hearts. Stubborn. Carry out our own plan. Unwilling to hear. Trusting in oppression and perverseness. That is a little harsh you might be thinking. I am not that lying child. But stop and wait. In your efforts to be righteous, have you planned it out on your own and in turn pushed God’s plan to the side? In your effort to feel safe, have you sought the protection of something other than God because that plan doesn’t seem to be as tangible?
It is subtle most of the time. We are rarely as blunt as Isaiah is saying of Israel. “Do not see and to the prophets, do not prophesy to us what is right; speak to us smooth things, prophesy illusions, leave the way, turn aside from the path, let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.”
I believed that, if I was present in the assembly of believers, that God would indeed grab my heart and break me.
What does the Holy One call us to? Returning (repenting) and rest shall be salvation. Quietness and trust will be strength. The pursuit is swift, harsh and gracious. It is deconstruction of plans, purpose, and false personality to be rebuilt in a place of rest, trust, repentance, and true knowledge of who we are created to be and quiet. No longer a life of getting ahead of the game or looking for the quick fix, but one of believing that it is worked out for God’s glory and that my ultimate joy is His glory.
He is exalted to show mercy. Amen and Amen.
You are exalted to show mercy, Father. You are a God of justice. Let us be blessed to wait on you. Let us rest in the knowledge that you have accomplished all that needs to be accomplished. Let us trust that you are our sure protection and refuge.
Jesus, you are the answer to all questions and the end of all plans. You are the center and the one who holds all things together. You are the one who provides the rest for us to walk into. You are our Sabbath. Teach us to trust in your work and righteousness. Amen.
This is not a call to not plan, but it is a warning to watch. Our plans for righteous living can turn quickly into a path to Pharaoh. We need to live among each other in order to be reminded of the graciousness of God and His already-accomplished work for us. Gather a small group of close fellow sojourners and talk about where you see yourself with the Father right now. Be honest with each other and speak the Truth of God’s provision and perfect plan into each other’s hearts. Listen to the encouragement to repent and rest, trust and quiet your striving.
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Lee Hinkle is an American pastor who, with his family of 7, felt God’s call to pack up and plant a church in Fremantle, a town in Perth, Western Australia. Last Summer, the Hinkles left Indianapolis and arrived in Oz to begin their work. You can follow their adventures at hinkledownunder.com.