by Barry Newton
Frigid white water cascading over boulders throughout our northwest descends to the ocean. The force of the water is persuasive.
And yet, each year salmon are determined to swim against this torrent even leaping high into the air to advance against the onslaught of the river. Their goal drives them forward.
In Isaiah 8:11-15, God instructed Isaiah and his followers to go against the tide of popular opinion. While king Ahaz and the rest of Judah shook in fear from the threatening coalition of Syria and northern Israel, they were to remain unafraid. God would be their security. Instead, they were to fear the LORD of hosts.
Since foreign military powers are not threatening us with invasion, perhaps these instructions appear little more than of academic interest. But let’s take a closer look.
At this point, God had already revealed to king Ahaz and Judah that the dark war clouds of northern Israel and Syria were empty threats. And yet, fear persisted. Why? Because they believed more in horses, chariots and spears than in the promises of God.
What about today? Do we believe more in tangible portfolios and financial reserves or an unseen God promising to provide for those who seek His kingdom first?
Do we fear rejection or persecution for the name of Christ or the awesomeness of our Creator God? What do our beliefs cause us to fear? Does God’s word address those beliefs?
If Isaiah and his disciples were going to allow God’s message to shape their lives, their behavior and attitudes would make them appear like salmon being driven against the flow of popular opinion.
How would others in the flow of our culture view us? Do we just fit in and look like everybody else, or has God’s word reoriented our beliefs and goals so that we are swimming in a different direction?
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