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(Part 35)


December 10, 2009

Today’s readings
Isaiah 41:13-20
Psalm 145:1-13

Our theme this year is trust in Jesus. Why do we trust in Jesus? Well, simply put, because he is trustworthy. “The Lord is trustworthy in every word, and faithful in every work.” (Ps 145:13b). In other words, we can depend on him to come through for us in every way.

There are of course other trustworthy persons that we know. But the difference is this: we can trust these persons, but we cannot trust that they can deliver. Not because they do not want to, or they do not make the effort, but simply because they may at times be incapable. “The afflicted and the needy seek water in vain” (Is 41:17a).

It is only God who can say definitively, with 100% certainty, that He can help and that He can provide. “I, the Lord, will answer them: I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.” (Is 41:17b).

Thus we trust in God because He is God, and that reality brings with it certain immutable truths.

God is the Almighty. “God’s grandeur is beyond understanding.” (Ps 145:3b). People through generations “speak of the splendor of (His) majestic glory” (Ps 145:5a). As the Almighty God, He is all powerful and nothing is impossible for Him. People from their experience “speak of (His) fearsome power” (Ps 145:6a). As such, God can deliver.

So God is all powerful. But will He bring to bear His power to help us lowly sinners? Yes, because God is gracious and merciful, looking to the good of all. “The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in love. The Lord is good to all, compassionate to every creature.” (Ps 145:8-9).

In fact, Jesus came for us who are sinners, and gave his life for us. He is our redeemer. If Jesus came and gave his life for us, will he withhold any good thing from us? No![1] Here is God’s firm assurance: “I will help you, says the Lord; your redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.” (Is 41:14b).

Fine, but how come there is so much injustice and evil in the world, with the good suffering and the wicked prospering? Well, much can be said about that, and we can never fully understand the workings of an Omnipotent God.[2] But here is the important truth: we can trust in God because He is just and righteous. People “sing of (His) justice” (Ps 145:7b, NAB). People “sing aloud of (His) righteousness” (Ps 145:7b, RSV).

What then is our proper posture before God?

First, we must not be afraid. Whatever the circumstance of our lives. Whatever affliction we are undergoing or challenges we are facing. Why? Because the all-powerful God is committed to care for us. He takes hold of us and will not let us go. “For I am the Lord, your God, who grasp your right hand; it is I who say to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’” (Is 41:13).

Second, because we need never be afraid, because God is there to help us, then we must rejoice. God will bring good out of bad. God is rolling out His great plan for our lives. Even when we grieve due to affliction, loss and pain, we can still rejoice, for God is always at work in us.[3] We are assured: “you shall rejoice in the Lord, and glory in the Holy One of Israel.” (Is 41:16b).

Third, out of gratitude and joy, but more so out of being given the privilege of relating to the Almighty, we must give God the praise and worship that is His due. Worship is our proper response to the God who is Almighty and is all good. We must praise and bless His name every day and forever. “I will extol you, my God and king; I will bless your name forever. Every day I will bless you; I will praise your name forever.” (Ps 145:1-2).

Finally, we cannot keep such a God only for ourselves. If we have now discovered the true key to a blessed and abundant life, then our love for others[4] should push us to proclaim Him to them. If we have been brought out of the darkness of our lives but see that many more wallow in such darkness, then we must help bring His light into their lives. If we had almost given up in helplessness and hopelessness but were raised by Him and blessed, then we must want to share Him with others. Thus, we must evangelize, that is, proclaim the good news of the Savior Jesus Christ to the whole world. We must tell the world of such a God. “They speak of the splendor of your majestic glory, tell of your wonderful deeds.” (Ps 145:5).

When we trust in God and allow Him to act in and through us, then we will become the witnesses that God intends, empowered by the Holy Spirit to bring His good news to the ends of the earth.[5] God’s power is awesome. God does the impossible (see Isaiah 41:18-19). God intends that peoples be in awe of Him and His great majesty.

When we proclaim Him and His mighty works, then “all may see and know, observe and understand, that the hand of the Lord has done this” (Is 41:20).

* * *

[1] See Romans 8:32.
[2] Ask Job; he has gone through it all before.
[3] This is why Paul can tell us to rejoice always. See Philippians 4:4 and 1 Thessalonians 5:16.
[4] Loving others is Jesus’ command.
[5] Acts 1:8.

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