4. The Strength we Depend On
Just as there must be consistency between the visible and the internal, so also must there be a consistency in where we place our trust. We see in Isaiah, that the people had to decide where they would place their trust for their military security. They were warned against placing their trust in the might of the armies of Egypt as their defence against the Assyrians,
Isaiah 31:1: Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, and rely on horses, and trust in chariots because they are many, and in horsemen because they are very strong, but they don't look to the Holy One of Israel, neither seek Yahweh! WEB
Trusting In Egypt
Egypt appeared to be a strong protector for the against Assyria. It was a protector they could see, and they felt that when it came to war, they could better trust Egypt than their God. There would be things that they would call on their God for, but in war it was different.
This illustrated a divided attention. The people were inconsistent in their trust in God. The trust was only in a part of their life, and not right through it. God was reminding them that he was a God that oversaw their whole life, so it was far better to turn their whole lives to him
Isaiah 31:3: Now the Egyptians are men, and not God; and their horses flesh, and not spirit: and when Yahweh shall stretch out his hand, both he who helps shall stumble, and he who is helped shall fall, and they all shall be consumed together. WEB
To be a follower of God, it means being consistent, and being a follower in all aspects of life. That means
- when in conscious service to God
- at work
- when behind the wheel of a car
- following pursuits of leisure
It means having a single focus to life, and not a double-minded one.
In the message to Laodicea, they mixed the hot and cold, to become lukewarm in the eyes of God,
Revelation 3:15: "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were cold or hot. 16. So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will vomit you out of my mouth. WEB
Just as no value in being a partial follower of the law, there's no value in being a partial follower of God.
Jesus - the strength who we are
In his creation, God requires a clear form, structure and consistency. As part of this, His justice has determined that the penalty for sin is death. As much as human society likes to believe the serpent in saying this is not really the case, the word from God is continually to say that it is an immovable statute of the creation. God's consistency in creation requires that justice be not overlooked. So, from generation to generation, we see each suffer under sin, and then the consequent death.
Romans 5:12: Therefore, as sin entered into the world through one man, and death through sin; and so death passed to all men, because all sinned. ... 14. ... death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those whose sins weren't like Adam's disobedience, ... WEB
As desperate as that situation is, God did have a solution planned, right from the time of Eden. It wasn't a solution that involved God redefining his standards and going back on his word, or breaking his justice. Instead, it was a neat and just solution that allowed us to take on a new identity, and leave behind our sinful self.
Romans 6:4: We were buried therefore with him through baptism to death, that just like Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life. 5. For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we will also be part of his resurrection; WEB
God provided Jesus so that we could become part of him and participate in the resurrection he is deserving of.
But in the keeping of the consistency of God, not only does this give us life, but gives us an opportunity to live in the life of God's only begotten son. Jesus himself described how his disciples would be able to pray to God on his behalf.
John 16:26: In that day you will ask in my name; and I don't say to you, that I will pray to the Father for you, 27. for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me, and have believed that I came forth from God. WEB
It's an opportunity to live our life as if it is the life of Jesus - To think and do things as if we are the son of God, and to be able to speak to God in prayer as if we are the son of God.
Romans 5:1: Being therefore justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; 2. through whom we also have our access by faith into this grace in which we stand. We rejoice in hope of the glory of God. WEB
It's truly a great privilege, and one that's all part of the consistency of God. He is a God who displays and requires consistency and transparency:
- From the top of society to the bottom
- Between the true nature and the visible
- The inner person, and outer appearance
- The covered being revealed
- In the strength we depend on
- In his salvation