But God’s Not Finished!

This perverse way of life will be like a towering, badly built wall that slowly, slowly tilts and shifts, and then one day, without warning, collapses.

Ps 19:14 – Let the sayings of my mouth, And the meditation of my heart, Be for a pleasing thing before Thee, O Jehovah, my rock, and my redeemer! (YLT)

The sayings of my mouth.

Expressions that expose what is in my heart, revealing what I perceive to be truth and wisdom.

The meditation of my heart.

To earnestly, deeply think and to murmur with tenderness, evoking a strong emotional response.

As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? (Psalm 42:1-2 – ESV)

My soul thirsts.

Are you aware of your soul’s state?
Panting. Thirsting. Longing.
Do you know that it is the living God that your soul longs for?
Are you trying to satisfy your soul with something other than the living God?
Have you discovered that no one and nothing else can satisfy your soul?

I’ve discovered that my way of life is perverse at any moment when I am out of step with the Spirit of God, who is my life and strength. When I am emptied of my addiction to self interest and self-absorption, when I find that the world’s treasures and pleasures no longer satisfy and let them go, when I acknowledge failures and wounds that I cannot heal, and I turn to the Lord God, empty, broken open, and surrendered to his ministrations, then the sayings of my mouth and the meditation of my heart pleases the Lord God.

It is my experience that it is in this place of brokenness, utterly dependent on the grace and love of the Lord God where I discover who I really am. This place of brokenness is the key to experiencing a fully satiated soul, to knowing a peace that passes understanding, to experiencing a joy so full and rich that even the most devasting, painful, fearful circumstances cannot diminish it.

Luke 2:34-35 – Simeon went on to bless them, and said to Mary his mother, This child [Christ Jesus] marks both the failure and the recovery of many in Israel, A figure misunderstood and contradicted — the pain of a sword-thrust through you — But the rejection will force honesty, as God reveals who they really are. (MSG)

Falling and rising.

Failure and recovery. Dying and resurrection. As God reveals who they really are…

Note how the prophet Isaiah described the process of failure and falling to the descendants of Abraham who had forgotten and rejected their God in pursuing other treasures and pleasures instead.

Isa 30:8-11 – So, go now and write all this down. Put it in a book So that the record will be there to instruct the coming generations, Because this is a rebel generation, a people who lie, A people unwilling to listen to anything God tells them. They tell their spiritual leaders, “Don’t bother us with irrelevancies. “They tell their preachers, “Don’t waste our time on impracticalities. Tell us what makes us feel better. Don’t bore us with obsolete religion. That stuff means nothing to us. Quit hounding us with The Holy of Israel.” (MSG)

Quit hounding us with the Holy of Israel.

Do you recognize yourself in Isaiah’s description of people in his day? Have you ever been in this place? Take an honest, reflective look at the sayings of your mouth and the meditation of your heart. Ask the Lord God to reveal your heart as only he can.

Do any of the prophet’s words describe you, whether in big things or minute? A rebel, deviating from the path God marked out for you. Are you familiar with the path God marked out for you? Are you a liar? A person who is unwilling to listen to God?

Or do you say and think things like: God’s word is irrelevant. Impractical. Boring. Obsolete. Meaningless. This stuff means nothing to me! Are you aware of what is hidden deep in your heart from which the sayings of your mouth and the meditation of your heart flows? Do you pick and choose which of God’s words you’ll listen to, chew on, and allow to prick or soothe your heart?

The Lord God’s Response

Note how Isaiah goes on to describe God’s response to the people’s words, thoughts and attitude:

Isa 30:12-14 – Therefore, The Holy of Israel says this: “Because you scorn this Message, Preferring to live by injustice and shape your lives on lies, This perverse way of life will be like a towering, badly built wall That slowly, slowly tilts and shifts, and then one day, without warning, collapses — Smashed to bits like a piece of pottery, smashed beyond recognition or repair, Useless, a pile of debris to be swept up and thrown in the trash.” (MSG)

You scorn. Despise. Abhor. Cast away. Loathe. Reject this message, this word.1
You prefer. You trust. You hurry for refuge. You are confident, secure, sure… living by injustice.2
You live by injustice. Injury. Fraud. Distress. Unjust gain.3
You shape your life on lies.
You shape (support) your life on lies/perverseness: You turn aside, depart, to be perverse. To twine, to unite, to remain; to borrow, as a form of obligation; wrap up; to be obstinate. 4

Is the Lord God speaking to you through Isaiah? Are you tainted by your culture’s way of life without even being aware? Open yourself to Isaiah’s words. Let them roam freely through your mind and heart and emotions and imagination to bring to light impurities that you may not even be aware of. What do your typical words and actions say about what/who you are confident in? What/who are you shaping, building, supporting your life on? Injustice? Injury? Fraud? Distress? Unjust gain? Lies? Denial? Illusion? Do you see and think like God does? How can we discern the state of our heart?

James 3:13-17 – Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. (ESV)

Meekness

Meekness is an inwrought grace of the soul, a condition of mind and heart; and the exercises of it are first and chiefly towards God. It is that temper of spirit in which we accept his dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting; it is closely linked with humility. The meekness manifested by the Lord and commended to the believer is the fruit of power. The common assumption is that when a man is meek it is because he cannot help himself; but the Lord was ‘meek’ because he had the infinite resources of God at His command. Described negatively, meekness is the opposite to self-assertiveness and self-interest; it is equanimity of spirit that is neither elated nor cast down, simply because it is not occupied with self at all.5

If we are unfamiliar with the meekness of wisdom, then who or what do we get tangled up with and bound to instead?

Note who/what will become a useless pile of debris to be swept up and thrown into the trash according to the prophet Isaiah:

This perverse way of life will be like a towering, badly built wall that slowly, slowly tilts and shifts, and then one day, without warning, collapses — Smashed to bits like a piece of pottery, smashed beyond recognition or repair, useless, a pile of debris to be swept up and thrown in the trash.

Way of life

This perverse way of life…collapses…useless…debris…thrown in the trash.

What other way of life is available to us?

2 Cor 6:16-18 – Who would think of setting up pagan idols in God’s holy Temple? But that is exactly what we are, each of us a temple in whom God lives. God himself put it this way: “I’ll live in them, move into them; I’ll be their God and they’ll be my people. So leave the corruption and compromise; leave it for good,” says God. “Don’t link up with those who will pollute you. I want you all for myself. I’ll be a Father to you; you’ll be sons and daughters to me.” The Word of the Master, God. (MSG)

Leave the corruption and compromise; leave it for good. Leave this perverse way of life. Don’t link up with those who will pollute you.

Leave the corruption and compromise by discovering and living into who you really are:
“I want you”
“I want you all for myself.”
“I’ll be a Father to you; you’ll be sons and daughters to me.”

What is the corruption and compromise that we all (as vessels of wrath) succumb to until our perverse way of life collapses?

Isa 30:1-5 – “Doom, rebel children!” God’s Decree. “You make plans, but not mine. You make deals, but not in my Spirit. You pile sin on sin, one sin on top of another, Going off to Egypt without so much as asking me, Running off to Pharaoh for protection, expecting to hide out in Egypt [from the threatening Assyrians]. Well, some protection Pharaoh will be! Some hideout, Egypt! They look big and important, true, with officials strategically established in Zoan in the north and Hanes in the south, but there’s nothing to them. Anyone stupid enough to trust them will end up looking stupid — All show, no substance, an embarrassing farce.” (MSG)

Are you guilty of these charges?
You make plans, but not mine.
You make deals, but not in my Spirit.
Not in the meekness of wisdom.

Are you ready to follow Isaiah’s instruction?
Leave the corruption and compromise; leave it for good. Don’t link up with those who will pollute you.

You turn things upside down

The Lord God is saying, “The sayings of your mouth, and the meditation of your heart is not pleasing to me!”

You make plans, but not mine.
You make deals, but not in my Spirit.
Not in the meekness of wisdom.

So, the meditation of our heart gets diverted, our tender affections misplaced, our thinking misguided, and our words distorted. We miss the mark, bend and deviate from God’s way and live a lifestyle that is perverted.

Looking to someone/something other than God for protection and security.
Trusting someone/something with no substance to save our lives, our way of life.

Isa 29:15-16 – Ah, you who hide deep from the Lord your counsel, whose deeds are in the dark, and who say, “Who sees us? Who knows us?” You turn things upside down! Shall the potter be regarded as the clay, that the thing made should say of its maker, “He did not make me”; or the thing formed say of him who formed it, “He has no understanding”? (ESV)

You make plans, but not mine.
You make deals, but not in my Spirit.
Not in the meekness of wisdom.
You hide deep from the Lord your counsel, your deliberations, your purpose, your resolve.
Your deeds are in the dark.
You say: Who sees us? Who knows us? Who comprehends us? Who regards us?

You turn things upside down! As if you are in control! As if you have knowledge, wisdom and insight in what’s real and right!

You take the discipline of Creator/Potter lightly and say, “He did not make me. You say of your maker, the one who formed you, “He has no understanding.”

Isa 47:10-11 – You felt secure in your wickedness, you said, “No one sees me“; your wisdom and your knowledge led you astray [perverted you], and you said in your heart, “I am, and there is no one besides me.” But evil shall come upon you, which you will not know how to charm away; disaster shall fall upon you, for which you will not be able to atone; and ruin shall come upon you suddenly, of which you know nothing. (ESV)

Are you, have you been, in such a condition? Is our nation and our world in such condition?

You felt secure in your wickedness.
In ignorance, denial, illusion, you felt secure in your state of brokenness, your spoiled condition, in the process of becoming good for nothing, physically, socially or morally.
Saying, “No one sees me.”
Your wisdom and your knowledge perverted you.
You said in your heart, “I am, and there is no one besides me.”
You turn things upside down! You trust in your technology, money, power, position, charm, intellect, achievements. You think you are god. But you are mistaken!

Isa 45:5-7 – [The Lord God speaking to Cyrus, king of Persia] I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things. (ESV)

You said in your heart, “I am, and there is no one besides me.”

Breaking to pieces shall come upon you

But evil…literally breaking to pieces…shall come upon you.

Evil, wickedness, natural or moral badness, to spoil, literally by breaking to pieces, to make or be good for nothing, bad physically, socially or morally.6

But evil…literally breaking to pieces…shall come upon you.
Which you will not know how to charm away.
Disaster, devastation, desolation shall fall upon you.

This perverse way of life will be like a towering, badly built wall That slowly, slowly tilts and shifts, and then one day, without warning, collapsesSmashed to bits like a piece of pottery, smashed beyond recognition or repair, Useless, a pile of debris to be swept up and thrown in the trash.

You will not be able to atone, cover, placate or cancel.
Ruin shall come upon you suddenly, of which you know nothing.

But God’s not finished!

What advice does the prophet Micah offer when we find ourselves in this condition?

Mic 7:9 – I will bear the indignation of the Lord because I have sinned against him, until he pleads my cause and executes judgment for me. He will bring me out to the light; I shall look upon his vindication. (ESV)

When disaster, devastation, desolation falls upon you, and you are unable to placate or cancel it, then stop, be still, and wait patiently and expectantly for the Lord God. Get to know his name, his character, his purpose, his authority, his call.

Isa 30:18 – But God’s not finished. He’s waiting around to be gracious to you

Ps 145:17 – The Lord is righteous [right] in all his ways and kind in all his works. (ESV)

Eph 5:13-14 – But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” (ESV)

Discover who you are, who you really are, by seeking your Potter, by waiting quietly for him/her to reveal truth to you in your inner being.

Rom 9:21-25 – Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honored use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? (ESV)

Interact with the words of Scripture through deep, careful study.

Read the Lord God’s words. Slowly. Reflectively. Let his words sink in. Ruminate upon his words. Take from them what he wants to give to you.

Meditate. Experience the word of Scripture bodily by moaning, growling, uttering, speaking aloud each word, syllable by syllable. Experience the words of Scripture expressing the longing and desire and hope in the depth of your own soul. Become acquainted with your longing. Anticipate that your soul’s longing will be satisfied, its hunger will be filled with good things, and it will be healed and made complete again. Let the inspired word of God arouse feelings of awe.

Respond by setting your thoughts and emotions aside and let your heart speak to God without words.

Move beyond logic and reason; move from head to heart to spirit.

Simply rest in God’s words. Listen to God at the deepest level of your inner being. Listen as Love speaks with a still small voice that moves you to silence and an ever-deepening listening in which the Word becomes active and alive in you, gradually transforming you from within.7

2 Cor 13:14 – the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, [is] with you all! Amen. (YLT)

Contemplate. Sit quietly without thinking, without murmuring. Simply be. Become conscious of your companions. Longing for you. You longing for them.

Stay in this place of rest and fellowship for as long as you can.

When finished, select just one word or phrase and carry it with you all day, thinking about it, murmuring it, holding it, treasuring it. Let it soak deep into your soul. Tomorrow meditate on the entire text again. Select the same word or phrase or a different one to carry with you all day, thinking about it, murmuring it, holding it, treasuring it. Do this practice every day. Let God’s Word begin to fill your soul with good things.

I ponder every morsel of wisdom from you, I attentively watch how you’ve done it. I relish everything you’ve told me of life, I won’t forget a word of it. (Ps 119:15-16 MSG)

 

But it is the spirit in man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand. (Job 32:8 ESV)

I encourage you to find ways to become aware of Holy Spirit and to surrender to her convicting, enlightening, restorative ministrations.

Do you regularly focus on your soul’s condition and needs as you do your body’s condition and needs? Your soul is dependent upon the steady flow of the breath of the Almighty just as your physical body is dependent upon breath to prosper and flourish.

Breathe in.
Breathe out.
Focus intently on your breath to the exclusion of all else.

Inhale deeply.
Exhale deeply.

Become aware of the breath of the Almighty in you.
It is the spirit in you
Your inner being
The breath of the Almighty
That makes you understand.

For God alone my soul waits in silence.
When shall I come and appear before God?
Lie outstretched before him, passive, heart open, exposed to his light.
Take his discipline seriously.
Agree with God.
Acknowledge that you have not known him/her,
Confess that you have ignorantly or voluntarily lived in darkness,
Admit that you have lived contrary to the way he marked out for you.
Recognize his authority and claim of you.
He is your potter, your creator, your sustainer, your father, your mother, your breath, your life.
Willingly, humbly bear the indignation of the Lord God
Until he pleads your cause and executes judgment for you
Being gracious to you
Vindicating you.
Awakening you
Raising you from the dead
Causing you to know that he is Lord, and there is no other
Causing you to know that he does understand
As he raises you with a body controlled by the Spirit.

Wait.
For my hope is from the Lord God.

Be still, silent with a sense of anticipation
Wait
For the Lord God to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy
Which he has prepared beforehand for glory
Even you
Whom he has called.

Stay in this position of stillness for as long as you can. This is where you become aware. This is where your darkness is exposed by the light. This is where you awake, arise from the dead, and Christ shines on you, and you arise with a body controlled by the Spirit. And you discover who you really are. Alive with the Spirit of God!

Sense your soul being drawn into the inner circle of friendship, to participate in intimate relationship with the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of Holy Spirit.

Close your eyes. Stay in this position of quiet anticipation for as long as you can.

When ready open your eyes.

Breathe in.
Breathe out.
Sense the promise of rising, of recovery of spiritual truth, of resurrection to new life.
Rise.

Go, with replenished soul, live with the Lord your God in his house the whole day long, his praise in your mouth continually, his word the meditation of your heart, through the breath of the Almighty!

2 Peter 3:18 – But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. (ESV)

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. (Philem 25 ESV)

*****

Resources/For deeper study:

1Scorn/despise: OT:3988 <START HEBREW>sa^m* <END HEBREW> ma’ac (maw-as’); a primitive root; to spurn; also (intransitively) to disappear: KJV – abhor, cast away (off), contemn, despise, disdain, (become) loathe (some), melt away, refuse, reject, reprobate, utterly, vile person. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

2Preferring/to trust: OT:982 <START HEBREW>jf^B* <END HEBREW> batach (baw-takh’); a primitive root; properly, to hie for refuge [but not so precipitately as OT:2620]; figuratively, to trust, be confident or sure: KJV – be bold (confident, secure, sure), careless (one, woman), put confidence, (make to) hope, (put, make to) trust.

OT:2620 <START HEBREW>hs*j*<END HEBREW> chacah (khaw-saw’); a primitive root; to flee for protection [compare OT:982]; figuratively, to confide in: (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

3Injustice/oppression: OT:6233 <START HEBREW>qv#u)<END HEBREW> `osheq (o’-shek); from OT:6231; injury, fraud, (subjectively) distress, (concretely) unjust gain: KJV – cruelly, extortion, oppression, thing [deceitfully gotten].

OT:6231 <START HEBREW>qv^u*<END HEBREW> `ashaq (aw-shak’); a primitive root (compare OT:6229); to press upon, i.e. oppress, defraud, violate, overflow: KJV – get deceitfully, deceive, defraud, drink up, (use) oppress ([-ion]), -or), do violence (wrong). (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

4Shape (support) your lives on lies/perverseness: OT:3868 <START HEBREW>zWl <END HEBREW> luwz (looz); a primitive root; to turn aside [compare OT:3867, OT:3874 and OT:3885], i.e. (literally) to depart, (figuratively) be perverse: KJV – depart, froward, perverse (-ness).

OT:3867 <START HEBREW>hw*l*<END HEBREW> lavah (law-vaw’); a primitive root; properly, to twine, i.e. (by implication) to unite, to remain; also to borrow (as a form of obligation) or (caus.) to lend:

OT:3874 <START HEBREW>fWl<END HEBREW> luwt (loot); a primitive root; to wrap up:

OT:3885 <START HEBREW>/Wl<END HEBREW> luwn (loon); or liyn (leen); a primitive root; to stop (usually over night); by implication, to stay permanently; hence (in a bad sense) to be obstinate (especially in words, to complain): (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

5MEEKNESS

Adjective. praus or praos (<START GREEK>prau<s<END GREEK>, NT:4239) denotes “gentle, mild, meek”; for its significance see the corresponding noun, below, B. Christ uses it of His own disposition, Matt 11:29; He gives it in the third of His Beatitudes, 5:5; it is said of Him as the King Messiah, 21:5, from Zech 9:9; it is an adornment of the Christian profession, 1 Peter 3:4. Cf. epios, “gentle, of a soothing disposition,” 1 Thess 2:7; 2 Tim 2:24.

Nouns.

prautes, or praotes, an earlier form, (<START GREEK>prau<th$<END GREEK>, NT:4240) denotes “meekness.” In its use in Scripture, in which it has a fuller, deeper significance than in nonscriptural Greek writings, it consists not in a person’s “outward behavior only; nor yet in his relations to his fellow-men; as little in his mere natural disposition. Rather it is an inwrought grace of the soul; and the exercises of it are first and chiefly towards God. It is that temper of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting; it is closely linked with the word tapeinophrosune [humility], and follows directly upon it, Eph 4:2; Col 3:12; cf. the adjectives in the Sept. of Zeph 3:12, “meek and lowly”;… it is only the humble heart which is also the meek, and which, as such, does not fight against God and more or less struggle and contend with Him. This meekness, however, being first of all a meekness before God, is also such in the face of men, even of evil men, out of a sense that these, with the insults and injuries which they may inflict, are permitted and employed by Him for the chastening and purifying of His elect” (Trench, Syn. Sec. xlii). In Gal 5:23 it is associated with enkrateia, “self-control.”

The meaning of prautes “is not readily expressed in English, for the terms meekness, mildness, commonly used, suggest weakness and pusillanimity to a greater or less extent, whereas prautes does nothing of the kind. Nevertheless, it is difficult to find a rendering less open to objection than ‘meekness’; ‘gentleness’ has been suggested, but as prautes describes a condition of mind and heart, and as ‘gentleness’ is appropriate rather to actions, this word is no better than that used in both English Versions. It must be clearly understood, therefore, that the meekness manifested by the Lord and commended to the believer is the fruit of power. The common assumption is that when a man is meek it is because he cannot help himself; but the Lord was ‘meek’ because he had the infinite resources of God at His command. Described negatively, meekness is the opposite to self-assertiveness and self-interest; it is equanimity of spirit that is neither elated nor cast down, simply because it is not occupied with self at all.

“In 2 Cor 10:1 the apostle appeals to the ‘meekness… of Christ.’ Christians are charged to show ‘all meekness toward all men,’ Titus 3:2, for meekness becomes ‘God’s elect,’ Col 3:12. To this virtue the ‘man of God’ is urged; he is to ‘follow after meekness’ for his own sake, 1 Tim 6:11 (the best texts have No. 2 here however), and in his service, and more especially in his dealings with the ‘ignorant and erring,’ he is to exhibit ‘a spirit of meekness,’ 1 Cor 4:21, and Gal 6:1; even ‘they that oppose themselves’ are to be corrected in meekness, 2 Tim 2:25. James exhorts his ‘beloved brethren’ to ‘receive with meekness the implanted word,’ 1:21. Peter enjoins ‘meekness’ in setting forth the grounds of the Christian hope, 3:15.” From Notes on Galatians, by Hogg and Vine pp. 294 (from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright © 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers.)

6Wickedness/evil: OT:7451 <START HEBREW>ur^<END HEBREW> ra` (rah); from OT:7489; bad or (as noun) evil (natural or moral):

OT:7489 <START HEBREW>uu^r*<END HEBREW> ra`a` (raw-ah’); a primitive root; properly, to spoil (literally, by breaking to pieces); figuratively, to make (or be) good for nothing, i.e. bad (physically, socially or morally): (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

7Lectio Divina as described by the 12th century Carthusian monk called Guigo. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guigo_II

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