Candidate’s Seminar Devotions: The Story Before… (Part 1)
A Nation Divided
For nearly 200 years (922-722 BC) the once united nation of Israel has been split into two kingdoms. While they enjoyed a short golden age of power and influence in the middle East during the earliest part of that, by the time Isaiah is born the region is far from stable. The two kingdoms fall further and further from their covenant promises to God and the world is in uproar when Isaiah takes his place (740 BC) as a prophet to the kings of Judah, the southern kingdom.
As Isaiah steps in to his calling, it’s a balancing act in every way. He preaches faith to a faithless king who could call for his death at any point. He preaches covenant to a people who have forgotten God. At any moment, he could find himself at the hands of any angry mob and there are more than a few. It’s not just his own people, though. There are threats on every side. During Isaiah’s life, the northern kingdom will fall to the Assyrians (722 BC), who sit to the north and northeast, hungry for blood, land and power. The Philistines are to the south and southwest. Both want the land and the commerce that goes through it. Their armies are numerically and technologically superior. They are both vicious in their conquest. Everything is at stake.
And nobody is listening.
Our best hope is that those words come To us and then Through us.
It’s a world that needs more than anything to hear from God. It’s a world that needs someone to say something, not just anyone to say anything, but Someone to Say Something. The only words that are going to matter are the ones that Truly Matter. Those words weren’t going to come from Isaiah or from Uzziah then or from you or from me now. The only words that Truly Matter come from THE Someone that Says Something. Our best hope is that those words come To us and then Through us. In order for them to come To us, though, we must desperately need them and desire them. When nobody was listening, Isaiah was. When nobody is listening, will you?
With Candidate’s weekend around the corner, what is God saying to you? Are there aspects within your life that He is shaping or transforming? Are there parts of yourself that you need to surrender more completely? As you read through the first 5 chapters of Isaiah and consider your life and ministry, how are you getting a sense of the ways in which God is already at work?
Pray for a world that is still divided. Pray for a people divided. Pray for a fresh sense of covenant for yourself and for those who belong to God. Pray for a clear understanding of God’s purposes and for a clear leading for yourself. Ask God to help you continue to listen.