Saturday, June 22, 2013

Isaiah 54: Enlarge Your Influence & Capacity

Isa 54:2-3, 13-17 "Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities....All your sons will be taught by the Lord, and great will be your children's peace. In righteousness you will be established: Tyranny will be far from you; you will have nothing to fear. Terror will be far removed; it will not come near you.  If anyone does attack you, it will not be my doing; whoever attacks you will surrender to you. See, it is I who created the blacksmith who fans the coals into flame and forges a weapon fit for its work. And it is I who have created the destroyer to work havoc; no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me," declares the Lord.

Isaiah 54 declares the Lord's favor on His people as their heritage. As God's people, we are called to greatness. Isaiah declares that the barren woman (Israel) will have many children. God's people will "dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities" (54:3). So, in view of God's promise of many descendants , Israel must expand her capacity for the many children she is going to have. She must "enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your stakes" (54:2). While these verses have direct reference to Israel, the principle of divine favour applies to all of God's people. 

Translated into modern language, the favor of the Lord will mean enlargement of our sphere of influence. Believers who walk with the Lord will be placed in position of influence in whatever sphere of work we may be in. But in order that God can promote us, we must be prepared to enlarge our spiritual and mental capacity, willing to be stretched beyond our comfort zones and to go into new spheres of work. Whether it be marketplace or ministry or mission, we are called to "expect great things from God" and "attempt great things for God" (William Carey).

However, it will not be a smooth journey. We must be prepared for opposition to our enlargement: there will be attacks and sabotages as we journey towards greatness. But the promise is that none of these attacks will prevail: "no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you" (54:17). Do not let fear of opposition deter us from extending our sphere of influence for God's sake. When we are in positions of influence, we can infuse Kingdom values into that place, for that is what it means to be a "light of the world", a "city on a hill" (Mt 5:14). We are called to greatness, not just goodness.

Our call to be salt and light of the world can only be fulfilled on earth. In the next world, there will be no need for any salt or light. Any good we do has to be done now while we are still alive on earth.

Father, help us enlarge our capacity to be in that place of influence, whether in government, in the marketplace or in the community. May Your kingdom come and Your will be done one earth as it is in heaven. Amen.

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