'Refreshment in Refuge' with Gina Burgess
Originally posted on 08/05/2018
Have you ever thought how God might talk to stiff-necked Christians? Have you ever thought about how we weary Him with our cries for help? We act like that servant who owed his master millions then when his debt was forgiven, he badgered all the other servants to pay him back the $10s and $20s. Do you think He might say something like this?
What? Oh you want something from Me? Let me guess. You want me to heal you, or is it you want Me to take away your pain. Ah... you always pray to Me but your prayers are like the bleating of plugged trumpets letting Me know you are in trouble of some kind as if I don't know it already. Heigh-ho, it's always something.
Your troubles are not special and are most common to mankind. I look down at you and I don't see you doing anything that I've taught you to do. You fast, but you fight with your brothers and sisters. You run your workforce into the ground, and they lay there panting for water that is always too far away to reach... and you won't lift your little finger to push the water to them.
You always look busy at worship, but inside you are wondering about lunch or the football game. You pretend to worship with smug expressions, all the while pinching your neighbor or punching the hurting when they are down. Your thoughts and actions could define oppression. You take advantage of everyone you can, and you pile more debt on top of heavy debt. You wink and nod and snicker behind your hands. You whisper gossip to all who will listen. You tell the cold and hungry to “be warm and be filled.” What is that of Me? You wear my name like a banner, but you don’t look or act like Me.
Tell Me why I should do anything for you? I can’t hear you because your prayers aren’t getting off the ground.
Listen, oh pointy-headed one, listen to what I, the LORD, say. Take the chains off your workforce; take away that pointing finger. Quit speaking wickedness. Open your pockets for the hungry, and your heart to the afflicted. Take care of the hurting souls that are living right in your own neighborhood. Stay the hand of wickedness, and lift up those heavily burdened. Lift off the millstone from the oppressed, and remove the yokes.
Do these things and I will give you strong muscles and bones. I will speed up your healing. I will make you a blinding light that dispels the darkness; and I, the LORD, will be your rear guard.
Go ahead and pour yourself out for the hungry, and see what I will do. Make happy the afflicted and watch your light drive out the darkness. I, the LORD, will direct your feet. You will be like a gurgling spring, always with water never drying up, always refreshing to the thirsty. Your bones will be strong, you will be contented even in charred places.
Turn back to true worship. Quit seeking your own pleasure on My Holy Day. Worship Me. If you honor Me and My day, then you will find your delights, and I will make you to ride on the heights of the earth, for the LORD has spoken.
[This is my paraphrase of Isaiah 58. Who could ever say the Bible isn't relevant to Christians today?]