Isaiah 41:1 ESV
Listen to me in silence, O coastlands;
let the peoples renew their strength;
let them approach, then let them speak;
let us together draw near for judgment.
Yesterday evening we discovered that we could not make or receive phone calls or text messages on our cell phones. Apparently there is a massive Verizon Wireless outage across the USA, primarily on the East Coast, but also affecting other states such as our state, Tennessee (1).
When I woke up this morning, the song “The Hills Are Alive with the Sound of Music” was playing in my mind. The song is about the sounds of nature that have been there for a thousand years, and it is about going to the hills and listening to those sounds, to hear what the hills might say.
So, I inquired of the Lord, asking him what message I was to receive from this, and a couple of things came to mind. One is that God speaks to us through his creation, i.e. “his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made, so they are without excuse” (Rom. 1:20).
And, I was also reminded of Psalm 121:1-2:
I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
This is a reference, not to literal hills, but to Zion, which is another name for God and for his eternal kingdom. So, to lift up our eyes to the hills is actually to lift up our eyes to God in worship of him. So, to listen to what the hills might say to us is also a reference to listening to God, but it is listening to him in the silence, when the sounds of this world are silenced, much like our cell phones are now being silenced so that we can hear God speaking.
For, electronic technology, although it certainly has its benefits, can often drown out God’s voice because of all the noise that is everywhere all around us with all the constant chatter of phone calls, text messaging, emails, chats, social media, and the like, which can distract us from time with God.
Isaiah 41:2-4 ESV
Who stirred up one from the east
whom victory meets at every step?
He gives up nations before him,
so that he tramples kings underfoot;
he makes them like dust with his sword,
like driven stubble with his bow.
He pursues them and passes on safely,
by paths his feet have not trod.
Who has performed and done this,
calling the generations from the beginning?
I, the Lord, the first,
and with the last; I am he.
Many people today, at least here in America, have forsaken the Lord to follow after the gods of this world, and many of them claim to be followers of Jesus Christ, too. They are enslaved or they have become enslaved all over again to the lusts of their sinful flesh and to man-made idols. They are worldly. And, their free time is largely spent indulging in the pleasures this sinful world has to offer.
But, it isn’t just those who are living for the flesh who are sometimes yielding to the flesh and who are being taken captive by the idols of this world. With the invention of the internet, then tablets (like I Pads) and then Smart Phones, even many godly people are finding themselves drawn to these devices to where these electronic devices, and all that they offer, are in danger of consuming their lives, their time, and their ability to hear God.
So, the picture that I am getting here is that one of the ways God is judging or he will judge the people of this earth is to silence these devices so that the people will be able to hear God speaking in the silence. For, all the noise we have in this world via all of these airwaves is drowning out God’s voice. And I believe that is intentional, and it is of Satan, to so crowd our lives and minds with all this media noise that we can’t hear God speaking to us.
Isaiah 41:5-7 ESV
The coastlands have seen and are afraid;
the ends of the earth tremble;
they have drawn near and come.
Everyone helps his neighbor
and says to his brother, “Be strong!”
The craftsman strengthens the goldsmith,
and he who smooths with the hammer him who strikes the anvil,
saying of the soldering, “It is good”;
and they strengthen it with nails so that it cannot be moved.
As long as I have lived, for at least most of my 69 years on this earth, we have had a telephone, even if it was just one telephone in the house, and even if it was a party line (in the old days). We nearly always had a way to communicate with the outside world and with family and friends.
So, to all of a sudden not have the ability to make phone calls or to write text messages to where they could be received by others has caused panic and anger in many people. For me it was an inconvenience, but the Lord immediately put a song or scripture in my mind about not being afraid, and so I sensed that he had allowed this for his purposes.
Still, I had to try to find alternate ways of communicating with people which were still available just in case we needed to reach someone for something, which was mainly to try to find a way to report the outage. And, yet I had a peace about this, that God was using this for his purposes to get people’s (our) attention and to get them (us) to listen to him in the silence. For, he has something he wants to say to us.
Isaiah 41:8-10 ESV
But you, Israel, my servant,
Jacob, whom I have chosen,
the offspring of Abraham, my friend;
you whom I took from the ends of the earth,
and called from its farthest corners,
saying to you, “You are my servant,
I have chosen you and not cast you off”;
fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
The Lord was encouraging me through all of this that he was in control, that he was completely sovereign over all things, and that this outage was to serve his purposes, which was to get us to look to him and not to idols to satisfy the deep longings and desires of our souls.
Also, all these devices not only can serve as a distraction and as a deterrent to hearing God’s voice speaking to our hearts, but they are also what are leading many people down a path of degradation into multiple avenues of sexual idolatry and witchcraft and into all manner of evil practices. And, this is greatly impacting the church because so much of the church has gotten trapped by these devices into a whole world of evil at their fingertips.
So, since we serve a loving God who cares about his people, God will often discipline us in order to get us to look to him for our support rather than us looking to these man-made idols to meet the longings of our hearts. And, one of the ways in which he is disciplining us, I believe, is by allowing these electronic devices to fail so that we do look to God and not to these potential idols to fulfill us or fill up our time.
So, the Lord is encouraging us, although the things of this world can be good and useful and not always bad, that when they fail us, we should not be afraid, and we definitely should not get angry. But, we should look to God, and we should ask him and ourselves what lesson the Lord might have for us to learn through this (or these) experience(s). For, our God is still sovereign. And, he allows things to happen in our lives for his purposes.
And, one of those main purposes is that we will look to God for our help and support, and that we will be reminded of why he saved us from our sins and why he redeemed us back for God with his blood. For, Jesus died that we might die with him to sin and live with him to righteousness. He bought us back for God with his blood so that our lives might no longer be our own, but that we would now be God’s possession to do what pleases him.
So, in the silence, let us listen to his voice speaking to our hearts. And, if you are not in the silence, turn those devices off and spend time with the Lord and listen to his voice speaking, and then follow him in obedience, and truly make him the Lord of your lives and not these devices which are leading many people to forsake God and to follow after their fleshly appetites. Don’t fall into that trap! Make Jesus your Lord today!
His Tender Mercies
An Original Work / January 26, 2014
Fear not! I’m with you.
Be not dismayed!
God watches o’er you.
Trust Him today.
He’ll lead and guide you;
Give you His aid.
He’ll love and keep you
With Him always.
Walk in His footsteps.
He’ll lead the way.
Trust in His love;
Believe that He cares.
He will not leave you.
Faithful He’ll be.
His tender mercies
Now you will see.
Fellowship with Him
Throughout the day.
Tell Him your heartaches.
He’ll heal always.
Rest in His comfort.
He is your friend.
Your faith He’ll strengthen,
True to the end.
Friday, July 19, 2019