Thursday, July 19, 2007

Flint Face

Grand Sweep Daily Reading: Isaiah 50, 51; Psalm 108

Isaiah 50:4-7 (NIV)

4 The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue, to know the Word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught. 5 The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears, and I have not been rebellious; I have not drawn back. 6 I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting. 7 Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame.

Good morning!

I knew I was in trouble last night when my math instructor asked me to step across the hall with him. It felt a little like history repeating itself, as the scary face of my fourth grade math instructor flashed in front of my mind’s eye. Thank God he didn’t call me to the blackboard, but getting called across the hall was not much better. Mr. Kimzey handed me the homework I spent hours on last week and basically said I needed to redo it. It’s one thing to turn something in wondering whether you got it right. It’s another thing to think you’ve nailed it, only to I realize I have absolutely no clue about what I’m doing.

As I sat in class staring at the text and listening as hard as I could to the lecture, a fleeting thought crept into my mind. A little voice inside my head said, “Well Deb, if you are going to pass this class, you need to give it more than 15-20 hours a week. You need to spend all of your disposable time outside of work on this. Maybe you should set your daily devotional time and intercessory prayer ministry aside. After all, you are in this class because God called you to serve Him by going back to school. And you know you have to jump this math hurdle in order to get to the next level. So Jesus won’t mind if you set Him aside for just a little while. You just need to study harder! Stay home this weekend. Don’t go to the School of Lay Speaking. Get up at 4am, but focus on crunching the numbers rather than chewing on His Word. Listen to me! I am the voice of your conscience. Just do it.” Sinister laughter booms inside my brain, making my eyeballs quiver like a toy doll being shaken by a child.

So, please tell me the truth - am I the only one out there who hears the voice of temptation occasionally, maybe even daily, or every single time I turn around?

Here is what I like about my mentor, Isaiah. When God got hold of his heart, Isaiah faced tribulations and trials that would make most of us turn back in fear. Isaiah’s lips had been purged by the hot coal removed from the Lord’s altar of sacrifice. He knew that God had given him an instruction to daily speak the Word that brings sustenance to the weary. Every morning God called the prophet from his rest, and Isaiah heard and responded to His voice. Morning after morning, he would seek God first, then speak His Word, without hesitation or fear. Isaiah was willing to have his beard tweaked by the people who were once his friends. They ridiculed and mocked him, even questioning Isaiah’s character. He was not deterred from service. Isaiah loved His Lord with a passion and purpose. Nothing would stop him from pursuing the call upon his life. So he set his face like flint, tough and firm and pointed toward the Lord, not looking back and never wavering in his call.

I want to be like Isaiah when I grow up. I’m going pass this math class, but not by sacrificing my faith in the process. I am stronger on my knees. His Word is screaming at me today, and I intend to pay close attention to the master instructor.

In my weakness, He is strong. If you are out there today, trying to pass one of life’s little tests, let me encourage you to hold on to the faith that you have been given. Grab onto Jesus, baby, and don’t let go! He will help you through the tough stuff of life, and His grace is sufficient for you and it is more than sufficient for me. He will crunch the numbers and make them work. A miracle is about to happen. I will not lose sight of the prize.

I feel better now. Don’t you?

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Pray for: a determination to follow the Lord no matter what! There are times in life when we must wear a flint face. Buck up baby! Jesus will not leave you or forsake you, especially when we walk through the flame and fire. This is where He shapes and molds me into a child He can use for kingdom work. Amen!


© Copyright 2007, Deb Spaulding

All rights reserved

Articles may not be printed in any “for profit” publication without further permission by the author. Articles may be freely distributed via e-mail, reprinted in church bulletins or in other non-profit publications without further permission. Please keep this copyright and Web Site information intact with copied articles. Articles are sent originally to subscribers only. You may have received a forwarded or reprinted copy.