Isaiah 7:13 Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of men? Will you try the patience of my God also?”
This is a very interesting statement by Isaiah in a couple of ways. In the first place, he is responding to what was on the face of it a very pious statement by King Ahaz: “I will not put the Lord to the test.” That actually is obedient to what Moses commanded in Deuteronomy 6:16, which Jesus Himself quoted when tempted by the devil: “Jesus answered, “It says: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” (Luke 4:12) However, in the case of Ahaz it was a cop-out, because the Lord had told him directly through Isaiah to ask for a sign. If Isaiah hadn’t already been a tested and confirmed prophet that would have been more understandable, but under the circumstances it was simple cowardice. And that shows that Ahaz feared his human enemies more than he feared the Lord his Creator! The second thing that is interesting is Isaiah’s conflating his own response with that of God. “Try the patience” is a clear image. Other English translations use “weary,” and the Japanese says “trouble,” but we get the picture. The thing is, those in tune with God do indeed sometimes feel God’s emotions in response to things. A good example is Jesus’ anger at the merchants excluding Gentiles from temple worship, causing Him to make a whip of cords to drive out the animals. (John 2:15) However, it is dangerous to presume on that. Doing so can easily descend into hubris, thinking we are on a plane with God. However, we aren’t to discount the feelings we have, because God can use them both to teach us and to motivate us to do His will.
I will never forget the time I was lying in bed, not consciously praying but thinking, “There are so many things I wish were different.” Completely unexpectedly, the Lord spoke to me with utmost clarity: “How do you think I feel?” God wasn’t happy with those things either! He knew His ultimate solution to it all, but that didn’t cause Him to be pleased with everything. I’ve got to keep remembering that, as I see despicable people elected to public office through evidently fraudulent means, and people abusing other people in indescribable ways. As the Lord pointed out to me recently, the world is a mess because we are a mess, so my first priority is to get the beam out of my own eye, as Jesus so colorfully put it. (Matthew 7:5) However, when I am right with my Lord, I will respond to people and events as He does. Frankly, that’s not always pleasant for me. I would rather just gloss over it all and not be so stirred up, but that isn’t an option if I’m fully in line with my Lord. I am to surrender all of me, including my emotions and my reactions, to my God so that He may use them as He sees fit, for His glory.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for all You are taking me through even right now. I pray that my responses would indeed mirror Yours, not to inflate me in any way but to make me fully available and useful to You, for the ultimate blessing of those around me and for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!