Isaiah 7:9 “If you do not stand firm in your faith,
you will not stand at all.'”
For once I prefer the NIV to the Japanese! The Japanese simply says, “If you do not believe, you will not stand for long.” The NIV manages to catch a rather deep truth. We are used to verses 8-14 being used at Christmas, because even Matthew quoted verse 14 to talk about Immanuel, but the whole section is about faith and our exercise of it. The section just ahead of this, talking about the leaders who were conspiring against Judah, would seem like today’s news if you replaced those names with Xi and Putin. Threats aren’t to be ignored, but the bigger issue is faith. We are all too prone to ignore God except in times of crisis. Guess what? That just guarantees more crises! America is indeed at a dangerous place, not so much because of external enemies but because of internal rot, to the point that it seems like there’s a crisis everywhere you turn. Those who know God have got to stand in faith, just as this verse says. There are plenty of horrible manifestations of evil all around us, and one of those is that the media seems to have forgotten the very word, evil. More than one place in the Bible talks about the horrible sin of calling good evil and evil good. These days, parents standing up for their children is being denounced as bad! And then we have the external threats of Xi and Putin. Close examination shows that both the Russian government and the CCP are houses of cards, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of real destruction, before or even as they collapse. We’re back to this verse. Trials of faith come so that we may examine our faith, both who and what we believe and how we believe, and come out with our faith purified and strengthened. That is certainly desirable, so we should fix our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2) and thank Him for this abundance of trials!
It’s been quite a few years since I started saying that if I didn’t have faith I would already have given up. That certainly hasn’t changed, but my faith has grown! I have always liked Andrae Crouch’s song, Through It All. As that song says, “If I’d never had a problem I wouldn’t know that He could solve them; I wouldn’t know what faith in God can do.” Having read Revelation, I have no expectation that “everything is going to be sweetness and light,” but I also have no fear, because I am totally convinced that God is the Creator, and not just some figment of our imagination. I know that He loved the world so much as to send His Son to die for us, and I know from experience that He loves me individually, as improbable and illogical as that might sound. I know that I am accountable to Him, above and before anything or anyone else, and my goal is to hear Him say to me, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:21, 23) As long as I stand in that faith He has given me, what do I have to worry about?
Father, thank You indeed for the faith You have given me, and for the various ways You have tested it and caused me to exercise it. I can take no credit for it myself, (Ephesians 2:8-9) but I am deeply grateful. Help me share that faith by the power of Your Spirit with others, starting with the people in this church and extending to many more, so that we may rise up as Your disciples indeed, for Your glory Thank You. Hallelujah!
Loved reading this
Great blog post! Your insights on Isaiah 7:9 are thought-provoking. It definitely puts into perspective how crucial faith is in every aspect of our lives. It’s interesting how you mentioned that America is in a dangerous place due to internal rot, rather than external enemies. I’m curious to know, how do you think this internal rot has affected the exercise of faith in individuals and communities?
Living in Japan for the past 42 years, with only occasional visits to the US, that’s a hard one to answer. From the information I get (Internet, not MSM) my impression is that more and more people are having to change jobs, either from being fired or because they can’t in conscience contribute to a company that has the policies they see. Persecution is sadly becoming real for some. However, the Constitution hasn’t changed, and neither has our God! I am saddened but far from hopeless.