STRETCHING OUT AND REACHING HIGHER
Isaiah 54:2 Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings; Do not spare; Lengthen your cords, And strengthen your stakes. 3 For you shall expand to the right and to the left, and your descendants will inherit the nations, and make the desolate cities inhabited.
Introduction: When we view the Old Testament, many times we see it in terms of the Law and miss the fact that God’s full intent was for Israel to be a forerunner of faith that the Church would imitate. Literally in this time of Israel’s history, she was regarded as a “Barren Woman,” because she had no children even though she had a Husband who was Jehovah. God had plans for increase by causing Israel to burst forth as water. The overflow would be so great that they would have to enlarge their tents, enlarge the ropes and tent-pegs. In other words Israel would have to stretch to receive this great increase.
The “Singing and Shouting for Joy” would come because of the increase of children. These weren’t natural children…these were spiritual children who would come from the gentile nations. On the right hand and on the left, meaning “on all sides” these children would come. By spreading the Word of God to the gentile nations, Israel would be enlarging their tents. You see, the Christian Church is viewed as a continuation of the Jewish Church; and the conversion of nation after nation to the gospel is looked upon as the extension of Jewish authority over fresh lands. The cities of these lands…desolate until then, without godly inhabitants, will under these conditions come to be inhabited; will be populated by faithful men.
The intent of God has never changed…but if this growth is going to continue, the Church must be willing to be stretched beyond her norms.
Like a rubber band, our personalities, talents and gifts are different by the blueprint of God. We will not realize our greatest potential unless we are stretched. We will not fully know who we are until we are stretched. We are not effective unless we are stretched. Reaching and extending are the faith building blocks of life. No one comes into this world fully equipped for success. Success is not magic nor is it the work of a genius; but success is due to our stretching in the challenges of life.
Most of us avoid stretching, reaching and extending. When we come up against something that is bigger than we are, we tend to back off or let go. Why? Much of the time it is because of FEAR! The unknown can really paralyze a person who is not willing to stretch beyond their fears. Many times unpleasant experiences of the past will strip us of the possibilities of the present.
Happy Labor Day! By labor I mean loads of laundry, dishes, cleaning puppy piss every other hour and handling the “I’m hungry…” in between! Oh and don’t forget how I’m tasked to sit on the sideline to Google proof his nonexistent words. #weretheems #stillhiringmollymaid #squishyissoilingmyloft #bananagrams #ourjoy #sweetboy #fambam #dtla #ineedanap (at Downtown Los Angeles )
…to a day off.
Thoughts on Today’s Verse…
Children don’t need to be taught; they need to be trained. Life is not just about intellectual lessons and information. It is about integrating truth into the fabric of our daily lives. God calls us to move our children and their training up on the list of our priorities because our children are forever, while most of the other things we invest our time in are temporary.
Great and Holy Counselor, help me as I seek to know the best thing to do with my children to share your love and your truth with them. I want them to know and love you more perfectly than I do. Give me wisdom and courage to make wise decisions and the tenderness to implement them in my family’s life. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.