This is about clearing up misconceptions. The misconception that God behaves like those who have hurt us, deceived us or mischaracterized God to us. This is about clearing up the misconception that you and I are expendable to God. And because of that some have given up their connection to the Father under the false impression that he has forgotten about us, so we’re on our own. Nothing could be further from the truth.
After I made peace with God 19 years ago, I discovered all the misconceptions I’d harbored about him were because I thought he was like people. In fact, I came to realize I’d only understood God based on my negative experiences with people and my own sin. The negative perception of God in turn bred a faulty perception of myself. The truth is that until you “see” (perceive, identify and know) God for yourself, you will never see yourself for who you are. We’ll talk more about that in just a minute.
I can’t remember exactly the first time I read this. But years after I begin walking with the Lord, he led me to this note he’d written to me before I was conceived in my mother’s womb.
Shout for joy, O heavens; rejoice, O earth; burst into song, O mountains!
For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.
But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.”
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget, I will not forget you!
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me (Isaiah 49:13-16).
I had to ask the Holy Spirit, is this for me? Yes, he said, its for you. This was personal. Very personal. But here it was, carved into his word, never to be removed, just waiting for me to read and receive.
After I read it, I read it again. I wept and remembered all the years I had been separated from God believing that he didn’t care about what I had suffered. Why hadn’t I seen this before, when I was 13 and struggling desperately with my sexuality? Why hadn’t I seen this before as I often wondered if he saw me or thought about me? Why didn’t somebody preach this to me when I felt alone and forgotten in the midst of a church full of “saints”?
I’m taking the liberty to tell you that this very personal message is for you as well: God sees, knows, cares and will never forget you. He has never abandoned you and never will.
How much more intimate can one get with the picture of a mother nursing her child? Could a mother forget the baby she’s carried for nine months and then birthed in pain? As great as a mother’s love is for her nursing infant, so much greater is the Father’s love and compassion for us.
This glimpse into the heart of God via Isaiah 49 is done with a stunning word picture. God shows us that he has engraven our faces on the palms of his hands. What is he saying? Its permanent.
You are not insignificant, minimized and unimportant. People may place you in that category, but not God. Satan may cast an illusion that God has abandoned you, but he is ever present.
Even when I was deep in my sin, I can distinctly remember God’s hand of protection on my life. In some supernatural way, His goodness to me led me to repentance (Romans 2:4) There’s simply no other explanation for me surviving 11 years of foolish and risky sin.
Isaiah seems to be the perfect person to communicate this intimate message. In chapter 6, his own misconceptions about God were cleared up in a dramatic vision of the Lord.
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: “ Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!” (vss 1-3)
King Uzziah reigned 52 years in Judah and died at age 68. He also personified the vacillating spiritual state of Judah. In the early years of his reign, he followed the ways of the Lord and Judah enjoyed God’s favor. Later, he became addicted to pride and exalted himself, even attempting to enter the temple and burn insense before the Lord. This was strictly forbidden. God struck him with leprosy and caused him to have to live the remainder of his life isolated because of the disease.
As a young officer in the royal court, Isaiah lived his spiritual life vicariously through Uzziah’s powerful presence. Of royal lineage himself, its certain he had full confidence in Uzziah, seeing him as someone who truly represented God. But what happens when the “man of God” turns and lives a life offensive to God? Observing Uzziah first serve the Lord, then disobey God (with severe penalty) caused Isaiah to develop a faulty picture of God. His confidence was shaken.
The same can be said of many populating the church today. We see God only through the eyes of others but it hinders a personal revelatory relationship of and with God. We haven’t seen him for ourselves. When our role models falter, it creates insecurities. And thus, like Isaiah, we emerge with misconceptions about God. Later, blinded by their own sin and spotty concepts of God, Isreal remarked, “The Lord has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me!”
And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.
So I said: “ Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The LORD of hosts.” (vss 4,5)
Your true spiritual condition and thus your true need for salvation cannot be measured by the “Uzziah’s” in your life. For some, the church is an “uzziah” serving only to obfuscate an accurate picture of God and consequently an accurate picture of self.
Joy comes in knowing that when the spiritual windows of your life are free from larger than life people and things filled with meetings, programs and responsibilities, you too will see the glory of God! I say let uzziah die so that you can live!
Never leave, never forget
Meditate on God’s promise to never leave and never forget.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Duet 31.6
“I am with you always, even to the end of the world. Amen.” Mt 28:20
So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” Mt 1:23
God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. Heb 6:10
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