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God’s Word for You

Isaiah 26:7-11

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Wednesday, February 27, 2008

7 The path of the righteous is level;
     O upright One, you make the way of the righteous smooth.
8 Yes, LORD, walking in the way of your laws,
     we wait for you;
your name and renown
     are the desire of our hearts.
9 My soul yearns for you in the night;
     in the morning my spirit longs for you.
When your judgments come upon the earth,
     the people of the world learn righteousness.
10 Though grace is shown to the wicked,
     they do not learn righteousness;
even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil
     and regard not the majesty of the LORD.
11 O LORD, your hand is lifted high,
     but they do not see it.
Let them see your zeal for your people and be put to shame;
     let the fire reserved for your enemies consume them. (NIV)

Isaiah echoes many things here that were already written in the Psalms (a majority of the Psalms, if not most, were written before Isaiah’s lifetime). Some of these might be very familiar to us, due to their use in music: “My soul years, even faints, for the courts of the LORD” (Psalm 84:2, used by Brahms in his Requiem); “In the night, I remember you…” (Psalm 119:55), etc. But the more immediate concern to all of us needs to be reaching out to the lost.

Later in Isaiah’s prophecy, God will say: “Before me every knee will bow” (Isaiah 45:23). This is something Paul liked to quote (Romans 14:11; Philippians 2:10). But not every knee will bow before God out of respect and faith and joy—there will be knees, seen and unseen, that will bow only in terror, because they will have been put to shame; because there is fire reserved for them.

It is because of them that we keep reaching out with the gospel to the world, so that God’s holy word can do its work and rescue one more person.

A man walking along the beach one day saw a boy a long way off throwing something into the sea. As he got closer, he saw that the boy was picking things up off the beach, and he was throwing them into the water. He kept throwing and kept throwing. Finally the man was close enough to see that the boy was picking starfish off the beach, and he was throwing them back in. Whether it was the tide or some other wave, he didn’t know, but somehow, thousands and thousands of starfish had been washed up on the shore. They were everywhere. The little boy was throwing some of them back in, one by one. Not thousands; not even hundreds. But dozens, maybe. Splash, splash, splash. “You don’t really think you’re going to make a difference, do you?” said the man, cynically. “Well,” said the boy, “It makes a difference for this one…” (Splash).

That’s what we do. We get the gospel into the world to make a difference to people, one at a time. Have hundreds of people died for a hundred different reasons while you have been reading this devotion? But the gospel makes a difference—in each and every single life we reach, one by one.

“It makes a difference for this one.” Splash.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.