When I hurt, where should my focus be?

Isaiah 31-35

Focus: Isaiah 35:3-4 Strengthen the hands that have gone limp, steady the knees that shake! Tell those who panic, “Be strong! Do not fear! Look, your God comes to avenge! With divine retribution he comes to deliver you.”

Recently I have been learning about the prophets of Israel and how God used them to guide His people. Every time there was a passage of judgment in the Prophets, it was actually an offer of mercy. If his people responded to the message of judgment, then God in great mercy might set his judgment aside temporarily or permanently. Unfortunately, God’s people did not respond in a way that would have benefited them as often as they should have.

In this passage, God is proclaiming what He will do for His people when they return to Him and are faithfully committed to Him as their Lord. In the midst of judgment, when all hell has broken loose and God’s people have suffered because of their unfaithfulness, God gave a promise for what their future holds.

As part of God’s discipline and punishment for breaking the Covenant, Israel and Judah would suffer from the oppression of Babylon and Assyria. Yet God said to strengthen the hands that had gone limp. Steady the knees that shake. Israel was to be courageous and strong in the midst of their oppression. Why? Because of God’s promises.

God promised to bring retribution and deliverance for his people. God is just and he will pay back and avenge his enemies that bring Him loss. Not only that but God is merciful and cares for His people who are rebellious against him. Remembering God’s promises was to be the focal point for strength in the midst of discipline and trials.

Today, through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross, people everywhere have the same hope. Even while we are all screwed up and live in a world that is jacked, we have the hope that we will one day be made new in glorified bodies. We will one day live in shalom, the peace of God.

Struggles and pain are a temporary reality, but our focal point in suffering should be in God’s deliverance. We need to strengthen our weak hands and steady our shaking knees. Have courage and be strong. For those who trust in the Lord, there will one day be freedom from all the struggles that discourage us and weigh us down.

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