The Storm-Battered City – A Devotion

The Storm Battered City

Isaiah 54:17 (NLT)

But in that coming day no weapon turned against you will succeed. You will silence every voice raised up to accuse you. These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the Lord; their vindication will come from me. I, the Lord, have spoken!

 

On those days when my life feels like a storm-battered city, the Lord has shown me a new chapter in my life. It is Isaiah 54. I read it backwards today for the very first time and found that the Lord was talking directly through me. I wonder if that is how we see the Lord most of the time. Hindsight is definitely 20/20. The last few years of our life have felt to be a constant hammering of wind and rain. The eye of the storms small and infrequent before cast headlong into another deluge. One thing after another until it all seems like too much but then just when you think you cannot survive another moment, the clouds give way to the sun. The promise shared by those who serve the Lord is that “no weapon turned against you will succeed” but that is not all and it goes on to say that “you will silence every voice raised up to accuse you”. These words make me think about Job. The enemy of his soul pulled out all the stops in his assault on this man. His friends joined in by becoming his accusers. But in the end, Job was blessed double for his trouble as he lay completely humbled before our God. There are days that I can feel the warmth of the sun breaking through the heavy laden storm clouds that have surrounded our life, other days I am just trying to make it through the wind and rain. But for some reason, I keep going. Could it be called hope? Or just the will to survive? Today, I am a storm-battered city. But I will not give up.

Isaiah 54:11-15 (NLT)
“O storm-battered city, troubled and desolate!
I will rebuild you with precious jewels and make your foundations from lapis lazuli. I will make your towers of sparkling rubies, your gates of shining gems, and your walls of precious stones. I will teach all your children, and they will enjoy great peace. You will be secure under a government that is just and fair. Your enemies will stay far away. You will live in peace, and terror will not come near. If any nation comes to fight you, it is not because I sent them. Whoever attacks you will go down in defeat.”

 

After many years of transcribing for a living, I am often called upon to proof publications. One trick in proofreading is to read the document backwards. This is challenging, but when you do it grammatical errors stand out because you do not get lost in the read. When we read the sentences in the correct order, we get wrapped up in the content and what we expect the writer to convey. In doing so, our brain autocorrects errors and omissions for us to continue reading. I told you that I read this chapter backwards. I was not proofing it or looking for errors. I was looking at the verse, “No weapon turned against (me) will succeed.” From that point, I needed clarification. The weapons have come might close. I can feel the heat from the smoking gun. I can see the flare of it firing. I wanted to know what was the foundation of this truth that so many Christians hold on to blindly, and how can I apply it appropriately to my life. “O storm-battered city” made me think of my life. God promises to rebuild this life with precious jewels. “For wisdom is more profitable than silver, and her wages are better than gold. Wisdom is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. She offers you long life in her right hand, and riches and honor in her left.” (Proverbs 3:14-16) God fortifies our life with wisdom. There is nothing more precious than personal and intimate knowledge of the Lord. The effects of wisdom on our life as parents flows down to our children changing generations forever. This has long been my heart’s desire for the threads that bind our family together to be free of every generational curse and bound tightly together in love. Jesus Christ is the Government of the Kingdom of God who came to be my peace. (Isaiah 9:6-7) As my life began its transition to the Realm of Hope where I now live, it transformed my position from of this world to not of this world. Although it has not been easy, and I have been broken, it definitely has been worth it as we have found peace.

Isaiah 54:9-10 (NLT)

“Just as I swore in the time of Noah that I would never again let a flood cover the earth, so now I swear that I will never again be angry and punish you. For the mountains may move and the hills disappear, but even then my faithful love for you will remain. My covenant of blessing will never be broken,” says the Lord, who has mercy on you.

 

Taking one more step back to expand my view, I see a promise long forgotten in the midst of the storm. In desperation, His Wisdom flooded me when I called out His Name. He came to me to remind me that He was right there all along. He did not abandon me or forsake me but continued to be faithful to the covenant of blessing that was established long before me. The outward conditions of the world in which I live have no impact on the Plan and Purpose of God when it comes to me. Everything in my life has the potential of blessing according to our covenant. The Lord is faithful. His Love remains true even when the wreckage seems incomprehensible and the loss of overwhelming. The Lord is working every detail for my good (Romans 8:28) even when I cannot see anything good in my details.

Isaiah 54:4-8 (NLT)

“Fear not; you will no longer live in shame. Don’t be afraid; there is no more disgrace for you. You will no longer remember the shame of your youth and the sorrows of widowhood. For your Creator will be your husband; the Lord of Heaven’s Armies is his name! He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, the God of all the earth. For the Lord has called you back from your grief—as though you were a young wife abandoned by her husband,” says your God.  “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with great compassion I will take you back. In a burst of anger I turned my face away for a little while. But with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord, your Redeemer.

 

Who lives on a budget until they experience need? Not too many people. For example, cutting coupons is not worthwhile until you need the extra help paying the high price of groceries. I have a friend who mastered the art when her husband lost his job and they became desperate for food. Now she teaches others the tricks of the trade, even though now they have financially recovered. Why not redeem a few coupons and get more bang for your buck? If they had not experienced the hardship, where would the blessing be? She now gets paid to show others how to budget and coupon. My redeemer lives. He sees the value and worth in my life that I have not discovered. The Lord wants more than anything for my life to be exactly as God planned it. There are times in life that we must endure hardship so we become free to live a redeemed life. Things that would be overlooked are made clear in the moment our faith is tested and hope is challenged. Do you believe? Faith must be tested to be proven genuine. (I Peter 1:7) Without genuine faith, it is impossible to please our Redeemer. (Hebrews 11:6) Fear not. Do not be afraid. Only those who discover genuine faith and choose to live on it will escape worry and stress in life because they have found a refuge from the storm. This does not mean that we will not be storm battering but that the Lord will redeem us. He will make good on every promise if we choose to remain standing on our faith and confident hope no matter what the storm.

Isaiah 54:1-2 (NLT)

“Sing, O childless woman, you who have never given birth! Break into loud and joyful song, O Jerusalem, you who have never been in labor. For the desolate woman now has more children than the woman who lives with her husband,” says the Lord. Enlarge your house; build an addition. Spread out your home, and spare no expense!”

 

Would you have allowed the Lord to renovate your life without wreckage? Change often is born of destruction. The moment that things do not turn out the way that you expected. Or the moment, you have received the ultimate letdown. In our weakness, we find new strength. Maybe you are an exceptionally strong individual and it took the storm to make you let go of your way to have His Way. You asked for it, because the Lord does not force Himself on anyone. His Affection for us does not allow the advancement of unwanted advances but when you call He comes running and overtakes you in that moment. His Goodness, Mercy and Love have been pursuing you so when we stop trying to do it our way, His Way catches up to us and we are blown away. At least this is my experience, what I thought would destroy me has only made way for more of God’s Love. I know it sounds crazy even to me the one who lives in its midst. The storm-battered city called my life does not make me sad but I am filled with hope. All things have become possible once the walls came tumbling down. In the midst of the hurricane walls of doubt and fear fell flat like Jericho, I do not feel vulnerability but potential as I survey the damage to my old life in confident expectation of the hope I have found in my new life. But I had to look backwards, not only in the Word of God, but in my life to see that this is no mistake but divine intervention.

Isaiah 57:14-19 (NLT)

God says, “Rebuild the road! Clear away the rocks and stones so my people can return from captivity.” The high and lofty one who lives in eternity, the Holy One, says this: “I live in the high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts. For I will not fight against you forever; I will not always be angry. If I were, all people would pass away—all the souls I have made. I was angry, so I punished these greedy people. I withdrew from them, but they kept going on their own stubborn way. I have seen what they do, but I will heal them anyway! I will lead them. I will comfort those who mourn, bringing words of praise to their lips. May they have abundant peace, both near and far,” says the Lord, who heals them.

 

You said there would be joy in the laying down… You said there would be joy in the letting go…
You said there would be joy in the giving of my rights… and now I see. (Lowest Place by Laura Hackett)
I posted the lyrics to this song more than three years ago. I thought I wanted to experience the true joy of laying my life down before the Lord. Of letting go of all that I am to embrace all that He is. I wanted my rights as a believer without truly considering the cost. Was it worth it? Yes, absolutely without reservation. Would I have asked for it had I known the cost? I am afraid that I may not have. When we decide to lay down our life before Christ, we are not interested in total sacrifice, but He is. It is not an act of punishment but prosperity that the Lord is after. The more of our life surrendered to the Lord the greater the potential for our success. It is time to rebuild the road but not as I would have it. I have been crushed so that He can restore me. I find peace and joy in that statement even though my life is not as I would have left it. God is reviving my courage to take another step of faith down the road. His Anger for me subsided when His Son released amazing grace in my life. So now I can move closer in righteousness and live in the Presence of God. But would I ask to go there or press in to live there if I truly understood the meaning of it and what must occur for me to get there? Without the storms of life, I would definitely choose complacency for it is human nature. Despite the insufficiency of my faith, the Lord still chooses to heal and restore my life day by day. I may be a storm-battered city but the potential in my infrastructure is too great to contain. My Creator is working from His Plan for my life. They were not altered by my rebellion or changed as a result of my stubbornness but construction continues as a direct result of His Mercy, Grace and Love.

Revelation 21:5-7 (NLT)

And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.”

Is your life a storm-battered city today? I have good news. The One who is sitting on the Throne in complete control is making everything new in your life. A seed must die to give way to life and break through the bondage of its casing. You, my friend, must go through the same process to prosper. No weapon formed against you will succeed. This is His Promise for your life. You must choose not to be your own worst enemy and choose to lay down your life each day. There will be trials in your life. It is a fact of life. You have overcome them all in the Name of Jesus Christ. He knew the end from the beginning and is leaving out not a single detail for your good and prosperity. He left you with Peace so take hold of that today and wrap it all around your life. Stand strong in your faith even though the platform seems so weak and small. The Lord is working for you. He is fighting for you. He will NEVER leave you or forsake you. He is right behind you just waiting to overtake you with His Goodness, Mercy and Love. Jesus is rebuilding your life making it worthy of His Children. Be encouraged today! Look back and see His Work in progress. The best is yet to come!

Hebrews 10:23 (NLT)

Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.

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