Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Trust in God

Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD! -- Isaiah 31:1 (KJV)
The Old Testament is filled with passages that pose a near-on insult to our Christian conceptions of a loving God.  In numerous places in the Old Testament wholesale slaughter is used either to put the Jewish people on top, or to level them to humble dirt for their transgressions.  Isaiah is written in the time period when Assyria and Babylon were obliterating cultures and building empires.  Egypt was a fairly strong power in the Middle East then.  When Israel/Judah found themselves on the short end of the military prowess scale, forming an alliance with Egypt to protect themselves from Assyria probably looked like a good plan.  Isaiah says, "Sorry, it isn't."  Essentially he argues that you can not place your hope or trust in military might, but only seek the Lord.

Placing trust in God seems to be a difficult proposition for most humans.  We can give it lip service - like on our money, or in the Pledge of Allegiance; ironically on two of the objects that we are more prone to putting our trust in than God!  As a society we have turned more trust toward the Federal Government to bail us out of trouble than we do our churches.  We are also living in tumultuous economic times where the tighter we hold our money in fear, the more slippery it feels.  Government programs and fat savings accounts are the equivalent of Egypt here.  Don't be one of the ones who flee to worldly protections when our Messiah comes and lives with us.

Putting faith and trust in God lifts our perspective out of the routine ruts of stress and worry we carry.  There is higher ground to stand on in order to see the smallness of our troubles.  There is an everlasting hand stretched out to take us into more peaceful spaces than all our human efforts can provide.  You have to work at taking the hand though.  Turning your spirit in the right direction to catch the living water is essential.  Try taking the top of every hour to put down everything you are working on or thinking about and say the short prayer below.  Five short sentences once an hour, pretty easy, huh?  See if it doesn't change your day!

Encircle Me, oh God with your mercy.  Drive stress away.  Create peace within.   Push away darkness.  Pull light to me.  Amen.

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