Saturday, November 22, 2008

Comfort and the Soul

"You women who are so complacent, rise up and listen to me; you daughters who feel secure, hear what I have to say! In little more than a year you who feel secure will tremble; the grape harvest will fail, and the harvest of fruit will not come. Tremble, you complacent women; shudder, you daughters who feel secure! Strip off your clothes, put sackcloth around your waists. Beat your breasts for the pleasant fields, for the fruitful vines and for the land of my people, a land overgrown with thorns and briers - yes, mourn for all houses of merriment and for this city of revelry." Isaiah 32:9-13 (NIV)

See this pair of shoes? Looking at the tops of them, you'd say they look worn but aren't too bad. They're still functional, right? After all, they're comfortable! I have had comfortable feet while wearing them. But looks can be deceiving, as everyone knows.

I've walked out in the garage after Jeff or Josh have parked their snowy cars in there. I've stepped in puddles. Guess what? My feet weren't so comfortable any more. Here's what the soles of my "comfortable" shoes look like:

Yeah, they're broken clear through. Water seeped into them every time I stepped on a drop. Awful.

In Isaiah 32:9-13, the prophet warns the people of Israel, specifically the women of his day, about complacency and becoming too comfortable in their situations. (Cross reference Isaiah 3:16-24 and 1 Peter 3:3-4) He says that the women are haughty and that they flirt with their eyes; they adorn themselves outwardly, forgetting about the natural beauty of a quiet spirit before God.

These verses do not mean women ought to be mousy little creatures all dressed, from head to toe, in dark baggy garb. It means that they are not to neglect their spirituality. They need to spend time with God and get as close to Him as they can, because He's the one who can give true comfort to them, rather than the false prophets who were prevalent in Isaiah's day and even more so in our own.

Make-up, jewelry, clothing - they can all be a form of idolatry, leading us further and further from our Creator. Isaiah says to "strip off your clothes, put sackcloth around your waists." (chapter 32 verse 11) Eek. What does that mean?

It means repent and get out of your comfort zone. If you go on to read the rest of the passage you'll see that we're supposed to mourn for the lost. We're to go beyond a weekly church service. We need to pray; we need to preach; we need to let others know that this world isn't going to last forever. People won't live forever unless they know Jesus as Savior. He's coming soon to judge - will you be ready? Will others?

If the Word of God (the Bible) is not pricking your heart and you no longer hear the Holy Spirit's still small voice, you're too comfortable. You've become complacent and disaster will overtake you when you least suspect it. "As has just been said: 'Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.'"Hebrews 3:14-16 (NIV)

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