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The old saying is that an optimist sees the same glass half full, that the pessimist sees half empty. Both in essence are correct. And both are wrong: In that each imagines their particular viewpoint to be the entire story.
So it is the Word of God is forever giving us the whole picture of reality, and not just one side. If we only see a broken, sin-cursed world, but fail to see it the way the seraphim do – in the light of the presence of God, then we cannot comprehend that this very same world is also full of His glory.
Our readings today in Hebrews 7, Luke 17:11-37, Proverbs 20 and especially Isaiah 6-8 are each filled with means to get the fuller picture of reality as God knows it. Not just as we might perceive it from our angle. What Francis Schaeffer used to call “real reality.”
I’m Reid Ferguson, and we’ll talk just a bit about that today on Through the Word in 2020.
Isaiah 6 records one of the most exalted visions of God to be found in the Scripture. A vision which Jesus Himself in John 12:41 says was a vision of His personal glory. And which John, in Revelation 4:8 uses to depict Christ.
It is stunning.
Both Isaiah and John are equally undone by it. It overwhelms them. And it brings much needed perspective to both.
John is in exile in his old age on the island of Patmos. He is the last of the Apostles when it looks like Rome could almost crush Christianity. Isaiah is prophesying to sinful and rebellious Jerusalem as the looming specter of God’s impending judgment grows ever darker and larger. They will fall to Babylon.
Those were real situations. Dire realities. But they weren’t the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Not until God is seen in His place, ruling and reigning over all in holiness, faithfulness and glory can they face the very real disasters they are in the midst of with courage, joy and patience. The light of His glory must shine in our darkness – or we will be overwhelmed.
Now it is in this context that Isaiah receives a most timely word for us in our present context.
In 8:12 we read: “Do not call conspiracy all that this people call conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread.” And don’t we live in a time when conspiracy theories literally fill the air waves. Even Christian broadcasters and writers are absolutely preoccupied with them. From the New World Order to 911 to the BLM organization, Covid-19 and everything else in between.
Now it isn’t that conspiracies don’t exist. They do. There were genuine conspiracies of power allied to overthrow Jerusalem in Isaiah’s day. And it isn’t that there might not be conspiracies afoot today to challenge our nation, political system, economy and especially the Church. There no doubt are some.
But in light of the vision at the beginning of Isaiah 6 and Revelation 4 – those of us who can see these all in the light of Christ – high and lifted up and whose train fills the very temple – do not fear these conspiracies or what else those around us do.
Vs. 13 brings the rest of the picture into view: “But the Lord of hosts, HIM you shall honor as holy. Let HIM be your fear and your dread.”
All of this focus on human, global, political and economic conspiracies miss the great conspiracy – that of the Enemy of our souls. For all of them are doing one thing – making men fear conspiracies, more than or other than – God.
As Jesus told us in Matt. 10 – DON’T fear those – Fear Him!
And if we rightly fear Him, we need fear nothing else.
Think on that today Christian.
God willing, we’ll be back tomorrow.