Merry Christmas! Here's a morbid reminder that will bring you comfort!
Read / Listen
Read Isaiah 40:6-11
Listen to passage & devotional:
Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 127
Q. What does the sixth request mean?
A. “And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one” means,
By ourselves we are too weak
to hold our own even for a moment.
And our sworn enemies—
the devil, the world, and our own flesh—
never stop attacking us.
And so, Lord,
uphold us and make us strong
with the strength of your Holy Spirit,
so that we may not go down to defeat
in this spiritual struggle,
but may firmly resist our enemies
until we finally win the complete victory.
A voice tells the prophet to "cry out," and when Isaiah asks what he is to proclaim, he's told to announce what ought to be obvious: that life is fleeting. What's here today is gone tomorrow. Just like the grass and flowers of the field radiate beauty for a moment, before quickly disintegrating to nothing, so it is with our lives. The same breath of the Lord that gave us life also blows it away.
This proclamation that ought to be obvious ends up hitting most people like a ton of bricks. If you're reading this, it means you've done a pretty good job at surviving. Somehow you've figured out how to make it to another day, and by using the skills and talents you've developed over the years, it's quite likely that you'll be able to survive tomorrow and into the foreseeable future as well.
This feeling of self-sufficiency numbs us to the transient reality of life, that the day will come in which, just like last year's landscaping, we'll wither and fall away. While it's good to be reminded of our mortality, that's not the reason the prophet is instructed to make this proclamation. All people know they're going to die at some point; they don't need a prophet to inform them of that.
It's likely that you have faith that when that day of death comes for you, the Lord will be there to carry you through it to Him. This is where you depend upon Him the most, since the self sufficiency that's carried you to this point won't be of much help you then. This is our only comfort after all, that our souls belong to our faithful Savior in death!
But this is exactly the reminder that the prophet was sent to bring: that you must depend upon God just as much in the here and now, to know that He's our only comfort in both life and in death, both body and soul. You need continual reminders that everything else around you will fade away, but that it's the Lord's "power" and "mighty arm" that "tends His flock like a shepherd and carries them close to His heart (v10-11).
This is what you're praying for when you pray that God will lead you not into temptation: that instead of depending upon fleeting self sufficiency, you'll be firmly rooted in the forever eduring Word of God.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, whose Word endures forever;
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that God will lead you away from the temptation of self-sufficiency;
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - Revelation 18