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If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.” For the mouth of the LORD has spoken. Isaiah 1:19-20

Some see God as being a tyrant; some see him as being an old man who is either unable to change things or unconcerned about others pain; some see him as an angry father who will, at any moment take revenge on us for the evil deeds that we do.

When people see God in one of these roles it’s no wonder they become disillusioned, fearful and question His very existence. Most of us have plenty of people in our lives that are at the ready to remind us of our failures. What we want is a God that will tell us we are okay when we aren’t and take revenge on those who have hurt us. What we need is a God that will comfort us in our time of need.

We hear it said that God is a loving Father but then see children starving to death, women and children being abused, and medical and natural disasters running rampant. In all that we question God: “If you are a loving Father, then why?”

There are no easy answers to the why in life because as mortal, human beings we have a natural tendency to this earthly life as all there is. We have this mistaken idea that God promised us that we could have lives of peace and prosperity. Since God is love (we say) then it makes perfect sense that an all-powerful, all-loving God would make everything work out happy.

God has never promised that we’d see life without adversity. From the moment that Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, God told us we would see emotional, spiritual and physical pain ending ultimately in death.

These verses in Isaiah tell the tale of two people. On the one hand we see a person who obeys the word of God and enjoys prosperity. On the other hand we see the person who has decided to go his own way and reject the message of God. The former person enjoys peace in the midst of the storm because he/she knows that this pain may last throughout our physical lives, but is well worth the reward we receive on ‘the other side’ when we join our Lord and Savior in Heaven. We live with peace in our hearts because our sins are forgiven.

The latter person, the one who rejects God may have earthly wealth and great physical health most of their lives, but inside they are empty and seeking to fill a void that only God’s message of love and forgiveness can fill.

God’s message through the prophet Isaiah is one that a loving father would tell his children. He says to us, listen to my advice. I know what I’m talking about. If you obey my word and follow Jesus you will experience pain here on earth, but one day join me in eternal joy and happiness.

If, on the other hand, you reject me, then the natural consequences of life will lead to emotional and spiritual emptiness here on earth and life separated from me in a place of torment for eternity.

The life you live in obedience now is the only way to assure a life of victory in the future.

PRAYER: Father I confess to you that at times I act like a spoiled two-year-old. I want everything for me. I want to be comfortable, be in charge and have my own way all the time. Forgive me for choosing my own way. Help me grow in relationship to you so that I can find inner peace here on earth and eternal life beyond the grave. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

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