Wednesday Morning Devotion (Blessed, Not SPECIAL)

1Listen to me, those who pursue what is right,
who seek YHWH.
Look at the rock from which you were hewn,
and to the quarry from which you were cut.
2Look at Abraham your father,
and Sarah who gave birth to you.
He was but one when I called him,
but I blessed him and multiplied him. — Isaiah 51:1-2

There are a number of things we are told to forget, and there are a number of things we are told to remember. This verse tells us about something we really need to remember—where we were before God entered our lives, and what God has done for us.

Probably the greatest single cause of blessed people falling into sin is that they begin to think they are SPECIAL. I’m using SPECIAL to represent that word used in the expression, “Well, aren’t you SPECIAL!” There are pastors who have invented special doctrines so that they could justify their misbehavior. They are often shocked when other people see these as rationalizations. They are God’s SPECIAL servants! They get privileges!

Now we’re not usually so blatant, but we are all subject to this same problem. We’ve moved along with a growing spiritual life for a long time, and we begin to figure we have it all covered. As the introductory music to our Running Toward the Goal podcast we use the song I’m Pressing On the Upward Way. It’s a very positive song:

I’m pressing on the upward way,
New heights I’m gaining every day.
Still praying as I’m onward bound,
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.

It’s a good verse, but if we don’t remember the rock from which we have been hewn, it can also be a dangerous one. There’s another verse to the song that reminds us of this:

I want to scale the utmost heights,
and catch a gleam of glory bright
But still I’ll pray, till heaven I’ve found,
Lord lead me on, to higher ground.

It’s only by God’s grace and mercy that we can continue to climb to higher ground. We need to learn this as church congregations, as denominations, and as Christians. We often read the Old Testament with a very superior attitude. It’s the view of someone on “higher ground” looking down on the people who didn’t quite do as well as we do.

But those Old Testament people were part of the “rock from which we were hewn.” When they got to feeling SPECIAL and complacent, they would fail in their goal. Should we believe we can feel SPECIAL and nonetheless be safe?

God is blessing many of us in powerful ways. If we remember that it is God who is blessing us for his purpose and so that we can fulfill his call, we will reach ever higher ground.

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