Isaiah 36-37; Psalm 123; I Corinthians 10

I Cor 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man, but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”

Lately, I have been feeling like I’m functioning on ‘my last nerve,’ constantly trying to manage intense emotions. Being on edge is one thing, but experiencing an ever-present weight from making major decisions, maintaining constant vigilance against apathy, and balancing the should haves-could haves-would haves of hindsight can cause me to tumble into negativity, unable to lift my head. This is nothing less than a temptation to give up on the goodness of God, to forget that my Lord Jesus Christ is aware of my state of mind, physical limitations, and bleeding heart. Other temptations common to man are described in I Corinthians. These are immorality, idolatry, complaining, and carousing, and are only offerings of a more insidious call to leave God’s extended mercy – a short term anesthetic pushed by modern society feeding on instinctive behaviors.

For times have not changed all that much.  Over two thousand years ago, the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians to remember the call to Christ and put aside the temptation to return to sinful behaviors. Paul reminded these people that it may be normal to be tempted, but that God will provide a way of escape. Escape may be from pain, from opposition, from responsibilities, from self-made importance, from religiosity.

Even hundreds of years before Paul, King Hezekiah’s was looking for an escape from an army intent on destroying the people of God, and the king’s response was to go to the Lord in prayer. Isaiah 37:1 says, “And so it was, when King Hezekiah heard it, that he tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the Lord.” Then more bad news arrived. “And Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord and spread it before the Lord. Then he prayed to the Lord…” Isaiah 37:14. Hezekiah prayed the following: You are God alone; You made heaven and earth; incline Your ear and hear; open Your eyes and see; save us. God provided a way of escape by sovereignly removing the king’s enemies without even a battle taking place.

Escape is what I long for. Days when gentle waves of peace slacken this tensed jaw, smooth the ridges of contemplation on my brow, and massage these frazzled muscles and taught joints stretched out like wings of a lunar moth pinned to a mounting board.

There is only one hand that can rescue me when tempted to hide in a cave or under a rock.  I stand alongside the psalmist who says, “So our eyes look to the Lord our God, Until He has mercy on us.” Psalm 123:2a

I don’t know why God will save us; I only know His will is just and His mercy is new every morning. I know I will wait for a way out of these tunnels, twists, and temptations; for His will is to bear these times with me and to show me the way to live in peace.  For me, there is no better way.

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Filed under 1 Corinthians, 66 Books, Isaiah, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms

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