Presence Devotion #37
Isaiah 58:10-12 (NIV)
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.
11 The Lord will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.
12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.
Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.
How do we live in a finite world, and trust in an infinite God? There are only so many things you can say yes to before finding yourself in the foetal position wishing the world would just STOP! Many people wishing desperately to please God find themselves burnt out and disillusioned, then become overly protective before giving anything of their time and resources again. How does that happen? Where was God’s ever flowing spring for these people? The promises of Isiah 58 are beautiful and are assured. When working selflessly for the Lord, and a heart full for those you’re serving, God will turn up and sustain your frame regardless of the circumstances and persecution you may face.
I believe one answer for burn out can be found in the image given to us in Jeremiah 2:13 “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” We sometimes try to take the living water with us, rather than abiding in the living water coming from the ultimate source. When we take God to our places, the places we’ve dug out ourselves, the hole is bound to leak, and the living water simply cannot be contained in the wrong place. God does not mould himself to our will. We must come to Him and His plan and then be filled.
God’s economy works differently to ours. It doesn’t have limits; we will never reach the height of what He can provide for us. We are filled and resourced for anything He asks us to do. When we give out, we should receive more than what was given, particularly when working for the down trodden and neglected. The trouble lies in our expectations of what God should be doing, rather than worrying about His expectations of us. It is His desire for us to walk deeper and deeper in His resources (read Ezekiel 47 about this) until we cannot walk on our own anymore but are taken up in His ‘flow’. It’s a journey of trust, grace, growth, obedience and release. That is where the living water can be found, that is where it will quench thirst and grow fruit.
Lord, thank-you for the living water available to me always. Teach me how to draw from it and let it grow fruit in me. Open my eyes to Your will for my life, so I can turn from the fruitless pursuits and paths I’m currently walking. Thank-you for your faithfulness in all these ways.
Further Reading: Ezekiel 47:1-12
- Can you identify your motivations in the pursuits of your life taking the most time and energy? Are they from your will or Gods?
- Has God asked you to do anything that you didn’t obey? Why was that?
- Are you confident in discerning God’s will? Is there someone in your life who could help you in this process?