There are times when we find ourselves facing opposition for our beliefs. It happens in the best of families and friendships. Sooner or later you are going to be challenged for something you have said. With the political and religious divisiveness that seems to permeate every other conversation, two people who actually like each other may find they are falling out over ideology, theology, or intolerance.
What can you do when that happens? How can you manage the sting of someone’s rebuke and not retreat into a corner?
In our scripture today, we see what the famed prophet Isaiah wrote when his position was challenged. He took strength from his relationship with God and only focused his attention there. When you speak for God, you will be challenged….but look at how he handled it:
Isaiah 7 (The Message)
The Master, God, has given me
a well-taught tongue,
So I know how to encourage tired people.
He wakes me up in the morning,
Wakes me up, opens my ears
to listen as one ready to take orders.
The Master, God, opened my ears,
and I didn’t go back to sleep,
didn’t pull the covers back over my head.
I followed orders,
stood there and took it while they beat me,
held steady while they pulled out my beard,
Didn’t dodge their insults,
faced them as they spit in my face.
In the middle of his battle he stood steady and took a beating. He followed orders. He said what God had told him to say and didn’t waver.
And the Master, God, stays right there and helps me,
so I’m not disgraced.
Therefore I set my face like flint,
confident that I’ll never regret this.
My champion is right here.
Let’s take our stand together!
Who dares bring suit against me?
Let him try!
I love his resolve to continue to stand there and take it! This resolve came from a keen awareness of God’s presence in his situation. “God stays right there and helps me. I’m not disgraced.”
Can you say this in your situation was well? God has promised never to leave you or forsake you. So when your belief in his kingdom puts you on the outs with someone, cling to that. Your Champion is right by your side, taking your stand with you. Set your face like flint and keep on keeping on.
Anybody want to take on God? Let them try!
Look! the Master, God, is right here.
Who would dare call me guilty?
Look! My accusers are a clothes bin of threadbare
socks and shirts, fodder for moths!
Just remember that you are not alone. Thanks be to God.