Where do you get your perspective of world events? Some people follow the threads on Facebook. Your perspective will depend on the perspective of the thread you follow. Others watch the nightly news. Some watch CNN, or CBS, or FOX, or some internet news source that interprets world events for them. Obviously, there are a variety of rumors and rumblings and perspectives.
But is there another perspective?
I call your attention to an event out of the seventh chapter of Isaiah. The nation was in crisis. The crisis was so severe that the leader of the land lost his nerve. The leader’s name was Ahaz. He was the king whose perspective came from rumors and rumblings concerning a pressing problem facing his kingdom. When he heard these rumors the Bible says, “His heart and the hearts of his people shook as the trees of the forest shake with the wind.” Isaiah 7:2 The panic spreading through the social media of the day disrupted the peace of the nation.
If the only perspective you have on life and world events is the perspective you glean from the news or from Facebook, you will have some of those heart shaking moments. Yet in the midst of the chaos outside and the rumors swirling within the kingdom, Ahaz received this word from the Lord. ‘Take care and be calm, have no fear and do not be fainthearted because of these… ” Isaiah 7:4
From the context of this crisis in the life of Ahaz and his kingdom, I want to share with you some things you won’t be hearing on the nightly news. What I share with you is not news. It simply outlines what God said to Ahaz as he faced his own personal and national crisis.
First, God Is Present in the Present Crisis.
In the face of all the rumors and rumblings, Isaiah the prophet gave Ahaz the perspective of heaven concerning current events. “Thus says the Lord God: “It shall not stand nor shall it come to pass.” Isaiah 7:7 God was in control of current events in the time of Ahaz. God is in control of current events in the present day. God is present in the present crisis, whether that be a crisis in politics or a the Covid crisis or some personal crisis that rages in and around your life.
In the middle of the crisis of that day, it was essential that Ahaz put his trust in God. There were dangers in his world and dangers to his kingdom. But it was important for Ahaz to shut his ears to the rumor mongers spreading concerns of what might happen, and instead to listen to his word from God.
How would Ahaz know that God was present? How would he know that there was nothing to fear? It was essential for Ahaz to walk by faith. The greatest danger facing him and his nation was failing to walk by faith. It was in failing to realize that God was present in the present crisis. The Lord said, “If you will not believe, you surely shall not last.” Isaiah 7:9
The second thing you will not hear on the nightly news is a further word that God gave to Isaiah concerning the fires of fear spreading across his kingdom.
For thus the Lord spoke to me with mighty power and instructed me not to walk in the way of this people, saying, “You are not to say, ‘It is a conspiracy!’ In regard to all that this people call a conspiracy,and you are not to fear what they fear or be in dread of it. “It is the Lord of hosts whom you should regard as holy. And He shall be your fear, and He shall be your dread. “Then He shall become a sanctuary…” Isaiah 8:11-14a
Fear the Lord and Not the Future!
Listen to the nightly news, but keep your eyes on God. The government has never been your guard or your guide or your God. Trust the Lord. Don’t fear the future. Don’t fret about events over which you have no control. Trust God to guide the course of history as He has in the past. Remember His word to Ahaz during this time when his knees shook like the trees of the forest shake with the wind.
There may be a crisis. But leave the crisis to God. Keep your eyes on Him and trust Him to control world events including the climate. We live in a universe filled with terrifying fury beyond our wildest imaginations. Yet the Bible says that God upholds all things by the word of His power. The planets and stars hold their place in keeping with His sovereignty. You can’t control the movements of planets and rouge space rocks that zoom through the universe. You trust God that the sun will rise tomorrow. In that same way, you must trust him in the midst of whatever dark cloud of crisis that shrouds the present day.
Fear the Lord and not the future. No one on the news will tell you that. It is their job to generate fear. That is the news. That brings them business. There are dangers in this world in which we live. But God is present in whatever present crisis we face and we must fear the Lord and not the future.
There is a third thing you won’t hear on the nightly news. The news only updates us on the progress of the crisis. We hear the statistics. We hear about the sick and the dead. We hear about the efforts of science to bring an end to the crisis. The resources of every nation are being levied against the storm of this present crisis. Here is that third word from God that you won’ t hear on the news. It is also a word that God sent to Ahaz.
Preserve the teaching of God; entrust His instructions to those who follow me. I will wait for the Lord, who has turned away from the descendants of Jacob. I will put my hope in Him. Isaiah 8:14-16
Instead of Seeking an End to the Crisis, Seek a Return of God’s Favor.
Implied, in these verses from Isaiah, is the fact that the crisis itself is God appointed, or at least God allowed, because people have turned away from Him. If you follow the news, you will hear a variety of reasons for the spread of Covid. This week, I heard a new one. The idea has been floated by some that the virus is a result of climate change. For all I know it might be. Or it could be that what we interpret as climate change is an expression of God’s own displeasure toward a world that has turned from Him.
In the time of Isaiah, Ahaz was told the shortest route to the solution for his personal and political crisis was a return to God and faith in God. God is present in the present crisis. The most important thing we can do is look for him and fear him and not the future. But no one on the nightly news is going to suggest that option as a possible solution to your crisis or any other crisis.
In the Bible, God often allowed conditions to become extreme so that people would realize their need of Him. How many more people will have to die of Covid before national and world leaders will look for more than a vaccine and begin to look for God?
Of course, the wisdom of today tells us to follow the science.
If you have noticed, there are many branches to the tree of science lately. All of those branches seem to be going in different directions. I don’t want to suggest that scientists could in any way be biased or blinded by their own agenda or by the political leanings of one of the benefactors of their research.
In the time of Isaiah there were also branches of science. In fact, it was quite popular to seek out those wizards of science in that day who could predict the future. Some of Ahaz own political advisors suggested he follow the science. Consider God’s response in the verses that follow.
Someone may say to you, “Let’s ask the mediums and those who consult the spirits of the dead. With their whisperings and mutterings, they will tell us what to do.” But shouldn’t people ask God for guidance? Should the living seek guidance from the dead? Look to God’s instructions and teachings! People who contradict his word are completely in the dark. They will go from one place to another, weary and hungry. And because they are hungry, they will rage and curse their king and their God. They will look up to heaven and down at the earth, but wherever they look, there will be trouble and anguish and dark despair. They will be thrown out into the darkness. Isaiah 8:19-22
Let me share one final bit of advice that you won’t hear on the nightly news.
Trust God’s Word and not the World’s Apparent Wisdom.
The nightly news will dissuade you from following God or His Word. Instead, you should follow science and the trends of popular culture. But popular culture walks in the deception of the world’s wisdom and not God’s.
There are well-meaning leaders of our own day who lean on human wisdom alone to know the future. But you have a word from God. You have an assurance from God. He is present in this present crisis. Look for Him. He is Sovereign over coming circumstances. Trust Him. Fear the Lord and not the future. Instead of merely seeking an end to the present crisis, seek a return of God’s favor. That may well be what brings an end to this present season of gloom and darkness. But you will hear none of this on the nightly news.