[forthright] Swimming Against The Current

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Wed, 31 Mar 2010 06:03:35 -0700 (PDT)
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross

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COLUMN: HANDS-ON FAITH

Swimming Against The Current
 by Barry Newton

Frigid white water cascading over boulders throughout
our northwest descends to the ocean. The force of the
water is persuasive.

And yet, each year salmon are determined to swim
against this torrent even leaping high into the air to
advance against the onslaught of the river. Their goal
drives them forward.

In Isaiah 8:11-15, God instructed Isaiah and his
followers to go against the tide of popular opinion.
While king Ahaz and the rest of Judah shook in fear
from the threatening coalition of Syria and northern
Israel, they were to remain unafraid. God would be
their security. Instead, they were to fear the LORD of
hosts.

Since foreign military powers are not threatening us
with invasion, perhaps these instructions appear little
more than of academic interest. But let's take a closer
look.

At this point, God had already revealed to king Ahaz
and Judah that the dark war clouds of northern Israel
and Syria were empty threats. And yet, fear persisted.
Why? Because they believed more in horses, chariots and
spears than in the promises of God.

What about today? Do we believe more in tangible
portfolios and financial reserves or an unseen God
promising to provide for those who seek His kingdom
first?

Do we fear rejection or persecution for the name of
Christ or the awesomeness of our Creator God? What do
our beliefs cause us to fear? Does God's word address
those beliefs?

If Isaiah and his disciples were going to allow God's
message to shape their lives, their behavior and
attitudes would make them appear like salmon being
driven against the flow of popular opinion.

How would others in the flow of our culture view us? Do
we just fit in and look like everybody else, or has
God's word reoriented our beliefs and goals so that we
are swimming in a different direction?

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