THROUGH THE BIBLE IN THREE YEARS
Ole Tom was raised in the backwoods of Louisiana.
He was mostly busy fishing and trapping for a living.
But God saved him, and then called him to preach.
Soon, he accepted his first pastorate, and was about to preach his first sermon to the congregation.
He felt that the message he should preach was on the Second Coming of Christ. Tom was really nervous!
That morning the church was filled with people, and Tom had hardly even met some of them.
When it came time to preach, he began his message by running to the edge of the platform and saying loudly, "BEHOLD! I COME QUICKLY!"
But Tom was so nervous, he'd forgotten the second line of the sermon.
So he backed up and started again.
He ran to the edge of the platform and yelled loudly, "BEHOLD! I COME QUICKLY!"
Still, the second line would not come to his mind.
So he tried one more time.
He ran to the edge of the platform while yelling, "BEHOLD! I COME QUICKLY!"
But this time, his foot slipped!
Tom went tripping down the steps to the platform and fell into a lady's lap!
Tom got up quickly, and apologized profusely.
The lady said, "Well, Bro. Tom. You warned me twice! I should have gotten out of your way!"
15 Look down from heaven, and behold from the habitation of thy holiness and of thy glory: where is thy zeal and thy strength, the sounding of thy bowels and of thy mercies toward me? are they restrained?
16 Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: thou, O LORD, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting.
17 O LORD, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart from thy fear? Return for thy servants' sake, the tribes of thine inheritance.
18 The people of thy holiness have possessed it but a little while: our adversaries have trodden down thy sanctuary.
19 We are thine: thou never barest rule over them; they were not called by thy name.
1 Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence,
2 As when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence!
Isaiah could see that the land of Judah was deserted, beaten down and the people captured and carried away by enemies.
He offered the same questions that we Christians sometimes ask today. "Lord, where is Your ZEAL and Your STRENGTH?"
"Lord, why have you allowed the people to be HARDENED in heart?" (verse 17)
But Isaiah acknowledges that God is still LORD of all (verse 16), and that He is the ONLY "Redeemer."
I'm sure there were some faithful followers of God in Judah when the nation was captured and carried away, even though the majority of the people had become idolatrous.
And I'm quite sure those faithful followers, like Isaiah, questioned: "Is God's power RESTRAINED?" (verse 15)
And today, there are many faithful followers of Christ.
But it seems that righteousness and morality are being swallowed up with evil.
And I'm concerned that many of those faithful Christians question, "LORD! Is your power being RESTRAINED?"
But as Israel could not see God's purpose then, we can not see God's purpose today.
We CAN, however, rely upon His WORD!
His Word says that God is not SLACK concerning His purpose, and that He is longsuffering of mankind, desiring that men should repent and be saved (2Peter 3:9).
If God's power is RESTRAINED at all today, it is only by His own patience!
He is enduring the iniquities of men for a season in order that He might continue offering salvation to those who will receive it.
But one day, and I think soon, He will come!
We today, can only cry as Isaiah did in the following chapter, "Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence" (Isaiah 64:1).