Click here to watch my video reflection on our text for today, or keep reading for my written reflections:
Today in our reflection, we are going to be looking at a few different parts of Isaiah 49. We are going to look at Isaiah 48: 4, 9-11:
4 Because I know that you are obstinate,
and your neck is an iron sinew
and your forehead brass,
9 For my name’s sake I defer my anger,
for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you,
so that I may not cut you off.
10 See, I have refined you, but not like silver;
I have tested you in the furnace of adversity.
11 For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it,
for why should my name be profaned?
My glory I will not give to another.
This passage, to me, answers a lot of questions about why we are tested. First, I think verse 4 gives us a perfect understanding of how God views us. God knows that we are stiff-necked, we have a forehead of brass (what a great way to say hard-headed!), and that we are imperfect. God knows what He has in us.
So why then, are we tested? I believe we see that answer following in verses 9-11. We see that our testing refines us. It tests us in adversity. But here’s the thing. The testing is not done to reveal to God who we are, the testing is done to reveal to us who we are. Verse 4 already establishes that God knows what He has in us. Who we are is not a mystery to God. God is not caught off guard by any testing that happens and the results that happen. This testing is not for God’s sake.
Then who is it for? It is for us. It is in the testing that we are, well tested. It is in the testing that we find out who we are. It is in the testing that we fail and see where we need to improve or be furthered refined. It is in the testing that we succeed, and find out that it is God who is at work within us the entire time.
The testing we God through is not so that we become aware of what God has in us, it is so we can become aware of what we have in God. In God, we have a God who knows our weaknesses, our faults, everything about us. And still loves us. Still desires for us to God. Still pushes us to be faithful.
Who never gives up on us. Because He knows us. And still loves us. The testing we go through is not for God’s sake. It’s for outs.
When we are tested, and especially when we fail, may we find God’s grace. And may we grow ever more faithful, because of His grace mercy.
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