Praying Through the Bible #78
TEXT: Isaiah 26:12-18
Most of us cringe internally when we hear the word “pain.” We don’t like pain, and we want to avoid pain at all costs. I have shared with others more than once that when I go to the hospital, no matter what my ailment might be, the thing I want the doctor to focus on before he does anything else is getting rid of the pain. Once we deal with the pain issue, we can deal with everything else. I’m not afraid of dying, but when it’s my time to go, I want to go without having to experience any pain.
However, as much as we dislike pain, we often have to remind ourselves that positivity can come from pain. Certainly you have heard the phrase, “no pain, no gain.” Athletes — such as those who competed in the Winter Olympics which just wrapped up — have to undergo rigorous training, which often involves physical pain, if they want to stay at the top of their game. They have to sacrifice and do without in order to succeed. So, there are some positive results that come from pain — not only in the physical realm, but in the spiritual realm as well. And, from our passage today, we want to look at some of the positive things that can come from painful situations.
The children of Israel were no strangers to pain. God often had to inflict pain on them when they were disobedient to Him. The children of Israel experienced this pain through various forms of chastisement including famine, earthquakes, slavery, and being oppressed by their heathen neighbors. Often, it took years of pain for the children of Israel to admit their wrongs and turn back to God. In our passage today, we find that Isaiah is prophetically sharing with us a prayer that the children of Israel will offer up to God following a time of pain. This reaction by the children of Israel will take place during the Millennial Kingdom when Jesus Christ sits on the throne of David, and all authority and power in the earth is in His hands. The children of Israel will have gone through a time of extreme persecution, yet, in their prayer to God, they will express their thankfulness despite the trials they have suffered. In other words, they will find positivity in their pain.
What are some of the things we can takeaway from this example of finding positivity in our pain?
1. Painful experiences help us realize that all good things that are done are accomplished by and through God Almighty. In verse 12 of our passage, the Israelites say, “Lord, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also hast wrought all our works in us.” Notice the emphasis in this verse is not on what the children of Israel have done, but on what the Lord has done.
2. Painful experiences force us to acknowledge past idolatry. Verse 13 reads, “O Lord our God, other lords beside thee have had dominion over us…” The term “other lords” refers to the false gods of the heathen nations surrounding them. There were two ways in which Israel allowed herself to be under the dominion of these ‘other lords.’
3. Painful experiences force us to realize the foolishness of trusting in anything or anyone else beside God. In verse 12, the Israelites go on to say, “but by thee only will we make mention of thy name.” The painfulness of chastisement caused the children of Israel to have a change of heart. They repented of their idolatry, and made a commitment to only worship the one true God.