PART TWO–Walking In The Divine Path or The Aimless Way:
In Part One, we saw illustrations given by the prophet Isaiah regarding 4- contrasts of TRUST IN GOD:
1. Between inhabiting the holy city and “lofty” ruins (Isaiah 26:1-6).
2. Between walking the divine path and the aimless way.
3. Between working with supernatural ability and human inability.
4. Between rising to eternal life and to judgement.
In PART TWO, I’ll pick up the conversation where I left off in Walking In the Divine Path or The Aimless Way.
“ The way of the [consistently] righteous (those living in moral and spiritual rectitude in every area and relationship of their lives) is level and straight; You, O [Lord], Who are upright, direct aright and make level the path of the [uncompromisingly] just and righteous.  Yes, in the path of Your judgements, O Lord, we wait [expectantly] for You; our heartfelt desire is for Your name and for the remembrance of You.  My soul yearns for You [O Lord] in the night, yes, my spirit within me seeks You earnestly; for [only] when Your judgments are in the earth will the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness (uprightness and right standing with God).  Though favor is shown to the wicked, yet, they do not learn righteousness; in the land of uprightness they deal perversely and refuse to see the majesty of the Lord.  Though Your hand is lifted high to strike, Lord, they do not see it. Let them see Your zeal for Your people and be ashamed; yes, let the fire reserved for Your enemies consume them” (Isaiah 26:7-11 AMP).
Look at verse 7, where it tells us that the way or path of righteousness is level and straight. Then Isaiah calls God “You, O [Lord], Who are upright.”
The NIV translation of the same verse is a bit different in wording: “O upright One, you make the way of the righteous smooth”; this is actually the same word but because Hebrew and English phrasing are different. The idea here is, God’s path is level because God is level; God’s path is straight because God is straight; God’s path is righteous…you get the picture. In other words, we walk in God’s path by imitating the character of God. Now I don’t think Isaiah is telling us God’s path is a stroll in the park, but he is saying that the path is easy to find.
–God Repeatedly Reveals His Character To Us.
First, He reveals His character via His Word. Secondly, He reveals Himself through the incarnation of Jesus. And thirdly, He reveals Himself via other Christians around us. All God is asking us is to imitate Him!
–Every single command God has given us.
His commands are a reflection of some aspect of who He is. Imitating God may not be easy, but the requirements are clear! By contrast, the way of the world is aimless and…clueless.
–Isaiah Gives Us Three Pictures of People Who Refuse to Follow God:
FIRST PICTURE given in verse 10–The Message Bible.
“If the wicked are shown grace, they don’t seem to get it”
SECOND PICTURE in verse 10 (b)–The Message Bible.
“In the land of right living, they persisted in wrong living, blind to the splendor of God”
THIRD PICTURE in verse 11–The Message Bible.
“You hold your hand up high God, but they don’t see it.”
Even though the proof of Jesus’ death and resurrection is evident, people are still refusing to come to terms with God. The apostle Paul says the same thing in Romans 1:18-32. People who you come in contact with daily know the righteous acts of God; they can see the divine path out in front of them but they willfully refuse to walk in it; then encourage others not to walk in it either. They choose to walk the aimless way. Which path are you walking?
THE THIRD CONTRAST: WORKING WITH SUPERNATURAL (divine) ABILITY or HUMAN INABILITY–
[READ Verses 12-18]
Everything that we accomplish in our lives has been done by God working in us.
City Bible Church-North Sound isn’t located here in Lynden, Washington because a small group of Christian believers established it. God established His Church. God used (names) to build this church, working through them, gifting them with talents and abilities. And if this church continues to grow in number, it’s because God will continue to do His work in this place. For that reason only, God’s name is honored!
–Our Power or God’s Power.
Are we as a church, in the 21st century working in our power, or relying, trusting in God’s power? Are we as a church just ‘doing’ and our efforts are cast into the wind? By contrast, Isaiah tells us what happens when we work in our own ability:
“ As a woman with child drawing near the time of her delivery is in pain and writhes and cries out in her pangs, so we have been before You (at Your presence), O Lord.  We have been with child, we have been writhing and in pain; we have, as it were, brought forth [only] wind. We have not wrought any deliverance in the earth, and the inhabitants of the world have not yet been born” (Isaiah 26:17-18 AMP).
Isaiah is using the images of a woman giving birth and describing that it takes a lot of effort. For nine months the child is growing inside the womb and after nine months, the day finally arrives. Oh, how I remember those joyful days so long ago. They will always be permanently imprinted on my mind. The thrill, the joy of being a father, WOW!
Now husbands might think they understand what their wives are going through or went at the time, but not really–right ladies? I once heard a woman describe what her childbirth experience was like: ‘Taking my upper lip and pull it over my head.”
Seriously, this image of a woman struggling to give birth in verses 17-18 is the strongest image Isaiah could come up with. But nothing comes of all that labor. Imagine after going through labor ladies, this doctor tells you that you didn’t give birth to a baby–it was just gas!
That’s what Isaiah is trying to get across here. When we work in our own strength we achieve nothing. Even if we men were to work as hard as a woman giving birth (and that will never happen), our work accomplishes nothing.
3-Questions For The Church:
1. Are we as a church in God’s supernatural ability or our own inability?
2. Are ALL the programs we come up with and are doing just programs, making a ‘big splash’ for all to see, taking a lot of effort but accomplishing little?
3. Are we laboring in God’s strength in accomplishing His plan for eternal salvation?
THE LAST CONTRAST IN ISAIAH 26:19-21:
”  Your dead shall live [O Lord]; the bodies of our dead [saints] shall rise. You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy! For Your dew [O Lord] is a dew of [sparkling] light [heavenly, supernatural dew]; and the earth shall cast forth the dead [to life again; for on the land of the shades of the dead You will let Your dew fall].  Come, my people, enter your chambers and shut your doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until the [Lord’s] wrath is past.  For behold, the Lord is coming out of His place [heaven] to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; the earth also will disclose the blood shed upon her and will no longer cover her slain and conceal her guilt.”
–“Shut the Front Door”!
ISAIAH draws up on the blackboard for us the instructions for this last contrast: Between the eternal destination of the righteous and the wicked.
God’s people will rise to eternal life in the middle of ‘shouts for joy’; to share in the festivities of God’s final triumph on earth. The wicked; the lost souls, will rise to eternal punishment.
The previous three contrast: Inhabiting the city of salvation vs. the lofty ruins; Walking the divine path vs. wandering the aimless way; Working in God’s strength vs. working in our own inability–all are choices we have to make.
–ONE WAY, AND ONLY ONE!
In my investigation regarding “TRUST IN GOD” this past week, I uncovered an old children’s song “One Door and only one”. It goes like this:
One door and only one
And yet its sides are two.
Inside and outside
On which side are you.
I’ll go on with more of the songs lyrics that fits in nicely with the choices that must be made, sooner than later:
One Door and Only One
And yet its sides are two
I’m on the inside
On which side are you?
One Lord and only one
And yet the ways are two,
Right way and wrong way
On which way are you?
And if the contrasts in the song are not enough to convince you by now, let me give you just a few more choices:
One strength and only one,
yet the works are two.
His strength or our strength,
which strength are you?
One eternity, and only one,
yet the results are two.
Eternal life with God or
eternal separation from God,
WHICH RESULT WILL BE YOURS?