Awake! Awake!

Cathedral in ruins

Many of those who made commitments as children have abandoned any sense of faith.

The Lord will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make … her wastelands like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found in her.

Isaiah 51:3

If God’s people are Zion, then Zion is currently in ruins. However, we sense that the Lord has begun a new work. This can seem little comfort when we look at where we have come from.

look to Abraham, your father, and to Sarah, who gave you birth. When I called him he was only one man, and I blessed him and made him many.

Isaiah 51:2

Our culture believes that to build, you need a large base. Our Lord specialises in building from the least.

My righteousness draws near speedily, my salvation is on the way …. The islands will look to me and wait in hope for my arm.

Isaiah 51:5

Our restoration does not begin by discovering the right formula, but through putting our trust and hope in Jesus.

Awake, awake, arm of the Lord, clothe yourself with strength!

Isaiah 51:9

We begin with people calling on the Lord to awake. That sounds a little strange, that we would need to awaken him who never slumbers, but this is the cry of a desperate people who are desperate to see the Lord working.

Spiritual Ruins

Many say, “Where is your God?” Many of God’s people are so distracted by the world’s pleasures that their spiritual lifeblood is being poured out. So, we pray –

Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name; deliver us, and atone for our sins, for your name’s sake! Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?” Let the avenging of the outpoured blood of your servants be known among the nations before our eyes! Let the groans of the prisoners come before you… (Psalm 79:9-11 NLT)

Throughout the Bible the Lord tends to work through weakness rather than strength. It was after years of slavery in Egypt that the Lord heard the cries of his people. It was at the low point of the time of Judges that the Lord introduced Samuel and David. Are we able to become real, recognise our place of disgrace in our society and call out to God?

How long, O Lord? Will you be angry for ever? … Do not remember against us our former iniquities; let your compassion come speedily to meet us, for we are brought very low. (Psalm 79:5-8 NLT)

The writer appeals to God for compassion. Often we appeal on the basis of the spread of the gospel.  We appeal out of insecurity instead of God’s mercy. Insecurity puffs itself up saying, “We are up to the task!” It looks to future glory for motivation. Humility recognises its weakness and looks to God to work both in us and in the world.