Surrender to the Light of a Child

The oppression of our self-focused, secular rooted religion is crushing us. We need the freedom only Christ can bring. As Isaiah says,

Isaiah 9:4 For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, You have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor.

It is not the Lord’s servant but Christ Himself who shatters the yoke. Spiritual battle, and ministry strategy need wisdom and strategic thinking.  The one who gains the victory however is a child!

Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be upon his shoulders. And He will be called, Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

We need to surrender our strategies and entrust ourselves to this child. For those who consider themselves wise, this is humbling. Children’s answers can sound so naïve.

What the child brings, however is a completely new dimension.

Isaiah 9:2 On those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.

Our land is in the shadow of death where godliness is being replaced by secular thinking. Among many Christians the secular world’s values, such as being ‘nice,’ are embraced as if they were Christian ones.

We are desperate for His light to dawn. This wave of secular beliefs and values engulfs us, and drowns out God’s Word. Lord Jesus, please come, please give me grace to humble myself and receive You and your light.

For the whole Bible study

Freedom from whom?

Many think of freedom as ‘Free from’; free from those who limit us; free from the rules that stop us having what we want. So we blame those who rule over us for keeping us from our desires. In our age however there is such freedom that when we can’t get what we want, the only one we have left to rage against is God. In Psalm 2 we read, “Let us break off their chains.” One would imagine such a cry coming from people who are oppressed, but these words come from ‘The kings of the earth,’ those who are the freest to do as they choose!

In reality, our lack of freedom comes not from the Lord, but from ourselves. We lack the courage to look into our own hearts and acknowledge our failure, our lack of courage to do what is right, or the way we ensnare ourselves through our evil desires. These are the real origins of our chains.

The Lord’s response to the kings is to present them with truth: “I have installed my king on Zion.” Jesus has been installed as my King. If my life is lined up with the Lord and His King then this statement brings joy, peace and freedom for together we can do anything. If however, I am living for my own will, then I respond as the kings do with terror at the Lord’s rebuke. I am terrified by what the Lord might take from me.

Whose intervention?

Can I accept the place of the weak and be the alien and the fatherless, rejecting the temptation to act in wickedness creating my own salvation? When things go bad the temptation to intervene and ‘make them better’ can become immeasurable. Yet the Lord councils me not to put my trust in people, and ‘people’ has to include myself. My hope is the Lord himself. I see people suffering; can I trust Him to fulfil Ps 146:7

‘He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry.’

Normally I would intervene but in a current situation the Lord has challenged me to be silent, and this silence frustrates me. I know that the Lord draws out faith through such times, yet the furnace is becoming unbearable.

I believe the Lord wishes me to see my own helplessness and learn to depend on Him alone, both for myself and for those I see in need. I see oppression and hunger and want to have pity and make it better. I fail to see that the Lord may be doing a work in the lives of the oppressed as well. If I were to act it would kill His process. So, my intervention would be wickedness. This stanza finishes,

‘The Lord watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.’ (Ps 146:9).

Can I accept the place of the weak, rejecting the temptation to create my own salvation?

Time will tell.

Hope developed

People gain a sense of peace after they have experience of deciding to live by God’s word rather than succumb to pressure.

‘Great peace have those who love your law, nothing can make them stumble.’ (Psalm 119:165)

They have learned that God is greater than any oppression, so they are not easily driven by it. While oppressed, they live out God’s word waiting for His intervention.

Psalm 119:161-164 shows the development of this hope. We see the Psalmist persecuted by powerful people, yet rather than trembling at these oppressors he trembles at God’s word. It is the Lord I must take seriously when people try to pressurise me to compromise my integrity. In this place of oppression, he looks for a promise from God; a treasure he can cling to that shows God’s perspective. This is a telling statement, for oppression makes us feel like fools to hold to integrity.  I can need an assurance from God’s word that I am on the right path.