Strength AND Song

21 03 2015

Isaiah 12:2 says this:  “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation”

I’m reading through Jesus Calling by a missionary, Sarah Young, who derived these devotions from her personal journals and messages she received from the Lord.  As an avid journaler myself, I find the story and source for all of these messages quite intriguing and insightful into Young’s vision of who God is and who he relates himself to her.  I believe that God speaks to, and relates to everyone in an individual and special way.  My relationship with God is very different from your relationship with God, and vice versa.  Not to say that anyone’s is greater than anyone else’s, but it’s all on the same level.  She mentioned this verse in the reading for today, and I went to read it, and found such a neat message in it, that I wanted to share with you.
I do want to make a disclaimer though….I have no idea of the context of the verse.  I’ve never really read through Isaiah in my personal readings, and actually have no idea why the author was saying this verse. So, please consider that as you read the following thoughts I have on this verse.

The first word of this verse is “Behold”.  When I think of that word, I think of the message that Mary received when she was told she was pregnant with Jesus.  I seem to remember the words being “behold Mary, you are blessed among women.”  The idea of “Behold” is this idea that this is great, loud news.  Startling news.  News that makes everyone listen up.  What a strong statement!  To say behold is like saying “Hey!  Listen to me!!” and then Isaiah follows it up with an emphasis on the is in God is my salvation.  Which is so incredibly exciting and powerful.  It’s a statement that demonstrates our identity in who God is to us and the value of God to us.  Honestly, the greatest joy of it all is that there is a relationship available.  See, salvation is not about just getting into heaven or avoiding the miseries of this life…no, not at all.  If that is our only focus, then we’ve missed the mark of the calling and the mystery of faith.  The thing is, salvation is our relationship.  The joy of life is in the claiming of the mystery of the faith, that the same God who created the universe, and numbers the stars, id all of this simply because he desires a relationship with his created ones.  We used to have this preacher who used to tell us that if the afterlife was the whole point of us pursuing God, then we’ve missed the whole concept of salvation entirely.  His point was that we can’t just claim God to claim exemption from punishment, but we’ve got to claim God each day of our lives.

Then, the author continues, that because of the salvation, it is in him that he trusts.  Honestly, I find trust to be a bit of a large pill to swallow sometimes.  I have trust issues.  I really do.  And to hear a faith to tell me to trust God, despite all of the ways that my trust has been in vain in the past….that’s a really hard pill to swallow.  It’s very hard for me to commit to doing this, because of all the ways it could possibly go wrong.  So that’s where I am on that.

But the part that I really enjoy, and that I found so compelling to write about, is the middle part, because it says the Lord “is my strength and my song.”  What a wonderful phrase!  It is easy to see where the strength comes in.  Of course, God empowers those that he uses.  Moments of my lives, days where I thought I wouldn’t make it through, somehow, I did.  I accomplished stuff and was able to make it to the end of my day.  Somehow, it happened.  Moments where my heart was hurting and I didn’t know how I would make it through these heartbreaks, I did.  It is easy to see where the strength comes in, because there, comes dependence, and there comes the stamina to endure.

It is also equally as easy to see the song part.  It’s easy to see the joy come about because of the strength God provides.  It’s easy to see that we have joy in God over heaven, over the ever-present help and the uplift when things are going bad.  Sometimes the song of love is in celebration, sometimes it is in anticipation, and sometimes it is the mere joy of being loved and claimed by God as one of his own.  That is a beautiful thought.  What is even more beautifuller (if that is even a word) is the song that he uses to pursue us, to woo us.  He chases after us.  Where strength appears to our more masculine side and masculine view of God, song reminds me of the gentle feminine wooing that God in his pursuit of us.  He chases us, even when we don’t want to be chased.  Once, I attended a church, and this girl testified and said instead of making God chase after us, God needs to be walking with us.  It is a nice thought, but I disagree.  I am not saying it is bad to walk with God daily and to have that daily time where we time out from our day, and get into word and have communion with him.  The thing is, I believe it’s always in God’s nature to chase us.  THat’s who he is.  He’s a chaser, because it demonstrates his unconditional love for us.

But notice the and in there.  God is both strength and song.  All at the same time.  He’s not just strength here, song there strength now and song later, or vice versa.  He is all at once, both strength and song.  He is both the one who empowers me and the one who has chased me.  He is the one who picks me up, and the one that is running after me.  All at the same time.  He doesn’t do one and neglect the other in any given moment.  It is now, immediate.  I don’t have to wait for his strength, I don’t have to wait for his love, it’s all happening all at the same time.

With that reminder, the verse closes with another announcement that God is our salvation.  Pure and simple.  Doing both the uplifting and empowering as well as the comforting and the rest.  What a beautiful image of the love of God.