Monday, December 17, 2012

Homily 43: A Firm Foundation (as preached by an orthodox rebel)

"Trust in the Lord forever, for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength." Isaiah 26:4

A common theme throughout the book of Isaiah is the sheer folly of trusting anything or anyone other than God. Specifically in Isaiah's time, the Assyrians were threatening Israel, but instead of looking to God for hope and salvation, the Israelites turn to the Egyptians (Is. 30:1-3). In return, God had some choice words for this worldly-wise pact: a "covenant with death" and an "agreement with hell" (Is. 28:15, 18). The utter futility of such foundations should be vividly apparent: to trust any strength other than God is to stake it all on death and damnation. There is no possibility of victory.

Now, the source of this futility is not in ignorance but arrogance: hubris in the highest degree, for Israel has fancied itself to be wiser and greater than God, effectively "turning things upside-down" (Is. 29:15-16). That is why the foundations are futile, why all other ground is sinking sand: they are not God. In God alone is everlasting strength (Is. 26:4). Only His purposes remain unannulled (Is. 14:27). Only He lays the sure foundation where none shall ever be confounded or ashamed (Is. 28:16), whereas all other foundations can be nothing but confounding and shameful (Is. 30:3). There is no other way about it. It is a law of existence as gravity is a law of nature: the thing is, whether you like it or not.

Whether in Israel's time or our own, one thing is constant: God is ever at war with this idiotic hubris and self-destructive pride, the hubris and pride that thinks itself to be greater than God (Is. 14:12-14). He will cut it down (Is. 10:33). He will bring it low (Is. 13:11), even unto hell itself (Is. 14:15). Death and hell, shame and confusion: these can be its only end, for in God alone is stability and sanity and sure footing. He is the only true safety, for fighting against Him is just as futile as fighting without Him (Is. 29:8). Therefore, trust in the Lord first, only, and always, and He will keep you "in perfect peace" (Is. 26:3). Amen.

-Jon Vowell (c) 2012

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