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Stinging words

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Read: Isaiah 26:1-14

O Lord our God, others have ruled us, but you alone are the one we worship (Isaiah 26:13).

 

Many years ago, a relative repeatedly attacked my faith in Jesus. His words and criticism — bathed in cynicism — deeply hurt me. Although he passed away more than a decade ago, and I’ve forgiven him, there are still times I feel as if this relative is standing next to me — belittling me for following Jesus.

Indeed, one of the most difficult challenges I’ve faced in life is moving past his and others’ cutting words. Yet, as with every struggle in life, I’m often caught by surprise — in a beautiful way — at how Scripture meets us in the depths of our pain and offers us a path to freedom.

Most recently, I experienced this as I read through Isaiah 26 and was struck by the profound nature of verses 13 and 14, which read: “O Lord our God, others have ruled us, but you alone are the one we worship. Those we served before are dead and gone. Their departed spirits will never return! You attacked them and destroyed them, and they are long forgotten.”

One commentator notes that this passage is referencing “the principal enemies of the Jews, who had oppressed them, and were slain when Babylon was taken by Cyrus.” But our minds can also be filled with wounds we’ve received from others — leading us to experience emotional and spiritual captivity.

Rather than letting someone’s accusations and mean-spiritedness have control over us, we can experience victory when we to submit to God and worship Him alone. It’s comforting to know that even when others cause us pain, Jesus “will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in [Him]” (Isaiah 26:3 NIV). May we look to Him and trust in our “eternal Rock” who can help us withstand stinging words (Isaiah 26:4).

 

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