First, a discussion with my niece about what a Sunday School Bible study should glean from Ephesians chapter one. I knew I had done a pretty extensive study on this in the past, and there was plenty of options where to go with it.
Then, there is the current political debate about whether a Christian should vote for this one or that. And that one also has a lot of definite, passionately held ways it could go.
The third was a phrase a FB friend said to me Friday night, about feeling that those evangelizing her were not giving her credit for being able "to make my own decisions about religion and all." Should this be a time to push this friend on salvation?
But somewhere along the line, the call of Isaiah came to my mind. You see, there is a reason I take very little credit for what I write here. And Isaiah's example is the thing I go to to remind me of this. When Isaiah was called, it began with a vision of heaven. Without getting all esoteric, let me try to explain what that means. One thing that really helped my prayer life this week is the realization of the comfort one can take in realizing WE DON'T KNOW EVERYTHING. That God is so far beyond us, we cannot possibly grasp the many ways He works His will in our lives and our circumstances. (Story for another time- another realization that "God is NOT the circumstance.") Isaiah is being prepared for his ministry by being shown this fact directly. And this is when he humbles himself before the Almighty in recognition of this fact:
Isa 6:5 Then I said, Woe is me! For I am undone; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, Jehovah of Hosts.
And because he humbles himself, realizing he has NO right to speak, God enables him:
Isa 6:6 Then one of the seraphs flew to me, having a live coal in his hand, snatched with tongs from the altar.
Isa 6:7 And he laid it on my mouth and said, Lo, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged.
Now, GOD has control of the message, and he is able to speak confidently:
Isa 6:8 And I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then I said, Here am I; send me!
And so it is with me- not that I have been by any means been fed hot stuff by an angel. However, I realize that these posts are blessed in proportion to my ability to let God write them. And what is the limits? Where does God stop and I begin? Well, I had that little battle myself as I read on through chapters seven and eight. I saw many things that, in my conflicted thoughts, told me, "Is there a post on politics here, with all the admonitions and warnings and calls for obedience?" Well, the one gatepost to this appears near the end of chapter 8, as Isaiah struggles with those who aren't going to listen to what he has to say:
Isa 8:20 To the Law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this Word, it is because no light is in them.
So what WAS the Testimony telling me? I went back a couple pages to the beginning of chapter seven, where Isaiah was confronting the wicked King of Judah, Ahaz. After discussing "current events" (the upcoming invasion of Judah by Ephraim and Syria), he tells the king to ask for a sign- which he 'knowing better', refuses to do- and Isaiah tells him of the birth of the coming Messiah, at a far future date. THEN, he goes on to mention that in a very short time- WAY before the KEY event of the Messiah's birth occurs- his current troubles would be a thing of the past.
To me, that was the answer to my question- it wasn't about politics at all, because politics comes and goes, and God moves through the wicked (like Ahaz) just as He does through the redeemed (like Isaiah). For God, the message was A) humility, B) obedience, and C) hope.
Oh, and the other gatepost? The Kalko Rule says "read ten verses before and ten verses after to get the context of the message." So I counted ten verses back from the opening of chapter six where this all started, and read this:
Isa 5:21 Woe to those wise in their own eyes, and bright in their own sight!
And while this doesn't actually get us any closer to the first chapter of Ephesians, it DOES serve as a boundary for my posts... and perhaps a warning to those who "make their own decisions..." but they will have to parse that out themselves.