Keep calm, look upward


In 1939, the British govt. put up a poster to encourage its citizens to cope with the impending air strikes during WWII… it said… Keep calm & carry on. And now in 2020, that poster has been modified to say – Keep calm & wah hands or Keep calm & mask-up…

Few know that these posters are actually quoting, ‘Keep calm and be quiet. Do not fear nor be faint-hearted …’ [Is 7:4]

*The background to the conversation in Isaiah 7:
Rezin, (King os Syria) had collaborated with Pekah (son of Remaliah) to attack and ravage the Judean country-side. Rezin took many Judeans away captive to be his slaves. Pekah killed 120000 soliders and took 200000 away captive. [2Ch 28:5-8]

And now, Jerusalem itself was besieged & threatened… Ahaz and all his people were so terrified that they trembled like trees shaking in the wind. And in the midst of that, God urges them to keep calm, and trust HIM… [Is 7:2]

The covid crisis mirrors that in some ways – huge numbers of people dead, and an even larger number still struggling with the after effects of covid. And conspiracy theories abound. Sadly, Christians also buy into these conspiracy theories and help propagate them.

But God tells us, as He told Ahaz:
Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. [Isa 8:12]
Sanctify the LORD of Hosts Himself; and let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread [Isa 8:13 KJV]

If we look at statistics & government actions, we will be filled with fear that our future might be further disrupted.

The entire book of Isaiah is God calling out to us, to woo our eyes & hearts back to Him –
to see HIM – high & exalted – above all thrones, above the turmoil of the earth ;
the Lord & Creator of Heaven and Earth
the Lord of Hosts whose armies outnumber earthly armies & virus-armies, both in strength & power
to trust the wisdom of the One who sees the end from the beginning – the One who has prepared grace for us from before the foundation of the world.

Christmas reminds us that with God – nothing is impossible. Can you imagine the awesome majesty of God being limited to a human frame? And yet, He did it!

Look at Jesus in His resurrection glory… can you imagine being like Him? And yet, that IS what He came to earth to do… to deliver us from sin, so that we might be raised with Him to glory and be with Him, like Him.

Isaiah’s entire life changed in that moment of God-encounter… when he saw the Glory of the Lord.

Jesus is the radiance of the Glory of God – in Him we see all that God is. Christmas is God’s invitation to us to turn our eyes away from our sin, from our weakness, from our pain, from our govts, from our family… from the world and look at HIM.

Angels, choirs in the sky, the star … God keeps drawing our gaze upward. Ahaz looked at earth and trembled. Isaiah looked upward and became a pillar of strength & wisdom to the ages.

Abba Father, be my meditation by day and night. May it be YOU that I see even in my sleep. High King of Heaven, be the chief love of my heart – let no rival throne arise in my heart. May all fear & trembling depart, cast out by Your perfect love poured into my heart. In Jesus Name. Amen.

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