…4″He will not be disheartened or crushed Until He has established justice in the earth, And the coastlands will wait expectantly for His law.” 5Thus says God the LORD, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread out the earth and its offspring, Who gives breath to the people on it And spirit to those who walk in it, 6″ I am the LORD, I have called you in righteousness, I will also hold you by the hand and watch over you, And I will appoint you as a covenant to the people, As a light to the nations,…
Stretched but not Apart
I love both the image and word “stretch” in Isaiah 42:5. When I read about God creating the heavens and stretching them out, my heart leaps. Dwelling on the word stretch takes me farther. My heart soaks in it and The Holy Spirit has inspired new meanings to arise as it writes itself across my own horizons.
In my current walk with The Spirit of Our Lord, I prayed that I would grow in my relationship with God; that I would grow nearer to Him. This brought about a great experience of “Stretching” in my life. When I scripture and reflect on this theme, I see the that when I am stretching; reaching towards the Lord with anticipation of His direction, and the re-making of my character, with my heart poised towards Him with an attentive desire to re-form my heart and mind according to His Will – then the response of The Lord is powerful.
The Lord calls comes Near and calls me Himself. His Hand is outstretched and as scripture describes, I am held. He is watching over me. Isaiah 42:5 speaks with such loving embrace and confidence of God’s expanse, width, breadth, command, and sovereignty. This closeness with my Creator becomes increased. Stretching draws me near in relationship with The Lord. By submitting and receiving His hand, His Spirit becomes the Power in my life and I am the recipient of that wondrous blessing.
I see that God loves what he has created and desires to draw near to it all Lovingly. I read about how God stretched the heavens out, which were his creation – I ponder upon how he longs to stretch us, whom he also created. I read in scripture that God enjoys what he creates. It is part of Himself. This kind of love is awesome to contemplate and even ponder. This awesome God also knew me and formed me in the womb before I was born. He appointed me from the beginning of time.
It could be said that to “be called” is similar to being “appointed” which can also mean that one is under The Authority of in some Greek translations of the word. I love looking at that for being under the authority of The Lord, as His Creations makes sense to me”!
From the daily life that wakes up already asleep in mortal strife, it takes a lot to push up against the pull of gravity and “wake up” to His Call. It means lifting above a purely horizontal life laden with worldly perspectives and developing a verticle perspective; one that is willing to open some windows and do some heavy lifting. Most of us do not like leaving behind parts of ourselves that are familiar and comfortable, parts that feel just fine so far. We don’t know that they are strangling us, or blocking out the Light, or distancing us from the blessings that are waiting to be showered upon us once we shed, step out and stretch. This is literally walking towards The Cross of Christ. We need to leave that familiar home and walk with The Spirit to receive our new life every day!
I have been in awe of the experiences that have been unveiled. It is like having curtains that have been closed for many years “drawn back” by an unseen but kindly hand. The vista is amazing and new. A Light as yet unknown shines in and a new skyline is revealed. The heavens before you are “stretched”. Your heart is stretched. Your life is stretched. It is not only I, but all that will be drawn to The Lord and His Law.
“He will not be disheartened or crushed Until He has established justice in the earth, And the coastlands will wait expectantly for His law.”
This passage proclaims the word and command of God that His work will be completed on earth as all, even the most remote-will come to know him and His Gospel and the truth of it. He will fix the truth upon the minds of men.
I feel that the word disheartened is almost like saying that when one’s heart is without God – when it is disengaged from him, it is lost. What despair that would be to one that realizes God’s true nature. It is the worst death, the worst fate. Without God, any enemy can crush you. Only the power of God can surmount. By our own power, we can “do” nothing. Apart from God, I can do nothing. By the Power of His Spirit, we can surmount!
So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.
Yet we insist on doing and living on our own accord. We desire to follow our own will and design our lives, control our lives and be the assumed “author of our destiny” as the last 30 years of our culture would have us believe that we have the power to assume. Did we become a generation of gods and creators? I wonder how The Lord views these proclamations? Possibly with a grieved heart for His sons and daughters have gone to a country far away like the Prodigal Son.
But we do insist on living apart! If I remain apart by continuing to live with sin, idols, and layers of self-reliance that insulate me from Him, then the relationship and that very closeness are hindered. It is like putting clouds and haze between the light and warms of the Sun and the earth. That direct sunshine is seeking me. I am the one with the obstructions. I am the one in the stone house, with high gated walls; windows and the blinds pulled down; living on the inside. This is called mortal life. We can paint the inside any way we want. We can even paint pictures of God on the walls. We can even worship him inside and it is a false god. We mostly don’t realize that we are living inside of a gated home with God on the outside.
This is why God needs to stretch us. This is why He presses in. Sometimes he lets a something happen in our lives come to wake us up! We may call it misfortune or a bump in the road. In the language of God “calling”, it may be a reckoning that is attempting to wake us up and help us to seek a relationship with the One that can truly help us. We try to fix our lives in every other way while Our Lord waits. Do you know how many decades he waited for me? Many.
He may send beautiful demonstrations of his love, He may send rainbows that bring you to your knees. He probably has sent many blessings. In my life, He healed me of illness, of a deeply broken life and a more broken heart. He re-made me and surrounded me with wonders and miracles.
Then we are filled with the Breath of His Spirit and we pray to be close to Him and to Know Him. The most important thing in life is to Know Jesus, to Behold Love.
When this prayer is answered, The Lord stretched you out like his beloved creation from west to east and depth to height. He holds you close and holds you up.
But being stretched is like dying to self. It is surrender to God with a full willingness to be humbled, bared and dared.
So sometimes we get a bigger stretch. I am in full stretching mode in my life now and it is full of miracles, thunder and heavenly moments with The Lord’s Love. I am keeping the Word of God close.
If I am being stretched, it is because of the of Love of my Father, my Creator. He is seeking me. I would be like a runaway newborn planet in his galaxy not to reply to the Sun seeking to shine upon me.
In Greek, (Strong’s Concordance) one word for word stretching is “cheirotoneo“. It means the appointing, similar to the appointing by the reaching out of the hand. How beautiful that is. It is like beholding as well. So when God is stretching me, He is also appointing me and reaching to me. If I take His hand, I am responding to that appointment. That would involve “receiving the appointment”. I would have to search my heart for my ability to receive God’s appointment. It is like a marriage. Can I take His hand in marriage?
Another Greek word for stretching is “epekteino“. It means aptly stretching towards. Again what a beautiful way of seeing God. He is leaning, stretching towards His Creation, us! When he stretches us, He is drawing close. As stretching pulls me towards God, it forces parts of me that are “away” from Him to loosen and let go. I move towards the Cross and that is Not Love or truth loosens and is seen in Light and must die to self and be let go off so that I can go towards Christ.
The third Greek work that I found for stretching was “arego“. It means to aspire and to yearn for. Nothing could be more touching that this. As the Lord stretched out The Heavens He Yearned for them. He loved them. As the Lord stretches us and leads us to him by drawing us close, he yearns for us. When I am stretched, I develop a yearning for God. My heart’s desire for Him is stirred.
What a Love is this that yearns for us, leans in, to us to draw us near and has created us? He has called us by name and will watch over us. He will hold us by the hand and watch over us.
I am Loved, held by God and emboldened to stretch. I do yearn to draw nearer and nearer to Lord Jesus Christ. What my heart beholds turns all to awe and humbles me.
“He will not be disheartened or crushed Until He has established justice in the earth; And the coastlands will wait expectantly for His law.” Isaiah 42:5
How could I ever be disheartened when He is holding us by the hand? How could I ever be the one that yields justice when God is Sovereign?
Stretching is joy, yearning for The Lord; it is drawing near to Him in response to His call. Please stretch me Lord…bring me to the Cross!
© 2018 Linda Willows