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feelings or facts

A prophet’s job is never dull.  Low pay.  Angry mobs.  Confronting those who have the power to put you in prison or have you killed.  No union benefits.

Throughout Israel’s history, the people have been on a roller coaster with God.  Obedient, blessed.  Rebellious, exiled.  And so it goes.

In Isaiah 40, the prophet Isaiah challenges the attitude of his people.  Maybe you’ve been in a funk like this.  Work is hard.  Struggling to get out of bed.  Feeling abandoned by those around you — feeling abandoned by God himself.  No answers.  No direction.  Silence.

Here’s how the Israelites feel: “My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God” (Isaiah 40:27).

They get no sympathy from Isaiah.  Instead, he asks, “Why do you say that?”  In other words, “Have you so quickly forgotten?”  “Have you lost your perspective?”

He doesn’t let them wallow in their feelings.

But it feels good to wallow in our feelings.  When someone wrongs us, we like to stew about, letting others know we’ve been wronged.  Our wound becomes our defining mark.  We bleed on every one we come into contact with.  A sour attitude is justified.

Not so with Isaiah.  “Why do you say that?”  He confronts their feelings with the facts:

“Do you not know? Have you not heard?  The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.  He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom” (Isaiah 40:28).

Feelings mislead.  How often have you made a decision based upon how you were feeling only to later regret that decision?  Angry words.  Fear.  Guilt.

We can be guided by our feelings or be guided by the facts.  Isaiah reminds the people of the truth about God … he is Lord, he is everlasting, he is creator.  Our God will not grow tired or weary.  Our God understands us.

The temptation we face when our feelings are at their most extreme (high or low) is to ignore God.

Feelings can be helpful indicators of when change is necessary.  Feelings can motivate us or slow us down.  That’s not always a bad thing.  But when feelings replace facts as the basis for decisions, we’re asking for trouble.