Power Granted — 13 January 2020 Devotional

Isaiah 41:14–20; John 1:29–34

♫ Nobody likes me; everybody hates; just because I eat wo-oorms ♫

I don’t know if you remember that song from your childhood. I recall it as some weird camp song. Really, who would eat worms?

At the same time, I did learn that other cultures ate maggots, caterpillars, and even worms. They would fry them up or even eat them raw.

Still, though, as being raised in the US, we’re not really into worms as part of our diet. One of our biggest things about worms is, “the early bird gets the worm,” and the first robins of spring eating worms.

With that in mind, let’s be happy we’re worms!

Isaiah’s words are odd to us. Which is understandable. Why would someone want to be a worm? I remember kids saying they’d like to be an eagle, or a horse, or a wolf. I don’t recall someone saying they wanted to be a worm.

For us, it is strange to be called a worm or an insect. Yet, in comparison to the Glory and power of God…we are. That is point of Isaiah’s words. Today we might say something like, “we know everything is crazy. We know the world is not making any sense right now. We know that you are hurting or have been hurting. We want you to know that God is bigger than all of that.”

Worms and insects may not be attractive to you. However, it sums up a far larger number of words. All of it to say, God’s got this.

That was God’s message to Israel. God is their hope. God is their redeemer. If they are looking elsewhere…failure!

The language God uses is fascinating. The Israelites would flatten and shape mountains! For us that is solved by explosives and earth movers. In fact, it’s not all that impressive to us. To the Israelites, this was a huge indicator of power! God wouldn’t just redeem them (though that was good), God would give them the power to shape the world!T

he promise wasn’t just redemption. This is key, especially as we look at Jesus’ coming, along with the story of Jesus’ baptism. Being baptised into the death and resurrection of Jesus is not only about redemption. That’s still great! That’s just not all.

In fact, one of the greatest weakness of the modern church is redemption and forgiveness has been the evangelistic focus. The power was kind of missed. Some of the charismatic churches displayed “power” through being “slain in the spirit” or “speaking in tongues”.

It might sound dismissive, but…that’s it?

In Isaiah, God ties redemption to power, and not just any power, the power to change the world. Of course, just because one has the power, doesn’t mean you should use indiscriminately. We are called to love first, and the power should be motivated by the sacrificial love for others.

※Reflection※

  • What’s your power? (Note that the question wasn’t, do you have power?)
  • Why do you think the church (as a whole) surrendered the power, and was satisfied only with redemption?
  • Why is it so important to know, believe, and act with the understanding that redemption is only the beginning?

※Prayer※

God, you gave us the power to move physical mountains, emotional mountains, and spiritual mountains. Help us remember that you also gave us the responsibility to use it wisely and with love, and leave it withering away. Amen.