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Sermon – April 8, 2001
Light My Fire – Isaiah 50:11


Light My Fire

"Behold, all you that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks; walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that you have kindled. This you shall have of My hand, you shall lie down in sorrow." (Isaiah 50:11)

When God first made this verse "personal" many years ago, I was troubled for the Lord obviously wanted me to receive and understand it, but I did not know how the verse applied to me. You know what I mean by "personal" - that’s when a Scripture verse, written to the WORLD, suddenly becomes MINE (Or in your case - YOURS). I recognized that the Holy Spirit had something He wanted to communicate, but the verse troubled me for years, and every time I ran across it, I would wonder, what does this mean (to me)?

Oh, I understood roughly what the verse MEANT! As Mrs. Charles E. Cowman said in one of her books, "it means we are in darkness" (in relation to some situation we do not understand) "and the temptation is to find a way without trusting in the Lord and relying on Him." Instead of waiting on the Lord, we try figure it out ourselves.

Mrs. Cowman went further: "Premature deliverance (from our situation) may frustrate God’s work of grace in your life. Just commit the whole situation to Him. Be willing to abide in darkness so long as you have His presence. Remember that it is better to walk in the dark with God than to walk alone in the light."

And that’s what it means. Often, we have prayed prayers and don't understand at all what happened, when in fact, God actually has ANSWERED those prayers. "Oh, God, use me," we pray. "Increase my faith", we cry. "Thy will be done." And of course, He does have a will for your life, just as He has for all of us. But His will is likely to go in directions we never, ever thought about, and often into areas we have not even heard of before. He WILL answer those prayers, but all too often, we have not understood the answers He has given.

This is entirely consistent with His Word. He patiently says to you and to me, "My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways" (Isaiah 55:8). He has directions and plans for your life which are completely outside of – you. And that’s the point. It's not all about you.  When He answers those prayers, and begins preparing you for the life and work that is to come, it’s going to be abundantly clear that the work is His, and not yours.

Remember that prayer, offered by so many – "Use me." And He will, but first you must be made ready for the work that He has in store. To illustrate this, I will share from the lives of two men – myself (it’s always safer to talk about yourself than it is other people) and Dennis Stinson, a patient I met at the VA Hospital, who is now my friend.

You may remember Dennis from his "Guest Speaker" slot still contained within the First Church On The Net, which was entitled "The Slip." Dennis was a wild and free kind of guy, who "wanted to do what he wanted to do, when he wanted to do it." I’m sure you’ve heard the preceding expression – and that was Dennis!

The life of an alcoholic is a crazy roller coaster ride, filled with ups-and-downs in the wildness of the moment. And suddenly, it was over. He was confined to a wheelchair, unable to move his arms and legs – most likely for the rest of his life.

Dennis had wanted to change before, but he lacked the strength, even the will, to make that move. God made the move for him. I have never seen a "bad" situation be more "right" for anyone. For Dennis’ personality has been utterly changed by what’s happened to him. Before, he really only wanted to have fun, but now, as he puts it, "I love Christ and I want to help other people."

A similar kind of wildness was inside of me. I had an intense curiosity, and after my return to the Lord, I had what you might call a FIERCE desire to serve Him. I wanted to go BACK to that time, 15-years before, when He called me to the ministry. But it was not to be. After Bible college, I was returned to the business world with a thud, at 1/3 the pay. We suffered financially, and I kept trying to "kindle a fire" to figure out what was "wrong".

But nothing was wrong, for God was in control the whole time (and He always got us through). Though I did not have a "clue" about what was going on, God was patiently spending the next two decades, correcting the mess I had made inside of me, during the 15-years I was away from Him.

And to the extent I tried to figure everything out, sending up the "sparks" of this verse, to light my way and "see" what was going on, I ended up night-after-night, lying down in the "torment" He warns about. My assignment was not to perfectly understand things but rather, my job was to learn to TRUST in God. If He’s going to use you, it’s going to be HIS way, and you must finally learn that His way is to trust in Him.

This is amply depicted in the Scripture just before "our" verse, where He says through the prophet, "Who among you fears the Lord? Who obeys the voice of His Servant? Who walks in darkness and has no light? Let him TRUST in the name of the Lord" (Isaiah 50:10). It isn’t "light my fire that I may see", it’s "teach me to trust in You."

That’s the key. We want to understand – He instead wants to give us faith. We want to see what’s going on – He wants us to trust in Him. We want to "fix" things – He would have us simply BELIEVE in the Son of God. Take it from Dennis and me – If you try to run your life, you’ll mess it up. TRUST in the Lord.

Stephen Merritt said, "Cease meddling with God’s plans and will. You touch anything of His, and you mar the work. You may move the hands of a clock to suit you, but you do not change the time; so you may hurry the unfolding of God’s will, but you harm and do not help the work. You can open a rosebud but you spoil the flower. Leave all to Him. Hands down. Thy will, not mine."

No matter what your situation, trust in Him (you’ll be glad you did). Soon and very soon, HE will "Light Your Fire" and you’ll understand everything! But be patient, and for now, TRUST in Him.

Father, we come to You. Most of the time, we do not understand what is going on, and that frightens us, because we are not in control. But it’s our "control" that got us into this mess in the first place! Use us, Lord, and bring us through. Let us learn to trust in the Lord Jesus, and follow the Holy Spirit of God. Help us to place our faith in You. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Ron Beckham
Friday Study Ministries