Planted in Grace

Vol. 8-17 – 04-23-2023 – Planted in Grace

To Please

He will tend His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs in His arms; He will gently lead those that are with young. –Isaiah 40:11

The title and the verse for this section seem odd from earlier chapters. A little background will help.

In the beginning of this book, Isaiah gives a vivid description of being before God in the Temple, His Temple. There is smoke. Thunder. Multitudes of angels speaking/singing praise. Suddenly Isaiah is confronted with God’s presence. He responds with fear: Woe is me! I am lost (ruined)! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips (Isaiah 6:5).

He went on to say that his eyes saw the King, the Lord of hosts.

Before this Isaiah had pleaded with God to rescue them, to send help, and aid to come against their enemies. Israel had not done well in following after their God. Indeed, God describes their acts as abominations against Him.

God had from time-to-time been pictured as the conquering King, righteous Judge, mighty Warrior, and powerful Sovereign. That is an amazing resumé. It brings anyone with common sense to their knees.

This is the God who spoke the world into existence and has the power to immediately do away with the whole world at just a thought.

The verse that proceeds our introductory verse reads Behold, the Lord God comes with might, and His arm rules for Him; behold, His reward is with Him, and His recompense before Him (Isaiah 40:10).

What is displayed so far is that God is strong. Active. Compassionate. Dependable. And a no-nonsense God. This is the God who spoke the world into existence. God is not our bellboy. He is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. One cannot be less than in awe when considering God’s character. What pleases God?

He wants us to have His character; to be like Him. To tend to others, in the framework of a shepherd. To take others in your arms that you may minister to them, in the character of God. To be gentle with those who lead their young, in the character of God.

Isaiah called upon the Mighty Warrior God to defend the people, to rescue them—what he discovers is not only the Mighty Warrior in God but that the Almighty God is also a tender shepherd. The conquering King of kings stoops down and lifts those of us who are fragile, emotionally strung out, those of us who fret and do not know how to roll it over to Him. Those of us who get angry at what life brings.

Do you know anyone like that?

It is not what we do that brings God to love us, He already loves those He created. What pleases Him is the ones that come to Him. Speak their hearts to Him. Draw near. Take their vulnerability to Him. Not only say He is dependable but act on that from the depth of their souls.

We are free to do all of that. Come, His yoke is easy, your burdens will be light, and your relationship will only grow.

Planted in Grace

Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. –Jeremiah 29:5-7

This past year Donna and I reworked our landscaping. We did save some roses (they bloom here all but four weeks of the year). And we saved our Crepe Myrtle. I do not know how deep and wide you must dig to remove that. No matter what you do, it seems to come back almost overnight.

So, almost everything is new. Easier to care for. Not much trimming is required. Hope for rain or water them. All the plants did well; one bunch misbehaved and wanted to spread their wings more than was allowed. This spring there is going to be a surprise for those plants. If you do not grow things to bloom your life may be dull.

Also, last year was our year to support the medical field. Our iPhones have a contact list that is quite sufficient. The category that has the most numerous listings begins with “Dr.

When we were younger, we used to walk the malls (there are not that many malls left now). When we were tired, we would sit on benches and watch people. It was interesting. You could tell which kids belonged to which parents by looking at their ears. (Try it!) Or, by the way, they walked.

Now we people watch in the doctors’ offices. That is interesting as well. No one wants to be there. The kids’ scowl. Teens have the most emotional looks. They also pretend not to hear their name called. If they did not have iPhones, they would be so bored that the wait would intimidate them. What have we done to our kids? I would like to say I am happy to support the medical field. But I am not.

Jeremiah records God’s speaking regarding where you and I are planted. Some of what he writes is not acceptable in our culture—specifically deciding to whom your son will marry and to whom you will give your daughter, and what their prime responsibility is.

Laying that aside for one’s own debate with God (you must deal with Him in matters of faith), there are principles that God lays down that are healthy for our world’s existence.

Have you ever contemplated why you were born at the time you were? In a particular place? To speak a distinct language?

Jeremiah’s time did not offer electronics, EVs, universities, or a long list of other things. Yet, what is written has a sense of responsibility at the outset. When you build a house, there is an intent to make a home. BTW, the Jews were in exile. But God says to build a house and settle. Raise a family. Have sons and daughters. Or perhaps just sons like we did (we got our daughters through marriage).

Pray for the place where you are planted. The health (including the city’s spiritual health) is impacted by who moves in. One sows, another waters, and the harvest of the blooms impacts the world.

When you are in exile, it is difficult to think about blooming where you are planted. Yet, it is an excellent consideration and commitment. In our early years, we moved a number of times. The first thing I did was look for a church. The first attendance was at the prayer meeting. You know right away where the heart of the church is from their prayer meetings.

The second thing I did was attend an evening service. You get a real sense of what the preacher teaches about theology and doctrine in the evening service. If those worked, I then attended the Sunday morning Bible study and Worship. I desired my family to be part of a church because it was planted in the community, connected, and ministering to the community. I call that blooming where God plants you.

What we plant, we expect to bloom. Blooming plants have variety. Not only are there different plants, but there are also varieties of blooms from the plants.

Life Application

Think about your perception of God. Do you fear speaking with Him? Or have you seen His gentle ways with you in your life? Do you imagine that God is perplexed with you and does not want to hear from you?

If you are a parent, would you choose not to love your child? God loves every child He creates; desires them to come to a place where they trust Him for their salvation. So that they might bloom where they are planted. So that they, in their faith, have an impact in their church, in their cities, and to the extent of the world.

God has a plan and a purpose for every life. It does not matter whether you are in a place for a day, 10 days, or 10 years, you should trust the One who has planted you and watered you to bloom to touch another life for Him.

Planting you is an operation of His love and mercy. It is also an application of His grace.

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