A couple of weekends ago I had the privilege of presenting the Sunday morning message at the Arizona Women's Retreat in Williams, Arizona. Wow! Those ladies had obviously been inspired and recharged by the speakers and breakout session leaders they had heard over the course of the weekend, because they were such a responsive group. And I know God had been at work in our midst because at least two women had prayed to turn their lives over to Jesus before I even stepped up to the mic Sunday morning.
The scripture passage I had been assigned for that morning was the final portion of Isaiah 43:1b-3a:
Do not fear, I have redeemed you, O Israel,
I have called you by name;
you are Mine!
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and through the rivers,
they will not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be scorched,
nor will the flame burn you.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel,
How else could I wrap up this wonderful weekend of dwelling on God's faithfulness and love than to focus our gaze completely on His character? We had looked at who we are to Him -- His redeemed, His children, His precious possession -- and we'd reflected on how He sticks with us through all of life's storms, but none of that would stick with the ribs of our souls unless we left that place knowing who our God is. If we are going to trust Him in the crises of life, we have got to keep our eyes on Him and see just how perfectly trustworthy He is all the other days of our life, building our confidence in His character and ways day by day.
And so we talked about how our God is able (omnipotent and big), sovereign (completely in control and never taken by surprise), beyond our comprehension (His ways are not our ways), and love (not just loving, but He is love). We looked full in His wonderful face and saw His glory!
To wrap up the morning and the weekend, I led the ladies in a doxology. A doxology, while not a word you will find in the Bible, is a biblical concept. You'll find examples of doxologies throughout the Bible, including Jude 24-25 and 1 Timothy 1:17. Likewise, many of us are familiar with modern day doxologies such as:
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.
I bet you've sung those words a time or two.
Whether found in the Bible or our hymn books, a doxology is a brief formula for expressing praise or glory to God. Doxologies generally contain two elements: an ascription of praise to God (usually referred to in third person) and an expression of His infinite nature. I've noticed in Scripture that the writers of the various books of the Bible often inserted doxologies after long passages of instruction or exhortation, as though to point the reader's attention back to the majesty and grandeur of God, sort of reminding them that He is deserving of their obedience and allegiance. The point seems to be to gird them for the task ahead, remind them of God's holiness and rightful claim over their lives, and invoke them to praise and adoration. Doxology literally means word of glory. It's our way of verbally giving God a little glory so that our praises ring in our own hearts and in the ears of those around us as well.
And so, as we approach the weekend and reflect back on how God has been so good to us this past week, I thought I'd share with you the doxology I wrote for the closing session of the Arizona Women's Retreat. I promised several of the ladies to post it, and of course I have neglected to do that so far. I apologize ladies. I'm glad it resonated with you. May it be the song of our hearts as we finish up another glorious week in the presence of our Maker. There is no tune, but won't you say it out loud with me today, so that God can hear it coming from your lips? And may the demons hear it, too, and shudder!
The Doxology of Isaiah 43:1-3
Now to the Lord Jesus Christ,
who has redeemed us with so great a price
and called us by name (for we are His!),
let us entrust ourselves,
with full assurance that He will be with us
when we pass through the waters
and will not allow the rivers of life to knock us down
or drown us
and will protect us completely when we
walk through the raging fires of life.
For He is my Lord, my God,
the Holy One of Israel,
and the Savior whom I desperately need.
For I am not able, but He is more than able.
And no one else is able,
but He is.
And nothing else is able,
but He is.
I am not in control.
In fact sometimes I fell quite out of control.
But He never, never, never loses control.
His ways are not my ways
and His thoughts are not my thoughts.
That's a good thing.
Because I am small and limited in my understanding.
But He is the immortal, invisible, God only wise.
Most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
almighty victorious, His great name we praise!
Have a blessed weekend!