You’re Delusional

Isaiah 63 and beyond are so beautiful. A conversation between God and Isaiah- but also perhaps The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit – a memory walk of good and bad times with the Israelites. It shifts from good old days to current bad days and then turns again to seek the hope of future days- foreshadowing a ministry beyond those times, saying that the Lord will “call his servants by another name.”(65:15)

It goes through the blessings to be received by those who call upon him, and the curses that befall those who reject him.

As I sat marveling at the grace and mercy of God, continuing to read, I found Isaiah 66:4 and it’s one of the most beautiful verses to me…

I will also choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called none did answer; when I spake they did not hear: but they did evil before my eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.

When we choose to do wrong, or to turn from those things God has given us to do for our benefit- it doesn’t mean we excuse ourselves from his order. We aren’t excused from his design just because we choose to deny it exists.

He chooses our delusions. Do you see that? Right there in black and white- “I will also choose their delusions…”.

I don’t believe that means he randomly selects people to inflict or punish- or that he’s being mean. It means, that even in our rebellion, God understands the workings of the mind- the natural things we will certainly encounter when we choose to deny the truth.

Choices have logical (to God if not to our poor thinking) consequences. When we are turned over to a reprobate mind- it doesn’t mean we are outside of God’s order- just the opposite- we are still right where his order says we must be.

God loves us so much that he allows us to disagree. He allows us to live how we choose. He even allows us to deny him.

But denying the truth doesn’t make it untrue. Truth still exists right we’re it was. A delusion is defined as

A belief or altered reality that is persistently held despite evidence or agreement to the contrary, generally in reference to a mental disorder.

By definition a delusion is a disagreement with Truth. The part of the whole that we choose to disagree with determines the consequences we experience.

Now – that definition also includes reference to mental disorders– which typically brings to mind a serious medical problem. But- think a moment- isn’t our mind somewhat dis-ordered any time we don’t understand something fully? Don’t you enjoy those aha! moments? Those moments where an unclear situation suddenly becomes clear? Don’t you feel more at ease and relaxed when your mind is put in order in that aha! moment?

I’m not trying to diminish true mental illnesses by any means- but simply to point out that order is preferable to disorder. (Even those of us who love to make creative messes enjoy having things back where we can get to them again once we are finished.)

The point really is that He knows the order. He understands where our mind goes when we deny the truth. He knows the path to where we are, because he created the path. He created the mind. He can find us wherever we are– even if that place is a hidden place inside our own thinking.

You don’t have to be deluded. Turn to him and ask him to help you find the path through your tangled mind. Ask him to keep you from drowning in your troubled thoughts. He’s walked on water before. He knows the way. He is the way, the Truth, and the Life.

I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.

John 10:10

Psalm 145

I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever.

Everyday I will bless you, and praise your name forever and ever.

I confess that sometimes, when reading passages, my eyes see the words and my mind skims though them without much consideration.

That happened the first time I read the first two verses of Psalm 145 this morning. My brain caught up with itself when it come to the second occurrence of the phrase “forever and ever.” I though- wait, didn’t I just read that?

So I consciously made a decision to attend to each word and quickly realized that- as many of us who read well will do- I had never stopped to learn the definition of a word I thought I knew because I always accepted the contextual understanding.

Not only that, but I was intrigued by the pattern of the language: extol, bless; bless, praise. Noticing the pattern made me realize that these words- extol, bless, praise- were not merely synonymous, but had distinct meanings.

The word extol specifically has deeper meaning than I expected. It means lavish praise with the added element of expressing heroic virtue (not deeds- virtue). In Latin it comes from ex– outward and tollare– to uplift.

So- a different quality of praise for a specific purpose.

The word bless also has more meaning than simply speaking nice things about something. It means to confer divine favor or endow with a cherished attribute.

(I love graduations, so the word confer really spoke to me. My favorite part of the ceremony is the conferral of degrees when candidates are granted the status of graduate “with all the rights and privileges thereto appertaining.”).

So- more than nice words- a blessing comes with the rights and privileges conferred upon the person being blessed according to their station.

Praise also- doesn’t just mean- I think you are the coolest!- it means an offering of grateful homage, and agreement with a judgement of righteousness.

So- I agree that the one I praise has the right to my gratitude.

Such simple words that we use all the time, but they aren’t simple at all- they are burgeoning with the overflow of our hearts in response to God.

God my hero, who has the right to my favor and gratitude.

Lord, I commit in my heart to always remember the deeper meaning of these familiar yet mysterious words. I too will extol your virtue and bless you forever and ever and praise you everyday forever and ever.