When God’s people are in tumult and trouble (Isaiah 33:2-3), Isaiah reminds them: the Lord, “He will be the stability of your times, a wealth of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge. The fear of the Lord is his treasure” (v.6 NASB).
The same is true for believers today, but we stand under the new covenant, in Christ. He, in fulfilment of Isaiah’s prophecy, was “pierced for our offences . . . crushed for our wrongdoings” (Isaiah 53:5 NASB). We have been brought into a great salvation, sheltered under His blood. Therefore, when all other ground is sinking sand, we can find stability for our times and minds by meditating on the wealth of this salvation, as we come to appreciate the high value and comfort of an increasing fear of Him.
Augustus Toplady’s words from “Rock of Ages”, written in 1776, remind us of how we have been brought into the stability of this salvation.
“Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to the cross I cling,
Naked, come to thee for dress;
Helpless, look to thee for grace”.
The first reminder is that the stability of our salvation is all of Him. At the point of salvation, we recognised the depth of our sin and our need to place faith in His work on the cross (1 John 1:8-10). We came, not only with empty hands, but also naked, our shame having been exposed as we sought to cover it with fig leaves of our making. Yet the cross reminds us that we are now in Christ, covered by His efficacious blood. God the Father has given us the best robe (Luke 15:22) so how beautiful now are our garments and how firm our foundation.
We also came helpless, in need of grace, which was granted to us in abundance: “for of His fullness we have all received . . . grace upon grace” (John 1:16). This grace continues to be supplied daily as we seek to navigate the times God has placed us in. Though we feel the tug of our old nature on our motives, desires, speech, and behaviour, we are no longer slaves bound to that nature, but rather freed people, covered by Christ’s blood. It is God’s daily grace which sustains our faith to believe this almighty truth, and “consider [ourselves] to be dead indeed to sin . . . alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:11 NASB).
Our stability is based not only on the wealth of our salvation, but on the wisdom, knowledge, and all the treasures found in Christ. Knowledge is gained through spending time in His word, seeking to know Him more and prayerfully walking in step with the Holy Spirit. Wisdom and discernment result from a growing fear of Him (Proverbs 9:10) as we learn to apply these truths from His word to anchor our daily lives.
How, then, will spiritual stability be worked out in our lives? It will surely result in patterns of discipline, causing our wandering hearts to be rooted in Christ and our lives to be upward and outward looking rather than self-seeking. We will be less concerned about our own will and desires, and more intentional in meeting the needs of others, opening our homes, giving of our time and money as we seek to display the stability of our great salvation to an onlooking world. It will mean a dedication to gathering consistently with the Lord’s people, as He commands, and being involved in regular corporate service for Him. When our hearts and minds are filled with God’s Word and the wealth of His riches, we will be motivated by thankfulness and our eyes will be opened to draw alongside other believers who are struggling and need to be reminded of the treasure they possess. Stability of mind and faith allows us to be controlled not by our changing feelings and circumstances, but rather by truth which directs how we walk daily before the Lord and others.
“Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee.”
So, as we live in a world of instability, and are tempted to lose perspective in the midst of change, may we cling to the cross, fix our hearts on the Rock of Ages, and hide ourselves in Him – the stability of our times.