I've never been one to come up with New Year's resolutions and I'm not sure why. No big philosophical reason, I've just never done it. However, this year I decided that I wanted to come up with a theme Bible verse for the new year. A verse that I could memorize, meditate on and learn from. Sort of a spiritual goal for the coming year.
So, I sat down this week to pick a verse. I opened my Bible and I wasn't sure where to turn. Since I studied many Psalms this summer and really enjoyed it, I decided to turn there. I began skimming through some Psalms praying that God would lead me to a verse that captured my hearts desire. I wanted to find a verse about drawing closer to God and so I continued looking and praying. And then, as I was reading in the Psalms a verse popped into my head. I knew it was from the Bible because I had heard it before, but it wasn't on the page in front of me and I couldn't remember when I read it last. I did a quick search online and found it in Isaiah. I am certain that God laid this verse on my heart and this excites me!
This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength..." Isaiah 30:15
I'm slowly beginning to unpack this verse and understand it in it's context, but the six key words in this verse are perfect: repentance, rest, salvation, quietness, trust and strength.
I went back to the beginning of the chapter and using some commentaries tried to understand better who this verse was written to and why. The verse actually continues with one more phrase, "...but you would have none of it." This passage is written to a wicked generation who is being exposed for their rebellious ways. They did not heed and hear what was spoken to them from God, and the result was not good. According to one of the commentaries that I read, it is written as a warning to others not to live as these wicked men did. The Lord told them that if they turned toward Him in repentance and away from their evil ways, if they submitted themselves to the Lord's will they would be saved! He told them that as "their spirits were calm before Him and in continual dependance on Him and His power and goodness"* then they would have strength.
This is significant to me. Over the last year, I have learned a lot about the importance of repentance in my relationship with God. It's not a one time thing. It is a daily, moment by moment experience of repenting for my sin. I've learned that as I study His word and read of His goodness and faithfulness, then I am able to more fully trust Him with the day in and day out challenges I face. He offers me salvation. He offers me strength. He has given me His love letter, the Bible. I love this!
The one other word that jumps out at me is quietness. (less complaining, less gossiping, less hurtful words, less of me ... more calmness, more dependance, more peace, more strength, more Him!)
I am excited to look back a year from now and see examples of His faithfulness. To see how He is teaching me more and more to trust Him and draw near to Him. I'm so thankful that He led me to this verse and ready for more of Him in 2012!
*Matthew Henry's Commentary