I’ve been hanging out with Isaiah this month. He starts out strong and doesn’t let up for 66 chapters. Lots of judgment in the first 39 chapters is followed by comfort and consolation (mixed with a little more judgment) in the last 27 chapters. Speaking on God’s behalf to a rebellious nation wasn’t an easy job, so not too many applied for the position.
But when God said, “Whom shall I send?” Isaiah was like the kid in the back row of the 3rd grade classroom who desperately wanted to be the first one to give the answer to the teacher. Isaiah shot his hand up in the air and almost fell out of his seat, saying “Ooo, oo, oo, me! Send me!!! Pick me!!!” God must have loved that.
When I got to chapter 54, I hit the brakes and squealed to a halt. There it was — flashing in red lights and sounding the siren. “Enlarge the site of your tent, and stretch out the drapes of your dwellings; don’t hold back. Lengthen your tent ropes and strengthen your stakes.” (verse 2)
There has been a theme looking me square in the face every time I turn around lately. Every book I read, every Bible study and Sunday school class I sit in on, and even in a conference I attended, the same idea keeps hounding me. It boils down to this:
I have spent a lot of time and effort putting my stakes down deep. I’ve studied, read, prayed and memorized. I’ve pounded down some sturdy anchors. Now it’s about time to lengthen the ropes.
Strong stakes aren’t for the purpose of keeping me safe and sound in my own little protective tent, complete with all the creature comforts this world has to offer. They are there to create the potential for enlarging my site, to make more room for whoever God wants to bring my way. I don’t know exactly what “stretching out the drapes” will entail. I’m not sure what or who I’m making space for. But the message is loud and clear.
Strengthen the stakes and lengthen the ropes.
Lengthen and strengthen.