Read Isaiah 48
Focus on verse 9-11
Perhaps you heard about the huge faux pas the host of the Miss Universe pageant made just this last year? Imagine what it must have felt like for Miss Columbia to be called the winner and then moments later be told – Oh, oops sorry, you are not the winner, I misread the judges decision, Miss Philippines really is the winner, you are going to have to give that crown back. One minute you are thinking it is all about you – only to discover it is not really about you.
In today’s reading God explains to his people Israel that though they may think the universe revolves around them, it really revolves around God. As God explains His actions to the nation he says:
For my name’s sake I defer my anger,
for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you,
that I may not cut you off.
Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;
I have tried you in the furnace of affliction,
For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it,
for how should my name be profaned?
My glory I will not give to another. (Isaiah 48:9-11)
It is hard for us to understand at times why people so often suffer. Certainly there are times when we bring suffering upon ourselves, as it seems the nation of Israel did by abandoning the worship of God, however, I suspect there were some people in the nation who had continued to be faithful to God – yet they suffered along with the ones who had earned it. Here in this statement God explains something that we find even harder to accept. Essentially, the implication is that when its all said and done…it’s not about us! It is entirely about God, and preserving the glory and holiness of His name! Personally I find that a little hard to take! I want it to be all about me! I like to think that God is entirely concerned about MY wellbeing and MY best interests. Here we discover it’s all about HIM!
This could be very disappointing and disillusioning if we were to stop right there, however, when we think it through and try to picture it from God’s perspective, we actually discover that it truly is in my best interests for God to be the center of the universe rather than me. God knows that it is in our best interests for us to see Him as the center. For us to give Him glory, and to worship and praise Him as God not only preserves His glory and honors His name, but it also puts us in a position where He does not need to fire up the furnace of affliction in order to get our attention.
When we understand from the get go that we are not the center it prevents us from experiencing that awkward feeling of demotion we feel when we realize that the reason the crown we are trying to wear doesn’t seem to fit well is because it doesn’t belong to us. If we understand straight up that the crown belongs to God – we don’t have go through the humiliating process of having to take it off and hand it over.