“Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.” (ESV – Read the chapter)
Did you know that your thumb is bigger than a house? Don’t believe me? Next time you go outside, find a house or any other building around you. Once you’ve located just the right one, close one eye and hold your thumb up in front of the open one. Now, move it in a bit closer. Closer still. Just a bit more. Magically, the house is gone and all you can see is your thumb. If you can’t see the house when your thumb is in front of it, your thumb must be bigger right? I can even do you one better. When we lived in Colorado I tried this trick with Pike’s Peak. It worked. My thumb is even bigger than the majestic mountain. I know, I’m awesome like that.
Rolling your eyes yet? You should be. My thumb is obviously not bigger than Pike’s Peak anymore than your thumb is bigger than a house. But, if you hold it just right, it sure looks like it, doesn’t it? Why? Perspective and focus. The larger our thumb looms in our perspective and the greater the focus we give it, the more it overwhelms everything else around us and in front of us. If we position it just right, our thumb can completely block our ability to see anything else at all.
The thumb trick can be silly and fun. But the idea isn’t so silly or fun when it is something else we are letting flood our field of vision. God’s call here in Isaiah is to turn, or to look to Him and be saved. The reasons is, there is no other source of salvation in all the earth. This is an important truth for two different groups of people.
The first group is those who have not looked to Him before at all, but have spent their lives looking somewhere else. If we have not yet found the salvation we are almost programmed to seek, we are going to keep looking for it until we do. We will look high and low and everywhere in between. We will look to our work. We will look to our friends or family. We will look to our stuff. We will look to various trends and hobbies. We will look to any number of different religions. Some will seem satisfying for a season, but their returns will always be less than we initially hoped and diminishing over time.
It will not be until we turn to God that we will find the object of our searching. He is the only one who can fill the role of God because He alone is God. Everything else will leave us falling short. The larger these other things loom in our field of view, though, and the greater the focus and attention we give them, the harder it will be to see what’s true. We must open our eyes to see the full picture and gain a new perspective.
Unfortunately, for most people, a willingness to do this doesn’t come until they have tripped over something they couldn’t see coming because of their limited sight and they are lying on their face in the mud. Indeed, if we walk around with our thumb over our eye, we are going to eventually trip over something and get hurt. As followers of Jesus who are looking for opportunities to share our faith, seasons of brokenness are a great time to do so because people are going to tend to be more willing to listen. Perhaps not at first and almost certainly not without the context of a relationship built on trust, but if we pursue with gentleness and intentionality, there is a good chance they will eventually listen.
And, lest a critic call this manipulation, it is not. It is an offering truth in a time when truth is going to be most helpful. Now, if we are offering truth for some other end besides simply sharing truth, then, yes, that would be manipulation. Sharing truth that has transformed our lives with someone who is broken in hopes for them that it will accomplish the same thing in their life is an act of compassion and love.
The other group for whom this truth is important are those who have already turned to God for their salvation. The tough reality of this life, of traveling through a world that is broken by sin in a manifold of ways, is that keeping our focus on God is difficult. If you have been following Jesus for long you have no doubt experienced this. Life gets hard, you begin to give the things demanding your attention what they ask for, and eventually you can’t see God much at all. You wonder where He is and why you feel like you’re drowning in life. The truth is, He hasn’t gone anywhere. You’ve simply stopped looking to Him for your salvation. You’ve bought into the world’s lie that you are enough for that task on your own if you will just commit more of yourself to the problems surrounding you instead of remaining wholly committed to the Lord. Like Peter, you are slipping into the sea, crying for the Lord’s help, while He is standing right in front of you.
There are two things to do in this situation: Repent, and open your eyes again. Seek out the forgiveness of Jesus and readjust your perspective so you can see properly. Look to the Lord for your salvation for He is God and there is no other. Far too much of our lives are difficult because we are not letting ourselves see clearly; because our perspective and focus have gotten overwhelmed by the immediate rather than the eternal. Life is never to be found in the immediate. It is found in the God who is forever. Open your eyes. Look to Him. Be saved.