Rule of Four

Fr. Stephen Powley | 31 March 2021

“For all this His anger is not turned away and His hand is stretched out still.”

(Isaiah 9:12, 17, 21, and 10:4)

It is a good rule of thumb that if the Lord says something twice in Holy Scriptures, we should be extra attentive. In pondering today’s daily reading from Isaiah, we find the phrase above repeated not just twice but four times. That should indeed give us pause to wonder what is so important that it would be repeated so many times in just a few verses?

These four are things that bring God’s anger. The Holy Prophet Isaiah is giving a prophecy against the nation of Samaria, but perhaps we can glean some things for our own lives. So, let’s take a look at each of these as we seek to grow spiritually in this Lenten Journey.

First (Isaiah 9:8-12), we find people speaking with “pride and arrogance of heart” (Isaiah 9:10). “For all this His anger is not turned away and His hand is stretched out still.” Dear Lord, please show me my pride and arrogance; help me to purge these things from my life.

Second (Isaiah 9:13-17), we discover that people have displeased the Lord because they do not seek Him; they embrace lies (rather than the Truth), and they speak folly (rather that Wisdom). “For all this His anger is not turned away and His hand is stretched out still.” Dear Lord, please help me in this Lenten Journey to seek You more, to desire to walk in Your Truth, and to grow in Wisdom so that the words that come out of my mouth will be wise words.

Third (Isaiah 9:18-21), we find the wickedness of these people burning like a fire. They are consuming each other by their words and by their actions. “For all this His anger is not turned away and His hand is stretched out still.” Dear Lord, please help me to see how my words and actions harm other people. Help me to have Your love be the guiding force of my words and actions. Help me to overcome wicked thoughts toward others that influence how I speak and act toward them.

Fourth (Isaiah 10:1-4), we discover that the actions of these people have harmed the needy: the poor, the widows, and the orphans. “For all this His anger is not turned away and His hand is stretched out still.” Dear Lord, please open my eyes to the needs of others that are all around me. Help me to find ways to help those in need who are in my church, in my neighborhood, in my city, and in this whole world.

Oh, what love and compassion He has for us!  He has given us these areas to work on to draw us to His outstretched hand. Dear Lord, please have mercy and strengthen us today as we grow toward Theosis.

By your prayers…as we continue our Journey,

Fr. Stephen

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