Sunday, December 9, 2001

Isaiah 34:9-11

"And the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch.
It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up for ever: from generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it for ever and ever.
But the cormorant and the bittern shall possess it; the owl also and the raven shall dwell in it: and he shall stretch out upon it the line of confusion, and the stones of emptiness."
Isaiah 34:9-11

Overall, this scripture is talking about the last days.  The burning part doesn't sound very fun... and there are a lot of interesting things here about things that will happen around the Second Coming... but what I think is interesting is the way God talks about confusion and emptiness here.  There are lots of references to confusion in the scriptures, almost all having to do with people losing their way... trying to find the right answers by asking the wrong questions.  1 Corinthians tells us that God is not the author of confusion, but of peace.  That is interesting to me as well, because it indicates that the opposite of peace is confusion... not war. :)  There is going to be a lot of confusion and emptiness in the last days... so, how do we find peace and combat confusion?  How do we find fullness rather than emptiness?  What I think of is Lehi's dream.  In the beginning of his dream he found himself in a dark and dreary waste... perhaps not unlike the one described in these verses.  Confusion and emptiness surrounded him, but as he prayed to God for deliverance he saw a path, and a tree.  The path was a glimpse of order amidst the confusion, and the tree a promise of fulfillment.  Following the path that God sets for us in our lives isn't always easy... in fact it is often difficult... but having a direction is always easier than going nowhere.  We create a lot of confusion for ourselves in life.  We reject God's answers and search for better ones where there are none.  Instead of sticking to God's path we strike out through the desert on our own... not carrying any water.  Our souls and our water bottles are empty and we have no way to refill them... we are dying, and still we walk away from God, who is the only one who can fill us to overflowing.
When we find ourselves in a dark and dreary waste, as we all do at some point, let's ask for God's help, and accept it when offered.  Let's stick to the path that leads to happiness and light... to peace, rather than confusion.  To fulfillment rather than emptiness.

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