Dream Big in 2023

A New Year’s Challenge for You

I know of a man who was extremely wealthy and a highly influencial politician; in fact he came from a family of monarchs. He was very well connected within his country and with the surrounding countries.

He was not a particularily nice guy, in fact he was quite wicked. He had some evil practices, one that included child sacrifice – actually sacrificing his own children. This guy was was an odd mix of prestige, evil, and wheeler-dealer.

At one point in his life he actually had two kings plotting against him and his kingdom. He was facing extermination, as was the royal line. His whole kingdom was panicing as their hearts were overcome with fear due to the damage that had already been inflicted on their nation.

In response to this impending attack, he chose to survey his city’s vulnerable spots and so he started at the water supply. It is there that we hone in on Ahaz and what happened next. It is there we find a new year’s challenge for you to DREAM BIG!

It is there that the prophet Isaiah (and his son) meet with Ahaz, to deliver to him God’s message. Knowing what you know about Ahaz now, what would you expect God’s message to be?

Believe it or not, God gave Ahaz four assurances. We find them in Isaiah 7:4.

  1. Be careful
  2. Be quiet
  3. Do not fear
  4. Do not let your heart be faint

Knowing Ahaz’s pending conflict and the people’s fearful panicing, knowing the kingdom’s devestation already, God tells the prophet to tell Ahaz to be careful and be quiet. Think of it. God was saying, “Settle down, calm down.” God was telling them all to not be rash or impetuous, but to take a deep breath and chill out for a minute. Stop, collect yourself and settle down.

He went on to tell them the number one salutation to humans in the bible – Do Not Fear. Don’t look at the two armies, don’t look at the devestation, don’t look at the circumstances. Do Not Fear.

Then Isaiah tops it off by telling Ahaz to not allow his heart (or the people’s heart) to be faint. He tells them to guard what their heart feels, and believes. He encourages them, comforts them, and offers them peace and hope.

But that’s not all. After Isaiah delivers that hope to Ahaz and the people, he goes on to tell them more of what God says to them. He tells them that the plans of the two terrorist countries (that are after them) –

… shall not stand, and it shall not come to pass.”

Isaiah 7:7 ESV

He continues by saying that within 65 years, they (the terrorosts countries) will be defeated themselves. That’s remarkable, foretelling the future to Ahaz! Hang in there dude, they’ll be gone soon. Settle down and trust me. Wow. But then, there’s another dinger –

If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all.”

Isaiah 7:8 ESV

Isn’t it interesting how God responds to Ahaz in his time of fear, trouble and uncertainty. First He gives him assurances, then He shares the futute and finally He reminds Ahaz, to be strong in faith. A-MAZE- ING.

That would be a trememdous story if it ended there. We all could take lesson from it, find encouragement from it and recheck our faith. We could be confident that God was still with us, even in our not so nice state, and we could be thankful that God was still talking to us in spite of our wicked ways. We could be encouraged that God was in charge and could be trusted.

But there is yet another incomprehensible offer that God gives to Ahaz. You won’t believe it –

Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, “Ask a sign of the Lord your God: let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.”

Isaiah 7:11 ESV

God was still wanting to encourage Ahaz that He was in control and told him to ask for a sign to prove it. Basically, God was saying, think big Ahaz, dream big – think outside the box. Go as deep as hell or as high as heaven. Ask me for a sign, no matter how big or hard you think it is. Ask. Dream. Go for it.

Remember that little lesson from above about being firm in faith? Ahaz should have remembered that now. Here Ahaz was being offered a blank cheque for any kind of miraculous or crazy sign that he could think of. Go big or go home, Ahaz. Now’s your chance. Call on your faith and God’s ability and let’s see something wonderful, something miraculous. God wants to prove Himself to you. A-MAZE- ING!

And here is where Ahaz proved his alliance.

He refused God’s offer to dream big, he refused to ask any sign of God or “put God to the test.” v. 12 His lame excuse of “putting God to the test” was evidence of his own alliance against God, and later proved to reveal his alliance with a terrorist country. (Which was eliminated in 65 years, as God said.)

Ahaz’s refusal to dream big at God’s request resulted in the destruction of his country and the extinction of his royal blood like. Ahaz heard God’s call and chose not to answer, obey or follow through. Ahaz proved he did not trust God or in God’s ability to deliver his nation. Ahaz did not believe that God was in control, he believed in man’s abilities and the Assyrian war machine.

My friend, I believe with all of my heart, that God is saying to YOU at the beginning of this year, “Ask a sign of the Lord your God.” Make it a big one, outside of the box of hell and heaven – think BIG. Dream BIG. Use your faith, stand in it and ask BIG.

This year, amidst the turmoil, uncertainties, financial stresses and political unrest, God would say to you – be careful, be quiet, do not fear and don’t become fainthearted. He sees you, He knows your situation and need, He knows your heart and deeds. He offers you peace and hope.

And He says to you, Ask me for a sign….as deep as hell or as high as heaven… Let me prove myself to you. I am in control and I love you. Place your trust in Me and not in man. “If you are not firm in your faith, you will not be firm at all.”

Dream Big this year, my friend.

Debbie

One thought on “Dream Big in 2023

  1. Andrew

    WOW! I can dream big – really really big! (I think ….). How to dream a big dream is something I need to give prayerful thought to. I don’t want this prayer to be selfish or a self-centered prayer. I’ll have to share with you what big dream I have come up once it has exploded in my mind and heart.

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