Do Your Feet Stink?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, September 5, 2015 0 comments

by Nathan Buck

When we moved back to Pennsylvania after being in ministry in Ohio for 15 years, it seemed like the transition took forever. We knew we were where God wanted us, and we knew we had listened carefully for His direction on when, how, and where our sabbatical would begin. But, here we sat in Pennsylvania waiting for our house to sell in Ohio.

We greatly appreciated the support of our friends who were walking through this with us and helped us keep our eyes on the facts and the plan God had in front of us. We did NOT appreciate the religious outside observers who were all too willing to offer their comments and suspicions as to why our house hadn't sold. Wild speculations and rumors that ranged from us "missing God's plan," to me having some "hidden sin issue" all made their way back to us. It was aggravating, and it hurt.

  To know we had done right and to be stuck in a place where we felt like we were straddling worlds, instead of resting and re-tooling, was challenging enough. The speculations of others who had no investment and no real relationship with us should have been just background noise. But when you are in a hard situation, it's easy to doubt, to fear, to question; it's easy to hear those who decide to voice their criticisms and insults. After all, God quickly sold the houses of other colleagues when they transitioned; maybe we missed something?

It’s so easy to get caught up in doubt, and it's hard to trust God when things aren't going the way we hoped. The truth is, we were in the right place, we just had assumptions about how He was going to tie up all the loose ends of the transition. Our friends who reminded us of the truth, who kept us focused on the pieces we did know, and encouraged us with insight into each step of that season were and are precious to us.

What about those who don't have a relationship with God? If we, who have a relationship with God, struggled to see what was true and keep our perspective healthy - how difficult is it for those who face life's challenges without God? Who helps them check their perspective? Who will they trust to work their situation out to a good end?

Look at what Paul writes in Romans 10:14-15: "How, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: 'How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!'"

The last part of verse 15, Paul is quoting the book of Isaiah 52:7. Whenever a Jewish teacher quotes a verse, it's important to go and read the context. The verses before and after usually underscore the point being made - more so than just the verse they quoted. In Isaiah 52, God reveals part of His plan for a savior who will rescue His people. But just before He does, there is this section Paul quotes from. I encourage you to go and read it, to see how God describes His people being captives to other nations who mock Him.

In that situation of captivity, God promises that He will make His name known and He will rescue His people - in the sight of all the nations. It seems that in captivity, Israel must have begun to forget about God, as they heard the mocking of the nations who had captured them. God specifically promises that His people will know that He is the one who promised and foretold their rescue, and that He alone is in charge ("...your God reigns" in verse 7). It is the one who brings that message to God's people in that dark time that would be greatly appreciated - whose feet would be beautiful.

I don't know how an ancient or first century Jew would have understood "...beautiful on the mountains, are the feet..." but I DO know the treasure it is to have those who remind you of God's love and promises, especially in our most challenging situations. I do know how beautiful it was to hear our realtor call and say, "It's sold!"

And by the way, notice that Paul is challenging believers to be the messengers of God's good news. God fulfilled His promise of sending a savior. God gives us hope in being fully alive through being a follower of Jesus. God promises rescue and provision as we walk with Him, even if it doesn't look the way we expect. As followers of Jesus we are commissioned to be those who bring that message to others.

So how are you doing with that? Do your feet stink, like those who gossip and spread rumors? Or are the people around you hearing truth and being encouraged with hope in God's promises?

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