It’s month six of COVID here and my children, like most, have heard “don’t touch your face” and “stop touching your eyes” maybe 56843548 times at this point. And yet, they will probably hear these same phrases 56843548 more times before this is all over. As a parent, this is frustrating on two fronts: First, I’m angry at the fact that this virus exists at all and has so upended my little one’s lives, brought suffering to thousands upon thousands, and has no end date. Second, I am weary of repeating the same instructions over and over again. I mean listen, I understand that is part and parcel for parenting, but there’s just something extra about it when it’s in reference to a pandemic-causing virus. Something like, “Do you not know that this is basic COVID life right now?!”
“Do you not know?” That simple phrase popped in my head recently while I was having a particularly rough day. Recalling that at least one verse in the Bible contains this phrase, I did a search for it and found the following:
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
Has it not been told to you from the beginning?
Have you not understood since the earth was founded?
He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
and it’s people are like grasshoppers,
He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,
and spreads them out like a tent to live in.
He brings princes to naught
and reduces the rules of this world to nothing.
No sooner are they planted,
no sooner are they sown,
no sooner do they take root in the ground,
than he blows on them and they wither,
and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.
“To whom will you compare me?
Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One.
Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens:
Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one
and calls forth each of them by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,
not one of them is missing.
Why do you complain, Jacob?
Why do you say, Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord;
my cause is disregarded by my God:?
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
-Isaiah 40:21-28 NIV (Emphasis mine)
First, some context. Dr John N. Oswalt says of Isaiah 40, “Up until this point, Isaiah has spoken about a future exile when the northern kingdom of Israel will be conquered and its people will live in captivity. But from chapter 40–55, Isaiah is speaking to those who are currently living in captivity.” (source: Zondervan Academic Blog) Simply put, the words in Isaiah 40 are spoken to a people enduring hardship, anxiety, fear, uncertainty, and pain. They are spoken to a people who need to know and need to be reminded that God is still God. And that’s exactly what they receive from the prophet.
Do you not know…that God is still on the heavenly throne? (v. 22)
Do you not know….that he made the heavens and earth and gave his people a place to live? (v. 22)
Do you not know….that he is in charge of rules, princes, authorities. He alone determines when they rule, where they rule, and for how long? (v. 23)
Do you not know….that he has no equal? That he made the stars and calls them by name? That he is great in power? (v. 25-26)
Do you not know….that the Lord is everlasting? That he created the ends of the earth? (v. 28)
Do you not know….that he will never grow tired or weary and that the depth of his understanding we will never fathom? (v. 28)
Oh friends, if you’ve been around Jesus for any amount of time, if you’ve been around any sort of solid Biblical teaching, you do know these things. You have heard them. You have learned them. And yet, we are so often like the Israelites of whom Isaiah said, “Why do you complain, O Jacob? Why do you say, Israel, ‘My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God’?” (v. 27)
Simply living on this earth makes us exiles since we are citizens of heaven. That alone is enough to make our days challenging. Add in our specific circumstances that overwhelm and consume us and it’s easy to see how, when we are in the thick of it, we may forget what we know to be true of God, just as the Israelites did. We are forgetful. Peter knew this, leading him to write, “So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have.” (2 Peter 1:12)
And so whatever you face today, do you not know…? He is with you. He is for you. He will never leave or forsake you. He is on the throne. He is in control, He is fighting for us. He will go before us. Your cause, your pain, your suffering is never disregarded by him. He is our King. Just like I remind my children 5468435 times a day not to touch their face, let’s remind each other and ourselves of these steadfast truths as often as needed.
He loves you, friends.