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Time to Take Hold!

The OT prophet Isaiah proclaimed and wrote many of the prophecies now etched in the minds of God’s people. Jesus of Nazareth often quoted Isaiah when identifying himself with Messianic fulfillments. One of Isaiah’s oft-quoted declarations is one from 64:6: “But we are ALL as an unclean thing, and ALL our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we ALL do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”

In contrast to this scathing denunciation of Israel’s spiritual state (and ours apart from Christ) is the follow-up verse: “And there is NONE that calleth upon thy name, [NONE] that stirreth up himself to TAKE HOLD of thee” (64:7). The verb “take hold” means “to fasten upon, seize” (as an expression of courage, resoluteness). What does this indictment about Israel’s total failure to TAKE HOLD of him tell us? It tells us our God is a God who desires to be TAKEN HOLD OF (fastened upon, seized upon) by his people! 

The OT concept of TAKING HOLD found its way into the NT. When Barnabas visited Antioch and saw the grace of God, “[he] exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would CLEAVE UNTO (hold fast to, adhere to) the Lord” (Acts 11:23). God wants his people, believers in Jesus, to TAKE HOLD OF and CLEAVE UNTO him. But why were there NONE in Isaiah’s day (and SO FEW in ours) who did so? 

I believe the answer is forgetfulness fueled by an overindulgence in the affairs of this present world. From the time sin entered into this world, man has consistently allowed the temporal to obscure the eternal. 

The God of Israel was the same God that littered the heavens with trillions of celestial lights in a single word. Our sun itself is big enough to house 1.3 million earths. Have we forgotten HOW BIG our God is? He is the God Moses met in the heights of Mount Sinai, to whom he said: “Show me thy glory!” (Exodus 33:18). In other words, Moses knew that what he had seen of his God up to that point was not all there was to see. He wanted MORE of God! 

Israel’s infatuations with idolatry and other godless pursuits had dimmed the glory of their God, the One who parted the Red Sea, brought down the walls of Jericho, slew 185,000 Assyrians in a night, used the jawbone of an ass in the hands of Samson to kill 3,000 Philistines and other supernatural feats. The reason God’s people fail to TAKE HOLD of him is because they lose sight of WHO he is, WHAT they stand to gain by embracing him lock, stock and barrel. 

Unlike Israel in a pre-Cross world, the Church exists in a post-Cross, post-Pentecostal world. Paul gives us this word of encouragement: “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also FREELY give us ALL things?” (Romans 8:32). Does a believer in Jesus need a better motivation to TAKE HOLD OF and CLEAVE UNTO his Lord than this promise? 

If there’s ANY hope of America surviving the onslaught of the ungodly upon biblical truth and our Constitution, it rests with the remnant of the righteous learning afresh to CLEAVE UNTO the Lord. It’s high time for the righteous to stir themselves up and TAKE HOLD of their God!


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