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Faith: In short supply

Scarce, scant, sparse, sporadic, limited, restricted, deficient, truncated, few and far between or just few, rare as hens teeth or just rare, occasional, seldom, inadequate, insufficient ... as in funds, lacking, wanting, less than, devoid, unicorn-like. Unlikely, uncommon, underwhelmed, unusual.

All are synonyms for the phrase "in short supply." We even use it to describe the real estate market, with a seller's market suggesting that properties are in short supply and a buyer's market expressing that buyers are in short supply.

Within the Bible, a collection of books viewed by many as a standard for faith and practice, orthodoxy and orthopraxy, is a book that takes its name from its author: Isaiah. It is a powerful selection of poetry and prose.

In chapter 3 of Isaiah, God, having made a case against his people and their leaders, uses Isaiah's voice and pen to describe what will happen next, and it's not pretty. Food, water and leadership at all levels of society will be in short supply.

The harshness of words is bracing, to say the least. It almost demands a response or at least a question. Do we need to defend God? Is it a case of God being arbitrary? Or capricious? Or is God's behavior entirely understandable, even predictable?

Don't answer too quickly. Imagine this grilling scenario: You leave a piece of meat on your kitchen counter - say it's a nice steak - and the kitties knock it to the ground attempting to eat it before a 73-pound German shepherd asserts her will and mows through your steak in less than 22 seconds.

If I have warned you, it's not my fault that you will be grilling a wiener instead of a steak; the results are on you.

Applying that, if God doesn't let us know what is at stake, then fine, blame God. But if God gives us a warning, that's not on God.

Which leads to another question: Do we really realize what is at stake when we say yes or no to God's best for our lives? Sometimes I think it is very easy to miss that our lives are on the line.

Of course, some would be tempted to say, the words of Isaiah belong in antiquity. They have no relevance for today. Yet that is a short-sighted view of why God would go through all of the work to make sure the book was preserved over all these years.

So how do we respond? The key is found in verse 10: In the midst of being in short supply of just about everything, even behavior that honors God, there is hope for those who are following God; those who have placed God first in their life. They are called the righteous, not because they are perfect - no one is - but because they follow God.