"Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.” - Isaiah 54:2
Last fall I did a grand tour of Utah’s Mighty Five National Parks. A friend and I camped our way through the state, chasing fall colors and grand adventures. We were finishing our trip in Arches National Park, and late that night we found one of the last available sites in and around Moab. We ended up on the side of a hill with no protection from the elements, but with no better options we set up our tent and made camp there. Our plan was to explore the park the next day and stay two nights at that site.
The next morning, we headed to Arches and spent the day hiking. It was after dark by the time we were making our way back to find our campsite. The day had been a blustery one and as we listened to the wind whistle through the desert, we got more and more nervous about the state of our tent. Where our stakes long enough? Would the cords hold? When we arrived back our site and shined our headlights on the spot where we had set up camp, our tent was gone.
In Isaiah 54:2, the Lord is speaking to the Israelites when he tells them, "Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.” This was a reference that the tent-dwelling people would have understood. When they were poised for growth, whether through marriage or an additional child, they would have to enlarge their tents. Now, this increase in size would expose them to the elements in a new and more vulnerable way, but the Lord told them how protect themselves in this.
“Lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.”
Tents are anchored by their cords and stakes. These are what keep a tent, even one unprotected from the elements, from blowing away as the winds change. Longer cords and deeper stakes are required as the tent is enlarged and exposed to more vulnerabilities.
At Cross Culture Church we are in a season of growth and with growth, comes vulnerability. We, as a church, are called to enlarge the place of our tent. We are called to not hold back. The message of Jesus is too important for us to be satisfied with a small tent in safe and protected area. The Lord calls us to go and make disciples of all nations, and this requires stretching our tent curtains wide.
In this, however, we must be diligent to not leave ourselves unanchored to solid ground. To grow in a healthy way, we must make sure our cords are lengthened and our stakes are strengthened. This means going deeper and wider in our faith. To make disciples, we must first be disciples. Today, my challenge to you is to poise yourself for growth in two ways.
- Lengthen your cords: Strengthen your biblical community. Relationships are what tie us to Jesus in tangible ways. We anchor one another to the truth that God gives. When storms hit, may we not be untethered, but rather, deeply connected to other believers who will keep us grounded no matter what. A great way to do this is through joining a Life Group.
- Strengthen your stakes: Dig in deeper with the Lord. Relationships only anchor us when they are tied to Jesus and his Word. The Lord is a solid rock, a firm foundation and, ultimately, what is going to keep us protected in seasons of growth. Come to church. Get in your Bible. Make time and space to pray. Be committed to learning and growing in your relationship with the Lord.
See you Sunday,