The Cheese Stands Alone

This week we’re talking about where we get our strength.

The cheese stands alone
The cheese stands alone
Hi-ho, the derry-o
The cheese stands alone


These lyrics come from the children’s nursery rhyme, “The Farmer in the Dell.”  The tune is very familiar to me, but I had to look up the other verses to remember how the song went. I had forgotten that children used to play a game while singing this song (maybe they still do, but now it’s probably an app; and instead of referring to a wooded valley, the “Dell” is a laptop computer).

The song starts with the Farmer in the Dell. I don’t know what he’s doing there in the dell. Then the farmer takes a wife, the wife takes a child, the child takes a nurse, and the nurse inexplicably takes a cow. From there the song descends through the well-established hierarchy of cartoon animals (dog, cat, mouse) until finally the mouse takes the cheese. In the game, children take on the roles of the characters until the last child left is the cheese, who stands alone (and as a consolation gets to start the next game as Farmer).

Isaiah chapter thirty talks of standing alone. God’s people try to flee their enemies rather than returning to Him and resting in His strength to save and protect them.

”For the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has said: ‘You will be delivered by returning and resting; your strength will lie in quiet confidence. But you are not willing.’” (Isaiah 30:15 HCSB)

How do God’s people respond? Check out this fantastic drama:

“You say, ‘No! We will escape on horses’ - therefore you will escape! - and, ‘We will ride on fast horses’ - but those who pursue you will be faster. One thousand will flee at the threat of one, at the threat of five you will flee, until you alone remain like a solitary pole on a mountaintop or a banner on a hill.” (Isaiah 30:16-17 HCSB)

When facing enemies or other adversity, we should always return and rest in quiet (not boastful or antagonistic) confidence in God’s strength. Otherwise we will run and run until we find ourselves on a hill, surrounded by the very enemy we fled, but now all alone.

What problem or enemy do you face today? The cheese stands alone, but we don’t have to.

By Mark Stuart

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