Highlights:

God is angry! Why (1:40)? Disobey - invite punishment (1:5); Emphasis that genuine praise goes beyond prayer to serving people (1:17); A vision of future reign, most important place on earth (2:2-3); FACT: God won't ignore sin, so you better believe judgment's coming (2:6–3:26)! BUT, God promises glorious restoration (4:2-6).

When the LORD shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning (Isa. 4:4).

Many will look at a verse such as this and only think about the judgment of the Lord. There are so many people who picture God as a hard taskmaster. They see Him as one who rules with an iron hand. He places laws and statutes upon mankind that no human could possibly measure up to or follow.

These individuals will pick and choose select events from the Word of God to justify their theory on God. They may find a time when God destroyed an entire city, or they may point out the droughts, famines and pestilences that were sent upon nations by the Lord. They may bring up the times when the elect or chosen of God went through dire circumstances. They ask, how could anyone look at these actions and believe that God loves His creation?

The answer to that begins right there. We are God's creation. He created this world from nothing. Before time began, all that existed was the Godhead. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1).

God chose to create this world and all the universe. He chose to create man and all the living things man would have dominion over. This is the first revelation of the love of God to mankind. He had a Son, Jesus Christ. God had a perfect, flawless and Holy Son. In His Son, all power laid. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made (John 1:3). Even with Jesus, God still chose to create all of humanity.

Now with that established, we can ask ourselves, would God have made His creation just to fall? The obvious answer is no. Every hard thing that comes upon mankind is done to draw us closer to God. From the time Adam sinned, we have been wayward children. A disobedient child is punished to show them they have gone the wrong way. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not (Heb. 12:7)?

God uses the spirit of judgment and the spirit of burning as means of chastening. These both give reference to the workings of the Holy Spirit. With judgment, the Holy Spirit punishes as a means to correct the one who has strayed from God. With burning, He purges out the unclean and impure things which led the individual to stray in the first place.

God tries to direct us away from doing wrong; however, He also provides forgiveness to us when we do. The perfect Son of God suffered punishment in place of all the imperfect created children of God. What better way could God have shown His love toward His creation? He gave His best for us.

In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him (I John 4:9).

Thought for Today:

Those who do not know God are worse off than an ox or an ass.

Christ Revealed:

As the One who will judge the nations (Is. 2:2-4). The Lord Jesus Christ . . .shall judge the quick and the dead at His appearing (II Tim. 4:1).

Word Studies:

1:13 vain oblations, worthless sacrifices offered by hypocrites; 2:12 day of the LORD, the coming judgment upon the unfaithful as well as the time of rejoicing for the faithful; 3:18 cauls, and their round tires like the moon, headbands bejeweled with sun and moon ornaments; 3:22 crisping pins, money bags or purses; 3:24 stomacher, rich robe; 4:4 blood of Jerusalem, Jerusalem was guilty of killing innocent prophets.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for Staff: Jennifer Palafox • Government Official: Rep. Sue Wilkins Myrick (NC) • Country: Nigeria (113.8 million) in western Africa • Major languages: English and Hausa • Government permits all types of religious activity • 45% Muslim (largely Sunni); 40% Christian; 9% Indigenous; 6% Other • Prayer Suggestion: Sing praises to God, for He hears your prayers and delivers you (Ps. 40:1-3).

Optional Reading: Hebrews 9

NOTE: Bible Pathway covers the Old Testament with devotional and commentary insights over a nine-month period, January through September. Each day during these months, an optional reading of one chapter a day from the New Testament will also be listed. The October, November, and December issues will provide a daily commentary on the New Testament readings. Thus, the reader goes through the New Testament twice each year using the Bible Pathway plan.

Memory Verse for the Week: Galatians 6:10