Prediction: Babylon will be destroyed for mistreating Israel (Is. 47:1-15; 49:25-26). The heartbroken Heavenly Father speaks to His unruly children (chap. 48). Warning (48:22)! The Servant officially commissioned as Savior (49:1-7). Whose hand holds you (49:16; 51:16)? Do things look bad? Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil (Ps. 23:4). Trust God (Is. 51:7-8,11,21-23).
We expect judgment upon the ungodly, or upon the backslider, but many Christians do not understand why sincere believers experience so many critical situations. The prophet Isaiah encourages us to remain faithful, regardless of the circumstances, even though we cannot see why we face so many difficulties. Who is among you that feareth (reveres) the Lord . . . that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the Name of the Lord, and stay (rely) upon his God (Is. 50:10). God will bring blessings out of suffering and triumph out of tragedy for every child of God, just as He did for Job. Heartbreaking experiences test our faith, as well as develop greater faith. God twice said Job was the most perfect man on earth, yet he suffered more than anyone in biblical history except Jesus, who died for the sins of the world. Job's faith remained strong because he knew that God controlled his life. Even while suffering intensely, he testified: He knoweth the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold (Job 23:10).
Each of us can expect testing from the Lord, as well as temptation from the forces of evil; so do not be dismayed if your world crumbles and it seems the Lord has abandoned you (I Pet. 1:3-9).
The Apostle James, who later suffered martyrdom for his faith in Jesus Christ, encouraged believers to take . . . the prophets, who have spoken in the Name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience (James 5:10). Jesus explained to His disciples that, because the world hated Him, it would also hate them. Another time, He promised a hundredfold return to those who forsook home and family for Him, but He warned of their persecution (John 15:18,20-21; Mark 10:29-30).
Rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers (sharers) of Christ's sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad (I Pet. 4:13). But Paul warned: If we deny Him, He also will deny us (II Tim. 2:12).
Let us express gratitude to the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish (establish), strengthen, settle you (I Pet. 5:10).
Thought for Today:
Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other (Ps. 85:10).
As the Light to the Gentiles (nations) (Is. 49:6). Jesus said: I am the Light of the world (John 8:12; 9:5; Luke 2:32; Acts 13:47; 26:23).
47:8 carelessly =securely; 47:11 put it off =avert or avoid it; 47:15 quarter =own region; 48:2 stay =ely; 48:10 refined =ested; but not with silver =without finding character as silver, which requires heat you could not bear; 49:21 removing =wandering.
Pray for International Broadcasts sponsored by a Family that loves Jesus • Staff: Pam Pendergrast • Country: Tonga (109,000) in the southwestern Pacific • Major languages: Tongan and English • Religious freedom • 55% Protestant; 22% Mormon; 14% Roman Catholic • Prayer Suggestion: Cry out to God in humility (Ps. 9:12).
Optional Reading: James 5
Memory Verse for the Week: 2 Corinthians 4:12