Prediction: Babylon will be destroyed for mistreating Israel (47:6-15;49:25-26); Heartbroken Father speaks to His unruly children (chap. 48); Warning: 48:22! The Son officially commissioned as Savior (49:1-7); Whose hand holds you (49:16; 51:16)? Do things look bad? Trust God (51:7-8,11,21-23).
Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of His servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God (Isa. 50:10).
Our text is not talking about an unbeliever or even someone who is a backslider. This person fears and loves the Lord. The person who fears God the most loves God the most. Fear, in this instance, means to give reverence or respect to God. The person who fears or respects God is obedient to the voice of God. The idea, that if a person becomes a Christian then life becomes a rose garden, is deceptive. This is somewhat true. Have you ever run through a rose garden? If not, you need to know there are lots of thorns.
The Lord has never promised an easy road to the believer. If anything, He has promised we will experience the exact opposite of the easy road at times. Jesus told us that there would be suffering in our way because there was suffering in His way. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept My saying, they will keep yours also (John 15:20).
There are many in the Word of God that had to walk in dark times for their faith in God. In the Old Testament, Joseph was hated by his brothers, sold into slavery and falsely imprisoned for doing the right thing. In the New Testament, Paul was beaten, imprisoned, shipwrecked and finally executed as a result of his service to God.
These men and many others like them knew that there might be suffering in this life with Christ. They also knew that the blessings far outweighed the persecution. The choice for them was clear even in the face of such trials. The life of Moses reflects the choice of serving God over a possible easier one. Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season (Heb. 11:25).
Just as many suffered in the Bible, there are multitudes of Christians across the world that fear and love the Lord and yet are experiencing darkness. Many of our brothers and sisters in Christ have been beaten and jailed for their stand for God. More than 150,000 Christians were martyred last year throughout the world. These have chosen like Joseph, Moses and Paul to take the road that is less traveled. They have made their decision to follow Christ. The way He leads may not always take them down the easiest road. But, it is the road that leads to the greatest reward.
When we experience dark days, let us remember the saints of old and the persecuted church of today. They can be our inspiration to carry on in the face of oppression. We can follow Christ with the confidence that though the road is rough we know His reward lies ahead.
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing (II Tim. 4:8).
Thought for Today:
God's refining fire is painful but very profitable.
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, rely; 48:10 refined, tested; not with silver, not like silver, which requires heat you could not bear; 49:21 removing, wandering.
Pray for Country: Philippines (76 million) in Southeast Asia • Major languages: Filipino and English • Religious persecution in some areas • 80% Catholic; 9% Protestant; 8% Muslim (mostly Sunni); 3% Other (Buddhist, Animist, non-Religious) • Prayer Suggestion: Trust the Lord for deliverance in times of trouble (Ps. 50:15).
Optional Reading: James 5
Memory Verse for the Week: Psalms 89:1