August 4

Read Isaiah 15 -- 21

In Today's Reading:

Moab's ruin foretold; Syria (Aram) and Israel threatened; God's judgments; Egypt to worship the Lord; captivity of Egypt foretold

The prophet Isaiah was led to turn his thoughts from the glorious future reign of the King of Peace to proclaim the judgment of God upon the unbelieving. First it was pronounced upon the idolatrous northern kingdom, saying: The fortress also shall cease from Ephraim (Isaiah 17:3). He then included Judah, saying: In that day it shall come to pass, that the glory of Jacob shall be made thin. . . . there shall be desolation. Because thou hast forgotten the God of thy salvation (17:4,9-10).

The fortress of Ephraim refers to the ten-tribe northern kingdom, a symbol of wealth, power, and self-glory, which would be ruthlessly destroyed by Assyria. Surprisingly, he also prophesied that Judah, the splendor of Jacob, would fade, a reminder that the kingdom of Judah and the holy city of God would eventually be destroyed because they too had become involved in worldly pursuits and gradually neglected the Word of God. Our attention is also drawn to the futility of depending upon worldly possessions for security as warned by King David: If riches increase, set not your heart upon them (Psalm 62:10).

Nothing hides the will of God from man's view as deceptively as success and pride which foster self-sufficiency. Perhaps this is why our Savior cautioned: Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal (Matthew 6:19). Wealth accumulated for self-interest may lead to greed and can weaken faith, as James pointed out, saying: Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which He hath promised to them that love Him? (James 2:5). Greed then leads to an endless pursuit of earthly pleasures, which often leads to covetousness, which is idolatry (see Colossians 3:5).

Our Lord Jesus warns: Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth (Luke 12:15).

The Lord is able to speak to each of us personally as to how He would have us invest in transforming lives and fulfilling His Great Commission. Paul wrote to Timothy: Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy (I Timothy 6:17; also Deuteronomy 8:18).

Christ Revealed:

As the One Who will sit on the throne of David (see Isaiah 16:5). Gabriel told the Virgin Mary that the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David (Luke 1:32-33). And Christ was revealed as the Saviour (Isaiah 19:20; compare Matthew 1:21; Luke 2:11).

Word Studies:

16:3 bewray = betray; 16:11 my bowels = my inner being, heart; 17:11 a heap = a failure; 19:8 angle = hooks; 21:14 prevented with their bread him that fled = gave food and water to the fugitives.

Prayer Needs:

BP Staff: Letha Hash · Pray for Bible Pathway Prayer Partners · Government Officials: Rep. Robert Andrews (NJ), Rep. Lane Evans (IL), and Rep. Ted Strickland (OH) · Country: Mauritius (1 million) 500 miles east of Madagascar · Major languages: English and Creole · Limited religious freedom · 50% Hindu; 27% Roman Catholic; 17% Muslim; 5% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Pray for your brothers and sisters that they might be filled with spiritual discernment and the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 3:14-18).

Optional Reading: Hebrews 12

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 5:1