August 10

Read Isaiah 47 -- 51

In Today's Reading:

Judgment on Babylon; Israel rebuked; Christ, a Light to the Gentiles; restoration of Israel; suffering of the Lord's servant

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 (Isaiah 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 are a test of our faith, as well as a means of our developing 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 bore the sins of the world on the cross. Job's faith remained strong because he knew that God was in control of his life. He testified confidently, even while suffering intensely, saying: 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 one day your whole world crumbles and it seems that the Lord has abandoned you.

The Apostle James, who later suffered martyrdom for his faith in Jesus as the 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 cautioned that they too would suffer persecution (see 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 . . . with exceeding joy (I Peter 4:13). In writing to Timothy, the Apostle Paul declared: If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him (II Timothy 2:12). However, Paul also warned: If we deny Him, He will also deny us! (see 2:13)

Let us express confidence in, and 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, strengthen, settle you (I Peter 5:10).

Christ Revealed:

As the Light to the nations (Gentiles) (Isaiah 49:6). He will bring the Light of salvation to all the nations of the earth. Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the Light of the world (John 8:12,9:5; Luke 2:32; Acts 13:47).

Word Studies:

47:8 carelessly = securely; 47:11 put it off = avert, avoid; 47:15 quarter = own way; 48:2 stay = rely; 48:10 refined thee = tested you; but not with silver = without finding character as silver, but worthless; 49:21 removing = wandering.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for Mission America and Paul Cedar, Director · Government Official: Rep. Charles Pickering (MS) · Country: Mozambique (19 million) on the eastern coast of Africa · Major language: Portuguese · Religious freedom · 40% worship of false gods, ancestral spirits, and some witchcraft; 23% Roman Catholic; 14% Protestant; 13% Muslim · Prayer Suggestion: Children, ask the Lord to enable you to honor your parents (Ephesians 6:1-3).

Optional Reading: James 5

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 5:9