Read Isaiah 47 -- 51
We naturally expect judgment upon the ungodly, or perhaps even upon the backslider, but many do not understand why difficult things happen to the most sincere Christians. This is caused by an insufficient understanding of God and His Word.
We who have experienced His faithfulness can confidently say with the Prophet Isaiah: Who is among you that fears the Lord . . . who walks in darkness (deep trouble), and has no light? let him trust in the Name of the Lord (Isaiah 50:10). The Lord cannot fail to be true to His Word. In a message to His people who were oppressed and suffering as captives in Babylon, He said: I, even I, am He who comforts you: who are you, that you should be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man who shall be made as grass; And forget the Lord your Maker, that has stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth? (51:12-13).
Through the prophets, the Israelites learned that their suffering and great loss were necessary to divert them away from idols to worship the One True God.
Each of us will face testing from the Lord as well as temptation from the forces of evil; so be not dismayed if one day your whole world has crumbled and it seems that the Lord has abandoned you: Take heed my brothers, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering affliction, and of patience (James 5:10). When trial after trial confronts us, just remember that the sovereign God is still in control working out his perfect plan for our life. Rejoice, inasmuch as you are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, you may be glad also with exceeding joy (I Peter 4:13). Knowing this, we should not be surprised when we face difficulties in this life. We should also be encouraged to know that if we suffer (as a Christian), we shall also reign with Him (II Timothy 2:12). Our Lord has taught us to expect suffering, saying: The disciple is not above his Master, nor the servant above His Lord (Matthew 10:24).
We need to remember Isaiah's assurance to the sufferer: Let him trust in the Name of the Lord (Isaiah 50:10). To doubt the loving concern and wisdom of God to care for His children is to assume that He is unable to keep His Word. Furthermore, such an attitude would mean that Satan has more power to defeat us than God has to defend us.
Job's victories were the result of his faith that God was in control. He testified confidently even while he was suffering intensely, saying: When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold (Job 23:10).
God can bring blessings out of brokenness and triumph out of tragedy as He did with Job. God twice said he was the most perfect man on earth, yet he suffered the tragic loss of all his children, his wealth, and his health.
The final outcome, however, is up to us as we look beyond a self-centered cry of "Why me, Lord?" We need to express confidence in the God of all grace, who has called us into His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that you have suffered a while, (He will) make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you (I Peter 5:10).
Christ Revealed: As the light of the nations (Isaiah 49:6) to bring the light of salvation to all the nations of the earth (Luke 2:32; Acts 13:47).
Word Studies: 47:8 carelessly means securely; 47:11 put it off means avert, avoid; 47:15 quarter means own way; 48:2 stay means rely; 48:10 refined thee means tested you; but not with silver means without finding character as silver, but worthless; 49:21 removing means wandering.
Government Official: Rep. Charles Pickering (MS) · BPM Staff: Barbara Jean Jackson · Pray for The Gideons International · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio broadcast in honor of Dr. John Hash and Family · Country: Swaziland (985,000) in southern Africa · Major languages: English and siSwati · Religious freedom · 67% Protestant; 19% animism, spirit-possession cults, and divination; 11% Roman Catholic; 3% Baha'i · Prayer Suggestion: Rejoice that our Savior lives (John 20:15-18).
Optional Reading: James 5
Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 6:12-13