Read Isaiah 15 -- 21
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. First it was pronounced upon the Northern Kingdom, saying: The fortress also shall cease from Ephraim. He then included Judah, saying: The glory of Jacob shall be made thin. . . . There shall be desolation. Because you have forgotten the God of your salvation (Isaiah 17:3-4,9-10).
The fortress . . . of Ephraim speaks of the powerful ten-tribe kingdom, a symbol of wealth, power, and self-glory which stood in disobedience to the known Word of God. Isaiah foretold that Assyria would ruthlessly destroy the Northern Kingdom. Perhaps just as surprising, he prophesied that Judah, the glory of Jacob shall be made thin, a reminder that the Kingdom of Judah and the Holy City of God would gradually be destroyed because they too had become involved in worldly pursuits and gradually neglected, then openly rejected, the Word of God.
Devastated by war, the self-sufficient wealthy people are seen desperately snatching up a few of their life's treasures to escape to the border districts only to lose everything there. Our attention is focused on the futility of depending upon worldly possessions for security as well as the admonition from David: If riches increase, set not your heart upon them (Psalms 62:10). Judah eventually lost Jerusalem, including its Temple, its protective walls, its wealth, and its pleasures, because the people had forsaken the One True Living God to idols.
Nothing hides the will of God from man's view as deceptively as success and financial security. Perhaps this is why our Savior said: Woe to you who are rich (Luke 6:24). Yet many Christians continue to ignore the Lord's warning: Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth (Matthew 6:19). Wealth can weaken faith, as James pointed out, saying: Has not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith (James 2:5). Wealth often leads to an endless pursuit of more and more "things." This, in turn, leads to covetousness, which is idolatry (Colossians 3:5), an attitude that destroys the desire to invest in eternal treasures.
Our Lord warns: Beware of covetousness: for a man's life consists not in the abundance of the things which he possesses (Luke 12:15). Pity the Christians, churches, and denominational headquarters which hoard wealth in banks, stocks, bonds, and other secular investments that should have gone into all the world (Mark 16:15) to provide Bibles for others to teach them to observe all things whatever I have commanded (Matthew 28:20).
The Lord is able to speak to each of us 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 gives us richly all things to enjoy (I Timothy 6:17).
Christ Revealed: As the One who will sit on the throne of David (Isaiah 16:5; compare Luke 1:32-33) and as the Savior (Isaiah 19:20; compare Matthew 1:21; Luke 2:11).
Word Studies: 16:3 bewray means betray; 16:11 my bowels means my inner being, heart; 17:11 a heap means a failure; 19:8 angle means hooks; 21:14 prevented with their bread him that fled means gave food and water to the fugitives.
Government Officials: Rep. Robert Andrews (NJ), Rep. Lane Evans (IL), and Rep. Ted Strickland (OH) · Pray for Bible Pathway Distributors · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio broadcast sponsored by Bett Brown · Country: South Africa (43 million) on the southern tip of the African continent · Major languages: Afrikaans and English · Religious freedom · 67% Protestant; 20% animism, magic, and ancestor worship; 10% Roman Catholic; 3% Asian religions · Prayer Suggestion: Ask in the name of Jesus for His glory, and your request will be granted (John 14:13-14).
Optional Reading: Hebrews 12
Memory Verse for the Week: I Corinthians 3:17