God warns: "You'll be sorry if you mess with My children!" (Gen. 12:3). Learn from His judgments against Moab in Isaiah 15 — 16; Damascus (Syria) (Is. 17); Ethiopia (chap. 18); Egypt (chap. 19 — 20); Babylon, Edom, Arabia (chap. 21). God sifts our lives to remove the chaff and draw us closer to Him (21:10).
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 of Israel, saying: The fortress also shall cease from Ephraim (Is. 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 glory of Jacob, would fade, a reminder that the southern kingdom and the Holy City of God would eventually be destroyed because they too had become involved in worldly pursuits, numerous sins, and idolatry.
Nothing hides the will of God from view as deceptively as success and pride, both of 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 (destroy), and where thieves break through and steal (Matt. 6:19). Wealth accumulated for self-interest grows out of greed and can weaken faith, as James pointed out, saying: 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). Covetousness leads to an endless pursuit of earthly possessions. Our Lord Jesus warns: Beware of covetousness (greed): for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth (Luke 12:15).
The Lord desires to speak to each of us personally as to how He would have us invest our lives in transforming others and fulfilling His Great Commission. Paul wrote to Timothy: Charge (Instruct, Command) them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded (conceited), nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy (I Tim. 6:17; also Deut. 8:18).
Thought for Today:
All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep His Covenant and His Testimonies (Ps. 25:10).
As the One who will sit on the throne of David (Is. 16:5). the angel Gabriel told the virgin Mary that the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David (Luke 1:32-33). Christ also is revealed as the Saviour (Is. 19:20; comp. Matt. 1:21; Luke 2:11).
16:3 bewray =betray; 16:11 my bowels =my inner being, heart; 17:11 a heap = failure; 19:8 angle =ooks; 21:14 prevented with their bread him that fled =gave food and water to the fugitives.
Pray for International Broadcasts in honor of Rick Hash • Government Officials: Rep. Robert Andrews (NJ), Rep. Keith Ellison (MN), Pres. Barack Obama, and Gov. Ted Strickland (OH) • Country: Taiwan, Republic of China (22 million) 77 islands off the southeastern coast of Red China • Major language: Mandarin Chinese • Religious freedom • 80% "Chinese Religions" (Buddhist/Taoist/Confucian); 4% Christianity; .2% Muslim; 14% Atheist; 1.8% Other • Prayer Suggestion: Offer up your prayer to God, your King, who will hearken to your prayer (Ps. 5:2).
Optional Reading: Hebrews 12
Memory Verse for the Week: 2 Corinthians 4:11