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Bible Pathways 08/04/2002

August 04

Read Isaiah 15 -- 21

In Today's Reading:

Moab's ruin foretold; Syria and Israel threatened; God's judgments against Ethiopia, Egypt, Babylon, Edom, and Arabia.

Verses for Today:

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 thou hast forgotten the God of thy salvation (17:3-4,9-10).

The prophet Isaiah was led to turn his thoughts from the glorious future reign of the King of Peace. He proclaimed the judgment of God first upon the Northern Kingdom of Israel, then he included Judah.

The fortress . . . (of) Ephraim (Isaiah 17:3) speaks of the powerful ten-tribe Kingdom of Israel, a symbol of wealth, power, and self-glory which stood in defiance of the known Word of God. Isaiah foretold that Assyria would ruthlessly destroy the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Perhaps just as surprising, he prophesied that Judah, the glory of Jacob shall be made thin (17:4), 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 while gradually neglecting, then openly rejecting, the Word of God.

Devastated by war, the self-sufficient, wealthy people are seen desperately snatching up a few of their 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, and we think of 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 for 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. . . . (providing Bibles to) [teach] them to observe all things [whatever] I have commanded (Mark 16:15; 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 giveth us richly all things to enjoy (1 Timothy 6:17).

Christ Revealed:

As the One Who will sit on the throne of David (Isaiah 16:5) -- the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David (Luke 1:32-33) and as the Savior (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:

Government Officials: Rep. Robert Andrews (NJ), Rep. Lane Evans (IL), and Rep. Ted Strickland (OH) · Pray for one another · Country: Paraguay (5 million) in southern South America · Major languages: Spanish and Guarani · Religious freedom · 96% Roman Catholic; 2% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Give thanks for trials because then we can learn patience (Romans 5:3).

Optional Reading: Hebrews 12

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 5:1

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