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Bible Pathways 08/10/2002

August 10

Read Isaiah 47 -- 51

In Today's Reading:

Judgment on Babylon; Judah rebuked for her sins; Light to the Gentiles foretold; restoration of Israel; suffering of the Lord's Servant; release from Babylon foretold: The redeemed of the Lord shall return [to Jerusalem] . . . singing (51:11).

Verse for Today:

Who is among you that feareth the Lord . . . that walketh in darkness (deep trouble), and hath no light (can't see why or what to do)? let him trust in the Name of the Lord (50:10).

Isaiah had experienced the faithfulness of God. The Lord cannot fail to be true to His Word. 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, [Who has] stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth? (Isaiah 51:12-13).

Through the prophets, the Israelites learned that their suffering and great loss were necessary to divert them away from idols and lead them back to worshiping the One True God.

We expect judgment upon the ungodly, and upon the backslider, but many do not understand why difficult things happen to sincere Christians.

Each of us will face testing from the Lord, as well as temptation from the forces of evil; so be not dismayed even if your whole world has crumbled and it seems that the Lord has abandoned you: Take . . . 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 eternity with Him. 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 (1 Peter 4:13; see also 2 Timothy 3:12). 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 Christians), we shall also reign with Him (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 His inability to keep His Word. Such an attitude assumes 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 still in control of his life. 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 Job was the most perfect man on earth, yet he suffered the tragic loss of all his children, his wealth, and his health.

Our final outcome 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 hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, (He will) make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you (1 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. Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the Light of the world (John 8:12:5; 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:

Government Official: Rep. Charles Pickering (MS) · Pray for your Sunday School teacher · Country: Taiwan, Republic of China (22 million) 77 islands off the southeastern coast of Red China · Major language: Mandarin Chinese · Religious freedom · 70% Chinese folk-religions/Buddhism; 3% Protestant; 1.5% Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Be of one heart and mind with other Christians (1 Corinthians 1:10).

Optional Reading: James 5

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 5:1

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