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Bible Pathways - Aug. 10, 2006

Isaiah 47

In Today's Reading:

Judgment on Babylon; Israel rebuked; Christ, a Light to the Gentiles; restoration of Israel; suffering of the Lord's servant

We expect judgment upon the ungodly, or upon the backslider, but many Christians do not understand why sincere believers experience so many critical situations. The prophet Isaiah encourages us to remain faithful, regardless of the circumstances, even though we cannot see why we face so many difficulties. Who is among you that feareth (reveres) the LORD . . . that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the Name of the LORD, and stay (rely) upon his God (Isaiah 50:10). God will bring blessings out of suffering and triumph out of tragedy for every child of God, just as He did for Job. Heartbreaking experiences are a test of our faith, as well as a means of our developing greater faith. God twice said Job was the most perfect man on earth, yet he suffered more than anyone in biblical history except Jesus, who bore the sins of the world on the cross. Job's faith remained strong because he knew that God was in control of his life. He testified confidently, even while suffering intensely, saying: He knoweth the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold (Job 23:10).

Each of us can expect testing from the Lord, as well as temptation from the forces of evil; so do not be dismayed if one day your whole world crumbles and it seems the Lord has abandoned you (I Peter 1:3-9).

The Apostle James, who later suffered martyrdom for his faith in Jesus as the Christ, encouraged believers to take . . . the prophets, who have spoken in the Name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience (James 5:10). Jesus explained to His disciples that, because the world hated Him, it would also hate them. Another time, He promised a hundredfold return to those who forsook home and family for Him, but He cautioned that they too would suffer persecution (John 15:18,20-21; Mark 10:29-30).

Rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers (sharers) of Christ's sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy (I Peter 4:13). But Paul warned: If we deny Him, He also will deny us (II Timothy 2:12). Let us express gratitude to the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish (establish), strengthen, settle you (I Peter 5:10).

Christ Revealed:

As the Light to the Gentiles (nations) (Isaiah 49:6). Jesus said: I am the Light of the world (John 8:12,9:5; Luke 2:32; Acts 13:47; 26:23).

Word Studies:

47:8 carelessly =b> securely; 47:11 put it off =b> avert or avoid it; 47:15 quarter =b> own region; 48:2 stay =b> rely; 48:10 refined thee =b> tested you; but not with silver =b> without finding character as silver, but worthless; 49:21 removing =b> wandering.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for The English International Shortwave Radio Broadcast in honor of Rick Hash · Staff: Karen Hawkins · Government Official: Rep. Charles Pickering (MS) · Country: Georgia (6 million) west and central Transcaucasia between Asia and Europe Major languages: Georgian and Russian Religious opposition to Christianity 57% Georgian/Armenian/Russian/Syrian Orthodox; 21% Muslim; .8% Catholic; .5% Protestant; .5% Jewish · Prayer Suggestion: Remember that prayer changes things (James 5:16-18).

Optional Reading: James 5

Memory Verse for the Week: Psalms 84:11

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