Read Isaiah 47
Highlights In Today's Reading:
Prediction: Babylon will be destroyed for mistreating Israel (47:1-15; 49:25-26). The heartbroken Heavenly Father speaks to His unruly children (chap. 48). Warning (48:22)! The Servant officially commissioned as Savior (49:1-7). Whose hand holds you (49:16; 51:16)? Do things look bad? Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil (Ps. 23:4). Trust God (Is. 51:7-8,11,21-23).
The captives as well as many afflicted servants of God are often overwhelmed with sorrow and suffering (49:14). We naturally expect judgment upon the ungodly or, perhaps, even the backslider; but we think it strange when seemingly heartbreaking things happen to the most sincere Christians.
When a succession of suffering takes place, then, with Isaiah, we may say: I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting (50:6). This is also prophetic of Christ's sufferings (Matt. 26:67; 27:26), and the disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord (10:24). Consider the suffering of Job who said: I cannot perceive Him . . . He knoweth the way that I take (Job 23:8,10). When there seemed to be no answers, Job's faith was unshaken.
Isaiah confidently declared: Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of His servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the Name of the Lord, and stay upon (continue to remain faithful to) his God (Is. 50:10). We need to wait upon Him in earnest, fervent, persevering prayer as Jeremiah said: It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord (Lam. 3:26). It is an act of faith to continue in prayer. The answers come to those who faithfully ask, seek, and knock, we shall reap, if we faint not (Gal. 6:9).
The Creator was very near and still speaking a message of compassion to His people who were suffering as captives in Babylon: I, even I, am He that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die . . . and forgettest the Lord thy Maker? (Is. 51:12-13).
The Lord was reminding them that they were still His people. And through the prophets they learned their suffering and great loss were necessary to deliver them from worshiping false gods.
To doubt the loving desire and ability of God to care for us is to admit disbelief in His Word: Fear not . . . lo, I am with you alway (Matt. 10:28; 28:20; II Tim. 1:7). There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear (I John 4:18).
Thought for Today:
Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee: He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved (Ps. 55:22).
As the Light to the Gentiles (nations) (Is. 49:6). Jesus said: I am the Light of the world (John 8:12; 9:5; Luke 2:32; Acts 13:47; 26:23).
47:8 carelessly = securely; 47:11 put it off = avert or avoid it; 47:15 quarter = own region; 48:2 stay = rely; 48:10 refined = tested; but not with silver = without finding character as silver, which requires heat you could not bear; 49:21 removing = wandering.
Pray for English International Shortwave Broadcast sponsored by Bett Brown • Staff: Rita Guerra • Country: Zimbabwe (11.2 million) in south-central Africa • Major languages: English and Shona • Limited religious freedom • 59% Christian; 35% Traditional; 2% Muslim; 4% Other/non-Religious (Hindu, Buddhist, Baha'i, Jewish) • Prayer Suggestion: Pray for national leaders and their families (Ezra 6:10).
Optional Reading: James 5
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 10:28