Thursday, January 23, 2014

"What does the future hold?"

Day #27:  Daily Bible Reading Plan - January 24th

Scripture Reading:  Isaiah 18-22 ...

As you and I live in this world we all have our frustrations.  Some of them are minor things, while others occupy our minds and hearts and weigh upon us.  It seems that life is filled with unexpected events and we get easily stressed by what we perceive to be injustice in the world.  You may experience it at work or in your personal relationships with others, even in your family or in the church.  So how can you be optimistic about the future?  We have just begun a new year and already we are approaching the end of the first month ... what lies ahead?

Many people are looking forward to the Olympic Games, and yet even there we hear of the threat of terrorist attacks.  I know of people who are looking forward to some difficult times in their lives with regard to their health or their finances or their family situations.  Where can you and I turn for hope?

Well, at first glance, it is NOT Isaiah 18-22!!  These chapters, along with most of Isaiah 1-39, pronounce judgment on nation after nation, indeed, as we will see in our next reading, upon the entire planet!  There is not much encouragement in these chapters.  In fact, the word "terror" and words like it are used several times.  Judgment is going to fall even on Judah, and God says why:  "You did not look to the One who made it, or have regard for the One who planned it long ago" (22:11).  And several times Isaiah writes, "The LORD has spoken!"  It is set.  It is going to happen.

As I watch the world scene and hear the reports of what is happening among some of the most prominent nations in the world, I often think about what the future holds - perhaps the near future ... and in one word, it is judgment.  I see God's wrath even now being poured out in so many ways upon the peoples of the earth, but they refuse to acknowledge the reason for their misery.  And here, in what is arguably the most outwardly blessed nation in the world, people in record numbers ignore the God from whom all blessings flow.

Judgment is coming on this world - GOD's judgment.  He will not hold His wrath forever.  It will be poured out as certainly as Jesus will return to rescue His Church, His Bride.  And here is where we find hope.  Justice WILL come and those who look to themselves or the world or other gods for escape will not find it.  OUR hope is in the LORD, the Great "I AM,"  the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  While people try to unite all mankind into one global community and seek to establish a "religion" where each person is free to believe what they want about "god," or a "higher being" ... or not to believe at all ... God is not mocked.  Everything that Isaiah predicts will come to pass just as God says it will.

Where do YOU find encouragement, comfort and hope?  I want to race through Isaiah to Chapter 40 because I know what God says there (you can take a peek if you need to!).  Our comfort is in the LORD Almighty and in knowing Him there IS hope ... for today, for tomorrow ... for forever!!

"Father, today is a gift from You, to be used for You.  Help me, today, to give my life to You and to find in You my hope, my strength and my JOY!!  For You ARE my joy.  In the mighty name of Jesus, Amen!"

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