Thursday, January 16, 2014

"Will you be found praising God when judgment comes?"

Day #20:  Daily Bible Reading Plan - January 17th

Scripture Reading:  Isaiah 12-17 ...

Reading Isaiah ... especially Isaiah 1-39, can become like a doomsday novel.  The only difference is that this is God's Word and everything that God prophesies for the future WILL happen.  In the earlier chapters God interrupts His pronouncements of judgment with glimpses of future glory for Israel, but these become more difficult to find in these chapters.

Chapter 12 is a bright spot!  "In that day" refers to the deliverance of God's people described in Chapter 11.  Those who experience God's deliverance will praise Him as they "draw water from the wells of salvation" (12:3).   They will give thanks to God and make His name known among the nations.  All of this should be a clear reminder that God's purpose throughout all of history is to make Himself known.  Jesus said, "This is eternal life:  that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent. ... I have revealed You to those whom You have given me" (John 17:3,6).

Chapters 13 - 17 speak of God's overwhelming judgment on the nations around Israel and Judah.  What strikes me is the absolute control God has over the nations of the earth.  Imagine yourself living in the days of Isaiah.  To say it was chaotic would be an understatement.  It was a violent time, much worse even than today.  You would have been hard-pressed to find peace and tranquility anywhere.  Rulers came and went and struggled for power and wealth, and in the midst of it all were Israel and Judah.  Israel would be defeated by the Assyrians, but God had plans for Judah ... for from them would come the Savior of the world!

Don't miss the control God has over all of this, for the same is true today.  In the days of Isaiah the nations were being aligned as God intended for the coming of the Savior and the proclamation of the Gospel throughout the world.  Today the nations are being aligned for the rise of the antichrist and then the return of Jesus.  As certainly as the prophecies of the destruction of the nations who came against Israel were God's pronouncements of judgment, their final destruction lies in the near future ... and our own nation is not immune to God's just judgment.

Satan's destruction is foretold in Chapter 14, verses 12-17, and along with him the kings of the nations. No power will stand against the wrath of the Almighty.  "This is the plan determined for the whole world; this is the hand stretched out over all nations.  For the LORD Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart Him?  His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?" (14:26-27).  Yet, there is hope:  "In love a throne will be established; in faithfulness a man will sit on it - one from the house of David" (16:5).

God never leaves those who trust in Him without hope - NEVER!  "In that day men will look to their Maker and turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel" (Isaiah 17:7).  You can do that today!  Our hope is in God, our Savior.  As you watch the nations of the earth jockey for power and position, as economies hang on the precipice of collapse, as politicians and religious leaders seek to use their own power and wisdom to "save the world," there is ONE Savior, and His name is Jesus!  Place your hope in Him today and do not fear, for there will come a day when every knee will bow and every tongue confess that JESUS IS LORD!!

"Father, I thank you for the hope that You give, even in the midst of the pronouncement of Your judgment and wrath.  You alone are God and there is no other.  I place my hope and my trust in YOU, O God.  I rejoice in You, my God and my Savior.  In the name of Your Son, Jesus, Amen"

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