Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A Devotional Thought From Isaiah

The shew of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! For they have rewarded evil unto themselves.     Isaiah 3:9

The people of God in those days knew better. They had the word of God written in the Torah, and declared by the prophets. They had the believer’s behavior set before them as it should have been lived out, but they chose to ignore it. You could see their rebellion in their faces. Instead of being embarrassed by their sins they declared (announced, heralded, publicized) their sin openly like the people of the wicked and infamous city Sodom had done. It was a defiant proclamation that they would do what they chose to do, even though the sinful behavior was condemned by the word of God.

And, Isaiah says, Woe unto their soul! Woe may mean judgment, grief, regret, misfortune, distress, and Isaiah says that woe will come from the evil they have earned for themselves by their sins.

By their sinning and flaunting it, they have rewarded themselves. They have earned evil unto themselves. Choosing sin means choosing sin's consequences too. This is a basic general observation that if made by anyone could save his/her life from the effects of sin. Choose God’s way and be blessed. Choose sin in revolt against God’s way and you set yourself up for bad outcomes in your personal life.

Monday, August 22, 2016

A Devotional Thought From Isaiah

Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honorable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst. Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.     Isaiah 5:13, 24

The punishment for God’s ancient people was captivity. The invading armies of the Assyrian horde would conquer and carry away the population of the northern kingdom of Israel, and Babylon would do the same to Judah. Many would die in the invasion, many would be enslaved, and many would be deported to the lands that had defeated them.

After that, when anyone looked at the land of Israel, or viewed the situation of the poor captives, it would give the appearance of having been burned over by fire. Fire that burned up the chaff and stubble and undergrowth of the land. The land and the lives would be blossomless, no flowers, no beauty, and the roots of the trees and plants would look as though they were rotted out. It would be a desolation.

This is a sad and terrible thing. Why? Why would God punish His people in such a dreadful way? There is an answer in this passage. Here it is: because they have cast away the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.

Modern nations take note. The people of God, His beloved people, were punished for despising the word of God. Societies anywhere who despise the word of God found in the Bible may be playing a dangerous game of “Russian roulette.”

Friday, August 19, 2016

A Devotional Thought From Isaiah

As for my people, children are their oppressors,…     Isaiah 3:12

                This phrase caught my attention when reading my devotions recently. The biblical prophets are often called upon to declare strange and terrible things in store for the ancient people of God who turned their backs on his commandments and ways. Historically the prophecies have come true and the brutality predicted could be described with gory imagination that might not even reach the high level of cruelty, pain, and destruction that actually happened when enemies were allowed to invade and conquer the land.

                This phrase used in the context of that ancient destruction drew my thinking to modern times and the appropriateness of its application to today. Nations in Africa have for many years, if not decades, seen the terrible oppression and destruction committed by “child soldiers.” Imagine 10 and 12 year old boys, even younger, carrying A K 47s or some sort of sub machine gun, and at the command of their leader leveling those weapons against their own people and killing with the squeeze of a trigger and no conscience about it at all. In western countries we hear tales of child criminals used by gangs for robberies and killings, because presumably the law treats these childish shooters with lighter penalties than adults. In other countries where violence is a way of life we hear news reports of children wearing homicide/suicide bomb vests and wreaking savagery up their own countrymen.

                None of us growing up would have ever have thought “modern” societies would stoop to this level of horror. Even theologians who understand the inherent sin nature of human beings are shocked to think that anyone could sink so low. How could the Bible predict such unimaginable stuff? It doesn’t make sense, but again and again, over and over, we see things predicted for the ancient times mirrored in modern days. Trust the Bible to give you the truth about the world, about life, about God’s saving message.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

A Devotional Thought From Proverbs

When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule the people mourn.     Proverbs 29:2

The people of any nation want to be happy. They want their kids to be able to go to school without being propositioned to take drugs, or tempted to view pornography, or shot by marauding thugs. They want markets to provide good food sold honestly, and doctors to be well trained and effective in maintaining good health, and many other things. They want to rejoice in all good things, and what the Bible makes clear here and in other passages is that such a comfortable life style for all the population comes closest to fruition when the politicians and government leaders are righteous. They do the right thing. So any people, any nation, who wants peaceful , good lives should put righteous leaders into place.

            On the contrary when the wicked are in power the nation mourns. They mourn the poverty and crime of the inner cities, the drug problems in the suburbs and small towns, as well as, the inner cities. They mourn the failure of government for all their people. And they mourn many other problems as well.  And while some leaders are clearly and outspokenly wicked, many are wicked unwittingly. Unwitting because they parrot suggested ideas and principles they know do not explain or legitimately solve the problems their nations experience so the mourning continues.

            For the people to rejoice in any country they need to seek and employ righteous leaders, and follow righteous ways.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

A Devotional Thought From Proverbs

But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul.     Proverbs 6:32

In the moral laxity, many would use stronger words in describing it, of the Western democracies sexual sin has virtually been enshrined as a virtual virtue, rather than as sin. All sorts of sins are overlooked or even approved by a society that has decided personal desires are more important than right living. I call it right living because God’s word teaches us that some things are just plain wrong. And, when people commit such sins they may not realize it but they have gone a long way to destroying their own souls.

Sinning with impunity hardens one’s heart, and makes it easier to fall into sin the next time you are tempted. Calling sin good instead of bad deceives one’s mind and causes those who say they have no sin to call God a liar, because God says they have sinned. He says All have sinned. Calling sin something other than sin, and saying it is really good not bad, may make some people think they don’t need a savior from sin, so they might never come to God by faith in Jesus and ask Him to forgive their sins and save their souls. So the original sin they committed whether adultery or some other, literally destroys their soul sending them into eternity unsaved.

Friday, August 5, 2016

A Devotional Thought From Proverbs

Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men.     Proverbs 4:14

In this verse Solomon gives a basic, rock-bottom, foundational principle that will make anyone’s life better. Don’t go down the primrose path that the wicked follow, do not be like evil people. Anybody who stays away from where evil people go (and especially what they do) has a significantly higher possibility of leading a safe, less troubled, no jail time life than those who follow and do what the wicked  do.

This should be obvious to anyone who looks around and observes life. Some of the best rules for having a good life are simple and straightforward. Many years ago I read about a piece of graffiti that was well known at the time. It said “Evil spelled backwards is live.” Reverse your direction if you have entered into the way of the wicked. Stay away from evil pathways and live a good life. You will not have to regret it from a prison cell, an early grave, the divorce court, or from a vomit filled gutter after long nights of drinking and drugs, etc., etc., etc.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

A Devotional Thought From Proverbs

Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it, cometh. For the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.     Proverbs 3:25, 26

Solomon is speaking in these instructions to his son, presumably Rehoboam, who when he became ruler split the kingdom because he did not have or use the wisdom Solomon is attempting to share with him in this book of the Bible.

When events happen suddenly that would put fear in your heart do not be afraid, do not let the fear control you. Don’t be afraid of the destruction enemies would seek to inflict on you. (Let me interject at this point in my paraphrase of Solomon’s words, that these things “fear and desolation” are not good things. We would think normally anyone would be cast down when they occur, but Solomon’s answer to them is uplifting.) Don’t be afraid because the Lord shall be your confidence. By faith you can throw all your cares on Him, and God will keep you from being overrun and taken. He is able to deliver you. If you depend upon this truth and have the confidence that it is true truth you can sleep at night, work in positive expectation of protection, and realize that in the end by God’s hand all will be well.

This idea can be applied to nations as well as individuals. If a nation wants to live fearlessly and be able to sleep in peace without fear of destruction it’s confidence in the Lord is paramount. A nation that is motivated by faith in, and, obedience to, the wisdom and instructions of the God of the Bible is more likely to be protected from the wolf packs of war and terror than those nations that do not give God’s word, the Bible, any credence.

The people, and nation, who have confidence in the LORD share the same principles, moral values, laws, sensitivities, work ethic, speech ethic, love of country, and stand together and stand guard for one another.

A nation like that is strong, and as long as they continue like that will remain strong. A country strong like that does not need to fear desolation from inside or without. Their confidence is in God. They follow His guidance, and live without fear.

Of course, when the people of a nation turns its back on that biblical wisdom and rejects the ways of God like other countries they never know what will happen next.