Isaiah 7.9 is the main text for today’s devotional.
The way of doubt. King Ahaz hesitated. He was overwhelmed by his predicament. When Isaiah prompted him “to ask the Lord…for a sign,” Ahaz refused, Isaiah 7:11,12. Doubt dooms the doubter. It kept the people of God out of the Promised Land, Hebrews 3:16-19. It is the cleverest ploy of the devil, Genesis 3:1. A lack of faith is like a fox in a chicken coop worrying about having enough to eat. The Lord expects more from us than that, Isaiah 7:9b; James 1:5-8.
Focus question: What situations cause us to feel overwhelmed and begin doubting?
With Mt 16.23, Ed Mathews starts today’s devotional:
Meaning of the rebuke. Peter surely meant well. Nevertheless, he was not acting in the best interest of mankind. Had the Messiah listened to him, humanity would still be lost, Hebrews 9:22b; cf. Romans 3:22-26. Peter spoke out of love—albeit a misguided love. He wanted to protect Jesus (like a parent dissuading his child from being a missionary). Christ had to carry His cross. We must carry ours, Matthew 16:24-26.
Focus question: What misguided words do I speak to Jesus?
Just what we need: a balanced view of the love and wrath of God.
Ed Mathews uses John 9.3 and the story of the blind man as a wonderful explanation of evil in the world. Here’s how he starts:
While in Jerusalem, Jesus saw a blind man, John 9:1. As a visitor in the capital city, one might assume the Lord would be enamored with the beautiful buildings. His disciples were, Matthew 24:1. But Jesus was not a tourist. He came to rescue the perishing.
Focus question: Does the pain and suffering in the world make me question God or glorify him?
1. Got the Bible lesson for tonight at the gym printed out with fill-in-the-blanks. People seem to like that. Not my style, but if it works for most, go with it.
2. Need to get the blinds up for my office window. Afternoon sun makes it almost impossible to work.
3. Hard to find stuff after the cleaning lady rearranges my office. I spent no little time looking for books that had been on my desk. Now …
4. Time to pull out another box or two of books from the containers. Getting slow on putting them on the shelves.
5. The reason the old prophet from Bethel told the young man of God he had a message from the Lord was selfish. (See 1 Kings 13.) People make up divine communications because it’s about them.
6. An original verse: God gives his order, waits for man to obey; / In matters of faith the obedient has no say.
7. A Bible verse: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” Lk 6.36.
Even when you are old, I will take care of you, even when you have gray hair, I will carry you. I made you and I will support you; I will carry you and rescue you. Isa 46.4.
Great comfort, this promise made to Israel. The Lord Jesus will care for his own and return to save those who anxiously await him.
Nadab and Abhiu are the topic of interest in today’s devotional, Plow New Ground. This excerpt gives an idea of the page-long treatment.
Their offense. The newly appointed priests had acted “contrary” to the command of the Lord, Leviticus 10:1. They took the right censer. They took the right incense. They took the wrong fire, Deuteronomy 4:2. No one has the authority to tamper with the instructions of God. It is our duty to study the written word, to learn the details of His “good, pleasing, and perfect will,” Romans 12:2.
Be sure to read it all at the link above, on today’s date.
Focus question: Among the things right that you do, what is something wrong that you tend toward or are involved in?