Isaiah 25:1

Verse of the Day Devotion.  Isaiah 25:1

“O lord, Thou art my God; I will exalt Thee, I will give thanks to Thy name; For Thou hast worked wonders, Plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness.” – Isaiah 25:1  

This verse speaks regarding a direct address to the Mighty God. This confession expresses the personal choice to identify with the God of all things; the one who created all there is.  Claiming that the Lord is ‘my God’ is also a statement of commitment to a personal relationship with God. The relationship is one in which the singers exalt and thank God, openly expressing appreciation for his grace and faithfulness. These statements represent a faith relationship of worshipers who humbly proclaim the glory of the one they exalt.

As a preface, at the end of chapter 24 we read, “The earth reels to and fro like a drunkard, and it totters like a shack, For its transgression is heavy upon it, and it will fall, never to rise again. So it will happen in that day, that the LORD will punish the host of heaven, on high, and the kings of the earth, on earth. And they will be gathered together Like prisoners in the dungeon and will be confined in prison; And after many days they will be punished. Then the moon will be abashed and the sun ashamed, For the LORD of hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and His glory will be before His elders.” Isaiah 24:20-23. The final punishment of the earth (not the attack on Jerusalem) will involve a major disruption of the normal patterns of nature. Enormous floods will occur once again as the windows of heaven are opened. Extremely strong earthquakes will shake the land plates from their moorings. It will seem like the earth is collapsing, falling apart, and splitting in two. There will be no stable, safe place to hide, for the earth will convulse like an unstable drunk that cannot walk, or like a small hut struck by a major windstorm. The sinful rebellion of the people on the earth will be so great that nothing can preserve them. The earth will collapse; this old world will never rise again. The prophet is saying that the world as we know it today will come to a final end.

Now, because of this, we see Isaiah’s thanksgiving for the overthrow of the Godless factions that are present on the earth and ruling over mankind, and the setting up of Jehovah’s rule for all eternity. He provides a reason for their praise and a consequence for what happens. The reason regards God’s faithfulness in accomplishing marvelous deeds, a term usually reserved for miraculous divine acts of salvation. These are clear manifestations of God’s wondrous power on behalf of his people, and as stated in verse one, “Plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness.” Isaiah 25:1b. These plans were made long before man was created. “Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure.” Isaiah 46:9-10. When all these things described above happen, the people will look back at God’s revelation of his plans and realize that God planned these eschatological events many years earlier. The worshipers will thank God because God faithfully followed the plan he made long ago. His faithfulness speaks of his sovereign power and his dedication to do what he plans.

The consequence is that their enemies will be destroyed, and a new world will be made, one in which strong people, those from ruthless nations, will praise and glorify God. They will fear God, glorifying Him because of the great and mighty works He has done. These people will either convert to Christianity or will, at the least, be forced to tremble in fear before Him. However, the people of God will give God all praise for what they see. What they will see are people from evil and ruthless nations coming to God to worship and praise to Him. These would be people who, after hearing and seeing the truth, come to God and give Him the praise and glory as well.

Do we see these events coming as laid out in the scriptures? Do we believe that God will bring about everything He prophesied would happen? Do we trust God to bring about a great and glorious eternal life to those who have accepted Christ’s work of salvation on the cross? If so for all the above, we should also be praising God “For Thou hast been a defense for the helpless, A defense for the needy in his distress, A refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat; For the breath of the ruthless Is like a rainstorm against a wall.” Isaiah 25:4.  We must fully understand that everything God has promised will come to pass. Let us therefore trust God in the hard times and thank God in the good times. What God has declared will come to pass and we must focus on His promise of a glorious eternal life with Him. Understand that there will be difficult times but focus on the glorious future ahead for us. And give Him all the praise and glory due His name.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.

1 Peter 5:6

Verse of the Day Devotion: 1 Peter 5:6

“Therefore. humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time.” – 1 Peter 5:6

Our focus verse for today tells us that we should be humble before God.  In fact, he uses a very specific phrase that gives a fuller picture of what is meant: “under the mighty hand of God”.  This phrase often speaks of being under the punishment of God.  However, the meaning here speaks of a much more positive idea.  This is to be understood in a more humble manner, that He provides a safe and profitable path, being hid as in the hollow of His hand as we fulfill His will.

However, the general idea is that when we do the work of God, that we do it in humility knowing that God is working through us, and that we are not to lift ourselves up in a prideful way.  Solomon puts it this way, “The fear of the LORD is the instruction for wisdom, And before honor comes humility.” Proverbs 15:33.  Before we are honored, we should submit to God in humility.  Adam Clarke in his commentary on Proverbs says, “few persons ever arrive at honor who are not humble; and those who from low life have risen to places of trust and confidence, have been remarkable for humility.”  Micah also has something to say about humility.  “He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8.

Now, back to 1 Peter 5.  In verse five we read, “You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 1 Peter 5:5.  This verse comes from Proverbs 3:34, “Though He scoffs at the scoffers, Yet He gives grace to the afflicted.” and is also referred to in James 4:6. It basically says that God resists the proud, those who place more emphasis and priority on what they do, rather than in what God is doing through them. And by being humble, we can anticipate a future exaltation.  “that He may exalt you at the proper time.” 1 Peter 5:6b.  Now, we do not know whether it will come in this life or the next, however, what God promises He will always do.

It is important that we always go before God in humility, understanding that He is our loving and merciful God.  And we must always, in all humility, do the work of God in a manner that does not exalt ourselves but recognizes that God is doing the work through us.  “So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”  Philippians 2:12-13.  He does the work; we are the vessel He uses to accomplish His will.  Therefore, we should not focus on ourselves as we do what God has called us to but focus on the one who called us and is working through us.  In regards to myself, I am humbled that God chooses to use me at all, when I look back on my life prior to being saved.  However, I am extremely thankful that He does.  I pray that you who are reading this will see your calling and work in the same way.   

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries. 

James 4:10

Verse of the Day Devotion: James 4:10 

“Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” – James 4:10             

James here, in this passage, is telling the Christians to remain humble before the Lord.  When we either go before God in prayer and praise, or in studying His word, we must remember who we are and who we are going to.  He is God, the Almighty Creator of all things.  We are man, someone whom He created.  This is an infinite gap between us.  All mankind has sinned against Him, from Adam and Eve to us individually.  We have gone against His commands and were destined for eternal punishment. 

But in God’s love and mercy, knowing that we had no possible way of paying the penalty for ourselves, sent His only begotten Son to die in our stead.  For it took a perfect being to earn salvation, however, no one has ever lived this perfect life except for Jesus.  “Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2.

Based on these verses, what could be our reason for exalting ourselves before God?  Were we perfect? No.  Did we deal with our own sin?  No. Did we help Him in any way with the process?  Absolutely not.  However, because of the joy set before Him, He endured what we deserved, death.  In tasting death for every man, He is set down at the right hand of the Father, and as the theologian Adam Clarke said in his comment on Hebrews 12:2, “ever appearing in the presence of God for us, and continuing His exhibition of Himself as our sacrifice, and His intercession as our mediator.”  We could do nothing; therefore, He did everything.

One last thing that it is important to remember, as Paul said to the Philippians, “for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13. What God calls us to do, He works in us to fulfil His will In us.  To think we do it all is a misunderstanding.  We submit to Him and He does a great work through us.  He has a similar statement that he wrote to the Thessalonians.  “To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12.  It is God who makes us worthy of His calling on us and will do a great work through us by His power, so that Jesus may be glorified in us, and us in Him.  It is here, in Him working through us, that we are glorified, where we are exalted.

Because He created us, then saved us when we sinned, then works through us to accomplish His will, we have no standing to come before Him in anyway but humbly.  For we are, as Christians, who we are because of Him.  Let us always remember this, so that when we go before God, we come in humility. Our future is set, and we will live forever with Him in glory.  What a great gift along with the others He has already shown us. 

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.