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.

Psalm 86:15

Verse of the Day Devotion:  Psalm 86:15  

“But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” – Psalm 86:15 

This psalm addresses a situation where David was suffering because of ruthless and evil men.  “O God, insolent men have risen up against me; a band of ruthless men seeks my life, and they do not set you before them.” Psalm 86:14.  David is referring to a band of men who do not honor God, in fact they consider themselves to be above or more important than God, if they believe in Him at all.  They are terribly violent ones who breathe out nothing but cruelty and will slaughter as many as they have to. 

However, David is not alone.  He cries out to God for encouragement.  “But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. Turn to me and be gracious to me; give your strength to your servant, and save the son of your maidservant. Show me a sign of your favor, that those who hate me may see and be put to shame because you, LORD, have helped me and comforted me.” Psalm 86:15-17.  In our focus verse, He declares God is merciful and compassionate and tender hearted, as a parent is to his children being rich and plenteous in His mercy.  He also declares He is slow to anger and abounding in love and faithfulness. 

After this, David calls out to God for help.  “Turn to me and be gracious to me; give your strength to your servant and save the son of your maidservant.”  Psalm 86:16.  In these verses he is asking God to help him through all these troubles.  Help to be saved from these evil people who have caused him much trouble.  He asks God to be merciful and gracious to him and to give him the strength necessary to make it through these trying times.  And then he asks for a sign from God.  “Show me a sign of your favor, that those who hate me may see and be put to shame because you, LORD, have helped me and comforted me.”  Psalm 86:17.  The sign was to bring shame on those who hate him because you have helped and comforted him.  This would probably cause them to doubt their ways and their ability to hurt David.  He desired that God would show them that they can do nothing harmful to him when God is involved.

So, I want to ask the following question.  When you find yourself in difficult situations, what do you do?  Do you spend time mourning and crying?  Do you cry out to God for help, or do you just cry out?  God does not change and neither do His mercies.  “So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” Hebrews 6:17-20.  When you find yourself in a situation where you do not see any good coming from it, go to God.  There is nothing impossible for Him and there nothing He does not foresee.  Trust Him in every way, for in Him we will be comforted and have victory.  “Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:31-33.

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

Galatians 5:22-23

Verse of the Day Devotion:  Galatians 5:22-23 

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22-23

This section of scripture speaks of the dichotomy of the flesh and the Spirit.  It starts with the following, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16.  He is telling Christians they must walk by the Spirit because then they will not focus and fulfil the things of the flesh.  This is so because if the Spirit of God dwells in and rules our heart, then the whole carnal mind will be defeated.  In other word, the only way to overcome the corrupt desires and propensities of our nature is to submit to the influences of the Holy Spirit.  And he goes on in the next verse to describe this dichotomy.  “For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.” Galatians 5:17.  Paul is saying here that both of these things are in opposition to each other.  As Christians, when we want to do what is right, our flesh wars against us.  But, if we want to do what is wrong, then the Spirit clarifies this wrong to you.  Paul spoke of this struggled in His letter to the Romans.  “For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.” Romans 7:19.  Paul himself struggled, but He fought it off and lived the life devoted to Christ. However, he was not under the law as the devout Jews were, for He was led by the Spirit and therefore was not under the law but was under grace.  “For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” Romans 6:14.

Paul then says that the deeds of the flesh are evident, meaning they are well known and plainly seen.  He then lists them in the next three verses.  “immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19b-21.  Note the wording at the end of this verse, ‘inherit the kingdom of God’.  Those who inherit it will enter it.  Jesus tells us who will enter the kingdom of heaven.  “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.” Matthew 7:21.  It is those who do the will of the Father; those who walk in the Spirit. 

However, as our focus verse states, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23.  These are the things that the Spirit leads us to do.  Note these are called the ‘fruit of the Spirit’.  Paul is using the analogy of a tree.  Living according to the Spirit of God produces good fruit, and likewise the deeds of the flesh as listed above produce bad fruit.  “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits.” Matthew 7:16-20.

It is important that we, as Christians, focus our attention on being led by the Spirit of God and not our own fleshly desires.  Our flesh leads to all types of sins, while the Spirit leads us to bearing fruit that is pleasing to God.  And, as stated above, the flesh and the Spirit are at enmity with each other, in other  words we cannot be beholden to both.  It is either one or the other.  Therefore, we must decide which we choose.  We may desire to be led by the Spirit, but we may give in to our desires of the flesh.  If we find this is us, we must sincerely repent and turn away from these worldly ways.  We must sorrow for our disobedience to God, for this sorrow leads to repentence.  “For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.” 2 Corinthians 7:10. 

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

Exodus 34:6

Verse of the Day Devotion: Exodus 34:6 

“The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,” – Exodus 34:6   

This verse describes events that occurred after Moses threw the first set of tablets containing the Ten Commandments down upon the rebellious Children of Israel.  Remember that when Moses was coming down from Mount Sinai he was so angry that he threw the tablets down onto them.  Well, this chapter describes how the second set of tablets were given.

Here is the verses recording this event.  “The LORD said to Moses, “Cut for yourself two tablets of stone like the first, and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke. Be ready by the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself there to me on the top of the mountain. No one shall come up with you, and let no one be seen throughout all the mountain. Let no flocks or herds graze opposite that mountain.” Exodus 34:1-3.  Moses here is given till the next morning to cut new tablets upon which God would put the Ten Commandments upon.  He then tells Moses to come to the mountain himself, not to bring anyone with him.

So Moses cut two tablets of stone like the first. And he rose early in the morning and went up on Mount Sinai, as the LORD had commanded him, and took in his hand two tablets of stone. The LORD descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD.”  Exodus 34:4-5.  Therefore, Moses does what he is commanded and cuts two new tablets to replace the ones destroyed previously.  The next morning he awakens, takes the two new tablets, and presents them to God.  The next thing we read is that the Lord descended from Heaven in a cloud and, I love the way this is put, and stood with him there.  Now the Lord declares in our focus verse, “The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, Exodus 34:6.  And then continuing in verse 7, “keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” Exodus 34:7. 

When He announced Himself to Moses the first time at the burning bush, he declared Himself as ‘self-existent’.  “God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” Exodus 3:14.  This time He makes Himself known in the glory of His grace and goodness, using language that would be presented in the future to the church.  And because of what the Jews had done previously during the presentation of the first set of tablets, this shows His grace and mercy in presenting, once again, His law to His people, but also the grace and mercy He has in overlooking their sin.  And not just the sin of Israel, but all who has offended God in their ways.

This is the God we serve, one that has overlooked our sins once we cried out to Him for forgiveness, and then gave ourselves to Him to His service.  He loved us so much that He forgave us of everything and has declared us guiltless before Himself.  His abounding love and mercy goes far beyond anything we can ever imagine, and our future is with Him, in His kingdom forever.  What an amazing God we serve.

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