Isaiah 55:7

Verse of the Day Devotion Isaiah 55:7  

“Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the LORD, And He will have compassion on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.” – Isaiah 55:7

When we look at the verse just prior to our focus verse, we see Isaiah’s call to His people to become more diligent in their relationship with God.  “Seek the LORD while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near.” Isaiah 55:6.  Isaiah tells us to seek God while God allows Himself to be found.  Back then at the time of the writing of the Book of Isaiah, as well as now, God can be found because He is near.  We can call out to Him and He will hear us and we can cry out to Him for mercy while repenting of our sins, and He will answer and forgive us.  For when the Messiah comes for His people, this time will be gone.

Now in our focus verse, the writer says that one of the things that a wicked person must do when drawing near to God is to forsake their evil ways, their evil thoughts, and their evil plans. The verb “forsake” is traditionally translated as a continuation of God’s invitation expressed in a mildly commanding wish or desire, in this case, let the wicked forsake his way. The act of forsaking past ways and thoughts involves the rejection of these behaviors and a decisive break from past beliefs, assumptions, priorities, and plans. Of course it is not always easy to separate instantly from past friends, past ways of doing things, or a past philosophy of life. The second verb encourages the audience to “turn” to God after they have turned away from their past wicked life. This requires a transformation of the mind and heart by the Spirit of God. The plans of God may require his people to give up their dreams, change jobs, and move to live in another place, but the person who truly turns to God wants to serve him and eagerly desires to follow his direction. This request to return to the Lord is a spiritual change of the will and a person’s thinking. This is a turning to follow God. 

And the results of this forsaking of an old evil way of thinking and accepting a new godly perspective is that God will have compassion and will freely pardon those who respond. Although it is clear that God will have mercy on those who repent, it would be wrong to draw the conclusion that repentance is required before God can show mercy on anyone. That would almost suggest that certain works of faith automatically produce or earn for the believer a gracious divine response. Yet, many passages speak of God’s love and compassion for sinful people, so it is clear that various aspects of God’s mercy happen both before and after repentance, though no human acts can earn God’s grace. As an example, “I permitted Myself to be sought by those who did not ask for Me; I permitted Myself to be found by those who did not seek Me. I said, ‘Here am I, here am I,’ To a nation which did not call on My name.  I have spread out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, Who walk in the way, which is not good, following their own thoughts,” Isaiah 65:1-2.  

God is calling us to come to Him, seek Him while He may be found, and call upon Him while He is near.  We have time now, therefore we should go to Him in humility and ask forgiveness and turn from those ways that are against the calling of Christ in our lives.  We must go to Him and if there is anything we do or think that is not pleasing to God, we must forsake those ways and fall in line with what God desires of us.  And what is the outcome of truly doing this, returning to the Lord and His ways? He shall have abundant mercy on us and will pardon us.  God is ready with compassion and abundant pardon in His hands that a way has been found and that those who will turn around from their rebellion, confess their sin, and accept the sin offering of the Servant may have something infinitely better than restoration in Judah, which is restoration to God. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16.

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

Hebrews 13:5

Verse of the Day Devotion:  Hebrews 13:5

“Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,” – Hebrews 13:5

One of the things we must always remember, being God’s children, is that we have all we need.  Paul says it this way.  “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19.  We have nothing to worry about in this context, for He will work on our behalf to provide our needs.  However, we must realize what our needs truly are.  Too many people look at their wants and make them needs.  Jesus lays out what our needs are in His Sermon on the Mount.  “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” Matthew 6:25.  These are our basic needs; food, drink, and clothing.

The writer of Hebrews here is telling us that we must remain free from the love of money.  He is telling us that we must be content with what we have, not desiring more money so we can get more things.  We should be satisfied with having what we have so that we can be at peace and available to do the work of God.  And it is necessary based on a couple of verses prior to our focus verse.  “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body.”  Hebrews 13:2-3.  There are many Christians who are struggling in life.  Now, Paul said in Philippians 4:19 (see above) that God will supply all our needs.  However, He may choose to supply these needs for another through us.  If He provides abundantly for us, maybe it is to meet ours and another’s needs as well.  I want to say though there is nothing wrong with getting some things that we want.  But we cannot desire so much that we begin to love things more than God and others.   

Paul, in his first letter to Timothy, wrote the following.  “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” 1 Timothy 6:10.  Paul is not saying that money itself is the problem, but it is the love of it that is the issue.  One of these evils can be, and many times is, the neglect of His people who are in need so that our wants are satisfied.  Again, I am not saying that getting what we want is wrong.  It is putting these wants ahead of what God deems as more important.  Just as money is not bad, but the love of it can lead to many forms of evil. 

Therefore, the important idea here in our focus verse is that we should not put money ahead of what God desires us to do.  And secondly, we should not put money ahead of God when it comes providing for our needs.  And lastly, we should not put money ahead of meeting the basic needs of others. There is nothing wrong with money, but it is the position it holds in our lives that can be the issue.  We must not trust anything other than God Almighty to meet our needs.  He has promised so many times throughout the scriptures that He will not forsake us.  God can and will use the things we have to meet our needs.  But we must not come to the point where we think money will supply all our needs, and thus placing it in a position where we rely on it for everything.  It is not money that meets our needs, but it is God who does.  He loves us beyond our greatest understanding, and He is the only person and thing we should rely on to meet our every need.       

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