Isaiah 46:8

Verse of the Day Devotion. Isaiah 46:8

“Remember this, and be assured; Recall it to mind, you wrongdoers.” – Isaiah 46:8

As we read in our focus verse, God is calling His people, Israel, to remember something which He reminds them of in the first seven verses of this chapter. Through Isaiah, He is encouraging His people. First, we will look at God’s comparison of Himself and the gods of Babylon. “Bel has bowed down, Nebo stoops over; Their idols have become loads for the animals and the cattle. The things that you carry are burdensome, a load for the weary animal. They stooped over, they have bowed down together; They could not rescue the burden but have themselves gone into captivity.” Isaiah 46:1-2. He is telling His people that the gods of Babylon are actually a burden rather than helpers. Instead of these false gods rescuing them from their burdens, they become a part of the burden of their people.

Then God tells them that He has never been a burden to them, but actually has carried them. “Listen to Me, house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, You who have been carried by Me from birth and have been carried from the womb; even to your old age I will be the same, And even to your graying years I will carry you! I have done it, and I will bear you; And I will carry you and I will save you.” Isaiah 46:3-4. God now turns the tables. With a call to pay attention, he addresses the people as ‘house of Jacob’ and ‘house of Israel’. He was bringing to their minds the whole long story that established their identity. He was using the idea mentioned above, asking them when in all that time had they ever carried their God? He reminds them it never happened. From the very beginning of their existence as a nation, from the hour of their birth as a nation, God had been carrying them!

He then shows them there is no comparison by way of a rhetorical question. “To whom would you equate Me and make Me equal, and compare Me, that we would be alike? Those who lavish gold from the bag and weigh silver on the scale, hire a goldsmith, and he makes it into a god; They bow down; indeed, they worship it. They lift it on the shoulder, carry it, and set it in its place, and it stands there. It does not move from its place. Though one may shout to it, it cannot answer; It cannot save him from his distress.” Isaiah 46:5-7. The only logical conclusion of this contrast between God and the false gods is that there is no comparison between God and the false gods. To which of the idol-gods can the Lord be compared? Absolutely none. They are the creation of humans and are subject to all the limitations of time and space. He is the Creator of humans and all else and is limited by nothing.

Now we come to our focus verse. “Remember this, and be assured; Recall it to mind, you wrongdoers.” Isaiah 49:8. And what are we to remember? “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 plan will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure.” Isaiah 46:9-10.  The main point is that God’s people must remember this about the LORD; that He knows the end from the beginning and is in control over all things. When we remember this, we will show ourselves to be ones who trust God no matter what. We can have tremendous courage in our God when we understand and remember who He is and what He does.

In closing, we read in the last two verses of chapter 46. “Listen to Me, you stubborn minded, Who are far from righteousness. I bring near My righteousness; it is not far off; And My salvation will not delay. And I will grant salvation in Zion, And My glory for Israel.” Isaiah 46:12-13. These two verses represent a call to accept that God can and will deliver his people. These words are directed to those who are stubborn and far from righteousness. God tells them that these accomplishment of righteous acts of salvation are sure, are near, and will not be delayed. One can be confident it will happen because God is not one who is far away from his people. In fact, he is so near to them that it is possible for him to care for them and act positively on their behalf.

There are many today who fall within the category referred to; stubborn minded and those who are far from righteousness. There are believers who are struggling in difficult situations who need an assurance that God will bring them through and the He will be coming to deliver them from this world. We need to help them remember what God has done in the past, which shows He can do anything, including delivering and helping them in all situations. And sometimes He allows us to go through trials with the purpose of showing us we are never alone. God’s people need to remember that God’s timing is always perfect and wise. When we are stubborn hearted, we need to listen to the LORD and remember He never delays and is never late. God always has His deliverer, and always knows exactly when to bring His deliverance.

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

Exodus 20:8

Verse of the Day Devotion:  Exodus 20:8

“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.” –  Exodus 20:8

In the last Daily Devotion, we looked at not taking the Lord’s name in vain in our conversations or actions.  Today we will look at the fourth commandment which states, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.” Exodus 10:8.  The Israelites under the Mosaic Law were to remember that no work could be done on the seventh day of the week, which falls on Saturday. It covers the time period of sundown on Friday until sundown Saturday.  And this requirement not to work applied to all in Israel, men, women, children and servants.

The reason and basis for this is found in verse eleven.  “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.” Exodus 20:11.  The word Sabbath has the meaning ‘day of rest’ or ‘intermission’.  Because God finished His work of creation in six days and rested, or took a day of intermission, on the seventh. And He blessed this day upon completion.  “Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” Genesis 2:3.  This was a day in which he took delight and pleasure, having finished all his works, and resting from them, and looking over them as very good.  And looking at the focus verse, He commanded the Israelites to ‘remember’ the Sabbath Day.  God conferred on the seventh day a specific honor and gave special privileges above those of the other six, being separated from common use and dedicated to sacred service.

The four-word phrase, ‘to keep it holy’ is actually a single word in Hebrew meaning ‘consecrate’ or ‘sanctify.  As stated above, this day was to be dedicated to the Lord.   The priests were to double the daily sacrifices on the Sabbath.  “Then on the sabbath day two male lambs one year old without defect, and two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil as a grain offering, and its drink offering: This is the burnt offering of every sabbath in addition to the continual burnt offering and its drink offering.” Numbers 28:9-10.  This marked the day with increased sacred activity.  The rest of the Israelites were to mark the day with decreased activity—no work at all—in honor of the Lord. 

And finally, later in the Book of Exodus, the Sabbath Day is also a sign between Israel and God of a covenant between them.  “But as for you, speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘You shall surely observe My sabbaths; for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you.” Exodus 31:13.  And then a couple verses down, “So the sons of Israel shall observe the sabbath, to celebrate the sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant.” Exodus 31:16. 

As Israel kept the Sabbath set apart, they were reminded that they were also being set apart.  As believers today who are under the New Covenant, we are not bound to keep this sign of the Old Covenant.  However, we are also set apart to be holy.  “As obedient children do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.” 1 Peter 1:14-16.  We may not be called to keep the Sabbath, but we should remember it and  keep in mind that we are called to be holy as He is for it is a sign to us of our relationship with God and it is He who calls us to holiness because He says to us as well, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”.

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