Jeremiah 1:5

Verse of the Day: Jeremiah 1:5

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born, I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.” – Jeremiah 1:5 

Have you ever wondered why God works in you and through you the way He does?  We see the answer here in these words God spoke to Jeremiah; that being He knew Jeremiah even before He formed Him in His mother’s womb.  And because He knew Jeremiah, He consecrated Him and appointed Him to be a prophet.

God does not wait for us to be saved to determine what He will call us to do.  He knows us long before we are born.  In fact, long before we were made.   We see in Luke that John the Baptist was known before his birth.  “But the angel said to him, Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John.  You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.  For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God.”  Luke 1:13-16 We also see it with Samson in Judges 13.

From the beginning He knew what you would be doing for Him.  Do not be discouraged thinking you are ‘out of your league’.  He called you to your mission from the very beginning.  And remember, He will work through you to make it happen.  You are not alone.  Submit to Him, no matter what, and you will fulfill His purpose in your life and bring glory to God.  And that is a good thing.

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

Isaiah 49:1

Verse of the Day Devotion.  Isaiah 49:1

“Listen to me, O coastlands, and give attention, you peoples from afar. The LORD called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name.” – Isaiah 49:1 

This is to be interpreted as the voice of the Messiah calling the distant parts of the earth to listen to His qualifications and His message.  He gives this message to the Gentiles inviting them to hear His counsel and doctrines which the Jews would reject. This prophecy is spoken as a current event, even though it would not happen for hundreds of years. This declares the truth that the Messiah was alive with no beginning but will come in the flesh at a future time. “The LORD called me from the womb, from the body of my mother” Isaiah 49:1b. Note the phrase ‘called me from the womb’. And lastly, we see the phrase ‘and he named my name’. This denotes that His name was not given by anyone here, but by the one who sent Him, that being the heavenly Father. “And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.” Luke 1:30-31.

Then in the next verse, “And He has made My mouth like a sharp sword; In the shadow of His hand He has concealed Me, And He has also made Me a select arrow; He has hidden Me in His quiver.” Isaiah 49:2. The preparation of the Servant for ministry to the nations involved God making the Servant’s mouth a powerful instrument to declare God’s messages. His mouth would be like a sharp sword. Sword imagery suggests the use of piercing-sharp speech, so it is possible for the Hebrew imagination to compare the sharp words that come from the lips or from the tongue or from the teeth to a cutting sword. This indicates that the Servant will not accomplish the tasks described in this passage through military conquests but by speaking some strong words from God. And when He does this, up until His arrest, He will be protected until that time. The words, ‘in the shadow of His hand He has concealed me’ and ‘He has hidden Me in His quiver’. This same allusion is used in Psalm 17 by David where he wrote, “Keep me as the apple of the eye; Hide me in the shadow of Thy wings, From the wicked who despoil me, My deadly enemies, who surround me.” Psalm 17:8-9. This protection was to stay in place until the time of His arrest and crucifixion.

Next we read, “You are My Servant, Israel, In Whom I will show My glory.” Isaiah 49:3. The idea here is that He was to come and bring Israel back to where they should have been. God’s desire for Israel was that they would go and teach others about Him. Israel was to be a nation of priests, prophets, and missionaries to the world. God’s intent was for Israel to be a distinct people, a nation who pointed others towards God and His promised provision of a Redeemer, Messiah, and Savior. For the most part, Israel failed in this task. However, God’s ultimate purpose for Israel, that of bringing the Messiah into the world, was fulfilled perfectly in the Person of Jesus Christ. And it was Jesus who made known what Israel was intended to tell the world. And for this reason, I believe, He was referred to as Israel.

Then next Isaiah clarifies this purpose. “And now says the LORD, who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, To bring Jacob back to Him, in order that Israel might be gathered to Him (For I am honored in the sight of the LORD, And My God is My strength), He says, It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also make You a light of the nation’s so that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” Isaiah 49:5-6. Note the purpose of His coming. To bring Jacob back to Him in order that they may be a ‘light to the nations’. Jesus made this clear in the Sermon on the Mount. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp, and put it under the peck-measure, but on the lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16. This was a message to a crowd that was predominantly Jewish, of the message given in Isaiah 49:1-8. And this should be our focus; to be a light in this dark world, and to bring His glorious message to all who need to hear it, mainly the lost Jews and Gentiles. And the best way to be a light in this world is by living as God desires us to live, and to exhibit the truth of the gospel in our actions as well as through our words. This is our calling, and we must live it out so that all will hear the truth and have the opportunity to accept Jesus as Savior and Lord.  

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

Isaiah 44:2

Verse of the Day Devotion.  Isaiah 44:2

“Thus says the LORD who made you And formed you from the womb, who will help you, ‘Do not fear, O Jacob My servant; And you Jeshurun whom I have chosen.” – Isaiah 44:2  

At the end of chapter 43, Isaiah gave a warning of judgement to His people. “Your first forefather sinned, And your spokesmen have transgressed against Me. So I will pollute the princes of the sanctuary; And I will consign Jacob to the ban, and Israel to revilement.” Isaiah 43:27-28. This is the argument from God’s side to show that they were neither unjustly punished, nor punished with undue severity. The argument is that their rulers and teachers had been guilty of crimes, and therefore it was right to bring all this vengeance upon the nation. From the very beginning it’s history has been a string of sins.

However, starting with our focus verse, he changes His focus to His grace. “Thus says the LORD who made you And formed you from the womb, who will help you, Do not fear, O Jacob My servant; And you Jeshurun whom I have chosen. For I will pour out water on the thirsty land And streams on the dry ground; I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring, And My blessing on your descendants; And they will spring up among the grass Like poplars by streams of water.” Isaiah 44:2-4. The LORD had created and formed Israel, in as much as he had caused them to grow up to be a nation by means of their ancestors from Adam on successively. And because the LORD Himself made Israel, and from the beginning prepared him as an instrument of His purposes, He calls to the nation living in exile, not to fear, for two things are promised. First, that the land they are given will be fertile because of the water poured out on the dry ground. “Do not call to mind the former things or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert. The beasts of the field will glorify Me; The jackals and the ostriches; Because I have given waters in the wilderness And rivers in the desert, To give drink to My chosen people.“ Isaiah 43:18-20.  

 And second He will pour His Spirit and blessings on their offspring/descendants. This points back to chapter 32, where Isaiah states, “Until the Spirit is poured out upon us from on high, And the wilderness becomes a fertile field And the fertile field is considered as a forest. Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, And righteousness will abide in the fertile field. And the work of righteousness will be peace, And the service of righteousness, quietness, and confidence forever. Then my people will live in a peaceful habitation, And in secure dwellings and in undisturbed resting places.” Isaiah 32:15-18. This refers to when  the Spirit of God, as the source of all blessings, and especially as able to meet and remove the ills of the long calamity and desolation, comes to His people. This evidently refers to some future period, when the evils which the prophet was contemplating would be succeeded by the spread of the true faith.

Then we come to verse 5. “This one will say, ‘I am the LORD’S’; And that one will call on the name of Jacob; And another will write on his hand, ‘Belonging to the LORD,’ And will name Israel’s name with honor.” Isaiah 44:5. The idea of the phrase ‘call on the name of Jacob’ refers to gentiles who, because of the Holy Spirit, join themselves with the children of Jacob in serving the true God. I belong to Yahweh; I devote myself to him. These express the true nature of a profession of faith – a feeling that we are not our own, but that we belong to God. It is, that we not only feel that we are bound to worship him, but that we actually belong to him; that our bodies and spirits, and all that we have and, are to be sacredly employed in his service. Nothing, in few words, can more appropriately describe the true nature of a profession of faith than the expression used here.

In serving God, we must give our everything to Him, not holding anything back. In the Book of Matthew, we see Jesus’ answer to what the greatest commandment is. “And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:37-40. He calls us to give Him everything, all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, and as found in Mark, all our strength as well. Let us not, in anything, give Him less than our all.

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

Job 1:21

Verse of the Day Devotion:  Job 1:21 

“He said, naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.” –  Job 1:21

Job in this verse is dealing with extreme loss, more than most, if not all, in this world has ever experienced.  He lived in the land of Uz, and based on Job 1:1, he “was blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil.” Job 1:1b.  He had ten children, seven sons and three daughters and many possessions including seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred oxen and five hundred female donkeys.  He also had many servants who worked for him to take care of all these animals and other things Job owned.  In verse three he is declared by the writer as “the greatest of all men of the east.” Job 1:3b. 

Now one day Satan came to God, who spoke to Satan saying, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.” Job 1:8. God said there was no one like him in all the earth, blameless and upright more than anyone else on the earth.  Satan responded by saying, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.” Job 1:9b-10.  Satan was essentially saying you have fortified him with spikes and spears. You have defended him with an unapproachable hedge. He is an object of your specific care and is not exposed to the common trials of life.  He then adds the following.  “But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face.” 

God then responds to him by saying, “Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him.  So, Satan departed from the presence of the LORD.” Job 1:12. Then Satan goes to work.  First, the Sabeans came and stole all the donkeys and oxen and killed the servants tending them.  Then, according to a servant who came to him, fire fell from the sky which he called “the fire of God” and burned up all the sheep and the servants in the field, consuming them.   Then the Chaldeans took all the camels and killed all the servants with them.  Then worst of all, “While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “Your sons and your daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and behold, a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people and they died, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” Job 1:18-29. 

Because of all this, Job lost everything he had.  He lost all his oxen and donkeys, his sheep, his camels and all his servants.  And worst of all, his ten children were killed when the house they were meeting at collapsed due to heavy winds that came upon it.  And because of all this, he tore his garments, shaved or pulled out the hair of his head and threw dust or ashes on his head, and fell on the ground, which were acts by which immense grief was expressed. Job must have felt the bitterness of anguish when he was told that, in addition to the loss of all his property, his children suffered a terrible death.

However, his response was not what Satan expected.  “He said, Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.” Job 1:21 which is our focus verse.  Notice what happened here.  Job did not point to the evil men or the natural disasters that took everything away.  This would not have eased the sorrow he felt, but he looks at a higher place.  He chose to look to the Sovereign Lord of the universe and to put his trust in God’s goodness.  At times, God allows hard times to impact those who love Him, and during these times we must cling to the truth that God is good.  God is sovereign, and nothing could happen that God does not know about.  When the Lord gives, we must praise Him and be thankful.  And when the Lord takes away, we must also praise Him and be thankful.  We must always remember, no matter what happens, God has our best interests at heart.  “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28.   We may mourn our losses, whether they be things or loved ones, however, we must remember that God loves us more than we can understand and therefore works in everything on our behalf.  So, no matter what happens, we must always look to Him and, as Job declared in our focus verse, “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.” Job 1:21b. 

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