Daily Archives: May 8, 2018

May 8: Beyond Regret

Judges 13:1–14:20; Philippians 3:12–4:1; Psalm 69:1–17

I’ve excelled at regret. When I’ve dwelt on the wrongs I committed against other people and my offensive rebellion against God, I lost my focus. It’s difficult to be confident in our righteousness through Christ when we go through these periods.

In Philippians 3:12–14, Paul offers both hope and advice for these times based on his own experience: “But I do one thing, forgetting the things behind and straining toward the things ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Paul looks forward to being with God in fullness and experiencing the fruits of his labor for the gospel, so he presses “toward the goal.” He emphasizes that we need to forget the “things behind.” Paul would have known the need for this. As a zealous Pharisee, he had persecuted the early church, counting himself the foremost of sinners (1 Tim 1:15).

Does forgetting imply that we act as if our failures never occurred? Not necessarily. We should seek forgiveness from others whenever possible. But it’s dangerous to dwell on the failures—to live in regret. In fact, we belittle Christ’s sacrifice if we purposefully or knowingly live in fear and guilt. He has paid for our sins and given us new life, and that means handing over our imperfections for Him to bear.

Paul swiftly moves from forgetting to “straining toward the things ahead, [he says,] I press on” (Phil 3:14). We are called to a new life in Christ, and this should be our focus. We will experience this, and we will know the complete fulfillment of this reality when He comes again. In the meantime, we can move forward without being crippled by our sins.

How are you caught up in your past mistakes? How can you seek help from God during these times while trusting in His forgiveness?

Rebecca Van Noord[1]


[1] Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

May 8 Building a Leader: The Right Experiences (Peter)

The twelve apostles included “Simon, who is called Peter” (Matt. 10:2).

✧✧✧

Your present experiences contribute to your future leadership ability.

Stan Carder is a dear brother in Christ and one of the pastors on our church staff. Before coming to Grace Church he pastored a church in Montana. While there, he was riding one night in a truck that was involved in a very serious accident. Stan suffered a broken neck and other major injuries. As a result he underwent months of arduous and painful therapy.

That was one of the most difficult periods in Stan’s life, and yet God used it for a specific purpose. Today, as pastor of our special-ministries department, Stan ministers to more than five hundred physically and mentally handicapped people. God needed a man with unique qualifications to show love to a group of very special people. He chose Stan and allowed him the necessary experiences to fit him for the task.

God doesn’t always permit such serious situations, but He does lead each of us into life-changing experiences that heighten our effectiveness in ministry.

Peter had many such experiences. In Matthew 16:15–16, for example, God gave him special revelation about the deity of Christ. In Acts 10 God sent him to preach the gospel to Gentiles—something unheard of at the time because Jewish people resisted any interaction with Gentiles. Perhaps the most tragic experience of Peter’s life was his denial of Christ. But even that only increased his love for Christ and his appreciation of God’s grace. After His resurrection, Christ forgave him and restored him to ministry (John 21:15–19).

Peter’s many experiences helped prepare him for the key role he was to play in the early church. Similarly, your experiences help prepare you for future ministry. So seek to discern God’s hand in your circumstances, and rejoice at the prospect of becoming a more effective Christian.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God for both the good and bad experiences you have, knowing that each of them is important to your spiritual growth (cf. James 1:2–4).

For Further Study: Read Acts 10, noting what Peter learned from his experience. ✧ What vision did Peter have? ✧ What was the point of the vision?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 141). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

BREAKING NEWS: President Trump keeps promise to withdraw from dangerous Iran nuclear deal. Will impose severe new sanctions on Tehran. This is the right decision & the President deserves tremendous credit. But pray for peace in the region. Things might get bumpy. Here’s the latest.

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

IranDeal-Trumpspeech

(Jerusalem, Israel) — After a careful policy review by senior administration officials, and consultation with a wide range of U.S. allies, President Donald Trump today kept his promise by announcing the U.S. will terminate the nuclear deal that President Obama and Secretary John Kerry negotiated with Iran.

The President also announced the U.S. will imposing severe economic sanctions on the terrorist regime in Tehran.

This was absolutely the right decision, and the President deserves tremendous credit.

As I’ve noted previously: “The President should scrap this insane and dangerous deal. 1) It’s not a real treaty signed by both sides. 2) It wasn’t confirmed by the U.S. Senate according to the Constitutional process. 3) The deal does not stop Iran from building or buying an entire nuclear arsenal in the near future. 4) Iranian leaders lied repeatedly through the entire process. They cannot and should not be trusted to keep their…

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MAY 8 WE ARE NOT ALL ALIKE

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works.

Ephesians 2:10

We ought to be fully aware that in the Body of Christ we are not interested in the production of “cookie cutter” Christians.

This is a word of caution in the matter of Christian experience—there is no pattern or formula for identical Christian experiences. It is actually a tragic thing for believers to try to be exactly like each other in their Christian faith and life.

I have probably been overly cautious about testifying to my own experiences because I do not want anyone to be tempted to try to copy anything the Lord has done for me.

God has given each of us an individual temperament and distinct characteristics. Therefore it is the office of the Holy Spirit to work out as He will the details of Christian experience. They will vary with personality.

Of this we may be sure: Whenever a person truly meets God in faith and commitment to the gospel, he will have a consciousness and a sharp awareness of the details of that spiritual transaction!

Lord, help me to be a faithful steward of the gifts You have given me to use in the church.[1]


[1] Tozer, A. W. (2015). Mornings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

Israeli military on’ high alert’, bomb shelters ready on Golan Heights over Iran activity in Syria

Israel’s military is on high alert after allegedly spotting irregular Iranian military movement in Syria, with bomb shelters in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights being readied in anticipation of an Iranian attack.
— Read on www.rt.com/news/426190-israel-military-alert-syria/amp/

Israeli Forces on High Alert Over ‘Unusual Spike in Iran’s Activity’ in Syria – Sputnik International

The Israeli leadership have been for a long time accusing Iran of having military presence in Syria and even having a base there, claims that Tehran has strongly refuted as groundless, though admitting sending military advisors to train troops loyal to Damascus.
— Read on sputniknews.com/middleeast/201805081064261047-israel-forces-activities-syria/

What is True Womanhood? — An Interview with Herman & Sharron of Christian Television Network | Julie Roys

Should women seek to emulate the idealized Proverbs 31 woman, who’s supposedly meek and demure? Or, in the words of feminist Gloria Steinem, should we try to become “the men we wanted to marry”?

Today women are torn between two conflicting visions of womanhood, both in the church and society. And frankly, many of us aren’t especially attracted to either one. But there is another option, one I describe in my book, Redeeming the Feminine Soul: God’s Surprising Vision for Womanhood. Recently, I had the delightful opportunity to discuss this vision of womanhood with Herman and Sharron of Christian Television Network (CTN). Below are a couple short clips, as well as the full program. I’d love to hear what you think after watching!

— Read on julieroys.com/true-womanhood-interview-herman-sharron-christian-television-network/

May 8, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

1 The glory and wisdom of God are evident in the vastness of space. The psalmist calls attention to the word “the heavens” as he begins the first verse and concludes with the synonym “the skies”: “The heavens … the skies” (in MT). This inclusionary form and the chiastic structure cannot be reproduced in the NIV. It is the author’s way of evoking in the reader an immediate response to the words “the heavens” and “the skies” (ABCC′B′A′):

A

the heavens

C′

the work of his hands

B

declare

B′

proclaim

C

the glory of God;

A′

the skies.

These words signify the place where God put the sun, moon, and stars for the purpose of giving light and for distinguishing “day” from “night” (Ge 1:14–19). For the psalmist, “space” is not empty but a revelation of God’s creation of the magnificent heavenly bodies, which are characterized by radiance and regularity. The verbs “declare” and “proclaim” are participial forms, expressive of the continuous revelation of the heavens, and could be translated “keep on declaring …; keep on proclaiming.” The wars and disturbances on earth often camouflage God’s glory, as they divert attention away from the created heavenly bodies, which show more clearly God’s majesty by their regularity and orderliness. He alone is the Creator, because the magnificence of the heavenly bodies confirms that they are all “the work of his hands” (cf. Dt 4:19; 17:3).[1]


19:1, 2 “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.” And what a story they tell! Think, first of all, what they tell about the immensity of the universe. If we traveled at the speed of light—186,000 miles a second or roughly six trillion miles a year—it would take us ten billion years to reach the farthest point we can see with a telescope. But this would still be far from the outermost limits of space. Now astronomers think that space may have no bounds at all! Our earth is nothing but a tiny speck in a limitless expanse!

Think too of the number of stars and other heavenly bodies. With the naked eye we can see about five thousand stars. With a small telescope we can see about two million. But with the Palomar telescope we can see billions of galaxies, to say nothing of individual stars.

Then think about the distances of the heavenly bodies from the earth and from each other. Someone has pictured the distances as follows: if it cost a penny to ride 1000 miles, a trip to the moon would cost $2.38, a trip to the sun would cost $930, but a trip to the nearest star would cost $260 million.

It takes light from the most remote stars which can be seen with telescopes ten billion years to reach the earth. So when we look out into space, we are really looking backward in time. For example, we do not see the Andromeda galaxy where it is now but where it was two million years ago!

Although the stars may appear to be crowded in the firmament, the distances between them are so great that they have been likened to lonely lightships a million miles apart, floating in an empty sea.

If creation is so great, how much greater is the Creator! Day and night the heavens are telling the greatness of His power and wisdom. The firmament unceasingly proclaims the marvels of His handiwork. (In Bible usage “firmament” refers to the expanse of the heavens.) As Isaac Watts wrote, “Nature with open volume stands to spread her Maker’s praise abroad.”[2]


19:1 — The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.

Go outside on some clear night and just stare up into the sky for several minutes. Soak in the grandeur and majesty and vastness of the starry host—and then think: my God made all this.[3]


19:1 heavens … expanse. Both are crucial elements of the creation in Ge 1 (cf. vv. 1, 8). telling … declaring. Both verbs emphasize the continuity of these respective disclosures. work of His hands. An anthropomorphism illustrating God’s great power (cf. the “work of Your fingers” in Ps 8:3).[4]


19:1The heavens and the sky above (see ESV footnote) recall Genesis 1. The glory of God, i.e., his power, wisdom, and worthiness of honor and worship.

19:1 Revelation of God through nature leaves man with no excuse (Rom. 1:18–23).[5]


19:1the glory of God Yahweh created the heavens (referred to as shamayim in Hebrew) and the sky, expanse, or firmament (raqia’ in Hebrew) to reveal His glory (see Gen 1:1, 6). People in the ancient Near East often worshiped the sun, moon, and stars as gods—something specifically prohibited by the Law (see Deut 4:19; 17:3)—rather than the Creator whose glory they reflect.[6]


19:1 The first few verses form what is called natural revelation (Rm 1:19–20), meaning that the observation of creation calls for an acknowledgment of God’s existence. The wisdom and power and glory of God are displayed in what He has made; it is a continuous revelation in the skies (vv. 1–4) dominated by the sun (vv. 4–6).[7]


19:1 Although the heavens can refer to God’s dwelling place, here it is clarified by expanse, which is what can be seen from the perspective of those who live on the earth. This is the same Hebrew word as the expanse that separated water from water in Gn 1:6–8. Creation is sometimes personified as a witness to God’s work among his people, particularly in the covenant relationship he has with them (Dt 4:26; 30:19; Is 1:2). In this context one specific part of creation is personified as declaring and proclaiming a message. The parallelism between the glory of God and the work of his hands indicates that the objects of creation are demonstrations (or evidence) of God’s glory (50:6; 89:5–8; 97:6; Rm 1:19–20).[8]


[1] VanGemeren, W. A. (2008). Psalms. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Psalms (Revised Edition) (Vol. 5, p. 215). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (pp. 571–572). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (Ps 19:1). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

[4] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ps 19:1). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[5] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 961). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[6] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ps 19:1). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[7] Cabal, T., Brand, C. O., Clendenen, E. R., Copan, P., Moreland, J. P., & Powell, D. (2007). The Apologetics Study Bible: Real Questions, Straight Answers, Stronger Faith (p. 805). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

[8] Warstler, K. R. (2017). Psalms. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 833). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

Franklin Graham Sets Internet on Fire With Remarks on Trump’s Alleged Stormy Daniels Affair — Faithwire

Evangelist and son of the late Billy Graham, Franklin Graham, is no stranger to a bit of controversy. Despite refusing to officially endorse Donald Trump as the Republican Presidential nominee, he has made his support for the billionaire abundantly clear since he took office. As raindrops peppered the shoulders of the newly inaugurated President, Graham…

via Franklin Graham Sets Internet on Fire With Remarks on Trump’s Alleged Stormy Daniels Affair — Faithwire

May 8 Principles of Giving: Part 2

When you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.—Matt. 6:3–4

Continuing from yesterday’s list of scriptural giving principles, four more come to mind. First, financial giving correlates to spiritual blessings. God will not entrust things of greater value to those who are not faithful with lesser things. Jesus asks, “If you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you?” (Luke 16:11). Men have dropped out of the ministry because they couldn’t handle their finances, and others remain but see little fruit because God won’t commit souls to them if they can’t manage material things, including their giving.

Second, believers must personally decide their giving. True giving will flow from a righteous heart, not artificially imposed percentages. “Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7; cf. 8:1–2; Phil. 4:15–18).

Third, Christians must give toward the needs of others. The early Jerusalem church did not hesitate to share its resources (Acts 2:44–45), and years later Paul took a collection from Gentile churches to help meet the continued needs of believers in Jerusalem.

Finally, genuine giving demonstrates the love of Christ, not adherence to the law. The New Testament does not specify required amounts or percentages (such as the tithe) for our giving. The amount we give, which ought to be as generous as possible, will derive from our heartfelt love and our knowledge of others’ needs.

ASK YOURSELF

How do you go about deciding the amounts you give? Are you satisfied that you’re being obedient to the Lord in this? Remember, giving is not supposed to be a source of guilt but rather a fount of blessing and gratitude. Are you experiencing a high level of peace about your giving decisions?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 137). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

MAY 8 MOST IMPORTANT: YOUR NAMES WRITTEN IN HEAVEN

…Be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the LORD, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the LORD.

1 CORINTHIANS 15:58

Those who are active in Christian service must beware of two opposite pitfalls: the elation that comes with success on the one hand, or the discouragement that comes with failure, on the other.

These may be considered by some as trivial, but the history of the Christian ministry will not support this conclusion. They are critically dangerous and should be guarded against with great care.

The disciples returned to Christ with brimming enthusiasm, saying, “Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name,” and He quickly reminded them of another being who had allowed success to go to his head.

“I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven,” He said. “In this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.”

The second of these twin dangers need not be labored. Every minister of the gospel knows how hard it is to stay spiritual when his work appears to be fruitless. Yet he is required to rejoice in God as certainly when he is having a bad year as when he is seeing great success, and to lean heavily upon Paul’s assurance that “your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”[1]


[1] Tozer, A. W., & Smith, G. B. (2015). Evenings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

Win the War for Your Child’s Heart – Biblical Counseling Center

To win the war for your child’s heart, you’ll fight three forces. But first, you must recognize you’re in a war! This article by LucyAnnMoll, DMin candidate, appeared first at her website: LucyAnnMoll.com
— Read on www.biblicalcounselingcenter.org/win-the-war-for-your-childs-heart/

50 Good Mental Health Habits | Brad Hambrick

Good physical health does not happen by accident. Physically healthy people make small, daily choices that contribute to their physical health.

It should be noted that even those who make healthy choices still get sick and injured. Choices don’t remove the possibility of illness or injury. But even when sick or injured, an individual’s daily choices still make a significant impact on their quality of life.

The same things are true for mental health. Good mental health does not happen by accident. Mentally healthy people make small, daily choices that contribute to their mental health (i.e., ability to regulate emotions, respond proportionally to disappointments, accurately weigh the significance of successes and failures, etc.).

Good mental health does not happen by accident. Mentally healthy people make small, daily choices that contribute to their mental health.

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Making the choices below won’t guarantee that you won’t experience seasons of depression, anxiety, or other forms of mental unrest. But the kind of choices listed below, if made before-during-after a time period of mental unrest, will still make a significant impact on your quality of life.

Obviously, with 50 habits it would be overwhelming (i.e., mentally unhealthy) to try to implement them all at once. Pick a few that fit you best. Begin with those. When those are embedded in your rhythms of life, come back and see what would be good to implement in that season of life.

My goal in this post is to identify goals for each area of life that influences mental health: cognitive perspective, physical well-being, social context, spiritual vitality, general life management, emotional regulation, etc.  Sometimes we need to be reminded that no one area of life can completely account for our mental health.

— Read on bradhambrick.com/50mhh/

May 8 Is Perfection Possible?

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves.

1 John 1:8

The false doctrine of perfectionism teaches that there is some point following conversion when the believer’s sin nature is eradicated. But according to today’s verse and especially in the apostle Paul’s treatment of the subject in Philippians 3:12–16, perfection in this life is only a goal, not an achievement. We must pursue it, but we’ll never attain it while on earth.

Paul denied perfectionism by calling us to pursue a prize that can be fully obtained only in heaven. He confessed that he himself had not reached perfection—and he wrote to the Philippians nearly thirty years after his conversion! He was perhaps the most committed Christian who ever lived. If after thirty years he wasn’t perfect, certainly none of us should claim to be.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 145). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

5 Spiritual Disciplines That Will Change Your Life — The Blazing Center

I’m not sure where the phrase “spiritual discipline” originated. The Greek word in the New Testament usually translated “discipline” is paideia, which is used for “the rearing of a child, training, discipline” (Strong’s Greek), and as far as I know does not apply to what we call “spiritual disciplines.”

When Christians speak of “spiritual disciplines” they usually mean regular practices that benefit our lives and produce fruit. Much like the discipline of daily exercise or reading will produce benefits in our lives. The Bible has no comprehensive list of “spiritual disciplines” we should practice, but it does give us commands to do certain things on a regular basis. And when we do, they produce fruit in our lives.

Here are a few “Spiritual Disciplines” or practices that produce fruit and blessings in our lives.

But before you read these and feel overwhelmed, the key is to start small, and try to make them habits. It would be better for you to read the Bible 5 minutes a day or several days a week, than to read it once a month for an hour. Key word: habit.

via 5 Spiritual Disciplines That Will Change Your Life — The Blazing Center

Sam Storms: Oklahoma City, OK > 10 Things You Should Know about the Second Coming of Christ

There is in the New Testament a plethora of information and detail regarding the second coming of Christ. I couldn’t begin to cover it all in one short blog post. So, in this article I will only draw your attention to what we are told in Revelation 19:11-21, one of the more graphic portrayals of who Jesus is and what the second coming will mean for unbelievers in particular.
— Read on www.samstorms.com/enjoying-god-blog/post/10-things-you-should-know-about-the-second-coming-of-christ

Movie Tuesday: Audacity

Michelle Lesley

Need something good to watch tonight?

From Living Waters, creators of the award-winning TV program “The Way of the Master” and the hit movies “180” and “Evolution vs. God,” comes the powerful film “Audacity.” Executive produced by TV co-host and best-selling author Ray Comfort (Hell’s Best Kept Secret, Scientific Facts in the Bible), this film delivers an unexpected, eye-opening look at the controversial topic of homosexuality.

Peter (Travis Owens) is an aspiring comedian encouraged by his friend Ben (Ben Price, Australia’s Got Talent finalist) to perform at the local comedy club. But stage fright isn’t Peter’s only fear. When confronted with one of today’s most divisive issues, he feels compelled to speak, but can he? Challenged by his coworker Diana (Molly Ritter) to defend his convictions about homosexuality and gay marriage, will he have the courage to stand for what he believes—even at the risk of losing a friendship? And…

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May 8, 2018 Morning Verse Of The Day

21  Remember these things, O Jacob,
and Israel, for you are my servant;
I formed you; you are my servant;
O Israel, you will not be forgotten by me.
22  I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud
and your sins like mist;
return to me, for I have redeemed you.

23  Sing, O heavens, for the LORD has done it;
shout, O depths of the earth;
break forth into singing, O mountains,
O forest, and every tree in it!
For the LORD has redeemed Jacob,
and will be glorified in Israel.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Is 44:21–23). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.


21–23 The call to remember (v. 21) probably embraces both the vast contrast between the true God and the idols as well as the earlier reminders of his activity and power to predict, revealed in the history of his people. The promise of 43:25 is repeated, but now the people’s sins are compared to passing phenomena of the sky, blotting out the sun (v. 22). This does not mean that their sins are not serious, but it does mean that God has determined to deal with them in forgiveness. Here is a rare OT juxtaposition of forgiveness and redemption (cf. Ps 130:8).

The command to “return to me” implies the objectivity of God’s redemptive provision, to which the people are called to react in penitence. This objective work is so wonderful that the whole universe, once called to witness God’s indictment of his people’s sin (1:2), is now called on to share their exuberant joy at his redemption. Clearly the glory he displays is the glory of his grace (cf. Eph 1:6).[1]


44:21–23 / This outside bracket in turn corresponds to verses 6–8 and directly addresses Jacob-Israel. It urges the people to keep these things in mind—which might be the preceding material, but what follows suggests that it is more likely that the phrase refers to the facts about themselves in verses 21–22. First, the affirmation that Yahweh calls them to be witnesses (v. 8) is complemented by the affirmation that they are also still Yahweh’s servant (v. 21). Then Yahweh deals with the problem of Jacob-Israel’s sin (v. 22a), which has been overt at the opening of this section and of the previous one (42:18–25; 43:22–28). It is the problem that receives increasing attention as these chapters unfold. These two facts—that they are still Yahweh’s servant and that Yahweh has swept away their sin—can then be the basis for the chapter’s only direct exhortation to the people to return to Yahweh. By implication, in having divine images made for them they would be turning away from Yahweh. This is so whether the images are images of other gods or images of Yahweh. Images that supposedly represent Yahweh cannot do so. They can represent only a (non-existent) humanly-made god. Images cannot save (v. 17), whereas Yahweh is one who redeems (vv. 22, 23). The further exhortation to the whole cosmos to worship brings the double sequence 42:18–44:23 to a close, as the similar exhortation in 42:10–17 brought the double sequence 41:1–42:17 to a close. We have admittedly not found a passage to correspond to 43:14–21. That will now follow, but it will take on a life of its own. In the meantime, 42:18–44:23 as a whole has mercilessly insisted on the inadequacy of Jacob-Israel. It has compassionately declared Yahweh’s intention to restore and renew the community rather than cast it off. It has graciously affirmed that it will still be retained as servant and in particular as witness in court to the fact that Yahweh is sovereign in history. It has specifically announced the imminent downfall of Babylon. And it has devastatingly exposed the stupidity of the image-making that tempts the community.[2]


44:21–23 Israel is called to remember that God is their Creator who never forgets them, and that they are His servant. He has blotted out the cloud of transgressions that hid His face from them; He has bought them back from bondage and invites them to return to Him. All creation is invited to sing and shout, because the Lord has redeemed Jacob.[3]


44:22 blotted out: The idea of total forgiveness of sins is also found in 40:2; 43:25. The word redeemed describes God as buying back His people. For the Lord as Redeemer, see 41:14.[4]


44:21–23. The contrast between Israel and deluded people who make and worship idols (vv. 9–20) is striking. Believers in Israel were redeemed but idol-makers were deceived. Israel was to remember that God can foretell the future (vv. 6–8) and that idols are really nothing (vv. 9–20). Therefore she should worship the Lord who has forgiven her sins (cf. 43:25) and redeemed her. Some, however, think these things refer to what follows and that Israel was to remember she had been redeemed. In either case the nation was to sing. In fact all nature is personified as being asked to sing (cf. the mountains in 49:13) about Him who redeemed Jacob and who displays His glory in Israel (cf. 43:7). In contrast with the other nations’ spiritual darkness, Israel will live in the light of God’s glory.[5]


44:22 — “I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions, and like a cloud, your sins. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.”

God does not want us to sin. He sent the Spirit so that we would not have to sin. When we do sin, God urges us to return to Him and reminds us that He has already redeemed us.[6]


44:22 wiped out … your sins. Further reassurances of God’s sovereign grace at work on behalf of Israel were given (43:25). God had blotted out their sins written in His book against them (cf. Rev 20:12). As a person can’t see what is ahead because it is blocked by a “thick cloud,”so God obliterated the sins of those He redeemed. Return to Me. God has already provided for redemption, even before the cross, but based on it alone. For those who turn from sin and return to Him, there is redemption (because the purchase price for the sinner was paid by the sacrifice of Christ). The Lord calls on His people to repent so they may receive the promised redemption (cf. Ne 1:9; Jer 4:1; 24:7; Joel 2:12; Zec 1:3; Mal 3:7; Mt 3:2; 4:17; Ro 3:25, 26; Heb 9:15).[7]


44:22 like a cloud … like mist. Before God’s grace, sins fade away to nothing. return to me, for I have redeemed you. Repentance is motivated by grace (cf. Rom. 2:4).[8]


[1] Grogan, G. W. (2008). Isaiah. In T. Longman III, Garland David E. (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Proverbs–Isaiah (Revised Edition) (Vol. 6, p. 752). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Goldingay, J. (2012). Isaiah. (W. W. Gasque, R. L. Hubbard Jr., & R. K. Johnston, Eds.) (pp. 256–257). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (pp. 971–972). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 853). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[5] Martin, J. A. (1985). Isaiah. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 1099). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[6] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (Is 44:22). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

[7] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Is 44:22). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[8] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 1321). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Three Signs That You’re a Lover of Money | Unlocking the Bible

How we handle our money says more about our priorities than any words we could ever speak. From the scriptures, we find some common themes that describe lovers of money. Here are some signs that money may be the master of your life:
— Read on unlockingthebible.org/2018/05/signs-lover-money/

May 8 Trials’ Lessons: Confidence in Heaven

“To obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.”

1 Peter 1:4

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We can rejoice after enduring a trial because our hope in Heaven will be renewed.

The joy a Christian experiences as a result of trials can be the best kind he will ever know. But so often we allow the everyday stress and strain of financial difficulties, health problems, unrealized goals, and many other trials to rob us of our joy in Christ. True joy stems from spiritual realities that are much greater than temporal circumstances.

In today’s verse Peter gives us one strong reason for rejoicing—the confident hope that as Christians we have inherited a place in Heaven. This confidence can be so powerful that Peter, who was writing to believers suffering persecution, describes it as a truth we ought to “greatly rejoice” in (v. 6). This expressive, intense word is always used in the New Testament in relation to the joy of knowing God, never of shallow, temporal relationships.

Jesus’ disciples had a difficult time seeing that trials could be related to the certainty of going to Heaven. In teaching them about His upcoming death, Christ told the Twelve, “Therefore you, too, now have sorrow; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one takes your joy away from you” (John 16:22). And that is exactly what happened when they saw the risen Savior and understood the impact of His work.

We can have two responses to trials, just like passengers riding a train through the mountains. We can look to the left and see the dark mountainside and be depressed. Or we can look to the right and be uplifted by the beautiful view of natural scenery stretching into the distance. Some believers even compound their sadness by continuing to look to the mountain shadows of their trial after life’s train has moved away from the threatening peaks. But they would not forfeit their joy if they simply looked ahead to the brightness and certainty of their eternal inheritance.

Nothing in life can take away the wonderful promise of Heaven’s glory: it was reserved by God, bought by Christ, and guaranteed by the Spirit (see Eph. 1:11–13).

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Suggestions for Prayer: Ask the Lord to help you meditate today on the glories promised for you in the future.

For Further Study: Read Revelation 21 and note the primary living conditions that will be true of Heaven.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (1997). Strength for today. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.