No Peace for the Wicked
Lord, I’m thankful for the privilege and opportunity of spending this time together. May it bless me and please You.
Read Isaiah 48:1-22
 “Listen to this, you descendants of Jacob, you who are called by the name of Israel and come from the line of Judah, you who take oaths in the name of the LORD and invoke the God of Israel- but not in truth or righteousness-  you who call yourselves citizens of the holy city and claim to rely on the God of Israel- the LORD Almighty is his name:  I foretold the former things long ago, my mouth announced them and I made them known; then suddenly I acted, and they came to pass.  For I knew how stubborn you were; your neck muscles were iron, your forehead was bronze.  Therefore I told you these things long ago; before they happened I announced them to you so that you could not say, ‘My images brought them about; my wooden image and metal god ordained them.’  You have heard these things; look at them all. Will you not admit them? “From now on I will tell you of new things, of hidden things unknown to you.  They are created now, and not long ago; you have not heard of them before today. So you cannot say, ‘Yes, I knew of them.’  You have neither heard nor understood; from of old your ears have not been open. Well do I know how treacherous you are; you were called a rebel from birth.  For my own name’s sake I delay my wrath; for the sake of my praise I hold it back from you, so as not to destroy you completely.  See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.  For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this. How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield my glory to another.  “Listen to me, Jacob, Israel, whom I have called: I am he; I am the first and I am the last.  My own hand laid the foundations of the earth, and my right hand spread out the heavens; when I summon them, they all stand up together.  “Come together, all of you, and listen: Which of the idols has foretold these things? The LORD’s chosen ally will carry out his purpose against Babylon; his arm will be against the Babylonians.  I, even I, have spoken; yes, I have called him. I will bring him, and he will succeed in his mission.  “Come near me and listen to this: “From the first announcement I have not spoken in secret; at the time it happens, I am there.” And now the Sovereign LORD has sent me, endowed with his Spirit.  This is what the LORD says- your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.  If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea.  Your descendants would have been like the sand, your children like its numberless grains; their name would never be blotted out nor destroyed from before me.”  Leave Babylon, flee from the Babylonians! Announce this with shouts of joy and proclaim it. Send it out to the ends of the earth; say, “The LORD has redeemed his servant Jacob.”  They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts; he made water flow for them from the rock; he split the rock and water gushed out.  “There is no peace,” says the LORD, “for the wicked.” Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat is the bad and the good news for Israel here?
I once went on vacation with a good friend. We had a great time, but were glad to get home again afterwards. When we opened the front door we found that the house had been robbed. Instead of returning to a peaceful house, we found a mess that took many weeks to clean up. Through their many years in exile the people of Israel had longed for God to allow them to leave Babylon and go home to Jerusalem. Now the moment had arrived (20). It should have been the dawn of a new age of peace, but v. 22 brings a shocking message: “There is no peace for the wicked.” Those who claimed to rely on the God of Israel had ruined their inheritance by their behavior. They had been stubborn, treacherous and rebellious (4,8). Although God would certainly keep his promise to free them from captivity, their wickedness could not simply be overlooked. Rebellion against God has its consequences. We can celebrate our salvation. But we can’t simply ignore the consequences of our sinfulness. Only Jesus can clear up the mess of a broken life.
If there is sin or any “mess” in your life (or that of someone close to you), ask God to forgive it and clean up the mess.
Pray: “You are the Lord my God, who teaches me what is best for me, who directs me in the way I should go” (17).
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