19 And when they say to you, “Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,” should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living? 20 To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. (Isaiah 8:19-20)
Countless people seek guidance from those who claim the ability to communicate with the dead. Untold amounts of money is spent seeking after the dead. The irony is obvious: these people refuse to seek after the living God, the One who has true enlightenment! Ancient Israel did the same thing and fell farther into the futility of darkness. Unless we go to God’s Scriptures and “speak according to this word”, there is no light in us, either. There is only the darkness of sin and death.
12 What shall I render to the LORD for all His benefits toward me? 13 I will take up the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD. 14 I will pay my vows to the LORD now in the presence of all His people. (Psalm 116:12-14)
Christians are blessed with “every spiritual blessing” in Christ (Eph. 1:3). Such incredible goodness from God’s hand prompts us to recognize the great opportunities and responsibilities placed in our hands. Never forget to be thankful to God and to live with a grateful heart toward Him. One of the best ways to do this is to keep the vows you have made to God, immediately and publicly (“now, in the presence of all His people”). Live the good confession you made that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God (1 Tim. 6:12; Matt. 10:32). Be an example to other believers, and do it without delay.
1 I love the LORD, because He has heard My voice and my supplications. 2 Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live. 3 The pains of death surrounded me, and the pangs of Sheol laid hold of me; I found trouble and sorrow. 4 Then I called upon the name of the LORD: “O LORD, I implore You, deliver my soul!” 5 Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; Yes, our God is merciful. 6 The LORD preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He saved me. 7 Return to your rest, O my soul, for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you. (Psalm 116:1-7)
God attends to the pleas of His children when they are in trouble, delivering them from trials and sorrows. Such overflowing mercy compels us to love God and to always call upon Him. God’s grace comforts the weary heart, bringing rest to the soul. Christian, trust God to hear and answer your prayers. Call on the Lord as long as you live, and rest your soul in His love.
2 Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth! For the LORD has spoken: “I have nourished and brought up children, And they have rebelled against Me; 3 The ox knows its owner and the donkey its master’s crib; But Israel does not know, My people do not consider.” (Isaiah 1:2-3)
The Lord God knows the pain of children choosing not to follow wise counsel. He yearned for His children to understand His guidance and to amend their ways. His every desire and provision for Israel was for their good, yet they responded with sinful rebellion. As a loving father, God “daily rose up early” sending His prophet to Israel to teach them of righteousness and to warn them of their sins. God ceaselessly tried to reach them, but Israel would not obey His voice (Jer. 7:25-27). Similarly, as fathers and mothers nurture their children “in the training and admonition of the Lord” they are likely to meet with resistance, and at times, even rebellion and faithlessness. God understands the heartache that causes. He cares. Be like God and keep showing the way of salvation.
5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:5-7)
There is no darkness of sin in God. To think that God is pleased and will accept us while we are sinning against Him is nonsensical. God is holy and we must be holy to have a relationship with Him (read 1 Peter 1:14-16). Do not fool yourself that a little bit of sin is okay with God: “in Him is no darkness at all” (v. 5). Your life in Christ is defined and directed by God and the light of His truth. By choosing to walk in the light (practice the truth) you will enjoy fellowship with God.
7 I will bless the LORD who has given me counsel; My heart also instructs me in the night seasons. 8 I have set the LORD always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. (Psalm 16:7-8)
David was familiar with the word of the Lord. As he meditated upon it his soul received divine counsel. David was compelled to adore and honor God, recognizing the Lord as his portion and his strength. This psalm is prophetic of the Messiah, whose heart was fully set on the Father, trusting and honoring Him always. Set the Lord always before you and He will relieve your anxieties. His strength will provide solace in your trials and stability against the winds of adversity. Bless His great name with honor and adoration!
17 Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. 18 For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple. (Romans 16:17-18)
The harsh reality is that not everyone has pure motives behind their words. Those who teach God’s word may yield to the unholy motive of self-interest as surely as anyone else. When teaching does not conform to the Scriptures it will cause division and occasions of stumbling; souls are harmed! The apostle Paul says to identify them and turn away from those whose teaching is false. Keep pure motives and teach God’s word – and be ready to correct any error so that truth and unity with God and fellow-Christians prevails.