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.
He also chose David His servant, and took him from the sheepfolds; from following the ewes that had young He brought him, to shepherd Jacob His people, and Israel His inheritance. So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, and guided them by the skillfulness of his hands. (Psalm 78:70-72)
From his youth, David had skillfully guarded and guided his father’s sheep. God took David from the flocks and made him king to shepherd His people Israel. He did so with an upright heart and with careful skill. David is a shadow of the Good Shepherd who laid down His life for the sheep – Jesus (Jno. 10:11). He knows His sheep and His sheep hear His voice and follow Him to eternal life (Jno. 10:14, 27-28). We had gone astray in sin, “but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer” of our souls (1 Pet. 2:25). Now saved in Christ, it is our duty to listen to His voice and follow Him. Thank God we have such a “Chief Shepherd” (1 Pet. 5:4)!
Thus says the LORD: “Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’” (Jeremiah 6:16)
Why would God’s people refuse to walk in God’s good path of truth and holiness and have rest for their souls? I suppose the answer is obvious; Sin is attractive, alluring and appealing as lures souls to eternal death. Judah was being deceived by her priests and prophets with superficial messages of “Peace, peace!” when there was no peace to be found; in their sin they were at war with God! (Jer. 6:13-14) Instead of being ashamed, Judah flaunted her sins before the Lord. There is nothing left but punishment for a rebellious people who refuse God’s path of truth (Jer. 6:15). Be careful to walk the “old paths” set before you in God’s word. In the “good way” you will find the rest for your soul that Jesus gives (Matt. 11:28-30).
“When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when a wicked man rules, the people groan.” (Proverbs 29:2)
Around the world, Christians live under all sorts of rulers. Some are beneficent, others are despots. Disciples are affected by how their rulers choose to exercise their authority. As citizens of the kingdom of heaven we pray for all who are in authority, that their decisions may allow us to “lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence” (1 Tim. 2:2). Pray for peace. Pray for our leaders. Be faithful and true to the Lord whether you are ruled by a righteous person or by a wicked person.