Today’s Bible Reading: Isaiah 10-11:16; 2 Corinthians 12:11-21; Psalm 56:1-13; Proverbs 23:6-8
God uses people’s evil to bring about good. We saw it with Joseph and his brothers. We saw it when Judas betrayed Jesus. It is a recurring message in the Bible. And in Isaiah 10 God tells Judah in advance that He is going to correct them by allowing Assyria to attack them.
When God does this the people doing the evil are not aware that they are being used by God (Isaiah 10:7). They are simply being themselves. Another example are the atheists and God-haters who exist today. They make every effort to attack Christians not realizing that God is using their very arrogance to set up the arrival of Jesus.
Those God uses will not escape judgement of their own. Just because God uses them to accomplish a purpose doesn’t mean they are innocent (Isaiah 10:12). They are not. A few hundred years after Assyria conquered Israel, God used the evil people of Babylon to conquer Assyria. (Sigh) There never seems to be a shortage of evil for God to use.
Another recurring message in the Bible is that God will never allow all of Israel to be destroyed (Isaiah 10:20-27). Throughout history many evil people have tried to wipe out the Jews. But they were never able to for one reason: God was keeping His promise never to let the Jewish people become extinct. While every attack of Jews is horrible, we should rejoice because their survival is proof that God keeps His promises.
God gives a prophecy about Jesus in Isaiah 11. Even though Judah will be reduced to almost nothing, God will raise up someone from King David’s family. Just like a new branch grows out of a tree stump, so would the Messiah arise out of what was left of Judah.
Notice that Jesus was filled and controlled by the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 11:2). When God came to earth as Jesus He emptied Himself of HIs deity and became human flesh. Then, by relying totally and completely upon the Holy Spirit, He had perfect wisdom, counsel, and knowledge. This very same power is available to believers today. We are filled by the Holy Spirit. Yet we do not tap into that power as well as Jesus did. We still cling to our sin. What a world it would be if we all lived more like Jesus – in total reliance upon the Holy Spirit.
When Jesus returns He will rule over the earth with perfect justice and righteousness (Isaiah 11:3-5). Notice, too, that nature will revert back to it original ways. Animals will go back to being herbivores (Isaiah 11:6-7). There will be no more fear between man and animals (Isaiah 11:8). And, as opposed to today, the earth will be filled with people who know Jesus (Isaiah 11:9). What a different place earth will be!
Some in Corinth had attacked Paul’s character and motives and he continues to address them in 2 Corinthians 12. Paul planted many churches and considered himself to be like a parent to them. And parents provide for their children – they give to them even if they get no love in return (2 Corinthians 12:14-15). God does the exact same thing to us.
Everything Paul did was for the good of those around him (2 Corinthians 12:19). This is how we should live every moment of our lives. Even when we are working at our jobs we can be doing so with the intent of using our income to help others or to get to know a coworker who is hurting and needs Jesus.
Notice what grieved Paul. It wasn’t people who sin. Everyone of us sins. Even Paul did (Romans 7:15-20). What grieved Paul was that people had not repented of their sins. They still clung to them. God understands that we are not going to be perfect. He doesn’t ask us to be. What He does ask is that we recognize that we are sinners. He then asks that we be as disgusted by the sin in our lives as He is (2 Corinthians 12:21).
The remedy for fear is to trust in God (Psalm 56:3,5,11). God knows what we are going through (Psalm 56:8). But He is on our side (Psalm 56:9) so there is absolutely no reason to fear going through this life.
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