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woman working in flower garden July 19 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: Isaiah 47, 48, 49, 50

Ultimate Peace

Where can I find peace? That is the question we all may ask when faced with complicated circumstances. Many try to find peace by seclusion, meditation or diversion. Others try to understand their circumstances. Still others try to intercede to make peace or find some other solution. Sometimes these methods are helpful but other times they are not. Ultimate peace of our soul will help us even in the worst of circumstances. How do we find that?

First the bad news: God says there is no peace for the wicked (Isaiah 48:22). If we are wicked we need a relationship with God to save our souls. In true contrition we need to confess our utter sinfulness and seek his forgiveness to find forgiveness, peace and spiritual life (more...)

In chapter 47 of today’s reading, Babylon is the nation whom God will judge. She will be judged because in the future she will act with pride as a wicked queen who thinks she can do whatever she wants. God will use Babylon to conquer Judah and take her into exile for seventy years. However, Babylon will be ruthless to God’s people. Speaking of the future as if it already happened, God said of Babylon,

I was angry with my people and desecrated my inheritance; I gave them into your hand, and you showed them no mercy. Even on the aged you laid a very heavy yoke, (Isaiah 47:6, NIV).

Babylon also practiced sorcery and other forms of the occult. Some people consult horoscopes or have their palms read when they need guidance and peace of mind, instead of seeking God. Though some of us might do this in fun or just curiosity, it is despicable and insulting to God. Babylon’s sorcery and other magic would not save them and neither can they help us. For her wickedness, there would be a day when Babylon would be conquered by the kings of Media and Persia. Anyone or anything can be a tool of service in God’s Sovereign hands, even ungodly kings.

The nation of Judah would also seek peace from the wrong source. Judah, like Israel and the other nations around her, would trust in idols made by men’s hands, yet she would still continue to “worship” the LORD (Isaiah 48:1-2, 5). Do we do that? Do we go to church, sing worship songs, say the right things, dress the right way, seem to be religious but in reality we are hypocrites? God condemns that kind of righteousness. God could not overlook this offense. Through Isaiah the prophet God describes his punishment of Judah and Israel in exile:

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,” (Isaiah 48:10-11, NIV).

No ultimate peace can be found in false gods or religion. Only in the one true God can we find peace. He is personable; he is compassionate and patient and loving, but he is also holy and just. The Invisible God of heaven, the creator and sustainer of the universe and all creation is the only God. God is the Almighty God. He will not share his glory with anyone else. He is God.

We must be obedient to God if we wish to find peace.

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 righteousness 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 cut off nor destroyed from before me,” (Isaiah 48:17-19, NIV).

In similar fashion, if we want peace for us and blessings on our children, it starts with our return to God and obedience (more...).

Ultimate Peace is found in a relationship with Jesus Christ. God says there would come a day when he would send his servant, who would be in his likeness, to save Israel. And, because that task would be too small he would extend his servant’s ministry to all the gentiles (non-Jewish peoples) of the world (Isaiah 49:6). What wonderful grace he has extended to you and me! God has fulfilled his promise by sending his Son Jesus. Seek the LORD’s salvation and you will find peace for your soul (Romans 10:8-13; 5:1, more...).

How can we find peace in our circumstances? To Israel and Judah (which were or would soon be in exile) God said that better days were ahead. “This is what the LORD says: ‘In the time of my favor I will answer you, and in the day of salvation I will help you;’” (Isaiah 49:8a, NIV). However, in their present circumstances this was not the time of God’s favor but a time of punishment. They had so offended God that it was like he was divorcing them. But, unlike typical divorces, God would not cast them away forever (Isaiah 54:6-8). Once more there would be hope, for when Israel and Judah would learn their hard lessons and repent, he would forgive them and restore them to their land. Nothing could separate them from the love of God. He will someday vindicate them (Isaiah 50:8-9). We who have a true personal relationship with God can take similar comfort: The apostle Paul says in Romans 8:38-39

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NIV)

In the pains of separation Israel would ask, “are we then to be forgotten?” No, God can no more forget about Israel than a mother can forget about her child. Approximately 536 B.C. they would be released from captivity and start to return to their land. They would rebuild the temple and wall around the city of Jerusalem. She then would fall back into sin and be conquered and scattered by other nations. In the future, once again Israel will be delivered when Christ returns to the earth to conquer the nations and set up his kingdom (Revelation 19:11-16; Zechariah 14:9-11). Eventually, God will bring so many people back to the land of Israel that her land will be too small! Then [God says] “you will know that I am the LORD; those who hope in me will not be disappointed,” (Isaiah 49:23b, NIV). This is a great promise for us as well. We may go through difficult trials now, but those who hope in God will not be disappointed; God’s grace is great!

How do I bear my present circumstances? God again gives the answers: Isaiah 50:10 says, “Who among you fears the LORD and obeys the word of his servant? Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God,” (NIV). Those who trust in themselves, who walk in their own light of their own wisdom and understanding will be destroyed (50:11). What will be your choice? In whom will you trust to find your ultimate peace? God can help you find peace if you will trust him.

Lessons to live by:

  • God says there is no peace for the wicked (Isaiah 48:22). If we are wicked, we need to repent to find peace!
  • There is no peace to be found in false gods or religion. Only in the one true God of heaven can we find ultimate peace.
  • If we want peace for us and blessings on our children, it starts with our return to God and to obedience (more...)
  • God has fulfilled his promise by sending his Son Jesus. Seek the LORD’s salvation and you will find peace for your soul (Romans 10:8-13; 5:1, more...).
  • We may go through difficult trials now, but those who hope in God will not be disappointed. God’s grace is great!
  • God can help you find peace if you will trust him.

Today’s Bible memory verse: Isaiah 49:23c “those who hope in me will not be disappointed." (NIV)

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