Tim’s Daily Bread Devotional 4.27.22

By April 27, 2022Daily Bread

Good morning!

I hope this day finds you and your family well. I invite you to take a few moments with me to read and reflect upon today’s scripture selection — and to carry these thoughts with you into your day.

Today’s Scripture: Isaiah 48:17-19

Thus says the Lord,
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
I am the Lord your God,
who teaches you for your own good,
who leads you in the way you should go.
18 O that you had paid attention to my commandments!
Then your prosperity would have been like a river,
and your success like the waves of the sea;
19 your offspring would have been like the sand,
and your descendants like its grains;
their name would never be cut off
or destroyed from before me.

 

Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today

“It’s for your own good.” Those words make me shudder. How about you? It takes me back to childhood. It brings to mind being put in time out or having to clean my plate before dessert. It brings to mind those math worksheets I hated. “It’s for your own good.” Ugh.

Yet, as I look back, it was true. The discipline, the nourishment, the challenge of learning — all of these things really were for my own good. And, as a parent, I often heard those same words coming out of my own mouth!

I never thought of those words as biblical, but here they are, in Isaiah 48_17. The prophet Isaiah is speaking for God to the people of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you for your own good, who leads you in the way you should go.”

As I think about those words, it occurs to me that there have been times in my life when I haven’t really believed that, either. Love your enemies? Pray for those who persecute you?  Don’t lay up for yourselves treasures on earth? Don’t worry about your life? It’s for my own good?

I have learned, just as I learned about my childhood, that the words of Isaiah are true. The teachings of scripture, summarized by Jesus with two verses, are truly for our own good:  “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and your neighbor as yourself. Do this, and you shall live.”

What about living through dark and difficult times?  Sometimes people will try to make sense out of what is senseless and say something like, “Maybe God has caused this to teach you a lesson.”  Ugh.

“God caused that earthquake to punish people for their wickedness” (they’ll insert here whatever brand of wickedness that they oppose).  Ugh.  That’s just terrible theology.

To use Paul’s words, “So what then are we to say about these things?”  His answer is that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.

What else might we say about these things—about the difficulties and pain we face?  Here’s something: we don’t believe that God causes these things to teach us or “for our own good,” but we do believe that good can come from even the hardest circumstance or the worst tragedy.

 

Hymn: “Thy Word is a Lamp”

Amy Grant (1984)

Thy Word is a lamp to my feet, O Lord,
Thy Word is a light to my way;
It shines in my soul like a star by night,
And comforts and cheers me by day.

Refrain:
O wonderful, wonderful Word,
My treasure, my hope, and my stay;
Each promise recorded delights my soul,
And brightens each step of my way.

Thy Word is a lamp to my feet, O Lord,
And, trusting in Thee as my all,
Whatever of evil may cross my path,
I never, no, never can fall.

Refrain

Thy Word is a lamp to my feet, O Lord,
And oh, when Thy glory I see,
For all the rich blessings its truth has brought,
The praises will I give unto Thee.

Refrain

Thank you for sharing this moment of your day with me, with God, and with these reflections on a portion of scripture.  I hope you will carry these with you throughout your day and night.

Grace and Peace,


Dr. Tim Bruster
Senior Pastor

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