November 26

Isaiah 8:19-20 (NIV) 19When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living? 20To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn.

One of God's complaints against his people was their willingness to seek direction from mediums and spiritists. When people turn their heart away from God, they will want to know what the future holds so that they can prepare for it. Their fear is not their impending judgment, but circumstances they hope to avoid. They will not inquire of God because God would tell them to change their ways.

This fascination with knowing the future stems from a lack of faith and trust in God. If a person is walking in the Spirit, they trust God for each day. If there is a need to inquire about direction in life, they wait upon the Lord. The Great Shepherd cares for His sheep today and in the future. Only those who are wandering from the sheepfold will be desperate to know what tomorrow will bring. King Saul was such a person. He dared not inquire of God for he would not repent, so he sought out a witch to act as a medium.

Evil sources of information will often contradict what God has said. In this passage, Isaiah was told to not be like the people he lived among. He was told to continue to fear the Lord. The mediums will often bring up a person who will speak in contradiction to the word of God. They had no light in life, and they have none in death. The dead have finished their time in this life. How can they help others where they failed? Jesus is the one that is victorious in life and death.

Consider: Wait upon the Lord. Seek Him. He will be our guide, even unto death.

November 26

James 1:25-27 (NIV) 25But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it–he will be blessed in what he does. 26If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. 27Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

James is a very practical preacher. His letter tells us that if the Word does not change us, it is our own fault. He describes the Word as a mirror for our soul. We can look into it and see the ugliness that needs to be changed, or we can walk away and forget what we have seen. The man who continues to look (notice how he switches to hearing) and takes action on what he hears is going to be blessed. Do you want to be blessed? Keep looking into the Word and acting on it. You will be freed from the bondage of sin.

If you do not continue to look and act on the Word, your life will show it. You may say you are a religious person, but your speech will betray you. Your communication will show that the religion you profess is worthless to you. It is worthless because you have not allowed it to change you.

Real religion that is acceptable to God is the kind that takes action. It helps those in need, and it keeps you from wallowing in the filth of the world.

Consider: Is your religion worthless, or the kind that God accepts as pure and faultless? Are you acting on what you see in the mirror of the Word?