November 29

Isaiah 26:19-21 (NIV) 19But your dead will live; their bodies will rise. You who dwell in the dust, wake up and shout for joy. Your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead. 20Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until his wrath has passed by. 21See, the LORD is coming out of his dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins. The earth will disclose the blood shed upon her; she will conceal her slain no longer.

In Isaiah 26, the prophet contrasts the hopelessness of the world with the hope of the people of God. He tells us that the world's great ones come and go, forgotten. Their kingdoms rise and fall. God disciplines them, but they do not learn. He chastens them, but they refuse instruction.

The people of God are different. When God deals with them, they learn righteousness. Though they are oppressed and downtrodden by the world, they have the hope of this passage. The day is coming when God will do the treading upon those who do evil. He will come to judge the earth. No murders will be unsolved. No crimes will be hidden. There will be retribution for all evil that is not repented of.

The people of God will rise from their graves. They will meet the LORD in the air. The world thinks it will silence the righteous by killing them, but they will return. The wrath of God will be poured upon the earth, and then they will return to rule and reign with Christ.

Are you looking forward to the hope that is set before us, or are your eyes set in the earth, on the passing things? Do you think evil will go without justice being met? All sins will be dealt with, either by the redeeming blood of Jesus or the wrath of the Lamb. If you have chosen repentance and redemption, you will one day wake up and shout for joy.

Consider: Your death here is only the beginning of eternity in God's presence. We have this hope!

November 29

James 4:1-3 (NIV) 1What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? 2You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

Godly wisdom produces a peaceable environment. Worldly wisdom is always self-seeking and therefore erupts in strife. It starts with desires in the heart of man. If your desires are surrendered to your Creator, who you trust, then He will bring every needed thing into your life. Then you don't have to vie with others for position and power. But if, on the other hand, you think that you must cunningly and shrewdly get the upper hand over others to get what you want, you will end up in a fight or quarrel with them.

God is the giver of all good things (1:17). All His children need to do is ask. The world believes success is to fight and quarrel and come out on top. It is the evolutionary mindset: The strong survive. The problem is that there is always someone stronger than you. Though you may not realize it, God is sovereign over all.

When we finally come to see that we must ask God, we often start with immature requests. We want to win the lottery. We want any number of things that are for our selfish pleasures. It is not that God does not want us to enjoy life, but that He knows what is truly good for us. His mercy keeps Him from giving us some of our requests. In time, we learn to ask for His will as He reveals it to us. That brings us into the truly blessed life.

Consider: Have you learned to pray according to the will of God? Not getting what we desire is often the mercy of God.