by Pastor Lee Hemen
March 3, 2007
For my own name’s sake I delay my wrath; for the sake of my praise I hold it back from you, so as not to cut you off. 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 48:9-11)
Have you ever cried out or thought, “Why me, oh God?” Sure you have. Maybe you used different words but the meaning was the same. Perhaps you needed to understand why in the world you were going through the tough times you were. Perhaps you did not understand that the reason you were going through what you were going through was simply because you brought the difficulties upon yourself! Harsh words? Perhaps. However here within these few verses we discover that God is speaking to the nation of Israel through the prophet Isaiah. God tells them that He had tried to keep them safe and secure in Him, and He tells them: “For I knew how stubborn you were; the sinews of your neck were iron, your forehead was bronze.” (Isaiah 48:4) They were thick-headed people! Kind of like rebellious teenagers they wanted things their way and would not listen to their heavenly Father who loved them!
God reminds them, and us, that often He holds back a little on the discipline we truly deserve simply for no other reason than His own “name’s sake.” If He did not hold back, we would be completely “cut off” from His presence. And sometimes, in our rebellion, we will only listen after we have been refined “in the furnace of affliction.” Like Peter who needed to be sifted as wheat by Satan’s schemes because of his own rebellious nature, we too may need to be refined and sifted.
Take heart, however, Isaiah reminded the Israelites and us with these wonderful words: “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.'” (Isaiah 48:17)
God teaches us and is with us. He teaches us what is best for our lives! He is our Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. He is the Lord our God, who teaches us what ways we should go and how safe we are in Him! The Christian soul can delight in these words that would seem harsh to the Israelites. These words that seem harsh to those of us that are going through the tough times can take heart because of God’s graciousness that He is our Redeemer!
Take heart weary soul, if you are facing tough times, your Redeemer and Lord is with you and even though He is allowing you to suffer for just a little while, it is for your greater refinement as something far more precious and valuable to Him. Pay attention to His commands today and your peace will be like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea (v. 48:18)!
NOTE: This article is copyrighted by Pastor Lee Hemen © 2008 and the property of Pastor Lee Hemen. You are welcome to copy it, email it, or use it but please if you copy it, email it, or use it you must do so in its entirety. This devotional will follow Morning by Morning by C H Spurgeon. You may use it however you desire.