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Prepare

To listen properly is to obey. ‘Come, Holy Spirit, and give me a listening, understanding, obedient heart.’


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Bible passage Isaiah 48:12–22


Israel Freed
 12 "Listen to me, O Jacob,
       Israel, whom I have called:
       I am he;
       I am the first and I am the last.

 13 My own hand laid the foundations of the earth,
       and my right hand spread out the heavens;
       when I summon them,
       they all stand up together.

 14 "Come together, all of you, and listen:
       Which of the idols has foretold these things?
       The LORD's chosen ally
       will carry out his purpose against Babylon;
       his arm will be against the Babylonians.

 15 I, even I, have spoken;
       yes, I have called him.
       I will bring him,
       and he will succeed in his mission.

 16 "Come near me and listen to this:
       "From the first announcement I have not spoken in secret;
       at the time it happens, I am there."
       And now the Sovereign LORD has sent me,
       with his Spirit.

 17 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.

 18 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.

 19 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."

 20 Leave Babylon,
       flee from the Babylonians!
       Announce this with shouts of joy
       and proclaim it.
       Send it out to the ends of the earth;
       say, "The LORD has redeemed his servant Jacob."

 21 They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts;
       he made water flow for them from the rock;
       he split the rock
       and water gushed out.

 22 "There is no peace," says the LORD, "for the wicked."


New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society


Audio Bible passage


The audio version of the passage is taken from the Contemporary English Version (CEV).


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God's plan
The God whose name is I AM, the First and the Last (v 12; see Revelation 1:17), the Creator of everything, calls his people to listen. No idol could announce in advance how God would save his people – in this case through Cyrus, who would conquer Babylon (vs 14,15). Now God’s servant, anointed with his Spirit (see 61:1), has been sent with an even greater mission (v 16b).

The question is this: will God’s people be willing to listen to his voice?

Promised blessing
The Lord’s heart for them, and for us, is to bless us. He teaches us what is good for us, and directs us along the right way. He wants us to experience peace like a river, well-being like the depths of the ocean (v 18), and lasting blessing on our families (v 19). But will we pay attention to his commands (v 18a)?

At that time God’s people were called to leave Babylon, trusting in the Lord to bring them safely home through the desert (vs 20,21). We too are called not to love the world but to do the will of God, however challenging it may be (1 John 2:15–17). What might that mean for you today?


Respond


‘Thank you, Father, for the peace we can enjoy because Jesus died for us. Teach us to show our love for him by obeying his teaching’ (John 14:23,27).

Andrew Clark


Deeper Bible study


‘Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you … Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.’ (John 14:27)

Two sayings we often use are found in this poem; both are about peace.

The first talks of ‘peace … like a river’ (v 18). The image is of a constant, steady flow of God’s blessing being channelled into Israel’s life. Tragically, they have forfeited this peace because they hadn’t ‘paid attention to my commands’ (v 18). What that means is spelled out in the surrounding verses. It involves respect for God’s person (vs 12,13); recognition of God’s uniqueness, since he alone predicts and commands the future (vs 14,16); listening to God’s Spirit-filled servant (v 16); following God’s direction (v 17); prompt obedience to God’s commands (v 20); and thankfulness for God’s faithfulness (v 21). Israel had done none of this, so hadn’t experienced peace. The river was obstructed by their spiritual indifference and disobedience. How could they expect the blessings of prosperity and peace, promised to Abraham (Genesis 12:2,3; 15:5), to be theirs? Peace is not a warm, fuzzy feeling from God, regardless of how we live. It flows from a humble and obedient relationship with God.

The second saying states, ‘There is no peace … for the wicked’ (v 22). We often use this jokingly when a busy day seems unending, but it’s really a very serious claim. Many thought Israel lacked peace because she was in exile. Once the people had returned home they’d find peace again. We often think the same, but God warns us that peace is not to do with our circumstances or our location, but our obedience. Peace and wickedness simply can’t coexist, so there is a choice to be made. If we want peace to flow like a river, we need to follow the course God has marked out and not the diversionary channels we dig for ourselves. Otherwise there is no hope of peace.

Derek Tidball


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Audio


Song: I hear you fumble for words (I am still willing)
Composer:
Keith Getty & Kristyn Getty
Copyright:
Copyright © 2002 Thankyou Music
Buy this song here


Who O Lord could save themselves (You alone can rescue)
Matt Redman & Jonas Myrin
Copyright (c) 2009 Thankyou Music/Said And Done Music & Jonas Myrin/SHOUT! Publishing/kingswaysongs.com
www.kingswayshop.com


Comments
  • Jean MacKenzie | Thursday, 10 August 2017

    Father, please help us to obey your commands in all we do today. Amen

  • Angela Munday | Thursday, 10 August 2017

    "I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go..." (Verse 17) Father, God in Heaven and Spirit within, I am listening and looking; my full attention is given to You and Your Heavenly voice that speaks into the heart. Thankyou that You want the best for Your creation; your family. Perfect peace is Your gift to those You love wholeheartedly and who are obedient to Your will.......CAROL:- Continuing to pray for you daily; may you have a peaceful day.

  • Enyobi Chukwunonso | Thursday, 10 August 2017

    Of a truth their is no peace for the wicked. What is wickedness? It is a mental disregard for justice, righteousness, truth, honour, virtue; evil in thought and life; depravity; sinfulness; criminality. Ignorantia juris non excusat or ignorantia legis neminem excusat (Latin for "ignorance of the law excuses not" and "ignorance of law excuses no one" respectively) so the misinterpretation of the Bible is no excuse. Let me still use 'Homosexuality' or 'Murder' as an example: when God openly condemned it in the Bible and asked his people to desist from it and you ignorantly misinterpret it to suit your action, the bible said I should tell you that there is no peace for you because you are wicked. You might think you have peace now but the wrath of God is coming.

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Thursday, 10 August 2017

    We have picked up on v18 today and rightly so. We live in a covenant relationship with our God. He has fulfilled his part and all he asks of us to live by faith. Little wonder then that he said "If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river." When we lose our peace Father we don't need to guess who moved. Thank you that your peace is ever present within us and thank you for the reminder that when it disappears we can quickly trace back as to why, repent and see it restored in a flash. Thank you for your provision for everything we will ever need in, Jesus name, Amen.

  • Barbara Sabin | Thursday, 10 August 2017

    Jesus is Prince of Peace His peace is our peace Peace, perfect peace, far beyond all understanding; Peace, perfect peace, left with us by Christ, our Lord; Peace, perfect peace, through eternities expanding; Peace, perfect peace! Peace, perfect peace! Peace, perfect peace, in each trial and disaster; Peace, perfect peace, fresh and sweet with every dawn; Peace, perfect peace, is the greeting of the Master: Peace, perfect peace! Peace, perfect peace! Peace, perfect peace, though the tempest round me rages; Peace, perfect peace, stronger than the powers of Hell; Peace, perfect peace, still unchanging through the ages; Peace, perfect peace! Peace, perfect peace! Peace, perfect peace, when at last death shall o'ertake me; Peace, perfect peace, shall surround my lowly grave; Peace, perfect peace, when the songs of angels wake me;Peace, perfect peace! Peace, perfect peace!

  • Stephen Nicholls | Thursday, 10 August 2017

    One of my favourite hymns: Peace, perfect peace, is the gift of Christ our Lord, Peace, perfect peace, is the gift of Christ our Lord. Thus, says the Lord, will the world know my friends, Peace, perfect peace, is the gift of Christ our Lord. May all our readers experience peace, this and every day.

  • Merlin Sheppard | Thursday, 10 August 2017

    One of the first Chorus's I learn;y when I first became a Christian over 50 years ago !! When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll; Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul. Refrain: It is well with my soul, It is well, it is well with my soul. Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, Let this blest assurance control, That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate, And hath shed His own blood for my soul. My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!— My sin, not in part but the whole, Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more, Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul! But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait, The sky, not the grave, is our goal; Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord! Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul! And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight, The clouds be rolled back as a scroll; The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend, Even so, it is well with my soul. [see less]

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Thursday, 10 August 2017

    MERLIN I heard that hymn for the first time at a funeral this year. Beautiful words.

  • David Chipchase | Thursday, 10 August 2017

    My cousin Di, who has never gelled with the faith, is in hospital for tests. There is a mystery spot in one of her lungs which the docs want to biopsy. She doesn't cope well in hospitals and with the boredom of waiting for tests to be done. She has had so many debilitating health issues over the years that she said to me earlier this week she was considering atheism or agnosticism. Tonight she asked for prayers. Please swamp the Lord in response to this request.

  • Ruth Lewis | Thursday, 10 August 2017

    CAROL, I am praying for you and praying that you will experience Peace that passes all understanding. Not only today but everyday!!! https://youtu.be/Y1Y78zF_WgQ https://youtu.be/ls01XGV7oA0 These are two of my favorites on Peace!!! I pray they will be a Blessing to you!!!!!!!!!

  • Enyobi Chukwunonso | Thursday, 10 August 2017

    Carol, receive the peace of the Lord in Jesus name. David, God wants to draw Di closer to Himself. I will pray for you all. And my God will definitely answer.

  • Teresa Warner | Thursday, 10 August 2017

    David, praying for Di, that she would be overwhelmed with the Lord's peace and truly know His presence in that hospital. Carol, have been praying peace for you in your period of waiting. Ruth, thank you for the link. One of my favourites - a real blessing.

  • Barbara Sabin | Thursday, 10 August 2017

    DAVID praying for Di that she will come closer to the Lord as she waits in Hospital.

  • Carol Stockman | Thursday, 10 August 2017

    Praying for Do DAVID. May the Lord give her peace.

  • Ruth Chisholm | Thursday, 10 August 2017

    Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8 Give thanks to God in all circumstances and his peace will rest within you. DAVID what a testimony to your faithfulness in displaying your trust in God in your own difficulties, that Di seeks you out to pray. God just asks us to be willing and he does the heavy lifting. Prayers for Di and CAROL ongoing for you. May God bless you with sleep tonight.

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