Thus saith the Lord, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the Lord thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go. — Isaiah 48:17
In about 1929, a man by the name of George Joli attended a revival meeting in a little church in New York and gave his heart to the Lord. From that time on, he and his wife went to church after church searching for a people who believed the whole Bible. Despairing of ever finding such a group, they began to read the Bible and pray for God’s leading to help them find the right people with whom to worship. One midnight while praying, the Lord spoke to George and said, “Follow the Star — Jesus the Light of the World.” His wife wrote down those words, but they had no idea what they meant.
Not long after that, a friend gave one of their daughters a bundle of Sunday school papers and other religious publications. As the little girl looked through them, she called, “Mother, look! Here is just what Daddy said in his prayer!” There in the upper corner of one of the papers was a star and right under it were the words, “Jesus the Light of the World.”
As George’s wife scanned the front page of that Apostolic Faith paper, her eyes fell on an article describing an ordinance service at the Portland church. George had said, “If we ever find a people who believe in foot-washing, they will be the people of God.” When he saw this account he said, “We have to go to Portland.”
How do you go about moving a family of nine children across the country? The Great Depression was at its worst about that time, and the task seemed impossible. However, God was leading and He opened the way. In 1933, the family of two parents and nine children left New York, with only $120 to make the trip across the continent. They camped along the road each night, and their meals consisted almost entirely of cornmeal or oatmeal mush with canned milk. On rare occasions, people gave them fresh vegetables from their gardens. The laundry was done in the creeks and rivers along the road.
On July 15, 1933, the family pulled onto the church campground in Portland, Oregon. Their best clothes were little more than rags, and some of the children had lost their shoes, but friendly Christian people saw to it that they were able to attend that afternoon teaching service. At last they had reached the people under the sign, “Jesus the Light of the World,” and they felt like they were in Heaven!
Today, God will be our Conductor and Guide if we will let Him be. Although we may not be facing a physical move as the Joli family did, in each of our lives there are many decisions for which we need guidance. God leads and teaches us the way to go by His Word and His Spirit. God wants to guide us with love and wisdom along the best pathway for our lives. Will we submit to Him and let Him lead?
The prophecy of this chapter is addressed to the “house of Jacob,” which includes both Israel and Judah, and concerns the deliverance and salvation of the Jews. Through Isaiah, God foretold the destruction of Babylon and their deliverance.
God admonished the hypocrites among the people, who gave lip service to Him but did not follow Him in truth and righteousness. The purpose of God’s chastening of His people through bondage was to teach them to profit or benefit, and to lead them “in the way they should go.” In spite of all their failures, God reminded them that He had called them and chosen them to be His people.
God informed them that their coming deliverance would not be for any merit of their own but purely for the sake of God’s own name and for His own glory. He had chosen them, purified and saved them as gold tried in fire. He foretold that their deliverer would be the King of Persia, Cyrus, (a type of Christ), whom he loved, called, sent, and made prosperous. Then God directed the people to walk in His ways, with promises of peace and prosperity. He encouraged them to depend purely upon His power for this deliverance. He showed them that, as it was by their own sin that they were in captivity, so it would be only by the grace of God that they would obtain mercy and deliverance.
Isaiah predicted the fall of Babylon more than 140 years before it happened. The people of Israel felt secure because they lived in Jerusalem, the city with God’s Temple. They depended on their heritage, their city, and their Temple, but they did not depend on God.
This portion of Scripture is a classic example of Isaiah’s distinctive style: he announced impending judgment but immediately followed that announcement with a proclamation of hope for a future blessing. He clearly predicted the coming Babylonian invasion and their resultant captivity, but he also looked beyond that captivity to the people’s release and redemption.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
IV. The message of consolation: The Holy One of Israel comforting, redeeming and enriching
A. The promise of deliverance (comfort)
5. The destruction of Babylon
c. The declaration to Israel (48:1-22)
(1) The purpose of Israel’s chastening (48:1-11)
(2) The liberation by a Gentile deliverer (48:12-16)
(3) The sorrow over Israel’s disobedience (48:17-19)
(4) The instructions to flee from Babylon (48:20-22)
God takes us by the hand, teaches us to go in the path of faith, and leads us as we walk with Him. We can be confident, as we follow His direction for our lives, that He will lead us in the very best way!