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Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Isaiah 50:7

"A Face Like Flint"

Message summary:  Our prayer for each of our readers today is that the Lord God will help you and therefore you will not be confounded. That you will set your face like a flint, and not be ashamed.

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“For the Lord God will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed” (Isaiah 50:7).

Recently a poll came out with a listing of the "most admired" people. Of course they had to be people with fame to even make the list but none of them, at least that I can recall, are people that I could say I in any way admired.

They didn't ask me but my most admired list would not be recognizable by hardly anybody and thus my submissions would be disqualified. The people I admire most in life are not famous! In fact for me fame is a very low quality for being worthy of admiration. If I manage to get you thinking I believe you feel the same way.

We are thankful for the many folks we meet in life who have put their hand to the plow and just don't look back. They're faithful and don't strive for fame. I have many on my list and the more I muse the more I can add. Here's just a start:
  • Bob has dealt with a severe form of tinnitus for many years but that has not stopped him from having an active writing ministry as well as service in nursing homes.
  • David's ministry as a seminary professor was shortened due to a disability but he remains steadfast with a gracious spirit.
  • Oren and Naomi are a ministry couple, similar to Aquila and Priscilla in the Bible, who faithfully and quietly serving God in their local church and community.
  • Another David was my presbyter (overseer) when I first began ministry in the 70's. He is in his nineties now and has been a widower for quite some time. Each year he still sends out a newsletter with family news but this year he focused only on sharing the gospel.
  • Tim trained for ministry but had some hard experiences and disappointments when he was a pastor and now works in a secular job. But his zeal for the Lord is unabated and he continues in ministry to children in his local church
Isaiah expresses a vital characteristic of a faithful person in our daily verse. Contextually it is considered by commentators to be part of a Messianic prophecy concerning Christ, but I also find an application for all who steadfastly follow Christ. Let us consider four phrases with each building on the preceding:

1) "For the Lord God will help me." Have you accepted this truth in your life? Are you living with the peace that such knowledge brings? The underlying Hebrew word for “help” has a root meaning which is "to surround, i.e. protect or aid." A foundational assurance we have as God’s children is that of His constant help and care. Psalm 121:1 states, "I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth."

2) "Therefore shall I not be confounded." Confound is a word rarely used in our vocabulary today. It’s an old word that means to become confused or perplexed. It has an underlying meaning of being wounded and other versions translate it insulted, disgraced, ashamed. There’s a lot about life that can be confounding, confusing and even perplexing. What marvelous peace follows an earnest declaration that as we face this new year, "I shall not be confounded".

3) "Therefore have I set my face like a flint." What a proclamation of determination based on the preceding two truths! There are far too many weak-kneed, wavering, wimpy professing followers of Christ. The word "flint" conveys hardness. Jesus demonstrated this in a passage that Luke records, "As the time approached for Him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem" (9:51).  He was resolute in doing the complete will of His Father. He never looked back but “for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising its shame...” (Hebrews 12:2). Likewise, we too must set our affection and sights beyond our present difficulty and the perplexities of life to the eternal joys of heaven if we are to remain firm and stay the course.

4) "I know that I shall not be ashamed." Now that’s a powerful faith statement! Notice the confident assurance Isaiah expresses in the words, "I know". He indicates that this attitude is not only for the present (I am) but for the future (I shall not be), no matter the circumstances. An interesting word study is the various uses of the word "ashamed" in Paul’s letters:

    * “For I am not ashamed of the gospel” (Romans 1:16).
    * “I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed” (Philippians 1:20).
    * “So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord” (2 Timothy 1:8).
    * “A worker (for Christ) who does not need to be ashamed” (2 Timothy 2:15).

Today, our prayer for each of our readers is that the Lord God will help you and therefore you will not be confounded. That you will set your face like a flint, and not be ashamed.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, when we confess that Jesus is our Savior here on earth Scripture assures us that Jesus will acknowledge us in heaven as His children. As Your children there are sacrifices You ask of us here on earth; most especially a surrendered will so that we follow and obey You no matter the cost. We can’t do this in our own strength but You will help us. Circumstances will test us yet we will not be confounded because we are resolute in our salvation experience knowing that our faith will grow and our Christian walk will be like flint, unshakeable and unyielding to ungodly influence. We will not be ashamed but rather we will glory in the cross of Christ who bore our sins. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"My Help (Cometh from the Lord)"  Video  The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

"I Am Not Ashamed Of The Gospel"  Video  Singers from Singapore

The True Story Behind The Song "I Have Decided To Follow Jesus" Video

"Is He Worthy?"  Video  West Coast Choir

Finally today:

This morning Brooksyne read a story on the flyleaf of a book about an artist I had never heard of before and I suppose most of you have not as well. These are the types of people worthy of being admired:

Petrana Petsova, graduated from the School of Fine Arts in Sofia Bulgaria in 1979, while the country was deep in the grip of Communism. Even though she was forbidden to paint Christian or biblical subjects, she persevered and endured harassment and persecution. The authorities confiscated and destroyed her paintings. She came upon a novel way to hide them from the police. Because she kept bees in her back garden, she was able to hide her Christian paintings in her beehives. She could slide a frame of honeycomb out and slide a painting into the same slot. The bees kept watch over her work and she did not lose any more after that. Her home has become a picture gallery where her paintings line the walls and even the ceiling. She is quite elderly but vigorous, and she still paints for the glory of God and the love of the subject. (Written in a fly leaf cover introducing the artist, Petsova, in “The Incarnation” Twenty-five Poems for Advent On the Word Made Flesh).

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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