If you know your biblical history, you will remember that Isaiah lived in Jerusalem and played a prophetic role from 742 to 686 BC. One of the greatest of the Old Testament prophets, Isaiah warned of the suffering that would ensue if God’s people failed to repent. But he also foretold a time when their suffering would end and they would enjoy the Lord’s blessings.
This passage from Isaiah pictures the Jewish people returning from exile, not as a raggedy band of beat-up captives, but as wealthy people escorted home on ships. I like to think that this is a picture of how God works through our own hard times. We don’t come through them defeated and dejected but with treasures in hand, because God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love him (see Romans 8:28). And everything includes our suffering.
This principle also appears in Exodus, when the Israelites were set free after years of captivity. After the last of the plagues, the Egyptians couldn’t wait to get rid of their former slaves, loading them down with silver and gold. Instead of running away from Egypt like a dejected band of captives, God’s people left like a victorious army, plundering the people who had seemed so strong and who had afflicted them for four hundred years (see Exodus 12:31-36).
What suffering are you enduring right now? Ask God to bring you out with treasures of wisdom and faith, so that like the Israelites, you can attest to his faithful love. More
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