Isaiah 42.1-9 – January 30, 2020

Isaiah 42.1-9

“Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen one in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he will bring justice to the nations.
He will not shout or cry out,
or raise his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;
4 he will not falter or be discouraged
till he establishes justice on earth.
In his teaching the islands will put their hope.” 

This is what God the Lord says—
the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out,
who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it,
who gives breath to its people,
and life to those who walk on it:
“I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness;
I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you
to be a covenant for the people
and a light for the Gentiles,
to open eyes that are blind,
to free captives from prison
and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness. 

“I am the Lord; that is my name!
I will not yield my glory to another
or my praise to idols.
See, the former things have taken place,
and new things I declare;
before they spring into being
I announce them to you.”

(Isaiah 42.1-9, NIV)

Thought Questions:

When you read this description of the Lord’s Servant, what attributes do you find that you think should be imitated in your own life?

In what ways did the God’s servant described here bring forth justice into the world? Does this match how we most often describe justice?

What does it mean for the Lord not to yield his glory to another god or idol? How can we be sure we are giving him alone our glory?

Isaiah 40.8 – January 28, 2020

Isaiah 40.8

“The grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of our God endures forever.”
 (Isaiah 40.8, NIV)

“Simply a reminder that there are ups & downs in life. The highs don’t last forever so don’t take them for granted. Neither do the lows, don’t get swallowed up by them. What is eternal is God.”

Thought Questions:

In what ways do we assume life is great when things go well, but something must be wrong with us when things go bad?

What things in your life do you assume will be around forever? What things do you need to enjoy and celebrate now because they won’t be around forever?

In what ways does the word of God last forever? Why is this a comfort to you?

You Can Go Your Own Way – October 2, 2019

Isaiah 66.1-24; Philippians 3.5-21; Psalm 74.1-23; Proverbs 24.15-16

Fleetwood Mac were not the first to point out one can go their own ways; the prophet Isaiah wrote similar words back in his day. The challenge with Isaiah’s words are that even though you can chose your ways, the results will not be good. Look at what Isaiah writes. How do his words compare to your own results when you have tried to go at it on your own?

Questions:

If everything on heaven and earth belongs to God, how should our actions reflect this?

Use Philippians 3.10-11 as your prayer for today.

Have you ever felt rejected by God? How did you respond?

Why does it only take one disaster to overthrow the wicked?

What Jesus Has Done For Us – October 1, 2019

Isaiah 62.6-65.25; Philippians 2.19-3.4; Psalm 73.1-28; Proverbs 24.13-14

“We put no confidence in human effort.” Paul’s words tend to be difficult for us to fully accept. On the surface, we would agree with him: there is nothing we can do to gain salvation from God. We have heard this enough to recognize the truth in the statement, yet there is a part of us that tries to prove otherwise. We cannot stand the thought of not earning our way, of doing enough to be recognized. In what ways do you rely on Jesus and what he has done for you rather than trying to earn your standing with God through human efforts?

Questions:

What has God done beyond your expectations?

How have you rejoiced in the Lord today?

Describe a time you have been bitter, yet God still held on to you. How do you continue to remind yourself of his presence in your life?

In what ways have you found wisdom to be sweet as honey?

Household Codes – September 28, 2019

Isaiah 54.1-57.14; Ephesians 6.1-24; Psalm 70.1-5; Proverbs 24.8

The writers of ancient literature would often times categorize people into grouping so as to give instruction to these specific collections of people. To fathers, one set of instructions; to the mothers, another, etc. Here is Ephesians, Paul does the same thing, giving instructions to the various members of the household (hence: household codes). How do you see these instructions applying to you and what “codes” or instructions are needed for your household?

Questions:

How are we just and fair to all, doing what is right and good? Why is this such a rare trait in today’s world?

Why is obeying parents such an often talked about topic in Scripture?

How have you found joy and gladness in your search for God?

How do we identify those who do evil as troublemakers?

Like a Lamb… – September 27, 2019

Isaiah 51.1-53.12; Ephesians 5.1-33; Psalm 69.19-36; Proverbs 24.7

This section of Isaiah (especially chapter 53) contains many references that we have heard before, most often as descriptions of Jesus and his sacrifice for us. As you read through this passage, how is your understanding of Jesus as a sacrifice for us changed or is strengthened, given the full context described by Isaiah?

Questions:

In what ways is the start of Isaiah 51 the Hebrew equivalent of The Lion King’s “Remember who you are”?

“Imitate God.” How is that even possible?

Have you ever felt like no one–no one–would show you pity? What did you do in that circumstance?

Why is wisdom too lofty for fools?

The Power of God – September 26, 2019

Isaiah 48.12-50.11; Ephesians 4.17-32; Psalm 69.1-18; Proverbs 24.5-6

For many of us, there is no question that God is Sovereign. We consider him the Almighty and no one or no thing has power over him. If that is the case, why do we often turn to our own devices or substitutes (the Bible would call these things idols) to provide us the power we think we need in difficult times in our lives? Why would we not just trust in the power of God?

Questions:

“Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced.” Do we think this? How do our actions demonstrate this to be true … or not?

How does the Spirit renew our thoughts or actions?

In what ways do we understand our prayers differently when we realize we are praying to the God of unfailing love?

In what ways are people who are wise mightier than those who are strong?