I delight greatly in the Lord;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. (Isaiah 61:10, NIV)
We recognize Isaiah 61 as the words of Jesus as he began his public ministry (See Luke 4). What is most striking is what this Redeemer, this Messiah, came to accomplish. For many, it was NOT what they expected the Messiah to do.
Make a list of all of the things the speaker of Isaiah 61 says he will do. How well do these actions describe those of your own life? What can you do to better be about doing these things?
How have you found following Jesus a reversal for your life, turning ashes into beauty, mourning into joy, etc.?
What are some of the ways you demonstrate your delight in the Lord to others?
13 See, my servant will act wisely;
he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.
(Isaiah 52.13-53.12, NIV)
In the fourth of the Servant Songs of Isaiah, Jesus is described as the one who bore the sins of many … he bore our sins.
Why would someone take on our pain and suffering when they did not have to? Are there any other places where you see this sort of action in our world today?
Do you consider yourself as one who has gone astray? Why do we have such a hard time recognizing this?
How should you respond to the fact that Jesus paid a price for you that you could not pay, that he made intercession for you?
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”
4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
5 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”
6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”
8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:1–8, NIV)
It is hard not to have a sense of awe and wonder when you read this chapter. How do you think you would have reacted to a calling like this?
What image do you have of God? How do you think a “face-to-face” encounter would be?
What does it mean for God to be holy? In what ways have you seen or experienced his holiness?
What sort of response do you make to God’s call for you to be a messenger for him? How can you respond with even more enthusiasm?
“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.
2 He will not shout or cry out,
or raise his voice in the streets.
3 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.”
5 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:
6 “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,
7 to open eyes that are blind,
to free captives from prison
and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.
8 “I am the Lord; that is my name!
I will not yield my glory to another
or my praise to idols.
9 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)
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?
“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.”
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?