Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Tuesday, 25 September 18:
1. Isaiah 42:1-4 – “Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not grow faint or be discouraged till he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his law.” Jesus didn’t delight the Father by grand speeches but rather by His faithfulness and perseverance. Jesus did what no one else did – He loved and obeyed the Father at all times.
2. Isaiah 42:5 – “God, the Lord… spread out the earth and… gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it….” God gives all people physical life and spiritual life to those who are born of spirit through Jesus Christ. Those who have physical life walk on earth. Those who have spiritual life walk on earth in the Spirit. You can see who is alive physically because they have the signs of life. You can see who is born again in the Spirit because they bear the fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5).
3. Isaiah 42 ;6, 7 – “I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.”
– We are blind and trapped by sin until Jesus opens our eyes and frees us – we cannot enlighten or free ourselves. Those who have been enlightened have been called to spread the light. We are called to both be disciples (followers of Christ) and to make disciples. Disciples make more disciples as a natural part of disciple life. If you aren’t a disciple-maker, you aren’t producing the fruit of a disciple. God didn’t call us to just a one-on-one relationship with Him. He called us to participate in His reconciliation.
– “…to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.” Christians often mistakenly expect those trapped in sin to treat them as if they weren’t trapped in sin. But God gave us a mission to reach out to people who can’t help but hurt us. This is why Jesus said to truly follow Him, we would have to deny self and take up our cross in relationships. Hurting people hurt people; they will hurt you. Are you ready to be crucified figuratively in hard relationships and, out of love, say from the heart, “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do”?
4. Isaiah 42:8 – “I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other.” God shares His glory with no one. Never take the credit for what God has done in your life. Never let anyone praise you for your talent, skills, and abilities without you pointing to Jesus. Our job is to glorify Him, not ourselves.
5. Isaiah 42:13 – “…He stirs up his zeal,” Are you most known by others for your zeal for the Lord? If not, why not? For what do you have uncontrollable passion and dedication?
6. Isaiah 42:19, 20 – “Who is blind but my servant, or deaf as my messenger whom I send? Who is blind as my dedicated one, or blind as the servant of the Lord? He sees many things, but does not observe them; his ears are open, but he does not hear.” Who is blind but my servant, or deaf as my messenger whom I send? Who is blind as my dedicated one, or blind as the servant of the Lord? He sees many things, but does not observe them; his ears are open, but he does not hear.” There is no one more blind than the one who knows God’s word but does not obey it. The disobedient who claim to be Christian are deceived deceivers, false prophets. The mark of the true disciple is loving obedience, a truly changed life.
7. Isaiah 42:24 – “Who gave up Jacob to the looter, and Israel to the plunderers? Was it not the Lord, against whom we have sinned, in whose ways they would not walk, and whose law they would not obey?” Many church goers lament over the conditions under which they live, never considering that might be disciplining an unfaithful church. We are not just victims.
8. Isaiah 43:6, 7, 10-12, 18-19 — “Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory…. ‘You are my witnesses,’ declares the Lord, ‘and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me. I, I am the Lord, and besides me there is no savior. I declared and saved and proclaimed, when there was no strange god among you; and you are my witnesses,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I am God…. Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.'”
– God calls His people to Himself from all walks of life, all races, ethnicities, nationalities, and ages.
– Why were we created? What is our purpose on earth? Has God stopped performing incredible miracles for the sake of His people? Is God still ready to perform mighty works such as those seen by Moses and Joshua for the sake of His Glory? If we are not seeing His mighty works, what might that say about the condition of the church? “Yet you did not call upon me, O Jacob; but you have been weary of me, O Israel…! But you have burdened me with your sins; you have wearied me with your iniquities.” (Isaiah 43:22, 24) What does God call His misguided children to do? “I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins. Put me in remembrance.” (Isaiah 43:25, 26) “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 3:2)
9. Isaiah 43:8 – “Bring out the people who are blind, yet have eyes, who are deaf, yet have ears!” God alone can bring spiritual awareness to those who do not have it and cannot gain it from their own abilities. We are called to proclaim Jesus, but the Holy Spirit does the convicting. You do not know who God will enable with your message. Just proclaim the truth and let God do the miraculous work.
10. Isaiah 43:10 — “’You are my witnesses,’ declares the Lord, ‘and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he.’” God wants you to witness, not just to reach others, but also that you would grow in your own belief. If you do not proclaim Jesus, you will not grow in your faith the way God wants you to. You are not walking with Him and growing with Him if you are not discipling with Him.
11. Isaiah 43:11 – “I, I am the LORD, and besides me there is no savior.” From what are we saved, from calamity, from evil in the world, from ourselves? No, we are saved from the wrath of God! Only God can forgive us, and He offers forgiveness only through His Son, Jesus. There is no salvation, no peace, no hope apart from Jesus.
12. Isaiah 43:12, 18, 19 — “…and you are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and I am God…. Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” Witnesses testify to what they have seen or heard personally; anything else is hearsay. Some people base their faith only on what they have heard other people say about God, having had no personal experience of God. They know about God but don’t know God personally and powerfully. Therefore, they really have no witness. God doesn’t just want you to know the Bible, He wants you to know Him and His power in your life. He doesn’t want you to simply believe what He has done in the past, He wants you to recognize the new things He is doing today. The more you perceive and know God, the more real and powerful is your witness.
13. Isaiah 43:24 – “You have not bought me sweet cane with money, or satisfied me with the fat of your sacrifices. But you have burdened me with your sins; you have wearied me with your iniquities.” God hates when the people who are called by His name sin and discredit Him, particularly after He sacrificed His Son for their forgiveness. The Bibles says that when we receive forgiveness and continue in sin, we are trampling on the blood of Jesus. Meditate upon that for a while.
14. Isaiah 43:25 — “I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.” The object of God’s grace is Him, not us. All true religious thought and expression places God at the center and as the focus. Pay attention to how much modern religion, particularly with the “grace movement” makes man the focus. Jesus did not come that we could have good lives. He came to glorify the Father. What is the purpose of your faith?
15. Proverbs 25:1 — “These also are proverbs of Solomon which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied.” Most of the Proverbs deal with how to treat other people because life is all about relationships, and or mission on earth is about relationships. Christians must strive to be better people in order to bring glory to God, but our message is not to proclaim goodness but rather Jesus, the only truly Good one, the one on whose grace we depend and seek to emulate.
16. Proverbs 25:6, 7 – “Do not put yourself forward in the king’s presence or stand in the place of the great, for it is better to be told, ‘Come up here,’ than to be put lower in the presence of a noble.” Do not assume positions of spiritual leadership or lift yourself up as a spiritual leader. If God wants you to lead, someone else will confirm it.
17. Hebrews 9:14 — “How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.” Jesus’ perfect sacrifice is intended to give you a clear conscience so that you can serve God unhindered by any fear or guilt. Again, grace enables obedient service.
18. Hebrews 9 – Christ is the ultimate sacrifice that atoned for sin once and for all.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 25 Sep 18: End your guilt today by accepting that Christ paid for all of your sins once and for all. Walk in peace with God, and obey Him not out of guilt or fear but out of genuine love for Him and appreciation for the grace you have received for eternity. (Hebrews 9)