WEEK 39, Day 6, Saturday, 29 September 2018

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Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Saturday, 29 September 18:

1. Isaiah 50:4 – “The Lord God has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary. Morning by morning he awakens; he awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught.” Do you know the word of God well enough to use it to sustain those who are weary? Do you wake up each morning to hear God’s word and to be taught by God’s word so you can walk by His word and teach His word? Dedicate every morning to Spirit-led, prayerful Bible study in order to be equipped to fulfill your purpose on earth and to sustain the weary.

2. Isaiah 50:5, 6 – “The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious; I turned not backward. I gave my back to those who strike, and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard; I hid not my face from disgrace and spitting.” Still, it is not enough that we dedicate each morning the Spirit-led Bible study, you then have to live out what you have been taught by the Holy Spirit through God’s word, you have to be ready to deny self, to take up your cross, and to follow Jesus. Note the commonalities between the above verses and what you just read yesterday in Hebrews 12. How you respond to maltreatment reveals the truth of your faith and love for Jesus. God puts difficult people in your life to change you and to change them.

3. Isaiah 50:7 – “But the Lord God helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame.” Those who follow Jesus do not respond negatively to negativity; they don’t return evil for evil; they return good for evil. They respond to abuse with forgiveness. They can do this because they have put their trust in the Lord. This, by the way, can only seem crazy to the world.

4. Isaiah 50:10-11 – “Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the voice of his servant? Let him who walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God. Behold, all you who kindle a fire, who equip yourselves with burning torches! Walk by the light of your fire, and by the torches that you have kindled! This you have from my hand: you shall lie down in torment.” Jesus is the Light of life. Many people build their own small fires as a substitute for Jesus. Not only are these lights burdensome and dim, they always burn out quickly. Why not rely on the Light which is the lights all creation for eternity?

5. Isaiah 51:1 — “Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness, you who seek the Lord: look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug.”

– Many seek righteousness, but they refuse to look to the source of righteousness, the author of righteousness, the Sovereign, Holy God who is Righteousness – they refuse to turn to The Rock, or stone, of Righteousness, Jesus (see verses below). God tells you that if you are truly seeking Him, you will dig into His word and learn from what He has given you. Many want to ‘hear’ a word from God, but they don’t want to heed the words He has already provided through the Bible. How you approach the Bible reveals how much you are truly seeking and pursuing. If you don’t ‘have time’ for the Bible, what does that reveal?

— Matthew 7:24 — “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”

— Matthew 7:25 — And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.

— Matthew 16:18 — And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

— Romans 9:33 — as it is written, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

— 1 Corinthians 10:4 — and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.

— 1 Peter 2:6-8 — For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame. So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone, and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.

– From Henry T. Blackaby — As Christians, we ought never to overlook our heritage. An awareness of our Christian heritage helps us to understand our identity, and it gives us a sense of where God is leading us. The Israelites had a rich heritage. Their nation began as a result of Abraham and Sarah’s faithfulness. The generations that followed included Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph as their faithful leaders. God richly blessed His people and made them prosper. God continued to show favor on the Israelites by leading them out of Egypt into a prosperous land of their own. God established His nation through some of the most awesome miracles in history. God continued to provide strong leaders, such as Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Deborah, Samuel, David, and Solomon. He sent mighty prophets such as Elijah, Isaiah, and Jeremiah. Unfortunately, in Isaiah’s day, God’s people had reached a point where they had forgotten their heritage. They lived as spiritual paupers rather than as heirs to a rich heritage and members of a royal priesthood. Your spiritual heritage is even richer than that of Isaiah’s generation. Your spiritual ancestors include Mary the mother of Jesus, John the Baptist, the disciples, the apostle Paul, and a host of saints down through the ages. Even more important, you look to Jesus as the author and finisher of your faith (Heb. 12:2). You may have a family history of faithfulness that goes back several generations. Do you see the full picture of God’s redemptive work? God’s plan involves you, just as it has included each Christian throughout the centuries. God wants you to participate in His continuing work to redeem a lost world. Your obedience today will provide a legacy of faithfulness to the generations that follow.

6. Isaiah 51:1-3 — “Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness, you who seek the Lord: look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug. Look to Abraham your father and to Sarah who bore you; for he was but one when I called him, that I might bless him and multiply him. For the Lord comforts Zion; he comforts all her waste places and makes her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song.” God teaches us obedience through examples of faith from the past. Your faith lived out through faithful obedience should be an example for others.

7. Isaiah 51:4 — “Give attention to me, my people, and give ear to me, my nation; for a law will go out from me, and I will set my justice for a light to the peoples.” If God’s people would corporately repent and renew their vows to follow Jesus wholeheartedly, there would be revival, and renewal; the light would be bright, and the church would be a light among the nations.

8. Isaiah 51:5 – “My righteousness draws near, my salvation has gone out, and my arms will judge the peoples.” Some will be saved, and some will be judged.

9. Isaiah 51:6 – “Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look at the earth beneath; for the heavens vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, and they who dwell in it will die in like manner; but my salvation will be forever, and my righteousness will never be dismayed.” Faith requires you to trust in what you cannot see and in what has not yet occurred (which is hope – faith projected forward).

10. Isaiah 51:7, 8 — “Listen to me, you who know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear not the reproach of man, nor be dismayed at their revilings. For the moth will eat them up like a garment.” To be a follower of Jesus, the law must move from being in your head to being in your heart. You need to be motivated by love over duty. You need to be ready to do what God wants because you want to in love, and you need to be ready to do it regardless the consequences.

11. Isaiah 51:12, 13 — “I, I am he who comforts you; who are you that you are afraid of man who dies, of the son of man who is made like grass, and have forgotten the Lord, your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth, and you fear continually all the day because of the wrath of the oppressor, when he sets himself to destroy?” The Christian has no business worrying about how others might judge their faith or what they might do to them.

12. Isaiah 51:15 — I am the Lord your God, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar— the Lord of hosts is his name.” God’s past acts of salvation show He will fulfill His promises.

13. Isaiah 51:19 – “These two things have happened to you— who will console you?— devastation and destruction, famine and sword; who will comfort you?” If you have received the gift of salvation and have received God’s word but have refused to live in grace and by God’s word, who can help you? What is left for you? You are now doubly burdened, having ignored your God. Return to Him and walk with Jesus.

14. Isaiah 51:20-22 – “Your sons have fainted; they lie at the head of every street like an antelope in a net; they are full of the wrath of the Lord, the rebuke of your God. Therefore, hear this, you who are afflicted, who are drunk, but not with wine: Thus says your Lord, the Lord, your God who pleads the cause of his people: ‘Behold, I have taken from your hand the cup of staggering; the bowl of my wrath you shall drink no more….’” Repentance and revival is needed when God’s discipline and punishment dominates your life; with repentance and revival, the removal of God’s punishment is possible.

15. Isaiah 52:5 – “’Now therefore what have I here,’ declares the Lord, ‘seeing that my people are taken away for nothing? Their rulers wail,’ declares the Lord, ‘and continually all the day my name is despised.’”

– Our power, freedom, and peace hasn’t been taken away, we gave it away, and the world mocks Christianity because they see no power in it from our lives; we look and act just like everyone else. Jesus said that ALL power and authority had been given to us by the Father when He commissioned us to be His disciples and to make disciples of all the nations. If we don’t feel that power, we are not operating with Him.

– To mock God’s people is to blaspheme His name.

16. Isaiah 52:7 – “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns.’” Are you proclaiming the Good News? Does your life reveal the majesty of God, and do your words proclaim His glory?

17. Isaiah 52:11 – “Depart, depart, go out from there; touch no unclean thing; go out from the midst of her; purify yourselves, you who bear the vessels of the Lord.” The Bible uses words twice, rarely, for emphasis. Only two times in the New Testament is a word used three times (“Woe, woe, woe” and “Holy, holy, holy”). This verse is meant to get your attention – leave the ways of the world, purify yourself as a vessel of the Holy Spirit of God.

18. Isaiah 52:13-15 – “Behold, my servant shall act wisely; he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted. As many were astonished at you— his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the children of mankind— so shall he sprinkle many nations. Kings shall shut their mouths because of him, for that which has not been told them they see, and that which they have not heard they understand.” These verses are a foreshadowing of Jesus, “lifted up” (on a cross), “highly exalted by many and appalled by others; disfigured and sacrificed (the sprinkled blood of the sacrifice) for the nations; the KING of kings.

19. Proverbs 29:25-26 — “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe. Many seek the face of a ruler, but it is from the LORD that a man gets justice.” True faith involves trusting the unseen God over all the other visible worldly powers.

20. Psalm 112:1-7 – “Praise the Lord. Blessed is the man who fears the Lord,who finds great delight in his commands…. Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man…. Surely he will never be shaken…. He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. His heart is secure, he will have no fear.”

– The reality of God’s love brings peace in any situation. We trust in God and lean not on our own understanding, knowing that our thoughts are as far from God’s thoughts as the heavens are from the earth. We know that our Father has a plan for us that is greater than anything we could possibly imagine. In the storms of the sea, we can rest peacefully with Jesus in the back of the boat. As described in Isaiah 50:10, 11, we do not walk tormented in the darkness, trusting in the torch of our own understanding and abilities. We walk in the shining Light of God which surpasses all understanding. Jesus is the Light of the world.

– It is impossible to obey if you don’t really believe.

– How we respond to God’s commands reveals what we really believe about God.

– How you respond to God’s commands affects generations.

– “Light dawns in the darkness for the upright; he is gracious, merciful, and righteous.” The light of Jesus will make you gracious, merciful, and righteous.

– Circumstances don’t impact the Holy Spirit’s availability to the faithful Christian.

21. Psalm 112:6-9 – “For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered forever. He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord. His heart is steady; he will not be afraid, until he looks in triumph on his adversaries. He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.”

– True faith makes you resolute, confident in hard times, steady, fearless, forgiving, and giving.

– Fear is a relationship problem.

22. Psalm 112:10 – “The wicked man sees it and is angry; he gnashes his teeth and melts away; the desire of the wicked will perish!” Those who are ungodly can’t help but despise who you are in Jesus, but they are no factor.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 29 Sep 18: Walk confidently, boldly with Jesus today – obey, forgive, give, and proclaim the Good News. Be a light within your family and community. Glorify God with all that you are. (See today’s readings)

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