THE SONG OF THE BRIDEGROOM

THE SERVANT SONG THIS WEEK IS FROM THE LORD JESUS HIMSELF,

OUR ULTIMATE BRIDEGROOM.

THIS SONG CULMINATES WITH THE NEWS THAT HE WILL REJOICE OVER US

AS A BRIDEGROOM REJOICES OVER HIS BRIDE.

I AM THE BRIDEf61e09db9f0d29a45d3016f11ab811a3

IT CONSISTS OF A SINGLE SONG, SEVEN VERSES, THAT BEGINS IN

ISAIAH 61:10 AND CULMINATES IN ISAIAH 62:5.

HOW DO WE KNOW JESUS IS SPEAKING?

WE LOOK BACK TO ISAIAH 61:1-3,

AND TO THE SCROLL THAT LUKE TELLS US JESUS UNROLLED AND READ.

spirit-of-the-lord-is-upon-me

AFTER READING ISAIAH 61:1-3, JESUS SAT DOWN AND SAID:

“TODAY THIS SCRIPTURE IS FULFILLED IN YOUR HEARING.”

I AM EXCITED ABOUT THIS WEEK, NOT ONLY BECAUSE IT PICTURES

JESUS AS OUR BRIDEGROOM,

BUT BECAUSE I HAVE A WONDERFUL FREE VIDEO FROM MIKE REEVES ON THIS SONG.

REEVES IS THE THEOLOGIAN WHO HELPED US SEE

JESUS AS THE BRIDEGROOM IN THE SONG OF SONGS.

NOW REEVES ILLUMINES THIS SERVANT SONG SO BEAUTIFULLY.

Mike Reevesmaxresdefault

BECAUSE WE KNOW OUR HEARTS, OUR FAILURES, WE MAY WONDER:

HOW COULD JESUS REJOICE OVER ME LIKE THIS?

YET HE WILL,

FOR NOT ONLY ARE WE NOW POSITIONALLY HOLY IN CHRIST,

BUT WE WILL BE TRULY HOLY ONE DAY.

THE TRANSFORMATION HAS BEGUN AND WILL BE COMPLETE WHEN WE SEE HIM.

metamorphosis

WHEN PAUL SAYS THAT MARRIAGE REFLECTS A PROFOUND MYSTERY,  HE ISN’T KIDDING!

THIS METAPHOR, WHICH IS THROUGHOUT SCRIPTURE AND IN THIS SONG,

IS SO MYSTERIOUS, BUT WE WILL PLUMB IT TOGETHER, MARVEL AT ITS DEPTH,

AND ANTICIPATE THE DAY WHEN ALL WILL BE MADE CLEAR.

1. What stands out to you from the above? What do you anticipate about this song?

 

MONDAY-WEDNESDAY BIBLE STUDY

It is a mystery that we began to glimpse through the Song of Songs, for the Bride is both an individual, like the Shulammite maiden in the Song who danced, yet she also the body of believers, and she is also a city, the new Jerusalem. Mike Reeves helped us to see that the root word (shalom or peace) is in all of these names: Shulammite, Solomon, and Jerusalem. The bride when joined to the bridegroom, takes on his righteousness. She then is described both as a radiant woman and also as a city. Do you remember, those of you who studied the Song, how sometimes it seemed the bridegroom was describing a woman’s body and other times the land of Israel? I glimpse this again in this servant song — she is a beautiful bride, and yet, she is the New Jerusalem. One day, Revelation tells us, the new Jerusalem will come down dressed as a bride for her husband. We see through a glass darkly, but what we see intrigues us!

DANCINGSHULAMMITE

She is an individual, like the dancing Shulammite.

EveryNation-flat

She is corporate, including every tribe and nation.

new-jerusalem

She is also the new Jerusalem.”I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.” (Rev. 21:2)

 

 

 

For centuries the Jews have rejected Christ, but Scripture seems to point to a turning before His return. It is another mystery, but we glimpse it in this passage. Is God talking about Gentiles who through faith become sons of Abraham? Or is He talking about biological Jews coming to faith — and if so, is it a remnant, or all of them? Biblical scholars profess all three conflicting views — and I do not know, but I suspect it is a remnant of biological Jews. (I know that is what R. C. Sproul believes.) Listen to this song and see if you can glimpse this mystery.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=67wjYYEoas8

 

2. To understand who is speaking, read Isaiah 61:1-3, from which Jesus read at the beginning of His ministry and then said it was about Him. What stands out to you from this passage and why?

3. Read Isaiah 61:10-11. What has God done for Jesus (10) and what does He in turn do for those who are joined to Him (as a branch in a vine, as a bride to her bridegroom) according to verse 11?

4.. Compare Isaiah 61:11 with 1 John 3:9. How is it that we are being transformed? Who is doing it? What is our responsibility? (Think of the vine and the branches.)

Read Isaiah 62:1-5.

John Calvin says of the above: “Formerly the Church lay in filth and rags, and was universally despised as a forsaken woman; but now, having been received into favour with her husband, she shines with a universal luster.”

5. Calvin says a parallel passage is Hosea 2:9-23. What do you see?

6. Describe everything you can see about this Bride, this new Jerusalem. (Isaiah 62:1-5) Take time with this.

THURSDAY-FRIDAY: SHORT VIDEO FROM MIKE REEVES ON THIS SERVANT SONG

www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwVAYmCRiXE

7. Share your notes and comments from this teaching.

If you bought the Tim Keller series: Songs of the Servant, now is the time to listen to “Your Maker is Your Husband” which is on the same theme!

SATURDAY

8. What is your take-a-way and why?

COMMENTS (115) Post a New Comment ↓
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Dee, this is exciting! I enjoyed hearing Mike Reeves and the discussions we have had on the Song of Songs. Even right now as I speak, I remember my wedding day. Although it was cloak with the sadness of my Dad passing away 2 months before August 6 of 1988, my joy was unexplainable. Richard chose me to be his bride. To me then ( and still is today) he was the man I thought I wont ever meet ( and never in iota of time did I think I would marry an American LOL!!!)-gentle yet strong, kind, generous, godly, sacrificial and who loved me unconditionally. He fought for me even when others were skeptical about a cross cultural marriage working well. After three years of dating and engagement, he was mine!!! LOL  We are celebrating our 29th anniversary this year.
But there is one far above my Richard-all of his character without sin’s blot and blemishes. Perfect and how HE loves me with the love enough to have me chiseled with a spike on the palm of His hands. One who will never abandon me nor leave me. I love what Tim Keller said yesterday about mothers. As much as her love is unconditional, she is “Earthly” (my term) and will one day “abandon” her child since she will die an earthly death. But not our Lord, Jesus. Hallelujah, what a Savior and Lover of my soul!

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    Beautiful beginning Bing! Still want that gravatar picture! :-)

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      Dee, :-) I started following the instructors on the gravatar but no success. I will try again. (Just tickled you would remember.) And am so glad I can at least start at the beginning of each week. So hard to contribute the rest of the week as school is so busy right now.

        Bing,  I remember years ago when I had the same trouble getting my gravatar set up.   I finally went to something on their website that was like a “contact us” or “customer service” and some nice lady helped me get it finished up — she literally took over and did it for me.   Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t have a gravatar to this day!   

        That’s okay — I just wanted your sisters to see how cute you are!

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    I love hearing this part of your story, Bing. How Richard persevered above all difficulties to make you his bride. Beautiful!

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    This made me weepy Bing!

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    Bing, you are funny (The American part)! We aren’t all half bad…..what a sweet testimony to your husband. I am taking Nancy Demoss Wolgemuths 30 day challenge. 30 days to say an appreciative word about your husband, to him and someone else about him. This is a good start for you!
     
    https://www.reviveourhearts.com/resource-library/30-day-challenges/
     
     

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      Thanks, Laura! I will need to check that out. Hahaha about the American part. Actually from our end, that was a compliment to Americans. Like an American will not even consider marrying a Filipino least of all- me! I should have said,” never in mind would I think that an American would marry someone like me.” Hah-I still think Filipino at times and when transcripted in English it comes out all mixed up. I am glad you thought it was funny. I love Americans! LOL

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Oh I LOVE seeing Mike Reeves here this week! I have been so loving his book, “Rejoicing in Christ”, taking it slow to savor, but this from the end of the first chapter (speaking of seeing Christ in the OT), fits this week: “Yet while he could rescue his people from Egypt, give them bread from heaven and even come to be with them, he wanted more. We needed more. He wanted and we needed what those things all pointed toward: true rescue, bread that gives everlasting life, his presence with us for good. And so that promise was given: “The virgin will conceive and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” (Is 7:14)
 
Also, this struck me–“BECAUSE WE KNOW OUR HEARTS, OUR FAILURES, WE MAY WONDER:HOW COULD JESUS REJOICE OVER ME LIKE THIS?YET HE WILL…” He will, and what can be harder for me to believe is that He does NOW! His merciful love, amazes me.

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    Excited you are excited — how sweet you are simultaneously reading Reeves. (By the way — he is going to look at He Calls You Beautiful! So gracious.)

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      oh Dee! That’s so exciting he is going to read He Calls You Beautiful!! He will be so blessed! I love his writing–he writes so like he speaks, that I can hear him in my head : )

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What stands out to you from the above? What do you anticipate about this song?
“THE TRANSFORMATION HAS BEGUN” is what stands out to me. I do know my heart and my failures. I don’t always see this transformation in me. Too often, I find myself falling back into old habits and relying on my old ways. 
I am looking forward to this week’s Bible Study because I want to see the transformation in me more and more. I hope that unpacking this week’s song will help me to focus on the knowledge that I am positionally holy in Christ. I want this knowledge to sink into to both my brain and my heart. I want my identity to come from God not people or things. If I can see this transformation more clearly, then hopefully, my life will reflect this transformation more and more.

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    Wonderful Laurie — so the right heart to learn!

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    Laurie–love what you’ve put here and so agree–to have this knowledge of being holy in Christ, sink into our hearts more and more and reflect this transformation! Glad you are here with us~

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      Thank you. I am glad to be here as well.

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    Laurie ~  Reflecting on your words here this morning and resonating.    Psalm 51:3 says, ” I know my transgressions and my sin is ever before me.”   It can surely be discouraging   when we take three steps forward but fall two steps back.   And so we long for transformation.   I was reminded of a scene in one of C.S. Lewis’s books, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader”, in which this transformation is stunningly depicted.   I found this brief and poignant article on the Desiring God website, that speaks to this transformation.   In it, the female author refers not only to Lewis, but also to Tim Keller.    If you read this, I would love to know your thoughts.
    http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/my-dragon-skin-torn-off
      

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What stood out this morning?
Because we know our hearts, our failures, we may wonder:  How could Jesus rejoice over me like this?  Yet…..
 
This is at the heart of how the enemy of our soul accuses us, day and night.    And the warfare can be fierce.    
And yet.    He reminds me that He is the lover of my very soul.    He reminds me of who I really am.   
 
This Jason Gray song, entitled Remind Me Who I Am,  encapsulates this so well:
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKyY8zfjBMQ
 
 

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    Such a good song, Nila!

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    That is a great song, Nila, thanks for linking it here!

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    I love that song too Nila! One day we won’t have need to be reminded…:)

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1.  What stood out to me was the whole now/then thing.  Positionally, I am already there.  Someday I will truly be there.  But as I live out my life “with fear and trembling”, I feel like that picture of the monarch going through it’s stages.  Tiny bit by tiny bit changing.  Some of it happens effortlessly, more of it by toil and struggle.  But so necessary and worth it.
 
the song Nila posted make me think of the man I know who tells his wife she can’t put herself down in his presence.  He has chosen her, and to degrade herself to him says that he choose her poorly.  I think maybe that is what I’ve been saying to God, and then proving it out through my behavior and attitudes. I need to see myself as Beloved, because He has chosen me.

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    Such a good analogy, Mary!

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2. To understand who is speaking, read Isaiah 61:1-3, from which Jesus read at the beginning of His ministry and then said it was about Him. What stands out to you from this passage and why?
I am struck by Jesus’ ministry of compassion, the compassion of our God. He is not a Lord who demands performance or perfection from us, but comes to us in our weakest state:
“good news to the poor; binds up the brokenhearted; freedom for the captives; comfort all who mourn…”
And then He uses our frailty and makes all things new, turns everything upside down, inside out: “a crown of beauty instead of ashes; the oil of joy instead of mourning; and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair…”
He RESTORES us: “for the display of his splendor.”
 

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    “He is not a Lord who demands performance or perfection from us, but comes to us in our weakest state”Yes…I love this Lizzy.

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1. What stands out to you from the above?  Oddly enough, the caterpillar/butterfly pics!  Because I was just thinking how, in the transformation process, the creature gets a bit more ugly before it gets better!
What do you anticipate about this song? Hopefully gaining more insight into His love by peeling back yet another level/layer.  The bride/bridegroom analogies are hard for me to “get” (having never married) but I was just thinking how more than half the population has never been a bride (males + all women who never marry) and I know God desires to reach that segment of the population with His love, so clearly there is something to be gained by all of us from studying the meaning of that symbolism.

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    Mary E — you may even get it better than those who are married!

    I like the uglier before better observation!

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      mary–I agree with Dee on you getting it better than those married! I think it’s easy to let an earthly marriage interfere/distract from Christ as our mate….and you SO clearly have depended on Him alone as your True Husband, it’s a beautiful example for all of us to witness. 

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2. To understand who is speaking, read Isaiah 61:1-3, from which Jesus read at the beginning of His ministry and then said it was about Him. What stands out to you from this passage and why?
 
The way we know it’s Jesus is because the speaker says he has been “annointed” by God. I thought the part about the captives being set free from prison was touching, as Sarah’s boyfriend just was released from prison and he met his new daughter for the first time. So sweet. I even managed to get them to go to church yesterday for a part of the service. He, Christ, will reach and touch everyone. The pastor used an analogy of being in prison for a charge that in included the death penalty, and the warden giving his only child to take on the punishment of death for “you,” where you are set free. What a picture, and an ironic choice of words for the weekend we had.

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    That certainly was a sermon anointed for the father of your grand-daughter!

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    I will pray right now for the seeds of the sermon to bear fruit in that young mans heart Laura.

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      Thanks Chris. I appreciate that.

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What stands out to you from the above? What do you anticipate about this song?

“WE NOW POSITIONALLY HOLY IN CHRIST,
 
BUT WE WILL BE TRULY HOLY ONE DAY “
I do long for this!
I very much look forward to hearing more from Mike Reeves.
I have to share a story. Kathy and Dave, dearest friends of Bill and me moved to Philadelphia. In February of last year a friend from church, Bill and I went to stay with them  attending a 1 day CCEF conference nearby.
I had suggested that we go to Tenth Presbyterian. I was hoping that they might make that their home church. Finding out that 10th was 45 minutes from their house I suggested a Presbyterian church that was 5 minutes from their house. Leaving after breakfast was also considered as we had a 7+ hour drive home. Kathy said I think we should go to 10th or no not go at all. We went to 10th and to my blessing and amazement Mike Reeves was the speaker!  It was one of the best sermons I have ever heard, each of us said the same. I had tears the whole time. What a kiss from the King the whole weekend was for me.
Here is link to the sermon:
http://www.tenth.org/resource-library/sermons/the-lords-delight

That he was there the day we happened to be there…It was so fabulous! I had a chance to thank him after the service and share how the Lord had used his messages on SoS in my life.

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    Wow Chris — how wonderful. I will listen!

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      I told him I was introduced to his teaching here on the blog :)

        I’m so glad you did. He was so gracious to me in agreeing to read He Calls You Beautiful. I listened to him talking to pastors about how they should love — and he surely lives it.

        His excitement about what we have to look forward to, his enthusiasm and love for the Lord is infectious!

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    Oh my gosh, Chris…what a blessed surprise!  Shall we say, “a kiss from the King”…:D
    Thank for providing the link; I look forward to listening too.

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      :)

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    Chris! That is AMAZING! Wow! I thought Mike Reeves was across the pond…never thought he would show up here ?. How fortunate, and definitely a kiss from the King! I’m guessing he was a guest speaker?

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      Yes, he was a guest speaker that weekend, in town for a conference. I was looking at the program and saw his name, I thought that name is familiar, when he began to speak and I heard his voice, my heart welled up…then I really recognized him…it was such an astounding blessing, that God had him be there the one Sunday in my life I ever have visited Philadelphia!
      My friend who is divorced was deeply moved by what he said regarding how the marriage metaphor might affect some because of hurtful life circumstances. We heard the first service, they recorded the second, she felt the one we were present for gave more words to that than the one recorded did.

        What an incredible blessing, Chris!

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How exciting, Dee, that Mike Reeves will be looking at “He calls you Beautiful”…as Lizzy said, I have no doubt that he will be blessed.
 
Nila, thank you for recommending the Jason Gray song…it really touched me in a way I needed this morning.
 
I agree with Mary E., the transformation from caterpillar to butterfly is what caught my attention…changes are subtle, almost imperceptible, but they are really occurring…we are really in a process of transformation whether we perceive it or not.  If we are in Jesus, regardless of our “feelings” at the moment, He is working in us continuously.  I liken it to when the caterpillar is in the chrysalis, it may only see darkness, the reality of transformation is not evident, but it is happening…and then OH, then the butterfly…
(I really needed this reminder this morning…I am speaking truth to my soul.)

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2. To understand who is speaking, read Isaiah 61:1-3, from which Jesus read at the beginning of His ministry and then said it was about Him. What stands out to you from this passage and why?  I like that He came specifically for the underdogs…those afflicted, who mourn, etc…  I mean, He came for everyone, of course, but so often He went to those who knew they were “in need of a doctor” rather than those who think they are already well…because those who know their need are the only ones who will respond to Him.  I guess that is a good reason to pray that, when it comes to the lost, God will make them aware of their deep need for Him.

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Just want to quickly say this here too: HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEANNA!! We are so very blessed by you! Your wisdom, diligence, incredible note-taking!!! You are a GIFT! Praying your day is filled with love & joy!

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    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Deanna!  (Lizzy, thank you for keeping up with all the b-days!)

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    Happy birthday, Deanna. Thanks, Lizzy, for keeping track! I too appreciate Deanna’s sermon notes and usually save them and often supplement my own notes to her notes as I listen! Thanks so much, Deanna.

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I just want to acknowledge I am still online with this group. The last two weeks caring for our 3 grandsons and 3 year old granddaughter at times was exhausting but God graciously provided. Our church family and many supported us with their prayers and even some of you. Thank you! God is so good! 
I have followed the study and read the scriptures and been blessed by your comments. I hope to start posting comm soon. One amazing thing is how my son on reurning from their Israel trip tbis past week chose to preach about Jerusalem yesterday and Jesus love for them. I will share later how God has impacted my heart eith this teaching and my sons sermon. 
Bev from Broken Bow 

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    I’LL BET THEY WERE EXHAUSTING — SO GLAD GOD WAS WITH YOU!

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    We look forward to hearing more from you Bev :)

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEANNA. YOU ARE A JOY! (THANKS, LIZZY!)

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    THANK YOU ONE AND ALL FOR THE BIRTHDAY GREETINGS!    LOVE YOU ALL!!   

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      Happy Belated Birthday DeannaI guess I am fashionably late!

        Me too; Happy birthday!!

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Dee, I just tried to write a reply to a note that Liz posted on last week’s blog but couldn’t. Liz wrote a post that I feel someone should acknowledge, for it must have been a difficult one to write. When I clicked “submit” I got an error message saying that I needed to write a “comment”, but I already had. I tried cutting and pasting again a few times, but that did not work. Any suggestions?

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    Dee, I tried again and was able to post on last week’s blog this time. I don’t know what went wrong before.

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    Thanks for alerting me, Diane. I will go back and look.

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1. What stands out to you from the above? What do you anticipate about this song?
That we are positionally holy now but truly holy when we are with Him.
That our transformation has begun but will be complete one day.
In the past decade or so, I have begun to grasp the ‘now…..but not yet’ concept that permeates the story of redemption.  Every time I see it reinforced, it helps me see it more clearly the next time.  Truly a mystery.  And I LOVE mysteries!  I especially love them when they are too great for me to solve.  I love not having to carry the burden of proof but knowing that God alone knows all.  
 

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Also:  once again, I went to church on Sunday and was completely reminded of the previous lesson.  We sang, ‘Before the Throne of God Above’ and the words;  

‘my name is graven on His hands
my name is written on His heart’    

and the message from Tim Keller about the depth of meaning this concept has for us was so clear in my heart. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-50pFs0hRpg

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    I love that song, it is often sung at CCEF conferences. The worship there is like none other that I have experienced.
    I track too with your now and not yet mystery comment Wanda.

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3. Read Isaiah 61:10-11. What has God done for Jesus (10) and what does He in turn do for those who are joined to Him (as a branch in a vine, as a bride to her bridegroom) according to verse 11?
 
God has “clothed me with garments of salvation and covered me with the robe of righteousness.”
 
Those who follow will receive righteousness and praise.

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4.. Compare Isaiah 61:11 with 1 John 3:9. How is it that we are being transformed? Who is doing it? What is our responsibility? (Think of the vine and the branches.)
 
If we are truly in God, then we will be less likely to want to sin or to sin out right.  We are the ones who are being transformed by Him.  We have this intrinsic nature about us to not sin because God made us.  However, the world, and Satan,  draw us in because they are in our face constantly.  We have to deny what we can see out right and accept what we can’t see in God.  He planted us with a seed that didn’t include sin.  We are an out reach (or the sprout) of Him to show to others. 

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    Great Laura! I don’t know why these four posts had to be approved, but they did — so sorry for the delay.

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2.To understand who is speaking, read Isaiah 61:1-3, from which Jesus read at the beginning of His ministry and then said it was about Him. What stands out to you from this passage and why?

What stood out to me was that the Father really does value us. He anointed Jesus to bring us good news, to bind our broken hearts, to set us free, to proclaim favor for us and vengeance on our real enemy, to comfort us who mourn, to give us beauty for our ashes gladness and praise instead of mourning and fear, that we may glorify him.
 
 
This passage was deeply moving for me. I often, still, maneuver mentally, trying minimize his love, it is pretty clear that we matter to him here.

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This week’s study is all so rich as I consider these wonderful verses pertaining to Jerusalem, the prophecies and the love Jesus voiced for her and has for her people. And as I am considering these scriptures  this week my own son comes home from a trip to Israel where part of the time he spent 4 days in Jerusalem. When he and the group from our church first saw the City and the temple mount they were overwhelmed with tears. He and my daughter inlaw both were totally surprised by the emotion they felt.  They didn’t expect that.  On Sunday my son told of their experience in Jerusalem and he preached on the scripture from Matthew 23:37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” But the main premise in his sermon was the deep love of God for the Jews his chosen people and for us as well and our privilege as believers to have been grafted into the vine. All because of the Cross. And the challenge came in how we are called to be like Christ and love others. But our dilemma is that we can’t do that on our own. It isn’t even possible apart from the Holy Spirit and God’s power in our lives. But again because of the Cross God demonstrated his great love for us while we were still sinners and died for us so that we might have his righteousness.   “……the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations.”‭‭ Isaiah‬ ‭61:11‬ ‭ESV‬   “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.”   1 John‬ ‭3:9‬  The seed of righteousness planted in our lives by God will sprout and grow. 
‬I am only scratching the surface of things here but I am so encouraged by what God is doing in my personal life and the World, especially Israel.  

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    Bev — I have heard that often about those approaching Jerusalem. How wonderful they could go — and you helped!

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3.Read Isaiah 61:10-11.
 
 
 What has God done for Jesus (10) and what does He in turn do for those who are joined to Him (as a branch in a vine, as a bride to her bridegroom) according to verse 11? God has clothed Him with the garments of salvation, he is ready for the wedding!
 
God will cause rightness and justice and praise to spring forth before all the nations.

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    Chris, that is what i saw-what popped out to me was this verse! “as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”  I can’t help but be filled with joy thinking about how through us, now and especially in the future-He will be glorified. 

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4.. Compare Isaiah 61:11 with 1 John 3:9.
 
God seed, abiding in us, changes us. God accomplishes this. What he has planted in us, he makes it grow, we grow in holiness and glorify him as we do.

I thought of Isaiah 55:11
“So will My word be which goes out of My mouth; It will not return to Me void (useless, without result), Without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.”

 How is it that we are being transformed?
 
Who is doing it? 
What is our responsibility? 
 (Think of the vine and the branches.)

God accomplishes what he has set out to do in us as we abide in him, staying connected, seeking life, identity, and hope from him alone.

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First:   The introductory song from Isaiah 62 really stirred me.  I don’t think I would have ever have seen how much ‘the city’ fits into the picture of ‘the bride’ without your words, Dee and then the song.
 
2. To understand who is speaking, read Isaiah 61:1-3, from which Jesus read at the beginning of His ministry and then said it was about Him. What stands out to you from this passage and why?
 
It’s Jesus’ first statement of his calling.  To bring good news to the poor. (and OH how the poor of every generation, down to this very day, need good news.)  His immense care for all who are marginalized and hurting; poor, broken-hearted, captive-enslaved, those with no vision who need their sight recovered …physical sight?  or figurative too? -not having the will or the vision to go on perhaps?.…..(this is how I’ve been feeling part of today…..just not knowing how to put one foot in front of the other and keep going… my mind- too taxed with doubt in these uncertain times).   Yet to all of these, He proclaims that God will avenge their accusers and oppressors and show favor on them. He will comfort those who mourn.  He will provide what is needed for those who grieve and will turn bad into good—transformation:  ashes become beauty.  mourning becomes gladness.  despair becomes praise.  They will be strong as an oak of the Lord.  So many active verbs in those statements of what God will do.
 
I can’t begin to tell you how much I needed these words tonight.   I actually wrote out my answer by hand about 12 hours ago.  But after a terribly discouraging and actually frightening day thinking of all the worries I have about what is happening in our government (especially with major cuts to medicaid and reintroducing lifetime caps….because I have two adult kids with serious chronic illness and a niece awaiting a lung transplant and sometime in their life, they will need medicaid to be there) …..  I was beginning to be paralyzed by fear of the future for these people I so dearly love.  I don’t have any practical answers to these dilemmas but suddenly, I feel like I have my center back.  And I feel that once again, I really can trust their future to our loving Father.   He gave us Jesus to be the spokesperson that He loved those who are hurting in all of the ways this passage mentions.  Sick, hurting and poor doesn’t mean they or we are less important to God…..(like it sometimes feels)  Jesus is the bringer of Good News.  I wish everyone knew and felt this.  
 

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    How clear it is becoming not to trust in the government but in God — I suspect that is what God is doing! But still, so hard when you have children with such medical needs!

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    Wanda, So sorry for your struggle with fear but thankful for your testimony of getting your center back and that “Jesus is the bringer of Good News”. 
    He will not forsake you and yours or leave you desolate. 

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      Thank you, Bev.  I appreciate your words.
       

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    Wanda…getting your center back I like the phrase  and he does hold all things together.

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5. Calvin says a parallel passage is Hosea 2:9-23. What do you see?
 
Isaiah vs. Hosea:
 
The passages in Isaiah are joyful in that Jerusalem has been saved! She is beauty to her Savior. He loves her in the way she has been transformed. It is a joyful time!
 
Hosea begins with the Lord admonishing Jerusalem for her sins. In the next few passages He describes how he will cleanse her of the sins. Finally, He makes a covenant with her (in marriage) and all the land, to be with her forever. She will be protected; it is beauty together.
 
I suppose there are parts that overlap. I don’t see the admonishing in Isaiah as I do in Hosea. 

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6. Describe everything you can see about this Bride, this new Jerusalem. (Isaiah 62:1-5) Take time with this.
This bride, the new Jerusalem
Verse 1. 
For Zion’s sake–the hill in Jerusalem where the ancient temple of God was built. It is a holy place and significant to God and the Jews.  The heart of Jerusalem.  His announcement about her will be clearly heard. He will not be silent or quiet until her righteousness and salvation are made known.  Her righteousness and salvation will come from God through Her Messiah Jesus Christ  
Verse 2.
Her righteousness and salvation will be bright and shining so as to be seen clearly by all. (The nations and all the kings)
God himself will give her a new name. Like a married name?  Perhaps / most likely a name that identifies her with him as in narriage  
Verse 3. 
She is beautiful and royal because of God’s hand (by his doing). 
Verse 4 & 5. 
No longer called Forsaken or Desolate. She is restored to Him and she brings God delight in his union with her as in a marriage and He rejoices over her. 
This passage speaks to restoration which is truly the business of God. Because of Jesus Christ and his finished work on the Cross we are no longer Forsaken or Desolate either but being transformed.  What a privilege to belong to Him. To be married (united) with Him.  
 
 
 
 

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6. Describe everything you can see about this Bride, this new Jerusalem. (Isaiah 62:1-5) Take time with this.
 
*she is loved so much that God speaks up for her-‘will not be silent’; the bridegroom claims her.  (I thought of the lovely words that Bing shared about her husband in her first comment)
* her righteousness shines like a blazing torch
* she is noticed by nations and kings because her glory shines
* she is given a new name -Hephzibah (also the name of Hezekiah’s wife) and Beulah-which means ‘to marry’.   Her very identity ties her to her bridegroom.
* she is a splendid crown; a royal diadem in the Lord’s hand-a picture of being held, cherished, honored and revered-a precious, majestic bride
*she isn’t alone, deserted or desolate anymore.  
* the Lord, her bridegroom delights in her and rejoices over her

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Just scrolled through all the previous comments.  It stood out to me that three of us wrote how God came near to us in church last Sunday in such personal ways….and ways related to the study here.
Laura bringing her daughter and boyfriend with to church and the amazing sermon illustration that was so appropriate.
Chris going to a church for the first time, after debating which church to attend…and discovering that Mike Reeves was the guest speaker!
and I wrote of our congregation singing ‘Before the Throne of God Above’ and how the words ‘my name is graven on His hands’ just jumped out after last week’s message.
(a few weeks ago, the message at my church was from the same text as Dee had here also; from Isaiah 42 – so amazing)
 
How the Lord ties our lives together with His presence and the loving touches from His hand.

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    I resonate with your thoughts on God coming near :)
    After posting the link to the sermon I listened to it again, the text he spoke from is the same as ours this week.
    I felt cared for and ‘seen’ by God, which is sweet and I admit, a bit terrifying to me at the same time.
    I would like to grow in being able to lay down the part of me that trembles at the thought of God’s gaze really being on me.

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      The fear of the Lord is an interesting thing — we know it is the beginning of wisdom, and yet also that perfect love casts out fear. Yet perhaps we will not have perfect love until we see Him. What do you think, Chris?

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    That’s a great observation, Wanda!  Love it!  

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6. Describe everything you can see about this Bride, this new Jerusalem. (Isaiah 62:1-5) Take time with this.
 
 She will be:
 
– Righteous
– Saved 
– Glorious
– Newly named
– A crown of beauty
– No longer forsaken or desolate
–  Delighted in by God 
– Married to God 
 – Rejoiced over by God 
 

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5. Calvin says a parallel passage is Hosea 2:9-23. What do you see?
In the Isaiah passage the brides transformation is pictured first, a vision of what is to come, a vision of our deepest desires fulfilled, this is what we were made for, what we are destined to!
The state of things as they are now is alluded to by the terms Forsaken and Desolate.

In the Hosea picture why she is Forsaken and Desolate comes first and powerfully. It is because of her sin, and necessary. She…we, won’t see our sin and turn from it until we’ve been led into the wilderness, where our idols are worthless and our shame is exposed.
It is incredible that when we are in that posture of disgrace, our God, who we have rejected, speaks tenderly to us. He still wants us, it does melt our defenses as it sinks in!
He longs to bless us and give us beauty in spite of our infidelity.
I am so grateful for his steadfast love.

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How I have missed all of you this week!
 2. To understand who is speaking, read Isaiah 61:1-3, from which Jesus read at the beginning of His ministry and then said it was about Him. What stands out to you from this passage and why?
Verse 3: That Jesus will give me a garment of praise instead of a faint spirit that I may be called an Oak of Righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that HE may be glorified. 
I am sure I will butcher context here so I apologize for I don’t have time to look deeper into this..just noting how God has quickened me. :) Most times I have a faint spirit yet He has given me a desire to experience more His garment of praise-which I picture as the dance of the Trinity!! Loving one another purely-praising God.  He has wrapped me in with Him-oh.
When I listen to Audrey Assad Unto Death-I melt in response to Him..I listen to her inheritance album every day. I don’t want distractions to turn my face away from worshiping Him-That beautiful marriage intimacy with Him. I can’t describe it other than I groan deeply inside for the future when He has completely transformed me, yet am joyful that I can experience Him now, wrapped in His garment of praise.
 

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6. Describe everything you can see about this Bride, this new Jerusalem. (Isaiah 62:1-5) Take time with this. For her sake the Lord will not keep quiet 
He will make known her righteousness, her salvation, and glory among the nations
 
My favorite! “ you shall be called by a new name
that the mouth of the Lord will give”
 
She will be a crown, in the hand of God I looked up Diadem, I liked this: “a jeweled crown or headband worn as a symbol of sovereignty” We will be an beautiful symbol of God’s sovereignty :)
 
The pain, confusion and shame of this life will end, we will not be desolate and forsaken
 
 
We will be delighted in, protected and provided for, rejoiced over.
Things will be very different than they are now, in light of this, I long to live as if this is going to happen at any time. I thought of ‘he who has this hope purifies himself’

1 John 3:3 from the Amplified Bible
“3 And everyone who has this hope [resting] on Him cleanses (purifies) himself just as He is pure (chaste, undefiled, guiltless)”

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    Chris–“The pain, confusion and shame of this life will end, we will not be desolate and forsaken”–amen! And I too lovethe part that we are given a new name! Love that He makes all things new~

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3. Read Isaiah 61:10-11. What has God done for Jesus (10) and what does He in turn do for those who are joined to Him (as a branch in a vine, as a bride to her bridegroom) according to verse 11?
God has clothed Christ with salvation and righteousness. Jesus shares His righteousness and gives us the gift of salvation.
 
4.. Compare Isaiah 61:11 with 1 John 3:9. How is it that we are being transformed? Who is doing it? What is our responsibility? (Think of the vine and the branches.) 
Our transformation begins with new birth, God’s seed being planted in us. This is God’s doing. I am responsible to ABIDE in Him, to make choices to live out of this new life in me, and not my sinful nature. To know Him through His Word and meditate on it—so that it changes my thoughts and my fleshly desires to be like His. As I seek, He will always answer. And He is merciful and faithful—as I choose to ABIDE in Him, repenting and confessing when I fail to, He is faithful to cleanse me, and grow in me true faith. 
 

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    Clearly and succinctly put, Lizzy.

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3. Read Isaiah 61:10-11. What has God done for Jesus (10) and what does He in turn do for those who are joined to Him (as a branch in a vine, as a bride to her bridegroom) according to verse 11?  Clothed Him with salvation and righteousness and when we are in Him, that is extended to us!  
4.. Compare Isaiah 61:11 with 1 John 3:9. How is it that we are being transformed? Who is doing it? What is our responsibility? (Think of the vine and the branches.)  That is an interesting comparison, He causes righteousness and truth to spring up and no one in Him can continue in sin.  His Spirit in us will CAUSE righteousness and truth to “spring up” in us, but we do have to abide (be in His Word, in prayer) in order to fertilize that seed in us and encourage it’s growth.  
 

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Read Isaiah 62:1-5.
John Calvin says of the above: “Formerly the Church lay in filth and rags, and was universally despised as a forsaken woman; but now, having been received into favour with her husband, she shines with a universal luster.”
5. Calvin says a parallel passage is Hosea 2:9-23. What do you see?  Both seem to be describing a sort of redemption.  

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6. Describe everything you can see about this Bride, this new Jerusalem. (Isaiah 62:1-5) Take time with this.  Her (our) righteousness and glory will be bright and clear for all to see, she will get a new name (not sure if this means as a body -the bride of Christ- or each of us, individually, as Revelation 2:17 mentions, getting a white stone with a new name written on it which only God and we know.)  The latter surely does reveal the preciousness of each of us, individually, to the Lord.  She (we) will be beautiful and rejoiced over! :)

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I have gotten miserably behind, so here goes for trying to steam forward and catch up a little.
1. What stands out to you from the above? 
 
I think the transformation of the caterpillar to the butterfly caught my attention.   It is so precise or meticulous, and is time-consuming, but it is a total change – almost no similarity.    I love that it is a metaphor for the life of a Christian.   There is a plan for us just as there is for the caterpillar.  
 
 
What do you anticipate about this song?
 
 
I am hoping for transformation and growth in me.  That is what I always hope for in Lent, and this blog is always helpful in bringing that about.   As I read through the comments, I loved how several had felt God’s presence in special ways.   So exciting when we can see  God is moving in our lives!      
 
I may have mentioned it months ago – I’m not sure – but I have had a long-time college-days  friend who was upset with me for giving her advice she didn’t like, and she had stopped communicating with me.    I didn’t really feel it was that much my fault – I thought I gave her good advice that was motivated by wanting the best for her.   A long time has gone by in silence. I finally decided that during Lent I should make another attempt to reach her, and I sent her an email.   Lo and behold, I suddenly have received three emails before I even had time to notice that the first one arrived.   I have responded back, and now that she has given me a workable telephone number,   I plan to call her today.   The sad part of this is that she has informed me that she is in a bad way physically and financially – I’m really sorry to learn this, and I don’t see a clear way I can help her.   Also I am a little gun-shy about giving her any more advice, as that is how the trouble all began before :)    This has already been a growing experience for me (which is why I am bringing this up now)!   It took a stretch in courage for me to decide to be the more mature one and contact her.
 
 
 2. To understand who is speaking, read Isaiah 61:1-3, from which Jesus read at the beginning of His ministry and then said it was about Him. What stands out to you from this passage and why?
 
When Jesus read from this passage in the synagogue (Luke 4: 18-19), he seems to have stopped mid-way through the Isaiah passage.   He read up through Isaiah 61: 2a, and then he rolled the scroll up and declared that it had now been fulfilled.      I think it is interesting that He did not continue with the next phrase which would have been “and the day of vengeance of our God….”  
 
 
 
3. Read Isaiah 61:10-11. What has God done for Jesus (10) and what does He in turn do for those who are joined to Him (as a branch in a vine, as a bride to her bridegroom) according to verse 11?
 
He has been  clothed in salvation and righteousness, and through Him we are also.  
 
4.. Compare Isaiah 61:11 with 1 John 3:9. How is it that we are being transformed?
 
God’s seed is being placed in us, and we are being transformed so that we do not continue to sin.  We are changed from our sinful nature to a righteous one.   
 
 Who is doing it? 
 
God is accomplishing this change in us through Jesus. 
 
What is our responsibility? (Think of the vine and the branches.)
 
 
Our responsibility is to believe in Jesus as our Savior and cling to Him in our lives.  He is our connection to God.     He is the vine and we are the branches.  He is the bridegroom and we are the bride. 
 
Read Isaiah 62:1-5.
 
 
5. Calvin says a parallel passage is Hosea 2:9-23. What do you see?
 
I know that the people of Israel had departed from God like Hosea’s unfaithful wife.  God still loves his people despite their sinful, arrogant ways.   Once again God is in the role of the bridegroom and His people are like the bride.  God will not be like a master, but He will become their husband.  
 

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2. To understand who is speaking, read Isaiah 61:1-3, from which Jesus read at the beginning of His ministry and then said it was about Him. What stands out to you from this passage and why?
 
What stands out to me are all the reasons listed for which God sent Jesus. “He has sent me…to preach good news, He has sent me…to bind up the brokenhearted, He has sent me…to proclaim freedom for the captives and to release prisoners from darkness, He has sent me…to proclaim that God isn’t angry with you (the year of the Lord’s favor) and the day of vengeance of our God, He has sent me…to comfort those who mourn and to provide for those who grieve, He has sent me…to bestow on them a crown of beauty, the oil of gladness, a garment of praise – instead of ashes, mourning, and despair.
The verse that says “to bestow on them the oil of gladness” reminds me of chapter 1 of The Songs, where it says “Your name is like perfume (or ointment) poured out”, because to bestow oil on someone gives the image of hands on skin, rubbing a healing, soothing ointment in.
 
3. Read Isaiah 61:10-11. What has God done for Jesus (10) and what does He in turn do for those who are joined to Him (as a branch in a vine, as in a bride to her bridegroom) according to verse 11?
 
For Jesus, God has clothed Him in garments of salvation and arrayed Him in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom prepares himself for his wedding. God prepared Jesus to come and claim His bride – He had to save her before she could be His. This speaks of careful, thoughtful preparation; painstaking, even. A bride and a bridegroom take a lot of time and care to get ready for their wedding ceremony.
To those who are joined to Him, once we are clothed in His righteousness and He becomes ours, as in a marriage, He makes us grow up into His likeness and we are transformed.
 
4. Compare Isaiah 61:11 with 1 John 3:9. How is it that we are being transformed? Who is doing it? What is our responsibility? (Think of the vine and the branches)
 
Both of these passages use the metaphor of something growing; a sprout, and a seed. I guess the Holy Spirit coming to live inside of us could be compared to having a seed planted in us – it is a new life, and then God makes the seed, our faith, grow. That is why John says once we have God’s seed in us, we can’t go on living like we did before. It might not be instant change, as an oak tree seed, for example, doesn’t become a giant, mature tree in a day, or even a year. Growing takes time, but it will happen. Our responsibility is to cooperate with the Holy Spirit and not to resist Him, or to quench Him. It would be silly to think of a flower in a garden, if it had a personality, fighting with the gardener and not wanting to be watered and fertilized, or wanting to be covered with a bag so the sun wouldn’t shine on it. Dee has taught us that even a small step of faith toward the light, and we will be given more light.

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    Susan — love your comparison with the ointment from the Song.

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5. Calvin says a parallel is Hosea 2:9-23. What do you see?
 
I see parallels in the desolation described in the beginning of the Hosea passage where God took everything away from them because of their idolatry, and in Isaiah 62:4 it says “No longer will they call you Deserted, or name your land Desolate”, which seems to speak of the time when God was bruising them. Both passages reveal a glorious restoration in the relationship between God and His people, where it is taken to new heights in that He declares “I will betroth you to Me forever” and “As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.” This is a new relationship indeed. In Isaiah 62:4, it says, “But you will be called Hephzibah (meaning my delight is in her) and your land Beaulah” (which means married). What a picture of our gracious God coming to us on bended knee, wanting to “marry” us.
 
I’ve always been in a bit of a conundrum about this: there are two strong pictures in the Bible about our relationship to God. The one of bride-bridegroom, or marriage, and that He is our Heavenly Father, so father-child. So when we come to Him, from which stance should we approach Him? Depending on our need at the time? How do you keep both side-by-side?
 

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    Good question, Susan.

    Would love to hear responses before I give mine!

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      In response to Susan’s question about whether to approach God as a bride or a child … we need to remember that there are other pictures of God’s relationship to us in the Bible as well such as Master/servant, Shepherd/sheep, King/citizen, etc. I think God will show Himself to us in the way we need at the time.
       
      God shows Himself to me most often as a Father, but not always. As I have been studying the Sermon on the Mount with other women in my church, I have been noticing that Jesus almost always calls God “Father”, except on the cross when He cries “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” In the Old Testament, the picture of God as Father is there but mostly He is not called Father, but names such as God Almighty, Lord or Yahweh. Jesus initiates a new relationship with God that was not available in the Old Testament. It is Jesus who tells us to pray to God as “our Father” as well. What a privilege we have to picture God as Father!

        I think Diane covered it pretty thoroughly!  And Jesus called us friends and said there was no greater love than laying down one’s life for his friend. (So even “friend” has such value.)  Like Diane, I think I approach Him (God the Father, Son, Holy Spirit) in different ways, according to the situation, but I think mostly “Father” is certainly what I find myself saying.  Sometimes I just begin my prayers by naming saying to Him all that He is (that comes to mind!)  “Father, Friend, Counselor, Kind of Kings, etc…’

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“For centuries the Jews have rejected Christ, but Scripture seems to point to a turning before His return. “
I have wanted to comment on this statement and observation by Dee in the blog for this week. 
Last Sunday we had a woman speak during the Sunday school hour at our church. She is a Jewish believer who was born and grew up in Brooklyn NY but now lives in Tel Aviv with duel citizenship. She serves with Chosen People Ministries that is actively engaging in evangelism to  Jews. She shared that traditionally the Jews in Israel have been very closed to the gospel but in just the last five years they are seeing a significant number of young people accepting Jesus as the Messiah and truly searching for spiritual answers. Perhaps we are seeing that turning now beginning before Christ’s return. She personally feels we are in the last days before the Lord’s return. I find that wonderful hope we have in Jesus as the coming Messiah so exciting and encouraging. As we have considered these passages from Isaiah that outlines what He has done for us through redemption and the prophecy in this as to what He is going to do  when He returns gives us such hope in the midst of a fallen broken world. In whichever context we look at the Bride of Christ (personal, the Church, or Israel) it brings great hope and joy because of Jesus and the Cross. 
Reeves sermon is a beautiful treatment of the beauty of Christ redeeming His bride! I was really blessed by it. 

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    What an exciting testimony, Bev!

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    This is great to hear, Bev.  I have heard (from several years ago) that so much in linking up with Israel and the end times.  That for years now, Jewish people of been flocking back to Israel.  I have an older, Jewish friend who told me a coupe years ago that she’d go live there in a heartbeat, if her husband could get work there.  She has not accepted Christ as her Savior but I have prayed for her for years and years.  So good to learn that the woman you heard speak is seeing young Jewish people turn to Christ!!! 

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. Describe everything you can see about this Bride, this new Jerusalem. (Isaiah 62:1-5) Take time with this.
Shining like the dawn; salvation like a blazing torch; glorious and vindicated
A new name; crown of splendor; royal diadem; delighted in; Hephzibah (a delighted one; protected one), Beulah (married); married to its Builder; rejoiced over by God
A short commentary I read online:
 

Isaiah 62:4 is a message of hope to the nation of Israel. God plans to change its name from Deserted and Desolate to Hephzibah and Beulah. Beulah means “married.” When God changes a name in the Bible, it conveys transformation, a second chance, and a new beginning. This passage promises the restoration of Israel to a place of favor and protection in God’s sight. Through this passage, the whole world knows that God finds delight in Israel and is married to her. He will no longer forsake His people. The Lord has sworn to never again allow a conqueror to overcome Israel, and Israel will exist in a sanctuary of safety.”

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7. Share your notes and comments from this teaching.
Mike Reeves makes me weep-he is so in love with Jesus. 
The world does not need tolerance; it needs love-the Jesus love.
The fact that God rejoices over us not just pity us nor is merciful to us.
Why did God create the sun and  the stars-they are His wedding presents to us as the Bride of Christ. We are His gift to His Son so that we may share all that He has. (Weep unashamedly here)
Reeves asked of us: resolve the glory of the church to show forth; If church is the bride of Christ, show respect to the church.

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    Wish I could make a heart here — your response to Reeves.

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      Bing nailed it in her comments on Reeves!    I listened to Reeves, but had too much difficulty taking notes on Reeves, and I finally just gave up.    But I totally agree with Bing!    And Dee,  one way to make a heart here is    <3     Sideways heart in the same mode as a sideways smiley face :)    

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The world does not need tolerance; it needs love-the Jesus love.”   -you are SOOO right on this, Bing.  I think people have forgotten that to tolerate someone just means you are putting up with them and there’s nothing terribly kind of loving about that!  The love of Christ for someone, however, is life-Changing!  Everyone needs that.  

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    Amen, Mary!

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7. Share your notes and comments from this teaching.
 
I love the bit about Christ giving us His righteousness and we giving Him our sin. The crown of thorns for the crown of jewels. Amazing grace.

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6. Describe everything you can see about this Bride, this new Jerusalem. (Isaiah 62:1-5) Take time with this.
62:1 “For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,  and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet”–I am struck by this. He was silent against His own accusers, He did not speak out on the Cross to save Himself—yet, for us, for me, He will not keep silent. 
 
He will continue His work in me, to make me righteous— “until her righteousness goes forth as brightness,  and her salvation as a burning torch”– reminded me of Psalm 37:6 “He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.” 
 
This righteousness will be evident to all, and He will give us a new name—no longer “Forsaken” but now we are the subject of His Delight, His Bride, “a crown of beauty”—this is such grace and mercy! How often are my actions nothing close to beauty, and yet, He declares me so. 
 
We are taken as His Bride in marriage for eternity, we are secured, safe, protected and redeemed. We are dependent on Him as the branches upon the Vine. Forgive me Lord for how often I try to be a vine instead of a branch! My heart so prone to wander, but You choose to make me Your Bride. As His Bride, we are submissive to Him, we are His, one with Him, union with Christ.
 

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6. Describe everything you can see about this Bride, this new Jerusalem. (Isaiah 62:1-5) Take time with this. (I have combined question 5 with this- kind of. :) )
I think I see The Song of Songs here-as I did in question 5. Zion is the Bride-and Zion is the church so God is speaking through Isaiah about the church? Not sure.. Here is what I see:
1. God will not be quiet reminding the Church over and over and then His passion in Hosea 2 as to how deeply He will pursue us-taking away the idols that hinder us- until His salvation and righteousness shine brightly to all through His Church-I think the parallel passage in Hosea is beautiful in His passion as to how He will do this.
 
2. I see Idolatry keeping them from Him as Idolatry kept the Shulamite from Him as she stayed in bed and so He pursues them as He pursues the Shulamite ultimately He and She making her garden flourish. 
 
3. I see the church with His crown of beauty on them-Jesus Crown as the Shulamite carries His name and His beauty and wears His crown.
 
and finally this..which melts me: 
You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate, but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her, and your land Married; for the Lord delights in you, and your land shall be married.

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    I am a bit undone after studying this this morning..wrestling inside which is good, yet hard.

    In regard to my local church..Church being the Bride of Christ-and God’s delight in her-to shine through her-His Bride-His passion!

    I feel His passion yet..I feel unsettled inside- this longing to partake deeper with our local church in His Word-and yes going deeper with The Song of Songs-yet am not sure if what I am sensing is a hindering or perhaps a re-direction to another church. 

    Some things have transpired where I know beyond a shadow of a doubt there won’t be open hearts to studying The Song-or even relating other scripture to it like we have here in questions 5 and 6-oh it is beautiful-the core of Scripture and He has so much more of His beauty He wants us to see and experience. Not in full until the future-but even experiencing a speck of it here is amazing! 

    I have been discouraged as of late for I have been told, “No way am I going there-the Song of Solomon is too weird, too sexual.”  So even if I wanted to lead it I wouldn’t be able to in our group, but God will lead me-lead my family.

    I am unsettled with making any rash decisions and at peace with waiting on God. :)

    ANY wisdom you, my beautiful sisters, would have to help me, I would so love that! 

      Reply

      Oh Rebecca, I can offer prayer!  I don’t have any wisdom in this area, just empathy!  Seems like when that unsettled feeling creeps in it is often the beginning of God’ re-directing us (I know Wanda just changed churches maybe a year ago and had really felt a yearning for that for years prior to actually doing it) but, like you said, not doing anything rash is always a good approach!  Often I have reached a point with some decisions of being nearly miserable before the Lord reveals the next thing (for me more with jobs) but that maybe because I would not budge otherwise! I’m praying for your situation right now, Rebecca.  So sorry you are struggling right now.  You have enough on your plate just with the boys and motherhood.  Praying for clarity and peace for you.

      Reply

      Oh Rebecca — I do feel with you.

      There has been so much good about this church for you and your family, I think I’d give them grace on this one. It isn’t unusual for some Christians to have trouble with metaphors, taking them so literally. But I love you, love your heart, and your heart for me and my writing — God may open a door elsewhere — but I’d hate to have you leave on account of this.

        So..I received a beautiful encouragement from our Laura via email-and now Dee and Mary. We have been emailing one another-we have a lot in common. :) It goes with what Dee said so I know it is Him. She added that I move forward with offering the study anyway. So this thought occured that I will get a hold of our women’s ministry leader and ask if I can lead it at church. I would love to lead Idol Lies in the Summer and then He Calls You Beautiful in the Fall. :)   Mary’s comment is how God is comforting me!! Just her comment-you have enough on your plate with motherhood…comforts me for I know that is from Him. My husband and I were talking yesterday and we think God might be leading us to stay but maybe explore other groups in our church that meet in homes. We love our group dearly but would like to get to know others in our church as well. We will see! 

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7. Share your notes and comments from this teaching.  Ah…this was such rich, sweet, beautiful picture of our relationship to Christ.  Just a couple comments:  He talks about fully understanding that Christ does not just tolerate us (as is such a common term thrown around today, tolerance) but LOVES us, delights in us, etc…  I remember back in the dark ages of my Christian walk (?)  that I really felt like God was just putting up with me.  I felt like I was saved on a technicality, because I accepted Jesus’s death on the cross as the payment for my sin, and now God was locked into letting me in to heaven, but that if He had any way out of it, He’d take it!  I didn’t feel that way when I was first saved (as a 5 year-old) but definitely by the time I was a young adult.  I felt like such a disappointment to Him (and I was disappointed with Him, as I mentioned last week) and, again, God used this one particular Christian counselor to help me better understand the love of Christ.  He’s never looking at me disgusted or disappointed because He sees me IN CHRIST, complete and perfect already.  Does He desire to draw me and grow me closer to that finished product that He already sees, yes, of course, but His love for me and delight in me do not hinge on it!  I understand that better now, but I think I’ll never fully grasp that love this side of heaven!  This particular message is a good one to refer back to whenever doubts arise.  He explained it so well.  I may have to get the gook of his that Lizzy is reading!

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