Behold Your God

What can transform our anxious hearts? Beholding our God, and Isaiah helps us to do this so well. What can help us release our idols? Beholding our God. That is because we can’t just say no, our hearts must be melted by His love and power, so that we can trust Him and wait upon Him. How many times have we given into temptation because we did not wait upon Him?

This week, this last week before Holy Week, let us consider some of the beautiful word pictures in Isaiah, along with comments from Albert Motyer, to help us behold our God and melt our hearts of stone.

I am often anxious, and worry is the idol I’m endeavoring to replace with trust in God. I often get very anxious about tech at a retreat, for it seems to often go wrong until the last minute. It did last weekend and now I hear there are tech troubles where I am headed this weekend in Seattle. Last weekend I did get anxious, for it really did look like I’d have to go on without all the video helps I’d prepared in the last two weeks. But I talked to my soul about the sufficiency of God, and that my power comes not from pictures or videos but from His Spirit. I also reminded my soul of how anointed I felt when everything except the mike failed at one retreat. And then, at the last minute, a musician with a powerful hotspot came in and remedied our weak hotel internet problem.

I also worried, this month, about preparing four new talks for a conference this last weekend in Seattle. One of them was on ten chapters in Exodus on the Tabernacle, assigned to me by the church. What? How am I going to do this? I am certainly not an expert on the Tabernacle.

My worrying sounded a lot like the way Isaiah describes the “whining” of Israel:

Why would you ever complain, O Jacob,
    or, whine, Israel, saying,
God has lost track of me.
    He doesn’t care what happens to me”?
Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening?
God doesn’t come and go. God lasts.
    He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine.
He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath.
    And he knows everything, inside and out.
(Isaiah 40:27)

Isaiah then gives this beautiful word picture to give them counsel and peace:

Albert Motyer comments on the above by telling us to “Look away from yourself, look at Him.” I did not feel qualified to speak on the Tabernacle, but I do know to ask for wisdom. Then, while immersing myself in those chapters, I needed to wait with expectation, as Motyer says. And in the night, an idea came to me. I could compare each element in the Tabernacle to the Great I AM. The candlesticks to I AM the light of the world. The table for the bread to I AM the bread of life. And so on. I felt His strength and wisdom flooding my soul, giving me what I surely did not have in myself. (I am preaching on this twice this morning and would love your prayers!) I’ll give you the link to it when I can!)

Sunday:

1. What stands out to you from the above and why?

2. What have you been anxious about lately?

Monday: Meditating on Isaiah 40:27-31

Prepare your heart with this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5EE6g_a9gs

 

3. Read Isaiah 40:27-31

A. How does Isaiah describe Israel’s grumblings in verse 27?

B. Of what does Isaiah remind them in verse 28?

C. How could you use this to speak to your soul in overcoming trial or temptation?

D. What contrast does he give in verses 30 and 31?

E. When have you given into temptation because you did not wait upon the Lord?

F.  What would it look like for you to wait upon the Lord:

1) Before you plan your day

2) When you face a problem or decision

3) When anxious thoughts multiply

Tuesday: Message on the Above Passage

 

      Christopher Ash - Behold Your God

4. Listen to the above and share your notes.

Wednesday: The Suffering Servant

Last year we looked at some of these pictures, so this is a review for some, and leads up to Holy Week when we will look at the ultimate picture in Isaiah 53.

5. Read Isaiah 42:1-4

    A. What will this coming Messiah be like according to these verses?

    B. Do you feel like a bruised reed or smoldering wick? What strength can you find in this?

6. Read Isaiah 42:6-7

    A. What promise is there in verse 6?

 

    B. Compare this to Isaiah 45:1. Whose hand did he grasp here and why?

 

    C. Share a time when the power of God through you was used to open the eyes that were blind or 

        brought someone who was in prison (literally or in the chains of sin) out. 

Thursday: Message from Keller

7. Listen and comment:

      A Bruised Reed He Will Not Break - Timothy J. Keller

Friday: Can a Mother Forget?

I was melted when our own Laura-Dancer posted pictures of her daughter Sarah as a little girl — this child who is now bringing her so much pain. Yet Laura cannot forget her or stop loving her.

8. Read Isaiah 49:14-16 and describe God’s heart for you. How does this help you right now? 

 

Saturday

9. What is your take-a-way this week and why?

 

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Saturday
9. What is your take-a-way this week and why?
I am just awed that our God who is holy, just and omnipotent would come down as a man and woo us to Himself. The juxtaposition of His character (Keller) that is, His infinite highness and infinite humility is an enigma to me. And like Laura, I struggle with His longsuffering and timing. Why take so long in answering our prayers? I say this out loud while fully aware that His Word never contradicts His character. “His ways are higher than mine..” His purposes are excellent. His timing is always perfect. ALWAYS!
My second take-away is BEHOLDING and WAITING on God. It is a challenge as the world has so many attractions that is distracting to me. 
“Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame.” Isaiah 50:7 NIV

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Susan, I love your answer to 5B. Great application and the last 2 sentences encouraged my heart. “He takes note; He doesn’t disregard our helplessness or hopelessness. I picture Him cupping His hands around the flame so it doesn’t go out; He protects us when we are at our lowest.”

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6. Read Isaiah 42:6-7

 

A. What promise is there in verse 6?

 

God promises His people that He will keep them and make them to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles. This is for us, too, that God used His people, the nation of Israel, out of which came our Messiah Jesus, to be like a light shining to other nations and peoples (Gentiles). A light beckons you to come.

 

B. Compare this to Isaiah 45:1. Whose hand did He grasp here and why?

 

It says here that God took hold of Cyrus’ hand and enabled Cyrus to subdue nations, strip kings of their armies, and “open doors before him so that gates will not be shut.” I think Jackie posted about this and I need to re-read it. God used Cyrus to accomplish His plans.

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5.A. What will this coming messiah be like according to 42:1-4?
~someone strong, strengthened by Bod
~just, bringing justice
~gentle, no crushing the weakest reed
~persevering, not faltering or losing heart
~a teacher and leader
B. What strength can you find in this?
Jesus is so very gentle, loving, and kind…He will sustain, strengthen, right wrongs, and won’t grow weary in doing so.
6.A. What promise is there is v. 6?
God will send Jesus.
B. Whose hand did he grasp here and why?
Jesus…freedom.
7. Listen and comment.
This sermon is balm to the heart, a needed “kick in the pants,” and filled with such promise.

balm to the heart“…we can do nothing for Jesus, yet jesus loves, care, and saves us.  Jesus’s attraction to the broken hearted, battered, and beaten…He is infinitely loving, caring and wise, never mistreating the broken and/or wounded.  I am His beloved child in whom He delights.  Jesus is the “good doctor” who looks to my unique needs and provides exactly what is needed for me.
kick in the pants“…if Christ is so merciful as not to break me, I should not break myself by despair.  The manner of the”servant king” (in my boldness, exhibiting needed tenderness, and in my tenderness exhibiting needing boldness) should be growing/being reproduced in me [believers].  I should be loving and kind to the most “bruised” and “beaten,” working to do what I can to put relationship right in the world, sharing the gospel, the good news of Jesus’s grace.
filled with such promise“…Jesus will put the shalom of every relationship (spiritually, socially, and physically) lost in the fall into right relationship…nothing, no thing, will stop Him from establishing justice on earth.  Jesus took rectifying justice so we could have primary justice (all in right relationship).
8. Isaiah 49:14-16…how does this help you right now?
It reminds me of God’s faithfulness…actually “faithfulness” doesn’t even come close to defining it, the Lord is so beyond faithful in His love and care, no word in the English language sufficiently describes it.  The Lord is always for me, regardless of what my finite senses perceive.  He is incredible, incredibly loving and caring…my mind goes to “why?” and “why me?”…because of Him :D…it has absolutely nothing to do with me or my worthiness…He couldn’t love me more and He couldn’t love me less…He loves, and He loves me! How incredibly blessed I [we] am [are]!
9. What is your take-a-way this week and why?
[please see #8…:D…my heart is so full.]

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Nanci, we sure can use a kick in the pants once in a while. :-)

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5. what will this coming Messiah be like?  He will be like a servant, chosen one, with the

Spirit. He will bring justice on the nations.

B. Do you feel like a bruised reed or smoldering wick?

I feel like a bruised reed as my body weakens each year. I also feel challenged or inadequate to speak the words to share my faith. Pray for boldness when I am timid.

6. What promise is given in Isaiah 42:6-7?

I will take hold of your hand, keep you and make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles.

Compare to Chapter 45:1 whose hand does he grasp? Cyrus

why? To subdue nations before him and to strip kings of their armor!

C. Share a time when the power of God through you was used to bring someone who was in prison(chains of sin) out.

God put on my heart to encourage a friend who was struggling with alcohol addiction to become part of Set Free,  a ministry that I was attending. Though she had many excuses, I persisted and eventually she embraced the program and has been a tremendous witness to many. She will tell them that I never stopped “bugging her.”

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Keller’s sermon, A Bruised Reed, was excellent, and I have listened twice- and could listen again!

The paradox: How can a servant king bring justice to the nations? He does not exercise the power of a King, but through his infinite highness and his infinite humility, the seemingly impossible, is accomplished. His examples are awesome. I was impressed with his example of Martin Luther King who accomplished both by his civil disobedience to segregation and combined with the doctrine of love to those who “spit on them” or did even worse treatment.

The example of health also impressed me. When everything in the body is in right relationship.

Sin has caused all things to be out of right relationship, resulting in fear, guilt, aging, racial tension and on and on. Like a good doctor who gives different medicine for each person, Jesus also treats individuals at their point of need as in the end of the book of John. His sermon is packed full of wisdom about the Servant king, the healing king and the suffering king. The prophecies tell us so much of what Christ came to do.

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Dear Laura, Jenny, Mary B., and Susan.  Thank you for your vulnerability in sharing, please know that we, the sisters in our study blog family, are holding you up in prayer…praying for resolution, restoration, well-being, and relationship.  You are loved!

    Reply

    Thank you Nancy…that is such an encouragement  :)

    Reply

    Thank you Nanci. I appreciate you.

    Reply

    Thank you, Nanci. Mine was just a temporary blue, but I so appreciate your prayers, and the prayers of others as well. The world, the flesh, and the devil all try to keep us from living in Christ. Jenny and Laura, I continue to pray for your situations, and for Christ to live in and through you as He works out His will.

      Reply

      Thank you Mary B! Was reminded that we all have the mind of Christ & need to be aware of lies of the enemy…Lord help us to dwell on You & Your great Love for us & to surrender our minds & hearts to You today.

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