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Saturday, January 13, 2018

January 13 - Isaiah 4 & 5

Today's reading in our daily plan is Isaiah 4 & 5. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • There is a shortage of husbands during this time. (Isaiah 3 tells us that warriors will be falling in battle, perhaps this explains the loss of husbands during this time and is a loss of security for the women who are now without husbands. Marriage provided protection and security.). 
  • After the judgement we learn that it will be splendid and glorious for those in Israel who have survived - the "righteous" (moral, justifiable). Those who remain will be called holy (set apart by God). 
  • For those who remain God will create over them the "brightness of a flaming fire by night, a shelter from heat by day, and a refuge from the storm and rain". 
  • God is comparing the people of Jerusalem and Judah to a vineyard that doesn't produce any good grapes despite all the work that God put into them to get them to be "good" fruit. God will wipe out the vineyard because it hasn't produced anything worth saving. (Jesus makes a similar statement about good fruit in the New Testament in Matthew 7:16 - 20: “By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn-bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”) [A recurring theme in Isaiah... the people are self focused, refusing to see the wonders that God has done before their eyes all around them. He is even speaking to them directly through a prophet and yet they don't change their behavior.]
  • God is holy (sacred) and as a holy God he is acting according to his righteousness, punishing the people who have willfully turned away from him. 
  • We can see here that God is "hurt" by those who turned their backs on him. He is a loving God who wants to love us and be in relationship with us
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • There are consequences for disobeying God and for turning our backs on God. 
  • We need to be careful to not take for granted the good things God gives us. For the people of Jerusalem and Judah we see many examples of the consequences of their disobedience in Isaiah 3. In this chapter however, we see how wonderful it will be for those who opt to do life with God. 
  • It's easy to focus on and even question the judgment of God... however we need to remember that God is a perfect God... but even so... he's not calling us to be perfect. He's asking us to love him and to pursue a relationship with him, put him first but not last.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • What are some ways that you can put God first? Maybe start reading the bible... remember that the bible is God's love letter to us. The more you read it, the more you learn about God and get to know him. Maybe start to incorporate daily prayer time into your days. Prayer is talking to God like you would talk to a friend. It can be done anywhere, anytime. Maybe today you can talk to God while you shop, or drive, or work. 
  • What are some ways that you can turn back to God if you have turned away from him? Come to him humbly in prayer and offer a simple apology for your lack of interest. Spend more time reading the bible (his love letter to us). Get  into a Verve group and plug in with others who can pray for you and use your prayers as well. Offer help, a kind word, or encouragement to those around you, coworkers, neighbors, friends, family
  • What "wonders" have you taken for granted? Today, find one thing in your life that you are grateful for, and express your gratitude to God.