September 22, 2017

Comforting Thoughts about God (TTB12 Week 6)

This week we’ve covered both harsh and comforting passages in Isaiah. The harsh ones are all about God judging His beloved people (Israel) by using nations like Assyria to conquer and plunder and commit atrocities. They’re about God punishing rebellion and pride. They’re about His righteousness and justice leaving no room for sin of any size. And they’re not very comforting to read, but they do contain some comforting truths about God that we can rest in. For instance, He is faithful to do what He’s promised, whether it be punishment or reward. And, He loves His chosen people (both OT Israel and modern-day Christians) enough to chasten them when they need it, and He never gives up on them. Although He offered salvation to the Gentile world, He is not finished with Israel – and He will certainly not give up on you or me! And, He controls everything – even wicked war-driven nations like Assyria. I’m sure you can think of similar modern-day examples too. He uses them for His purposes. But then we’ve had some more obviously-comforting passages. Verses like these:

25:1-4 – O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you; I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure… For you have been a stronghold to the poor, a stronghold to the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat.

25:8 – He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken. 

26:3-4 – You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.

28:5-6 – In that day the Lord of hosts will be a crown of glory, and a diadem of beauty, to the remnant of his people, and a spirit of justice to him who sits in judgment, and strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate.

28:29 – This also comes from the Lord of hosts; he is wonderful in counsel and excellent in wisdom.

And of course, those are just a smattering of the wonderful comforting truths about our God that are mentioned in the Bible. I love meditating on these verses… love waking up to them and thinking about them throughout the day, love going to sleep with those truths in my mind.

And isn’t it great when we find something from book repeated in another? Like when Mark 7 quotes Isaiah 29, which contrasts the ritualistic hypocrisy and outward conformity of “religious” people with the true closeness to God that comes from inward purity and personal knowledge of God Himself. I love how the whole Bible ties itself together like that, how unified it is. Isn’t it amazing, a thing only possible by God alone?

So how about you? What are you learning in your daily Bible reading and time with God? What verses or passages stuck out to you this week? What truths did God remind you of and encourage you with? Please share!

For those of you following the Blended plan, here’s next week’s schedule:

Sunday: Isaiah 37-38, Mark 9
Monday: Isaiah 39-40, Mark 10
Tuesday: Isaiah 41-42
Wednesday: Isaiah 43-44
Thursday: Isaiah 45-46, Mark 11
Friday: Isaiah 47-49
Saturday: Isaiah 50-52, Mark 12

*Photo credits: www.sxc.hu


Comments

  1. Miraculously, I managed to keep up this week. Isaiah was so uninspiring to me, and not having read the Bible in order before, I was getting confused on who was who. I almost decided to start a different plan and read it in order instead of doing this blended plan, but decided to keep on in this plan, since God might be trying to show me something.

    Indeed He was.

    I had been worrying about being “self-centered” if I applied what I was reading to my own life.

    But, I get Daily Hope messages in my email, and this week or last week, some of their messages suggested that you SHOULD be applying your Bible study to your own life – that’s what His message is for! Whew.

    So I have gotten a few messages through the scriptures this week. Also, I find it entertaining when I notice things like this: in Isaiah 28:17, the Lord says to the leaders of Ephraim and Judah that He will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the plumb line. Then later in Isaiah 34:11, God says He will stretch out over Edom the measuring line of chaos and the plumb line of desolation. For some reason this is humorous to me, which motivates me.

    I found it interesting in Mark 6:4 how Jesus stated that “Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor.” Even Jesus could not do many miracles in his own hometown. He stated that He could not do many miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. Does this mean that his healings were not the important part of His message?

    He was amazed at his hometown people’s lack of faith. This made me see some things within my own family. Then when even His own disciples lagged in their faith, Jesus asked them, “Are you so dull?” in Mark 7:18.

    This makes me wonder why it is so hard to see the greatness in one who is close to you?

    I have a question: why does Jesus always instruct people not to go and tell anyone after He has healed them? Is it because He knows that is the surest way to get them to spread the word, since He knows that human nature is disobedient anyway? Or am I being too simplistic?

    My favorite passage of the week: Mark 7:15 – “Nothing outside a man can make him ‘unclean’ by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him ‘unclean.’ This gave me some true comfort, because I have felt horrible shame over things that happened when I was a kid. But they were not my fault, and not only that, they cannot make me unclean because ONLY MY OWN ACTIONS could make me unclean!!!

    I’m sure you wanted a more knowledgeable person to read along. So I apologize for my simplicity and ignorance. But I think I’m learning, and if nothing else, being introduced to a new way of thinking.

    Thanks, Elizabeth.

  2. Colette, I am so thankful for your willingness to share what you’re learning through TTB12! It’s the reason I blog about stuff like this. I love it when God can use me/my words to help others know Him and His Word better!

    About making personal application…. God’s Word is most definitely to be applied to our own personal lives. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 tell us that ALL Scripture is profitable to our lives, and useful for “perfecting” us in Christ. That means that everything we read has some application to our lives! That’s why it is so important to read every part of the Bible, because it ALL applies to us today. Every passage has something to teach us about God’s character and about man’s. something either to convict or encourage us.

    About Christ’s injunction not to tell people of their healing… we first have to realize WHY He healed, and that was to prove His authenticity as the true Messiah. Only God has complete power over physical and spiritual illnesses. Only God has the authority to command diseases and demons to disappear. And until the people of the day realized that He was truly God, as well as man, they would have seen Him as merely a great political-military deliverer. They envisioned the “King of the Jews” to be one who would free them immediately from Roman oppression, instead of what He really was, one who would free their souls from sin’s oppression. They wanted a political savior who would free them physically yet make no demands of them spiritually. But that was not God’s plan for Him or for the world. God’s plan led ultimately to death on the cross, not power on a man-made throne. And so, for the spiritually dead crowds to see the miracles and healings without having the understanding of their spiritual need, that would have furthered the false belief that Christ was merely a great man and not God Himself. It would have overshadowed the fantastic truth of spiritual redemption. Christ wanted to men to truly understand who He was spiritually, and not just the physical things He could do for them.

    Of course, as you mentioned, He did know ahead of time that those people would spread the word anyway. He knew (and knows) what was in men’s hearts. He knew they would not keep silent. But He asked them to keep silent anyway. Perhaps those who obeyed that command found a greater reward then those who didn’t, who knows?

    Hope that all makes sense! Keep on reading! 🙂