They the Bible – Day 125

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Day 125 – Thru the Bible

Today we continue in Isaiah and Psalms.

Isaiah 61 – Jesus employs this passage as part of His self-revelation. Before a packed synagogue in Nazareth, Jesus reads from Isaiah 61’s description of the Spirit-filled one who uniquely comes to bring good news to the poor, liberty to the captives, and healing to the sick (Luke 4:18–19). “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled,” Jesus proclaims, making it clear that He is the anticipated Messiah who has come to bring the promised renewal (Luke 4:21; 7:22).

Jesus intentionally combined His ministries of caring for people physically and spiritually, for God is concerned for us as complete creatures of His design. Our bodies, minds, wills, and affections were created for free communion with God, but sin has affected them all. The Messiah’s coming marks the time when a new creation is to be ushered in.

In the meantime, having received the Spirit of Jesus, the Anointed One, we experience communion with God (Romans 8:10). And out of this communion we are set free for the holy work of loving those in need even as Jesus has cared for us (Ephesians 4:32–5:2). The book of Acts tells the story of the post-Pentecost church: filled with the Spirit of the Resurrected Jesus, they carry out the ministry of preaching, showing concern for the needy, and taking God’s healing work to all the nations.

How does God’s Spirit empower you to care for and love those around you?

 

Isaiah 62 – The Anointed One will not stay silent; He must speak and act on behalf of His people so that they can experience salvation. Zion is His beloved bride: “My Delight Is in Her”. God promises a celebration uniting the Lamb and the bride—whom He Himself readies for the wedding banquet (Revelation 19:7).

It can be hard for us to believe, but the imagery here is of God rejoicing over His people just like a newly married man’s heart leaps as He looks at His resting wife (Zephaniah 3:17). Here we are reminded of God’s tender love and joyful commitment to us. One of the main images in the New Testament for the church is that of the bride of Jesus (John 3:29; Matthew 9:15; 25:1–13; Mark 2:19): the Groom has come; He has washed His bride and redeemed her.

God is not motivated by dispassionate contractual concerns; His heart is moved by a deep love for and delight in His people (Ephesians 5:25; Revelation 19:7). He fully recognizes her sins, but He desires and is able to bring her salvation.

Because of what God accomplishes, the people are given a new name: Holy, Redeemed, Sought Out, and Not Forsaken (Jeremiah 33:16; 1 Peter 1:18–19; 2:9; Revelation 2:17). “Christians” are those whose name has been changed because of their union to the risen Lord (Acts 11:26). Such a name change also changes us. Bearing the name of Christ, we are invited to live a cross-shaped life, willing to give ourselves for the glory of His righteousness and to suffer for the joyful spread of the gospel (1 Peter 4:16).

How is God using you, in your everyday life, to reveal a His love to those around you?

 

Isaiah 63 & 64 – God’s vengeance and redemption are here placed together (Revelation 19:1–8). Our refuge can be only in the long-promised Messiah, for apart from Him we are exposed and open to the just judgment of God against unrighteousness.

In the Bible, salvation is often portrayed in terms of warfare: God must secure the victory in order for the benefits of liberty to be experienced. At the height of human history, Jesus Himself overcame our three main enemies: sin, death, and the Devil (1 Corinthians 15:25; Colossians 2:15 Hebrews 2:14–15; 1 John 3:8). Our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the “the cosmic powers over this present darkness” (Ephesians 6:12). Jesus, the conquering Messiah, alone secured the final victory over these foes. We battle on, then, as those who know that the final outcome is secure!

The sober warnings of 63:1–6 do not cause stoic passivity but rather active intercession. Isaiah calls for “recounting” God’s “steadfast love” and compassion (63:7–8), for the God who rescued in the past is still the “Savior,” and He remains ready to redeem just as He did in “the days of old” (63:9, 11). Divine chastening may have come against Israel in their fits of rebellion (63:10), but God’s commitment remains as that of a Father to His children (63:8, 16).

Informed by God’s faithfulness in the past, honest prayers cry out for God’s return to His people. He has pledged Himself to them, and what happens to them reflects His character to the world (63:17–19; Exodus 32:11–14). As in this prayer, we often fervently pray that just as God has done “awesome things” in the past, so might He work in our day, even in our struggles (64:1–3). Confidence comes from the fact that there is no god like the holy God, who amazingly “acts for those who wait [not “work”] for Him” (64:4; 1 Corinthians 2:9). Such prayers are offered from a posture of confession of sin (64:6–7), repenting of our uncleanness and resting only in the finished work of Jesus, by whose blood we are made clean once and for all (Hebrews 7:27; 9:12–28; 10:10).

How are you able to enjoy the rest that only Jesus can bring, even in the midst of everyday life?

 

Psalm 120 – Psalms 120–134 comprise the “psalms [or “songs”] of ascent,” thought to be recited by pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem for sacred festivals and other times of worship. Many of these psalms express the affliction of life that the people of God undergo, while also extolling God as their only hope and joy and source of life.

Psalm 120 begins by recalling prior distresses and God’s faithfulness and deliverance. Evidently, the psalmist has been exiled and is living with pagan peoples who do not worship the God of Israel. Furthermore, these foreigners promote war instead of peace, and the psalmist has cried out to the God of peace to frustrate their plans for war and oppression.

Due to God’s past faithfulness in answering when called upon, the psalmist now is emboldened to cry out for deliverance once again. That God alone is Savior, and faithful, and powerful gives the psalmist confidence over the deception of his opponents. God’s power and grace, in the end, are what will bring victory to God’s people; God can be relied upon to bring the lasting and permanent peace the psalmist longs to experience.

Jesus Himself is the supreme instance of a man who came in peace but who experienced undeserved hostility. And yet in a marvel of God’s providence and grace, the act of hostility that put Jesus to death is the very means by which sinners, naturally hostile to God, can be reconciled to God and receive undeserved peace.

How does this truth lead you to worship?

 

What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?

 

Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.

Videos produced by www.TheGospelProject.com.

All links you need to be a part of this are here – Thru the Bible in 2018.

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