Thru the Bible – Day 121

If you use Facebook, we are posting these each day on our page there, and we will also post these here each day. We welcome your thoughts here or on Facebook.

Day 121 – Thru the Bible

Today we continue in Isaiah and Psalms.

Isaiah 49 – Emerging out of the second “Servant Song” is One who is identified with Israel. Yet he is also distinguished from them, for he is uniquely able to restore and gather Israel. Filled with God’s strength, the servant is empowered to renew Israel and then extend divine salvation “to the end of the earth.” Reflecting a biblical pattern, God works through the particular (e.g., Abraham/Israel/church) to reach the universal (the nations/world). Here, this unique chosen one embodies the remnant, faithfully representing the Holy One of Israel, but all the while his ministry is meant to extend well beyond the nation’s borders.

In the New Testament, Paul draws on Isaiah’s reference to “a light for the Gentiles” to make sense of the gospel extending beyond merely the Jews (Acts 13:47). Right after quoting Isaiah 49:8, Paul boldly proclaims, “now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). God’s ancient promises have been realized in Jesus. The new age has dawned (1 Corinthians 10:11). Consequently, all Believers are involved in the ministry of reconciliation: we serve as ambassadors of Jesus, extending God’s reconciling love to all the world (2 Corinthians 5:18–21). We are reminded that God’s redemptive concerns were always global, and His pattern of renewal was always from the particular to the universal (Genesis 12:1–3).

Zion may feel forgotten, but God is compassionate and sees the depth of His people’s struggles and pain, promising that He will deliver those who wait for Him. Not only does God see His people’s pain; He also sees the wickedness of their oppressors and promises to “contend with those who contend with you.” While Israel was suffering as a result of her own sin (50:1; 59:1–2), this was not a position to which God would abandon them. God is not short of resources or commitment to redeem His enslaved people as we will see at the beginning of the next chapter.

 

Isaiah 50 – The third “Song” portrays the servant not only as personally innocent but also as One who is nevertheless willing to be struck and to take the disgrace and shame for Israel. He is able to take on this substitutionary role with God’s help, for His vindication and strength come from above.

As we recognize these messianic truths as applying to the work of Jesus, Scripture is showing us how to respond when our sins testify against us. Our only comfort in such moments comes from looking to the suffering Servant: He was innocent yet stricken on our behalf, so that we might be free from condemnation.

What is the answer to the Apostle Paul’s questions, “Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? Who is to condemn? Hint: Romans 8:33–34.

 

Isaiah 51 – A pattern emerges with three calls to “Listen” (i.e., “give attention”; 51:1, 4, 7) to the Lord. The sovereign Lord chose His people to be a blessing to many; as the comforter of Zion, He can reverse the pattern of the fall, returning the deadening “wilderness” to a life-giving “Eden”. The time is coming when God’s “righteousness draws near” even as His “salvation has gone out” to the “coastlands,” who will hope in Him. Rather than fear the shame that comes from “the reproach of man,” the people are reminded that God brings a deliverance that lasts “forever,” and this can sustain them amid their current humiliations.

With a similar eternal perspective, because of the resurrection of Jesus, we can remain spiritually healthy and joyful as we face life’s challenges and insecurities. For one day, Eden will be perfectly and invincibly restored, allowing us to live without insecurity, guilt, or shame!

Yet hearing is not enough. One must also “Awake, awake”.

God’s comfort is not meant to cultivate passivity but rather to liberate activity.

As the Lord’s ransomed and rescued (51:11; 52:3), the people are to sing songs of joy rather than allow fear to silence their praise. “Your Maker” is no distant deity but one who self-identifies with Israel. Strength is “put on” when God’s message is heard, believed, and acted upon (51:9; 52:1). God’s grace changes those it touches, so that with a renewed sense of God’s saving presence His people are sent out, not “in haste” or “flight” but secure in His saving power—a power that can bring a new exodus from sin and hopelessness (52:11–12).

Just as God was with his people during their exodus, exile, and return, so now He is with us always by the Spirit of the promised Messiah.

As we truly believe that this salvation has been achieved in the death and resurrection of Jesus, how do we go out “publishing” the good news of God?

 

Psalm 119:65-96 – We realize that this written Word of God both speaks of (Luke 24:25–26, 44–45) and anticipates (Hebrews 1:1–2) the greatest of all of the revelations of God to His people—namely, the revelation of the “Word made flesh” (John 1:14, 18). Jesus Himself is the living Word of God who embodies in life and speech and mission the very content and truth of that written Word.

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

%d bloggers like this: