LET'S PRAY TOGETHER Lord, let our souls rise up to meet you as the day rises to meet the sun. Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. May the peace of the Lord Christ go with us: wherever He may send us; Today we need Your wisdom, help those who lead. Today we need Your peace, comfort those who serve. Today we need Your healing, care for the sick and sick at heart. Today we need Your forgiveness, help us to confess. may You guide us through the wilderness: protect us through the storm; may You bring us home rejoicing: at the wonders You have shown us; may You bring us home rejoicing once again into our doors. Amen
MEDITATION Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. Isaiah 53:10-13 This is part of a longer prophecy that we as Christians understand to be referring to Jesus. Jesus did all these things, but what I want to draw or attention to is the last part. If you remember from the last meditation, intercession is to “intervene on the behalf of another”. So here in Isaiah’s prophetic writings is the fact that this suffering servant will intervene on behalf of the ones who have broken the law, transgressed against God, sinners, in short… all of us. We like to think of transgressors as those “bad guys” out there, but the truth is we have, “All sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”. And let’s be honest, we want God’s intervention, we want Him to rescue us and fix what’s wrong for us, but I am not so sure that we feel that way about “the other”. You know who I mean, “those people” the ones who we don’t like, don’t respect, don’t understand, and disagree with. People who make us mad, people who offend us, people who have wronged us; these are people we are pretty comfortable writing off as deserving whatever they get. But if we are going to claim to be Christians, if we are going to call on the name of Jesus then we had better get clear on who we need to be praying (with Jesus) for: that would be “our enemies”. The very people we despise in our heart of hearts are the people that we need to love, care for and pray for, Why? There are two clear reasons. One, Jesus modeled love for us, “while we were yet his enemies” (see Romans 5:10). Two, Jesus told us to in Matthew 5:43-48. In this environment of fear, anger, and malignant public discourse all followers of Jesus must embrace the uncomfortable task of loving “them” of praying for “those people” and listening to the pain of “our enemies” for the glory of God who did it first for us.
DAILY SCRIPTURE READING
Our daily scripture reading comes from the following link… http://listenersbible.com/devotionals/biy/ If you have any insights into our daily readings, please feel free to share them with me. I would encourage you to visit https://bibleproject.com/explore/isaiah/ for an overview of Isaiah, https://bibleproject.com/explore/nahum/ for an overview of Nahum and https://bibleproject.com/explore/ephesians/ for an overview of Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus. These videos will help with the “big picture” and the main themes. Isaiah 63:1-65:16 Chapter 63 speaks of God’s judgment. Included in this judgment, is “His” nation, because they had forgotten. How important is the “doing” with regards to remembering? Meaning, can we merely call upon the name of the Lord, or do we need to listen and take seriously His will for our lives? Chapter 64 talks about the enemies of God. Think about all we have been studying with regards to the prophets. Who are the enemies of God? Look at chapter 65 for clues. Ephesians 4:17-5:7 Our reading for this morning compares the ways of the world, or these attitudes of the old self, with the new self or a life in Christ. Can you see from the comparison throughout these verses, how our life in Christ should differ from a life without Christ? This new life is the result of listening to God’s word, and changing how we respond to the circumstances of this life. While we might have acted one way, God is now calling us to try a new way. Psalm 112:1-10 We see “doing” as an obligation. If I “do” then God will accept me. The psalmist has a different outlook regarding God’s commands. What is it? (v 1) When the psalmist talks of “wealth and riches” in verse 3, do you think those are financial or something bigger? What are the hallmarks of the faithful? Isaiah 65:17-66:24 How does chapter 65 sound to you? Think about it in the sense of what we currently know, versus what could be. Does this chapter bring hope or despair? Chapter 66 speaks once more to the idea that God will not receive the offerings of those who do what? (v 3b & 4b) Verse 15 & 16 is an example of what we think about when we think of God’s coming judgment. As well, consider verse 24. So much of this is not meant to be read literally, but like poetry, it is meant to create a feeling. A sense of what is to come. Hope and despair. Ephesians 5:8-33 Paul is speaking about a life that is fruitful versus fruitless. What are some of the differences, and in Christ, which are we called to be? Included in this is the idea of submission. This text has created quite a stir in the church. Wives submit to their husbands and husbands love their wives. Re-read verses 21-33. What is Paul saying to each spouse? Psalm 113:1-9 In psalm 113, why is the Lord praised? Nahum 2:1-3:19 OK, so I don’t know what the Listener’s Bible is doing. The reading seems to start not at the beginning of Nahum, but with the second chapter. The first chapter sounds much like the second chapter, which is God’s of the city of Nineveh. Now, if you watched the video from the Bible Project you would know that Nineveh is the capital city of Assyria. One of the key notes from the first chapter is the idea that “The Lord is slow to anger but great in power; the Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished.” Imagine how that would sound to those who are being oppressed. OK, chapter 2… again we see the Lord coming against the city of Nineveh. Where else have you heard that name? Think about the book of Jonah. Here in chapter 2, is there any hope for the city of Nineveh? And chapter 3, sounds like more of the same. It seems like the entire book of Nahum, is a judgment of the city of Nineveh and the nation of Assyria. Assyria is the nation that will destroy the northern kingdom of Israel and send them into exile. Why do you think Nahum’s prophecies are included in the Old Testament? Ephesians 6:1-24 At the end of chapter 5, Paul speaks about husbands and wives. How does he start chapter 6? From here where does he go? Up through verse 9 Paul is speaking about relationships. What do you take away from these verses? Beginning with verse 10, Paul will build an argument for battle. What are we battling and how are we to engage? Psalm 114:1-8 What is the point the psalmist is making?