DAILY DISCIPLINE #93
By Colleen Donahue
If ever we find ourselves content with the things we own, and satisfied by our self sufficiency in handling our life, we may be in a real danger zone! If you followed our study last month you saw that the Israelites, during the time of Isaiah the prophet, were completely "full of themselves". They were wholly occupied in getting ahead and getting all they could out of life. Their friend --God-- had been left "in the dust". No longer did they give Him His due or ask for His advice. In short, they had forgotten God and had no need of Him. There were a crop of wild, sour grapes instead of the sweet, cultivated ones they were meant to be. They were a people completely estranged from God and yet they kept up a whole ritual of going to synagogue, offering sacrifices, and "talking the talk". Everything was taught "by the book" but there was little reality in daily life.
Perhaps the depth of God's anger towards their sin would not have been so strong if they had not displayed the hypocrisy of pretending to be good Jews. Is this not a warning to us --- especially those of us that say we are followers of God? Is going to church, reading the Bible, and prayer just part of life's habits while you basically live your own life? Does your soul's thermometer register any degree of love and passion for God?
It was toward a self-willed , rebellious people that God finally acted. He did not act as an angry God with an enemy to destroy, but as a Father who knows that without chastening, the son will be ruined. Just as God uses our natural circumstances and relationships to discipline us, so He used Israel's own enemies to discipline and chasten them. In the true character of God, He allowed the events of chastening only after His warnings and appeals went unheeded. For His spokesman, He used Isaiah, a man we know little about but who was a sharp tool in God's hand. Let's continue to LISTEN and HEAR for ourselves.......
ISAIAH- Part 2: When We Ignore the Warnings
Day 1- Whenever we're going down a wrong path, God gives us plenty of warnings in numerous ways. Listen to those He spoke to His rebellious "chosen people".
Isaiah 1: 16-17 / Isaiah 2:5/ Isaiah 31:6-7 /Isaiah 55:1-3, 6-7 /Isaiah 58: 6-10, 13-14
Day 2- Our response to God's warnings then determine our need for discipline or chastening. How did the Israelites respond?
Isaiah 30: 9-11; 15-16
Day 3- If we think that God is just waiting to pounce on us with judgement, then we do not know Him well. What is God's deep heart attitude towards all His children?
Isaiah 30:18 / Isaiah 1: 18/ Matthew 23:37
Day 4- If we respond to God's warnings and turn to Him from our wrong ways, He will respond as a loving Father does. What did He want to do for His people?
Isaiah 1:19 / Isaiah 46:12-13 / Isaiah 55:7 / Matthew 7:11
Day 5- Continual rejection by the people and even despite toward God's extended arm of love left God with no choice but to carry through with His judgements.
Day 6- It was to this desperate time and situation that Isaiah was commissioned to prophecy even in the midst of judgment! (Even in judgment God could not stop caring for His people!)
Isaiah 6: 1-13
In the years ahead God would use Israel's enemies to discipline His people that would span decades. The destruction of their land and exile of the Israelites brought them into a darkness unknown to them until they could catch that glimpse of light that only God can give.
Day 7- At this time in history how do Israel's enemies think?
Isaiah 10: 7-11, 13-14 / Isaiah 36:1-22 / Isaiah 47: 7-8,10,12-13
Day 8- Not only would judgment come from their enemies, but also from within, for the divided house of the Israelites would wage war against each other. (Ephraim =Israel that would go against Judah).
Day 9- How does Isaiah describe Israel at this time?
Isaiah 8: 21-22 / Isaiah 9:13-21
Day 10- Although we speak of a whole nation, it is the same for us as individuals. Living in sin always blocks the light and leads to only one end.
Isaiah 59:1-15 / Romans 6:23a
Day 11- It is God's desire to save us from death---especially spiritual death. For spiritual death results in an eternity of hell.
Isaiah 25:7-8 / Romans 2:4 / I Corinthians 11:32 / 2 Peter 3:9
Day 12- This is the goal of all discipline and chastening. Though it is hard at the moment, we must endure it so our lives will not be ruined for eternity.
Proverbs 3:11-12 / Hebrews 12: 5-11
Day 13- Chastening and discipline are God's tools to open our blind eyes and bring us to true repentance no matter what our age.
Revelations 3: 19
With the promise of judgment came the hope of restoration. A true Father loves his child and longs to bring his suffering to an end. He wants to replace the chastening with comfort and forgiveness.
Day 14- Do you know that the Lord is just waiting to be kind to us? When He hears us cry out to Him then He will be swift to answer and guide us through our situation.
Isaiah 30: 18-21
THE LIGHT AND CORNERSTONE
Day 15- What did God need to do to bring the people back to Himself?
Isaiah 9:2 / Isaiah 28: 16
This light and cornerstone that Isaiah speaks of was to be God's remedy for the Israelites sins AND for the sins of the whole world! Isaiah is perhaps most famous for his prophecies concerning God's only begotten Son Jesus coming to this earth as a man on our behalf.
Day 16- How was Jesus to come?
Day 17- Notice that for some, Jesus becomes a sanctuary -- a place of salvation and rest. Yet for others Jesus is a stumbling block and offense. Isaiah predicted this hundreds of years before He came and this has been true up through today!
Isaiah 8: 13-15 / Isaiah 53:1-3 / I Corinthians 1:23-24 / I Peter 2:4-8
Day 18- What roles would Jesus take while on earth?
Isaiah 9:6-7 / Isaiah 42:6-9 / Isaiah 49:5-6
Day 19- How does Isaiah describe Jesus's character?
Isaiah 11:1-5, 10 / Isaiah 42:1-4
Day 20- How did God want to comfort His chastened people through Jesus?
Isaiah 40: 1-5, 9-11
Day 21- For His people to be comforted, God had to suffer through His Son's suffering. How would Jesus handle these ordeals?
Isaiah 50:5-9 / Isaiah 53: 7-9
Day 22- The effects of the Lord's suffering were to reach from the most common of men to kings.
Isaiah 52:13-15 / Isaiah 53:4-6 / Isaiah 60: 1-3
Day 23- Our Father made His Son Jesus an offering for our sins so that we could have a relationship with God again. This one righteous act on our behalf would allow any man or woman until the end of the ages to walk out of their personal darkness and into the light of God.
Isaiah 53: 10-12 / 2 Peter 1:19 / 2 Corinthians 3:17-18
Day 24- The work of salvation is God's alone, but we as the recipients to that salvation, have some things to do. In this passage pick out the verbs that tell us what to do.
Isaiah 55: 1-9
Even during the long time of discipline, God anticipated for his children a new life with Himself in a rebuilt Jerusalem. And so throughout the time of exile Isaiah offered the hope and comfort of a loving Father that encouraged the people through to the end of their ordeal.
Day 25- What does Isaiah prophecy for the future of Judah and Jerusalem?
Isaiah 2: 2-4 / Isaiah 25:6-9 / Isaiah 35: 1-2 / Isaiah 60: 1-22
Day 26- How will the atmosphere between all living things have changed?
Isaiah 11: 6-9, 13 / Isaiah 65: 17-25
Day 27- How will the people have changed toward God ?
Isaiah 29: 22-24
Day 28- How will God use Israel's enemies to reestablish them?
Isaiah 60:10-14/ Isaiah 61:5-6
Are you going through a time of chastening and discipline that has brought you long, dark days -- even years? It is for you that Isaiah's message of comfort and hope belongs as well as to the Israelites. However hopeless and dark your circumstances may seem God is able to use them to make your life a glory to Him.
Day 29- What will be the outcome of your discipline if you look to God through it?
Job 23:10/ Psalm 66:10 / Isaiah 48:10 / John 15:2 / I Peter 1:7
Day 30- What does God promise you as you walk through your difficulties?
Isaiah 43: 1-2
Day 31- As we look to Jesus for our salvation and restoration what can we know for certain?
Isaiah 43: 25/ Isaiah 44:22 / I John 1:9
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