Last week I wrote a bible study on oppression and based it off of Isaiah 58:9-12. The persecution I wrote about came from outside the faith. Think ISIS. I thought it was ready until I slept on the idea. When I woke up realized that the direction I took the bible study was a place I never wanted to go - to my own thoughts instead of simply pointing to what God says. You see, Isaiah isn't talking about oppression from outside the faith but within it.
I was on a mission to redo the bible study that morning! But if I did that, the kids and house would have been neglected. Wrong choice.
What I love about writing for Holy Hen House is that our priorities of faith and family come before HHH. If we are neglecting our roles at home to write for the blog - we are missing our own mission!
Thank you for your patience and understanding this week. I've missed being in the Word with you!
Isaiah is talking to Jews who knew God's law in-and-out but they weren't keeping it. Hypocrites. They said they believed in the Holy One of Israel but their actions didn't match up. Now, before we start thinking how awful they were we should first stop to look at ourselves. We are hypocrites too.
If you do away with the yoke of oppression,with the pointing finger and malicious talk, And if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungryand satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness,and your night will become like the noonday.Isaiah 58:9b-10
Conflict happens in churches and families. Expect it. As believers we still sin, but how we handle (or don't handle!) conflict says a lot.
Have you been hurt by another Christian before? seen corruption in church politics? been wrongly blamed?
Have you talked about others in secret? torn down someone's reputation? spread rumors?
When there is competition, clashing, rivalry... let's talk face to face. Let's put the best construction on things first instead of assuming the worst. Let's change the conversation when others are tearing another down. Let's point the fingers at ourselves to be a solution to a problem instead of at others for their failures. Let's pray together. In prayer we are humbled and remember that we are equally fallen and equally saved by God. It is a lot harder to be mad at someone after praying for them.
Have we ignored the needs of others? Jesus equates Himself with the poor and needy. Matthew 25:35-40
As disciples of Christ, others should notice that we are different from the world. Isaiah says that our light will rise in the darkness and so does Jesus in Matthew 5:14-16.
The Lord will guide you always;he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched landand will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden,like a spring whose waters never fail.Your people will rebuild the ancient ruinsand will raise up the age-old foundations;you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,Restorer of Streets with Dwellings. Isaiah 58:11-12
When we are hurt by believers or disappointed in our leaders (they can't be perfect!) we can set our hearts and focus our attitudes on Jesus. He is our leader. He is our guide. He is our example. He is our nourishment.
...whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life. John 4:14
Jesus is our conflict resolution. Only with Jesus can we repair. Only with Jesus can we restore brokenness.
If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbathand from doing as you please on my holy day,if you call the Sabbath a delightand the Lord’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words... Isaiah 58:13
Oh, the day of rest. The Sabbath. What an essential and refreshing command from our God! It is there to satisfy us. I can't even tell you the last time I didn't keep my feet from breaking the Sabbath. You know what happens when I don't rest? I am irritable. I am quick to speak and to get angry. I resent the work that keeps me from resting. I fuel my energy with food, pressure of opinions, guilt and not by God's Word! Sounds like a road to burn out.
Can we call the Sabbath a delight? Oh, absolutely! Psalm 1:1-3
then you will find your joy in the Lord, and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the landand to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.”For the mouth of the Lord has spoken. Isaiah 58:14
Wait. Did you read that? FEAST? I thought we were talking about fasting?
Through faith in Jesus we have the inheritance of eternal life and feast in heaven.
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:13-14
When our faith is based on knowledge, we live for ourselves and are puffed up with pride. Fake Fasting. When our faith is based on the gospel, we live for others and are filled with the Spirit. True Fasting.
We are filled with Jesus - the living water. We are satisfied. ____
I am grateful that you are joining me during this season of Lent in God's Word.
Click here to print off this weeks bible study!
If you want to be a part of the bible study I highly recommend being a part of the Facebook group where we get to know you more and be mutually encouraged in God's Word throughout the week! The Facebook group is private so any information that you share will be seen only by those allowed in the group.
Click here to join our private online bible study Facebook page and the chatter!