February 14, 2011

WHO'S GOT YOUR BACK?

Isaiah 31

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Woe to Those Who Go Down to Egypt

  Woe1 to those who go down to Egypt for help
    and rely on horses,
  who trust in chariots because they are many
    and in horsemen because they are very strong,
  but do not look to the Holy One of Israel
    or consult the LORD!
  And yet he is wise and brings disaster;
    he does not call back his words,
  but will arise against the house of the evildoers
    and against the helpers of those who work iniquity.
  The Egyptians are man, and not God,
    and their horses are flesh, and not spirit.
  When the LORD stretches out his hand,
    the helper will stumble, and he who is helped will fall,
    and they will all perish together.
  For thus the LORD said to me,
  “As a lion or a young lion growls over his prey,
    and when a band of shepherds is called out against him
  he is not terrified by their shouting
    or daunted at their noise,
  so the LORD of hosts will come down
    to fight2 on Mount Zion and on its hill.
  Like birds hovering, so the LORD of hosts
    will protect Jerusalem;
  he will protect and deliver it;
    he will spare and rescue it.”

Turn to him from whom people3 have deeply revolted, O children of Israel. For in that day everyone shall cast away his idols of silver and his idols of gold, which your hands have sinfully made for you.

  “And the Assyrian shall fall by a sword, not of man;
    and a sword, not of man, shall devour him;
  and he shall flee from the sword,
    and his young men shall be put to forced labor.
  His rock shall pass away in terror,
    and his officers desert the standard in panic,”
  declares the LORD, whose fire is in Zion,
    and whose furnace is in Jerusalem.

Footnotes

[1] 31:1 Or Ah,
[2] 31:4 The Hebrew words for hosts and to fight sound alike
[3] 31:6 Hebrew they

WHO'S GOT YOUR BACK?



Key Verse | Isaiah 31:1

Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help
And rely on horses,
And trust in chariots because they are many
And in horsemen because they are very strong,
But they do not look to the Holy One of Israel, nor seek the LORD! (Isaiah 31:1)

Bio | Kevin McConaghy

Howdy! My name is Kevin McConaghy, and if I seem to act a bit odd to you, don’t be concerned. It's only because I am an alien. You know, a stranger from another world (1 Peter 2:11). Don’t worry; I come in peace. I’m only here for a short while—maybe 100 of your “earth years”—before I go to my home, where everyone lives forever. It really is paradise, and my Father is in charge, which is pretty cool. You’re welcome to join us. Admission is free, and my Father would give anything to have you there.

Central Truth

Our help, hope, and trust should be in the Lord, and not in things of men.

Devotional | Isaiah 31

Silly Israelites.

Even after all the times God showed His power and all the evidence in their history—rescuing them from slavery in Egypt, giving them a land in which to live and prosper, defeating their larger and...

Silly Israelites.

Even after all the times God showed His power and all the evidence in their history—rescuing them from slavery in Egypt, giving them a land in which to live and prosper, defeating their larger and more powerful enemies—they still looked elsewhere for help. They called upon their silver and gold idols and turned to the superpower nation Egypt—Egypt!—as a military insurance policy. As if silver or gold would protect them from enemies. As if the mighty Egyptian military had proven itself to be anything more than fish food when pitted against the one Lord of all. As if any effort of man or anything of this earth could be any more than noise against the One who created it all by simply saying, “Let there be.”

Silly Israelites.

At least we do nothing like that today.

Oh, wait—except we do. We do exactly that. Or even worse. Our idols are made not of silver and gold, but of mere paper with portraits of dead presidents printed on it. Our nation may not turn to Egypt for help, but that is only because we are the superpower. And we trust in that earthly power, ordering our lives around the systems and security it provides. We spend most of our time collecting those pieces of paper, storing them up, and diversifying our portfolios to reduce risk. We build homes on earth, with security systems to protect them, and purchase “life insurance” that actually does nothing of the sort.

Our peace of mind, or lack of it, is too often based on the condition of things—our houses and horses and chariots and flesh—even though those things are guaranteed eventually to decay, fall apart, or fail. Even though the only One with the power to steady the earth, part the waters, and stop the storms has promised to supply us with everything we really need in this life. Even though He freely offers us eternal mansions that will never fall, new bodies that will never fail, and life that will never end. And we willingly trade that for the temporary?

Silly us.

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Discussion Questions

1. Whom or what are you trusting in?

2. If the world were to end today (and it might), what would be your initial reaction? Disappointment? Relief? Happiness? Fear?

3. What does that answer say about your life and about where you place your hope?

WEEKLY FAMILY ACTIVITY

ISAIAH 31-35 (FEB 14-18)

Read Isaiah 35.

Here, Isaiah is prophesying (telling what it will be like in the future) about what it will be like when Jesus comes back. Talk about all the things that are listed in Isaiah 35 that will change when He comes back (e.g., the deaf will hear, the desert will blossom).

Who will walk in the “Way of Holiness”? What does it mean to “walk in God’s way”? Have you trusted Jesus with your life, accepting Him as your Savior so that you can walk in God’s way?

Activity: Each person take a piece of paper and make a picture about the things that you are excited about “going away” when Jesus returns. Get creative!

(Do you have the song “You Hold Me Now” by Hillsong? Think about buying it if you use iTunes and do not already have it. This is a great song that talks about what it will be like when we get to see God and the hope that we can have because we know that Jesus is coming back.)

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