February 16, 2011

HE WANTS TO BE MORE THAN JUST OUR FIREFIGHTER

Isaiah 33

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O Lord, Be Gracious to Us

  Ah, you destroyer,
    who yourself have not been destroyed,
  you traitor,
    whom none has betrayed!
  When you have ceased to destroy,
    you will be destroyed;
  and when you have finished betraying,
    they will betray you.
  O LORD, be gracious to us; we wait for you.
    Be our arm every morning,
    our salvation in the time of trouble.
  At the tumultuous noise peoples flee;
    when you lift yourself up, nations are scattered,
  and your spoil is gathered as the caterpillar gathers;
    as locusts leap, it is leapt upon.
  The LORD is exalted, for he dwells on high;
    he will fill Zion with justice and righteousness,
  and he will be the stability of your times,
    abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge;
    the fear of the LORD is Zion's1 treasure.
  Behold, their heroes cry in the streets;
    the envoys of peace weep bitterly.
  The highways lie waste;
    the traveler ceases.
  Covenants are broken;
    cities2 are despised;
    there is no regard for man.
  The land mourns and languishes;
    Lebanon is confounded and withers away;
  Sharon is like a desert,
    and Bashan and Carmel shake off their leaves.
10   “Now I will arise,” says the LORD,
    “now I will lift myself up;
    now I will be exalted.
11   You conceive chaff; you give birth to stubble;
    your breath is a fire that will consume you.
12   And the peoples will be as if burned to lime,
    like thorns cut down, that are burned in the fire.”
13   Hear, you who are far off, what I have done;
    and you who are near, acknowledge my might.
14   The sinners in Zion are afraid;
    trembling has seized the godless:
  “Who among us can dwell with the consuming fire?
    Who among us can dwell with everlasting burnings?”
15   He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly,
    who despises the gain of oppressions,
  who shakes his hands, lest they hold a bribe,
    who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed
    and shuts his eyes from looking on evil,
16   he will dwell on the heights;
    his place of defense will be the fortresses of rocks;
    his bread will be given him; his water will be sure.
17   Your eyes will behold the king in his beauty;
    they will see a land that stretches afar.
18   Your heart will muse on the terror:
    “Where is he who counted, where is he who weighed the tribute?
    Where is he who counted the towers?”
19   You will see no more the insolent people,
    the people of an obscure speech that you cannot comprehend,
    stammering in a tongue that you cannot understand.
20   Behold Zion, the city of our appointed feasts!
    Your eyes will see Jerusalem,
    an untroubled habitation, an immovable tent,
  whose stakes will never be plucked up,
    nor will any of its cords be broken.
21   But there the LORD in majesty will be for us
    a place of broad rivers and streams,
  where no galley with oars can go,
    nor majestic ship can pass.
22   For the LORD is our judge; the LORD is our lawgiver;
    the LORD is our king; he will save us.
23   Your cords hang loose;
    they cannot hold the mast firm in its place
    or keep the sail spread out.
  Then prey and spoil in abundance will be divided;
    even the lame will take the prey.
24   And no inhabitant will say, “I am sick”;
    the people who dwell there will be forgiven their iniquity.

Footnotes

[1] 33:6 Hebrew his
[2] 33:8 Masoretic Text; Dead Sea Scroll witnesses

HE WANTS TO BE MORE THAN JUST OUR FIREFIGHTER



Key Verse | Isaiah 33:14

Sinners in Zion are terrified;
Trembling has seized the godless.
"Who among us can live with the consuming fire?
Who among us can live with continual burning?"
(Isaiah 33:14)

Central Truth

God will save us from our own destruction if we let Him, but He wants more than just to forgive our sins.

Devotional | Isaiah 33

"I am full of devotion to God, and I am running all-out towards Him."

I wish that statement were true of me even a fourth of the time. Unfortunately, it tends to be true only when I think my life is falling apart or...

"I am full of devotion to God, and I am running all-out towards Him."

I wish that statement were true of me even a fourth of the time. Unfortunately, it tends to be true only when I think my life is falling apart or when I'm in the dumps because of my sin. Occasionally, I get to the point of actual trembling: my arms shake, my mind races, and my stomach turns itself into knots that I think may never come undone. In a panic to avoid what I think is the "consuming fire" of coming judgment, I run to Him so that He may save me and lift me from this "continual burning." As I type this, I'm realizing how selfish I must seem to God in those moments.

God isn't there just to appease my conscience whenever I feel like the world is imploding on me, or just to get me out of trouble when life inevitably spins out of my control. He doesn't exist just to be my "get-out-of-jail-free card" or the operator on the other end of my 9-1-1 call.

I was looking at life as a white sheet of paper with my sins splotched in black ink randomly across the page. While obviously the ink (sin) is unsightly, and the Lord will forgive me if I ask Him (1 John 1:9), the focus of my life was on the ink and getting it all removed and cleaned up so that my paper would look nice for God and other people. But the greatest commandment is for me to focus on and to love the Lord (Matthew 22:36-37). As a result of full-hearted devotion, not only will He remove my ink spots, He will make the white of the paper so much more brilliantly and overpoweringly white.

While there absolutely is an appropriate time and place to deal with the sin I have, I try not to make it my focus. But rather, I keep my eyes on the Lord as He perfects my faith (Hebrews 12:2).

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Bio | Austin Walker

My name is Austin Walker, and I had the opportunity to work on Watermark's feature film, Seasons of Gray, as the 2nd Assistant Director. It was a bit more involved than mixing vinegar and baking soda to make "explosions" while playing with my parents' video camera as a kid.

I'm currently engaged to a wonderful young lady out of North Carolina named Emily, whom everyone should meet.

Last but not least, today is my mom's birthday! She should be reading this; so HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM! Her name is Debbie. Sing away if you see her!

Discussion Questions

1. Do you run to God instead of worldly things when you feel the "consuming fire" of judgment against your sin?

2. Is that the only time you run to God?

3. Do you have a community of friends who spur you on towards the Lord and the love and glory that awaits with Him?

4. How have you grown in your faith over the past six months?

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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