February 17, 2011

WHERE I WOULD BE WITHOUT MY SAVIOR

Isaiah 34

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Judgment on the Nations

  Draw near, O nations, to hear,
    and give attention, O peoples!
  Let the earth hear, and all that fills it;
    the world, and all that comes from it.
  For the LORD is enraged against all the nations,
    and furious against all their host;
    he has devoted them to destruction,1 has given them over for slaughter.
  Their slain shall be cast out,
    and the stench of their corpses shall rise;
    the mountains shall flow with their blood.
  All the host of heaven shall rot away,
    and the skies roll up like a scroll.
  All their host shall fall,
    as leaves fall from the vine,
    like leaves falling from the fig tree.
  For my sword has drunk its fill in the heavens;
    behold, it descends for judgment upon Edom,
    upon the people I have devoted to destruction.
  The LORD has a sword; it is sated with blood;
    it is gorged with fat,
    with the blood of lambs and goats,
    with the fat of the kidneys of rams.
  For the LORD has a sacrifice in Bozrah,
    a great slaughter in the land of Edom.
  Wild oxen shall fall with them,
    and young steers with the mighty bulls.
  Their land shall drink its fill of blood,
    and their soil shall be gorged with fat.
  For the LORD has a day of vengeance,
    a year of recompense for the cause of Zion.
  And the streams of Edom2 shall be turned into pitch,
    and her soil into sulfur;
    her land shall become burning pitch.
10   Night and day it shall not be quenched;
    its smoke shall go up forever.
  From generation to generation it shall lie waste;
    none shall pass through it forever and ever.
11   But the hawk and the porcupine3 shall possess it,
    the owl and the raven shall dwell in it.
  He shall stretch the line of confusion4 over it,
    and the plumb line of emptiness.
12   Its nobles—there is no one there to call it a kingdom,
    and all its princes shall be nothing.
13   Thorns shall grow over its strongholds,
    nettles and thistles in its fortresses.
  It shall be the haunt of jackals,
    an abode for ostriches.5
14   And wild animals shall meet with hyenas;
    the wild goat shall cry to his fellow;
  indeed, there the night bird6 settles
    and finds for herself a resting place.
15   There the owl nests and lays
    and hatches and gathers her young in her shadow;
  indeed, there the hawks are gathered,
    each one with her mate.
16   Seek and read from the book of the LORD:
    Not one of these shall be missing;
    none shall be without her mate.
  For the mouth of the LORD has commanded,
    and his Spirit has gathered them.
17   He has cast the lot for them;
    his hand has portioned it out to them with the line;
  they shall possess it forever;
    from generation to generation they shall dwell in it.

Footnotes

[1] 34:2 That is, set apart (devoted) as an offering to the Lord (for destruction); also verse 5
[2] 34:9 Hebrew her streams
[3] 34:11 The identity of the animals rendered hawk and porcupine is uncertain
[4] 34:11 Hebrew formlessness
[5] 34:13 Or owls
[6] 34:14 Identity uncertain

WHERE I WOULD BE WITHOUT MY SAVIOR



Key Verse | Isaiah 34:1

Draw near, O nations, to hear; and listen, O peoples!
Let the earth and all it contains hear, and the world and all that springs from it.
(Isaiah 34:1)

Central Truth

As sinners, we all are deserving of God's eternal judgment because He is holy and just. Thankfully, God is also love and offers us the gift of salvation and eternal life.

Devotional | Isaiah 34

In this chapter, entitled "Judgment Against the Nations" in my Bible, Isaiah warns all the peoples of the earth what will happen if they refuse to listen to God and to turn from their selfish ways. He will cut them...

In this chapter, entitled "Judgment Against the Nations" in my Bible, Isaiah warns all the peoples of the earth what will happen if they refuse to listen to God and to turn from their selfish ways. He will cut them down, turn productive land into deserts, and allow everything to be overrun by wild animals. When I think about God's judgment I often ask, "Come on, God, don't you think this is a bit harsh? Where is your loving mercy here?" It's in moments like this that God chooses to remind me that my view of myself is far too high and my view of Him is far too low.
A song by Patrick Ryan Clark called "Where Would I Be Without My Savior?" keeps running through my head. Part of the chorus declares, "Where would I be without His unending mercy? I have life because His life was laid down." God is absolutely perfect; so all my imperfections (sins) separate me from Him. God is absolutely just; so my sins must be dealt with and not simply ignored. But God is also absolutely loving; so He was willing to suffer and die in my place (and yours)! What we must do is to admit we need a Savior and accept His free gift of grace. No matter what your life looked like in the past, God's love and forgiveness can and will save you if you choose to believe.

Consider life without Christ and with Christ:

WITHOUT Christ, I am the nations that Isaiah is warning in these verses (Isaiah 34:2).
WITHOUT Christ, I am a lost soul deserving of judgment (Romans 3:23).

WITH Christ, I am a new creation, a child of God (2 Corinthians 5:17).
WITH Christ, I am forgiven and free (1 John 1:9).

Thank God I am "drowning in a sea of grace," because the alternative is separation from our loving God forever (Romans 6:23). I know my life would look very different apart from my Savior. Because of His unending mercy, I am spared the judgment I rightly deserve and offered a future filled with hope.

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Bio | Paula Veal

Almost two years ago, God blessed me with an amazing position on the Children's Ministry Team here at Watermark. I'm pretty sure they are the best group of people I have ever worked alongside or ever will.

I made the mistake of telling my team I competed in a Scottish Highland Games tournament a few years ago while working at Scarborough Renaissance Festival. The word got out, and now, every so often, someone will ask me if I've been throwing telephone poles lately. For the record, they're called "cabers"; and no, not recently.

Discussion Questions

1. Where are you today? Walking with Christ or wandering without Him?

2. Do you ever find yourself questioning why God does what He does? Do you think your view of God or yourself may be skewed during times like this?

3. If you are a follower of Christ, imagine where you would be right now without your Savior. Praise God for your salvation today!

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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