“Listening to God” Bible Reading & Devotion: Mar 3, 2021 – Isaiah 029

 

Read chapter in full: biblegateway.com/passage/?version=ESV&search=Isaiah+029

 

Chapter 29 (ESV)

13 And the Lord said:
“Because this people draw near with their mouth
and honor me with their lips,
while their hearts are far from me,
and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men,
14 therefore, behold, I will again
do wonderful things with this people,
with wonder upon wonder;
and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish,
and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden.”

15 Ah, you who hide deep from the Lord your counsel,
whose deeds are in the dark,
and who say, “Who sees us? Who knows us?”
16 You turn things upside down!
Shall the potter be regarded as the clay,
that the thing made should say of its maker,
“He did not make me”;
or the thing formed say of him who formed it,
“He has no understanding”?

 

REFLECTION:

  1. The words in verse 13 are power. Each of us has sat in church with our mind far from God or prayed a familiar prayer with our lips and not our heart.  Familiarity is important, but it can also lead to boredom or, worse, contempt.
  2. Worship means to pay honour to God or to show great love and devotion. Has your worship routine grown stagnant?  How can you refresh it and make it meaningful and truthful? You may begin by praying that each time you worship, you would experience and know God in a new way.

 

PRAYER:

Stay with God for a little longer.  Continue to converse with God and listen to what He wants to tell you.  Then write down any thought and/or prayer in your spiritual journal.

 

HYMN:

Heart Of Worship- youtu.be/aXcaHf3I2_Y

“Listening to God” Bible Reading & Devotion: Mar 2, 2021 – Isaiah 028

 

Read chapter in full: biblegateway.com/passage/?version=ESV&search=Isaiah+028

 

Chapter 28 (ESV)

In that day the Lord of hosts will be a crown of glory,
and a diadem of beauty, to the remnant of his people,
and a spirit of justice to him who sits in judgment,
and strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate.

These also reel with wine
and stagger with strong drink;
the priest and the prophet reel with strong drink,
they are swallowed by wine,
they stagger with strong drink,
they reel in vision,
they stumble in giving judgment.
For all tables are full of filthy vomit,
with no space left.

“To whom will he teach knowledge,
and to whom will he explain the message?
Those who are weaned from the milk,
those taken from the breast?
10 For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept,
line upon line, line upon line,
here a little, there a little.”

11 For by people of strange lips
and with a foreign tongue
the Lord will speak to this people,
12  to whom he has said,
“This is rest;
give rest to the weary;
and this is repose”;
yet they would not hear.
13 And the word of the Lord will be to them
precept upon precept, precept upon precept,
line upon line, line upon line,
here a little, there a little,
that they may go, and fall backward,
and be broken, and snared, and taken.

 

REFLECTION:

  1. The priests and the false prophets in Judah were so drunk that they vomited all over the tables. Isaiah chose repeated words to mimic the staggering and stumbling of the drunkards: “do and do, do and do, rule on rule, rule on rule”.
  2. Yet these drunken leaders mocked Isaiah for the simplicity and repetition with which he presented the Lord's messages. So, God determined that the Assyrians would speak in a language God’s people could not mistake – the language of sword, fire, devastation and misery.
  3. If we do not listen to God’s quiet, loving voice, he remains capable of grabbing us by the shoulders and shaking us until we pay attention!
  4. What have you listened to God’s voice lately? And how did you respond?

 

PRAYER:

Stay with God for a little longer.  Continue to converse with God and listen to what He wants to tell you.  Then write down any thought and/or prayer in your spiritual journal.

 

HYMN:

Speak O Lord - youtu.be/ubRlJj8xkds

“Listening to God” Bible Reading & Devotion: Mar 1, 2021 – Isaiah 027

 

Read chapter in full: biblegateway.com/passage/?version=ESV&search=Isaiah+027

 

Chapter 27 (ESV)

1 In that day the Lord with his hard and great and strong sword will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the twisting serpent, and he will slay the dragon that is in the sea.

In that day,
“A pleasant vineyard, sing of it!
    I, the Lord, am its keeper;
every moment I water it.
Lest anyone punish it,
I keep it night and day;
    I have no wrath.
Would that I had thorns and briers to battle!
I would march against them,
I would burn them up together.
Or let them lay hold of my protection,
let them make peace with me,
let them make peace with me.”

 

REFLECTION:

  1. Read the passage slowly and with imagination. Picture everything vividly, as if you were a child reading a story with beautiful, lifelike illustrations.
  2. What do you notice about the way God interacts with “Leviathan the serpent”? With “the vine”?  What is he like?  Now put yourself in the scene.  What part do you play?  How do you feel?
  3. Picture God turning to you and inviting you to talk with him about what you are feeling and thinking. Does he ever seem angry to you, or uncaring?  What’s it like for you to hear him say otherwise?  Share with him your thoughts and feelings and allow the conversation to unfold.

PRAYER:

Stay with God for a little longer.  Continue to converse with God and listen to what He wants to tell you.  Then write down any thought and/or prayer in your spiritual journal.

 

HYMN:

Who Am I - youtu.be/3rT8Re1EIQc

“Listening to God” Bible Reading & Devotion: Feb 26, 2021 – Isaiah 026

<a class="autohyperlink" href="/get-260-tracker/?book=Isaiah&chapter=CH026"><img src="/images/260en.png" /></a>

 

 

Read chapter in full: biblegateway.com/passage/?version=ESV&search=Isaiah+026

 

Chapter 26 (ESV)

16 O Lord, in distress they sought you;
they poured out a whispered prayer
when your discipline was upon them.
17 Like a pregnant woman
who writhes and cries out in her pangs
when she is near to giving birth,
so were we because of you, O Lord;
18  we were pregnant, we writhed,
but we have given birth to wind.
We have accomplished no deliverance in the earth,
and the inhabitants of the world have not fallen.
19 Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise.
You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy!
For your dew is a dew of light,
and the earth will give birth to the dead.

 

REFLECTION:

  1. Read slowly this short passage a few times.
  2. The prayer described in these verses is one of pain, the desperate prayer of last resort offered when things have gotten so bad God is the only one left to turn to.
  3. Were there times in your life when you found yourself offering this prayer?
  4. Reflect on the role of God in your life’s sufferings. Converse with God and listen to his response.

 

PRAYER:

Stay with God for a little longer.  Continue to converse with God and listen to what He wants to tell you.  Then write down any thought and/or prayer in your spiritual journal.

 

HYMN:

When I Cry - youtu.be/m153dXFIHV4

“Listening to God” Bible Reading & Devotion: Feb 25, 2021 – Isaiah 025

 

Read chapter in full: biblegateway.com/passage/?version=ESV&search=Isaiah+025

 

Chapter 25 (ESV)

1 O Lord, you are my God;
I will exalt you; I will praise your name,
for you have done wonderful things,
plans formed of old, faithful and sure.
For you have made the city a heap,
the fortified city a ruin;
the foreigners' palace is a city no more;
it will never be rebuilt.
Therefore strong peoples will glorify you;
cities of ruthless nations will fear you.
For you have been a stronghold to the poor,
a stronghold to the needy in his distress,
a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat;
for the breath of the ruthless is like a storm against a wall,
 like heat in a dry place.
You subdue the noise of the foreigners;
as heat by the shade of a cloud,
so the song of the ruthless is put down.

On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples
a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine,
of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.
And he will swallow up on this mountain
the covering that is cast over all peoples,
the veil that is spread over all nations.
 He will swallow up death forever;
and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces,
and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth,
for the Lord has spoken.
It will be said on that day,
“Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us.
This is the Lord; we have waited for him;
let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”
10 For the hand of the Lord will rest on this mountain,
and Moab shall be trampled down in his place,
as straw is trampled down in a dunghill.
11 And he will spread out his hands in the midst of it
as a swimmer spreads his hands out to swim,
but the Lord will lay low his pompous pride together with the skill of his hands.
12 And the high fortifications of his walls he will bring down,
lay low, and cast to the ground, to the dust.

 

REFLECTION:

  1. This simple song expresses the hope of oppressed, exploited and downtrodden people. Here we read of Israel's joy at the downfall of God's enemies, the end of death itself and God's final victory.
  2. Recall an experience you have had in driving rain, a snowstorm or some other tough situations in which you knew that God was present with you.
  3. Pray or write your own song of praise to God for the "wonderful things" he has planned (v. 1) for your life.

 

PRAYER:

Stay with God for a little longer.  Continue to converse with God and listen to what He wants to tell you.  Then write down any thought and/or prayer in your spiritual journal.

 

HYMN:

Still - youtu.be/z3wwWFsSlNQ

“Listening to God” Bible Reading & Devotion: Feb 24, 2021 – Isaiah 024

 

Read chapter in full: biblegateway.com/passage/?version=ESV&search=Isaiah+024

 

Chapter 24 (ESV)

The earth mourns and withers;
the world languishes and withers;
the highest people of the earth languish.
The earth lies defiled
under its inhabitants;
for they have transgressed the laws,
violated the statutes,
broken the everlasting covenant.
Therefore a curse devours the earth,
and its inhabitants suffer for their guilt;
therefore the inhabitants of the earth are scorched,
and few men are left.
The wine mourns,
the vine languishes,
all the merry-hearted sigh.
The mirth of the tambourines is stilled,
the noise of the jubilant has ceased,
the mirth of the lyre is stilled.
No more do they drink wine with singing;
strong drink is bitter to those who drink it.
10 The wasted city is broken down;
every house is shut up so that none can enter.
11 There is an outcry in the streets for lack of wine;
all joy has grown dark;
the gladness of the earth is banished.
12 Desolation is left in the city;
the gates are battered into ruins.
13 For thus it shall be in the midst of the earth
among the nations,
as when an olive tree is beaten,
as at the gleaning when the grape harvest is done.

 

REFLECTION:

  1. Isaiah announced that the whole world will be punished. No class of people will escape, for earth’s inhabitants have “broken the everlasting covenant”.  These verses presuppose a close connection between the earth itself, the land and its inhabitants.
  2. What problems or crises are we facing on the physical world today?
  3. As a Christian, a child of God, what do you believe is your responsibility to the earth? Ask God to teach you about your responsibility in caring for his creation.  In your cell group, bring this up and see if you can decide on one specific way to encourage one another to do in caring for the earth.

 

PRAYER:

Stay with God for a little longer.  Continue to converse with God and listen to what He wants to tell you.  Then write down any thought and/or prayer in your spiritual journal.

 

HYMN:

Steward Of His Creation - youtu.be/Os7X0N2iOHU

“Listening to God” Bible Reading & Devotion: Feb 23, 2021 – Isaiah 023

 

Read chapter in full: biblegateway.com/passage/?version=ESV&search=Isaiah+023

 

Chapter 23 (ESV)

1 The oracle concerning Tyre.

Wail, O ships of Tarshish,
for Tyre is laid waste, without house or harbor!
From the land of Cyprus
it is revealed to them.
Be still, O inhabitants of the coast;
the merchants of Sidon, who cross the sea, have filled you.
And on many waters
your revenue was the grain of Shihor,
the harvest of the Nile;
you were the merchant of the nations.
Be ashamed, O Sidon, for the sea has spoken,
the stronghold of the sea, saying:
“I have neither labored nor given birth,
I have neither reared young men
nor brought up young women.”
When the report comes to Egypt,
they will be in anguish over the report about Tyre.
Cross over to Tarshish;
wail, O inhabitants of the coast!
Is this your exultant city
whose origin is from days of old,
whose feet carried her
to settle far away?
Who has purposed this
against Tyre, the bestower of crowns,
whose merchants were princes,
whose traders were the honored of the earth?
The Lord of hosts has purposed it,
to defile the pompous pride of all glory,
to dishonor all the honored of the earth.

 

REFLECTION:

  1. Chapters 13-23 reflect upon the foolishness of Judah depending upon alliances with the other nations rather than upon God to protect her from Assyria.
  2. What do you see as one implication of that loyalty principle for your life today? To what or to whom have you looked to fill that God-shaped void of insecurity in your life?

 

PRAYER:

Stay with God for a little longer.  Continue to converse with God and listen to what He wants to tell you.  Then write down any thought and/or prayer in your spiritual journal.

 

HYMN:

Spirit Of God - youtu.be/fC6jl9WFIOA

“Listening to God” Bible Reading & Devotion: Feb 22, 2021 – Isaiah 022

 

Read chapter in full: biblegateway.com/passage/?version=ESV&search=Isaiah+022

 

Chapter 22 (ESV)

He has taken away the covering of Judah.

In that day you looked to the weapons of the House of the Forest, and you saw that the breaches of the city of David were many. You collected the waters of the lower pool, 10 and you counted the houses of Jerusalem, and you broke down the houses to fortify the wall. 11 You made a reservoir between the two walls for the water of the old pool. But you did not look to him who did it, or see him who planned it long ago.

12 In that day the Lord God of hosts
called for weeping and mourning,
for baldness and wearing sackcloth;
13 and behold, joy and gladness,
killing oxen and slaughtering sheep,
eating flesh and drinking wine.
“Let us eat and drink,
for tomorrow we die.”

 

REFLECTION:

  1. Judah may have heard Isaiah’s warning that they made physical implements of warfare (vv8b-11). The people may have tried many forms of defense, but they did not depend on the Lord.  They even held “eat-drink-and-be-merry” attitude (v12-13) which would result in judgment and punishment from God.
  2. Isaiah was saddened by the frivolity of the people in Jerusalem. The people acted as if they did not need to repent and live according to God’s laws.
  3. Sometimes we feel sad when we see people doing things they should not. What should our response be?  What does God want us to do?
  4. Was there a time when you felt like crying even though everyone around you was partying? What was it and how did you respond?

 

PRAYER:

Stay with God for a little longer.  Continue to converse with God and listen to what He wants to tell you.  Then write down any thought and/or prayer in your spiritual journal.

 

HYMN:

Find Us faithful - youtu.be/MKT5BCmvmq0

“Listening to God” Bible Reading & Devotion: Feb 19, 2021 – Isaiah 021

 

Read chapter in full: biblegateway.com/passage/?version=ESV&search=Isaiah+021

 

Chapter 21 (ESV)

1 The oracle concerning the wilderness of the sea.

As whirlwinds in the Negeb sweep on,
it comes from the wilderness,
from a terrible land.
A stern vision is told to me;
the traitor betrays,
and the destroyer destroys.
Go up, O Elam;
lay siege, O Media;
all the sighing she has caused
I bring to an end.
Therefore my loins are filled with anguish;
pangs have seized me,
like the pangs of a woman in labor;
I am bowed down so that I cannot hear;
I am dismayed so that I cannot see.
My heart staggers; horror has appalled me;
the twilight I longed for
has been turned for me into trembling.
They prepare the table,
they spread the rugs,
they eat, they drink.
Arise, O princes;
oil the shield!
For thus the Lord said to me:
“Go, set a watchman;
let him announce what he sees.
When he sees riders, horsemen in pairs,
riders on donkeys, riders on camels,
let him listen diligently,
very diligently.”
Then he who saw cried out:
“Upon a watchtower I stand, O Lord,
continually by day,
and at my post I am stationed
whole nights.
And behold, here come riders,
horsemen in pairs!”
And he answered,
“Fallen, fallen is Babylon;
and all the carved images of her gods
he has shattered to the ground.”
10 O my threshed and winnowed one,
what I have heard from the Lord of hosts,
the God of Israel, I announce to you.

 

REFLECTION:

  1. This is a message of the destruction of Babylon. Prophet Isaiah saw the devastation of Babylon in a vision and was gripped with grief and pang.  Meanwhile, the Babylonians wined and dined, the destruction came upon them unexpectedly.   “My people who are crushed on the threshing floor”, this was referred to the Judeans who though having been under oppression from many fronts, still tried to plot schemes in allying with Babylon against Assyrians.  In fact, Babylon was doomed as well.
  2. What is your “Babylon” – the arrangement to shelter you from the uncertainties of life? If you know that all your planning, and arrangements are temporal security that will be swept away, how do you feel?  What can you do to fill the insecurity that only God can fulfill?

 

PRAYER:

Stay with God for a little longer.  Continue to converse with God and listen to what He wants to tell you.  Then write down any thought and/or prayer in your spiritual journal.

 

HYMN:

I will Trust My Saviour Jesus - youtu.be/E5S4OPzdM-g

“Listening to God” Bible Reading & Devotion: Feb 18, 2021 – Isaiah 020

 

Read chapter in full: biblegateway.com/passage/?version=ESV&search=Isaiah+020

 

Chapter 20 (ESV)

1 In the year that the commander in chief, who was sent by Sargon the king of Assyria, came to Ashdod and fought against it and captured it— at that time the Lord spoke by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, “Go, and loose the sackcloth from your waist and take off your sandals from your feet,” and he did so, walking naked and barefoot.

Then the Lord said, “As my servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot for three years as a sign and a portent against Egypt and Cush, so shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptian captives and the Cushite exiles, both the young and the old, naked and barefoot, with buttocks uncovered, the nakedness of Egypt. Then they shall be dismayed and ashamed because of Cush their hope and of Egypt their boast. And the inhabitants of this coastland will say in that day, ‘Behold, this is what has happened to those in whom we hoped and to whom we fled for help to be delivered from the king of Assyria! And we, how shall we escape?’”

REFLECTION:

  1. Isaiah must have felt something of a fool in the eighth century BC, when he was told by God to wander the streets of Jerusalem stripped (to a loincloth) and barefoot for some three years. This relative of the royal family exposed himself to shame at God’s command, to serve as an object lesson.  Soon the sovereign God would execute judgment against Egypt and Cush (Ethiopia), and their people would suffer Isaiah’s fate.
  2. God is unlikely to ask you or me to walk about in diapers or drag a cross. But there will be times when we feel a little embarrassed or foolish at the thought of doing something we feel convicted is God’s will.
  3. At such times, what will be your response? Will you treasure your reputation, your image and acceptance of others more than pleasing God and following God’s will?

 

PRAYER:

Stay with God for a little longer.  Continue to converse with God and listen to what He wants to tell you.  Then write down any thought and/or prayer in your spiritual journal.

 

HYMN:

Yet Not I But Through Christ In Me - youtu.be/zundjUFazfg