“Listening to God” Bible Reading & Devotion: Apr 14, 2021 – Isaiah 059

 

Read chapter in full: biblegateway.com/passage/?version=ESV&search=Isaiah+059

 

Chapter 59 (ESV)

 

Therefore justice is far from us,
and righteousness does not overtake us;
we hope for light, and behold, darkness,
and for brightness, but we walk in gloom.
10 We grope for the wall like the blind;
we grope like those who have no eyes;
we stumble at noon as in the twilight,
among those in full vigor we are like dead men.
11 We all growl like bears;
we moan and moan like doves;
we hope for justice, but there is none;
for salvation, but it is far from us.
12 For our transgressions are multiplied before you,
and our sins testify against us;
for our transgressions are with us,
and we know our iniquities:
13 transgressing, and denying the Lord,
and turning back from following our God,
speaking oppression and revolt,
conceiving and uttering from the heart lying words.

14 Justice is turned back,
and righteousness stands far away;
for truth has stumbled in the public squares,
and uprightness cannot enter.
15 Truth is lacking,
and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.

The Lord saw it, and it displeased him
that there was no justice.

 

 

REFLECTION:

  1. Silence – Read/Listen – Meditate – Pray – Contemplate
  2. As you read the passage aloud, replace “we” with “I”, and “our” with “my”. What might God be thinking as he hears you read this?
  3. What is the word or phrase that touches you today as you read and meditate on this passage? What is your emotion as you read this word or phrase?
  4. Now, make a list of sins – big and small – that you’ve committed in the past week. In prayer, go through your list item by item, admit to God that you should not have participated in such wrongdoing. Do this with a humble and repentant heart. Ask God to help you not to focus any longer on your sin, but to be free to focus and turn toward him.
  5. As you go through today, make a point to confess your sins to God. As you do this, be as specific as you can about your sins, acknowledging your desperation and futility in attempting to live apart from him.

 

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:

Lord, to You I Make Confession - youtu.be/UWKILhyFR6Y

“Listening to God” Bible Reading & Devotion: Apr 13, 2021 – Isaiah 058

 

Read chapter in full: biblegateway.com/passage/?version=ESV&search=Isaiah+058

 

Chapter 58 (ESV)

 

‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not?
Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’
Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure,
and oppress all your workers.
Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight
and to hit with a wicked fist.
Fasting like yours this day
will not make your voice to be heard on high.
Is such the fast that I choose,
a day for a person to humble himself?
Is it to bow down his head like a reed,
and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him?
Will you call this a fast,
and a day acceptable to the Lord?

“Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him,
and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you;
the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’
If you take away the yoke from your midst,
the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
10 if you pour yourself out for the hungry
and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in the darkness
and your gloom be as the noonday.

 

 

REFLECTION:

  1. Silence – Read/Listen – Meditate – Pray – Contemplate
  2. What is the word or phrase that touches you today as you read and meditate on this passage? What is your emotion as you read this word or phrase?
  3. Have you ever fasted? Why or why not? What benefits did you experience?
  4. Fasting or any one of the religious activities that we’re “supposed” to do, do us no good when we engage in it for the wrong reasons and with the wrong attitude. In which religious activities do you find yourself just going through the motions: attending church? Reading the Bible? Prayer? Communion service? Fasting? How are these activities affecting you now? What attitudes are needed for these activities to be “acceptable to the Lord”?

 

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:

Lord Renew My Heart - youtu.be/tboliH0c8xc

“Listening to God” Bible Reading & Devotion: Apr 12, 2021 – Isaiah 057

Read chapter in full: biblegateway.com/passage/?version=ESV&search=Isaiah+057

 

Chapter 57 (ESV)

 

14 And it shall be said,
“Build up, build up, prepare the way,
remove every obstruction from my people's way.”
15 For thus says the One who is high and lifted up,
who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
“I dwell in the high and holy place,
and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly,
and to revive the heart of the contrite.
16 For I will not contend forever,
nor will I always be angry;
for the spirit would grow faint before me,
and the breath of life that I made.
17 Because of the iniquity of his unjust gain I was angry,
I struck him; I hid my face and was angry,
but he went on backsliding in the way of his own heart.
18 I have seen his ways, but I will heal him;
I will lead him and restore comfort to him and his mourners,
19  creating the fruit of the lips.
Peace, peace, to the far and to the near,” says the Lord,
“and I will heal him.
20 But the wicked are like the tossing sea;
for it cannot be quiet,
and its waters toss up mire and dirt.
21 There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.”

 

 

REFLECTION:

  1. Silence – Read/Listen – Meditate – Pray – Contemplate
  2. What is the word or phrase that touches you today as you read and meditate on this passage? What is your emotion as you read this word or phrase?
  3. How do you feel of this God who is both far off and dwells on high, yet keeps company with the humble, the contrite, and the poor in spirit?
  4. Do you know someone who is sad and depressed? Decide a way that you can show God’s love to this special person and make plans to carry it out.

 

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:

The Love Of God - youtu.be/oWnvmKoLWUU

“Listening to God” Bible Reading & Devotion: Apr 9, 2021 – Isaiah 056

 

Read chapter in full: biblegateway.com/passage/?version=ESV&search=Isaiah+056

 

Chapter 56 (ESV)

 

1 Thus says the Lord:
“Keep justice, and do righteousness,
for soon my salvation will come,
and my righteousness be revealed.
Blessed is the man who does this,
and the son of man who holds it fast,
who keeps the Sabbath, not profaning it,
and keeps his hand from doing any evil.”

Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord say,
“The Lord will surely separate me from his people”;
and let not the eunuch say,
“Behold, I am a dry tree.”
For thus says the Lord:
“To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths,
who choose the things that please me
and hold fast my covenant,
I will give in my house and within my walls
a monument and a name
better than sons and daughters;
I will give them an everlasting name
that shall not be cut off.

“And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord,
to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord,
and to be his servants,
everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it,
and holds fast my covenant—
these I will bring to my holy mountain,
and make them joyful in my house of prayer;
their burnt offerings and their sacrifices
will be accepted on my altar;
for my house shall be called a house of prayer
for all peoples.”

 

 

REFLECTION:

  1. Silence – Read/Listen – Meditate – Pray – Contemplate
  2. What is the word or phrase that touches you today as you read and meditate on this passage? What is your emotion as you read this word or phrase? How is that related to your current situation? What does God tell you to do?
  3. In this passage, God is extending an inclusive policy to all people to enter into the temple if they keep Sabbath and keep God’s covenant (verses 4, 6). Have you ever felt an outsider or been excluded from joining some group? How does this passage apply to you today?
  4. “A house of prayer for all nations” (v7).
  5. Confession and repentance are proper attitudes for prayer, but so is joy, as this verse reminds us. Joy is also one of the fruits of the spirit (Gal 5:22). Try to begin or end with a praise song to help bring joy to your prayer/devotion time.

 

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:

How Can I Keep From Singing - youtu.be/vh_8rTBpvRU

“Listening to God” Bible Reading & Devotion: Apr 8, 2021 – Isaiah 055

 

Read chapter in full: biblegateway.com/passage/?version=ESV&search=Isaiah+055

 

Chapter 55 (ESV)

 

“Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

12 “For you shall go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
shall break forth into singing,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall make a name for the Lord,
an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”

 

 

REFLECTION:

  1. Silence – Read/Listen – Meditate – Pray – Contemplate
  2. What is the word or phrase that touches you today as you read and meditate on this passage? What is your emotion as you read this word or phrase?
  3. In light of verses 6-7, have you been seeking the Lord or hiding from him this week? Why? What is God speaking to you about this?
  4. Think of the most impressive range of mountains you have ever seen, the Rockies, or some other mountains. How would you feel as you realized that the mountains were singing for joy over what God has done in and for you (v12)? What does that imply about your importance to God?

 

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:

Draw Me Close - youtu.be/7d_oYr-P16M

“Listening to God” Bible Reading & Devotion: Apr 7, 2021 – Isaiah 054

 

Read chapter in full: biblegateway.com/passage/?version=ESV&search=Isaiah+054

 

Chapter 54 (ESV)

 

“Fear not, for you will not be ashamed;
be not confounded, for you will not be disgraced;
for you will forget the shame of your youth,
and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.
For your Maker is your husband,
the Lord of hosts is his name;
and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer,
the God of the whole earth he is called.
For the Lord has called you
like a wife deserted and grieved in spirit,
like a wife of youth when she is cast off,
says your God.
For a brief moment I deserted you,
but with great compassion I will gather you.
In overflowing anger for a moment
I hid my face from you,
but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,”
says the Lord, your Redeemer.

“This is like the days of Noah to me:
as I swore that the waters of Noah
should no more go over the earth,
so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you,
and will not rebuke you.
10 For the mountains may depart
and the hills be removed,
but my steadfast love shall not depart from you,
and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,”
says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

 

 

REFLECTION:

  1. Silence – Read/Listen – Meditate – Pray – Contemplate
  2. What is the word or phrase that touches you today as you read and meditate on this passage? What is your emotion as you read this word or phrase? How is that related to your current situation? What does God tell you to do?
  3. When you hear God saying that he turned his back in anger only for a moment but was not giving up on the relationship (esp. verses 7-8), what is your emotion? If this reminds you of someone in your life (past or present) that had made similar promises to you but reneged later, talk with God about it.
  4. Read v10 as if God’s speaking to you right now. Spend a few minutes sitting quietly in his presence, enjoying the tranquility of that space before you move on to the rest of your day.

 

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:

The Power Of Your Love - youtu.be/H9_0jiO5ZRM

“Listening to God” Bible Reading & Devotion: Apr 6, 2021 – Isaiah 053

 

Read chapter in full: biblegateway.com/passage/?version=ESV&search=Isaiah+053

 

Chapter 53 (ESV)

 

Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people?

 

 

REFLECTION:

  1. Read the passage aloud slowly, knowing that this “suffering servant” passage is a prophecy about Jesus. If possible, read the whole chapter as well.
  2. Read this passage. See the servant of God, so battered and disfigured he hardly seems human anymore. Live with him as he is despised and rejected by men. Watch him take up our iniquities and be pierced for our transgressions. See the blood flow as his life is crushed from him, as from a sin offering. And realize that he chose this fate, that by his wounds we might be healed.
  3. Silence – Read/Listen – Meditate – Pray – Contemplate
  4. Respond to God about the words that touched you most. Talk also to God about how Jesus can make you righteous.
  5. Move through your day with this idea: Jesus “died without a thought for his own welfare”. If he died that way, how much more must he have lived that way? Try living that selflessly a few minutes at a time.

 

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:

Worthy Is The Lamb - youtu.be/eMsihDoX3uM

“Listening to God” Bible Reading & Devotion: Apr 5, 2021 – Isaiah 052

 

Read chapter in full: biblegateway.com/passage/?version=ESV&search=Isaiah+052

 

Chapter 52 (ESV)

 

How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of him who brings good news,
who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness,
who publishes salvation,
who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”
The voice of your watchmen—they lift up their voice;
together they sing for joy;
for eye to eye they see
the return of the Lord to Zion.
Break forth together into singing,
you waste places of Jerusalem,
for the Lord has comforted his people;
he has redeemed Jerusalem.
10 The Lord has bared his holy arm
before the eyes of all the nations,
and all the ends of the earth shall see
the salvation of our God.

11 Depart, depart, go out from there;
touch no unclean thing;
go out from the midst of her; purify yourselves,
you who bear the vessels of the Lord.
12 For you shall not go out in haste,
and you shall not go in flight,
for the Lord will go before you,
and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.

 

 

REFLECTION:

  1. Silence – Read/Listen – Meditate – Pray – Contemplate
  2. What is the word or phrase that touches you today as you read and meditate on this passage? What is your emotion as you read this word or phrase? How is that related to your current situation? What does God tell you to do?
  3. This passage lively describes the joyful news of victory that Jehovah God has won over Babylon. God’s people “burst into songs of joy together,… for the Lord has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem”(v9).
  4. When have you tasted real joy and peace in witnessing? How could you experience more of the “good tiding” of the gospel this week? Pray and ask God to bring a few faces of friends or family members that don’t believe in Jesus and that you can begin praying for them daily.

 

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:

Let Your Glory Fall - youtu.be/UnnHSxW3N0w

“Listening to God” Bible Reading & Devotion: Apr 2, 2021 – Isaiah 051

 

Read chapter in full: biblegateway.com/passage/?version=ESV&search=Isaiah+051

 

Chapter 51 (ESV)

 

“Give attention to me, my people,
and give ear to me, my nation;
for a law will go out from me,
and I will set my justice for a light to the peoples.
My righteousness draws near,
my salvation has gone out,
and my arms will judge the peoples;
the coastlands hope for me,
and for my arm they wait.
Lift up your eyes to the heavens,
and look at the earth beneath;
for the heavens vanish like smoke,
the earth will wear out like a garment,
and they who dwell in it will die in like manner;
but my salvation will be forever,
and my righteousness will never be dismayed.

“Listen to me, you who know righteousness,
the people in whose heart is my law;
fear not the reproach of man,
nor be dismayed at their revilings.
For the moth will eat them up like a garment,
and the worm will eat them like wool,
but my righteousness will be forever,
and my salvation to all generations.”

Awake, awake, put on strength,
O arm of the Lord;
awake, as in days of old,
the generations of long ago.
Was it not you who cut Rahab in pieces,
who pierced the dragon?
10 Was it not you who dried up the sea,
the waters of the great deep,
who made the depths of the sea a way
for the redeemed to pass over?
11 And the ransomed of the Lord shall return
and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
they shall obtain gladness and joy,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

 

 

REFLECTION:

  1. Silence – Read/Listen – Meditate – Pray – Contemplate
  2. What is the word or phrase that touches you today as you read and meditate on this passage? What is your emotion as you read this word or phrase? How is that related to your current situation? What does God tell you to do?
  3. If you were an exile, what would it mean to you to realize that God’s promises are more enduring than the stars or the earth around you (v6)? How might meditating upon the lesson of the stars, creation of God, give you a new perspective on the problems that you face today?
  4. Speak to God about your new perspective as well as your problems.

 

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:

You Are Faithful - youtu.be/eQ51OC1oYpQ

“Listening to God” Bible Reading & Devotion: Apr 1, 2021 – Isaiah 050

 

Read chapter in full: biblegateway.com/passage/?version=ESV&search=Isaiah+050

 

Chapter 50 (ESV)

 

The Lord God has given me
the tongue of those who are taught,
that I may know how to sustain with a word
him who is weary.
Morning by morning he awakens;
he awakens my ear
to hear as those who are taught.
The Lord God has opened my ear,
and I was not rebellious;
I turned not backward.
I gave my back to those who strike,
and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard;
I hid not my face
from disgrace and spitting.

But the Lord God helps me;
therefore I have not been disgraced;
therefore I have set my face like a flint,
and I know that I shall not be put to shame.
    He who vindicates me is near.
Who will contend with me?
Let us stand up together.
Who is my adversary?
Let him come near to me.
Behold, the Lord God helps me;
who will declare me guilty?
Behold, all of them will wear out like a garment;
the moth will eat them up.

 

 

REFLECTION:

  1. This is another song concerning the servant who is summoned, empowered, and helped by God to do his work in the world.
  2. Silence – Read/Listen – Meditate – Pray – Contemplate
  3. What is the word or phrase that touches you today as you read and meditate on this passage? What is your emotion as you read this word or phrase?
  4. What would it mean for you to start your day by listening to God? How would you do so? How has this pointed to your attitude of love and obedience to God?

 

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:

God With Us - youtu.be/udJjT-LMnIs