December 18, 2010: Isaiah 42:1-9 Devotion Sharing

Submitted by Joanna Kang, Gracepoint San Diego

Isaiah 42:6-7

How can life apart from God be characterized by blindness, imprisonment, and darkness?

Life apart from God can be characterized by blindness because without God you have completely no direction in life. You mostly just follow your desires for attention, praise, pleasure, lust, power, etc., which leads you on a path of self-destruction.  Following your desires is a horrible way to make choices in life, and will leave you really disoriented and empty.  Since you don’t know God, you don’t know the author of life who is the other person who knows how life ought to be lived.  Therefore, without God you go through life like a blind person, not knowing the best way to live.

Life apart from God can be characterized by imprisonment because eventually you get imprisoned by your sins.  At first you think it’s not that big of a deal to indulge in a little sin here and there, but sooner or later you will become enslaved by that sin.  Just looking around, there are so many people enslaved to the sins of image where eating disorders are so common especially amongst college students.  The hook up culture and the addiction to internet pornography also attests to so many people being enslaved to their lusts.  Just being on the college campus, I hear so many horrible stories of guys and girls selling themselves cheap to one another because it’s the cool thing to do and because they are enslaved to this culture where pleasure is king. Satan has enslaved people to entertainment, making people so isolated and disconnected from others with people addicted to computer games.  People are also enslaved to their own greed, and money has played such a big part in cooling relationships and making people isolated as well.

Life apart from God can be characterized by darkness because without a relationship with God there is no way to hold back the darkness within each of us.  As the years go on, the thing that increases is sin and there’s no adequate way to deal with sin apart from God.  I know a girl that thought that she could make up for the sin she saw inside by doing good deeds, but she was always left with a sense that it was not enough.  To feel guilty, but not know how to deal with it is such a torturous place to be in.  This is why the gospel is good news because it deals with our most important need: to be forgiven of our sins.Submitted by Lem Maghamil, Gracepoint Riverside

Isaiah 42:1-4

How does the description of the manner in which the Servant will bring justice compare with typical notions of justice?  Reflect on the ways this prophecy was fulfilled in Jesus life.

The announcement that the Servant will come to bring justice on earth is not a comforting thought.  The picture I imagine is of a conquering king who returns to his people and will pay individuals back based on their loyalty.  The judge is coming and his recompense with him.  For those who were unfaithful or whose loyalty waned this could mean a sudden end.  In this text however, we see a very interesting picture of the Servant who will bring justice.  He will enter the town but will not shout, cry out, or even raise his voice.  Furthermore, the Servant will not break even a bruised reed nor snuff out a smoldering wick.  These are metaphors used to describe the mercy and grace of the Servant.  He will come with authority to administer justice and give righteous payment for the deeds of man, but he is also described as an ambassador of mercy and grace.  This is the question that hearers of this prophecy would ask- what manner of a Messiah is this?  In Jesus we see the complete fulfillment of this prophecy.  Jesus is the Messiah that came, sent by God, to bring justice and to assure full payment for the penalty of sin.  However, Jesus did not come with judgment and the sword, but he came to give his life on the cross as a ransom.  He did not come to conquer the souls of men through fear and conquest, but he came to conquer in love and grace.  He lived the life of a gentle shepherd who was tender and compassionate and would not break the hearts of broken and down-trodden people who came to him for forgiveness and healing.  Though he could have easily pointed out the sins in each person that came to him, he instead gathered broken people to himself with a promise of forgiveness.  Who will the Messiah be and what will be the manner of justice he brings is a questioned that was answered in Jesus.  He came to conquer with love and to shepherd his people in mercy and grace.

What is the justice my sins deserve and how does God’s “justice” give me hope (v.3)?

Christmas has always been a season mixed with different emotions.  We are at the end of another year and as I look back on the twelve months, I hope to see incredible spiritual growth and a life well-lived.  I overcame my sins and strongholds, I grew in love for people, I became a better student of God’s word, etc.  However, when I look back I see a life of inconsistency and times when I sin and hurt God and others around me.  God could easily review my year and bring justice- a payment for all my sins and disobedience.  The great news of great joy for all the people during Christmas is that Jesus came not to judge me but to save me from my sin.  When I look back on a less than perfect year, I confess that at times I feel broken, insecure and a failure.  Jesus came to save people just like me.  He looks at broken people and does not pronounce judgment but extends mercy and grace.  He offers to take the chaos of my life and bring it back into proper order and in alignment with his will.  God will not break my bruised heart and life, but rather he offers the greatest gift of forgiveness for my past, a bright hope for the future, and a present opportunity to experience his mercy and grace today.  Today is a gift and that’s why they call it the “present!”

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