Bible Readers

With Pastor Dave Roussel

Christ The Messiah

July 18 – Today’s Readings – Isaiah 55-57 and Psalms 18

Of the Old Testament prophets, there is none that so clearly expresses New Testament thought as Isaiah does. Jesus quoted from Isaiah when He said; “Come all you who are thirsty” and “My house will be called a house of prayer”. The Apostles often taught about Isaiah’s “new and everlasting covenant”. The prophecies of Isaiah are remarkable because he “saw” things that the people of his day knew nothing about. He saw the Messiah and the new kind of Covenant that Jesus would establish with mankind. He saw God writing His law on our hearts instead of on the tablets of Moses. He saw a God of mercy and grace, not just a God of legalism. He saw that salvation was free – that you couldn’t buy it with any number of good works or burnt offerings. He saw that God has a “World Vision”, not just an “Israel Vision”.

What astounds me in all of this is that the religious leaders of Jesus’ time were very familiar with the teachings of the Prophet Isaiah – yet they couldn’t see Jesus for who He was. This revelation comes only by the disclosure of the Holy Spirit.

How blessed we are to live in a day when the Holy Spirit has been poured out to give us real revelation – so that we can “see Jesus” in the Old Testament as well as the New. Without the Holy Spirit this would not be possible, for the natural mind does not comprehend the things of the Spirit. These thoughts are spiritually discerned and revealed. This is why it is possible to read the Bible every day of our entire adult life and still receive fresh revelation each time. This is why the Word of God is so precious – it reveals God to us in such a clear way. “The Word”, “The Word Made Flesh” and “The Spirit-Breathed Word” – these elements comprise a true revelation of God.

“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.” (Isaiah 55:1-2)

This Prophecy is fulfilled today for all of us who seek the face of God. He is near us – our relationship with Him costs us nothing – our freedom in the Spirit costs us nothing. The poorest of the inhabitants of the earth can “buy” spiritual water, milk, wine and bread at the same price that the richest man pays for it. The cost is $0.00 – yet it also costs him everything he has.

Luke 14:33 reads, “In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.”

Questions:

1. How is it that your relationship with Christ costs you nothing yet costs you everything?
2. Give another example of the revelation of Christ in the Old Testament.

The Suffering and Sacrifice of Jesus

July 17 – Today’s Readings – Isaiah 52-54 and Psalms 17

What a beautifully detailed – but horrific picture Isaiah paints for us concerning the sufferings and sacrifice of Jesus. Isaiah 52:13-14 and Isaiah 53:2-11 read this way;

“See, my servant will act wisely; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. Just as there were many who were appalled at him – his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness – He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by Him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.”

Scripture indicates that Jesus was not particularly handsome to look at in the first place – he was physically just an ordinary fellow, but then He was beaten till He was hideous to look at – disfigured and marred beyond human likeness. We despised and rejected Him – He knew sorrow, suffering, and rejection as a man. He carried in His body our cancer, stroke, heart attack, AIDS, Hep. A B& C, deafness, blindness, pain of the worst kind, depression, mental torment – ALL HUMAN SICKNESS. Jesus took all of these things and more to the cross with Him. He carried all our grief and all of our sorrows in his mind and when God the Father Himself rejected Him He suffered the torment of Hell itself. He was pounded on, and pierced through without opening His mouth. He knew that in His death He would leave no descendants, only a grieving mother and family with no accomplishments of the worldly type. As He was dying, He was called a criminal and a sinner. All of this happened because all moral crime must be JUDGED with JUSTICE. Everything within us understands justice – and the only judgment possible for mankind is separation from God because there is no sin in heaven. Therefore Jesus had to make a way of redemption for us – so that we could be forgiven – sinless – temples of the living God – in fellowship with Him. Hallelujah!..

Questions:

1. What should be our attitude towards all sickness – knowing that in heaven there is no sickness or disease?

2. Do you ever get angry at sickness or disease in our world? Good – sickness and disease are enemies of the cross of Christ.

Alive

July 16 – Today’s Readings – Isaiah 49-51 and Psalms 16

Here then, is the ultimate difference between the religions of the world and the disciples of Jesus:

Isaiah 46 reads, “Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all you who remain of the house of Israel you whom I have upheld since you were conceived, and have carried since your birth. Even to your old age and grey hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. ‘To whom will you compare me or count me equal? To whom will you liken me that we may be compared? Some pour out gold from their bags and weigh out silver on the scales; they hire a goldsmith to make it into a god, and they bow down and worship it. They lift it to their shoulders and carry it; they set it up in its place, and there it stands. From that spot it cannot move. Though one cries out to it, it does not answer; it cannot save him from his troubles.” Here are some very important points to consider as you meditate on this Scripture;

– It is God who carries us – not we who carry God!

– It is God who has made us – not we who have made God!

– It is God who sets us in our place of rest – not us who set God in His place of rest!

– When we cry out – He answers!

– When we are weak – He sustains!

– Since before we were conceived, He has had a plan for us – we did not “conceive a god”!

– You can walk to Mecca with peas in your shoes and still not earn redemption!

– You can spend your life in meditation and introspection and still not belong to Jesus!

– You can worship all the silver and gold you want – it still will never replace a Living God!

Thank God – He sought us out – He redeemed us when we were completely separated from Him. He chose us when we were living “lost” lives and He wanted nothing from us but faith in Him and fellowship with him.

Religion means that I work for my salvation. A relationship with Jesus means that I receive and give out His love. Praise God – what a wonderful rest we have entered into!

I happened upon a National Geographic program the other day where an author was trying to “find himself” through various man-made religions he had discovered. Though the program was humorous because it exposed the foolishness of these religious shenanigans, it was also profoundly sad for me because it showed, all too well, the spiritual shallowness of mankind and the desperate need for man to be spiritual. Let it never be said of us that we are following one of these dead religions. The life of God and the power of God in us makes us “new creations”, full of the living and true God.

Now – that’s where you really “find yourself”.

Questions:

1. Tell of a time when you felt God was “carrying” you.
2. Tell of another Biblical event where people were worshipping some kind of false God.

My Refuge

July 15 – Today’s Readings – Isaiah 46-48 and Psalms 15

Isaiah 49: reads, “But Zion said, ‘The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.’ ‘Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.”

The same theme is found in Psalms 27:5; “For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.”

Finally, Psalm 46:1 reads, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”

In a time of trouble it is so easy to forget how close the Lord is to us. We seem to immediately lose focus because our emotions make us lose perspective! Think for a moment about the Isaiah illustration of the mother forgetting her nursing baby – how absurd. This mother would have to be mentally ill, on some mind-numbing drug or demon possessed.

Now imagine getting a tattoo on the palm of your hand (ouch) with the name of your loved one on it – then forgetting they exist! It’s not going to happen – yet, as soon as our emotions don’t FEEL God, we assume that He has left us. Do we really think He is so “mentally deficient” or heartless as to forget us? – Or is the problem that we are so immature in our faith that we think because we don’t have super “tingly” feelings – God is absent. We get to feeling sorry for ourselves – we wallow in depression – we lose perspective and faith – we get snippy with people – we act in downright childish ways. Mature faith means that we begin to trust in The Word more than our emotions – that we begin to trust the promises of the One who is faithful more than our unfaithful feelings. Imagine a man who has been married for a few months, then one day wakes up and does not “feel” love for (or from) his wife. Does this mean he should stop believing that she loves him or that he loves her? Of course not! We are keenly aware that mature married love is present and active whether or not we have goose bumps on our goose bumps emotionally. So it should be with the Lord. I encourage you to meditate on the fact that even in times of trouble or when you don’t feel God, He is your ever-present help. He is the one who will never forget you or forsake you. He is the one who sets “me high upon a rock”.

Do you want to hear ‘real truth’? The truth is that God is as present with you in the day of trouble as a mother is with her young child when he is in bed with the flu. He probably is doing more for you in your time of distress than when you are capable of doing it all for yourself. You may not feel it, but rest assured – He walks with you in the valley.

Questions:

1. Tell of another example from Scripture where God was an ever-present help in trouble.
2. Tell of an example from your life where God looked after you in a special way.

Fear Not

July 14 – Today’s Readings – Isaiah 43 – 45 and Psalms 14

Isaiah’s style of writing is at times incredibly poetic and contains powerful revelations of God’s heart and desires.

Here is a sample of his poetry from Isaiah 43:1-3 – “But now, this is what the LORD says – he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;”

What incredible comfort and security we find when we belong to Jesus. He created me – formed me – “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart;” (Jeremiah 1:5) He redeemed me – summoned me by name – and I am His! Through tough times – the water or the fire – He is with me. He is my God and this is what brings peace into my life. This revelation brings us to a place of understanding that God does not come only for a while only to abandon us and leave us without hope. He is ever present – “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (Psalms 46:1)

Christians often get a very wrong impression of God and of the ways He deals with His people. They somehow believe that the Devil is a very present tormentor and that God is only an occasional visitor to give us respite or deliverance from all the attacks of the enemy. Nothing could be further from the truth! It is the Holy Spirit who is ever present and though we do have to face spiritual evil, “we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37) He does not leave us or forsake us. Jesus said, “surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20) “There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24) – and His name is Jesus.

Therefore “let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”(Colossians 3:15)

Questions:

1. How is it that God, who manages the affairs of an infinite universe, also personally looks after each one of His children?
2. Give a personal example of how God has been “an ever-present help in trouble” for you.

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