Grow Deep - Heroes Edition Volume 5

Heroes Edition - Volume 5

"These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” Hebrews 11:39-40

What’s the similarity among these names: Steve Rogers, Britt Reid, Dick Grayson, Barbara Gordon, Selina Kyle? If you are well-versed in your knowledge of superheroes, you may have correctly guessed that they are all “real” names of lesser-known superheroes.

This summer’s Grow Deep journey explores more Old Testament heroes. Chances are the Scripture readings, and perhaps even the names and stories, may not be as familiar to you as those we’ve studied in past summers. We will focus mainly on four Old Testament heroes: prophets Elijah, Elisha and Isaiah and King Hezekiah. In a one-day reading excursion, we’ll also learn about Namaan, a Gentile who was cured of leprosy and came to faith. We’ll read portions of 1 and 2 Kings and Isaiah. 1 and 2 Kings is a sequel to 1 and 2 Samuel and provides a historical record of the kings that ruled during a 400-year period. It also chronicles the prophets that God raised up at that time in Israel’s history.

Our first hero, the prophet Elijah, lived during the reign of the corrupt and evil King Ahab. Elijah prophesied to a hard-hearted people and was used by God to share His warning. In spite of the mighty acts God performed through Elijah, the human weaknesses of this hero were so evident. When he depended on God’s strength, Elijah spoke boldly. When he depended on himself instead of God, he became fearful and ran away depressed.

Before Elijah’s ascension into heaven, he spent six years in a mentoring relationship with God’s appointed successor, Elisha. Before Elijah was taken up into heaven, Elisha requested a “double portion” of Elijah’s spirit. Like Elijah, he spoke boldly to the nation and to the company of prophets (a school of disciples who followed him). In many ways, Elisha gives us a picture of Jesus—he had disciples, his messages came through miracles, and he spoke bold words of warning to God’s people. Even in death, Elisha’s “body” continued to produce miracles, and the Word of the Lord continued to prosper.
Unlike Elijah and Elisha who prophesied in times of battle and hardship, Isaiah prophesied in a time that followed a period of prosperity for Israel … a time when the senses of God’s people were dulled to His Word and His laws. The readings begin with God’s call to Isaiah and continue with the prophetic chapters about Jesus that we hear at Christmastime. The week wraps up with Isaiah’s words regarding God’s plan of salvation for all mankind.

Next up is King Hezekiah. In the midst of the corruption of the kings of Israel and Judah, King Hezekiah represents one dim but shining light. Through the counsel of Isaiah, Hezekiah came to understand that it is not by gold or silver that he and his people had hope for the future, but by the Word of the Lord.

As you read and reflect on the stories of these very human, but heroic men of God, get to know each of them. Identify their strengths and their weaknesses and think about how they mirror your own. Think about how each story points you to Jesus. By God’s grace, let their heroic faith become a blueprint for heroic living in your own lives.

Thanks to the following people who have shared their thoughts and insights in this issue: Week 1, Chris Burford; Week 2, Mary Beth Sullivan/For the Family, Milissa McDaniel; Week 3, Pastor Jason Broge; Week 4, Pastor Wayne Knolhoff/For the Family, Judy Ruf. We also thank Pastor Bill Geis, Lydia Johnson, Edie Grieshaber and the office staff for their work on this edition.

Grow Deep with Jesus!
The Adult Ministry Team
June 2018