Grow Deep - Heroes Edition Week 3
Week 3 – July 8-14
The Prophet Isaiah
“And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ Then I said, ‘Here I am! Send me.’” Isaiah 6:8
We don’t often think of witnesses as heroes. They are simply people who come forward after an event to tell what others did. Sometimes it is telling the police about a crime, at other times it is telling the world about the bravery of another. In either case, we don’t usually think of witnesses themselves as being heroes; they are stand ins, reporting on what the listener has not, could not see for his or her self. But there are some exceptions to this. In times of emergency, we often find the messenger who drops everything, ignoring his or her own safety, to bring the news, heroic. I think of Paul Revere, riding by moonlight, letting everyone know “the British are coming.” One if by land, two if by sea. Paul Revere is often revered as one of our nation’s first heroes. Why? It is not because of the man, but because of the importance of the message he was carrying and his willingness to abandon everything to proclaim the message.
Isaiah is this type of hero. We look to Isaiah not as an example for own lives, but because of the message he carries. And that message, in a nut shell, is Jesus. Isaiah, living hundreds of years before Christ was born, spoke of Jesus so much that Luther once referred to the book of Isaiah as the “fifth Gospel.”
As we read from the book of Isaiah we hear the message this hero was sent to proclaim, God loves His people; He will protect them in the midst of suffering; He will save them—even from themselves.
Sunday, July 8
Read: Isaiah 6
Isaiah will be one of God’s most well known prophets; a hero for the people of Israel and for the Church throughout time. But he does not begin that way. He begins as one unworthy of the task set before him. It is God, and God alone, who cleans Isaiah and sends him on his mission. In this way Isaiah represents Israel as a whole, and us.
Reflect: What is Isaiah’s response to being in the presence of God? Think about the times and places you encounter God, how do you respond to God? Now consider God’s response to Isaiah. How is God’s response to you similar; how is it different?
For the Family: Can you remember and describe four or five things about God and heaven that Isaiah saw in his vision? How did God take away Isaiah’s sins? How does He take away our sins?
Monday, July 9
Read: Isaiah 7:1-17
As King Ahaz looks out and fears the enemies coming to attack, God invites him to trust in His might over the terrors in front of him. God promises not only to preserve His chosen people, but send the Messiah, born of a virgin, Immanuel, God with us.
Reflect: In the face of overwhelming obstacles, Ahaz finds it almost impossible to trust in the promises of God. Take a moment to reflect on where your heart and mind go in the face of overwhelming obstacles. In those moments, how hard is it to trust in God? As a Christian in 2018, what do you know now that would make it easier to trust in God’s promise in verse 14? What promises are we still looking forward to?
For the Family: In verse 14, God promises to give His people a sign. What is it? Do you know what Immanuel means? It means “God with us.” Why is that important to remember?
Tuesday, July 10
Read: Isaiah 8:1-18
The fulfillment of God’s promises to Israel will be comfort and salvation for some, but doom for others.
Reflect: While Isaiah’s own children will soon come and be an immediate answer to God’s promise, ultimately they are but symbols of God’s own Son who will protect His people. How is Christ both doom and salvation for different people? Reread God’s words of comfort to Isaiah in verses 12-14. Try to put them into your own words. What comfort do they bring?
For the Family: How were God’s people acting toward God? What did God tell Isaiah in verses 11-15? Are there people you know who do not love and trust God? How can you tell them about Jesus?
Wednesday, July 11
Read: Isaiah 9:1-7
Even as God’s people are surrounded by enemies, even as God’s people are filled with corruption and continuously turn away from Him, God shows His love by promising a Savior who will be a light for all people.
Reflect: What causes you to feel discouraged? How do Isaiah's words of promise encourage you and give you hope? Re-read these verses and write down all the promises in them. Offer a prayer of thanksgiving to God for each one. Thank Him for the hope we have in Jesus.
For the Family: In verse 6, what does Isaiah say is going to happen? Who is this Child? What are some names that Isaiah calls this Child? Can you think of other names for Jesus?
Thursday, July 12
Read: Isaiah 25
God promises to care for His people at all times. He presents a beautiful picture of the near future, but in a way that gives the reader a glimpse of a day that still hasn’t come. A day when Christ returns and death is swallowed up forever as we live with God and He wipes every tear from our eyes.
Reflect: How can God’s promises of the new heaven and new earth bring comfort during problems in the here and now?
For the Family: Isaiah says that he will “exalt” the Lord . What does it mean to “exalt” the Lord? Sing a song together as a family that gives God praise (like “Father, I adore You, “The Butterfly Song” ...).
Friday, July 13
Read: Isaiah 40
Isaiah’s prophesies have been hinting at the great news for quite some time, but now he will say it explicitly. The good news is that God has not abandoned His people. He is for His people and, as Paul will one day say, if He is for us, who can be against us? He will be there in their captivity now, but He promises to send the Messiah in times to come.
Reflect: The theme of Isaiah 40 is often summarized as comfort. What comfort do you find in God’s words and promises in Isaiah 40? Reread verses 6-8. Here again Isaiah is told to cry to the people. Try putting this message into your own words. At first it sounds very bleak. What comfort is there for our lives today that we can share with those in times of need?
For the Family: Have you ever seen an eagle “soar” when it is flying? What does it look like? What does God want us to do so that we can “soar” like eagles?
Saturday, July 14
Read: Isaiah 53
Words fail to summarize the picture of Jesus presented in Isaiah 53 hundreds of years before, that He will be born of a virgin. This passage does not just picture a Messiah that will come to save God’s people, but one who will suffer and bear our sorrows, be smitten and afflicted for our transgressions, and who will be crushed for the sheep who have gone astray.
Reflect: Take a moment to read this passage again in light of Christ’s death. You may want to reread John 19. In your Bible, highlight the verses that you see fulfilled in Christ’s passion. Take a moment to consider how you could use this passage to share the Gospel with a loved one. With a trusted friend or spouse, try using this passage as a template for sharing the central message of the Gospel.
For the Family: People are often compared to sheep in the Bible.
Re-read verse 6. Who goes astray? What does iniquity mean? Who paid the price for our sins? How? Thank Jesus for His forgiveness.