The Coming Servant (3): Isaiah 49, 50 (3)
Pray Psalm 126.3, 4.
The LORD has done great things for us,
And we are glad.
Bring back our captivity, O LORD,
As the streams in the South.
Read Isaiah 49.14-20.
1. God continues to ready His people for their time of suffering and captivity. What does He want them to keep in mind?
2. What does God promise His people at the end of their suffering?
God knows what His people will shortly be facing. He knows the fears, doubts, and despair that will come upon them. He knows that many will say, “The LORD has forsaken us” (v. 14). But God remembers His covenant at all times; He knows the sorrows and sufferings of His people (Ex. 2.24, 25), and He will never forsake or forget them (v. 15).
God says He has inscribed His people on the palms of His hands (v. 16). That might not have meant much to the people of Judah and Jerusalem then, but believers today understand the deep significance of that glorious truth (Jn. 20.27-29). Even as Jerusalem’s walls come down at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, God can see them new and more expansive again (v. 16). The people must nurture the same vision of their city rebuilt, their sons and daughters hastening to return there, and all their enemies turned aside (v. 17). God calls them to lift up their eyes (v. 18). Look beyond the present time of trial and suffering to the days of the Lord’s great in-gathering of His people (v. 18), and of the rebuilding of their city (v. 20), and of the great expansion of their numbers (v. 20).
God leads His people by vision – a vision packed with His exceeding great and precious promises. He calls us to keep our eyes on those promises, to cherish that vision like a dream shortly to come true, and in the midst of our sufferings and His discipline, to sow hope for the future, and to live as His chosen children in the fullness of His grace (Ps. 126).
It is only through many tribulations that we realize more of the presence, promise, and power of God’s Kingdom (Acts 14.22, 23). In the midst of our trials, we must seek the Kingdom and promises of God, knowing that we are unforsaken and unforgotten, and that soon and very soon, a great harvest will come from the hope, prayers, and witness we have sown, albeit with tears.
1. Do you ever feel like God has forsaken or forgotten you? What should you do when you feel that way?
2. Can we seek the Kingdom of God without a clear and compelling vision of what that Kingdom looks like in its coming? Explain.
3. God gave His people a vision to sustain them through their time of trial. What vision should we be nurturing to guide our lives in the here and now?
Only let us put the rudders of our lives in his hands, and we shall encounter an unfailing providence. God’s guardianship will be surer than that of any person, for his are the words, “Can a woman forget her nursing child? Will she not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yet I will not forget you.” God is nearer to us than a father and mother, for he is our Maker and Creator. Theodoret of Cyr (393-466 AD), Letter 14
What should Your Kingdom look like as it comes in my Personal Mission Field, O Lord? And how can I live toward that vision? Help me today to…
Pray Psalm 126.
Is there any sense in which God’s people today – His Church – is enduring a time of captivity and discipline? What vision should we be nurturing in the midst of such a time? What should we be “sowing”?
Sing to the Lord.
Psalm 126 (Truro: Shout, for the Blessed Jesus Reigns!)
When God restored our fortunes all, we were like those who sweetly dream.
Our mouths with joy and laughter filled, made Him our constant song and theme.
Then the astonished nations said, “The Lord has done great things for them!”
Indeed, great things our God has done, Whose Name we praise, Amen, Amen!
Restore our fortunes, Lord our King! Let grace like flowing streams prevail.
All they with tears of joy shall sing who sow while yet they weep and wail.
They who in tears of sorrow sow and cast their seed on every hand,
With joy shall reach their heav’nly home, and bring the harvest of their land.
T. M. Moore
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Forward today’s lesson to some friends, and challenge them to study with you through this series on Isaiah. Each week’s lessons will be available as a free PDF download at the end of the week. Get a copy for yourself and send the link for the download to your friends. Plan to meet weekly to study Isaiah’s important message.
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006).All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).