READ: Isaiah 11-12
THINK: Have you ever worked behind the scenes, filling a role that was vital, even it wasn't very visible? That's often the way the Holy Spirit works. By the time of the New Testament book of Acts, the Spirit's activity becomes more apparent as His power and gifts operate through Jesus' followers. But the Holy Spirit has been at work throughout human history, preparing the way for God's creative word to shape the world and speak life into existence, empowering godly people, speaking through prophets and inspiring the writers of Scripture to pen God's precise message to mankind. Much of the Spirit's work goes without mention, but Isaiah refers to the Holy Spirit more often than any other Old Testament prophet as he foretells of the coming Christ, who was filled, guided and empowered by the Spirit. In the same way, you must rely on the Spirit for wisdom, direction and power.
RESPOND: Who is the "Branch," what family line would He come from, and what would He bring to the world? (See 11:1 note.) How long before Christ's birth was this prophecy given, and when will it reach ultimate fulfillment? (See 11:1 note.) In what ways would "the Spirit of the LORD" equip and empower the Branch (11:2-5)? (See 11:2 and 11:2-3 notes.) Why and how is this same empowerment vital for Jesus' followers? (See 11:2 note.) When will the events in 11:6-16 ultimately be fulfilled? (See 11:6-9 note.) In what ways will Christ's future reign on earth radically transform things (11:6-9)? What will happen among the Jewish people during Jesus' future earthly reign? (See 11:10-16 note.) What do you think it means that the Lord is "my strength and my song" (12:2)? When will Christ's earthly reign begin? (See 12:1-6 note.) How can you personally apply the challenges in 12:4?
PRAY: Give God thanks for sending Jesus to save you and for the Holy Spirit that empowers you to serve Him. Thank Him for the perfect reliability of His Word. Pray for boldness to talk about God's work in your life.
ACT: Throughout the day make a deliberate effort to thank the Lord for as many things as you can. Also, talk to God in all situations, as you would a friend. Be prepared to tell someone about something God has done for you or to have a conversation about your faith or spiritual issues. When you're alone, sing a song of praise to God.
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