READ: Isaiah 48-
THINK: When times are tough, it may be difficult to forget God, but it can be easy to feel that He's forgotten you. The ancient Israelite's felt that way as they suffered the consequences of persistent rebellion. But even though they had forsaken God, He had not forgotten them. He loved them more than even a mother or father could love their children. His compassion never failed, regardless of the circumstances. We can take comfort in the fact that God is always looking out for us, and He will never leave us. God proved His great love by engraving us on the palms of His hands (:16)-that's what Jesus endured as spikes pierced His palms when He was nailed to the cross for us. His scars are a reminder of His sacrificial love and His continual desire to do what's best for us.
RESPOND: What was the spiritual climate in Judah during Isaiah's time? (See 48:1-22 note.) Why did God foretell these events long before they happened (48:3-5)? (See 48:5 note.) What are the "new things" God alludes to in 48:6? (See 48:6 note.) What could the people have experienced had they obeyed God (48:18-19)? When would the declarations of 48:20 be particularly significant? (See 48:20 note.) Who, ultimately, is the "Servant of the Lord" described in chapters -57, and what hope would He bring Israel and all people? (See -57 note and :3 note.) How would Christ's coming be like "a sharpened sword" and "a polished arrow" (:2)? What similarities exist between the ministries of God's prophets and of Jesus Christ? (See :4 note.) What was the Servant's ultimate mission, and to whom would the He bring salvation (:6)? (See :5-6 and :6 notes.) In what way does :6 parallel Jesus' Great Commission in the New Testament? (See :6 note.) What assurances did God give His people who saw their adversity as a sign that God had abandoned them (:14-17)? (See :14-17 note.)
PRAY: Give God thanks for always providing warning and a means of escape and freedom from the judgment that must come on those who defy Him. Give God thanks for always doing what's best for you.
ACT: If you've made a commitment to God that you haven't kept, confess your shortcoming and depend on God to help you fulfill your promise if it's still in line with His purposes. Trust the Holy Spirit to lead you into conversations about faith and spiritual issues with people who don't know Jesus. Be bold but gracious in these conversations.
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