Day 1 - Isaiah 64: 1-9
Isaiah was called to be God’s spokesman to the Southern Kingdom, starting around 740 B.C., just 20 years before the fall of the Northern Kingdom.
Things are also getting worse in the Southern kingdom. King Ahaz is leading the people into more idolatry. In today’s reading, we find Isaiah going off on a “remember the good ol’ days” rant. He recalls when the mountains quaked when God appeared on Mt. Sinai, when he appeared to Moses in the burning bush, when the people of Jericho trembled at the presence of Israel because they had heard of all the mighty acts of Israel’s God. He remembers when God joyfully blessed those who trusted in Him. Now God’s people have turned away from God, and the deeds that the people consider righteous, God considers as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). The people of Judah no longer call upon God for their salvation, but instead have turned to gods of wood and stone. Isaiah calls upon God to no longer remember their sins, but look with favor and restore their hearts and lives.
Read Isaiah 64: 1-9
Isaiah wants to see God intervene in powerful ways again. How does this point us forward 700 years, to Jesus as Immanuel?
Compare and contrast Jesus miracles in the Gospels with stories of God’s power in the Old Testament.
Take time to look at this chart. The bible compliments modern history books very well. How powerful it is to see these dates and know that this reflects actual history, covering a very specific group of people (God’s people). Biblical dates and events can be found and supported in other text books!
Why is that important as we talk about God and our faith?
If you could talk to Isaiah today about how things turn out what would you tell him about how God’s power showed up in mighty ways?
What things do people need God’s power over in our world today? Talk about people you know or issues from our day and age.
Considering how Isaiah interceded on behalf of Judah’s people. Who do you defend, stand up for, or guard? Friends, Family, who else?
Day 2 - Mark 11: 1-10
Jesus, who knows all things, sends his disciples into a village nearby to find a specific colt. Not only that, but he tells the disciples what to say when someone questions what they are doing. Sure enough, it all happens just as Jesus said it would. But the disciples are probably unprepared for what follows: Jesus riding into Jerusalem somewhat in the fashion of a general returning from battle in triumph, riding on his horse. Did they understand His true show of power and ultimate victory in this meek and lowly act of riding into town on a donkey? The people were excited, they threw out cloaks and branches, screaming “Hosanna,” and hailed Jesus as King David. But they were hoping for a victory over Rome and earthly powers.
This reading comes as we focus on Advent and Jesus coming into this world. He comes in a manger, the only King of Kings, and Lord of Lords...but His real victory will come with His death. The irony of this reading is powerful for us as we look back and reflect.
Read Mark 11: 1-10
Isn’t it amazing that Jesus knew exactly what would happen when they went into town. Take time to pray to God for His knowledge and grasp of all things still today.
We know how the story unfolds from here. One week later Jesus will be crucified and another crowd will cry out “Crucify Him!”. What sticks out to you as important, sad or interesting about our text today, in light of the larger story unfolding?
How much does it hurt when someone betrays or turns on you? How would you have felt being Jesus, knowing what is going to happen?
How does any of this reading challenge or comfort you as a follower of Jesus?
This December we are talking about words of encouragement from Scripture. Take time to share words or themes that are comforting to you. Listen to each other and ask questions.