Series: The Lion and the Lamb
Message: Gospel According to Isaiah
Preacher: Japhet De Oliveira
Reflection: Becky De Oliveira
Live Wonder: Zan Long
Live Adventure: Jenniffer Ogden
Live Beyond: Adrian Peterson
Live Purpose: Kyle Smith
Editor: Becky De Oliveira
Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Isaiah 66 in the English Standard Version (ESV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: A couple decades ago, I stayed in one of those luxurious huts over the water on the island of Bora Bora in the South Pacific. Bora Bora is small; I cycled around the entire perimeter of the island (slowly with lots of stops) in a single afternoon. It is remote—2,500 miles from Hawaii, more than 4,000 miles from Los Angeles, and about 175 miles over water from the nearest city, Papeete, population 25,763. Multiple times each day, when I couldn’t stand the heat and humidity any longer, I’d step directly off the end of my private deck into the turquoise water inside the reef surrounding the island and swim out just far enough that I could utterly feel my smallness in the world, in the universe. I have never felt so small—and I’ve rarely felt so good. It’s always nice to be on vacation; even more so when the location is so exotic and the accommodation so luxurious, but the sense of isolation was what made it truly special. No television. No newspapers. If you wanted, you could get a truncated version of the New York Times via fax from the front desk—a single typed sheet of the top stories from around the world—but honestly, who cared? The whole world—what I think of as the world—could have been gone and I’d have been none the wiser. I was a tiny speck sitting on a tiny speck in the middle of a vast ocean. A vast ocean on the surface of a tiny speck of a planet hurtling through a vast universe.
“I made all this! I own all this!” God says in Isaiah 66:1-2 (MSG). He calls the earth His footstool, and given the negative cultural associations with feet in the Middle East, I’m thinking this isn’t a compliment. But neither does it seem entirely disparaging. It’s just an observation. He has a throne. Our old earth is just a footstool. A place to chill, put one’s feet. Nothing to get too excited about. My other planet’s a throne. He wants us to know there is nothing much we could give Him. He doesn’t care about houses or luxurious vacations to places like Bora Bora.
What do you give to the person who has everything? This chapter tells us that there is in fact something that God wants—and even He is not powerful enough to conjure it into being. He asks us to give it to Him freely: “a person simple and plain, reverently responsive to what I say” (Isaiah 66:1-2, MSG).
This week, we’ll look at how to truly worship God, along with a few other issues raised in this chapter—judgement, hope.
Recalibrate: Describe a time when you recognized your relationship to the rest of the world and to the universe. Where were you? What brought this feeling?
Respond: Pray for daily recognition of your smallness and of God’s vastness.
Research: Investigate some of the wonders of the world that make you feel small.
Remember: “Look, the Lord is coming with fire. The Lord’s armies are coming with clouds of dust” (Isaiah 66:15, ICB).
Becky De Oliveira is a teacher, writer, editor, and graphic designer. She is working on a PhD in research methods at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley.
Our text for this week begins God saying that heaven is His throne and the earth His footstool. Talk with your little one about how God is the King of everything. Go outside and tell them about how big God is—that He is King over everything that we can see and far beyond even that. Even though God is as big as He is and is King of everything, He loves us and wants us to be with Him always.
Take time today to remember the Words of Isaiah 66:15: “Look, the Lord is coming with fire. The Lord’s armies are coming with clouds of dust.” Sitting around a toasty campfire with friends making s’mores or roasting hot dogs is great fun! When we think of God coming with fire, I like to think of it as not just about God cleaning up the bad parts of this world, but mostly as a time we will get to be with Him. As you think of God coming and some of the things you’d like to talk to Him about, tell someone what those things might be. What things do you look forward to God getting rid of in this world?
Isaiah is this crazy book in the Old Testament, sometimes called a book of prophecy, that teaches about the judgement and hope of God’s people. The chapter we are looking at this week is the conclusion of the book of Isaiah and talks a lot about judgement and hope. Do you know what these two words mean? When it comes to God these two words may not mean what we first think. Judgement? It doesn’t sound very nice, does it? What about hope? Well, that sounds a whole lot better!
As we begin this new series called “The Lion and the Lamb” and read through parts of the book of Isaiah, you may perhaps see a side of God you are not familiar with. If so remember this: God is in control. He is the maker of all things, including you and me, and He always wants the best for us. “My hands have made both heaven and earth; they and everything in them are mine” (Isaiah 66:2a, NLT).
This past week I have been working crazy hours at my church— 12-13 hour days—and getting home around 11:00 p.m. to find my wife fast asleep. What have I been doing? Renovating our youth room! The past two weeks I have been painting, running wires, and setting up displays. The room is looking great and the reason we are doing all of this work is because we want to make the church look as amazing as we can! It is a special place where people go to learn about God and experience Him. Yet you know what the church is not? The only place where God lives. When talking about church buildings, So many times people will say, “This is the Lord’s house!” They aren’t wrong, but this has often been used as a way of telling people what they can and cannot do at church. Look at Isaiah 66:1. What is that verse telling you about God? God is not dependant on anything built by man to get into people’s hearts. He doesn’t need a place to rest, or a house to dwell in. He needs you. He wants to live in your heart and be part of your life. How have you experienced God living in you? Have you let Him into your heart?
Zan Long is GRC director for faith development groups. She lives in Sydney, Australia, and serves at her local church in nearby Kellyville.
Jenniffer Ogden serves as the children and family pastor at the Walla Walla University Church in College Place, Washington.
Adrian Peterson is the associate pastor at Burwood Adventist Community Church in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, Australia.
Kyle Smith is the associate pastor of youth and family ministries at New Haven Adventist Church in Overland Park, Kansas.