Series: The Lion and the Lamb
Message: I Need a Hero
Preacher: Dany Hernandez
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 59:14-60:1 in the English Standard Version (ESV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: Chapter 59 ends with a covenant that God has made with His people. He promises that neither His Spirit nor His words will leave them “from this time forth and forevermore.” The portion of Scripture we are studying this week continues on through the first verse of the next chapter (Chapter 60), which reads, “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you” (Verse 1).
Senior year of college, my roommate and I would often watch the popular daytime talk shows of that period: Donahue, Geraldo, Sally Jessy Raphael, Jerry Springer. The shows almost always featured controversial topics with guests making bombastic statements that were designed to elicit a strong response from the audience. The format certainly worked in the tiny studio apartment we shared. We’d flop on our futons and ready ourselves for a good hour of indignation, courtesy of whatever racist, sexist, crazy collection of jerks happened to be in the spotlight that afternoon. Nowadays we have social media and it accomplishes the same thing, but with the added wrinkle that most of the stupid, racist, sexist jerks encountered on social media are real-life family members and friends—and that we can access it 24/7. It continues to make us feel good when we are able to react against stupidity, hatred, and pointlessness. Of course the problem is that one risks becoming all of those things oneself. Proverbs 4:23 offers this warning: “Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.” I avoid social media for the most part these days because I don’t think it helps me be the kind of person I want to be. Sure, I am able to clarify my own values in response to values I find less than wholesome and perhaps that achieves something. But whatever that something is, it’s pretty inconsequential. I don’t think it counts as arising, as shining.
That’s what I like about verses I’m focusing on today. God promises us His spirit and His words—and to me, words equal thoughts. This is an offer we have to decide to accept—God gives us free will in all things—but we each have the power to see the world through God’s eyes, to speak with His voice. When we do this, it’s never under the guise of raining down judgement upon other people. When we see people as God sees them, our attitude changes and they appear valuable and worthy of empathy. Our purpose in the world is not so much to judge other people for their shortcomings but to do our best to “arise, shine” and use the power that God gives us to make a difference to our communities and the people we meet.
A favorite children’s book of mine, The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, offers the following: “And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” We might offer a slight edit to this statement: that it is only through a heart influenced by God that one can see rightly.
Recalibrate: What can you do to “arise, shine” in your life?
Respond: Bring light into someone’s life today in any way you can.
Research: Listen to Radio Atlantic: How to Fix Social Media. Read The Little Prince.
Remember: “I promise that my Spirit and my words that I give you will never leave you” (Isaiah 59:21, 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.
The last verse of our text for this week says.“Jerusalem, get up and shine. Your light has come. The glory of the Lord shines on you.” Let how you live (choosing to love), shine brightly out of your heart in your home and in your community. Show your little one how a flashlight works. Let them turn it on and off. Go into a dark room and let them see what a difference the light makes. Be like the flashlight, shine brightly and let the darkness see light through you.
See how well you have done remembering the Words to Remember for the week: “I promise that my Spirit and my words that I give you will never leave you” (Isaiah 59:21, ICB). In Isaiah 59:1, God promises to hear us when we ask for help and reminds us that He is strong enough to save us. Take time to share with your parents what you have learned about justice this week and what you plan on doing when you need help choosing the right path when you face hard situations in the future. Make a plan for justice to be a part of your life every day.
“The Redeemer will come to Jerusalem to buy back those in Israel who have turned from their sins,’ says the Lord” (Isaiah 59:20, NLT). Now I want you to imagine that you are the one who is experiencing injustice. Maybe you sometimes feel wronged by a friend or a parent; maybe you feel singled out by a teacher at school? Zoom out of that picture a little and go to a whole world that is experiencing pain and injustice. Who will save them? It may not be super obvious but this verse is a picture of Jesus. Jesus is our Redeemer and through His death on the cross He buys us back, He forgives anyone who asks for it. Now that we are forgiven and have been chosen to live in the truth that is Jesus, we have His Spirit (Verse 21) and His light (Isaiah 60:1) and we are to show that light to the whole world as best as we can. Why? We want everyone to be redeemed just like we have been, and that is good news!
When I was little, my stepdad made many promises to me. The problem was that he could never seem to keep them. Countless times I would wait on the promises he made, yet I always found myself disappointed. In the closing verses of Chapter 59, we are told that God has made a covenant with His people. A covenant is essentially a promise on steroids. It is an agreement that God makes with His people, and promises never to break. The beautiful thing about God is that He has never broken a promise. He is not like the father or mother who says one thing and does something else. He is ever faithful to do what He says He will do. In a world full of broken promises, latch onto the words of Jesus. He will never go back on His promises.
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.