Series: The Lion and the Lamb
Message: God's Weird Work
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 63:1-6 in the New Living Translation (NLT). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: In fact, I really enjoy the theme of revenge—especially the “revenge speech” genre in films. Here are three of my favorites. See if you can identify them:
“My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die!”
“My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, Commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius, father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife—and I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.”
“I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for ransom I can tell you I don’t have money, but what I do have are a very particular set of skills. Skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you, but if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.”
The first is from The Princess Bride—arguably the most quotable movie of all time. The second is from Gladiator. The third, Taken. I like each for a different reason. What they have in common is determination and specificity; there is no doubt the speaker will do precisely as he promises. He has clearly given the matter of his revenge some significant thought. And given that each speaker is a sympathetic individual, the viewer is cheering for him all the way. Each of these men has been gravely wronged. We hope they get their revenge.
The speech given by the individual coming from Edom in Isaiah 63:1-6 fits well within the revenge speech genre. Just like in the first two examples above, the speaker reveals his identity (“It is I, the Lord, announcing your salvation!”). One difference is that the other speeches are in the future (predictive) tense. This one appears to be in the present perfect progressive tense, describing actions that began in the past, continue in the present, and may continue in the future:
I have been treading the winepress alone;
no one was there to help me.
In my anger I have trampled my enemies
as if they were grapes.
In my fury I have trampled my foes.
Their blood has stained my clothes.
For the time has come for me to avenge my people,
to ransom them from their oppressors. (Verses 3-4, NLT)
The introduction to this series, written by Pastor Tim Gillespie, positions this portion of scripture as offering a “promise.” The New Living Translation indicates that part of this promise is “to help the oppressed.” This offers a way of looking at the verses that makes sense. Maybe God is more like us than we sometimes think. He too will have His vengeance—and perhaps He has every reason to pursue it.
Recalibrate: To what extent does motivation help you understand revenge?
Respond: Thank God for His promises.
Research: Look for examples of revenge speeches in movies.
Remember: “I have the power to save you” (Isaiah 63:1, 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.
Make a pile of heavy things and light things to carry with your little one. It may be that your teddy bear is light and your big winter boots are heavy. Our little Zoe loves to carry a doorstop in the form of a fabric dog around our house. It is heavy and she really struggles with it, but she won’t let it go. Know that no matter how heavy your life may be, Jesus has the power, the strength, and the desire to never let you go.
On this marvelous Monday, find a piece of tissue, a large piece of Duplo or a wooden block, and a hot cocoa mug. Line the objects up on a smooth table. Decide which objects you think will move if you blow very hard on them. Try it out! Were you correct in your predictions? Now try again, but don’t blow hard at all. What happened? Does it matter how hard you blow? When God says He is powerful, we have to remember that He is far more powerful than our breath, and He can move our lives! Today, ask God to move your life so that you are exactly where He wants you to be.
The opening verse to the passage this week has the writer seeing someone important, someone strong, someone dressed in royal robes, someone who has clothes stained with red, someone who has just returned from a place called Edom. Just like you and me, he is curious about this person and asks, “Who is this?” The figure answers him, “It is I.”
As you might remember, we are reading from a prophetic book which means that while what we read may have an actual meaning, it also has what we call a prophetic meaning. This person who calls himself “It is I” is none other than the great I AM; it is the Lord, it is Jesus. He has come from a place that had been an enemy of Israel for many years and was a symbol of the enemies of God. Jesus has returned as a victor over His enemies. This is a promise for us today that He is victorious over all the bad in this world and is on His way. He is arriving soon, He is announcing our salvation, and He is mighty to save!
“Who is this who comes from Edom . . . ?” Who is it? Who is this warrior wearing crimson red clothes with strength and greatness? It’s Jesus! Jesus is the warrior. Growing up, I loved Bible videos about Jesus. This was before the time of iTunes, 4K HDR, and YouTube. We would buy these blocks called VHS (video home system) tapes. (The worst thing is that we had to rewind them!) We would put them in a VCR (videocassette recorder) and they would play an image that was maybe 480 pixels if I’m being generous. Not even close to HD—at all. The interesting thing about these Bible movies was that they painted a picture of Jesus as a softie. He was thin and frail looking with no muscles. Then in would walk Satan. And Satan always looked so hardcore! He had muscles and walked all sly and cool. This created a very real impression in my mind that Jesus was weak. I love the image we see of Jesus in Isaiah 63. He isn’t some tiny man with little boy arms. Jesus was and is a warrior! Ready and willing to fight Satan and claim victory in our lives. As you think about who Jesus is, do you know Him? If you saw Him in a crowd would you recognize Him?
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.