Saturday, January 15, 2011

Who is My Strength?

Who is My Strength?

Two poems are in the readings this week. By poets Isaiah and David. And both are thinking about how weak we can be and usually are. BUT we have help waiting.
Isaiah 49:1-6
The LORD called me before I was born, while I was in my mother's womb he named me.
He made my mouth like a sharp sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me a polished arrow, in his quiver he hid me away.
And he said to me, "You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified."
But I said, "I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity; yet surely my cause is with the LORD, and my reward with my God."

And now the LORD says, who formed me in the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him, and that Israel might be gathered to him, for I am honored in the sight of the LORD, and my God has become my strength-- he says, "It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the survivors of Israel; I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth."

1) In the first paragraph, what makes it feel like Isaiah had a great calling?

2) Does the Isaiah feel like he’s doing a good job?

3) What does that “It is too light a thing…” part mean?

4) Do you have a great destiny?

Psalm 40:1-3
I waited patiently upon the LORD; he stooped to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the desolate pit, out of the mire and clay; he set my feet upon a high cliff and made my footing sure.
He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many shall see, and stand in awe, and put their trust in the LORD.

5) This is by King David (before he was king) who definitely had a great destiny. What does this tell you about his life?

There are MANY places the Bible talks about the lord giving strength. Read these and pick your two favorites. What makes them good to you?

  • Exodus 15:2 The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him a home; my father's God, and I will exalt him.
  • 2 Samuel 22:33 God is my strength and power: and he makes my way perfect.
  • Psalms 18:1-2 I will love you, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
  • Psalms 19:14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.
  • Psalms 22:19 But be not thou far from me, O LORD: O my strength, make haste to help me.
  • Psalms 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
  • Psalms 31:4 Keep me free from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge.
  • Psalms 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
  • Psalms 62:7 In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.
  • Psalms 73:26 My flesh and my heart fail: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.
  • Psalms 140:7 O GOD the Lord, the strength of my salvation, thou hast covered my head in the day of battle.
  • Psalms 144:1 Praise be to the LORD my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle. He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me.
  • Isaiah 12:2 Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.
  • Habakkuk 3:19 The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.
  • 1 Corinthians 1:25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
  • Ephesians 3:16-17 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.
  • Ephesians 6:10-11 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.
  • Phillipians 4:12-13 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
  • 2 Timothy 4:16-18 At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion's mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack…
  • 1 Peter 4:11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.
We will make a poster of our favorites – updated for how we talk. For example, Psalm 18:2 (one of my favorites, makes me think of Narnia) is like this in the Message: “I love you, God- you make me strong. God is bedrock under my feet, the castle in which I live, my rescuing knight.”

Web Bonus:  the theology of this idea, that we are weak, yet God provides our strength, is best and most clearly laid out by Paul in 2nd Corinthians.

2 Corinthians 12:1-10
I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord.  I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows.  And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell.  I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses.  Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say,  or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.  Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Amen, brother!

Topical Bible Studies, in particular the Lord is My Strength.  Great at gathering related bits of scripture.

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