Note: This is the first blog post about the current study, but it is the last week of the study…so just like Paul’s letters if you haven’t heard what has come before some of the allusions, echoes may be missed.
Just to give a quick recap, this study of the Kingdom of God covered six characteristics of the Kingdom of God which Jesus announces has come at the beginning of his ministry. The study focused on Isaiah and the ways it predicts the Kingdom will come. It was an attempt to not jut learn about what Isaiah prophesied but to begin to believe that with Jesus’ announcement these have become reality…that the promises of God are not just true (will happen) but his promises are real (are happening).
The six characteristics most common in Isaiah are:
1. Deliverance/Salvation – God has acted to deliver us and now reigns over our life, and is present to us and with us, and will be forever.
2. Joy/Rejoicing – Joy is the product of abundance, and is comes as we feast on the goodness of Christ.
3. Peace – Peace is not the result of eliminating conflict, but of believing the battle has already been won.
4. Authority/Rule – God’s kingdom is wherever God is King.
5. Justice/Righteousness – God’ judgment reveals his righteousness, they are moments leading us to see his majesty.
And finally, tonight:
The Bible talks a lot about sheep and shepherds and it has become ordinary to describe sheep in a particular way…stupid. While it is true that sheep will never be confused with a Rhodes scholar or Nobel price winner it is somewhat of a mischaracterization to consider them just stupid:
-Yes they do keep their heads down and eat most of the time but when called to move they go
-And as they go they often get in some form of a line looking at nothing other than the sheep in front of them and will follow it wherever it goes (even off the cliff to its death for example, one example of why they are considered stupid)
But there is something interesting here also…sheep follow the shepherd not just because they are to stupid to do anything else but because they completely trust the shepherd.
-If they are eating and the shepherd calls to move, they don’t question, “Why? The grass is fine here.” They trust that the shepherd will lead them to greener pastures and they go.
-And as they go they don’t question, “Is this really the best way? I think we should have turned left back there.” They trust the shepherd will lead them to the destination.
And in Isaiah this is what God’s Kingdom looks like – there are greener pastures, places of abundance and rest, but ultimately God’s Kingdom promises are his plea that we can trust him…he will take us to the greener pastures…he will guide us along the path…he is our shepherd. Can we believe his promises are real so we can trust in him like sheep?