Yes, it has come and gone … the final BSF meeting of the year. The final meeting is a time of sharing with all the participants, including the children’s leaders. The purpose of the sharing time is to share how God used this study of Isaiah in our lives this year and to give testimony to His great work in our lives through His word. What an encouraging time.
For as far back as I can remember in this study, I knew I would be compelled to share on this day as God began a powerful work in my life through this study from the very first words of Isaiah.
“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord:
though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool.
19 If you are willing and obedient,
you shall eat the good of the land;
20 but if you refuse and rebel,
you shall be eaten by the sword;
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
Little did I know back in September how much it would mean to me to understand these words or how I would come to understand them in a new way … as if hearing them for the first time. My sins were as scarlet, I saw that this year, I am also seeing the ways in which God sees me now as white as snow. I also know in new ways the difference between obedience and rebellion. God opened my eyes to this in ways only He could do.
So, I knew I would need to give testimony to His work in my life this year through this amazing study. We were fairly warned that we would have 3 minutes to share … soooo short, but I understand the importance of giving everyone an opportunity to share. I really had to zero in on what this study had meant to me. So, with tears in my eyes and a huge lump in my throat, this is what I shared …
“BSF and Isaiah have meant the world to me this year. I am new to BSF this year. I have known the Lord all my life and have attended and even lead countless bible studies. But this year, I encountered God and the gospel in the book of Isaiah, as if for the very first time. God showed me my pride and arrogance. He showed me the idols in my life, and pried my fingers off of them one by one. But, He didn’t leave me there, He showed me His comfort, His love, His grace … again, in ways I have never known before.
So many verses from this book have meant so much to me this year, but these two meant the most to me …
And I will lead the blind
in a way that they do not know,
in paths that they have not known
I will guide them.
I will turn the darkness before them into light,
the rough places into level ground.
These are the things I do,
and I do not forsake them.
But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.”
It was a sweet time.
Our dear teaching leader is ‘retiring’ and so this was her last year. She took a few moments at the end to share as well. I’m so glad she did … I couldn’t write fast enough to capture all of her wise words … here are a few.
In summarizing our study….
There is nothing God cannot or will not do according to His will.
We desperately need God each morning.
We are constantly coming to grip with our own human failure.
-our sin that keeps us blind to God’s will
God’s primary intent for me is for me to become like Jesus.
-it’s not to be popular, comfortable or successful
-it IS to build my character to make me more like Jesus.
-I could never do this without God’s help.
Our God ALWAYS guides us
-we have to listen, ask for his guidance and pray
-and do it with JOY!
It’s in the daily choices that God shows us how good He is.
-we NEED His word, don’t even try to live without it.
He will do more than we could ever as or imagine.
We don’t know what He is doing or will do …
-Isaiah 42:16 He will lead the blind in ways they don’t know …. He will turn our darkness into light …. He will make those hard places in our life smooth.
He is sovereign over ALL these things.
He says, “these things I will do, I will not forsake them …”
-there is no where we can go that God is not with us!
She concluded with
Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
9 If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.
The Bible Study Fellowship study of Isaiah for this year is officially over. Thankfully the impact it had on my life is not. God’s work in my heart is not over either, thankfully.