Monday, Nov. 28 – Brad Brown

28 Nov

Week 1: Hope
Today’s Scripture:
Isaiah 1:10-20
Thessalonians 3: 1-13

Isaiah’s first chapter describes a God who is displeased with the worship of His people. To our day, it could very well sound like He is saying, “I hate your Sunday morning services! The large sum of your tithes makes me nauseous! Your long fasts and quiet times have become a burden to me.” Yikes. How could this be?

I imagine a marriage where a husband is unfaithful to his bride. While he’s having numerous affairs, the husband buys his wife expensive jewelry that he can’t afford, writes her poetic love letters, and takes her on elegant dates. When the wife finds that her beloved companion has been unfaithful all along, she yells at him with heartache and pain, “I hate your extravagant romantic dates, your love letters are meaningless, and your expensive gifts make me sick!” For the wife knows that if her companion really loved her, his heart would have overflowed with faithfulness and she would be the only object of his affection.

The worship Isaiah condemns is a worship that attempts to manipulate and control God. In my own life, I recall the sober reality of reading Matthew 23 and having Jesus reveal to me that my worship, theological study, and eloquent prayers were for my own self-gain. As I look at all the damage that was done in my life when I was just “believing all the right things” and “following all the right rules,” I begin to understand the message of God in Isaiah chapter one. He is a God who says, “Come now, let us reason together.” He even pleads with them to “make themselves clean” and become “willing and obedient.” I see that the wife in the story is not only willing to forgive her husband but she also yearns to be in an intimate relationship with him again.

Our hope is that we don’t have a distant God that is marking a “spiritual checklist” of our behavior. Our God is not satisfied with mere religious performance; He is a God who is relentless in His pursuit of our heart and our lives. So much so that Christ, who being in very nature God, took on human flesh, dwelt among us, and died for us on a cross. Isaiah shows us that true worship from a heart that loves God must lead to goodness, justice, mercy and love for others. We see this in Paul’s letters to the church in Thessalonica, where he encourages them in their faith, out of a deep love, and then prays that the church would “increase and abound in love for one another and for all.”

This Advent, we have the hope that our God wants to be involved in all the messy details of our everyday lives. We have a hope that we were created to know Him, and that as we worship Him in spirit and in truth, a love develops for others—a love that can only come from an intimate relationship with our Creator.



5 Responses to “Monday, Nov. 28 – Brad Brown”

  1. Seth Stevens November 28, 2011 at 7:06 am #

    Brad, thank you so much for this summary of what it means to love God. This is very relevant for me and our church Body.

  2. Annie November 28, 2011 at 11:18 am #

    Thanks Brad. What a great reflection that reiterates what Matt O. taught yesterday out of Matthew.

    Thank you

  3. Presley November 28, 2011 at 1:13 pm #

    Wow, this is what our scripture and therefore message was on yesterday. Its so relevent in the time of year celebrating Christ birth and feeling the need to do do do or know know know, and neglecting the relationship that should be our first love. Thanks Brad.

    • Presley November 28, 2011 at 1:14 pm #


  4. Seth Stevens November 28, 2011 at 1:49 pm #

    It is like Matt copied his message from Brad. Hardy-Har-Har!

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