Connect The Testament

August 17: Anxiety and the Wilderness

Isaiah 35:1–37:13; Luke 12:22–59*; Job 8:11–22

Anxiety has a way of ruling over us. Although many of our concerns are legitimate—like having money to pay the rent and buy food—some of them are nonsensical. We envision future catastrophes and spend our days worrying about what might never happen, creating an emotional wilderness for ourselves.

Anxiety isn’t new. The prophet Isaiah addresses the problem: “Wilderness and dry land shall be glad, and desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus.… Say to those who are hasty of heart, ‘Be strong; you must not fear! Look! your God will come with vengeance, with divine retribution. He is the one who will come and save you’ ” (Isa 35:1, 4).

Isaiah realizes that there is a time and season for everything. He proclaims that God will bring the people out of the wilderness (their exile in Babylon) and back into their land. There is an answer to the anxiety, pain and worry that they feel about the future. His words ring with prophetic certainty because he knows them to be true—they are Yahweh’s words.

Jesus also addresses anxiety when He says to His disciples, “For this reason I tell you, do not be anxious for your life, what you will eat, or for your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens, that they neither sow nor reap; to them there is neither storeroom nor barn, and God feeds them. How much more are you worth than the birds?” (Luke 12:22–24).

Why must we worry? Why must we strive over things we cannot change? Ultimately, everything in life is a matter of depending on God.

What anxieties can you hand over to God today?

JOHN D. BARRY

EZC

  • The desert and the wilderness shall rejoice, and the waste ground shall be glad and flourish as the rose. It shall flourish abundantly, and shall greatly rejoice also and joy: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it: the beauty of Carmel, and of Sharon, they shall see the glory of the Lord, and the excellence of our God. Strengthen the weak hands, and comfort and feeble knees. Say unto them that are fearful, Be you strong, fear not: behold, your God cometh with vengeance: even God with a recompense, he will come and save you. Then shall the eyes of the blind be lightened, and the ears of the deaf be opened. Then shall the same man leap as an hart, and the dumb man’s tongue shall sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and rivers in the desert. And the dry ground shall be a path and a way, and the way shall be called holy: the polluted shall not pass by it: for he shall be with them, and walk in the way and the fools shall not err. There shall be lion, or noisome beasts shall ascend by it, neither shall they be found there, that the redeemed may walk. Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with praise: and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and mourning shall flee away. Now in the fourteenth years of King Hazekiah, Sennacherib King of Assyria came up against all the strong cities of Judah, and took them. And the King of Assyria sent Rabshakeh from Lachish toward Jerusalem unto king Hezekiah, with a great host, and he stood by the conduit of the upper pool in the path of the fuller’s field. Then came forth unto Eliakim the son so Hilkiah the steward of the house, and Shebna the chancellor, and Joah the son of Asaph the recorder. And Rabshakeh said unto them, Tell you Hezekiah, I pray you, Thus saith the great king, the King of Assyria, What confidence is this, wherein thou trusted? I say, Surely I have eloquence, but counsel and strength are for the war: on whom then dost thou trust, that thou rebellest against me? Lo, thou trustest in this broken staff of reed, on Egypt, whereupon if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: so is Pharaoh King of Egypt unto all that trust in him. But if thou say unto me, We trust in the Lord our God, is not that he, whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah took down, and said to Judah and to Jerusalem, Ye shall worship before this altar? Now therefore give hostages to my Lord the king of Assyria, and I will give thee two thousand horses, if thou be able on thy part to set riders upon them. For how canst thou despise any captain of the least of my lord’s servants? and put thy trust on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen? And am I now come up without the Lord to this land to destroy it? The Lord said unto me, Go up against this land and destroy it. Then said Eliakim, and Shebna and Joah unto Rabshakeh, Speak, I pray thee, to thy servants in the Aramite’s language (for we understand it) and talk not with us in the Jews’ tongue, in the audience of the people that are on the wall. Then said Rabshakeh, Hath my master sent me to thy master, and to thee, to speak these words, and not to the men that sit on the wall? that they may eat their own thing, and drink their own piss with you? So Rabshakeh stood, and cried with a loud voice in the Jews’ language, and said, Hear the words of the great King, of the King of Assyria. Thus saith the king, Let not Hezekiah deceive you: for the shall not be able to deliver you. Neither let Hezekiah make you to trust in the Lord, saying, The Lord will surely deliver us: this city shall not be given over into the hand of the king of Assyria, Heaken not to Hezekiah: for thus saith the king of Assyria, Make appointment with me, and come out to me, that every man may eat of his own vine, and every man of his own fig tree, and drink every man the water of his own well, Till I come and bring you to a land like your own land, even a land of wheat and wine, a land of bread and vineyards, Lest Hezekiah deceive you, saying, The Lord will deliver us. Hath any of the gods of the nations delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? Where is the god of Hamath, and of Arpad? where is the god of Sepharvaim? or how have they delivered Samaria out of my hand? Who is he among all the gods of these lands, that hath delivered their country out of mine hand, that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem out of mine hand? Then they kept silence, and answered him not a word: for the king’s commandment was, saying, Answer him not. Then came Eliakim the son of Hilkiah the steward of the house, and Shebna the chancellor, and Joah the son of Asaph the recorder, unto Hezekiah with rent clothes, and told him the words of Rabshakeh. And when the King Hezekiah heard it, he rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth and came into the house of the Lord. And he sent Eliakim the steward of the house, and Shebna the chancellor, with the Elders of the Priests, clothed in sackcloth unto Isaiah the Prophet the son of Amoz. And he said unto him, Thus saith Hezekiah, This day is a day of tribulation and of rebuke and blasphemy: for the children are come to the birth, and there is no strength to bring forth. If so be the Lord thy God hath heard the words of Rabhakeh, whom the King of Assyria his master hath sent to rail on the living God, and to reproach him with words, which the Lord thy God hath heard, then lift thou up thy prayer for the remnant that are left. So the servants of the King Hezekiah came to Isaiah. And Isaiah said unto them, Thus say unto your master, Thus saith the Lord, Be not afraid of the words that thou hast heard, wherewith the servants of the King of Assyria have blasphemed me. Behold, I will send a blast upon him, and he shall hear a noise, and return to his own land, and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land. So Rabshakeh returned, and found the King of Ethiopia, Behold, he is come out to fight against thee: and when he heard it, he sent other messengers to Hezekiah, saying, Thus shall ye speak to Hezekiah King of Judah, saying, Let not thy God deceive thee, in whom thou trustest, saying, Jerusalem shall not be given into the hand of the King of Assyria. Behold, thou hast heard what the Kings of Assyria have done to all lands in destroying them, and shalt thou be delivered? Have the gods of the nations delivered them, which my fathers have destroyed? as Gozan, and Haran, and Rezeph, and the children of Eden, which were at Telassar? Where is the king of Hamath, and the King of Arpad, and the King of the city of Sepharvaim, Hens, and IvahIsaiah 35:1–37:13
  • Philip came and told Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip told Jesus. And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man must be glorified. Verily, verily I say unto you, Except the wheat corn fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if die, it bringeth forth much fruit. Now is my soul troubled: and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but therefore came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy Name, Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have glorified it, and will glorify it again. Then said the people that stood by, and heard, that it was a thunder: others said, An Angel spake to him. Jesus answered, and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes. Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I were lift up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. Now this said he, signifying what death he should die. The people answered him, We have heard out of the Law, that that Christ bideth forever: and how sayest thou, that that Son of man must be lift up? Who is that Son of man? Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you: walk while ye have that light, lest the darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in the dark, knoweth not whither he goeth. While ye have that light, believe in that light, that ye may be the children of the light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and hid himself from them. And though he had done so many miracles before them, yet believed they not in him, That the saying of Isaiah the Prophet might be fulfilled, that he said, Lord, who believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? Therefore could they not believe, because that Isaiah saith again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart, that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. These things said Isaiah when he saw his glory, and spake of him. Nevertheless, even among the chief rulers, many believed in him: but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be cast out of the Synagogue. For they loved the praise of men, more than the praise of God. And Jesus cried, and said, He that believeth in me, believeth not in me, but in him that sent me. And he that seeth me, seeth him that sent me. I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth in me, should not abide in darkness. And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that refuseth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, it shall judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken of myself: but the father which sent me, he gave me a commandment what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: the things thereof that I speak, I speak them so as Father said unto me. Luke 12:22–59 *EZC Geneva Lk 12 has total of 50 verses
  • Can a rush grow without mire? or can the grass grow without water? Though it were in green and not cut down, yet shall it whither before any other herb. So are the paths of all that forget God, and the hypocrite’s hope shall perish. His confidence also shall be cut off, and his trust shall be as the house of a spider. He shall lean upon his house, but it shall not stand: he shall hold him fast by it, yet shall it not endure. The tree is green before the Sun, and the branches spread over the garden thereof. If any pick it from his place, and it deny, saying, I have not seen thee, Behold, it will rejoice by this means, that it may grow in another mold. Behold, God will not cast away an upright man, neither will he take the wicked by the hand, Till he have filled thy mouth with laughter, and thy lips with joy. They that hate thee, shall be clothed with shame, and the dwelling of the wicked shall not remain. Job 8:11–22 

Connect The Testaments

August 16: No Fear and Full Confidence

Isaiah 33:1–17; Luke 11:37–12:21; Job 8:1–10

Jesus didn’t exactly follow social niceties as a dinner guest. Once again while dining with a Pharisee, He exposed the hypocrisy that was rampant among those religious leaders: “Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but your inside is full of greediness and wickedness” (Luke 11:39). The “woes” He followed with challenged His host and, by extension, the Pharisees in general.

His boldness is a trait He wanted to pass on to His disciples: “But nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, and secret that will not be made known” (Luke 12:2). The gospel message will not be kept secret; the new kingdom is coming into being.

Jesus wanted the disciples to be fearless among people because it is God who is in charge, not the Pharisees; they had built up a false construct of authority. And although they may have exercised authority—they could kill and spread fear—they weren’t ultimately in charge.

God is in charge: “But I will show you whom you should fear: fear the one who has authority, after the killing, to throw you into hell! Yes, I tell you, fear this one! Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten in the sight of God. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered! Do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows” (Luke 12:5–7).

When we’re overwhelmed by rampant sin and evil around us—even in us—it’s comforting to maintain this sure knowledge. It is God who both judges and gives life. If we confess Jesus as God, we have nothing to fear. We can be bold in trials and have confidence in Him.

What confidence do you have in your trials? How can you place your trust in God rather than people?

REBECCA VAN NOORD

EZC

  • Woe to thee that spoilest, and wast not spoiled: and doest wickedly, and they did not wickedly against thee: when thou shalt cease to spoil, thou shalt be spoiled: when thou shalt make an end of doing wickedly, they shall do wickedly against thee. O Lord, have mercy upon us, we have waited for thee: be thou, which wast their arm in the morning, our help also in time of trouble. At the noise of the tumult, the people fled: at thine exalting the nations were scattered. And your spoil shall be gathered like the gathering of caterpillars: and he shall go against him like the leaping of grasshoppers. The Lord is exalted: for he dwelleth on high: he hath filled Zion with judgment and justice. And there shall be stability of the times, strength, salvation, wisdom, and knowledge: for the fear of the Lord shall be his treasure. Behold, their messengers shall cry without, and the ambassadors of peace shall weep bitterly. The paths are waste: the wayfaring man ceaseth: he hath broken the covenant: he hath contemned the cities: he regardeth no man. The earth mourneth and fainteth: Lebanon is ashamed, and hewn down: Sharon is like a wilderness, and Bashan is shaken and Carmel. Now will I arise, saith the Lord: now will I be exalted, now will I lift up myself. Ye shall conceive chaff, and bring forth stubble: the fire of your breath shall devour you. And the people shall be as the burning of lime: and as the thorns cut up, shall they be burnt in the fire. Hear, ye that are far off, what I have done, and ye that are near, know my power. The sinners in Zion are afraid: a fear is come upon the hypocrites: who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with the everlasting burnings? He that walketh in justice, and speaketh righteous things, refusing gain of oppression, shaking his hands from taking of gifts, stopping his ears from hearing of blood, and shutting his eyes from seeing evil, He shall dwell on high: his defense shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him, and his waters shall be sure. Thine eyes shall see the King in his glory: they shall behold the land far off. Isaiah 33:1–17
  • And as he spake, a certain Pharisee besought him to dine with him: and he went in, and sat down at the table. And when the Pharisee saw it, he marveled that he had not first washed before dinner. And the Lord said to him, Indeed ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup, and of the platter: but the inward part is full of ravening and wickedness. Ye fools, did not he that made that which is without, make that which is within also? Therefore, give alms of those things which you have, and behold, all things shall be clean unto you. But woe be to you, Pharisees: for ye tithe the mine and the rue, and all manner herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to have left the other undone. Woe be unto you, Pharisees: for ye love the uppermost seats in the Synagogues, and greetings in the markets. Woe be unto you, Scribes and Pharisees hypocrites: for ye are as graves which appear not, and the men that walk over them, perceive not. Then answered one of the Lawyers, and said unto him, Master, thus saying thou puttest us to rebuke also. And he said, Woe be to you also, ye Lawyers, and said unto him, Master, thus saying thou puttest us to rebuke also. And he said, Woe be unto you also, ye Lawyers: for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers. Woe be to you: for ye build the sepulchers of the Prophets, and your fathers killed them. Truly ye bear witness, and allow the deeds of your fathers: for they killed them, and ye build their sepulchers. Therefore said the wisdom of God, I will send them Prophets and Apostles, and of them they shall slay, and persecute away, That the blood of all the Prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation, From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zechariah, which was slain between the altar and the Temple: verily I say unto you, it shall be required of this generation. Woe be unto you, Lawyers: for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that came in, ye forbade. And as he said these things unto them, the Scribes and Pharisees began to urge him sore, and to provoke him to speak of many things. Laying wait for him, and seeking to catch something of his mouth, whereby they might accuse him. In the meantime, there gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, so that they trod one another: and he began to say unto his disciples first, Take heed to yourselves of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed: nothing hid, that shall not be known. Wherefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness, it shall be heard in the light: and that which ye have spoken in the ear, in secret places, shall be preached on the houses. And I say unto you, my friends, be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that are not able to do anymore. But I will forewarn you, whom ye shall fear: fear him which after he hath killed, hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, him fear. Are not five sparrows bought for two farthings, and yet not one of them is forgotten before God? Yea, and all the hairs of your head are numbered: fear not therefore: ye are more of value than many sparrows. Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man confess also before the Angels of God. But he that shall deny me before men, shall be denied before the Angels of God. And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that shall blaspheme the holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven. And when they shall bring you unto the Synagogues, and unto the rulers and Princes, take no thought how, or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall speak. For the holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour, what ye ought to say. And one of the company said unto him, Master, bid my brother divide the inheritance with me. And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge, or a divider over you? Wherefore he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for though a man have abundance, yet his life standeth not in his riches. And he put forth a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth fruits plenteously. Therefore he thought with himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where I may lay up my fruits? And he said, This will I do, I will pull down my barns, and build greater, and therein will I gather all my fruits, and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years, live at ease, eat, drink, and take thy pastime. But God said unto him, O fool, this night will they fetch away thy soul from thee: then whose shall those things be which thou hast provided? So is he that gathereth riches to himself, and is not rich in God. Luke 11:37–12:21
  • Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said, How long wilt thou talk of these things? and how long shall the words of thy mouth be as a mighty wind? Doth God pervert judgment? or doth the Almighty subvert justice? If thy sons have sinned against him, and he hath send them into the place of their iniquity, Yet if thou wilt early seek unto God, and pray to the Almighty, If thou be pure and upright, then surely he will awake up unto thee, and he will make the habitation of thy righteousness prosperous. And though thy beginning be small, yet thy latter end shall greatly increase. And though thy beginning be small, yet thy latter end shall greatly increase. Inquire therefore, I pray thee, of the former age, and prepare thyself to search of their fathers. (For we are but of yesterday, and are ignorant: for our days upon earth are but a shadow) Shall not they teach thee and tell thee, and utter the words of their heartJob 8:1–10 

Amazing Grace Hymns

August 15

HAVE THINE OWN WAY, LORD

Adelaide A. Pollard, 1862–1934

Yet, O Lord, you are our Father, We are the clay, You are the potter; we are all the work of Your hand. (Isaiah 64:8)

An elderly woman at a prayer meeting one night pleaded, “It really doesn’t matter what you do with us, Lord, just have your way with our lives.” At this meeting was Adelaide Pollard, a rather well-known itinerant Bible teacher who was deeply discouraged because she had been unable to raise the necessary funds for a desired trip to Africa to do missionary service. She was moved by the older woman’s sincere and dedicated request of God.

At home that evening Miss Pollard meditated on Jeremiah 18:3, 4:

Then I went down to the potter’s house, and behold, he wrought a work on the wheels, and the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.

Before retiring that evening, Adelaide Pollard completed the writing of all four stanzas of this hymn as it is sung today. The hymn first appeared in published form in 1907.
Often into our lives come discouragements and heartaches that we cannot understand. As children of God, however, we must learn never to question the ways of our sovereign God—but simply to say:

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way! Thou art the potter, I am the clay. Mold me and make me after Thy will, while I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way! Search me and try me, Master, today! Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now, as in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way! Wounded and weary, help me, I pray! Power, all power, surely is Thine! Touch me and heal me, Savior divine!

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way! Hold o’er my being absolute sway! Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see Christ only, always, living in me!

For Today: Psalm 27:14; Romans 6:13, 14; 9:20, 21; Galatians 2:20

Breathe this ancient prayer: “I am willing, Lord, to receive what Thou givest, to lack what Thou withholdest, to relinquish what Thou takest, to surrender what Thou claimest, to suffer what Thou ordainest, to do what Thou commandest, to wait until Thou sayest ‘Go.’ ” Reflect on these words again as you go—

Osbeck, K. W. 

EZC

  • Hope in the Lord: be strong, and he shall comfort thine heart, and trust in the LordPsalm 27:14
  • Neither give ye your members, as weapons of unrighteousness unto sin: but give yourselves unto God, as they that are alive from the dead, and give your members as weapons of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the Law, but under grace. Romans 6:13-14
  • But, O man, who art thou which pleadest against God? shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power of the clay to make of the same lump one vessel to honor, and another to dishonorRomans 9:20-21
  • I am crucified with Christ, but I live, yet not I anymore, but Christ liveth in me: and in that I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith to the Son of God, who hath loved me, and given himself for me. Galatians 2:20