"Listen, my friend! Your helplessness is your best prayer. It calls from your heart to the heart of God with greater effect than all your uttered pleas. He hears it from the very moment that you are seized with helplessness, and He becomes actively engaged at once in hearing and answering the prayer of your helplessness" (Ole Kristian O. Hallesby).
Helplessness causes you to wait on God without fear. Waiting on God prepares you to receive the counsel of godly people so your works become fruitful as you trust the Holy Spirit to open blind eyes, free captives and release those in darkness. Proclaim God's praise and follow His leadership along unfamiliar paths to turn the darkness of blindness and deafness into light. Become God's witness so the world understands that He is Lord and Savior as you follow His pathway through mighty waters and in the desert since He provides all your needs. Now you are prepared to call upon God passionately and purposefully in intercessory prayer because He blots and remembers your sin no more.
Wait On God
In silence, nations renewed their strength as God called them to service in righteousness. God turned kings into dust as craftsmen continued making idols. He chose His friend, Israel, descendant of Abraham, to be His servant from the ends of the earth. God strengthened and upheld His people so they would not fear or be dismayed. Those who opposed them became ashamed, disgraced and died. The Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, helped them become a new and sharp threshing sledge with many teeth to crush the mountains into chaff. They rejoiced and gloried in God (Is. 41:1-16). Wait on God without fear as His tool to defeat spiritual forces of wickedness.
Listen to Godly People
The poor and needy searched for water, but their tongues were parched with thirst. God did not forsake them. He brought rivers within valleys, turned parched ground into springs and put cedar, acacia, myrtle, olive and pines in the wasteland so people understood that God did it. He asked those who trusted in idols to predict the future. In reality, their works were utterly worthless and detestable. God called someone who treaded on rulers and gave a messenger of good news to Jerusalem. Instead, they trusted in false counsel and their deeds amounted to confusion and nothingness (Is. 41:17-29). Listen to godly people so your works become fruitful.
Trust the Holy Spirit
God chose, delighted and put His Spirit in His servant so justice came to the nations. He did not cry out in the streets. A bruised reed He would not break and smoldering wick He would not snuff out. He established justice on earth so that people put their hope in His law. The Creator God who gave life to everyone called His people in righteousness to be a covenant and light for the Gentiles. They opened blind eyes, freed captives from prison and released those sitting in darkness (Is. 42:1-7). Trust the Holy Spirit to open blind eyes, free captives and release those in darkness.
Proclaim God's Praise
God did not give His glory to idols. He predicted new things before they came into being. Sing to the Lord a new song and proclaim His praise everywhere since He marched like a warrior in triumph over His enemies. His servant, Jesus, cried out and turned rivers into islands, dried up pools, led the blind by unknown ways, guided them along unfamiliar paths, turned darkness into light and made the rough places smooth. He did these things without forsaking them. Those who trusted in idols turned into utter shame (Is. 42:8-17). Proclaim God's praise everywhere and follow His leadership along unfamiliar paths to turn darkness into light.
Obey God's Law
God's servants and messengers were blind and deaf even though He made his law great and glorious. His people were plundered, trapped in pits and hidden in prisons with no rescuer. Because of sin and not following His ways or obeying His law, God poured out His burning anger through the violence of war (Is. 42:18-25). Obey God's law to remove blindness and deafness.
Become God's Witness
Do not fear because God created, redeemed and called Israel by name. The Savior protected them from floods and fire so they would not drown or be burned. He gave Egypt, Cush and Seba as their ransom since they were precious, honored and loved in God's sight. He gave people in exchange for their lives. God gathered His sons and daughters from the ends of the earth. He led those with blind eyes and deaf ears to be His true witnesses and chosen servants before the nations so they would understand that God was Lord and Savior. No one reversed His works (Is. 43:1-13). Become God's witness so the world understands that He is Lord and Savior.
Follow God's Pathway
The Redeemer, Holy One, Israel's Creator and King brought all the Babylonians in ships as fugitives for the sake of God's people. He made a path through mighty waters and snuffed out chariots, horses, army and reinforcements like a wick. Forget former things from the past because God did a new thing. He made a way in the desert and provided water there so that wild animals honored Him and His chosen people could drink. God desired that people He formed for Himself would proclaim His praise (Is. 43:14-21). Follow God's pathway through mighty waters and in the desert since He provides all your needs.
Call Upon God Passionately
Instead of calling upon God, His people became weary of Him. Instead of bringing sheep for burnt offerings and seeking God with a whole heart, they burdened Him with their sins and wearied Him with their offenses. He blotted out their transgressions for His sake and remembered their sins no more. Their first father, Adam, sinned and their spokesmen rebelled against God. He disgraced the temple dignitaries, destroyed Jacob and scorned Israel (Is. 43:22-28). Call upon God passionately and purposefully because He blots and remembers your sin no more.
How does the preparation for intercessory prayer in Is. 41-43 help you call upon God passionately and purposefully?
Joining our local human services federation showed me that people of the world often show more compassion than church people. Public school teachers and staff rival and often exceed the passion of the church in seeing children and their parents prosper. The director of after-school programs in low-income (Title One) schools in my city asked me for help in getting churches involved in serving their families. The irony is that city and school officials often have a greater desire for churches to serve people in the community than the congregations themselves. However, believers are awakening to the call for community service. The religious leaders in Jesus' day saw blindness in one man and questioned how he was healed. Similar, believers often don't consider their own blindness on how God is working outside the four walls of the church to bring healing and restoration. Let's see how religious leaders grapple with the healing of a blind man in John 9.
Jesus saw a man blind from birth as He passed by. The disciples asked Jesus if the reason he was born blind was because of the man's or his parents' sin. He answered that it was so God's works could be displayed in him since we must do His works everyday to show that Jesus is the light of the world. He applied clay to the blind man's eyes and told him to wash in the pool of Siloam. Controversy arose how his eyes were opened. The man said that Jesus made clay, anointed his eyes, told him to go to Siloam and wash, and then he received sight (John 9:1-12). Doing God's works everyday shows that Jesus is the light of the world.
The Pharisees asked the formerly blind man how he received sight. He said this man applied clay to his eyes, washed them and now he sees. A division came between those who didn't believe Jesus was from God because He healed on the Sabbath and those who believed because of His healing. Under further questioning, the formerly blind man said Jesus was a prophet. The parents of the formerly blind man wouldn't tell the Jews how he now sees because they feared being put out of the synagogue for confessing Jesus as the Messiah. They said to ask their son so he could speak for himself (John 9:13-23). Confessing Jesus as the Messiah leads some to believe in Him and others to reject you.
The Jews asked the former blind man a second time to glorify God and say Jesus was a sinner. He said, "Whether He is a sinner, I do not know, one thing I do know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see." The Jews asked him again how He opened his eyes. The formerly blind man said they weren't listening and then asked whether they wanted to be His disciples. The Jews reviled him because they knew God spoke to Moses as his disciples, but were unsure where Jesus came from. The formerly blind man challenged the Jews to look at the evidence concerning his healing. He said that "God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing, and does His will, He hears him. . . . If this man were not from God, He could do nothing." The Jews put him out saying if wasn't appropriate for a man born in sin to be teaching them (John 9:24-34). Sharing your personal testimony and God's word boldly often leads to religious people rejecting you.
When Jesus heard that the formerly blind man had been put out, He asked if he believed in the Son of Man. He answered, "Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?" Jesus said that he had seen Him and that person was talking to him now. The formerly blind said he believed and then worshiped Him. Jesus said it was for judgment He came into the world so the blind may see and those who see may become blind. When the Pharisees asked if they were blind, Jesus said they would have no sin by being blind, but saying, 'We see,' proves their sin remains (John 9:35-41). God uses spiritually blind and not religious people to show He is the light of the world.
We ask people to believe in Christ before they do the works of God, but the formerly blind man challenged the Pharisees to do His will first to hear Him. Could this be the way that God is working in our world today by speaking to those outside the church walls who are doing works of compassion? How could you join God in His work by working alongside a social service agency, volunteering at your child's school or team with others for a particular cause like homelessness, child abuse, etc.
My goal is to ignite the hearts of people by explaining God's word in the Law, Prophets, Psalms and New Testament consecutively, much like the experience of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:32,44). I have been a missionary in Lincoln, NE, for 13 years with Christ For the City Int. and Sync with God.
Sync with God is a highly versatile web app that hosts on-demand, virtual small groups. Sync is designed to connect young seekers in the faith and scripturally-trained mentors, even globally. It offers a safe, engaging interface for Millennials/Gen. Z and is readily adaptable to technical advances well into the future.
Sync pilot lesson 1