Dear brothers and sisters,
Today we wrap up our January series: God is greater than our worry! We’ve been saying that if we realize worry is a choice, we can find ways to lessen and even eliminate it in our lives. We’ve said to take Jesus’ advice to seek first God and his righteousness through prayer, and to live and deal with concerns in the present moment, instead of worrying so much about the future. We live in the present more easily and without worry, as we’ve said, when we believe God’s promise: that he will give us all the power and strength that we’ll ever need, to tackle any future problems we may have, even those that overwhelm us. Today we will look at what to do when we fail and fall back into worry. In Isaiah chapter 30, the context is that the people of Judah and Jerusalem are facing a real threat from the powerful Assyrian army on their norther border, now threatening to wipe out the city. Instead of turning to God, they turn south, to seek the help of Egypt. Constantly throughout the Old Testament and the history of Israel, “turning to Egypt” is a temptation for God’s People – it’s a euphemism for falling back into the slavery of idolatry and self-reliance. At this moment, the people of Jerusalem are refusing to hear and obey the warnings of the prophets to not turn to Egypt. At last the prophet says this: For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel: By waiting and by calm you shall be saved, in quiet and in trust shall be your strength (Isaiah 30:15). So often we are just like the people of Judah and Jerusalem who turn to worry to help solve a problem. That worry cannot help us; and ultimately that worry becomes a sin, because it leads us to turn away from God. In those moments, we need to turn back to God and to repent of our worry. Sinful worry can lead us to bad decisions that affect us and the people around us. If this is a struggle for you: first, repent of any sinful worry by turning back to God, perhaps in confession; second, renounce worry in the future; and finally, ask Jesus to cleanse your wounded hearts from the sin of worry that we have allowed into our lives. For some people, repenting of worry can be a huge spiritual issue that will draw them so much closer to God. Questions for Small Groups:
1 How have your worries changed over the years? What did you once worry about that no longer concerns you?
2. The Israelites had a legitimate concern. How did they mishandle that concern?
3. When have you done something that just didn’t make any sense because you allowed worry to drive your decision making process?
4. What does the word “repent” mean to you? How does it compare to the definition and steps mentioned above?
5. Read aloud Isaiah 30:15. What does that verse mean to you when it comes to worry?
6. What are your take aways from this series? Have you reduced the worry in your life at all?