CandidatesSpiritual Life Development

Candidate’s Seminar Devotions: The Story Before… (Intro)

If you are attending the Candidate’s Seminar in a few weeks, these are for you.

God is already at work. This is important for us to note. When you were born, He was already at work. When 2017 turned into 2018, God was already at work. As you navigate God’s call on your life, He is already at work. When Jesus was born, God was already at work. Even “in the beginning” God was already working. Scripture is full of new things from old things. It’s beginning after beginning after beginning. It’s redemption upon redemption. Not because God keeps starting over, but because He has been working for the redemption of all creation from the very beginning. He is already at work.

God is already at work.

When Isaiah takes his place as prophet to Judah, God is already at work. While Isaiah’s story starts fresh, the big story has been unfolding for some time. The first few chapters of Isaiah shed some light on that for us.

Biblical scholars are in general agreement that Isaiah 1-5 is a prologue to the rest of the book. Like many prophetic books in scripture, Isaiah opens with a “byline” that gives us some information about when the book takes place. Unlike those other books, though, it’s a very general timeline that covers the lives of four kings. If we keep that timeline in mind as we read through chapters 1-5, we get a sense of the “Big Picture” that Isaiah is born into and called to serve. We review the sins and rebellion of Israel in chapter 1. In 2 we review the character and being of God and His actions toward rebellion which carries through chapter 3. Chapter 4 ends on a higher note, focusing on redemption and refuge, leading us into the beautiful and haunting “Song of the Vineyard” in chapter 5 that serve as a preamble to the familiar words of the launch of Isaiah’s ministry in chapter 6. There is much to be done.

Leading up to the Candidate’s Weekend (February 2-4, 2018), we have put together a 4-part devotional series for you. This series is called “The Story Before…” and we will look at various facets of the world before and around Isaiah’s time as prophet. You may see some parallels and connections to our world today. You may see some of the same desperation that Isaiah felt. You may carry a deep burden for the lost. In all of that, the challenge to you is this… Do you see that God is already at work in the world? Do you see the opportunity to join with Him in the ongoing and unfolding redemption of all of creation? Do you see a bigger story?

Look at your own story as you read through the scriptures. Think about all that has taken place to bring you to this moment right now. Think about your “Story Before” and the work that God has been doing for, in, through and around you. Accept His invitation to be drawn in more deeply. Embrace the opportunity to see Him more fully. Pursue His presence and His purpose more closely.

 

Sincerely,

Chris Stoker
Spiritual Life Development Dept.

And the Territorial Candidate’s Department
Majors Linda & Richard Lopez, Major Elmer Deming

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