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Sunday at 9:30 a.m.
7111 La Jolla Blvd in beautiful La Jolla, CA
14 miles north of downtown San Diego, CA

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Why God is so kind

Monday Isaiah 5:1-4 (NRSV)
Let me sing for my beloved my love-song concerning his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. He dug it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines; he built a watchtower in the midst of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it; he expected it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes. And now, inhabitants of Jerusalem and people of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard. What more was there to do for my vineyard that I have not done in it? When I expected it to yield grapes, why did it yield wild grapes?

Isaiah says this lament is a love-song. God (the beloved) goes to extraordinary lengths to prepare for the vineyard before it is planted, picking out a choice hill, cultivating the soil, clearing away the obstacles, and planting good stock.

Then when the vines are growing, God protects them against enemies and gets everything ready for the harvest. But instead of getting the expected yield of good grapes, the grapes are bad. In this case, the vineyard is a metaphor for a nation, but the story probably applies to individuals as well

What has God done to provide for you before you were born? How about for your country?

What has God done to provide for you while you were growing up? How about for your country?

What kind of grapes do you think you are yielding in God’s eyes? How about your country?

Tuesday
Isaiah 5:5-7 (NRSV)
Now I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard. I will remove its hedge, and it shall be devoured; I will break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down. I will make it a waste; it shall not be pruned or hoed, and it shall be overgrown with briers and thorns; I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the people of Judah are his pleasant planting; he expected justice, but saw bloodshed; righteousness, but heard a cry!

God had worked hard to prepare the vineyard, but now God was about to destroy it by removing its protection. And what was the reason for this change after such an investment of time and effort? God had expected justice but got bloodshed; God wanted righteousness, but instead heard cries of people being oppressed.

Isaiah and the other prophets of Israel report over and over that justice on earth is our responsibility. God expects societies to be just, and God expects us to change them if they are not.

What injustices have you noticed?

What have you done about these injustices in the past?

What will you do about them in the future?

Wednesday Genesis 18:26-32 (NRSV)
The LORD said, "If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will forgive the whole place for their sake." . . . [Abraham bargained with God for smaller numbers.] Then [Abraham] said, "Oh do not let the Lord be angry if I speak just once more. Suppose ten are found there." He answered, "For the sake of ten I will not destroy it."

The Bible records that nations (and individuals) have to become desperately wicked before God removes them. In the above passage, Abraham interceded for a city so bad that all the men in it gang-raped visitors who passed through town. Abraham first asked if God wouldn’t spare that city (and thereby prolong its wickedness) for the sake of 50 righteous people. When Abraham got his request, he bargained God down to ten righteous people. But in Sodom’s case, God couldn’t even find ten righteous people, and the city was destroyed.

What pockets of wickedness and injustice have you noticed?

Since justice on earth is our responsibility, how will you change them?

Thursday Genesis 19:15-16a
When morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, "Get up, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or else you will be consumed in the punishment of the city." But he lingered.

Sometimes people can get so comfortable living in a wicked place that they don’t want to leave – even when judgement is imminent.

What wickedness have you grown comfortable with? (What wickedness no longer pains you?)

Friday 2 Peter 3:3-9 (NRSV)
First of all you must understand this, that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and indulging their own lusts and saying, "Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since our ancestors died, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation!" They deliberately ignore this fact, that by the word of God heavens existed long ago and an earth was formed out of water and by means of water, through which the world of that time was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the present heavens and earth have been reserved for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the godless. But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance.

Who among the people you care for is God still waiting to come to repentance?

Which among the cities or nations that you care for is God still waiting to come to repentance?

How will you help God reach them?

Saturday Romans 2:4b (NRSV)
Do you not realize that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?

Many people question how – if God is good – the world can be filled with such injustice. If God is good and powerful, how can there be such horrible things happening and God not do anything? Most people don’t realize it, but they’re asking why God is so kind to people who are so evil. Today’s reading gives one of the Bible’s answers: God is kind because God is hoping that all people will be saved (See
1 Timothy 2:3-4). God’s kindness (in allowing sinfulness to continue) comes because God wants all people to repent.

What are some areas of your life where God has not given you the punishment you deserved?

What are some areas of your life where you still need to change?

What have you done this week because of Jesus?

What do you want to do next week because of Jesus?

What do you need help with?


Check out other Bible Studies and videos for 2013 or messages for 2012 or messages for 2011.


La Jolla Lutheran Church is a member of Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ, a fast-growing association of churches that believe the Bible. Other LCMC churches in the San Diego area include Penasquitos Lutheran Church at 14484 Penasquitos Drive; and St. Timothy Lutheran Church at 2602 Reo Drive. Check the list of more than 800 congregations to find an LCMC church near you.

The Scripture quotations contained herein are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible (NRSV), copyright, 1989, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S. A. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


Visit La Jolla Lutheran Church Sunday at 9:30 a.m.

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La Jolla Lutheran Church
7111 La Jolla Blvd, La Jolla, California, 92037
14 miles north of downtown San Diego.

 

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