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When You're at the End of Your Hope
by Tom Goodman
March 26, 2014

Do you spend your days in Bagamoyo?

Probably not literally, since Bagamoyo is a Tanzanian town on the east coast of Africa.  But the name comes from two Swahili words: bwaga means "put down," and moyo means "the heart."  The town's name probably came from slaves.  In the early 1800s, Muslim Arabs would go into the African interior and capture people for slavery.  They would march them to the coast and sell them to traders who would board them on ships.  Bagamoyo became the name of the place where countless people laid down their hearts and abandoned hope.

Maybe you're living in a spiritual and emotional Bagamoyo right now.  Health issues, frustrations at work, addictions, family conflict -- circumstances can make us lay down our hearts and give up.

In Isaiah 42, God promised help for those at the end of their hope.  He promised his Servant would come to our aid.  "A bruised reed he will not break," God announces in verse 3, "and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out."  The Servant's mission would be "to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison, and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness" (verse 7).

Matthew said that Jesus was that promised Servant (12:15-21).  He is your escort out of Bagamoyo.  His pardon, precepts, promises, and presence bring us to a place of hope again.

That's the lesson from the first "Servant Song."

Scholars have long noted the presence of four "songs" in the book of Isaiah that prophesy the work of Jesus.  They're found in chapters 42, 49, 50, and 53.  Starting Sunday, we're going to see what those songs can teach us about Jesus.  We'll spend the next three Sundays on the first three songs, and conclude with Isaiah 53 in our Good Friday service.

A study of these songs is a perfect way to prepare for Easter.  Each song goes deeper and deeper into the profound truth that the way the Servant serves is through suffering.  And it's a suffering designed for our benefit.

So, join us this Sunday as we study the first of Isaiah's Servant Songs.  It's time you packed up and left Bagamoyo.

Update on Our "ABT" Campaign.  Renovation on our foyer is almost done!  You've made this possible with your ongoing contributions to our "A Beautiful Thing" Campaign.  To date, $769,000 has been given toward our combined pledges of $840,000.  The campaign ends in May, so help us reach this target!


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