:) Finally had some time! Next week should be fun... we're heading into some messianic prophecies... :)

Happy studying!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Isaiah Chapter 1 (part 2)

Isaiah Chapter 1:18-31

vs. 18: WASHED

- “'Come now, let's settle this,' says the Lord. 'Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.'”

- White signifies purity. Scarlet is a blood-like color. So even though our hands have been stained with blood... our sin has brought us death... Christ will make them white as snow. He will cleanse us with His own blood... and make us presentable unto God.

- footnote- “Crimson was the color of a deep-red dye, and its deep stain was virtually impossible to remove from clothing.... The stain of sin seems equally permanent, but God can remove sin's stain from our life as He promised to do for the Israelites. We don't have to go through life permanently soiled. God's Word assures us that as we are willing and obedient, Christ will forgive and remove our most indelible stains....”

- In Revelation 3, it says that those clothed in white are “worthy” to walk with God.

- Romans 5:12-21 contrasts the sin of Adam, with the sacrifice of Christ.

- Adam's sin brought death into the world. We are now born sinful because of original sin. That sin is with us perpetually.

- EXCEPT, that Christ came as a free gift from God so that we could be made right again in the sight of God.

- “Adam's one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ's one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous.”

- Now instead of sin ruling in our lives... Grace can rule through Christ.

- Hebrews 2:14-15, says that this was the only way that we would ever be saved. “Because God's children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could He die, and only by dying could He break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could He set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.”

- When we accept the sacrifice of Christ, our sins are covered. We no longer have to fear death. We are not forced to be separated from God. Instead, we are welcomed into the family as spotless, pure, and holy members.

- To be under the blood, or considered as washed in the blood... God says that “I will never again remember their sins and lawless deeds.” (Hebrews 10:17).

- We are free from our sin and guilt!

- Psalm 51
- Revelation 3:4-5; 7:9-17

vs. 19-20: TURN BACK!

- “'If you will only obey me, you will have plenty to eat. But if you turn away and refuse to listen, you will be devoured by the sword of your enemies. I, the Lord, have spoken!'”

- To Israel, God proved Himself again and again as a God who was willing to forgive. He took them back time and time again. But with their continual sin, came consequences. When Israel sinned... God would at times partially withhold His protection. He would allow the enemy to conquer the Israelites, or allow the enemy to at least wreak havoc on their property and possessions.

- If they would just have obeyed God... they would have had His unlimited protection... They would have had all that they needed... but instead... they continued to turn away from God's direction.

- God gives us the same edict. Will we but follow, He will give us all we need... but if we continue to turn away... then we will be destroyed.

- Now... granted... bad things happen. Just because we follow God, does not mean that everything's going to be all rainbows and cherry blossoms...

- However, God never leaves us hanging. If we are faithful... if it takes an angel showing up in the desert to feed us... or a pot of oil and flour that just won't run dry... God can handle it. But sometimes, we are required to go through hard things in order to make us better people. If you watched the Youtube video I posted a couple weeks ago about God taking a chisel to our lives to get rid of things that are detrimental to our souls, you will have a pretty good picture of some of the things God likes get rid of in our lives.

- As we see in the story of Job, godly people, sometimes endure terrible trials...

- But God didn't leave Job. As bad as things seemed... God was still there... and Job's heart was still right. And God restored everything to Job.

- But if Job had turned and cursed God... I believe he would have died a terrible death. One that was deserving of such an act.

- God never leaves us... no matter what we do... but if we continually turn from Him, then eventually, He's going to let the consequences of our actions come down upon our heads. And if that means bringing us to the final judgment... still sinners... still rebelling... then so be it. His justice will not allow Him to excuse our rebellion and eternal consequences will be handed out.

- John 14:15-21
- Deuteronomy 28:1-29:1
- II Kings 21:10-16


- “See how Jerusalem, once so faithful, has become a prostitute. Once the home of justice and righteousness, she is now filled with murderers. Once like pure silver, you have become like worthless slag. Once so pure, you are now like watered-down wine. Your leaders are rebels, the companions of thieves. All of them love bribes and demand payoffs, but they refuse to defend the cause of orphans or fight for the rights of widows.”

- As we saw in Hosea, Israel often took on the dress of a prostitute. She would prostitute herself to the world, other nations, and other gods... for a few fleeting moments of pleasure. God would send His prophets to speak to Israel on His behalf. “Turn back to your first love!”

- But Israel was stubborn. Many times she outright refused. Sometimes, she would come back only because she needed something that she knew only God could provide... and she would stay for a while... but then the thrill and call of the past life would draw her back into its arms. Yet again, she would leave her one true and faithful love... the one true husband who would never leave nor forsake her... to go running back to her fleeting pleasures.

- I read a story about a silver refiner a while ago, and I would like to share it with you.

- Silver is refined in fire. They melt it down and let it boil and cook. (so to speak) As it heats and cooks, the impurities rise to the surface. This is the slag. It is skimmed off and thrown away.

- Someone asked the silver refiner how he knew when the silver was ready to use... he said “when I can see my reflection in it.”

- God is making us into vessels He can use. Sometimes this means putting pressure on the vessel. Shaping, changing... putting us in some pretty hot spots. It means getting rid of those things in our lives that hold us back... that keep us from being useful.

- Israel had stopped the purification process. They would not allow themselves to be heated up (tested) and purified. They were keeping their slag. So in essence... they turned back into slag...

- I Corinthians 5:6-8 says “....Don't you realize that this sin is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old “yeast” by removing this wicked person from among you. Then you will be like a fresh batch of dough made without yeast, which is what you really are. Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us. So let us celebrate the festival, not with the old bread of wickedness and evil, but with the new bread of sincerity and truth.” (This is regarding a man who was living openly in sexual sin with his stepmother... and the church was allowing it to go on with no reprimand.)

- Our sin... even if it's a little thing... can spread and destroy us. It's like letting a little infection go untreated... before you know it, it's spread throughout the body and is killing you.

- Once Israel had been considered as pure... now... they were like the slag that gets thrown away in the purification process. They were worthless. Useless. Their sin had made them so.

- And it wasn't just the people of Israel. It was the leadership! The kings of Israel had led the people into sin. They were no longer godly leaders. They were selfish and sinful.

- It has been said that the subordinates reflect their superior... whether that be in the workplace, in the home, or in a nation. It's a trickle-down effect. All the sins of the leaders, are reflected in the sins of the people.

- My mom tells of a roommate in college from New York who went to a small Baptist church. One of the couples divorced, but remained in the church together. He with his much younger bride and the wife alone.

- In the short span of ten years, the roommate received the heartbreaking news that her parents, the last married couple now not to be divorced, were getting a divorce. Her dad married a young girl of twenty, a year younger than his daughter!

- What just happened? God hates divorce, but Jesus said that because of the hardness of their hearts, Moses had written up the laws on divorce. Is God happy about divorce? Absolutely not. Is it unforgivable? Of course not. The blood is sufficient to cover our sins when we truly repent. But why would an entire church end in divorcing their spouses of 20+ years? One man did it, God didn't strike him down, he still went to church, still talked to his wife and children, but now he had a younger wife.

- We have a saying about this, “ having your cake and eating it too .” When this kind of sin is allowed and nothing is even said about it, it spreads rapidly. And yes, even the pastor divorced. It says that we sin because we are enticed by our own lust. I think the pastor never said anything to the first man, because he himself struggled with the same sin of lust and likewise all the men in this church.

- God is not a kill joy because he hates divorce. He knows what it does to children, families, and each other. He wanted his body to be healthy... not carrying about a load of guilt and shame.

- Mom's friend has never really forgiven her parents for their actions. It's still hard to go home... so she doesn't.

- The first churches were made up of family and friends. Most small churches are still family and friends. If Satan can cause hurt and distrust in God's body, he has destroyed much of its effectiveness.

- If you find yourself in a leadership position, whether larger or small... this needs to be looked at periodically.

- Have you ever had to fill out a survey about your workplace? They ask questions about morale, about the work conditions, about what kind of things you see as lacking in the workplace... but most of the time... they shy away from questions about the boss...

- But if you walk into a workplace for the first time... you can tell a lot about the boss, by the kind of people and personalities you see in the place.

- So what kind of leader are you? How do you lead your children? Your spouse? Your church? Your co-workers? Your employees? Your friends? As a child of God, you have a responsibility to lead, no matter who's following... into righteousness and a God-centered life.

- Ezra 9:6-10:17
- II Chronicles 36:11-21
- Daniel 9:4-19


- “Therefore, the Lord, the Lord of Heaven's Armies, the Mighty One of Israel, says, “I will take revenge on my enemies and pay back my foes! I will raise my fist against you. I will melt you down and skim off your slag. I will remove all your impurities. Then I will give you good judges again and wise counselors like you used to have. Then Jerusalem will again be called the Home of Justice and the Faithful City. Zion will be restored by justice; those who repent will be revived by righteousness. But rebels and sinners will be completely destroyed, and those who desert the Lord will be consumed.”

- In Matthew 12:30 Jesus said “Anyone who isn't with me opposes me, and anyone who isn't working with me is actually working against me.”

- When God declares His revenge on His enemies... He is speaking to those in Israel who have refused to turn from their sin. God's judgment is coming, and it's fast approaching. He will put them through the fire, He will purify their hearts... Those who repent, will be revived. They will live on. They will yet again have God's favor. But those who continue to rebel and live in their sin, will be completely destroyed.

- At the end of verse 28, it says that those who desert the Lord will be consumed. In Hebrews 12:25-29 says this: “Be careful that you do not refuse to listen to the One who is speaking. For if the people of Israel did not escape when they refused to listen to Moses, the earthly messenger, we will certainly not escape if we reject the One who speaks to us from heaven! When God spoke from Mount Sinai His voice shook the earth, but now He makes another promise: 'Once again I will shake not only the earth but the heavens also.' This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain. Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping Him with holy fear and awe. For our God is a devouring fire.”

- If you've ever seen video footage of a wildfire... that's what I think about when I read about a consuming or devouring fire. It doesn't just burn, it disintegrates. It doesn't leave anything behind that is usable. Everything is charred beyond belief.

- However, in the aftermath of a wildfire, there comes new life. In really big or old forests, this is especially true. Without the fire... the forest would start to die. The trees are tall enough and thick enough, that sometimes, even in the heaviest rains, the water doesn't reach the ground that well. All the old underbrush and ground cover is gone. All the old trees are done squeezing the sunlight out from hitting the lower vegetation. The forest can regrow new life. The ashes of the old, fertilize the new.

- Without the fire... death would surely come.

- God's judgment is like that. Sometimes He doesn't wait on things to slowly die off... If He leaves very present sin as an influence in the world... young faith dies. So sometimes... it calls for a fire. To destroy everything that is evil... in order for the new, young faith, to grow.

- Those who desert the Lord... will most definitely be consumed in such a fire...

- Deuteronomy 4:21-25
- Psalm 18
- Ezekiel 22:23-31
- Job 20

vs. 29-31: THE OAK

- “You will be ashamed of your idol worship in groves of sacred oaks. You will blush because you worshiped in gardens dedicated to idols. You will be like a great tree with withered leaves, like a garden without water. The strongest among you will disappear like straw; their evil deeds will be the spark that sets it on fire. They and their evil works will burn up together, and no one will be able to put out the fire.”

- Yet again we see a reference to the fire of God destroying the evil.

- Israel had turned from the ever-faithful God... to a strong, earthly... tree. The oak might still have been strong, might have withstood the test of time, maybe withstood some pretty harsh storms. But... it is a passing thing.

- Instead of being seen as a strong thing, the life lived under the worship of idols, would become like a great withered tree... like straw set afire... Fire destroys everything. The oak may withstand the wind... but it won't withstand the fire.

- footnote- “Throughout history, the oak tree has been a symbol of strength, but the people were worshiping “sacred oaks.” Ezekiel mentions that oak trees were used as places for idol worship (Ezekiel 6:13). Are you devoted to symbols of strength and power that rival God's place in your life? Does your commitment to any of your interests border on worship? Make God your first loyalty; everything else will fade in time and burn away under His scrutiny.”

- Isaiah 40:12-31
- Psalm 115
- Habakkuk 2:18-20

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