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

Happy studying!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Isaiah Chapter 5 (part 4)

Isaiah Chapter 5:20-30
vs. 20
- “What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter.”

- The first thing that comes to mind with this is peer pressure and drugs... I remember getting thrown the “it's fun! We promise!” one a lot... or “what's it gonna hurt?” or something about not being cool if you didn't participate and this was how you were really going to make a mark in the world... I even had my best friend at the time to give me a key chain that said “You gotta do something to be anything.”

- Anytime somebody comes to you and presents a bad thing as a good thing... it's generally a sign that either they're not all together right, or they have your destruction in mind. Whether out of maliciousness or just a desire to wreak havoc and then sit back and watch the fun... it's not ok.

- Sometimes... it's not a person... it's not a friend... or family... or stranger... it comes in a whisper from Satan himself... reasoning with you. “Why deny yourself? What sane person denies themselves? Aren't you taught to succeed? Aren't you taught to go after what you want?” And just like in the garden... he twists God's truth... to fit his own perverted purposes.

- When we start taking wrong things... whatever they may be... no matter how small they might seem, and saying that... well... maybe they're not SO wrong... maybe they're ok to do... then we can start to see possible compromises on big things as well.

- footnote- “When people see no distinction between good and evil, destruction soon follows. It is easy for people so say, “No one can decide for anyone else what is really right or wrong.” They may think getting drunk can't hurt them, extramarital sex isn't really wrong, or money doesn't control them. But when they make excuses for their actions, they break down the distinction between right and wrong. If people do not take God's Word, the Bible, as their standard, soon all moral choices become fuzzy. Without God, they are headed for a breakdown and much suffering.”

- There was a friend of mine who's a fairly new Christian this week who was talking to my dad about his usage of cuss words. That's usually one of the first things to come up with new Christians... they're not used to having to watch their tongue.

- But even taking that small thing and saying... “well I'll be a Christian in other ways... but not this one.” or “Well I'm a Christian, but what's to say that I can't accept Christ and still live like I did yesterday?”

- Satan's lies that come either directly from him, or through someone in your life... can destroy your walk with Christ. Little by little, he erodes your walk and then throws your failure in your face any chance he can get. “You call yourself a Christian? Christians don't do that!”

- This verse says that sorrow will come to those who tell lies in place of the truth...

- II Peter 2 talks about false teachers coming to spread lies among the church. He says that they will even deny the Master who bought them... in other words... they will even deny Christ...

- “These false teachers are like unthinking animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed. They scoff at things they do not understand, and like animals, they will be destroyed. Their destruction is their reward for the harm they have done.... These people are as useless as dried-up springs or as mist blown away by the wind. They are doomed to blackest darkness. They brag about themselves with empty, foolish boasting. With an appeal to twisted sexual desires, they lure back into sin those who have barely escaped form a lifestyle of deception. They promise freedom, but they themselves are slaves of sin and corruption. For you are a slave to whatever controls you. And when people escape from the wickedness of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and then get tangled up and enslaved by sin again, they are worse off than before. It would be better if they had never known the way to righteousness than to know it and then reject the command they were given to live a holy life.” (vs. 12-13, 17-21)

- Thus why sorrow will come... Jude 1 says that they will perish in their rebellion. If they die in their rebellion... there is no hope. To die in your sin is a death sentence for all eternity... you are condemning yourself to endless torment and suffering in hell.

- These are teachers who knew the truth... and instead of following it... they learned to twist it for their own purposes... and they began to teach things other than the truth.... but were still trying to pass it off as truth. They rebelled against what they KNEW as truth. They are rejecting God... as God... and putting their own flesh on the throne in His place... and while they might think they are now free from the burden of living a holy life... the burden of being good all the time... they are now enslaved to their sin. Instead of being free... they are more bound than ever. And most of the time... they don't even realize it!

- Jude 1:3-23
- II Peter 2
- Micah 3:1-7
- II Thessalonians 2:1-12

vs. 21

- Isaiah goes on with other things that will eventually bring sorrow to the doers.

- “What sorrow for those who are wise in their own eyes and think themselves so clever.”

- Romans 1 says this: “But God shows His anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. They know the truth about God because He has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see His invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn't worship Him as God or even give Him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.” (vs. 18-23)

- When man begins to think that he is wise... that is when he finds that he is not...

- These men started to think that they could determine what God was like... maybe what He looked like... or maybe they started with the above section... maybe they started attributing qualities to God that were not His... they started to assume truths about God... that were in reality false... or they started to put what they would LIKE God to be, into His character where they didn't belong.

- So what will happen to these people?

- “So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other's bodies. They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator Himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. .Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved. Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, He abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done.... They know God's justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.” (vs. 24-32)

- Because they rejected God, He abandoned them to their sin. He allowed them to do what they liked... because God doesn't force Himself upon us. He gives us every possible chance to turn around and do what we should... but when we don't... when we persist in our sin... when we make the conscious decision to turn away from God time after time... He will eventually let us go our own way. He will eventually let us sin as we like...

- These people above... when God abandoned them to do whatever they liked... it says that they traded the truth about God for a lie. They knew the truth... and instead, they took the lie. Knowing that they were condemning themselves... they did it anyway... and then they encourage others to join in their sin with them! They invite others to rebel and join in their destruction!

- And it all started with a thought... a false thought... about who God is. They thought they had it all figured out. They thought they had found the answers. But in their man-wisdom... they made themselves utter fools.

- I was reading “The Case for a Creator” by Lee Strobel a few weeks ago... and there was a story about a man who was either trying to prove or disprove evolution. He had all these facts to prove his theories and all this stuff that he was using to make his theory truth... except that by the time he was finished and his findings were published... he basically proved the other side of the matter. Or at least helped the other side significantly. Lol

- Our man-wisdom... doesn't even remotely match up to God's... We can try all we want... but our wisdom is just a drop in the ocean. We are nothing in comparison to the all-knowing and all-seeing God.

- Sorrow and destruction will come to those who think themselves to be more wise than the God who is the Author of Knowledge...

- Colossians 2:1-15
- James 3:13-18; 1:2-18
- Proverbs 3:7-8
- I Corinthians 3:18-20

vs. 22

- “What sorrow for those who are heroes at drinking wine and boast about all the alcohol they can hold.”

- This takes us back to the idea that you are a slave to whatever you serve.

- Alcoholics are slaves to alcohol. Their daily lives are determined by the drink. The phrase “heroes at drinking” brings to mind a lot of college stories... lol I remember sitting at dinner or in class or whatever and hearing all these stories about the past weekends or the plans for the coming weekend. Drinking contests were almost always a part of that.

- But what good does it bring? When alcohol becomes the master... who knows what kind of direction the slave will get...

- I remember one of the guys in my music classes got drunk one night and tried to punch a hole through a brick wall... he did crack the brick... but he also messed up his hand pretty good...
- And of course there's always stories about the drunk driver who kills a car full of people...

- Or the alcoholic who falls asleep and lets the stove keep cooking or drops a cigarette and burns the house down around themselves.

- They bring destruction to themselves because their senses are inhibited. They're not thinking clearly... and so they do things that are harmful. Either to themselves or to people they have contact with.

- And the same goes for drugs or anything else that inhibits right thinking. To drink or do drugs until you don't know who you're hurting or what you're doing... just causes pain... both to you, and to everyone around you. Your drunkenness becomes your own punishment.

- Romans 13:11-14
- Luke 21:34-36

vs. 23
- “They take bribes to let the wicked go free, and they punish the innocent.”

- So in reading this statement... I was reminded of law enforcement.

- Law enforcement officers are in place to help you. While yes they do give you speeding tickets etc., they do so as a check to your impulses and for the safety of yourself and other drivers. Their job is to protect you from yourself and others from you and vice versa.

- However, if these officers start taking bribes to let you off from speeding, or for domestic violence calls, or drug charges, or whatever it is... eventually, you're going to really do some damage to someone... and then... it's on their hands. It's their fault that innocent people suffer if they don't do their jobs.

- Or maybe these particular officials needed to have someone to take the blame... so they took the bribe, let the guilty guy off, and had an innocent man take the punishment for the guilty one.

- James 4:17 says: “Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.”

- Proverbs 17:15
- Psalm 94:20-23
- Micah 3:8-12
- James 5:1-6

vs. 24

- “Therefore, just as fire licks up stubble and dry grass shrivels in the flame, so their roots will rot and their flowers wither. For they have rejected the law of the Lord of Heaven's Armies; they have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. That is why the Lord's anger burns against His people, and why He has raised His fist to crush them. The mountains tremble, and the corpses of His people litter the streets like garbage. But even then the Lord's anger is not satisfied. His fist is still poised to strike! He will send a signal to distant nations far away and whistle to those at the ends of the earth. They will come racing towards Jerusalem. They will not get tired or stumble. They will not stop for rest or sleep. Not a belt will be loose, not a sandal strap broken. Their arrows will be sharp and their bows ready for battle. Sparks will fly from their horses' hooves, and the wheels of their chariots will spin like a whirlwind. They will roar like lions, like the strongest of lions. Growling, they will pounce on their victims and carry them off, and no one will be there to rescue them. They will roar over their victims on that day of destruction like the roaring of the sea. If someone looks across the land, only darkness and distress will be seen; even the light will be darkened by clouds.”

- Because they have rejected the Lord as God and King... their destruction will follow. Many times God held back His anger and gave them another chance to change their ways... many times did He send warnings to them... and many times did they turn away in scorn.

- So now destruction is their just dessert.

- In Deuteronomy 28, God lists over the blessings that Israel will receive for their obedience... and the destruction that will come if they rebel against Him. Part of this conversation is quoted in the above verses from Isaiah. “The Lord will bring a distant nation against you from the end of the earth, and it will swoop down on you like a vulture. It is a nation whose language you do not understand, a fierce and heartless nation that shows no respect for the old and no pity for the young.” (vs. 49-50)

- Some of the things about the nation who is coming relates back to Israel's own history. Like the sandal straps not being broken. In Deuteronomy 29:5, Moses reminds the people of this: “For forty years I led you through the wilderness, yet your clothes and sandals did not wear out.”

- Isaiah 40:28-31 says: “Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of His understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”

- In Luke 12:35-40, Jesus is talking about being prepared for when He comes again, and He says “Be dressed for service and keep your lamps burning as though you were waiting for your master to return from the wedding feast. Then you will be ready to open the door and let Him in the moment He arrives and knocks. The servants who are ready and waiting for His return will be rewarded.... You also must be ready all the time...”

- Basically... the enemy that God sends after Israel will be prepared. They will be ready for anything. They will be coming with the blessings that Israel SHOULD have had... if they had listened to God. They will run and not grow weary. Their clothing will be lasting for the battle. They will have... good fortune in battle so to speak. Not necessarily because God is WITH them... but more because He is no longer protecting Israel because of their continued rebellion.

- Thus... Israel's rejection of God... will lead to their destruction.

- Just as our rejection of God will lead to our destruction. But ours won't be an exile to another nation... ours will be an eternal separation from communion with God...

- Joel 2
- Jeremiah 4:1-6:30

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