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

Happy studying!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Isaiah Chapter 8:14-16

Isaiah Chapter 8:14-16
vs. 14

- “... But to Israel and Judah He will be a stone that makes people stumble, a rock that makes them fall. And for the people of Jerusalem He will be a trap and a snare. Many will stumble and fall, never to rise again. They will be snared and captured.”

- Romans 9 talks about Israel's selection as the chosen people and subsequently about God accepting the Gentiles into His family because of Israel's unbelief and rejection of Christ.

- “What does all this mean? Even though the Gentiles were not trying to follow God's standards, they were made right with God. And it was by faith that this took place. But the people of Israel, who tried so hard to get right with God by keeping the law, never succeeded. Why not? Because they were trying to get right with God by keeping the law instead of trusting in Him. They stumbled over the great rock in their path. God warned them of this in the Scriptures when He said, “I am placing a stone in Jerusalem that makes people stumble, a rock that makes them fall. But anyone who trusts in Him will never be disgraced.” (vs. 30-33)

- And in I Peter 2, we again see the cornerstone used as an illustration.

- “You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God's temple. He was rejected by people, but He was chosen by God for great honor. And you are living stones that God is building into His spiritual temple. What's more, you are His holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God. As the Scriptures say, “I am placing a cornerstone in Jerusalem, chosen for great honor, and anyone who trusts in Him will never be disgraced.” Yes, you who trust Him recognize the honor God has given Him. But for those who reject Him, “The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.” And, “He is the stone that makes people stumble, the rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they do not obey God's Word, and so they meet the fate that was planned for them. But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God's very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for He called you out of the darkness into His wonderful light. “Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God's people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God's mercy.”

- A cornerstone is the first stone that is set in a building. It's not used so much today... but at the time... it was the only way to build a foundation. It is the stone that the rest of the building is measured from. The lines of the walls are determined by the cut of the cornerstone. The building's... plumb lines are tested by that cornerstone. If the builder goes by the cornerstone and the cornerstone is cut to the correct dimensions, then the building will be perfectly plumb.

- Christ is the cornerstone of our faith. He is the basis for everything we believe.

- The cornerstone was a part of the foundation. The first stone set. Christ came first. Before the law. Before the prophets. Before the religious leaders got their hands involved in things. Christ was first.

- Everything that came after God... pointed back to, or referred back to the cornerstone. Anything that came up, had to be in line with the cornerstone.

- The priests had started to do their own thing. The religious crowd had started building their own building. They weren't referring back to the cornerstone so much. Oh, maybe at a glance. Maybe sighting out the lines from a distance... but not really measuring for sure. Not digging in to make sure they were in line.

- They weren't obeying the word of God. They were SORT of following... they were trying to color inside the lines of a color by number... but with their own color choices. Their picture... wasn't coming out quite right.

- So when Christ came and told them they were wrong in how they were going about their religion... Oh boy... You bet they stumbled.

- In Matthew 21 we have kind of a... funny/odd story. Jesus gives the Pharisees this parable about a man who had two sons. He tells the oldest to go out and work in the vineyard. The son says “Nope, not gonna go.” So then he tells the youngest son to go. The son says “sure dad, get right on that.” But then the first son changes his mind and goes to work, but the youngest son, does not. So Jesus asks the Pharisees which of the sons did what their father asked of them.

- The Pharisees of course are like “OOOO! The oldest son!”

- And Jesus just turns around and BLINDSIDES them...

- “I tell you the truth, corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the Kingdom of God before you do. For John the Baptist came and showed you the right way to live, but you didn't believe him, while tax collectors and prostitutes did. And even when you saw this happening, you refused to believe him and repent of your sins.” (vs. 31-32)

- Ouch... They had the right answer! They knew how to respond! But that wasn't good enough. It didn't matter that they had all the answers... their hearts hadn't repented yet. They were still depending on their own building skills... and not looking at the cornerstone.

- We can sometimes have all the right answers... lol I call them Sunday School answers... where the answer to the question most of the time is God/Jesus.

- “Who created the earth?” God. “Who is God's Son?” Jesus. “How are we saved from sin?” Jesus. “Who should we call on when we need help?” God.

- But those answers don't mean anything to our hearts! We're not applying them to our heart's condition. We might know what to say... what we're SUPPOSED to believe... but we're not allowing it to do a heart-work.

- Jesus' problem with the Pharisees was that they had refused to repent of their sins. They had heard Truth, heard the Word... and refused to allow it to do anything for them. The prostitutes and tax collectors had repented... but the religious crowd... had not.

- I was talking to my dad about this... and I wonder how many of these guys heard... made the connection or understood what John the Baptist or Jesus was talking about... and because of pride, or because it wasn't exactly the way they had things planned in their minds... decided to ignore it.

- The Israelites had the Messiah pictured as this conquering King, coming to free them from all oppressors. Riding in with an army and taking them out like Moses delivered them generations before.

- Christ... wasn't what they were expecting.

- My brother when he was little sneaked and saw his Christmas present. I think he saw the UPS guy deliver it if I remember right. Well... mom decided that she was going to wrap that thing up differently... so she took it out of the box, put other little things in the box... and hid the thing that was supposed to be in the box.

- Well... Christmas came, and Noah was all excited... he got the box... He was just sure he knew EXACTLY what he was getting. Tore the paper off, tore into the box... only to find... well... not what he was expecting. He was DEVASTATED! Oh the agony! He was still a little miffed at mom and dad... even after they finally did confess and give him the actual gift...

- The Pharisees were living out a Christmas morning disappointment. God wasn't following their idea of what His plan was for His people. They got what they were praying for... but... it wasn't in the right box...

- And speaking of boxes... they had so placed God in a box... and probably taught in that box SO much... that when something came that was so obviously outside of their box... they rejected it.

- So I just have to wonder how many of them GOT it... and then ignored it... How many of them saw the picture... and just... couldn't accept what they saw?

- And so what about us? Do the commands of God make us hesitant to follow Him? Or do we look at His laws and say that they're too hard? Do we take what God asks of us and say “oh surely God wouldn't require THAT.”

- Just as the young rich ruler walked away when God asked him to surrender a part of his life for God... so do we sometimes walk away from what God asks of us... (Mark 10:17-31)

vs. 16

- “Preserve the teaching of God: entrust His instructions to those who follow me.”

- This verse speaks a little of passing the Word on from generation to generation. In this time, there weren't a lot of people who could read. Mostly the priests were given the duty of writing the Word and making sure the people knew and understood it. Boys were trained in like a bible school until they hit about age 12, but then they were supposed to join their father in his trade.

- In my mind, this means that, other than making the trek to the temple every so often, or talking over God things with family (which may or may not have happened on a regular basis) many of these people were living on Sunday School stories. Things that could almost be perceived as legends. History of the nation.

- But mostly, it was probably passed down from parent to child. I don't know how the synagogues and places of worship worked as far as each town... I don't know how the priests served the outlying areas.

- And even if it had been set up in the time of Moses... I wonder how much of it had changed or gone “out of date” by the time Isaiah came along. I mean... during the time of Josiah, the priests FOUND the book of the law in the Temple... seemingly at random. “Oh look what I found! Who knew!?” I mean, it hadn't been in active use for so long that it was like a new discovery for the priests themselves...

- So... I just wonder how much this verse speaks to that parent-child relationship... and how much it speaks to the religious leaders.

- Above all else, God's Word reigns True. If we can't follow that... what is there to follow?

- Proverbs 30:5-6 says: “Every word of God proves true. He is a shield to all who come to Him for protection. Do not add to His words, or He may rebuke you and expose you as a liar.”

- When God says something, He expects you to follow the path He's laid out for you...

- Deuteronomy is a book that kind of... reviews the law. It goes over all the commands that have been given to the people during their journey through the wilderness. When each command is given, it is preceded or followed by an example of a time in Israel's history when they DIDN'T follow the command... or an example is given of a time when God proved Himself to them in the past.

- One such place is in Deuteronomy 11:16-25, which says this: “But be careful. Don't let your heart be deceived so that you turn away from the Lord and serve and worship other gods. If you do, the Lord's anger will burn against you. He will shut up the sky and hold back the rain, and the ground will fail to produce its harvests. Then you will quickly die in that good land the Lord is giving you. So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, so that as long as the sky remains above the earth, you and your children may flourish in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors. Be careful to obey all these commands I am giving you. Show love to the Lord your God by walking in His ways and holding tightly to Him. Then the Lord will drive out all the nations ahead of you, though they are much greater and stronger than you, and you will take over their land. Wherever you set foot, that land will be yours. Your frontiers will stretch from the wilderness in the south to Lebanon in the north, and from the Euphrates River in the east to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. No one will be able to stand against you, for the Lord your God will cause the people to fear and dread you, as He promised, wherever you go in the whole land.”

- God's commands were given with promises attached. IF they were followed and obeyed, then the people would prosper. Basically... IF you follow and teach your children to follow... then not only you will be blessed, but also your children.

- Wouldn't you want that for your kids? Your descendants?

- I also like this section because it says “Show love to the Lord your God by walking in His ways and holding tightly to Him.”

- We owe such a debt of gratitude to Christ. How do we repay Him? How can we ever thank Him enough? By walking in His ways and clinging to Him and not this world.

- And this doesn't mean just doing it for ourselves... Oh no...

- Commit yourselves with your whole heart to these words of mine. Tie them on your hands, wear them on your forehead. Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you're home and when you're on the road. Talk about them when you're getting ready for bed, and when you're waking up. Write them on your houses and on your gates. LET GOD FILL YOUR HEART WITH TRUTH CONTINUALLY.

- Brings a whole new meaning to “eat, drink, and sleep it” lol

- Whatever you do with your life... whether it's daily home life, or work life. Whether it's inside your home, or outside... everything should be full of the word. Teaching it to anyone and everyone around you. Doesn't mean be pushy about it... just means that your life and heart are so full of it, that it can't help but pour out. God and His Word are so present in your life, that your life becomes centered around God.

- Man... Isaiah was living in a time when this wasn't happening. How much was his heart breaking for his people? For his own generation and the generations to come?

- What about our world? Are we preserving the teachings of God today? Oh boy... how many false teachings are out there today? How many religions preach many ways to get to heaven. Or preach that “good deeds” will get you into heaven. Or preach that there is no hell. Or that God's a loving enough God that He wouldn't punish anybody for wrong doings?

- Truth is a rare commodity in this world. Partly because the end times are coming... if not already here.

- Amos said that “The time is surely coming,” says the Sovereign Lord, “when I will send a famine on the land—not a famine of bread or water but of hearing the words of the Lord. People will stagger from sea to sea and wander from border to border searching for the Word of the Lord, but they will not find it. Beautiful girls and strong young men will grow faint in that day, thirsting for the Lord's Word.” (8:11-13)

- We have a responsibility... because we have been entrusted with the Word... to go out and teach TRUTH. BIBLICAL Truth. Based on the Word, not on something you think or something somebody told you once... but TRUTH that you search out in the Word for yourself.

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