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

Happy studying!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Isaiah Chapter 10:20-34

Isaiah Chapter 10:20-34

vs. 20

- “In that day the remnant left in Israel, the survivors in the house of Jacob, will no longer depend on allies who seek to destroy them. But they will faithfully trust the Lord, the Holy One of Israel.”

- In what day? In the day that God strikes down Assyria. Assyria will serve its purpose and will receive its punishment. In the day that God consumes Assyria's glory and the people that survive are so few in number that a child could count them. (v. 12-19)

- In the day when the enemy is defeated and Israel's punishment for her sin is complete... then the remnant that is left in Israel, will learn to depend on God. They will have run after strong nations long enough. They will have been taken advantage of enough times. They will finally look to the Lord to save them.

- You know... I have a cousin who is living a crazy life right now. She's living life the way she thinks it's fun to live it. She's chasing after all the typical things in this world that are thought to bring pleasure or happiness.

- Her story reminds me of Israel's relationship with God.

- A month or two ago, my mom sat her down and had a very hard talk with her about where her life was going. She was basically warned that if she didn't stop, God was going to punish her, because her actions are those of one who spits in the face of God in contempt.

- She was repentant for a week or two... and then went right back to what she had been doing before... with a vengeance.

- Recently, she's started to become very ill. The doctors aren't sure what's wrong and the medication that should be helping... isn't. If she continues her downward descent... I believe that she will very soon find herself on the verge of death... But regardless of all this... she's still wanting to live life her own way. Still determined that nobody's going to tell her what to do. No matter the cost.

- Israel lived their national life much the same way. Prophets would come with a warning for them to turn from their sin. The people would act contrite for a few days, months, maybe even years... maybe even start to make an outward change... but before you know it... they're wallowing in their sin again... sometimes deeper than before. Sometimes with a renewed intent TO sin.

- Punishment would come. The people would repent... and sometimes for a few generations, they would live righteously before God... But then, you would yet again find the springing up of sin in the life of a nation.

- We are now at a point in Israel's ongoing cycle that God says “Enough!” His anger has burned long enough. They have been given enough chances. It is time for disciplinary action. It is time to end the wishy washy heart cycle of the nation. God brings His righteous judgment down on them, leaving only a faithful remnant to survive. Much like the flood of Noah's day, the wickedness of the hardened heart is done away with.

- God sees into the heart and knows that they have no intention of ever allowing Him to soften their hearts. But the remnant! Those left whose hearts are willing!

- Romans 1:28-2:16

vs. 21-26

- “A remnant will return, yes, the remnant of Jacob will return to the Mighty God. But though the people of Israel are as numerous as the sand of the seashore, only a remnant of them will return. The Lord has rightly decided to destroy His people. Yes, the Lord, the Lord of Heaven's Armies, has already decided to destroy the entire land.”

- My mind automatically goes to the founding of Israel as a nation in 1948.

- I found this article online and I really want to include it. There's some pretty heavy stuff here, but WOW what stuff. :)

- A few points to check out on this... just as a side note- Ezekiel 36-40 talks about the restoration of Israel.

- God brought the people back to the nation. And He not only brought them back... He brought them back exactly when He said He would... down to the hour.

- footnote- “Those who remained faithful to God despite the horrors of the invasion are called the remnant. The key to being a part of the remnant was faith. Being a descendant of Abraham, living in the Promised Land, having trusted God at one time—none of these were good enough. Are you relying on your Christian heritage, your participation in church, or a past experience to qualify you for belonging to God's family? The key to being a true Christian is faith in the mighty God.”

- So to precursor this event...

- “So this is what the Lord, the Lord of Heaven's Armies, says: “O my people in Zion, do not be afraid of the Assyrians when they oppress you with rod and club as the Egyptians did long ago. In a little while my anger against you will end, and then my anger will rise up to destroy them.” The Lord of Heaven's Armies will lash them with His whip, as He did when Gideon triumphed over the Midianites at the rock of Oreb, or when the Lord's staff was raised to drown the Egyptian army in the sea.”

- I Timothy 5:24-25

- In other words, in speaking to the faithful, do not be afraid when the oppressors come... for although judgment must fall on the nation, there WILL be a restoration... there WILL be a renewal of the heart... God WILL remain faithful to His promises.

- Many places in the New Testament speak about not giving up in times of tribulation or persecution. Rather, we are told to rejoice that we are being persecuted for the sake of the name of Christ.

- Israel was being punished for their disobedience... and this brings the question, “well what about the faithful? If they were faithful, why were they being punished along with all the rest?”

- I think sometimes persecution comes as a way of testing. Sometimes it may not be a punishment so much as other people's response to who we are in Christ. Sometimes, we just happen to get grouped in with the people or groups around us. For instance, ALL of the Israelites ended up in bondage in Egypt. Not just the unfaithful... In war, all are impacted... not just soldiers. And unfortunately, we are all in a battle... a spiritual one, but a battle nonetheless.

- II Thessalonians 2:3-7 says this: “We proudly tell God's other churches about your endurance and faithfulness in all the persecutions and hardships you are suffering. And God will use this persecution to show His justice and to make you worthy of His Kingdom, for which you are suffering. In His justice He will pay back those who persecute you. And God will provide rest for you who are being persecuted and also for us when the Lord Jesus appears from heaven...”

- Luke 8:4-18
- Judges 2:16-3:11
- Ezekiel 21:1-17

- James 1:2-8 says: “...When troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask Him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.”

- Our lives are a journey to perfection in Christ. Perfection is never reached until we come into our heavenly bodies in a sinless state after death. The more like Christ we become however, the more perfect we are. (Still imperfect... but better than we were...) Christ sometimes uses testing to perfect us. Consider it as the sculptor shaving off the rough edges of the masterpiece. Testing or Trials into our lives a way of getting rid of the things that bind us to this world or to sin.

vs. 27-34

- When the Lord avenges His people and ends their time of punishment, it will be a complete salvation.

- “In that day the Lord will end the bondage of His people. He will break the yoke of slavery and lift it from their shoulders. Look, the Assyrians are now at Aiath. They are passing through Migron and are storing their equipment at Micmash. They are crossing the pass and are camping at Geba. Fear strikes the town of Ramah. All the people of Gibeah, the hometown of Saul, are running for their lives.”

- Basically this passage is telling the people that the Assyrians are drawing ever closer. The cities mentioned are on the path to Jerusalem. They're getting closer and closer. Geba is the city on the other side of the mountain pass. They had made it past the natural boundary and defense system. They were going to be coming to the main city quickly.

- I find it a little odd that the city that they're going for, and the city that's running is the city of Saul. The first thing that God is taking out of Israel's life is the starting point of their dependance upon man instead of on God as King and Leader.

- “Scream in terror, you people of Gallim! Shout out a warning to Laishah. Oh, poor Anathoth! There go the people of Madmenah, all fleeing. The citizens of Gebim are trying to hide. The enemy stops at Nob for the rest of that day. He shakes his fist at beautiful Mount Zion, the mountain of Jerusalem.”

- No place to hide... They are all running from the wrath of God... and the enemy who's chasing them down... stops to take a break. They're not worried about catching them. They know they are the superior force. Indeed... he stops to shake his fist at Jerusalem, the city of God. He is threatening the people of God and in my mind, he's going after them with a vengeance. To shake your fist at something generally denotes anger... I don't see him leaving many survivors with that attitude.

- So here's Israel. The enemy is bearing down upon them quickly. The end is near. Where is their help? Where is their God? Has He forsaken them in this time of danger and distress? Will He not rescue them out of the hand of the enemy?

- “But look! The Lord, the Lord of Heaven's Armies, will chop down the mighty tree of Assyria with great power! He will cut down the proud. That lofty tree will be brought down. He will cut down the forest trees with an ax. Lebanon will fall to the Mighty One.”

- Lebanon was known for its mighty trees. They were strong cedars. They were used for a little bit of everything.

- As strong as Assyria is... or thinks it is... God will cut down the tree. And not just one... It says “trees”. The whole forest is going down.

- footnote- “Assyria would be like a tree cut down at the height of its power, never to rise again...”

- And indeed they were...

- II Kings 19 includes the story of the Assyrian invasion. Because king Hezekiah went to God first with the issue of the Assyrian attack, God Himself went out to the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000 soldiers. When the rest of the Assyrians woke up the next morning, it was to find the dead bodies of their comrades strewn about them. They broke camp and went home.

- If you read through the story in II Kings, I see Hezekiah calling out to God the first time he hears of the oncoming Assyrians. Then when the Assyrian king sends word and says “Don't let your God, in whom you trust, deceive you with promises that Jerusalem will not be captured by the king of Assyria. You know perfectly well what the kings of Assyria have done wherever they have gone. They have completely destroyed everyone who stood in their way! Why should you be any different? Have the gods of other nations rescued them?...”

- Instead of getting scared and running away, or giving up... Hezekiah goes to the Temple to lay out the message before the Lord. “O Lord, God of Israel, You are enthroned between the mighty cherubim! You alone are God of all the kingdoms of the earth. You alone created the heavens and the earth. Bend down, O Lord, and listen! Open your eyes, O Lord, and see! Listen to Sennacherib's words of defiance against the living God. It is true, Lord, that the kings of Assyria have destroyed all these nations. And they have thrown the gods of these nations into the fire and burned them. But of course the Assyrians could destroy them! They were not gods at all—only idols of wood and stone shaped by human hands. Now, O Lord our God, rescue us from his power; then all the kingdoms of the earth will know that You alone, O Lord, are God.”

- Hezekiah didn't go to God and whine and complain. He went and sought the character of God. He recognized the lies beneath Sennacherib's challenge. True, the other gods might not have protected the other nations... but they weren't THE ALMIGHTY GOD! They were just man made images with no ability to help the people who bowed down before them. Hezekiah knew the character and power of HIS God. The TRUE God. He knew if God chose to do so, that He would save the nation, because God's character is always faithful.

- Had Hezekiah's response been one of fear, or one of apathy, or defeat... I don't think God would have responded in the same way. He might have allowed the Assyrians to attack and conquer. However, because Hezekiah turned to God in an impossible looking circumstance, despite how things looked on the outside, God was faithful and came through completely.

1 comment:

  1. I was in a hotel room away from hme this morning as I found your blog and Bible Study. It was very refreshing. I especially liked the real life testimonies in your Blog. Everything was in an easy format I found easy to go through. I finished refreshed with several thoughts to help me through my busy day. Thanks and keep up your walk with Jesus in helping others to be real and keeping scripture lessons relevant for us today.