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

Happy studying!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Isaiah Chapter 2

Isaiah Chapter 2

vs. 1-4: LAST DAYS

- “This is a vision that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.”

- “In the last days, the mountain of the Lord's house will be the highest of all—the most important place on earth. It will be raised above the other hills, and people from all over the world will stream there to worship.”

- When we hear the phrase “in the last days”, we generally think of the end times and the time of tribulation etc. A footnote in my bible for Acts, chapter 2, says this: “.... The “last days” include all the days between Christ's first and second comings and is another way of saying “from now on.”

- “The last days”... are not just like the week before Christ's final coming... They are the days from the time that He came... to the time that He will come. Which means that when Peter spoke of the last days in Acts... and when we speak about them now... they are the same thing... the same time period.

- This is the world's last chance. These are the last days of the earth. From the time of Christ's first coming, we have been on our last chance for salvation. We are living out the days that Christ has given us to come to a full knowledge and understanding of the Truth. It was the last days for the people Peter spoke to, and it is the last days for the people in our day and age. Last chance!

- So... in this day and age... in this time... the Lord's house should be raised up highest of all. It should be raised above all other places of worship and people should be flocking there to worship.

- “People from many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of Jacob's God. There He will teach us His ways, and we will walk in His paths.” For the Lord's teaching will go out from Zion; The Lord will mediate between nations and will settle international disputes. They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war anymore.”

- While world peace is definitely not in effect at the moment... However in Revelation, after the city of Jerusalem is made new and descends to the earth, God says: “Look, God's home is now among His people! He will live with them, and they will be His people. God Himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” (21:3-4)

- There will eventually be total peace... but for now... we have to pray that the leaders of these nations consult God in their decisions. And that He leads and guides in their decisions concerning each other.

- As to the Lord's Word going out into the earth... we are His ambassadors. We have been given the task of going out into the world and preaching the gospel.

- In Revelation 14:6-7, says: “And I saw another angel flying through the sky, carrying the eternal Good News to proclaim to the people who belong to this world—to every nation, tribe, language, and people. “Fear God,” he shouted. “Give glory to Him. For the time has come when He will sit as judge. Worship Him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all the springs of water.”

- In Luke 19:40, when the Pharisees told Jesus to keep the praises of the people silent, Jesus replied that “If they keep quiet, the stones along the road would burst into cheers!”

- The gospel will go out. Whether or not we do it... whether it takes an angel to shout it from the heavens... or the rocks to cry out from the roadside... For that matter, all of creation speaks to the glory of a Creator.

- Joel 3
- Micah 4:1-5
- Romans 1:20

vs. 5-11: JUDGMENT

- “Come descendants of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the Lord! For the Lord has rejected His people, the descendants of Jacob, because they have filled their land with practices from the East and with sorcerers, as the Philistines do. They have made alliances with pagans.”

- This is a call to salvation. Remember... the last days... are our last chance.

- The Israelites as well as we... have rejected the call of the Lord. We have indeed filled our lands with idols and false worship. Our nations reek of false religion. We speak of tolerance... equality... rights... and all manner of other technical terms that allow us to soothe our consciences and ignore the guilty blood on our hands because of our own apathy to the sin around us. We fear speaking out against the social norms. We fear that we are stirring things up... or that we will be hated by our fellow men...

- But meanwhile... a world of lost souls are dying an eternal death. A hopeless death... and our Lord... is rejecting our nations. We have made alliances with things not of God... we have aligned ourselves with things that are not of God... and Christ said in Matthew 12:30: “Anyone who isn't with Me opposes Me, and anyone who isn't working with Me is actually working against Me.”

- When we reject the way of Christ... we are working against Christ. But how about when we grow apathetic? When we don't want to do anything that may offend someone else? Whether they're a believer or not... Are we still working for Christ? If we're not taking steps to spread the Word... are we not then fighting against it? If we refuse to stand on our God's teachings... then do we not stand against them?

- In Romans 1:18-2:16 speaks of God's anger and judgment on sin. “... because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming, when God's righteous judgment will be revealed. He will judge everyone according to what they have done. He will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers. But He will pour out His anger and wrath on those who live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth and instead live lives of wickedness. There will be trouble and calamity for everyone who keeps on doing what is evil—for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. But there will be glory and honor and peace from God for all who do good—for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism.” (2:5-11)

- God is a loving God... but He is also a righteous God. He does not compromise His standards.

- When we sin... sure... He gives us chances to turn back and repent. Get back on the right track so to speak. However, when we continue to persist in our sin... some kind of chastisement is going to come down on us. Whether it is consequences and hardships in this life... or in the final judgment after our deaths.

- God tried to get Israel's attention with love. He would gently put His hand in the mix and try to turn them from their sin. He gave them pretty much anything and everything they needed or wanted to show them that He loved them. But they took it for granted.

- The above verses from Romans have an important part in the middle... it says that God will give eternal life to those who seek after the glory, honor, and immortality that God offers. But notice that there are some action words there... We have to seek after the things of God. Not just be good. Not just try hard... but to actively seek after God.

- However, if we live for ourselves and refuse to obey truth... then God will pour out His anger and wrath upon us.

- It was time for some tough love. Israel had persisted in their sin. They refused to obey the word of God. They were living solely for themselves. So God was getting ready to deal out some punishment.

- “Israel is full of silver and gold; there is no end to its treasures. Their land is full of warhorses; there is no end to its chariots. Their land is full of idols; the people worship things they have made with their own hands. So now they will be humbled, and all will be brought low—do not forgive them. Crawl into caves in the rocks. Hide in the dust from the terror of the Lord and the glory of His majesty. Human pride will be brought down, and human arrogance will be humbled. Only the Lord will be exalted on that day of judgment.”

- God had made Israel prosperous... but they refused to acknowledge God's hand in the matter. They instead looked at their own mightiness and thought that they had done it all by themselves.

- If you remember the story of King Ahab... There were many times that Ahab or his wife, Jezebel, put the prophets of Baal, and Baal, above God. There were a few times that the prophet of God would come to speak to them... and they would call in their false prophets to soothe their ears...

- One such case was the end of Ahab...

- In I Kings 22, Ahab was going to go to war (unnecessarily) with the king of Aram. They had been at peace for 3 years... but on a whim, Ahab decided he wanted a particular town back that was now under the rule of Aram.

- He convinces the king of Israel, Jehoshaphat, to go with him. Jehoshaphat asks that a prophet be called to find out what the Lord said first. So... they called 400 prophets... and they all said “Sure! Go right ahead! The victory is yours!” And in the face of all that positivity... Jehoshaphat asked whether or not there was a true prophet of God around... well then... wonder who these prophets were then... Baal perhaps?

- The prophet Micaiah is brought in... from prison... where Ahab was keeping him... hmmm...

- He prophesies that Israel will be defeated and Ahab will die.

- Ahab's response? “Didn't I tell you? He never prophesies anything but trouble for me.” Well I wonder why...

- So Ahab ignored the word of God... and they went up... and they were defeated and Ahab was killed. Even though he disguised himself so no one would know he was king... they still got him.

- God is second to none. “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.” That includes our pride. We can become our own idols in some ways... and God won't even tolerate that...

- Anything that we spend more time on than God, becomes an idol. When we become consumed with chasing after something, that thing, becomes our god. Whether it's money, sex, cars, material things, success... whatever it happens to be...

- “So now they will be humbled, and all will be brought low.... Human pride will be brought down, and human arrogance will be humbled. Only the Lord will be exalted on that day of judgment.”

vs. 12-17: BROUGHT LOW

- “For the Lord of Heaven's Armies has a day of reckoning. He will punish the proud and mighty and bring down everything that is exalted. He will cut down the tall cedars of Lebanon and all the mighty oaks of Bashan. He will level all the high mountains and all the lofty hills. He will break down every high tower and every fortified wall. He will destroy all the great trading ships and every magnificent vessel. Human pride will be humbled, and human arrogance will be brought down. Only the Lord will be exalted on that day of judgment.”

- The cedars and oaks were considered as very strong wood. They were used for construction. People literally worshiped idols within groves of these trees because they thought that their physical strength was a sign of spiritual strength as well. So they would build their shrines where these trees grew.

- So here, Isaiah is saying that even what the people think to be strong... will be cut down.

- The mountains housed many places of worship as well. High places were used for temples etc. So all of those high places... will be leveled. They will also be destroyed. What they hold as sacred... will be brought down to its proper level.

- The high towers and fortified walls speak of their physical strength as a nation. All their power as a nation of warfare... gone. Just as Jericho fell to the hand of God, so would Israel's fortified cities fall to their enemies... by the same hand of God.

- Trade ships and magnificent vessels... Their prosperity and economy would be taken down. Their way of making money with other countries... would be gone. They would have no source of income. Their country would become poor and broken down.

- And again... human pride will be humbled... and human arrogance will be brought down. ONLY GOD WILL BE EXALTED!

vs. 18-22: GOD EXALTED

- “Idols will completely disappear. When the Lord rises to shake the earth, His enemies will crawl into holes in the ground. They will hide in caves in the rocks from the terror of the Lord and the glory of His majesty. On that day of judgment they will abandon the gold and silver idols they made for themselves to worship. They will leave their gods to the rodents and bats, while they crawl away into caverns and hide among the jagged rocks in the cliffs. They will try to escape the terror of the Lord and the glory of His majesty as He rises to shake the earth. Don't put your trust in mere humans. They are as frail as breath. What good are they?”

- When God is exalted, the idols will disappear. They will be abandoned to the scavengers of the earth. The people who are the enemies of God (those who have turned away from His truth... remembering that if you're not for Him... then you're against Him...) will run... and in their fear of the One True and Mighty God... they will not stop to care for or worship their idols of man-made things.

- Instead, they will run in terror, hoping desperately to save their lives. They will hide wherever they can find a place. They will hide deep in the earth in caves and caverns. They will crawl through the mud and mire... nothing will be below them. Their pride will be no more. Their arrogance will not keep them from their low estate.

- And yet... God will find them. They will not be able to hide... for who can hide from the all-seeing and all-knowing God?

- Hosea says this: “....the place of Israel's sin, will crumble. Thorns and thistles will grow up around their altars. They will beg the mountains, “Bury us!” and plead with the hills, “Fall on us!” (10:8)

- In their desperation... they will wish for death. For death... will be a release from their earthly agony... Little do they understand the agony to which they will go after dying in their sin and rebellion...

- The moral of the story? Don't trust in human means. Humans are frail... they are a breath. They have no lasting substance...

- Only God is everlasting. All-powerful. Mighty. He alone is to be exalted and praised.