Sunday, February 22, 2004

YES WE ARE STILL IN ISAIAH!!!! Here are today's Sunday School lesson notes.


42:14-17 (Coming In Judgment)

God tells them he has been silent for a long time (NKJV says “held my piece”). He has restrained himself. Since God cannot tolerate sin, he wants to act in regard to it. Yet, in mercy and forbearance, he has held back from judgment. This sometimes causes Believers to despair that God will act. This occurs in our personal lives when we ask him to deliver us and he does not do so right away. It also occurs in reference to his second coming. I heard a preacher on the radio sometime ago saying “Jesus is coming soon, the Bible says Jesus is coming soon!” and I said to myself, “yeah, but he said that 2000 years ago.”

But what do we know about his deliverance and his coming again? Regarding his second coming, Peter said in 2 Peter 3:9 that “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” Nahum 1:3 says the Lord is slow to anger and great in power. The Lord tarries, not to torture us, but patiently waiting for people to come to him for salvation. So we must be patient too, waiting for him.

When we wait for him to deliver us from trials or temptations, we must have faith that he will act at the right time, and that he knows when that time is, better than we. 2 Peter 2:9 says the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation or trial. 1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us that “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.” (NASB) Hebrews 2:18 says “For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.”

So we have trials along the way to cope with. Often we will ask God to deliver us or help us through it. He will. He may not, however, do it the way we expect or the way we want. Our goal often is not to suffer, or to end it quick. God may have other goals. Since He is sovereign, he gets to pursue his goals. His goal may be to make you more holy, either by removing something from your personality, like pride, or to add something, like the dreaded patience.

His goal might be to give you understanding or sympathy toward others who will suffer in the same way. His goal may be to make you available to someone else, or to lead you to a specific place or person.

This means there will be change in your life. If nothing ever changes in your life, chances are God is not working in your life and you should be concerned. Look, for example, at the changes in Abraham’s life. He lived in a big city and was well off. He lived near his dad and his brother. God told him to leave all this and go to another land to become a great nation.

Moses had been a simple shepherd for 40 years. He tended the flock of his father in law on the far side of the desert, raising a family, living with his father in law and his family, minding his own business. God sent him the one place he did not want to go, Egypt, and charged him with tending a large human flock.

Change may bring pain. Saul became Paul the missionary. He was beaten, stoned, jailed, run out of town, slandered, robbed, shipwrecked, and killed. In those experiences, he became the greatest missionary ever and author of a big part of the New Testament.

So, sometimes we are impatient for God to act, and sometimes we are impatient for him to quit acting and causing us to change or to suffer.

Well, God says here in Isaiah that he has been holding back, but now he will act and act forcibly. He will cry out, then exert his power. It says he will lay waste the mountains. That may not mean he will literally level the mountains, but that he will come in power and judgment. Nahum 1, for example, speaks of the clouds becoming dust, God drying out the sea, and the hills dissolving.

Verse 16 says again that he will deal with the blind, bringing understanding to those who are spiritually blind. I think he is specifically referring to the Gentiles, who did not have the light of God. Ephesians 5:8 refers to us as formerly darkness, but now we are light in the Lord.

He also says again that those who worship idols will be put to shame.

When will this happen? It does not say. It refers first to the deliverance of the Israelites from captivity, but may also reflect final coming for us.

42:18-20 (God’s Blind People)

God here refers to Israel as being blind and deaf. Although they have seen him work wonders and have sent prophets to them, they have ignored them all. They have paid no attention.

This is the equivalent to our being apathetic toward the Bible, not reading or understanding it. Some also ignore preachers who set out God’s word for us to understand.

1 Corinthians 4:4-6 says “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said ‘Let light shine out of darkness’, made his light sine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”

42:21 (Great and Glorious)

God was pleased to make his law great and glorious. It was an expression of his righteousness. It was and is great. Almost all law has been based on God’s law. We still see today many of the principles of the law given through Moses in our law. Even for the nonbeliever, living according to the Law of God will bring a good life, because its principles are good. For the believer, it is the standard of righteousness, not for salvation, but for a Godly life.

Psalm 1 tells us that the blessed man delights in the law of the Lord and meditates on it day and night. Psalm 19:7 tells us the law of the Lord is perfect\blameless, it restores the soul, gives wisdom, rejoices the heart, and enlightens the eyes. Some would say not to worry about the law, that it brings you down, or limits you. But the Bible says the law is glorious for it is God’s righteous standard. Jesus said, in Luke 16:17 that it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than one stroke of a letter of the law.

42:22 (Consequences of Disobedience)

Just as living in accordance with God’s law brings success, living in opposition to it brings failure. As a result of Israel’s lack of seeing and hearing, they became plundered. God gave them his glorious law as a gift and a great blessing. But when they ignored it, they ended up broken, defeated, and even exiled.

Even today, people reap the consequences of sin, which is disobedience of God’s law. They may enjoy sin for a while, but they reap what they sow. They may even flaunt their rejection of God, but, eventually, they will suffer for it. We have a world full of sexually transmitted diseases to prove it, along with abandoned and abused children, battered wives, people suffering from the break up of their families, addicts to all kinds of substances, and victims of all kinds of crimes. All of those are avoided by obedience to God’s law.

Galatians 6:7-8 puts it this way: Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”

So, will homosexual marriage cause any harm to this country? Of course it will, because it violates God’s righteous standard. I don’t care if you can put a statistic on it or not, the Bible shows us clearly that violations of God’s law bring misery and suffering.

42:23-25 (Judgment For Sin in God’s People)

These verses make clear that God surrendered Israel to its enemies. It did not just fall on hard times. God punished them. Israel sinned against God. God punished Israel, but Israel still did not recognize it.

I am afraid that is the path America will take, as people refuse to acknowledge that God is in anything that happens. You may not be able to change the direction America takes, although some are trying, but you can change the direction you and your family take. Be sensitive to the leading of the Lord and the work of the Lord around you. Examine your life in the light of God’s law. I’m not saying to be legalistic or to neglect grace. But, seek God’s kingdom and his righteousness, and God will provide for you.

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