Translate

Only One risen Saviuor

Only One risen Saviuor
There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved - Jesus

Friday, 25 August 2017

Isaiah Days 23 to 30


Isaiah Day 23 - Offer Rejected



7:10 Moreover the Lord spoke again to Ahaz, saying, 11 “Ask a sign for yourself from the Lord your God; ask it either in the depth or in the height above.”

12 But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, nor will I test the Lord!”

13 Then he said, “Hear now, O house of David! Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will you weary my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. 15 Curds and honey He shall eat, that He may know to refuse the evil and choose the good. 16 For before the Child shall know to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land that you dread will be forsaken by both her kings. 17 The Lord will bring the king of Assyria upon you and your people and your father’s house—days that have not come since the day that Ephraim departed from Judah.”

18 

And it shall come to pass in that day

That the Lord will whistle for the fly

That is in the farthest part of the rivers of Egypt,

And for the bee that is in the land of Assyria.

19 

They will come, and all of them will rest

In the desolate valleys and in the clefts of the rocks,

And on all thorns and in all pastures.

20 

In the same day the Lord will shave with a hired razor,

With those from beyond the River,[c]with the king of Assyria,

The head and the hair of the legs,

And will also remove the beard.

21 

It shall be in that day

That a man will keep alive a young cow and two sheep;

22 

So it shall be, from the abundance of milk they give,

That he will eat curds;

For curds and honey everyone will eat who is left in the land.

23 

It shall happen in that day,

That wherever there could be a thousand vines

Worth a thousand shekels of silver,

It will be for briers and thorns.

24 

With arrows and bows men will come there,

Because all the land will become briers and thorns.

25 

And to any hill which could be dug with the hoe,

You will not go there for fear of briers and thorns;

But it will become a range for oxen

And a place for sheep to roam.



Remember the context from yesterday. Syria and Israel (the northern ten tribes that split off after Solomon died) have made a military alliance and are coming against Judah. Ahaz is terrified. Isaiah comes to encourage him with a promise from God that they won't succeed. Ahaz does not believe the promise. Now Isaiah goes a step further and tells Ahaz to ask God for a sign that will confirm the validity of the promise. Again he refuses. 

Isaiah goes another step further and basically says "Since you won't ask for a sign, here is what the sign will be."

A virgin (young maiden) will give birth to a son. His name will be Immanuel (God is with us). Before the boy is old enough to choose right from wrong the two kings you fear will be brought to nothing (Syria and Israel) and instead you will be under the yoke of the King of Assyria.

You probably recognize the verses about the virgin giving birth. We'll talk about that tomorrow. For now it's important to know that to save himself from the kings God promised wouldn't harm him anyway Ahaz made a deal with the king of Assyria and bondage God foretold Ahaz actually brought upon himself simply because he refused to believe God. 

Is it possible that our refusal to trust God and our obsessive self-preservation tactics are actually hurting rather than helping us? We'll dig deep tomorrow but think about it. What trouble have you gotten into just by not trusting God to keep His word?



Isaiah Day 24 - Important Things To Know



7:13 Then he said, “Hear now, O house of David! Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will you weary my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. 15 Curds and honey He shall eat, that He may know to refuse the evil and choose the good. 16 For before the Child shall know to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land that you dread will be forsaken by both her kings. 17 The Lord will bring the king of Assyria upon you and your people and your father’s house—days that have not come since the day that Ephraim departed from Judah.”



As discussed yesterday Isaiah 7:14 is a familiar verse to us. Matthew quotes it to confirm that the birth of Jesus fulfills this prophecy. Mary was the virgin and Jesus the miracle child. This creates questions. How can a prophecy dealing with a nearly immediate situation in Isaiah's time be thrown 700ish years into the future and applied to another situation? Is that valid? Matthew says yes. Can we safely trust him? 



There are two things you need to know to understand this. First is a reality Jesus Himself taught in John 5:39. In rebuking the religious leaders He said "You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life, but these testify of Me."



The Scriptures at that point were what we call the Old Testament. That's all they had. They used them as a textbook/formula guide. They thought that if they could deduce from them exactly what God wanted from them and deliver it, then they would get what they wanted from Him. Jesus insisted they were missing it entirely. He taught that from the moment in Genesis 3 when Someone was promised to come and crush the serpents head, it was pointing to Himself. He was the animal killed to provide clothes for Adam and Eve. He is our wedding garment, our cloak of sinless perfection. He was the Lamb offered by Abel in chapter 4. Cain was rejected the moment he substituted the Lamb (Jesus) for vegetables (his own works/goodness). Jesus was the ark of safety in Genesis 6. He was the Seed promised to and through Abraham through Whom all nations would be blessed. On and on through the Old Testament story it whispers and sometimes shouts "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!!!"



What Jesus was saying is that every story, event, conflict, rescue, and key character was a foreshadowing of Himself. That in a sense the immediate situation was in a sense secondary to the greater Story.



Here's the second thing you need to know. Many prophecies had a dual application. They dealt with the immediate (in this case the plight of King Ahaz and Judah) and the greater Story (the birth of Jesus to a virgin and one of His names - Immanuel, God With Us). A familiar example of one prophecy pointing to two different times and places is Matthew 24. The disciples asked about the destruction of the temple and the end of the world assuming they would be one event. Jesus gave one prophecy that pointed to two different events separated by thousands of years. The temple was destroyed about 40 years later in 70 A.D. and we are still waiting for Jesus to return. One prophecy with two applications. 



So Isaiah 7:14 is no problem. It is a local event pointing to a child from Isaiah's time and also a prophecy pointing to Jesus. Matthew understood. He understood Jesus is the Story and all stories written in Scripture in some way point to Him. This is the first obvious one in Isaiah but it won't be the last. See you tomorrow :)



Isaiah Day 25 - Faithful Witnesses



8:1 Moreover the Lord said to me, “Take a large scroll, and write on it with a man’s pen concerning Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz. 2 And I will take for Myself faithful witnesses to record, Uriah the priest and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah.”

3 Then I went to the prophetess, and she conceived and bore a son. Then the Lord said to me, “Call his name Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz; 4 for before the child shall have knowledge to cry ‘My father’ and ‘My mother,’ the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria will be taken away before the king of Assyria.”



Here's a summary of the events from a commentary:



"It was during this national crisis that Isaiah’s second son was born as prophesied as a sign to Ahaz and Judah. Before the boy was conceived God had Isaiah draw up a legal document with the four words of his future son’s name, Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz (Isaiah 8:1–2). The name literally means “Speed-spoil-hasten-plunder” or “Swift to the spoil, quick to the plunder.” God’s message to Ahaz was that both of Judah’s enemies would be defeated and plundered. Judah would be saved. The document containing the name Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz symbolized a property deed transferring the wealth of Damascus and Israel to the king of Assyria.



Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz, Isaiah’s future son, named with the same four words of the document, revealed the time frame of Israel’s and Syria’s defeat: sometime between the conception of Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz to “before the boy knows how to say ‘My father’ or ‘My mother’” (Isaiah 8:3–4). That is, Judah would be saved before Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz reached age 2, a total of less than three years, counting the child’s time in the womb.



The prophecy was fulfilled in 732 BC when both Syria and Israel were conquered by Assyria. A decade later Assyria removed Israel’s wealth and many of her people, obliterating their national identity. Those Israelites who remained in the land intermarried with a variety of foreign occupiers sent by their conquerors (2 Kings 17:24), eventually giving rise to the despised race of Samaritans (see John 4:9; 8:48).”



I believe it's important to understand history. It helps to see where the animosity between Judah and Samaria began. Were we born into that mess we would likely have been drawn into the same toxic thinking.



That being said, what jumped out at me today some might consider off topic but the Bible includes it and I have lived it, so here it goes:



Isaiah wanted to make sure that the prophecy Ahaz refused to believe was written down accurately ahead of time so that Ahaz and the people would see that God knows the end from the beginning. In order to accomplish this it says he needed faithful witnesses to record it. Not just witnesses, faithful witnesses. 



If you have ever served on a board of any kind you know that one person has the task of recording the significant decisions etc... made by the board at every meeting. Those records become "minutes" and before the next meeting can take place those minutes must be reviewed and approved as an accurate account of the previous meeting. The reason for this is a sad one. Those who record the minutes have been known to "modify" or record the meeting details in a way that supports their agenda and/or views. The reviewing of the minutes is a way to help prevent false minutes from being recorded. 



I'm thankful that with Jesus I don't have to double check His Words. I'm thankful He never changes. I'm thankful He never goes back on His Word and keeps all His promises. As one who claims to follow Him it is my prayer that I will have the integrity and strength of character to be more than a witness. I want to be a faithful witness. 





Isaiah Day 26 - Names



8:3 Then I went to the prophetess, and she conceived and bore a son. Then the Lord said to me, “Call his name Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz; 4 for before the child shall have knowledge to cry ‘My father’ and ‘My mother,’ the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria will be taken away before the king of Assyria.”



This baby was Isaiah's own son. He now has two children we have been told about. The first Shear-Jashub which means "The remnant shall return" and now Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz which means "Hurry to the spoils". 



So not only is Isaiah preaching and writing down by the hand of faithful witnesses events that are soon to take place, but his own children are preaching every time someone speaks their names. 



This is not new in Scripture by the way. Names often carry significant meaning. Both Noah's grandfather and father had names that pointed to and proclaimed the coming flood, showing that God was making events known generations in advance, before He ever told Noah to build a boat. 



In previous blogs we have covered the name change of Jacob to Isreal, where his first name described his character (underhanded) and his new name his change in character (overcomer). Isaiah's own name is a message also "Yahweh(God) is salvation".



What about the multiple names of Jesus? Jesus means "Jehovah Saves", very similar to Isaiah's name and identical to the name Joshua. Joshua brought the people into Canaan and Jesus will bring us into heaven, saving us from this broken world.



Immanuel means "God Is With Us". 



He is also our King, Judge, High Priest, Mediator, Advocate, Shepherd, Door, Bread, Water, Light, Father, I Am, Elder Brother, Servant, Lion, Lamb etc... and each name or title designates one of His many roles. Just as I am a Father, son, husband, uncle, pastor, teacher etc... So Jesus is not just many things to us but all things to us and to convey this without lengthy explanations God wraps it all up in names. Track the names in the Bible and you will be tracking the unfolding Story.



Just look at these three names in the Book of Isaiah: Yahweh is salvation, "A remnant will return" and "rush to the spoils."



This whole world will be plundered and ravaged by sin and it's deadly effects but Yahweh will save and a remnant will return. :)





Isaiah Day 27 - Conspiracy Theories



8:5 The Lord also spoke to me again, saying:


“Inasmuch as these people refused

The waters of Shiloah that flow softly,

And rejoice in Rezin and in Remaliah’s son;


Now therefore, behold, the Lord brings up over them

The waters of the River,[b] strong and mighty—

The king of Assyria and all his glory;

He will go up over all his channels

And go over all his banks.


He will pass through Judah,

He will overflow and pass over,

He will reach up to the neck;

And the stretching out of his wings

Will fill the breadth of Your land, O Immanuel.


“Be shattered, O you peoples, and be broken in pieces!

Give ear, all you from far countries.

Gird yourselves, but be broken in pieces;

Gird yourselves, but be broken in pieces.

10 

Take counsel together, but it will come to nothing;

Speak the word, but it will not stand,

For God is with us.”

11 For the Lord spoke thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying:

12 

“Do not say, ‘A conspiracy,’

Concerning all that this people call a conspiracy,

Nor be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.

13 

The Lord of hosts, Him you shall hallow;

Let Him be your fear,

And let Him be your dread.

14 

He will be as a sanctuary,

But a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense

To both the houses of Israel,

As a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

15 

And many among them shall stumble;

They shall fall and be broken,

Be snared and taken.”

16 

Bind up the testimony,

Seal the law among my disciples.

17 

And I will wait on the Lord,

Who hides His face from the house of Jacob;

And I will hope in Him.

18 

Here am I and the children whom the Lord has given me!

We are for signs and wonders in Israel

From the Lord of hosts,

Who dwells in Mount Zion.



God's folding of the future of Israel and Judah continues with the repeated prediction that Rezin and Ramaliah (Syria and Israel) will fall and Assyria will destroy them and invade Judah. It's important to keep in mind that Judah is not in trouble because they are small and weak or because Assyria is strong. If it were a matter of military might only there never would have been a nation of Judah or Israel to begin with. There source of strength and prosperity was never the sword. In fact when David was having some military success and began to trust in horses and soldiers God rebuked him for counting his fighting men. It was David who learned his lesson and penned a Psalm that said "Some trust in horses and some in chariots but we will remember the name of the Lord our God." (Psalm 20)



He also wrote: "



Psalm 118 

8

It is better to trust in the Lord

Than to put confidence in man.


It is better to trust in the Lord

Than to put confidence in princes.



There is a different kind of self-trust that doesn't involve chariots or horses or princes and God tells Isaiah how to deal with it. God tells Isaiah not to get involved in everything they call a conspiracy. Note that there are conspiracies but most of what falls in that category is a bunch of paranoid self-preservation theories. Don't follow the rabbit trails. I did it for a bit many years ago and some of what I dug may have even been true but not everything that is true is relevant.

It's important to remember that we all have tendencies that will lead us away from putting our full confidence in God. For some of us it is trusting leaders too much and depending on "horses, chariots, and princes." Some feel as long as "their guy" is in power all will be well and "the other guy" is in power the sky will surely fall. Others don't trust government at all. They look for evil and conspiracies wherever they can imagine one. This is the same trap of self-obsession from another angle. One feels man/government is the answer and the other feels man/anti-government is the answer. Both are looking to man and mens ideas. Neither have their faith in God and what He is saying. 

Typically these conspiracies lead to fear over ideas and potential scenarios no regular person has any control over anyway. Taken to the extreme it leads to building underground bunkers and storing food and guns like squirrels hide nuts. And for what? If North Korea goes nuclear on us will our stash see us through? Will fretting about it do anyone any good?

Did Elijah need a bunker and a stash of food and supplies to survive the drought in Israel? Was it careful planning and rationing of supplies that fed the Israelites in the wilderness?

God is for us not against us. Look how many times and ways He tried to reach Ahaz and help him. In the end God gave him all the information he needed and kept His Word to the letter. If He did all that for an evil stubborn king will He do less for us? 

I'm growing tired of the conspiracy theories in society and in the church. We will not be lost because of women in leadership or because of the LGBT movement or because of Trump in power or because the Lutheran Church is returning to the Pope. The illuminati will be the down fall off no man. Every person who finds themselves against God in the end will have gotten there by the same path. A refusal to trust Him. 

"Trust and obey, for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus or in life, but to trust and obey."





Isaiah Day 28 - Hope In the Darkness



8:12 

“Do not say, ‘A conspiracy,’

Concerning all that this people call a conspiracy, nor be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.

13 

The Lord of hosts, Him you shall hallow; Let Him be your fear,

And let Him be your dread.

14 

He will be as a sanctuary, but a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense

To both the houses of Israel,

As a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

15 

And many among them shall stumble;

They shall fall and be broken, be  snared and taken.”

16 

Bind up the testimony, and seal the law among my disciples.

17 

And I will wait on the Lord, Who hides His face from the house of Jacob; and I will hope in Him.

18 

Here am I and the children whom the Lord has given me! We are for signs and wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, Who dwells in Mount Zion.

19 And when they say to you, “Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,” should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living? 20 To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

21 They will pass through it hard-pressed and hungry; and it shall happen, when they are hungry, that they will be enraged and curse their king and their God, and look upward. 22 Then they will look to the earth, and see trouble and darkness, gloom of anguish; and they will be driven into darkness.



There is no denying that there is a lot of darkness, or doom and gloom in this passage. Israel and Judah are both headed for trouble. The sad part is that it was all self-inflicted and completely avoidable. If I go to my doctor and he looks me in the eye and says "Dan if you don't change your diet, start a regular exercise program, and lose weight you are headed for diabetes, a heart attack, stroke or worse." is he to blame? If any of those things come to pass did he cause them? Should I change doctors and find one who will have more positive things to say about me and my future? 



Look at Judah. Look at Israel. Lots of religion but lots of ignoring the poor and vulnerable. Conspiracy theories were abounding and increasing. People were professing to believe in God but seeking the counsel of mediums and psychics. They trusted military might far more than the God of Abraham and Moses. Does any of this sound familiar? 



Yet in the midst of all that Isaiah and many others continued to cling to God. Their hope and trust was firmly in Him. His law of love was sealed in them. Even as God was withdrawing (being pushed out) of their nation they continued to seek Him. 



What will we do in these times? Be religious but ignore the truly needy? Chase after the latest conspiracy websites and radio programs? Look for enemies and shadows everywhere while ignoring the enemy within? Look for a political hero? Hope our military is stronger than "theirs"? Go to psychics and mediums to get advice or talk to our dead loved ones? Ignore His simple laws of compassion and curse Him when our prosperity turns to dust?



Or will we be an Isaiah in the darkness. Will we declare in spite of the doom and gloom around us that Yahweh is still our Hope and Salvation?





Isaiah Day 29 - In That Day...



8:19 And when they say to you, “Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,” should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living? 20 To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

21 They will pass through it hard-pressed and hungry; and it shall happen, when they are hungry, that they will be enraged and curse their king and their God, and look upward. 22 Then they will look to the earth, and see trouble and darkness, gloom of anguish; and they will be driven into darkness.



Have you ever noticed that it's most often the person in the wrong in any situation who gets angry at the person who did nothing wrong? In traffic car A doesn't see car B and cuts them off and when they see how close they were to having an accident they glare or give the finger to the person they cut off. A student doesn't study or do their homework and hates the teacher when they don't do well. A child is explained the consequences of certain choices and then gets angry at mom or dad when they make the choice and the consequences come.



Logical? Hardly yet it happens all the time. 



Now notice what Isaiah says. The future will be dark. "God's people" will be seeking mediums and looking to talk to the dead. When things get really bad those who were oppressing the poor and marginalizing the vulnerable will be hungry themselves and when the suffering reaches their door and their supper table they will curse their king and their God.



They will throw a temper tantrum. They will flip the bird at God. They will kick and scream and blame Him. Yet didn't He warn them repeatedly. Didn't He chart a path that could have avoided this darkness? So why are they angry? Why were they seeking mediums in the first place?



The behaviour I'm about to describe I hope never applies to you but as a leader and human being I have seen it over and over. People come seeking advice. They are either considering an unwise choice or are in the midst of unwise choices. They profess to want counsel. You give it. They ignore it and pursue their unwise choices. In addition they continue to look for people to give them counsel until they find someone who will approve the choices they have made or want to make.



God had already laid out the present and future. He called them on their hypocrisy and cruelty to the disenfranchised. He warned them where it was all headed. He offered a brighter alternative. They shut their ears. They closed their hearts and minds to Him. Instead they went off to seek other counsel to see if they could find a way to keep being self-obsessed religious hypocrites and avoid trouble. That's why they went after mediums. 



The trouble was going to come and when it did Isaiah said they would blame God...



If any of this thinking and behaviour seems uncomfortably familiar perhaps it's time to chart a different course. Perhaps we should seek to follow the law and the Testimony. We have no right to be angry at God unless we did our part and He never fulfilled His...





Isaiah Day 30 - Sanctuary Or...



8:12 

“Do not say, ‘A conspiracy,’

Concerning all that this people call a conspiracy,

Nor be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.

13 

The Lord of hosts, Him you shall hallow;

Let Him be your fear,

And let Him be your dread.

14 

He will be as a sanctuary,

But a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense

To both the houses of Israel,

As a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

15 

And many among them shall stumble;

They shall fall and be broken,

Be snared and taken.”

16 

Bind up the testimony,

Seal the law among my disciples.

17 

And I will wait on the Lord,

Who hides His face from the house of Jacob;

And I will hope in Him.

18 

Here am I and the children whom the Lord has given me!

We are for signs and wonders in Israel

From the Lord of hosts,

Who dwells in Mount Zion.

19 And when they say to you, “Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,” should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living? 20 To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

21 They will pass through it hard-pressed and hungry; and it shall happen, when they are hungry, that they will be enraged and curse their king and their God, and look upward. 22 Then they will look to the earth, and see trouble and darkness, gloom of anguish; and they will be driven into darkness.



Technically we finished chapter 8 two days ago yet it keeps drawing me back. These verses are pivotal. They are a message to those who claim to be His. Look specifically at verse 14. That word "but" is there again. It's like a line in the Sand between two very different things. In the midst of all the impending chaos God will be a sanctuary to some but a rock of offense to others. Why? Is it because God has favourites?

In Luke 21 the return of Jesus is described. Luke writes that those who are waiting for Him will look up and see the cloud, they will recognize it as the sign of His return and they will cry out "This is our God! We have waited for Him and He will save us!" They waited in the darkness. They believed when there appeared to be nothing and no One to believe in. Like the true prophets of God hiding in caves during the time of King Ahab these men and women held on to hope when it seemed entirely hopeless. Now they see Him with their eyes. They hear the distant trumpets. It's Him. It's really Him!



Meanwhile John paints a very different scene in Revelation. He sees another group. They look up and see the same cloud. They too recognize Who it is but there are no shouts of joy from them. Instead they cry for the rocks and mountains to fall on them and hide them from the face of Him who sits on the throne.



Again why? Does Jesus have favourites?



Not according to both His Word and His actions. When He was here He served the rich and poor, the Jews, and the foreigners, men and women, the religious and the heathen. His hands of healing and hope were extended to all. 



Paul wrote that God is no respecter of persons, that He has no favourites, and that with Him there is no Jew or Greek, no slave or free, no male or female. His invitation is simple: "Whosoever will let him come... For God do loved the entire world that He sent His Son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have life everlasting... and Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the whole world."



Notice how this dark passage ends. Those who did not make God their sanctuary are enraged! The first person to be enraged in the Bible was Cain. Why? Because God wouldn't accept his fruits and vegetables as an offering. Cain wanted to do his own thing, be his own man, make his own way, and deny the grace of God represented in the lamb. His self-obsession grew so deep and toxic that his fury lead him to kill his own brother. He was a professed follower of God who was really worshipping himself. God loved him. God reached out to him just as he reached out to king Ahaz. God wanted to help him, heal him, and save him. Cain refused. Ahaz refused. 



Make God your sanctuary.  

No comments:

Post a Comment