ABC 2016

Prayer for 2016:
  1. Available.
    • Accessible.
    • Approachable.
    • Amiable.
    • Accountable.
  2. Bible basics.
    • Bible building blocks.
    • Back to the Bible.
  3. Communication.
    • Community.
  4. Direction.
    • Discipline.
    • Discipleship.
  5. Encounter.
    • Experience.
    • Evangelize.
  6. Friendship.
    • Fellowship.
    • Freedom.
  7. Grace.
    • Generosity.
    • Gentleness.
    • Goodness.


Ten Life Lessons from Isaiah for 2016

For about six months in 2015, I preached through the first 28 chapters of Isaiah in 23 sermons: West Loop sermons from Isaiah. Here are some life lessons that we can draw out and apply:
  1. Grace: The grace of God (Isa 1:18; 5:4).
  2. Stupidity: The stupidity of man (Isa 1:3; 28:23-29).
  3. Hypocrisy: The fake Christian life (Isa 1:13; 29:13).
  4. Authenticity: The real Christian life (Isa 2:5, 3; 7:4; 8:12b-13).
  5. Disillusionment: The sure disappointment (Isa 2:22; 22:8-11; 31:1).
  6. Calling/Theophany: The call and the vision (Isa 6:1, 5, 8).
  7. Faith: The challenge (Isa 7:9b; 26:4).
  8. Wonder: The perennial solution (Isa 9:6; Isa 26:3).
  9. Security: The eternal kingdom (Isa 11:6-9; 25:6-8; 26:19; 28:16).
  10. Certainty: The only salvation (Isa 12:2; 25:9).


Praise God As Long As I Live (Psalm 146)

"I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live" (Ps 146:2, NIV).

Psalm 1 began with "Blessed is the man" (Ps 1:1) and ends with "Blessed be the Lord" in the last five psalms--Psalm 146-150--the endless Hallelujah. In these psalms there is no reference to personal need and no petition. All is focused on God. All is praise, which aptly conclude the Psalms, as all five psalms begin and end with "Praise the Lord" (Hallelujah!). In early Jewish tradition an established practice is to recite these five psalms, together with Psalm 145 as part of the daily morning liturgy. Notice the step by step progression in this praise. It begins with the individual (Ps 146:1), involves the community (Ps 147:1,12), extends to heaven and earth (Ps 148:1,7) and to a people committed to mission (Ps 149) until everything that has breath praises the Lord (Ps 150:6).

Psalm 146 expresses individual praise.
  1. The praise of God (1-2).
  2. The power of God (3-6).
  3. The provision of God (7-10).
I. The Praise of God (146:1-2)

The act of praising the Lord is lifelong: "all my life" and "as long as I live." The Lord is worthy of the praise of the whole person and the whole life.

II. The Power of God (146:3-6)

Ps 146:3-4 guard the praise of God negatively, because all human objects of trust, whether outstanding or ordinary lack ability, continuance and reliability. In mortal man there is no salvation (Ps 146:3; 118:8; Isa 2:22; 31:1). A truly blessed, happy and joyful person is simply a person who adheres to the principle of trusting and hoping in God rather than in human leaders (Ps 20:7). The Lord can be trusted because of his infinite power as Maker of heaven and earth and his faithful character (Ps 146:6; 115:15; Rev 14:7).

III. The Provision of God (146:7-10)

The psalmist then considered the various ways in which God's concern is expressed as provision for His people: He provides justice, food, liberty/freedom, healing, restoration, protection, care and moral justice (Ps 146:7-9).


Praise God (Psalm 150)

Praise God:
  1. Everywhere (Ps 150:1).
  2. For Everything (Ps 150:2).
  3. In Every Way (Ps 150:3-5).
  4. By Everyone (Ps 150:6).


Unacceptable Worship (Isaiah 29:1-14 questions)

Isaiah 29 (1–4, 5-8, 9-14)
  1. [1-4] Note the opening word (Isa 29:1; 28:1). What does Ariel (Jerusalem) think will protect her (Isa 29:1)? What would God do (Isa 29:2-3)? What were they doing (Isa 29:4; 8:19)? Why? Were they genuinely worshiping God?
  2. [5-8] What will God do with Jerusalem's enemies (Isa 29:5)? How does God compare with the nations fighting against Ariel (Isa 29:5-8; 40:15-17)?
  3. [9-14] What similarities do you see in 29:9-14 and 28:7-13? How is it that the people have blinded themselves (Isa 29:9), yet God blinds them (Isa 29:10; 6:9-10)? Which comes first? Why would God blind us (Rom 8:6-7)? When does reading the Bible become unintelligible (Isa 29:11-12)?
  4. When does worship lose its sense of wonder (Isa 29:13; Mt 15:8–9)? Can God be controlled by our worship of Him? Is worship utilitarian? Do you think God should bless you when you obey Him? How does one truly worship God (Ps 51:16-17)? What is ironic about Isa 29:14? Compare to Isa 29:2-3; 28:21.


God's Power on God's Terms (Isaiah 29; Ray Ortland)

Isaiah 29

"The Lord says: 'These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from meTheir worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught'" (Isa 29:13, NIV).

[Oswalt, John N. Isaiah: The New Application Commentary. Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan. 2003. Isaiah: God Saves Sinners by Raymond C Ortlund Jr.]

Do you think you have God figured out? Did you know that your greatest breakthrough might be when you hit a brick wall? Did you know that the most constructive thing that might happen to you is when your world falls apart? Sometimes we Christians need that, because we think we have God figured out.

Do you think that you should be able to explain everything as a believer? We do know something about God, because he has revealed himself to us. But imperceptibly, unintentionally, we can slide into the feeling that if we know God at all, we should be able to explain everything. But the fact is, we can't explain everything. Sometimes God doesn't make sense, to us.

Does God confound you and you're OK with not being in control? When God surprises you so that you can't see through what God is doing in your life into the reason behind it, when he becomes opaque and mysterious, you are seeing something. You are seeing that God is God and you are not God. You are encountering him at a new level of profundity. You are discovering what it means to trust God and surrender to God rather than control him. If God never shocked you, you wouldn't really know him, because you wouldn't be able to tell the difference between your notions of God and the reality of God.


Isaiah preaching schedule Jan-Feb 2016

Over the years, Isaiah has come to be known as "the prince of the prophets." Isaiah is like a modern symphony, with themes appearing and reappearing in fascinating harmony. The book of Isaiah seems to address at least two, and perhaps three different historical settings:
  1. 1-39 (740-700 B.C.): Isaiah's own times.
  2. 40-55 (585-540 B.C.): Judean exiles in Babylon.
  3. 56-66 (539 B.C. onwards): Reflecting on conditions in Judah after the return from exile.
Tentative Plan and Dates for Isaiah Sermons in 2016:
  • Isaiah 29 (1/10/16): Hypocrisy Hidden by Heeding Human Rules. Hypocrisy, heeding rules and hiding from God. Enforcing rules blind you to God and his word. Bad leadership emphasizes obeying human rules and tradition. (Link - Bad Leaders Produce Hypocritical Worship.)
  • Isaiah 30 (1/17/16): God Waits Though Man Rejects Repentance and Rest. God graciously waits for us to repent and rest in him. (Link - God Graciously Waits.)


Michael and Hershey Lanier (Nov 21, 2015)

Romantic 6 minute video: The Wedding of Michael and Hershey Lanier.

Here's the context about the snippet of my wedding address at the beginning of the above video, especially for those who were not present.

Right before the wedding began, Mary Ann, a Filipino pastor's wife, told me that Filipino weddings are full of chaos as this wedding was. So when I gave the wedding address I extemporaneously expressed that chaos, usually associated with confusion, is in this case associated with peace, joy and the kingdom of God because it is the blessed wedding of Michael and Hershey!

"Imagine a man so focused on God that the only reason he looked up to see you is because he heard God say 'that's her.'" Unknown.


Soar Like An Eagle (Isaiah 40)

Isaiah 40 introduces the major section of Isaiah 40-55. The question of God's trustworthiness has been thoroughly answered in Isaiah 7-39 despite man's failure and sins. Now the questions are:
  • What will motivate the people of God to trust him and become the servants they were called to be?
  • How is it possible for sinful Israel to become God's servants?
  • What is to be done about the sin that has alienated them from God?
Isaiah addresses these questions in the future context of the coming Babylonian exile, when he anticipates the questions the exiles will be prompted to ask in that crisis. Isaiah 40-55 answer the questions in two parts:


(Isaiah 39)

Isaiah 39:1-8; 2 Kings 20:12-19

Merodach-Baladan (Isa 39:1) was twice able to make himself king of Babylon in defiance of the Assyrians (721-710 and 705-703). He was ousted by Sennacherib in 703 and escaped to Elam (modern Iran) where he continued to plot against the Assyrians until his death. That he heard about Hezekiah's illness and recovery suggests that he had a good intelligence system and that communication between various parts of the ancient world was good.

Hezekiah was glad to receive the envoys (Isa 39:2a), because a great world leader was paying attention to little Judah. Surely he felt flattered. What is dangerous about such notoriety is that one can easily succumb to the temptation to convince the important person that he is worthy of the attention given to him. Sadly, Hezekiah falls to this temptation.


(Isaiah 38)

Isaiah 36-39 stand in relation to Isaiah 7-12 as a kind of mirror image. Ch.7-12 show the consequences of Ahaz's refusal to trust God and instead trusting the nations, in particular Assyria. The result was near destruction at the hands of the very nation he trusted. But these chapters (7-12) conclude on a hopeful note because God will not break his promise either to his people or to the house of David. God will send a Davidic Messiah to restore his people and rule them in peace and justice (Isa 7:14; 9:6-7; 11:1-16; 12:1-6). But ch.36-37 reverse the picture. Isaiah's prophecy has come true, and Judah has been devastated by Assyria. However, Hezekiah, Ahaz's son, does put his trust in God and does not surrender to Assyria. As a result God proves his trustworthiness by keeping his word and delivering Judah from Sennacherib.


(Isaiah 37)

Some scholars believe that 37:9-38 to be a second account of the same event narrated in 36:1-37:7. But a particular difference is that the challenge has moved to focus exclusively on God's ability to deliver, and that Hezekiah's own commitment seems much more forthright and direct, and that the oracle from God is much more forceful and direct. A plausible explanation of the facts is that Hezekiah, encouraged by Isaiah's words in Isa 37:6-7, has moved beyond a hesitant faith and responded to the field commander's challenge with the assertion that the Lord will deliver Jerusalem (Isa 37:10). Thus, Sennacherib's letter is a response to Hezekiah, and Hezekiah's prayer is indicative of his now-total reliance on God.
  1. Hezekiah's Prayer (37:8-20).
  2. God's response to Hezekiah's Prayer (37:21-38).


The Ultimatum (Isaiah 36)

Isaiah 36-39 forms the last section in ch. 7-39 called "Lessons in Trust": Shall we put our trust in God or in the nations?
  • Isaiah 7-12: Ahaz gave the wrong answer to Isaiah.
  • Isaiah 13-35: Isaiah explains why trust in the nations is so foolish.
    • Isaiah 13-23: All people/nations are under God's judgment by the Holy One of Israel.
    • Isaiah 24-27: God's judgment of all nations of the earth will bring history to a close with the redemption of the faithful of all nations, as well as his own people.
    • Isaiah 28-35: Isaiah speaks forcefully against the folly of trusting Egypt instead of God in the specific circumstances leading up to the attack by the Assyrian Sennacherib in 701 BC.
  • Isaiah 36-39: After the above lessons in trust, the test as to whether to trust God or the nations is administered once again, this time to the son of Ahaz, Hezekiah. These chapters are the climax of the whole argument of Isaiah to this point. Isaiah asserts over and over again that God can be trusted. But is that all just rhetoric? No, everything Isaiah said is true in his specific historical context and significance. The main question is whether anyone is listening or not? In brief, it is a short-term "yes" but a long-term "no."


Salvation (Isaiah 35): A Highway Will Be There

"And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness; it will be for those who walk on that Way. The unclean will not journey on it; wicked fools will not go about on it" (Isa 35:8, NIV).

In Isaiah 28-35 the central issue was the stupid advice of the leaders for Judah to trust Egypt, instead of God. Isaiah 34 poetically expresses that trusting in the nations results in a desert, while Isaiah 35 shows the drastic and dramatic contrast when one trusts God. In brief, God will turn the desert into a garden (Isa 35:1). "The burning sand will become a pool" and the places "where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow" (Isa 35:7). This is in sharp contrast to the desolation that endured from generation to generation (Isa 34:10, 17). Even such desolation can be changed by God if we let him. God will reveal his glory by making them as rich and abundant as the forests on Lebanon and Carmel or the grasslands of the plan of Sharon (Isa 35:2; 33:9). When the rains of God fall, a barren waste springs into splendorous color almost overnight.


Judgment (Isaiah 34): Listen, Look into the Scroll

"Come near, you nations, and listen: pay attention, you peoples! Let the earth hear, and all that is in it, the world, and all that comes out of it!" "Look in the scroll and read..." (Isa 34:1, 16a)

Isaiah 34-35 offer a conclusion not only to chs. 28-33, but more largely to all of chs. 13-33. Throughout chs. 7-39 (entitled, "Lessons in Trust") God through Isaiah has been showing the people of Israel why they should trust God and not the nations. Now in ch. 34-35 the alternatives are depicted in glaring contrast. To trust the nations is to become a desert (Isaiah 34), but God can be trusted so that even if we have chosen the nations, God can make the desert burst forth with flowers (Isaiah 35). The singular point is clear: Trust God!


See the King in His Beauty (Isaiah 33:17-24)

"Your eyes will see the King in His beauty; you will see a vast land" [a land that stretches afar] (Isa 33:17, HCSB).

33:17-24 concludes Isaiah 32-33 by stressing the beauty of the divinely provided leader (Isa 33:17). He is the opposite of their drunken, blind, and confused leaders who secretly oppose God's intention (Isa 28:7; 29:10, 15; 30:1). This King is the gracious promise for which they long and wait (Isa 33:2). This promise was fulfilled in multiple ways (in at least four different historical settings) throughout Israel's history.


Be Our Strength Every Morning (Isaiah 33:1-16)

"Lord, be gracious to us! We wait for You. Be our strength every morning and our salvation in time of trouble" (Isa 33:2, HCSB).

Isaiah 33 continues the description of the kingdom of the true messiah. It is introduced by the 6th and final woe in this section that began in Isaiah 28. But this woe is not addressed to the people of Israel or its leaders, but to the enemy of Jerusalem, almost certainly Assyria. The true king is the one who can bring about the deliverance that the drunken blind leaders cannot. 33:1-16 has two parts:
  1. The woe and an appeal to God (1-6).
    • the woe (1).
    • an appeal to God (2), which is based on
    • God's character and power (3-6).
  2. Deliverance to come from God (7-16).
    • the hopelessness of the situation (7-9).
    • a promise by God to take action (10-16).


Quietness and Confidence Forever (Isaiah 32:9-20)

Isaiah 32:9-20

"The fruit of that righteousness will be peace;
its effect will be quietness and confidence (trust, assurance) forever" (Isa 32:17, NIV).

32:9-14 and 32:15-20 seem unrelated. But they show a consistent train of thought as they address the issue that everything in Isaiah 7-39 ultimately goes back to: Trust and Security. 32:9-14 condemn women who are "complacent" and "secure" (Isa 32:9), apparently because of a good harvest. Isaiah says that their complacency is terribly misplaced, for in only one year, all that will change (Isa 32:10). They should start mourning now (Isa 32:11-12) because of the agricultural disaster about to come on them. "Thorns and briers" (Isa 32:13a) speak not only of a mere physical disaster, but speak also of the spiritual condition of the nation (Isa 5:6; 27:4). "Merriment" and "revelry" will soon cease (Isa 32:13b), and all the places where strength and rule could be expected will be abandoned (Isa 32:14). All the false trusts will have failed. But this does not mean that God has failed.


Good Leaders Rule With Justice (Isaiah 32:1-8)

Isaiah 32-33 (32:1-8; 9-20; 33:1-16; 17-24)

"See, a king will reign in righteousness and rulers will rule with justice" (Isa 32:1, NIV).
  • Isaiah 28-29 spoke of false leaders.
  • Isaiah 30-31 spoke of false counsel.
  • Isaiah 32-33 speak of the true leader and the characteristics of his reign. This section can be divided into:
    1. The nature of true leadership (32:1-8). His reign is characterized by righteousness and justice (Isa 32:1).
    2. The Spirit as being necessary for true leadership (32:9-20).
    3. The necessity of divine intervention on Judah's behalf explained (33:1-16).
    4. A graphic illustration of the rule of the King (33:17-24).


Trusting Egypt Doesn't Work (Isaiah 31)

Isaiah 31

"Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help and rely on horses, who trust in chariots because they are many and in horsemen because they are very strong, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel or consult the Lord!" (Isa 31:1, ESV) "Return, you Israelites, to the One you have so greatly revolted against" (Isa 31:6, NIV).

The major theme of this section--chs. 28-33--is "Woe to those who do not trust (wait on) God" with Isa 31:1 being the key verse; it is also the 5th woe in this section. To recap:


A Different Gospel

(The Gospel Gap-2 Peter 1:3-9. Sermon at West Loop on 11/8/2015 by Rhoel Lomahan.) There are many "different gospels" that Christians may mistake as "the gospel." Here are a few of them:

Formalism. Formalism is blind to the seriousness of my spiritual condition and my constant need for God's grace to rescue me. It is replaced by church activities, meetings, conferences and gatherings. There is nothing wrong with participation simply as one healthy aspect of a good life. The gospel is reduced to participation in the meetings and ministries of the church. One friend told me a told me he was a slave of formalism. Whenever his members didn't attend a meeting, he didn't ask how they were doing, but rather he would say in an angry tone, "Why did you miss the meeting?"


God Graciously Waits (Isaiah 30)

Isaiah 30 (1-7, 8-18, 19-26, 27-33)

"This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: 'In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it'" (Isa 30:15). "Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you; And therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; Blessed are all those who wait for Him" (Isa 30:18, NKJV).

Isaiah 28-33 can be titled "The Folly of Trusting the Nations" (or "Woe to those who do not trust or wait on God"). Isaiah pronounces "woe" [the funeral word] six times in this section (Isa 28:1; 29:1, 15; 30:1; 31:1; 33:1), because the refusal to trust God will only lead to destruction.


Love by C. S. Lewis

The will. "Christian love, either towards God or towards man, is an affair of the will." "Love in the Christian sense, does not mean an emotion.  It is a state not of feelings but of the will; that state of the will which we have naturally about ourselves, and must learn to have about other people."

Feeling after acting. "The rule for all of us is perfectly simple.  Do not waste time bothering whether you "love" your neighbor; act as if you did.  As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets.  When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him.  If you injure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him more.  If you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less."


Bad Leaders Produce Unacceptable Worship (Isaiah 29)

Isaiah 29 (1-8, 9-14, 15-24)

"The Lord says: 'These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught'" (Isa 29:13, NIV).

Isaiah 28-33 continues the discourse (which begun in Isaiah 7) of the foolishness of trusting the nations instead of the Lord, by dealing particularly with the specific political situation in Judah: Would Judah trust God or not? The same approach was seen in ch. 13-27 where particular nations were addressed (13-23) before addressing the world as a whole (24-27).


Sun (11/1/15): Mocking Isaiah's Words (Isaiah 28).

  • Thank God who helped us study 28 chapters of Isaiah by this Sunday.
  • Pray for me as I leave on Nov 4 for Manila and to attend my mother's 98th birthday in Malaysia.


Our One Security: God's Sure Foundation (Isaiah 28)

I. Two Crowns (1-6): Pronouncement Against Ephraim. What are you proud of?

In 28:1-6 there is a play on "crown" or "wreath." This is the circlet of flowers or vines worn on the had of champions or revelers in Greek and Roman cultures. The drunken partygoers in Samaria wear these wreaths on their heads as they try to forget the terror facing them. Isaiah sees a day when all these wreaths, both the real and the symbolic, will be thrown to the ground and trampled. The "pride" of the northern kingdom is going to be snatched up like a ripe "fig" (Isa 28:4).

In contrast there is another "wreath," the Lord himself (Isa 28:5). He will be the source of beauty and glory for those who have abandoned their own pride in glad submission to him. He will give "justice" to the judges and "strength" to the soldiers (Isa 28:6). The mention of "crown" in Isa 28:5 puts the issue in clear light: Who is the King, the drunken political leaders or "the Lord Almighty"?

II. Two Words (7-13): Continuing Pronouncement Against Ephraim. What are you hearing?

28:1-4 spoke of the political leaders and the nobility, whereas 28:7-8 show that the priests and prophets are no better off. They too are besotted with the attempt to please and satisfy themselves. Alcohol abuse is a problem for them, but it is also a symptom of their deeper problem, an unwillingness to surrender their needs and desires to the Lord (Mal 2:1-9).

So instead of giving clear guidance and teaching in that desperate hour, they are staggering, reeling and befuddled in a stupor (Isa 28:7). The tables (Isa 28:8) used either for judgment or for partying are covered with vomit.

Isa 28:9-10 express the mockery of these religious leaders toward Isaiah. "Who does he think he is, treating us like little children?" Alcohol and refusing to face reality causes one to become childish, while unable to recognize what is truly going on. They denounce the repetitive simplicity of Isaiah's teaching, clearly wanting something more nuanced and ambiguous as befits their supposedly sophisticated understanding.

Isaiah responds in Isa 28:11-13 by saying that since this is what they think they are getting, then it will be exactly what they will get, only from lips other than his. Since they refuse God's invitation to rest in him by abandoning their petty pride and demeaning pleasures, they will learn his truth through "foreign lips and strange tongues" (Isa 28:11), the Assyrians who will teach them that what Isaiah said is true. Their demands as conquerors will really be repetitively simple. If they will not learn the easy way of faith, then they must learn the hard way of experience.

III. Two Covenants (14-22): A Message to the Leaders in Jerusalem

The focus shifts to the leaders in Jerusalem. "Therefore" (Isa 28:14) calls them to pay attention and learn from Ephraim, the northern leaders who are facing imminent judgment. If Judah continues in her present ways, she too will face the same fate. Isa 28:15a may not be an actual quote from the Judean leaders but Isaiah's sarcastic restatement of their words, for they have made a lie their refuge.

Isaiah's serious and unflattering epithet to the leaders is to call them "scoffers" (Isa 28:14). They not only reject the truth, but also make light of it. Like the northern leaders, these Judean scoffers have laughed at the foolishness of trust God and made their covenants "with death" (Isa 28:15, 18), which is probably an alliance with Egypt whom they think will guarantee life for them and their nation when Assyria, the "overwhelming scourge" (Isa 28:15b) comes. They ally themselves with the "lie" (Isa 28:15b) that human power is better and more reliable than simply trusting God (Isa 28:12).

Isa 28:16-19 is God's response to the "covenant of death" (Isa 28:15a, 18a). God asserts that He alone is trustworthy (Isa 28:16). God is the "tested stone" (Isa 28:16) in contrast to the "lie" on which the leaders have built their "refuge" (Isa 28:17b). God's measurements are the "justice" and "righteousness" of God (Isa 28:17a), which can stand whatever shocks might come to it. Anyone who builds on it "will never be stricken with panic" (Isa 28:16b). They can be calm and deliberate by experiencing the place of quiet rest and repose (Isa 28:12). When any other trust is measured against God's "sure foundation," its faultiness becomes apparent at once, as with the "covenant with death" (Isa 28:18).

IV. Two Methods (23-29): Illustration from the World of Agriculture. Can you trust God's ways with you?

Isaiah concludes with two graphic illustrations. Scoffers and drunkards, literal and allegorical, have refused to listen to God's word. Isaiah has been saying that there are simple cause and effect principles that rule the spiritual world, which if they are flouted will result in disaster (28:23-29).

The least educated peasant farmer, just a serf, knows that there are some things you do and some things you don't. "Listen and hear my voice" (Isa 28:23) has overtones of wisdom literature. The comparison of one activity with another, royal counsel with farming, is characteristic of wisdom literature.

A time of rough plowing before planting new life (28:23-26). A farmer knows that there are certain appropriate ways to do things. He does not keep on plowing forever (Isa 28:24), as though that were an end in itself. When he plants he does not mix up all the different seeds together (Isa 28:25). Each has to be grown separately. Though just a peasant serf, he is smart enough to know that the upheaval of plowing is only temporary and that plowing changes to planting. Therefore God knows that endless upheaval and disruption in our lives would be fruitless. Yes, God does break up the rock-hard soil of our hearts. Yes his work of plowing does get rough with us. But not continually and only in order to plant new life there. God always has a life-enriching purpose. Yield to him.

Each crop requires its own unique special treatment and refinement. When he threshes, he uses appropriate tools according to the size of the grain involved (Isa 28:27-28). To use a heavy threshing sledge or a stone roller on the tiny "caraway" and "cummin" seeds would crush them to dust (Isa 28:27a). Instead, he uses a jointed "stick" called a "flail" in English. And even a correct method must not be overused. Therefore, God knows exactly how to work with each of us (Jn 21:20-23). God has just the right touch for you. Trust him.

Isaiah is saying that these peasants have learned these principles from God (Isa 28:26, 29). God's natural revelation has taught them how life works. Why can't these wise counselors, who have the benefit of both natural and divine revelation, be as intelligent as the uneducated peasant when it comes to understanding that God can be trusted and humans cannot?


Woe to Drunken Rulers (Isaiah 28-29)

Having established God's sovereignty over the nations both in particular (13-13) and in general (24-27), Isaiah now returns to particular situations in Israel and Judah (28-33) that illustrate the folly of trusting the nations instead of God. The Assyria with which Ahaz had allied himself is first finishing up with Samaria (28:1-13) and then turning its unwanted attentions on Judah (29:7-8). The flood which Isaiah had foretold (8:6, 8) is about to burst full force against the southern kingdom, Judah. Between Samaria's fall (722 BC) and Sennacherib's attack on Jerusalem (701 BC), it appears that Judah's foreign-policy makers turned more and more toward alliance with Egypt (Isa 30:3; 31:1). To Isaiah, this alliance was just as stupid as the earlier one with Assyria. Though Egypt would not seek to devour Judah as Assyria did, any help she could give was unreliable (30:3-7; 31:3; 20:1-6). To trust Egypt instead of God was incredible (30:15-33). This exposed a faithless leadership drunk on its own power and privilege (Isa 28:7-8; 29:15-16; 30:1; 1:23; 7:13; 9:14-16; 19:11-15).

The structure of 28-33:


Two Choices (Isaiah 28)

Isaiah 28:1-29

"God has told his people, 'Here is a place of rest; let the weary rest here. This is a place of quiet rest.' But they would not listen" (Isa 28:12, NLT). "So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: 'See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic'" (Isa 28:16, NIV).
  1. Two crowns (1-6). What are you proud of?
  2. Two words (7-13). What are you hearing?
  3. Two covenants/foundations/alternatives (14-22). Who are you trusting?
  4. Two methods (23-29). Can you trust God's different ways of dealing with you?


How To Live In Perfect Peace (Isaiah 26-27)

  1. Live righteously (Isa 26:2). Cf. Isa 26:10.
  2. Be steadfast (Isa 26:3a; Rev 2:10b).
  3. Trust God (Isa 26:3b-4), wait on him (Isa 26:8).
  4. Yearn for God and desire God (Isa 26:9).
  5. Know that God does everything (Isa 26:12; 1 Cor 1:31; Gal 6:14).
  6. Honor God's name (Isa 26:13).
  7. Live for the resurrection (Isa 26:19; 25:8; Dan 12:2).
  8. Know your real enemy (Isa 27:1).
  9. Embrace God's punishing blows (Isa 27:6-9).


Woe To Those Who Do Not Wait/Trust in God (Isaiah 28-35)

Isaiah 28-35 has also been titled:
  • The folly of trusting the nations.
  • Do not trust in enemies who will be defeated.
  • Human schemes and God's plans.
  • Six woes.
In Isaiah 28-35 Isaiah continues the lessons in trust since Ahaz decided not to trust God as recorded in Isaiah 7. Having established God's sovereignty and supremacy over the nations, both in particular (ch.13-23) and in general (ch.24-27), Isaiah now returns to particular situations in Israel and Judah that illustrate the folly of trusting the nations instead of God. The key issue in Isaiah 28-35 is whether Judah, and in particular its leaders, will rely on Egypt or on the Lord in the face of the growing threat posed by the ever-increasing power of Assyria.


God's Ultimate Purpose for His People (Isaiah 27)

Isaiah 27:2-13

"In days to come, Jacob will take root. Israel will blossom and bloom and fill the whole world with fruit" (Isa 27:6, HCSB).

Isaiah 27 closes this section (ch.24-27--the triumph of God over the nations). It summarizes and illustrates God's sovereignty regarding Israel and the nations. The result of God's sovereignty will be redemption. In contrast to the earlier songs in this section (Isa 24:9; 25:5; 26:1), 27:2-13 is more personal and intimate. It praises God for delivering his people. Isaiah 24 and 25--the first two songs--declare universal judgment and universal salvation. It is hyperbole to emphasize the point regarding God's universal judgment and salvation. In Isaiah 26--the third song--the people proclaim their trust in God, and also confess their inability to deliver themselves and fulfill their ministry in the world. In Isaiah 27, God confirms his promise to deliver them. God himself is the singer of this final song of the apocalypse. His people sing to him (Isa 24:14-16; 25:1-5; 26:1-6), and now he sings over them. The Lord and his people are one, and their joy is complete (Zep 3:17).


God's Triumph Over the Nations (Isaiah 24-27), 1-39

Outline of Isaiah 1-39:
  • 1-5: The problem: A lack of servanthood.
  • 6: The solution: The call to servanthood.
  • 7-39: Lessons in trust, the basis of servanthood.
7-12 (739 BC): God or Assyria. No Trust (Ahaz). Thus the need to learn lessons in trust.
13-23: God's judgment on the nations--Don't trust the nations.
24-27: God's triumph over the nations--God is the sovereign actor on the stage of history.
28-33: Woe to those who trust the nations, who do not trust and wait on God.
34-35: Trusting God or the nations--Results.
36-39 (701 BC): God or Assyria. Trust (Hezekiah).


Perfect Peace and Confident Trust (Isaiah 26)

Isaiah 26:1-27; 27:1

You will keep the mind that is dependent on You in perfect peace, for it is trusting in You. Trust in the Lord forever, because in Yah, the Lord, is an everlasting rock!" (Isa 26:3-4, HCSB).

Isaiah 24 is a general summary. All nations will be destroyed (Isa 24:1-3) and her drunken songs silenced (Isa 24:7-9), because the Lord alone will be exalted in that day (Isa 24:3). In Isaiah 25, God is going to have a feast on his great holy mountain (Isa 25:6). It is a feast for the whole world, for "all peoples." This is hyperbole here: the whole world is destroyed, and the whole world will be saved. No one escapes judgment, and everyone has the possibility of redemption. God will pull away the shroud that covers humanity (Isa 25:6). God will raise us from the dead. We will have songs in the night because of what he has done (Isa 25:9). But the arrogant will not escape. Proud and arrogant Moab will be pushed down into a manure pile (Isa 25:10). Isaiah 26-27 continues the thought of 24-25, such as the song of joy (Isa 26:1, 19; 27:2), because of God's victory over the city of oppression (Isa 26:5; 27:10, 13), but with a somewhat changed focus. Whereas ch. 24-25 focus on the victory and the feast which follows, ch. 26-27 reflect in a somewhat more solemn view upon the meaning of this victory for Judah. However, the general theme of God's sovereignty remains of central importance as does the atmosphere of hope stemming from that conviction.


Trust God, only He Saves (Isaiah 25)

Isaiah 25:1-12

"On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food (fatness) for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine—the best of meats and the finest of wines. On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; 8 he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people's disgrace from all the earth. The Lord has spoken.In that day they will say, 'Surely this is our God; we trusted in him (waited for him), and he saved us. This is the Lord, we trusted in him (waited for him); let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation'" (Isa 25:6-9, NIV).

From shattered silence to joy is the sharp contrast of Isaiah 24 and 25. Isaiah 25 forms the response to the announcement of the destruction of the earth city (Isa 24:10). In Isaiah judgment and destruction (Isa 24:1, 3) are never God's intended last words. Rather, it paves the way for hope and redemption (Isa 25:9). From the silence of the shattered city (Isa 24:8) comes the joy of a feast where the host is the Lord (Isa 25:6).
  1. The song (1-5): Thanksgiving for God's faithfulness. Joy in the Lord. Individual praise: his supernatural acts.
  2. The banquet (6-8): Announcement that God's purpose in the destruction of the earth is her redemption from death.
  3. The festivities (9-12): Joy that comes from being delivered from their enemies, typified by Moab. Communal praise: his saving acts.


God Devastates the Earth (Isaiah 24)

Isaiah 24:1-23

"See, the Lord is going to lay waste the earth and devastate it; he will ruin its face and scatter its inhabitants—The earth will be completely laid waste and totally plundered. The Lord has spoken this word" (Isa 24:1, 3).
  1. Earth destroyed (24:1-13). Humanity in chaos.
  2. Ultimate praise (24:14-16)...but present devastation (Isa 24:16b).
  3. Cosmic judgment (24:17-23)...ending in sheer glory (Isa 24:23).


God's Plan is to Humble the Proud (Isaiah 23)

Isaiah 23:1-18 (Your money is not yours. It is a gift from God.)

"The Lord Almighty planned it, to bring down her pride in all her splendor and to humble all who are renowned on the earth" (Isaiah 23:9).

Tyre is like Babylon; both are proud. With the pronouncement against Tyre in Isaiah 23, Isaiah fittingly concludes his judgments upon the nations (ch.13-23). As Babylon, the great city in the east, opens this section (ch.13-14), so Tyre, the great city in the west, closes it. As Babylon is described in general, universalistic terms, so is Tyre. As it is difficult to pin down the precise historical events in ch.13, so also it is with ch.23. So much similar are the two chapters that Revelation uses the language applied to Tyre to describe the great world city Babylon (Rev 18:11-24). Thus, Tyre, like Babylon at the beginning, is being used in a representative way. For instance, both are proud and arrogant (Isa 13:11; 23:9).


The Unforgivable Sin (Isaiah 21-23), Tue 7 pm, 9/29/15

  • The Unforgivable Sin (Isaiah 21-23) often scares Christians. From Isaiah, the unforgivable sin is simply to ignore God and sin by living it up as though everything is fine.


But You Did Not Look to God (Isaiah 21-23 questions)

Isaiah 21-23
  1. What nation is "the wilderness of the sea" referring to (Isa 21:1, 9)? What was said about the glory of this land earlier (Isa 13:19)? What might be some reasons for calling it by this term?
  2. If God has brought down Babylon (21:2), why is he grief–stricken (Isa 21:3–4)? [The Persians (Elam) and the Medes captured Babylon in 539 BC, ending the Judeans' exile in Babylon (Isa 21:2).] To understand Isa 21:5 see Daniel 5.
  3. [Dumah (21:11–12) was an oasis deep in the Arabian desert where Nabonidus, the last Babylonian king lived.] What is happening on the caravan routes (21:14–15)? 21:16–17 seem to swing back to Isaiah's own lifetime when perhaps the Assyrians devastated Edom's trade. Why include this with a prediction of events in the far future? [A caravan route came across the northern Arabian desert to Dedan, Tema, and Kedar, sites in Edom (21:13-17).]
  4. [It is not clear what event is referred to in 22:1–3. Is it the temporary lifting of the siege of Sennacherib in 701 BC, when the Assyrian officer withdrew his army to support the emperor at the time when the Egyptians came out to battle (Isa 37:8–9)? Or is it the final lifting of the siege after the death of the Assyrian army?] Who is being addressed in this oracle of judgment (Isa 21:8–10)? Why would this country be included in this list of untrustworthy nations?
  5. What is the irony of "valley of vision" and why use it (22:1)? Where do we normally go to see a long distance?
  6. Why does Isaiah not share in the general jubilation (22:5–7)? What does this say to us about short-term and long-term vision? But suppose we are called "killjoys" and "spoilsports"? [Elam and Kir (22:6) are both locations in extreme south Mesopotamia.]
  7. A title for God (22:5) appears in one form or another 6 times in the chapter. What is its significance in this context?
  8. What is the central problem addressed in 22:8-11? What did Hezekiah do and not do? Should he not have made defensive preparations? What's the problem? What does 11b mean? How should such a person have done?
  9. Why should the people be "weeping and mourning" (22:12)? Is there never a time for celebration? What was wrong with this celebration? What is the proper Christian attitude towards heaven?
  10. 22:14 seems very harsh. Why will this "iniquity" not be "atoned for"? What is the  unpardonable sin? (Heb 10:26–29; 1 Jn 5:16–17)
  11. How does 22:15–19 function as a graphic illustration of what was said in 22:1–14, and especially in 22:13? What is Shebna "looking to" and what should he be looking to? What does 22:20-25 say about a guarantee of success (from a human perspective) if we are faithfully doing God's work? Isn't this unfair? Shouldn't doing things God's way always enjoy God's evident blessing? What does 22:24 suggest might be one reason for Eliakim's eventual failure? What is the message for us? ["the steward…who is over the household" (22:15) almost certainly is a term for "the prime minister" of the country. Note that in 36:3, it is Eliakim who is "over the household" as per Isaiah's prediction in 22:20–22. Isaiah 22:17–18 suggest that at some point Shebna would be taken as a hostage to die in a foreign land.]
  12. What has happened to Tyre (and Sidon) and what is the response of her/their trading partners (23:1–14)? What question are they asking and what is the answer (23:8–12; 14:24–27)? What truth should we draw from this? [The cities of Tyre and Sidon were the two dominant ports on the coast of Lebanon. They seem to have been the places where Canaanite culture and religion chiefly survived after Israel took over Canaan proper. These are the people whom the Romans knew as the Phoenicians. These cities largely controlled trade to the west around the Mediterranean Sea. "Tarshish" (23:1, 6, 10, 14) was probably located in what is today Spain.]
  13. If 23:1–14 says not to trust in Tyre and Sidon because of their coming destruction, why do 23:15–18 say there is no reason for Judah to put her trust in them? [In 23:15–18, prostitution is apparently being used as a figure of speech for being a trans-shipper of merchandise. Tyre is selling her services to the various nations, like a prostitute would. But clearly there is nothing intrinsically wrong with this since the wages are to be dedicated to the Lord (18).]


Judgment and Hope, Trust and Rebellion in Isaiah

Outline of Isaiah by John Oswalt.

Figures of speech
. These repeated figures of speech in Isaiah crop up throughout the book, giving the careful reader a sense of discovery and delight in recognizing the author's craft in recalling an earlier figure and using it in a related, but amplified way:
  • trees (Isa 1:29-30; 2:13; 6:13; 10:33-34; 29:17; 32:15, 19; 37:24; 44:14, 23; 55:12; 57:5; 60:13; 61:3).
  • highways (Isa 2:3; 7:3; 11:16; 19:23; 35:8; 40:3; 49:9, 11; 57:10, 14; 59:7-8; 62:10).
  • banners (Isa 5:26; 11:10-12; 13:2; 18:3; 30:17; 49:22; 62:10).
  • deserts (Isa 5:6; 6:11-12; 32:14; 34:13-17; 41:18-19; 43:20; 48:21; 50:2; 64:10).
  • gardens and fertile fields (Isa 29:17; 32:15; 35:1-7; 41:18-19; 51:3; 65:3, 10; 66:17).
  • children (Isa 1:4; 3:12; 9:6; 11:8; 26:17; 37:3; 49:19-21; 54:1-3; 66:7-12).
  • light and darkness (Isa 2:5; 5:20, 30; 8:22; 9:2; 26:19; 29:18; 30:26; 42:6-7, 16; 45:7; 49:9; 51:10; 58:8, 10; 59:9-10; 60:1-3, 19-20).


Pope Frances to Congress on 9/24/15

"The challenges facing us today call for a renewal of that spirit of cooperation, which has accomplished so much good throughout the history of the United States. The complexity, the gravity and the urgency of these challenges demand that we pool our resources and talents, and resolve to support one another, with respect for our differences and our convictions of conscience."


Babylon Has Fallen, Has Fallen (Isaiah 21)

Isaiah 21:1-17

"Babylon has fallen, has fallen! All the images of its gods lie shattered on the ground!" (Isa 21:9b)

The whole world in His hands...at the moment and into the future. Isaiah 13-23, a new section of oracles against the nations, began with the Mesopotamian powers of Babylon and Assyria (ch.13-14). Then the oracles moved to the neighbors Philistia (14b), Moab (15-16), Aram and Israel (17a). Isaiah 17b-18 is an interlude chapter (17:12-18:7), where Cush (Ethiopia) was used to declare that Yahweh is the Lord of the nations (Isa 17:13). Then came the oracle against Egypt (ch.19-20). In essence Isaiah 13-20 declares that God rules decisively over the nations. In Isaiah 21-23 he makes more declarations to the same effect, but with an interesting difference. He speaks more allusively, more vaguely, more mysteriously, because he is giving less attention to his immediate surroundings and peering out further into a more remote future. What does Isaiah see? He sees a redeeming God at work in a deeply troubled world.


One World, One People, One God (Isaiah 19-20)

Isaiah 19-20 (Converted, Saved, Healed and Whole)

Can the world be one
Isaiah's oracle on Egypt shows that the God of Israel has something glorious in mind for the whole earth. Egypt is the first enslaver of the Lord's people and their most memorable adversary. But through her, Isaiah opens up a truly magnificent view which includes thinking of Egypt as "my people" (Isa 19:25). [This follows the vision of a remnant of both Gentiles and Israel being drawn to the Lord in Zion (Isa 18:7).] At the climax of the oracle (Isa 19:23-25), Isaiah links Egypt with Assyria, the contemporary oppressor. If these two can be brought into co-equality with Israel then the world will be one indeed!
  1. Egypt's fall (19:1-15): Egypt smitten, collapsed, fallen and defeated.
  2. Egypt's restoration (19:16-25): Egypt saved, healed and converted.
  3. Egypt's unreliability (20:1-6): Egypt is untrustworthy; she will be taken captive (20:1-6).


Two Cities (Isaiah 24-27)

Isaiah 24-27

Isaiah 24-27 contain the third set of visions of the future. In the first set (ch.13-20) Isaiah looked at the world around him. In the second set, using cryptic titles (ch.21-23), he probed forward and found the same features dominating the future as he had seen in the present. In this third set, Isaiah is looking right to the End. Similar aspects to prior visions emerge:
  • The collapse of the "world city," the human attempt to organize the world into one "global village" (24:1-20).
  • At long last, the Lord's reign over the kingsof the earth in Zion (24:21-23).
  • Gentile problems at last solved in the great messianic feast (25:1-12).
  • The Lord's people secure in the strong city of salvation (26:1-21).
  • The joy of the world-vineyard (27:1-13).

God's Triumph over the Nations (John Oswalt, 1988).

  1. A strong city laid waste (24-25).
    • The earth is crushed (24).
    • God's feast (25).
  2. The Lord's day (26-27).
    • Judah's song (26:1-27:1).
      • Hymn of thanksgiving (26:1-6).
      • Psalm of dependence (26:7-19).
      • Oracle of salvation (26:20-27:1).
    • The Lord delivers Judah (27:2-13).
      • The Lord's vineyard (2-6).
      • Cleansing versus destruction (7-11).
      • Return (12-13).

Two Cities in Contrast: Endurance Through to Glory (24-27) [J. Alec Motyer, 1993]

  1. The Lord's harvest from a destroyed world (24:1-13).
    • Destruction (1-12).
    • Gleanings (13).
  2. The song of the world remnant (24:14-16a).
  3. The sinful world overthrown (24:16b-20).
  4. The waiting world (24:21-23).
  5. The song of the ruined city (25:1-5).
  6. MOUNT ZION (25:6-12).
  7. The song of the strong city (26:1-6).
  8. The waiting people of God (26:7-21).
  9. Spiritual forces of evil overthrown (27:1).
  10. The song of the remnant of the people (27:2-6).
  11. The Lord's harvest from a destroyed people (27:7-13).
    • Destruction (7-11).
    • Gleanings (12-13).

The End of the World-City (24:1-20) [J. Alec Motyer, 2011]

  1. Earth devastated: divine action (1-3).
  2. The earth withered: explanation (4-6).
  3. The song stilled: the fall of the city (7-12).
  4. The song overheard: the Lord's gleanings (13-16a).
  5. Personal wasting away: grief over the ultimate consequence of sin (16b-18a).
  6. Earth devastated: moral/spiritual causation (18b-20).


The Unforgivable Sin (Isaiah 21-23)

Isaiah 21-23

but you did not look to the One who made it, or consider the One who created it long ago" (Isa 22:11b, HCSB). "The Lord of Heaven's Armies has revealed this to me: "Till the day you die, you will never be forgiven for this sin." That is the judgment of the Lord, the Lord of Heaven's Armies" (Isa 22:14, NLT).
  1. Babylon has fallen (21:1-10): Don't trust Babylon.
  2. The uncertain world goes on (21:11-12): Live with faith in the tension of uncertainty.
  3. There are no human solutions (21:13-17): Learn to trust God.
  4. God does not forgive disregarding him (22:1-25): Never forget to look to your Maker.
  5. Consumerism, capitalism and covetousness (23:1-18): Don't be seduced.


An Altar to the Lord in the Heart of the Land (Isaiah 19-20)

Isaiah 19–20

"On that day there will be an altar to the Lord in the center of the land of Egypt and a pillar to the Lord near her border" (Isa 19:19, HCSB).

  • In both Canaan and Egypt the storm god was depicted as riding on a cloud (Isa 19:1).
  • At least twice in Egypt's history a period of total political breakdown followed a period of absolute monarchy. Isa 19:2 seems to reflect knowledge of this tendency.
  • Egypt was easily the most idolatrous nation in the ancient Near East. Only surpassed by modern Hinduism.
  • Egypt was famous for its ancient wisdom. The first known collection of proverbs comes from Egypt (1900 BC?).


Do Not Forget the God Who Saves You (Isaiah 17:10)

"You have forgotten God your Savior; you have not remembered the Rock, your fortress…" (Isaiah 17:10a).

"Forgotten" and "not remembered" (Ps 78:11, 42) refer to the failure to keep the mind fixed on God. What does it mean to keep the mind fixed on God? In the theology of Deuteronomy, remembering and forgetting form a fundamental concept (Dt 8:11-20; 8, 19-20). What is in view is not primarily a mental activity, although it does involve such activity. Rather, remembering is a mental activity which issues in certain kinds of behavior. Conversely, the absence of corresponding behavior negates any claimed mental activity. Thus, one cannot claim to know God if their life and behavior does not reflect it.

One who remembers acts accordingly. God wants his people to recall his unique, never-to-be-repeated acts on their behalf with the result that their present actions will be in keeping with his character. If their present actions are not of such a nature, then they do not truly remember who God is and what God has done.


True Religion (Isaiah 19-20)

"On that day there will be an altar to the Lord in the center of the land of Egypt and a pillar to the Lord near her border" (Isa 19:19, HCSB).

  1. Egypt smitten (19:1-15). Because of her religion (1-4)--idolatry, resources (5-10)--Nile, and self-reliance (11-15)--human wisdom.
  2. Egypt healed (19:16-25).
  3. Egypt unreliable (20:1-6).

Five Marks of True Religion (19:19-22):


Am I Relying on God as my Savior and Rock? (Isaiah 17-18)

Would you trust God in a crisis? The attack of Israel and Aram on Judah (Isa 7:1) precipitated a crisis of faith and trust (Isa 2:22; 7:4a, 9b). Judah [Ahaz], instead of turning to God, turned to the nations of the world [Assyria] for its help at the critical moment of difficulty (2 Ki 16:7). Thus, in Isaiah 17, Isaiah used this good opportunity (the mention of Aram and Damascus) to declare the larger truth in these chapters (13-23) that all nations of the world are subject to Yahweh (Isa 17:12-14; 18:1-7). So it would be foolish for Judah to either fear the nations or trust the nations (Isa 7:2, 4a, 9b).


Isaiah Outline by John Oswalt, 2003

1-5    Intro: Introduces the idea/problem of servanthood. Who will you trust? God or man?
6       Call to servanthood/to trust God. It is the solution to the problems addressed in 1-5. It is the pivotal chapter in Isaiah.
7-39   Lessons in Trust (7-35: No Trust. 36-39: Trust).
    7-12    God or Assyria? No Trust. Ahaz fails to trust God and the consequences.
    13-39    Study lessons on trust again.
        13-23    Don’t trust the nations.
        24-27    God is the sovereign actor on the stage of history.
        28-33    Woe to those who will not wait/trust.
        34-35    Conclusion
        36-39    God or Assyria? Trust. Hezekiah passes the test of trusting God.
40-55    Grace motivates us to trust God.
56-66    Grace enables us to live in the righteousness of God.


Isaiah in 71 days by Alec Motyer, 2011. Part I: Backdrop to Isaiah's Ministry (1-5)

I. Backdrop to Isaiah's Ministry (Isaiah 1-5).
  1. 1:1-9. Title (1:1). Author's preface (1:2-5:30) outlines the situation in which he ministered. Backdrop to Isaiah's ministry (1): You are not what you ought to be (1:2-31).
    • The state of the nation (1:2-9).
  2. 1:10-20. The people were spared the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah (1:9) but the spirit of Sodom and Gomorrah lives on among them (1:10) and is seen especially in their religion.
    • The state of the church (1:10-20).
  3. 1:21-31. Isaiah's review of the state of affairs is social breakdown.
    • The state of society (1:21-26).
    • The surprising future (1:27-31).
  4. 2:1-4. Backdrop to Isaiah's ministry (2): You are not what you were meant to be (2:1-4:6). The glorious vision of 2:2-4 expresses what the Lord expects from his people. The elect was meant to be a magnet to all the earth, drawing all others into the knowledge of the Lord. The reality proved very different. Religiously (2:5-21) and socially (2:22-4:1) his people sadly conformed to the world rather than being the point of its transformation. But the future will see the ideal restored (4:2-6).
    • Heading (2:1).
    • The great "might have been" (2:2-4).


Not Remembering and Not Trusting God (Isaiah 17-18)

Isaiah 17-18

"For you have forgotten the God of your salvation and have not remembered the Rock of your refuge..." (Isa 17:10, ESV).

Wherever Judah looks, to the west (Philistia), east (Moab), north (Damascus/Aram) or south (Egypt), she sees only nations whose glory is fleeting and whose fate is sealed. There is nowhere she can look for her own security but to the Lord, who is the Lord of history and the judge of them all.


Weep and Wail for the Proud (Isaiah 15-16)

God's Plan for Proud Moab (ch.15-16) [Gary Smith]
  1. A lament over the ruin of Moab (15:1-9).
    • Laments over the ruined northern Moabite cities (1b-4).
    • Laments over fugities who flee south (5-7).
    • The inevitability of Moab's dire situation (8-9).
  2. A Moabite request for shelter in Judah (16:1-5).
  3. A lament: pride will cause the devastation of Moab (16:6-12).
    • Moab is proud (6).
    • Moab will wail, its field ruined (7-8).
    • Prophet laments; there is no joy in Moab (9-10).
    • Prophet weeps; Moab's prayer is useless (11-12).
  4. An announcement: Moab's end within three years (16:13-14).


Genesis: A Few Key Doctrines

Consider the following statements below and what they mean to you, your life and your community.

The Creation (Genesis 1-2): Do you honor God as your Creator (Ps 33:6)?
  • God is the Creator (Gen 1:1).
  • God created man in his image (Gen 1:27).
  • God planted a paradise for man (Gen 2:8-9).
  • God gave man work to do (Gen 1:28; 2:15).
  • God gave man freedom and a command (Gen 2:16-27).
  • God saw that being alone is not good and gave the man a family (Gen 2:18ff).
The Fall (Genesis 3): Do you understand what it means that human beings are fallen creatures (Jer 17:9)?


God's Plans for Babylon and Assyria (Isaiah 13-14)

Read Isaiah 13-14
  1. God summons his troops (13:1-5): God musters an army for war (Isa 13:4b).
  2. God destroys the proud (13:6-16): God puts an end to all who are arrogant (Isa 13:11).
  3. God desolates Babylon (17-22): God overthrows Babylon (Isa 13:19).
  4. God restores his people (14:1-2): God has compassion on Jacob (Isa 14:1).
  5. God humiliates/humbles the proud king of Babylon (14:3-23): "How you have fallen" (Isa 14:12).
  6. God's sovereign plan and purpose WILL prevail (14:24-27): Who can thwart God's purpose out turn back his out-stretched hand? (Isa 14:27)
  7. God warns those who gloat (14:28-32): Do not rejoice that your enemy is struck and broken (Isa 14:29a).


Don't Trust The Nations (Isaiah 13-23)

Isaiah 13-23, the next major section of Isaiah after 1-12, teach a primary and central truth (that are announced as prophecy or oracles): God's kingdom is the world. God's sovereignty is not something that is nebulous but actual and real. Together these chapters form a prelude to the world visions of ch. 24-27. It is also an interlude between the prediction of the Assyrian crisis in ch. 1-12 and its onset in ch. 28-39.

Focus on Babylon. Isa 13:1 begins a new section of Isaiah. The oracles in ch. 13-23 focus on the destruction of several nations (mostly foreign nations; all the nations surrounding and including Judah), and is thus set apart from ch. 1-12, which primarily addresses Judah. The judgment focuses on Babylon more than the other nations mentioned. (There are 55 verses dealing with the judgment of Babylon, but not more than 38 for any other nation.) Though other views are possible, it appears that ch.13-23 forms a unit devoted to prophecies against specific nations.

A message for God's people. Given that Israel's leadership exhibited a tendency to cast their lot with the nations, it may be that these oracles were designed to remind Israel's leaders that partnering with foreign powers was futile. The oracles would also encourage the remnant, those within Israel who trusted the Lord. No nation, regardless of its perceived power, can stand against God.


Cycle of Hope and Judgment (Isaiah 7-12)

His birth
His nature
Israel /Assyria
His reign
Song of Praise