Thursday, January 31, 2008

Isaiah, Chapter 21

Sometimes, I get so tense
But I can't speed up the time
But you know, love, there's one more thing to consider
Said woman take it slow
Things will be just fine
You and I'll just use a little patience –
Guns N' Roses, Patience

Beginning a Bible study entry with the words of Guns N' Roses is just a tad unexpected, but despite the fact they aren't exactly a fine example of Christian morals and ethics, their words here still relate to Isaiah, Chapter 21. Chapter 21 is a lesson in patience, as we are back to seeing a prophesy against Babylon. As we have learned, Babylon was the strongest society of the time of Isaiah, and the people of Israel had come to fear the Babylonians. Isaiah presents the promise here that God will deliver them from the oppression of the Babylonians. All they had to do was exercise a little patience and trust in God.

4 My heart falters,
       fear makes me tremble;
       the twilight I longed for
       has become a horror to me.

 5 They set the tables,
       they spread the rugs,
       they eat, they drink!
       Get up, you officers,
       oil the shields!

 6 This is what the Lord says to me:
       "Go, post a lookout
       and have him report what he sees.

 7 When he sees chariots
       with teams of horses,
       riders on donkeys
       or riders on camels,
       let him be alert,
       fully alert."

 8 And the lookout shouted,
       "Day after day, my lord, I stand on the watchtower;
       every night I stay at my post.

 9 Look, here comes a man in a chariot
       with a team of horses.
       And he gives back the answer:
       'Babylon has fallen, has fallen!
       All the images of its gods
       lie shattered on the ground!' " – Isaiah 21:4-9

Historically, Babylon fell not by a conquering army, but by decay and disarray within after the rule of Alexander the Great. It was nothing that Israel or Judah did, and no army of Israel or Judah ever rose up to conquer this oppressor. We see in the verses above that God was telling the people of Judah that they only need exercise patience and God would deliver them from Babylon. Instead of being told to rise and fight, they are told to post a lookout and wait for Babylon to fall on her own.

How can we apply this patience to our daily lives? Well, as a personal example, I was blessed greatly yesterday for my patience. I have published a Purdue sports blog since August of 2006. In 2007, God blessed me with a network and connections that increased my readership to a couple thousand people per week. It became a project that I enjoy spending time on because I knew I would be honing my craft of writing, plus I simply enjoy writing about Purdue athletics. I dream of one day getting paid to write full time for this, but the revenue I was receiving from some ads I had sought out were minimal (about $10 a month) at best. Still, I persevere because I know this is what God wants me to do for now.

Yesterday that perseverance began to pay off, as I was able to snag my first major ad contract. It was only $400 for five text ads placed on my site for one year, but to me it was a huge step. In a period of less than 24 hours, I went from not even a glimmer of expected ad revenue to this blessing. To me, it represented a realization of a dream, as I was finally being compensated for something I had dreamed of being paid for since I began writing it. I also know it represents a future promise, as it is just a step along the journey that God has planned for me. It is also a reassurance that I am doing what He wants me to do at this time. In a way, this is my lookout, waiting for the signs that God is going to fulfill His promise in my life. I cannot think of a better way to serve God than by continuing on this path.


  1. What are you on the lookout for in your life?
  2. How else can you see patience in this lesson?
  3. How important is it to remember patience is often learned through hardship?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Isaiah, Chapter 20

Chapter 20 of Isaiah is a short one, but it provides a powerful lesson in trusting God. During the time it was written Hezekiah was king of Judah and was witness to King Sargon of Assyria when he conquered and resettled Israel to the north. Naturally, as king of Judah, this made Hezekiah fearful that he was next to be conquered. As a result, he considered seeking an alliance with nearby Egypt and Cush.

Now as we saw in the previous two chapters, there had been prophecies made against the people of Egypt and Cush, but there was still some friendship between those people and Judah. King Hezekiah wanted to form an alliance of strength against the Assyrians, but God had other plans. God wanted Hezekiah to trust Him, not some outside source of strength, and that is why we get this warning against such an alliance.

3 Then the LORD said, "Just as my servant Isaiah has gone stripped and barefoot for three years, as a sign and portent against Egypt and Cush, 4 so the king of Assyria will lead away stripped and barefoot the Egyptian captives and Cushite exiles, young and old, with buttocks bared—to Egypt's shame. 5 Those who trusted in Cush and boasted in Egypt will be afraid and put to shame. 6 In that day the people who live on this coast will say, 'See what has happened to those we relied on, those we fled to for help and deliverance from the king of Assyria! How then can we escape?' " – Isaiah 20:3-6

According to my study Bible there are two reasons for this warning. First, the warning was because Isaiah foresaw that any insurrection against Assyria would be useless. We know, historically, that this was true. It was akin to picking a fight against someone you had no chance of beating. Second, as mentioned previously, Isaiah wanted Hezekiah to trust God instead of trusting a foreign ally. Judah had become too dependent on foreign allies by this time, and needed to return its focus to God.

Remember on Friday, in our discussion of chapter 17, how I discussed the importance of putting the focus back on God? That is what we are reminded of today. In reality, this is the most important thing we can do, and over the course of the past several days I have been reminded of this not only from the Bible, but from several other voices. As a result I have made a conscious effort to quite myself when things appear to be out of my control and listen for that still, small voice of God. It is that voice that reminds me, even in the maelstrom of life, that I need to persevere.

        4Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love.—Revelation 2:4

I wanted to conclude with this verse from Revelation because I feel it relates to the message that Isaiah is trying to give us. John here is submitting a letter from Christ to the church in Ephesus. Though they were commended for following Christ and doing what Paul had charged them to do years earlier, they had become so consumed by it that they had forgotten the spirit of Christ, their first love. This relates because Isaiah is asking Hezekiah to remember his love of God. We also must remember this first love so that we trust in him, because we can easily become so consumed with what we are doing we forget to rely on God for our strength.


  1. What is your definition of the Love of God?
  2. Why is it important for us to rely on God for strength?
  3. Was Hezekiah weak in his faith for not relying on God when it seemed he had a solution in front of him?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Isaiah, Chapter 19

In chapter 19 of Isaiah, we once again find ourselves face to face with another of Israel's enemies. Egypt had been one of the dominant cultures on the planet for centuries, but around the time that Isaiah was written, their culture was a shadow of its former self. We saw an example of their power from the time of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob up to the Exodus. Though the early Egyptians had befriended Joseph and his family, by the time of Moses they had turned on them and made the Israelites slaves.

Does this judgment mean that God hates Egypt because of the way that she mistreated Israel? Not necessarily. God is angry with Egypt here because of the way that she worshipped false idols instead of God. That is outlined here in chapter 19 through Isaiah's poetic verse. Here Isaiah speaks about how Egypt will turn to her idols and false gods in a time of crisis, but those gods would be silent. Because of that, Egypt will learn to fear the Lord.

1 An oracle concerning Egypt:
       See, the LORD rides on a swift cloud
       and is coming to Egypt.
       The idols of Egypt tremble before him,
       and the hearts of the Egyptians melt within them.

 2 "I will stir up Egyptian against Egyptian—
       brother will fight against brother,
       neighbor against neighbor,
       city against city,
       kingdom against kingdom.

 3 The Egyptians will lose heart,
       and I will bring their plans to nothing;
       they will consult the idols and the spirits of the dead,
       the mediums and the spiritists.

 4 I will hand the Egyptians over
       to the power of a cruel master,
       and a fierce king will rule over them,"
       declares the Lord, the LORD Almighty.

 5 The waters of the river will dry up,
       and the riverbed will be parched and dry.

 6 The canals will stink;
       the streams of Egypt will dwindle and dry up.
       The reeds and rushes will wither,

 7 also the plants along the Nile,
       at the mouth of the river.
       Every sown field along the Nile
       will become parched, will blow away and be no more. – Isaiah 19:1-7

Why would God show this judgment to Egypt? Well, like He did with the Assyrians, Babylonians, and such before this, God wanted to get Egypt's attention. So much of Egypt's economy relied on the Nile river and its annual floods. Here, this prophecy pretty clearly alludes to a disastrous drought that would prevent the floods from bringing their annual water for crops. Such a thing would be catastrophic, and naturally Egypt would turn to its own gods first. Since those gods were powerless, the true God would finally have their attention.

16 In that day the Egyptians will be like women. They will shudder with fear at the uplifted hand that the LORD Almighty raises against them. 17 And the land of Judah will bring terror to the Egyptians; everyone to whom Judah is mentioned will be terrified, because of what the LORD Almighty is planning against them. 18 In that day five cities in Egypt will speak the language of Canaan and swear allegiance to the LORD Almighty. One of them will be called the City of Destruction. 19 In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the heart of Egypt, and a monument to the LORD at its border. 20 It will be a sign and witness to the LORD Almighty in the land of Egypt. When they cry out to the LORD because of their oppressors, he will send them a savior and defender, and he will rescue them. – Isaiah 19:16-20

Here, we see hope for Egypt. In their time of greatest fear, a people that they oppressed, Judah, would come back and settle in the heart of Egypt. We also see here a final promise of the Lord delivering a Savior. Now why would God deliver a Savior to people that He hated? Well, this just shows His love and that he intends for all people to love Him. If God can love the enemies of His people and provide a Savior for them then, we can learn from this lesson and learn to love our own enemies.


  1. How would shaking up the kingdom of Egypt get the Egyptians to love God?
  2. Why would Judah want to go and live in the land that had oppressed them?
  3. Has this already happened, or is it yet to happen?

Monday, January 28, 2008

Isaiah, Chapter 18

During my commentary last week on chapters 13 and 14 of Isaiah, I pointed out that, despite the ethnocentric view that the Bible sometimes takes, God's message is still for the entire world. As we have seen so far throughout Isaiah, God has had specific judgments and warnings against Damascus, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, and Moab. It may seem that God did not like these people and only liked the Israelites, but we know from reading that it was merely His judgment against them because they had turned away from Him.

Today we see something slightly different because the prophecy in chapter 18 concerns the people of Cush. The Cush were descendents of Ham that were believed to have lived in northeastern Africa and part of what is now modern day Saudi Arabia. Their largest concentration was along the Nile river south of Egypt. We see in the beginning of this chapter that they are called an aggressive people, but God calls for messengers to be sent to them. This is key because it appears that God has a different plan in mind for them other than judgment.

1 Woe to the land of whirring wings
       along the rivers of Cush,

 2 which sends envoys by sea
       in papyrus boats over the water.
       Go, swift messengers,
       to a people tall and smooth-skinned,
       to a people feared far and wide,
       an aggressive nation of strange speech,
       whose land is divided by rivers.

This is clearly not a judgment against them. Clearly the Israelites had already had contact with the people of Cush, and since they are believed to be descendents of Ham they were ethnically related to the Israelites through Noah. This may be one of the earliest instances of the Lord sending out missionaries in His name to spread His love. As we can see from our previous discussions this is a big step. This also sets the stage for what Paul and the early church would accomplish in the New Testament. Clearly God has an open heart and an open mind here because he is not reigning down a judgment upon these people. They had had previous contact with the Israelites that appeared to be friendly (as evidenced by the fact they had sent envoys), so we know they are not a new people. They are also said to be aggressive, but they are not conquering like the Assyrians.

4 This is what the LORD says to me:
       "I will remain quiet and will look on from my dwelling place,
       like shimmering heat in the sunshine,
       like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest."

 5 For, before the harvest, when the blossom is gone
       and the flower becomes a ripening grape,
       he will cut off the shoots with pruning knives,
       and cut down and take away the spreading branches.

 6 They will all be left to the mountain birds of prey
       and to the wild animals;
       the birds will feed on them all summer,
       the wild animals all winter.

 7 At that time gifts will be brought to the LORD Almighty
       from a people tall and smooth-skinned,
       from a people feared far and wide,
       an aggressive nation of strange speech,
       whose land is divided by rivers—
      the gifts will be brought to Mount Zion, the place of the Name of the LORD Almighty.

If these people were aggressive against Israel, why would they bring gifts to the Lord Almighty? In this they were being submissive to the Lord, therefore, He found them in His favor. According to my study Bible's commentary, they were thankful that God had defeated the Assyrians, so they paid tribute to the Lord. I think this is a wonderful example that shows that even before Christ came, His message was meant for all nations.

One final point that is made here is the fact that the people of Cush, though relatives of the Israelites through Ham, are believed to be ethnically different from the Israelites. They are described as a tall, smooth-skinned people. Many Biblical scholars also believe they were black, and this was in no way viewed in a derogatory way by the Israelites. This proves that even as far back as the Old Testament, God was busy breaking down ethnic and racial barriers simply because those barriers are not as important as His message.


  1. How have we sent his relationship with the Cush progress to the present day?

  2. Do you see any animosity in this chapter between Cush and Israel?

  3. How does this set the stage for future missionary work?


Friday, January 25, 2008

Isaiah, Chapter 17

10 You have forgotten God your Savior;
       you have not remembered the Rock, your fortress.
       Therefore, though you set out the finest plants
       and plant imported vines,

 11 though on the day you set them out, you make them grow,
       and on the morning when you plant them, you bring them to bud,
       yet the harvest will be as nothing
       in the day of disease and incurable pain. – Isaiah 17:10-11

It is unusual that I begin this blog with the Scripture passage, but those two verses from Chapter 17 of Isaiah stood out to me this morning. Lately I have been troubled by many burdens, both personal and public. Last night, however, God delivered in the form of a wonderful conversation and planning session with my wife. As I was lying in bed this morning, just minutes before my alarm went off, I felt compelled to simply praise God for His love and His mercy. I like to begin each day in prayer like this, giving Him the day before I even begin it. Today was a little bit different in that I felt the need to praise God for delivering me through yet another difficult period in my life. I have felt His hand moving so clearly lately, through my life, my marriage, and my new role as a leader in the small church group my wife and I attend.

That is where the above verses come in to play. Part of the reason for my recent depression is that fact that I was trying to handle all of these burdens myself. I was trying to do all the planning and figure out every step in solving every burden on my own. This, unfortunately is a step back to my old nature, as it shows my frail human side. I had forgotten God, my Savior. Therefore, even though I had set out the finest plants (my own plans) and made them grow, there was nothing there for me on the day of harvest. That day of harvest has been quickly approaching, as my wife and I have had many important decisions to make at the end of this month. Until last night, there was nothing to harvest, and I felt that everything I had been doing was in vain because I felt no direction and no better than when I had begun this process.

Though these verses come from yet another warning against one of Israel's enemies (this time Damascus) I feel they still apply on a personal level today. It certainly is possible to be caught up in this world and forget not only who God is, but what He has done for us. This gets back to our lessons on knowing where our strength lies. I think most people, including myself, are guilty quite often of forgetting what our rock is. This is a bad thing only because it takes us away from God and shows a lack of faith. Personally, this is one of the things I struggle with most, but when I do remember strength, my rock, it makes those moments so much sweeter. This morning was a very special moment basking in the glow of the savior, as it felt like I was awakening to a new day in the palm of the King of Kings. Therefore, I give the glory all to God on this day.


  1. How often do you feel you forget God?
  2. Does this mean it is wrong to make your own plans?
  3. How does God assist with planning such as this?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Isaiah, Chapter 15 and 16

My apologies for not publishing anything yesterday, but this is an incredibly difficult chapter to tackle and I was simply unable to come up with anything at work. I am also working on a few things to make this blog better and get it out to more people, so that has been consuming my spirit as well as many other things going on right now.

As a result of yesterday's largesse and because of a dearth of things to write about, I am putting chapters 15 and 16 together for today's discussion. Both go together because they concern the prophecy against Moab. Most people don't know where or what the land of Moab was. According to my study Bible, it was a very small country near Israel that fiercely valued its independence from the Assyrians and Babylonians. It shared a few links with Israel in that the Moabites had the same ancestral father as Israel, Terah, and King David's great-grandmother, Ruth, was from Moab. While they shared these things with Israel, they often conflicted with the Israelites. They frequently raided Israel, and that is why the bulk of chapter 15 offers a portent of doom for them.

5 My heart cries out over Moab;
       her fugitives flee as far as Zoar,
       as far as Eglath Shelishiyah.
       They go up the way to Luhith,
       weeping as they go;
       on the road to Horonaim
       they lament their destruction. – Isaiah 15:5

Isaiah, knowing the links that Israel and Moab share, shows a bit of sorrow here for the people of Moab unlike for the rest of Israel's enemies. This is also here to show that the Bible is a message of hope to all nations, and not just the nation of Israel. Many times in the Bible it appears that God is only concerned about the nation of Israel. Here though, is a prophetic vision where the author is mourning the fact that Moab had turned away from God. Why would there be sorrow over a nation God was judging? It is because God's message is for all people. As we know, God loves even as He disciplines. This is a case where His patience had ended and He was forced to discipline in order to turn people back to Him.

4 Let the Moabite fugitives stay with you;
       be their shelter from the destroyer."
       The oppressor will come to an end,
       and destruction will cease;
       the aggressor will vanish from the land.

 5 In love a throne will be established;
       in faithfulness a man will sit on it—
       one from the house of David—
       one who in judging seeks justice
       and speeds the cause of righteousness.

 6 We have heard of Moab's pride—
       her overweening pride and conceit,
       her pride and her insolence—
       but her boasts are empty. – Isaiah 16:4-6

Who are these Moabite fugitives? Well, much like it was mentioned previously in Isaiah, there was a remnant of Moabite society that still followed God. Because of their proximity to Israel and the way the cultures had crossed for centuries, the message of God had reached them as well. These were the people that God was trying to save in his judgment against Moab. We must remember that there is always more to the story than what is written down here in the Bible. God's message has always been spread to people, but has not always been documented.

Finally, in this prophetic passage of judgment we see another message of hope. This is buried in verse five, which is clearly another prophecy concerning the majesty of Christ. I like how this links with the Moabite refugees from the previous verse, as it shows that Christ would be coming to bring hope to all people. These fugitives needed a Messiah as well, and they were turning to the God of the people who were often their enemies. Can you imagine this happening today? To me, this just shows even more of the power and beauty that the majesty of God brings.


  1. What made Moab different from Assyria and Babylon?
  2. Why does Isaiah refer to this future vision of Christ as merely a man in verse five of chapter 16?here for the people of Moab unlike the rest of Israe
  3. How does God's judgment show His love to those He is judging?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Isaiah, Chapter 14

So far in the book of Isaiah we have seen plenty of allusion towards the judgments awaiting this world. Here in chapter 14 we see more of that, as Isaiah returns to issuing dire warnings. This chapter is a little different, however, in that he begins to talk about what is going to happen to Lucifer at the end of time. He never mentions Lucifer by name here, but it is strongly hinted at that he is the one that will be subject to the worst of these judgments.

Almost since the beginning of time Lucifer has been sowing discord not only here on earth, but in heaven. We know that he is a master manipulator and deceiver. He is responsible for causing original sin and was cast out of heaven before the creation of the world. Because he once was in heaven and led a revolt of angels, we do know that he is a former angelic being. Despite what he thinks though, he is not equal to God.

12 How you have fallen from heaven,
       O morning star, son of the dawn!
       You have been cast down to the earth,
       you who once laid low the nations!

 13 You said in your heart,
       "I will ascend to heaven;
       I will raise my throne
       above the stars of God;
       I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly,
       on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain.

 14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;
       I will make myself like the Most High."

 15 But you are brought down to the grave,
       to the depths of the pit.

 16 Those who see you stare at you,
       they ponder your fate:
       "Is this the man who shook the earth
       and made kingdoms tremble,

 17 the man who made the world a desert,
       who overthrew its cities
       and would not let his captives go home?"

 18 All the kings of the nations lie in state,
       each in his own tomb.

 19 But you are cast out of your tomb
       like a rejected branch;
       you are covered with the slain,
       with those pierced by the sword,
       those who descend to the stones of the pit.
       Like a corpse trampled underfoot,

 20 you will not join them in burial,
       for you have destroyed your land
       and killed your people.
       The offspring of the wicked
       will never be mentioned again. – Isaiah 14:12-20

One of the names Lucifer has been given is the morning star. This is how we know that he is the morning star that Isaiah is referring to here. We see that when God has won the final victory over him he will not have a fate as simple as one who ignored. Rather, he will be sent to the pit because he tried to exalt himself as the most high. This is yet another lesson against having too much pride, as we cannot hope to exalt ourselves above God. It is also a lesson in being humble. Lucifer has very little humility, which we know as a quality that God desires in us. The moment we begin to think we are equal to God in any way we begin to turn away from him because we then think we can accomplish things on our own.


  1. Why is Lucifer in store for a worse fate than someone who turned away from God.
  2. Why does Isaiah equate Babylon to the morning star in this chapter?
  3. Why are there further warnings here against Assyria?

Friday, January 18, 2008

Isaiah, Chapter 13

What is Babylon? It is mentioned extensively throughout the Bible as one of the most dominant societies in the world during Old Testament times. From a secular perspective, we know that it was one of the great ancient societies. It existed more than 24 centuries before the birth of Christ until the Medes destroyed it in 539 B.C. It existed as a society for nearly 2,000 years, but almost no trace exists of it today except for what Saddam Hussein started rebuilding in the 1980’s. During the time the book of Isaiah was written, it was ruled by the Assyrians and was one of the largest cities in the world, yet today it stands buried in the desert sands.

Why is this so important? Well, in Chapter 13 of Isaiah, we see the prophetic vision of Babylon as is true today laid out for us. Though it was a center of commerce and society, it was not a society that followed God. Instead, it was a symbol of pagan religion and culture. The Israelites were subject to the Babylonians and were beginning to doubt whether God would triumph for them. This is prophesied in the long awaited Day of the Lord, which can mean a variety of things.

6 Wail, for the day of the LORD is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty.
7 Because of this, all hands will go limp, every man's heart will melt.
8 Terror will seize them, pain and anguish will grip them; they will writhe like a woman in labor. They will look aghast at each other, their faces aflame.
9 See, the day of the LORD is coming —a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger— to make the land desolate and destroy the sinners within it. – Isaiah 13:6-9

Here, the Day of the Lord is equated to the impending destruction of Babylon. We know that it was destroyed by the Medes and continues to be uninhabited to this day. We also know, from reading Revelation, that Babylon is prophesied to return to prominence, meaning the Day of the Lord can still be in the future as well. John the Revelator saw his vision of Babylon as an even more evil society separated from God. It also came after Christ came to earth and long after the city of Babylon had been destroyed. This is proof that God has delivered before, so why should we doubt He can deliver again?

17 See, I will stir up against them the Medes, who do not care for silver and have no delight in gold.
18 Their bows will strike down the young men; they will have no mercy on infants nor will they look with compassion on children.
19 Babylon, the jewel of kingdoms, the glory of the Babylonians' pride, will be overthrown by God like Sodom and Gomorrah.
20 She will never be inhabited or lived in through all generations; no Arab will pitch his tent there, no shepherd will rest his flocks there.
21 But desert creatures will lie there, jackals will fill her houses; there the owls will dwell, and there the wild goats will leap about. – Isaiah 13:17-21

We have seen that Isaiah has prophesied things that have yet to occur, but how is this for sending chills down your spine: according to my study Bible, Isaiah was written between 700 and 680 B.C. Like Babe Ruth calling his shot in the 1932 World Series, Isaiah not only says Babylon will be destroyed and no one will live there, he even names the people who will destroy her in verse 17. This occurred in 539 B.C. You can’t say that Isaiah wrote this after the fact because he was long dead by the time it happened! This just proves both how powerful and how merciful God is because he once again delivered on His promises.


1. What could be viewed as Babylon in the present day in terms of a lost nation?
2. How do you interpret the Day of the Lord?
3. Does the rebuilding of Babylon stand as a sign of Revelation?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Isaiah, Chapter 12

How important is praising God? Back when I first began to publish this blog, I used a sermon series about the four Spiritual disciplines of prayer and fasting, silence, the Word, and Worship. Since praising God is obviously an act of worship, I would say it is a pretty important part of what we do. Sometimes I think we get lost in seeking God for guidance and strength while forgetting to praise him for what He has done. I try to head this off each morning by beginning my day, before even getting out of bed, by thanking God and giving both myself and the day to Him.

I think Isaiah is reminding us to praise God in all things when it comes to chapter 12. It is a very short chapter, but it carries with it a reminder to sing a song of praise in all things. Yesterday, in chapter 11, we saw the promise of Christ laid out and how he would eventually be both loving and judging. Before that, in chapters 9 and 10 we saw evidence of God's anger against both Assyria and Israel. Chapter 12 certainly takes on a different tone, as the Israelites were asked to praise the God that was judging them.

1 In that day you will say:
       "I will praise you, O LORD.
       Although you were angry with me,
       your anger has turned away
       and you have comforted me.

 2 Surely God is my salvation;
       I will trust and not be afraid.
       The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song;
       he has become my salvation."

 3 With joy you will draw water
       from the wells of salvation.

 4 In that day you will say:
       "Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name;
       make known among the nations what he has done,
       and proclaim that his name is exalted.

 5 Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things;
       let this be known to all the world.

 6 Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion,
       for great is the Holy One of Israel among you." – Isaiah 12:1-6

That is the entire chapter right there. It is quite different from what we have been reading Isaiah, wouldn't you say? Isaiah writes this to get the Israelites (those who still followed God with all their hearts) minds off of their suffering and back onto God. This song of praise offers hope that God will deliver on His promises. He is almost saying here that God's love was evident even in the judgments because it showed He was not some aloof character far away. He was right there, involved and caring in human affairs, which He still does to this day.

I love how this shows the depth and power of God's love, as His anger is not out of hate but out of love. It is a love for us that is so deep that He would go to any length to correct us when we fall away.


1.      How have you felt comforted from God even when you feel His hand of discipline?

2.      How can you apply this lesson of praising God in all things?

3.      Why do you feel that Isaiah placed this in the middle of dire prophecies?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Isaiah, Chapter 11

We currently live at a unique time in history. We are alive in the time period of history after Christ first walked the earth, yet before He returns again. In Isaiah, Chapter 11, however, we get another view of what life was like before He came the first time. While previous chapters in this book have dealt with the judgment of Israel and her enemies, here we see a different view. We see more prophecy, but it takes on a different spin away from being judgmental. It becomes a prophecy steeped in hope. That hope is that a Savior, in the form of Christ, will be coming not only to judge, but to instill peace for Israel. Not only will that Savior be instilling peace for Israel, Isaiah hints that He will change the world as a whole.

1 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
       from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.

 2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—
       the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
       the Spirit of counsel and of power,
       the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD -

 3 and he will delight in the fear of the LORD.
       He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
       or decide by what he hears with his ears;

 4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
       with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
       He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
       with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.

 5 Righteousness will be his belt
       and faithfulness the sash around his waist.

 6 The wolf will live with the lamb,
       the leopard will lie down with the goat,
       the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
       and a little child will lead them. – Isaiah 11:1-6

All of these descriptions can be applied to Christ. Now imagine living in a time where we knew nothing of His life here except for these promises. This is also further proof that His life was more than something special, as He lived up to each and every one of these promises more than 800 years after they were written. Not only did He live up to them then, he continues to live up to them even now. Even in his judgment He is righteous and loving. As verse three says, He judges not with eyes and ears, but with his heart. This is an attribute that few men possess. Most of the time we judge with what we see and hear. It takes a special discernment that Christ possessed to be able to look beyond what we see and hear and judge with the heart.

10 In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious. – Isaiah 1:10

In Matthew 1 we are given the genealogy of Jesus. We see that he is descended from David, who was the son of Jesse. Therefore, he is the root of Jesse and fulfills this prophesy mention in verse 10. We know that the nations will rally to Him and that He is glorious. This is further proof that the Word is true, and we can rest in that Truth.


  1. In what other ways does Jesus fulfill these prophesies?
  2. Why was it important for God to link Jesus with King David?
  3. What does Isaiah mean by, 'A little child will lead them'?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Isaiah, Chapter 10

Today is a day of overwhelming burdens. I must admit that I am not feeling very inspired this day because of a number of things on my mind and a number of burdens I am facing at my present job. It is at a time like this that I am reminded where my strength lies. I was thinking of this last night on my way to play basketball. I felt I was at another crossroads where my burdens were going to overwhelm me. Instead of succumbing to these troubles though, I tried to focus on where my strength lies.

Ultimately, that is what chapter 10 of Isaiah is saying. It is a hard chapter to go through because it deals so much with the doom and gloom of judging the Assyrians. Much of Isaiahs deal with that because, at the time, the Assyrians were such a repressive force against Israel and Judah. So what can we take out of this? As the prophet Isaiah points out numerous times throughout this book, the judgment is pending because Israel had lost its way. Israel had forgotten where its strength lied, therefore, they must suffer the consequences.

20 In that day the remnant of Israel,
       the survivors of the house of Jacob,
       will no longer rely on him
       who struck them down
       but will truly rely on the LORD,
       the Holy One of Israel.

         21 A remnant will return, a remnant of Jacob
            will return to the Mighty God.

         22 Though your people, O Israel, be like the sand by the sea,
           only a remnant will return.
        Destruction has been decreed,
        overwhelming and righteous.

         23 The Lord, the LORD Almighty, will carry out
       the destruction decreed upon the whole land.

 24 Therefore, this is what the Lord, the LORD Almighty, says:
       "O my people who live in Zion,
       do not be afraid of the Assyrians,
       who beat you with a rod
       and lift up a club against you, as Egypt did.

 25 Very soon my anger against you will end
       and my wrath will be directed to their destruction."

As mentioned before, Israel was not relying on God for its strength. Instead, they were relying on the allies around them to be a fighting force against larger foes. As a result, they had become complacent and dependent on sources other than God for their strength. It is here that God promises them that the day will come when the survivors of Israel will have no choice but to rely on the Lord. This can be an allusion to a time when they would cast off their Assyrian oppressors, or it can refer to the end times when God will personally intervenefor Israel.

How does this relate to today? Well, much like with Israel, there are moments where God gives us little choice but to rely on Him. It is in those moments when we have no idea what to do that we must rely on Him. I have been in those moments before, and personally feel like I am in one right now. It is a bit of a helpless feeling, knowing I am at the end of my own strength. Fortunately there is an awesome and powerful God there to take these burdens away and deal with them in his own time. This is what we have been promised, and that promise evidences itself right here.


  1. Why does God only mention a remnant of Israel.
  2. Why does God use these moments of helplessness to demonstrate His strength?
  3. How do you feel oppressed like the Assyrians oppressed Israel?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Isaiah, Chapter 9

The ninth chapter of Isaiah is an important chapter because in it we see another important prophecy concerning Christ. We had seen one in chapter seven, but according to the notes in my study Bible that prophecy could have been applied to another child. Indeed it was in chapter eight, verse three of Isaiah. There a child is born to the prophetess and the same prophesy spoken of in chapter seven, verse 16. Therefore there still could be some doubt as to who the Messiah was and when he could be coming. Chapter nine, however, is clearly a prophecy about the Messiah.

4 For as in the day of Midian's defeat,
       you have shattered
       the yoke that burdens them,
       the bar across their shoulders,
       the rod of their oppressor.

 5 Every warrior's boot used in battle
       and every garment rolled in blood
       will be destined for burning,
       will be fuel for the fire.

 6 For to us a child is born,
       to us a son is given,
       and the government will be on his shoulders.
       And he will be called
       Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
       Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

 7 Of the increase of his government and peace
       there will be no end.
       He will reign on David's throne
       and over his kingdom,
       establishing and upholding it
       with justice and righteousness
       from that time on and forever.
       The zeal of the LORD Almighty
       will accomplish this. – Isaiah 9:4-7

Clearly, this prophecy is referring to Jesus. Who else could it be referring to? Let's look at it in a little more depth. The reference of the government being on His shoulders implies that he will succeed over all governments. We know that in Jesus' first trip to earth He did not follow any particular government's rules. He knew that his power came from a higher authority, and God had placed in him the ability to rise above the rules of this earth.

Secondly, He is said to reign on David's throne. David is held in great esteem by many of the Israelites, as he was the greatest king the nation had ever known. Since David's time in power, Israel had fallen from grace under a succession of bad ruler after bad ruler who had turned away from God. Since Jesus would be ruling from David's throne, this is a sign that he would e returning the nation of Israel back to the ways of God.

Thirdly, we see an allusion to shattering the yoke that burdens the people. This yoke is the yoke of sin. Sin is bound to our hearts and as we saw throughout our study of Paul's work in the New Testament, we cannot do anything ourselves to break free of this burden. Only the power of Christ can set us free from the bondage that is sin. This power comes from His death on the cross. As the only perfect person who ever lived, Jesus did not succumb to sin as we have. Therefore, when he died he broke the bonds for all of us in His sacrifice.

14 So the LORD will cut off from Israel both head and tail,
       both palm branch and reed in a single day;

 15 the elders and prominent men are the head,
       the prophets who teach lies are the tail.

 16 Those who guide this people mislead them,
       and those who are guided are led astray.

 17 Therefore the Lord will take no pleasure in the young men,
       nor will he pity the fatherless and widows,
       for everyone is ungodly and wicked,
       every mouth speaks vileness.
       Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away,
       his hand is still upraised. – Isaiah 9:14-17

Finally, here we see more of the reason why we needed a Savior in the form of Christ. Isaiah illustrates here just how lost the people of Israel had become. Why would we need Jesus if we could find the way ourselves? How would we know of this need unless it was pointed out to us? This is still several hundred years before Christ came in person, but Isaiah feels the need to begin planting the seed for his need. He was also the voice of the Lord in a time when no one else would speak for Him.


  1. Why would God delay in sending Christ when the need was obvious at the time?
  2. How had Israel fallen away from God?
  3. Were there still devoted followers of God in Israel other than Isaiah?


Friday, January 11, 2008

Isaiah, Chapter 8

What does it mean to fear? I used to think fear was merely an illusion. I thought it was a crutch for the weak who used refused to take charge of their lives. As I grew older and began to realize that many things were out of my control, I began to have fear in that fact that I was not in control. Fear can be constricting if we allow it. It can prevent us from moving forward and accomplishing what God wants in our lives. In chapter 8 of Isaiah, we see that we are not to fear, but this is much easier said than done.

Isaiah teaches us here not to fear, because the Lord is in control. How can we put this into practice though? How can we rest in this knowledge when fear threatens to overtake us? This is where our discussion on Truth from Wednesday comes back into play. We must act on faith that the promise of Truth is indeed true. Lately I have been struggling with fear in the depths of the night. It is fear of both the future and making the wrong decision, as well as my past coming back to bite me. Let's look at why that fear doesn't need to be there.

11 The LORD spoke to me with his strong hand upon me, warning me not to follow the way of this people. He said:

 12 "Do not call conspiracy
       everything that these people call conspiracy [
f] ;
       do not fear what they fear,
       and do not dread it.

 13 The LORD Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy,
       he is the one you are to fear,
       he is the one you are to dread,

         14 and he will be a sanctuary;
            but for both houses of Israel he will be
           a stone that causes men to stumble
       and a rock that makes them fall.
        And for the people of Jerusalem he will be
       a trap and a snare.

         15 Many of them will stumble;
       they will fall and be broken,
       they will be snared and captured."

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

 17 I will wait for the LORD,
       who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob.
       I will put my trust in him.

We only need fear the Lord but the only reason we need to fear Him is if He is not in our hearts, then we have the promises of God written on our hearts we have no need to fear. It is hard to put this into practice, but when we fear things other than God, it is almost like we are exhibiting a lack of faith. I am as guilty of this as anyone. I still fear that I am going to make the wrong decision when I am faced with major decisions, so much so that it can paralyze me into indecision. It is a mistake I have made in the past several times that has led to missed opportunities and lost desires. I must trust in God to pick me up though, so that in the future I won't fail again.

We must remember the three pillars that the Word is based on: Faith, Truth, and Grace. If we have them in our hearts, these three principles are intertwined and designed to eradicate our fear. If we have them in our hearts. We are still human if we feel fear, because it is only natural. With the supernatural blessing of God and these principles, however, we can alleviate these fears.


  1. What is it that you fear?
  2. Is it wrong then when we fear something?
  3. How were the Israelites showing fear and not putting their trust in God at this time?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Isaiah, Chapter 7

How do we know that Christ really came to earth? How do we know that He is really God's Son? This is addressed partially in Isaiah 7, as one of the most quoted passages of Scripture at Christmas time is found in this chapter. We know that Christ was obviously a very important person, even when looked at from a completely secular perspective. With that in consideration, we must remember when the book of Isaiah was written as well. The prophecy made in this chapter about Christ was written almost 700 years before His birth!

Now why do we find it here and what context do we find it in here in chapter 7? Well, much like when Christ actually came to earth, Judah was in need of a Savior. At the beginning of this chapter they are warring with Israel and Aram, so naturally the leaders of Judah were frightened. They needed a sign that everything was going to be okay. At the time Israel stood on the brink of conquering Judah. King Ahaz was so fearful that he didn't even want to test God for a sign that everything would be okay. Because of Judah's destiny, however, God gave a sign.

10 Again the LORD spoke to Ahaz, 11 "Ask the LORD your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights."

 12 But Ahaz said, "I will not ask; I will not put the LORD to the test."

 13 Then Isaiah said, "Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of men? Will you try the patience of my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. 15 He will eat curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right. 16 But before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste.

The virgin birth here, Immanuel, is none other than Jesus. Isaiah is basically saying that before He comes, Judah will be delivered from its enemies. Therefore, there was nothing for them to fear. It seems somewhat trivial thinking about a minor war being over by bringing this prophecy to light, but this is still a major step in the history of Judah. Once again, the king of Judah was at a crossroads where God was asking the king to trust Him.


  1. Is this the first prophecy concerning the Messiah?
  2. Why had Judah fallen so far from its faith?
  3. How does this link with yesterday's lesson on truth?

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Isaiah, Chapter 6

The root of the Word is Truth. It is also the root of this blog, as Veritas was the Roman Goddess of truth. Today in chapter six of Isaiah, we see how the author was inspired to write this book, as he was confronted by the source of all truth, God. How do we know he was telling the truth, however? This is where the second pillar of the Word comes in: faith. We must take it on faith that the Truth is indeed the Truth. From a human perspective, it is naturally very hard to take hand-in-hand that the Truth is based on faith, but the reverse is also true. Our faith is built on the premise that God is the Truth, and knowing the Truth comes from having faith.

4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

 5 "Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty."

6 Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, "See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for."

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?"
      And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"

     9 He said, "Go and tell this people:
       " 'Be ever hearing, but never understanding;
       be ever seeing, but never perceiving.' – Isaiah 6:4-9

I have never seen God. I have never stood before the throne and had a seraph touch a live coal to my lips, but the symbolism here is the same. Isaiah takes a humble approach before the throne, knowing that he was unworthy of standing before God. Here though, is the third pillar of the Word, as God demonstrates his grace in order to forgive Isaiah of his sins. We see instantly that Isaiah is a changed man as he volunteers to spread the truth, so others might expand their faith.

This brings us back to the original principle of this entry, and that is how we know Isaiah is telling the truth? How do we know his warnings are true, and that he indeed was brought before the Lord for these visions? Well, God has promised to us, through numerous authors in the Bible, that the Word is his Truth. If the Word is not the Truth then we are totally lost, because if one single part of it is not true, then none of it is. However, since we've seen that so many parts of the Word have already been proven true, it becomes easier to accept the Word in its entirety through faith.

Many of Isaiah's visions were proven true over the course of the New Testament. Noah's promise was proven true as God has not destroyed the earth with a flood since that time. Christ promised that his Word would reach all nations, and considering that He only physically spoke to a dusty corner of the world 2,000 years ago, yet now has a church of billions, I would call that a fulfillment of a promise. So if these things are indeed true, and all of the Word is true, how can the rest be false?


  1. Did Isaiah actually make an appearance in the court of heaven here?
  2. What does it mean to be ever hearing, but never understanding?
  3. How is verse six an allusion to Christ's sacrifice?

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Isaiah, Chapter 5

I began playing basketball last night for my church league. In playing this sport that I love so much, I have often struggled with playing within my own abilities. God didn't exactly bless me with the basketball skill set to go along with my body. After all, there isn't much call for 5'11" power forwards that aren't even over 170 pounds. Conversely, my outside shooting can be called streaky, at best. Still, I go out there and I give everything that I have when I play. Sometimes though, that can be a little too much, as I can easily get carried away. A little success can cause me to get too excited, take ill-advised shots, and generally play poorly because I am playing too hard.

This is where today's lesson from Isaiah 5 comes in, because in the first couple of sections of this chapter we see the importance of being humble. Not only am I being a jerk if I start to acting cocky and celebrating every made basket, I lose my focus and concentration. Such is the case when we grow too confident with what we have accomplished and for that, it is the Lord that is the source of our strength. He alone is the reason we can do all we can, and Isaiah 5 is a warning against thinking otherwise.

 13 Therefore my people will go into exile
       for lack of understanding;
       their men of rank will die of hunger
       and their masses will be parched with thirst.

 14 Therefore the grave enlarges its appetite
       and opens its mouth without limit;
       into it will descend their nobles and masses
       with all their brawlers and revelers.

 15 So man will be brought low
       and mankind humbled,
       the eyes of the arrogant humbled.

 16 But the LORD Almighty will be exalted by his justice,
       and the holy God will show Himself holy by his righteousness.

What is this lack of understanding that God speaks of? I feel in this case it is pride. It is pride from thinking that we can accomplish great things without God. It is pride in thinking we can do our own thing. Isaiah mentions brawlers and revelers here among those that are condemned. There are certainly more as that is just a small group that is mentioned, but in verse 15, he mentions that mankind as a whole will be humbled. Being humble before God is critically important, as we mentioned it before several times in our discussion on the New Testament books covered here. Much like my basketball analogy, it is staying within ourselves in the game of life.

20 Woe to those who call evil good
       and good evil,
       who put darkness for light
       and light for darkness,
       who put bitter for sweet
       and sweet for bitter.

 21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes
       and clever in their own sight.

 22 Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine
       and champions at mixing drinks,

 23 who acquit the guilty for a bribe,
       but deny justice to the innocent.

 24 Therefore, as tongues of fire lick up straw
       and as dry grass sinks down in the flames,
       so their roots will decay
       and their flowers blow away like dust;
       for they have rejected the law of the LORD Almighty
       and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel.

 25 Therefore the LORD's anger burns against his people;
       his hand is raised and he strikes them down.
       The mountains shake,
       and the dead bodies are like refuse in the streets.
       Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away,
       his hand is still upraised.

Here we see God preparing to judge His own people in Israel. Why would so much of His anger be directed at them in this passage? It is because they had been His chosen people, yet they had forgotten the past. They had struck out on their own and had forgotten what God had done for them. Isn't it frustrating when you help someone accomplish something, then when they are getting their glory they forget to credit you for helping them? That is a similar situation here only magnified, as God's own people had forgotten heir way, so He continued to warn them of this transgression.


  1. Why is it so important to stay humble when focused on something?
  2. What value is gained in an accomplishment when you credit God for His part?
  3. Does God's judgment here in chapter 5 continue to today?

Monday, January 7, 2008

Isaiah, Chapter 4

What is your vision of heaven? In the fourth chapter of Isaiah, a very short chapter, we step away from the doom and gloom of the previous chapters. It is here that we see the result of the judgment of God, as Isaiah gives us a vision of what things will be like after said judgment. What we see is very brief, as this chapter spans just a handful of verses, but there is a reason for that. I think that it is because we can't possibly do a proper vision of heaven justice with our own finite vocabulary. We can deal in concepts of heaven, but until we actually experience it we will have no real idea.

2 In that day the Branch of the LORD will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of the survivors in Israel. 3 Those who are left in Zion, who remain in Jerusalem, will be called holy, all who are recorded among the living in Jerusalem. 4 The Lord will wash away the filth of the women of Zion; he will cleanse the bloodstains from Jerusalem by a spirit of judgment and a spirit of fire. – Isaiah 4:2-4

Can you imagine being called holy? This is something I have difficulty wrapping my head around. I can't imagine being called holy because I know just how often and how greatly I have fallen short of being holy. The good news is that I am not alone, as none of us are holy in our own right. The only way we can be made holy is by putting our faith in Christ. Once that happens we are promised that we will be made holy in the eyes of the Lord. When this happens, everything we have done is washed away and we become pure.

The beauty of that comes from God's immeasurable grace. Just because we accept this gift doesn't mean we are suddenly impervious to sin. We can still fall, and often do. It is because we believe, however, that we are cleansed of these transgressions by grace. It makes for quite a simple equation of grace plus faith equaling salvation. What makes this all the more amazing is that Isaiah saw this hundreds of years before Christ came to earth, yet he outlines much of the plan right here in Isaiah.

5 Then the LORD will create over all of Mount Zion and over those who assemble there a cloud of smoke by day and a glow of flaming fire by night; over all the glory will be a canopy. 6 It will be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day, and a refuge and hiding place from the storm and rain. – Isaiah 4:5-6

Again, we are treated here to another simplistic vision of heaven. Surely it will be more than a shelter and a refuge. I have always envisioned it as the same for everyone, yet different as well. I view it as being the same in that we will all be worshipping the same God that is responsible for our lives. I also believe it will be different for everyone because we will be able to accomplish or live whatever we want at the same time. For example: being the basketball nut that I am I can finally go back and relive some of the greatest times in my life from my high school team. This is obviously an experience unique to me, but at the same time we'll be in the presence of God Himself. What better way to spend eternity?


  1. What is your own vision of heaven?
  2. What is the spirit of judgment and spirit of fire and how does it affect those that are made holy?
  3. Do you agree that the vision of heaven is the same, but different for everyone?

Friday, January 4, 2008

Isaiah, Chapter 3

Yesterday, we had a warning against being proud. Today, in Isaiah 3, we see a continuation of that warning. Some of you may find it hard to follow writing like Isaiah's. It's perfectly understandable, as it does have a tendency to jump from one place to another. What I find helpful is the fact that much of what Isaiah wrote about has already come true, and we have a basis for it in the New Testament. As we saw during our journey through the New Testament books covered here, Isaiah is heavily referenced because of his prophetic writings on the life of Christ. We see more writing here that is referenced later in the Bible, as Isaiah gives a warning to the fall of Jerusalem that actually happened later on.

It is also a continuation of the warning against pride. Pride is one of the most dangerous sins because the feeling it gives us feels good. When we are prideful it does not feel like we are sinning. It brings us low though, because we are putting ourselves and our own desires before God. God is not warning the people of Jerusalem because he is vengeful and is simply waiting to smite them. He loves these people, and is trying to warn them before His hand of discipline is forced.

10 Tell the righteous it will be well with them,
       for they will enjoy the fruit of their deeds.

 11 Woe to the wicked! Disaster is upon them!
       They will be paid back for what their hands have done.

 12 Youths oppress my people,
       women rule over them.
       O my people, your guides lead you astray;
       they turn you from the path.

 13 The LORD takes his place in court;
       he rises to judge the people. – Isaiah 3:10-13

Some people need a dramatic warning in order to get them to pay attention. I know I am one of those people, as God has gotten my attention in such a way before. In verse 12, we cannot overlook the statement about women ruling over Judah. In Jewish culture at the time, men totally dominated the seats of power and felt women had no place in ruling. This warning is meant to show how thorough God would be in his discipline if He was going to let women rule. It would totally turn their society around, as most Jewish men of the time couldn't even begin to fathom the mere possibility of a woman being in power.

16 The LORD says,
       "The women of Zion are haughty,
       walking along with outstretched necks,
       flirting with their eyes,
       tripping along with mincing steps,
       with ornaments jingling on their ankles.

 17 Therefore the Lord will bring sores on the heads of the women of Zion;
       the LORD will make their scalps bald."

 18 In that day the Lord will snatch away their finery: the bangles and headbands and crescent necklaces, 19 the earrings and bracelets and veils, 20 the headdresses and ankle chains and sashes, the perfume bottles and charms, 21 the signet rings and nose rings, 22 the fine robes and the capes and cloaks, the purses 23 and mirrors, and the linen garments and tiaras and shawls. – Isaiah 3:16-22

This is not a warning against having nice things. We can have nice things, but it is when we base our entire lives on nice things and advancing our own privilege that the problem arises. Here, Isaiah is basically warning us about worshipping ourselves instead of worshipping God. He is saying that, if the people continue to worship themselves, God will take away the objects they use to exult themselves until they have no choice but to worship God. In context, these are all warnings that went unheeded. Just as God predicted through Isaiah, Israel, Jerusalem, and Judah were all laid low through invasions by the Assyrians and the Babylonian exile centuries later.


  1. If God can do this to His own chosen people, what does He have in store for today's selfish society?
  2. Why would Jewish men be so horrified to see women or youths placed in positions of power?
  3. How do these warnings carry over to the present day?

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Isaiah, Chapter 2

Yesterday was an important lesson in worshipping the Lord. Worship must come from the heart, and it means nothing if our hearts are not in it. God does not want us to exhibit showy acts of worship. He instead wants the most important thing we can offer him: our hearts. It is from our hearts that we can gain His strength to endure, and it is in our hearts that God must dwell. When we worship God in showy ways, or worship to draw attention to ourselves, it is an affront to God.

Today is another day of prophesy, however, and in Isaiah chapter 2 we see the awesome power of the Lord on display as a preview of the end times. Not only will every knee bow in service to God at that time, but there will be no more war or disputes. This is hard for us to imagine in a temporal sense. We live in a world where each day, sometimes each hour, is a battle of some sort against adversity. Only the power of God can end that, and we see in Isaiah 2 that He promises to do just that.

2 In the last days
       the mountain of the LORD's temple will be established
       as chief among the mountains;
       it will be raised above the hills,
       and all nations will stream to it.

 3 Many peoples will come and say,
       "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
       to the house of the God of Jacob.
       He will teach us his ways,
       so that we may walk in his paths."
       The law will go out from Zion,
       the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

 4 He will judge between the nations
       and will settle disputes for many peoples.
       They will beat their swords into plowshares
       and their spears into pruning hooks.
       Nation will not take up sword against nation,
       nor will they train for war anymore. – Isaiah 2:2-4

What does it mean to beat a sword into a plowshare and a spear into a pruning hook? Well, here is means that there will come a day where there is no need for weapons of war. In this world we will be fully focused on God, which is much of the reason as to why there is so much strife in our current world. People claim to fight in the name of God when they have often lost their way. Since we are imperfect, we cannot hope to find the right path without God truly in our hearts.

11 The eyes of the arrogant man will be humbled
       and the pride of men brought low;
       the LORD alone will be exalted in that day.

 12 The LORD Almighty has a day in store
       for all the proud and lofty,
       for all that is exalted
       (and they will be humbled),

 13 for all the cedars of Lebanon, tall and lofty,
       and all the oaks of Bashan,

 14 for all the towering mountains
       and all the high hills,

 15 for every lofty tower
       and every fortified wall,

         16 for every trading ship
           and every stately vessel.

         17 The arrogance of man will be brought low
            and the pride of men humbled;
        the LORD alone will be exalted in that day, -- Isaiah 2:11-17

Arrogance is the downfall of man. We are all arrogant in our own way, and because of that we fall short of God. We are arrogant when we sin because we put our own needs in front of what God wants for us. Here, Isaiah shows us that there will come a day when everything in this world that stands tall in defiance will have to face God and give Him the glory. If we are right with God and we have Him in our hearts, we already take this humbling posture before Him. We give Him glory through the way we lives our lives for Him; therefore, we do not have to fear this vision. We are already aware of His power, and have submitted our pride to Him.


  1. What is the mountain of the Lord's temple?
  2. Can there be peace in this world and in our lives before He judges the nations?
  3. What is our arrogance?


Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Isaiah, Chapter 1

It is a new year, and that means it is time for a new beginning here. It is my prayer that everyone had a great Christmas and that God will truly speak to your heart in this coming year. With that, I have decided to take this blog in a bit of a new direction by opening a study of the prophetic writings of Isaiah. It is the first time I have ever gone in depth for a book of the Old Testament, but Isaiah lends many references to future events that we have found throughout the New Testament. It is a lesson in learning to trust God, because the prophet Isaiah knew he would never see his visions fulfilled in his lifetime. Still, he lived in faith that God would prevail in the end, beginning here in Isaiah 1.

11 "The multitude of your sacrifices—
       what are they to me?" says the LORD.
       "I have more than enough of burnt offerings,
       of rams and the fat of fattened animals;
       I have no pleasure
       in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.

 12 When you come to appear before me,
       who has asked this of you,
       this trampling of my courts?

 13 Stop bringing meaningless offerings!
       Your incense is detestable to me.
       New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations—
       I cannot bear your evil assemblies. – Isaiah 1:11-13

At the time this was written, much of Judah had fallen away from its former glory. It had become a country that was more caught up in serving itself than in serving the Lord. Here, Isaiah admonishes the people by telling them that their sacrifices and offerings meant nothing unless their heart was in the right place. God wants our hearts and wants us to love Him with all of ourselves. He wants sacrifices and offerings to be given freely out of devotion and love, not as some obligation that must be met. This lesson carries over to today, as many people struggle with finding that type of devotion in their hearts. I struggle with this myself, when my faith feels more like an obligation rather than love. That is why I love the power of prayer. Sometimes prayer, treated simply like a conversation between you and God, can break through that monotony and reconnect us with God.

18 "Come now, let us reason together,"
       says the LORD.
       "Though your sins are like scarlet,
       they shall be as white as snow;
       though they are red as crimson,
       they shall be like wool.

 19 If you are willing and obedient,
       you will eat the best from the land;

 20 but if you resist and rebel,
       you will be devoured by the sword."
       For the mouth of the LORD has spoken. – Isaiah 1:18-20

Keep in mind that this book was written hundreds of years before the birth of Christ. Knowing that, the book of Isaiah deals with several prophesies concerning the life of Christ. Here, Isaiah alludes to the fact that one day Christ will come to cleanse the sins of the world. This is a cleansing that is more thorough than the system of sacrifices could accomplish. Isaiah also states in no uncertain terms what the consequences are for those who do fall away. This type of writing is common throughout the book of Isaiah, as his poetic style causes him to jump between the present and future constantly.


  1. How does a book of Old Testament prophesy effect our lives today?
  2. What are some other ways we can regain that fire for God in our hearts that we need?
  3. How would the people of the day react to the prophesy of Christ?