Daily Bible Studies
|Series Theme: Isaiah Studies (Series 1 of 8 - chapters 1 to 8)|
PRELIMINARY to reading Isaiah
Please check the 1st set of this series to understand Isaiah more fully
Chapter: Isaiah 8
Passage: Isaiah 8:1-10
A. Find Out:
1. What was Isaiah told to write? v.1 (see note at bottom of your page)
2. What would the Lord then do? v.2
3. What then happened? v.3
4. What did the Lord say would then happen? v.4
5. What was the Lord about to do and why? v.7,6
6. How far would it go? v.8
7. Yet what could Isaiah say to whom? v.9,10
Still the Lord is wanting the clear message He has spoken in chapter 7 to be held onto more firmly. He wants His warning to be heeded, and so He instructs Isaiah to write the summary of what will happen, in the form of a name which means “quick to the plunder, swift to the spoil”, obviously referring to the invader from the north that the Lord is bringing. Then when Immanuel is born, the Lord tells Isaiah to give him that name. “God with us” (Immanuel) isn't always good news, it also means discipline and judgement where it is required.
The reason for the coming invader is twofold. First it is to deal quickly with Aram and Israel , as the Lord has previously said, but it is also to deal with the unbelief of Judah as well. The reason given for Assyria coming to Judah is that Judah have been looking to man and not to God. They will come like a flooding river into the land and will spread all over it but will not completely drown it (NB. ‘Up to the neck' in v.8 meaning Jerusalem will survive).
Yet, even at the end, Isaiah is to warn such nations that God is still with Israel . It is as if he says God will allow you so far but don't think you can take liberties with us, you can't! That is security!
Chapter: Isaiah 8
Passage: Isaiah 8:11-17
A. Find Out:
1. What did the Lord warn Isaiah in general about? v.11
2. What specifically was he not to do? v.12
3. Why? v.13
4. What would the Lord be to Isaiah , Judah and Israel ? v.14
5. What would happen to Judah and Israel ? v.13
6. So what does Isaiah do? v.16,17
From prophecies about Judah and the invaders we now come to an almost intimate passage where the Lord instructs Isaiah on how he should think. His general instruction is don't think like everyone else in Jerusalem thinks. Look, says the Lord, don't look at what is going on and assume it is the machinations of men, don't fear what they will do, but instead realise that I am the Lord God Almighty and I am the one who is behind everything, I am the one to be feared, not men with their petty scheming. I will be a place of refuge for you, He continues, but for Israel and Judah I will be a cause of stumbling, they will fall because of me.
The effect of this upon Isaiah is to cause him to have a sense of security. OK, he says to his young disciples, hold onto all our testimonies, the stories that have been passed down to us about our experiences with the Lord, hold onto the law that has come down to us from Moses, these are all still valid, but we are just going to have to wait a while for the Lord to move again; He is holding back from us at the moment but He will be seen again.
What a testimony! Can we say such things when the Lord seems far from us, I'll hold onto what I know and wait patiently.
Chapter: Isaiah 8
Passage: Isaiah 8:18-22
A. Find Out:
1. How does Isaiah see himself and his children? v.18
2. What was obviously a practice in Israel ? v.19a
3. What should have happened instead? v.19b
4. What did Isaiah say was the answer to this wrong? v.20a
5. What is the state of such people who go that way? v.20b, 21
6. What will be their end? v.22
The Lord had just warned Isaiah not to be like the people around him and Isaiah sees himself and his family as a signpost that stands out in the nation, pointing all who will look, towards the Lord. Then he addresses a practice that was obviously common in those days, of consulting mediums and spiritists about the future or about contact with their loved ones who had already died.
This was a practice clearly forbidden by God in the Law - Lev 19:31, 20:6, Deut 18:10 -12 - and so Isaiah says, if you have any queries about anything, turn to God and ask Him. Look to the Law, he says, look to the testimony of Israel , that is where you should seek your guidance, not by turning to the works of darkness. Then, very graphically, Isaiah paints a picture of these people who look away from God. First of all they will have no hope; there will be no sign of light coming on the horizon from such practices.
There will be (spiritual) hunger and they will simply wander around in distress getting no satisfaction, indeed things will get worse and worse until in their distress they will turn back and curse God who they have so far ignored. As they look at the world around them, all they will find is darkness and fear, and they will find themselves going deeper and deeper into a darkness that is all-pervading.
RECAP - "A Flood & Fear" - Isaiah 8
In this final group of 3 studies we have seen :
As we come to the end of this set of studies in the opening chapters of Isaiah, we find the Lord warning yet again of His discipline coming in the form of the army of Assyria that will come and envelope the land. Isaiah is like a sign post in the midst of this people, constantly pointing them to the truth of what WILL come unless they turn to the Lord. They are a people who will turn to anything but the Lord and when judgement comes, they will never be able to say they were not warned.
Perhaps we may think that we are isolated from this sort of thing happening, but are we alert to what is happening and what God is saying to our own nation? Are we signposts to our own nation, pointing them towards God all the time? When people see us or hear us, are they turned in their thinking towards God? What was true of Judah in Isaiah's time may be true for our nation at this time, and certainly is true of each individual in all times: God calls them to repent and forsake their godless ways and return to Him.
1. The Lord's hand is behind all history
2. We need to seek Him for our future
3. When He speaks He may take time to fulfil His word
4. The occult as a means of guidance is strictly forbidden
5. Christians are called to be sign posts to the rest of the nation.
Ask the Lord to help you be a sign post that directs others to God, that they may repent and turn to Him.
In these first eight chapters of Isaiah we have seen:
In these studies in the beginning of Isaiah we should perhaps note the following things by way of conclusion, while appreciating it is not possible to totally identify when these various words were brought and in whose reign:
1. The State of the Nation
Although not pin-pointed to specific reigns, the word is quite clear about the state of Judah around about this time. They were affluent, materialistic and becoming ungodly, with a result that their behaviour one to another was far from that expected from the people of God. Ungodliness and unrighteousness prevailed!
2. The Future of the Nation
First of all they thought that their future was determined by what other human beings and other nations, who were more powerful, decreed. Part of Isaiah's message was to bring them back to the truth, that they were a chosen people of God and that it was God who decreed what would happen to them.
Next we should note that their future depended on how they responded to God and to His word. If they remained in unbelief and rejected God and His word, then the Lord would bring disciplinary judgement upon them in the form of an invader from the north who would purge the land. If they repented then they would be spared from that, although in Isaiah's prophecies there seems little indication that he believes that this latter course of action will come about.
3. The Greatness of God
The Lord is revealed as one who is sovereign over the nations and who has the power to bring judgement when He sees it is called for. Yet also He is shown as a God of patience and mercy and grace who speaks again and again in such clear ways so that they will know.
4. And Us?
We too should recognise that God is a Holy God who does hold nations accountable for their actions, and who works His purposes into history. May we reverence and worship Him and seek His face for our own nation in these days.