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Janet's Corner

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Stand Firm in Your Faith

Lesson 8- Isaiah 7-8 – Stand Firm in Your Faith

Looking for the signs and symbols throughout Isaiah, that Isaiah uses to portray principles and truths about God and His kingdom, as well as signs of warning and signs of hope for the nation of Judah.

Chapters 7-12 were prophesied during the reign of King Ahaz, the evil king – said to be the most corrupt ever of the kings of Judah. Where chapters 1-5 emphasized the spiritual needs of the nation of Judah during King Jotham’s reign, chapters 7-12 emphasizes the political situation of Judah. Overall we see leaders who do not trust the Lord for the victory over their enemies.

Read Isaiah 7: 1-2

Here we see the setting of Isaiah’s prophecy. Ahaz is king of Judah. The kings of Syria (Aram) and Israel (Ephraim) have plans to overthrow King Ahaz and put someone else on the throne of Judah (verse 6). If Ahaz would not ally themselves with Syria and Israel against the rising power of Assyria, they would be invaded. Ahaz refused to make the alliance. Why? He had plans to ally himself with Assyria.( II Kings 16) The odds were better – so he thought. He was playing politics instead of trusting God to deliver them – God’s chosen people.

It was Ahaz’s fear that drove him to trust Assyria. Verse 2…he and the people are shaken as a tree of the forest is shaken by the wind. Wouldn’t you be, if all you could see was the enemy, not the one who could save you? If you had no faith in a living God? Ahaz had no faith and God knew it. He instructed Isaiah to go to Ahaz. God hadn’t given up on Ahaz - the one who had even sacrificed his sons to other gods. Isaiah and his first son, whose name means "a remnant will survive," go out to meet Ahaz while he is inspecting the city water system. Isaiah gives him a word of promise, that would hopefully turn him to trust in God. In verse 4, we see Isaiah tell him to be careful (be on guard), to keep his cool (don’t panic), to not be afraid and do not to lose heart because those kings are just like to pieces of smoldering firewood, about to be snuffed out. In fact within two years, Syria is overthrown by Assyria and within 12 years Israel is conquered by Assyria and within 65 years (verse 8) Israel no longer exists. It actually becomes what we know as Samaria in the New Testament. Isaiah Verse 7 -this is what the Sovereign LORD says…He is in control – He reigns – He is the LORD, Jehovah who was and is and will be. Did you hear what name Isaiah addressed God with, Ahaz? God reigns, not the kings that are threatening you. In fact in verse 7 Isaiah prophesies that the threat will not take place, it will not happen. Isaiah ends by saying " if you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all." Ahaz’s unbelief was the source of sorrow and confusion. Deliverance rested on faith in the living God. How would Ahaz find inner peace? By trusting in the promises of God. The problem was that he didn’t know God, and refused to listen to this promise. And God knew his unbelief and kept trying to give him another chance.

He tells him to ask for a sign to strengthen his faith. And what does Ahaz do – refuses to ask God. He sounds like he knows God – "I don’t want to test him - what a hypocrite – trying to be so pious and he really is twisting the truth in order to justify his predetermined choice which was to trust Assyria and not God.

God gives the house of David a sign anyway…the promise of a child born of a virgin who would be called Immanuel… God is with us. For the faithful remnant of those who would believe, they could hold onto the truth of this sign – God is with us despite what the circumstances in our lives look like! It would be someday fulfilled in the Messiah, the one who would save his people from their sin. (Matthew 1:23) this scripture is spoken to Joseph by the angel of the Lord, saying that the virgin birth of Jesus would be this fulfillment - God with us. This sign was not only the promise fo his presence, but laid down a major doctrine of the virgin birth. Jesus was sent from heaven into the world, born of a human mother, but not born of a human father, conceived by the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ came from God in sinless human flesh so that He could save us from our sin.

This sign had an immediate fulfillment, as Isaiah and his wife bore a second son, whose name would mean "quick to plunder and swift to spoil." (8:3-4). Assyria would not only conquer Syria and Israel, but also Judah, except for Jerusalem. Isaiah goes on in the rest of the chapter to show that Assyria would bring humiliation and destruction to the land of Judah. When God gave this sign, He wanted his people to know that He would rescue them from their enemies. He would be with them, if they would only trust him and not there own plans and strategies.

God speaks to this truth in three vivid pictures in chapter 8.

1.  Isaiah 8:5-10. Gentle flowing waters or a  raging flood

God gives us a picture to understand what Judah has done…they have rejected the gentle flowing waters of Shiloh, the peace that the power of God could bring them as they trusted in Him, so the mighty floodwaters of a river, the nation of Assyria, would overcome them.

Verse 10 speaks to the futility of devising our own strategies and plans. God’s purposes and plans will stand. They will be carried out.

Look at Psalm 46:1-7 with me and see the parallel – the peace that

2.  Isaiah 8:11-15 A Sanctuary or a stumbling stone. God gives Isaiah another vivid picture to show the mistake of trusting Assyria and not the Lord for victory. The words of verse 12 ring clear to us in I Peter 3:14-15…set apart Christ as Lord, don’t fear what others fear…" Verses 13-15 shows us that there was choice between a sanctuary, a place of rest and refuge, or a stone of stumbling, a snare and a trap. How true this is even today. Paul quotes this verse in Romans 9:33, referring to the Israelites stumbling over receiving salvation through faith and not works. That stumbling stone is Christ himself! The Jews stumbled over the Messiah sent by God to save them from their sin! The leaders of Israel here in Isaiah’s time would not put their trust in God.

3.  Isaiah 8:19-22 Darkness versus light. The last vivid picture that Isaiah uses to portray the mistake of trusting in their own plans is darkness and light in verses 19-22. The truth is revealed that the Israelites are seeking help through consulting mediums and spiritists.

Deuteronomy 18:14-15...the Israelites told not to practice sorcery or divination. Instead the Lord would raise up a prophet for them to listen to. Isaiah was one of those prophets that God raised up for the people to listen to. His word we see is true- fulfilled in the New Testament. In the demons there was not light, because what they said didn’t speak according to the Word. In God’s Word today (II Peter 1:19-21) we have the words of prophecy made more certain to us. And we should listen to them as lights shining in the darkness. God’s word is the only dependable light. What are you using to gain light. Don’t end up in darkness and more distress. You are in need of truth, direction, answers? Seek God through His Word. Don’t use the detestable practices of this world – horoscopes, palm readers etc.- Depend on God!

Isaiah states in 8:17 that he will wait for God. He will place his trust in Him.

How about you?

In the face of danger when you are shaking like the trees in the wind, whom will you trust?

When the enemies of your soul-your mind will or emotions – are threatening to take you out,

*Will you stand firm in your faith –trusting and believing in the word of God and his promises to you. Standing firm in what is right and pure and good and true. His promises are "yes and Amen’ to us who are in Christ. God wants to strengthen your faith and let you know He is with you and for you!

*Will you get to know your God – through his names. Daniel 11:32 says those who know his name will firmly resist the enemy.

*Will you trust in the sure word of prophecy. Seeking the light and not end up in darkness?

Remember our lives are signs and symbols to the world around us. We are to display His splendor!