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Isaiah Lesson 15

Isaiah: Lesson 15

 

Looking at the oracles of Isaiah in section of Isaiah chapters 13-23.

Today we look at Damascus at Syria whose capital is Damascus and Israel who is also referred to as Ephraim.  The judgment of Syria is closely linked to the judgment of Israel.

With the snapshot of history that I will review, I want us to get the bigger picture of the impact of this judgment on Damascus and Israel and Judah. Isaiah was not only giving burdens and oracles against nations, but also messages of warning to these same countries, as well as signs of hope and promise. These two countries have allied themselves against Assyria and are seeking Judah (the southern kingdom) to join them. This was during reign of Ahaz. Remember Ahaz was the third king during Isaiah’s time of prophecies and he did not follow the ways of the Lord. Judah refuses to make an alliance with Syria and Israel.

This conflict between the nations is noted in Isaiah 7:1-2. Then let’s remember the message that God gave Ahaz at this time. (Isaiah 7:3-9). When the enemy was threatening God’s people, what did God say…”be careful, keep calm, don’t be afraid, do not lose heart…it will not take place…if you don’t stand firm in your faith, you will not stand firm at all.” What truth for us to walk in…stand on …when our enemies come against us and we feel threatened. But what do we know is Ahaz’s reaction? II Chronicles 28:16-28 tells us that Ahaz sought help from Assyria when Syrian and Ephraim came against him and found no help – only trouble. So Judah’s in trouble and instead of relying on God, who had even given them his promise of deliverance, they relied on military strength. Ahaz must have thought Isaiah was just a crazy dreamer. Do we ever react the same way? When someone gives us a promise from God’s word to stand on in a time of trouble, we think that can’t be for us. They just don’t have the whole picture. And we seek other help or rely on our own strength to make plans and find deliverance. It was so encouraging to me when visiting with a friend whose husband was in critical condition and finding that she was standing on the promises of God for his healing and provision. You see she has made it a habit to be in the Word of God, storing up truths and promises that she can stand on when the life threatening times come. We need the word of God stored up in our hearts so that we can stand firm in our faith.

 

Ahaz and the rest of Judah are not only getting the word that they will experience victory over the enemies as they placed their trust in God, but the pronouncement of judgment on the very nation they fear.

Chapter 17:1-3. Syria will be destroyed by an invading army Assyria. Then in verses 4-11, we see the description of Israel’s fall. It will be like a body wasting away from disease (vs 6). Verse 7 states that in that day of judgment, the Israelites will look to their God – their Maker and the Holy One of Israel. They will not be able to count on their idols because they will be destroyed. (verses 8-9). The land is desolate and so is their spiritual condition.  Israel’s spiritual condition is described in verse 12, “You have forgotten God your Savior, you have not remembered the Rock, your fortress.”  In that day of judgment, their idols could not save them.

 

What I want us to apply to our lives today are two truths of God’s deliverance:

1.     In the midst of the attack against us, God strengthens us to stand firm in faith as we look to Him.

2.     In the midst of the attack, God can still the storm.

 

In the midst of the attack against us, God strengthens us to stand firm in faith as we look to Him.

As we have studied these last few chapters, I have been thinking on the truth that what gives us a sure foundation to stand firm in our faith is not necessarily looking to what God has done, but the truths of who He is. We can look back to the stories of God’s grace and deliverance both biblically and personally to find hope and times when it is hard to trust God. Remember the times when God has strengthened you when an enemy has tried to overwhelm you.

We must also remember not just what God has done, but who He is. There are times when you can’t see his hand, but we know we can trust his heart toward us. We have seen that trusting in God’s sovereignty over all things in heaven and on earth as the Lord God Almighty or the Lord of hosts, is an essential building block of our faith that we can stand on. There are times when I say simply as in an old song…God said it and I believe it and that is good enough for me. And I stand firm in who God is. He is my sovereign LORD. We have seen that He is just, righteous and faithful. Also, that he is our strength, our song and our salvation.

Look at Isaiah 17:7 and 10. What other description of God are here? He is our Maker, the Holy One of Israel, God your Savior, the Rock, your fortress.

Look at verse 10: “You have forgotten God your Savior, you have not remembered the Rock, your fortress.”  Can we forget the truths about God that will give us that firm place of faith to stand? I needed to ask myself, what leads me to forget God? Most of the time it is my small view of the big picture or my own self-reliance or my own planning or my own fears. When these enemies come upon you, even suddenly, what do you find yourself trusting in? Do you use idols of wealth, image, knowledge, strength, or even religious experiences to deliver you? Trusting in man made gods, instead of the God who made you?

As you think on these truths of who God is, which one do you tend to forget when there seems to be an enemy army breathing down your neck?  Maybe you’ll need to remember a different aspect of God for different enemies. When we are tempted and sin is crouching at our door, can the remembrance of God our Savior or God, the Holy One of Israel, be of help? Or when you are faced with the physical enemy of pain or sickness, can the basic truth that God is your maker, your creator and knows you inside out, be faith building? Or when faced with an emotional enemy of fear or anxiety or shame… He is your Rock, your fortress, your place of refuge. Use your Bibles and the cross references to look for the other places to seek understanding and strength about that description of God.

When faced with an enemy of our soul, whether it be physical, emotional, or spiritual, we must remember that our deliverance comes from God alone. He may deliver you through the enemy attack, not from it. We must look to God and remember who God is, because we tend to forget. We can trust God to deliver us as He strengthens us to walk through the raging seas.

 

In the midst of the attack, God can still the storm. God can deliver us out of the attack. In Isaiah 17:13  “Although the peoples roar like the roar of surging waters, when he rebukes them they flee far away.” We have seen this, as God has protected Jerusalem from being overwhelmed by Israel and Syria. When we look at the New Testament we see this truth about God’s power to still the wind and the water. (Mark 4:35-41) Jesus is asleep in the midst of a storm. Why? He has no fear of the water and the winds. He controls them. He can rebuke them to be still! He did and He does! When we look to God, he can also calm the raging seas that come against us. He can still the storm. Did you ever think God was asleep in your boat? Maybe not doubting that he’s with you, but he sure seems like he is sleeping! How do you act when He seems to be sleeping? In fear, anger, doubt? OR do you trust him as the one who in his time will make the winds and the waves obey him. How has God delivered you from a personal storm by stilling the waters and the wind? Remember – don’t fear the wind and the waves, God is in control!

 

 

Whether life brings conflicts, storms, enemy attacks…God can deliver us through the them or out of them.  God is our deliverer!!!

 

Psalm 18:2-3

          The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, He is my shield and the horn of my salvation and my stronghold.

          I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies.