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Janet's Corner

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Lesson 23 -- A Level Path

 

Isaiah 26: 3 promises perfect peace as our minds hold on to the truth.

Isaiah 26: 7-8 promises a level path for the righteous.

 

Both of these truths, perfect peace and level paths, are received by those who are in an intimate relationship with their God. They have to do with our minds and hearts that are connected to God – thinking about him and desiring more of him.

 

          *God is upright so he makes our paths smooth as we walk in his laws, as we wait for him and his fame becomes the desire of our hearts. This verse will define our direction for these last weeks of Bible Study.

 

This week we will look at walking according to his laws in order to have a level path and next week, our lesson will be on an obstacle on that path -  legalism.

 

As we’ve studied chapters 7-27, we’ve seen the prophecies that Isaiah has spoken primarily to Israel and Judah during the reign of the evil King Ahaz. There have been prophecies against the nations and Judah, the judgment of the whole earth and the promise of the deliverance of those who trust the LORD.

 

As we move into chapters 28-33, the prophecies are given over a year of time during the reign of the reformed King Hezekiah, who loved God yet was convinced that military might and spiritual independence would glorify more, than moral purity and trusting God. As you read this text in its entirety there are no clear divisions. The thoughts all seem to flow together. We must rely on the Holy Spirit and careful study to understand them.

 

Let me give you the settingIsrael is now in captivity and Judah is in a fragile state. Their economy is shaky, war is looming, people are intent on survival, counselors are telling Hezekiah to seek Egypt’s help against Assyria, and Isaiah is the sole voice of truth! The basic theme is where Judah will find their security: In man or God.

 

 

A Smooth Path: What are we walking in and building on?

Walking in God’s word:

In Isaiah 28, we see Isaiah open up speaking about the sins causing the downfall of Israel and then relating those same sins to Judah

1.     The first sin is the sin of pride in verses 1-4.

Their pride is pictured to us through the symbol of a wreath. It symbolizes them trusting in their beauty, their wealth and their fertility. Yet that crown of beauty will be fleeting – verse 2-4 pronounces that they will be defeated by Assyria –they are like a fading flower.

 

Then in verse 5-6, Isaiah portrays the Lord Almighty as the glorious crown! For those who choose to find their security in the Lord, he will be their beauty, justice and strength. He promises that whatever may come, God will provide all the world fails to give. As you seek your security, you can be assured that as you trust in God during a time of judgment or condemnation, that you can trust God to be your just judge. I Peter 2:23 says that you can entrust yourself to the judge who judges justly. As you seek your security in God allowing him to be your glorious crown, you can be assured that in a vulnerable time when you feel the gates of your life are being breached, God will be the source of your strength.

 

2.     Isaiah then identifies the next sin of Judah and that is drunkenness. (verses 7-8).

The prophets and priests are leading their people astray because they are drunk. Their vision of duty is dim, they err in judgment, and lose all sensibility to moral and religious standards. We have even seen the effect in our personal lives and the society we live in when it comes to the abuse of alcohol. Proverbs 20:1 says, “Wine is a mocker and beer is a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.” God speaks to the sin that touches our lives, as well as our society. God’s word is, and was and will be true through time and eternity.

     This sin of drunkenness as identified here cause people to be mockers.

 

3.     That leads us to the next sin of Judah – the mockery and rejection of God’s Word.

Look at verse 9-10. The anger of the mockers was directed at Isaiah, the voice of truth. They accused him of treating them as children, not as masters and leaders. He was giving them simple words to give them instructions. The NAS here uses the words “line upon line, precept upon precept.” They were tired of Isaiah telling them of their basic breach of God’s law. And the prophet responds to this mockery by saying in verse 13, that these simple truths ignored and rejected, will become that which brings judgment and captivity to them. We go back to the truth that they were believing lies and living by them and not by the spoken word of God that would bring them everlasting security.

The principle for our Christian life that we can glean from this passage is that if we are to be the oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord that will display His splendor, we must learn line upon line, precept upon precept. That is the way we learn. It takes time for God the Holy Spirit to plant, water and grow truth in us - the truth of God’s Word. We are trained and transformed by the slow, patient, and continuous teaching of God’s Word in our lives. Have you ever experienced the same teaching of God’s Word over and over again even within a short period of time? God drives home a truth through different avenues. Perhaps the teaching of the Word in a Bible Study and then what you hear on the radio and then the experience in your own life. He desires you to walk in his laws for that is where you will find freedom and a level path. We also look at other believing friends and say their faith seems stronger than ours. The difference you see may be  based on the commitment to the study of God’s Word. We often look at the Word as our “how to’s” – an answer for the immediate problem that faces us, whether it be parenting or conflict or whatever we are having problems with, rather than the disciplined learning of God’s Word. Getting into the Word and learning line upon line, and precept upon precept is what will build your faith and give you a source of wisdom and strength to rely on no matter what comes your way.

 

Now we may not fall into the category of mocking the Word of God, but by not learning it line upon line, precept upon precept, a little here and a little there, we will not experience the true security that can be ours as we trust in God.

 

Building upon the Cornerstone: Verses 16-17

1.     This Rock, is Jesus!

The promises of blessing, security, and strength are to those who the Rock, Jesus Christ. Isaiah says this is what the sovereign LORD says….

          SEE – he tries to get their attention – listen and look at what God has done…

          He’s laid a stone to build his kingdom on.

          It’s tested and been proven worthy,

          It’s a precious cornerstone – you can build your whole life on it.

          It’s precious – don’t discard it!

          It guarantees a sure foundation – stability in your life.

          This stone, this rock, is Jesus!

The one who trusts in Him will not be dismayed…those who believe in Jesus, who put their confidence in Him will not be confused, ashamed, disgraced.

Look at Isaiah 50:17. “Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint and know I will not be put to shame.” We set our face like flint – we are resolute in our conviction of who Jesus is as that cornerstone in our lives, the Rock!

Literally that word dismayed means we will not act hastily.

We shall have confidence that we will not be frightened in times of distress. We will not be ashamed at our hope in the LORD.

And by faith we will wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled, with steadfast minds holding onto the truth!

 

The standards of God which he will use to measure up each situation are justice and righteousness. When you are trusting in man’s justice or righteousness, your own justice and righteousness, you are trusting in a lie. As it says in verse 17, that refuge, the lie, will be swept away. Look at what that lie of refuge is like – verse 20. Trusting in lies rather than the truth, will not bring you security. Weirsbe says, “Trusting in a solid rock is better protection than a flimsy covering of lies.” If you think that which you have placed your trust in other than God will keep you safe, beware – “the water will overflow your hiding place.”

 

It’s like a bed that is too short to stretch out in or the blanket that is too narrow to wrap around you. A place of refuge other than in the rock, Jesus Christ, will not bring you warmth or comfort or rest.

 

When we are in a place where injustice or unrighteousness seems to engulf us, we can trust God to judge injustice and unrighteousness fairly and rightly. When things don’t seem just or fair or right in your eyes, God holds the measuring rod of justice and the plumb line of righteousness, to judge everyone and every thing.

 

What in your life seems unjust or unfair, or unrighteous, evil or wrong? What is your security at this time? Who are you trusting in to judge rightly and fairly? Trusting in the Rock, Jesus Christ, as your salvation, as your stability, as your sure foundation – seeking his wisdom and knowledge – allowing him to bring about his justice and righteousness through the situation  - will bring you security because you are trusting in the one who is the way, the truth, and the life. You will not be dismayed, when you trust in God. Your path will be level and your path smooth.

 

Don’t Stumble over Jesus – Walk in His Word

Build Your Life on Jesus