|Who says science can’t be fun. Check out this science “experiment”. I saw it on TV the other day and found the link to the site.http://www.eepybird.com/|
|Bible Study, Friday June 30, 2006 – Taught by Pastor Don MooreI am excited to share this Bible study with you today because it covers much of what we have been thinking about in Genesis. Pastor Don is an incredible teacher and I love learning about the Word from him. My husband calls him a professor of the Bible.
I am smiling because Pastor Don’s Bible topic was Isaiah 44, but guess what, after the background information, we didn’t get to chapter 44 – but what we learned was awesome.
He reminded us that these chapters 41-44 have prophetic overtones, and by faith we can apply these promises to our lives. He said that God gave him these passages this morning and they were what he needed to study. As he is always encouraging us to do, when we need to study a particular passage, teach on it for that helps us to learn what we need to learn and will probably help someone else who is also dealing with the same issues. These promises we will discuss are vital when we are struggling in areas of our lives.
The length of time that it takes to go through a problem is based on the application of the faith skills that we apply to the problem. The problem will last longer if we are applying doubt and unbelief.
ISAIAH 41: 1-4 Keep silence before Me, O coastlands, and let the people renew their strength! Let them come near, then let them speak; let us come together for judgment. Who raised up one from the east? Who in righteousness called him to His feet? Who gave the nations before him, and made him rule over kings? Who gave them as the dust to his sword, as driven stubble to his bow? Who pursued them, and passed safely by the way that he had not gone with his feet? Who has performed and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? ”I, the LORD, am the first; and with the last I am He.”
Isaiah is speaking in this text to the false prophets, challenging them. He is asking them if they know who He (God) is. They should stand before God and ask these questions, not listen to the false prophets.
Verses 5-7: The coastlands saw it and feared, the ends of the earth were afraid; they drew near and came. Everyone helped his neighbor, and said to his brother be of good courage. So the craftsmen encouraged the goldsmith; he who smooths with the hammer inspired him who strikes the anvil, saying, “It is ready for the soldering”; then he fastened it with pegs, that it might not totter.
Isaiah is talking to those who worship idols, idols made by human hands, which (Heather’s note – will be seen to totter and fall), and some of these idols we still have today, those who worship statues, outward symbols like the Christmas tree have its origin in pagan roots. We can see this theme repeated in other places in the scripture:
Jeremiah 10:1-7 Hear the word which the LORD speaks to you, O house of Israel. Thus says the LORD: “Do not learn the way of the Gentiles; Do not be dismayed at the signs of heavens. For the Gentiles are dismayed at them. For the customs of the peoples are futile; for one cuts a tree from the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the ax. They decorate it with silver and gold; They fasten it with nails and hammers so that it will not topple. They are upright, like a palm tree, and they cannot speak; they must be carried because they cannot go by themselves. Do not be afraid of them, for they cannot do evil, nor can they do any good.” Inasmuch as there is none like You, O LORD, (You are great, and Your name is great in might), who would not fear You, O King of the nations? For this is Your rightful due. For among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their kingdoms, there is none like You.
Here Isaiah is talking about idols, astrology, and what sounds remarkably like a Christmas tree. These are FUTILE, and it is God who deserves his rightful due, not an idol. When we worship idols we take away from God what belongs to Him. Idols cannot move on their own, they have to be carried. We need not fear idols, for there is none like God.
Isaiah 40:19-20 The workman molds an image, the goldsmith overspreads it with gold, and the silversmith casts silver chains, whoever is too impoverished for such a contribution chooses a tree that will not rot; he seeks for himself a skillful workman to prepare a carved image that will not totter. And yet, as it says in other passages of scripture, the scrap wood from the image is burned, so the image is not potent, cannot do anything, only God has power.
Then in Isaiah 40: 20 it talks about the circle of the earth (Long before Columbus), about the inhabitants being like grasshoppers (imagine the image from an airplane, how small and insignificant we look like from a great height). Idols do not have the power of God.
Back to the topic:
Isaiah 41:8 But you, Israel, are My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the descendants of Abraham, My friend. You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest regions, and said to you ‘You are My servant, I have chosen you and have not cast you away:
(Heather’s note – Abraham is God’s friend) Aren’t we glad that we are the spiritual descendants of Abraham? We are a friend of God if we are children of Abraham. Jesus will repeat this phrase about being God’s friend. When we go to God to talk with Him, we can talk with Him as our friend – that does not negate that we have to treat Him with awe, respect, reverence, but He wants a relationship with us, a friendship. We can take any situation to Him, talk with Him as we might talk with our best friend. God has said to come and let us reason together, reasoning implies a conversation.
Where we miss it is that often when we pray to God we expect an instant answer to our prayer, forgetting that God is not limited by our limits of time and space. Just because we do not see a physical answer does not mean that God has not answered our prayer.
Verse 9, when it says that he has chosen us from the ends of the earth, this has not fully happened yet. Will not happen until the last days, and to date, not all the Jews have returned to Jerusalem.
Pastor Don told us to circle and star this verse in our Bibles for it is a great promise and comfort in times of trouble. Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Yes, I will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
It is important to realize that God will only help us with what is right and good, for He is good. Sometimes when we pray to God when we are in trouble, we are looking for a quick fix, and a quick fix is not always a righteous fix. An example could be being in debt, and praying that God will help you win the lottery. That will not be a righteous fix for getting out of debt, and wouldn’t help us to make a life change.
Joy, our music minister, shared that the first rule of holes is: When you are in a hole, stop digging. Often we act and react and that causes us to dig a bigger and deeper hole.
What we need is a “God idea”, and we get that by stopping and turning our situation over to God. We wait until He shows us what His idea is and then we obey. Only in this way do we escape the hole.
The first thing we have to do to quench fear is to admit that we have fear. Fear faced can be fear eradicated. If we do not face our fears honestly they can turn into free-floating anxiety.
We can’t “not fear” until we realize that we have fear. The only healthy fear is the fear of God, and that is awe, respect, worship.
Flesh based fear is based on the size of the opponent or unknown, the “what ifs”. God is bigger than our “what ifs”.
When we have a situation the evokes fear, we need to start quoting BIG GOD scriptures that build up our spirit and remind us that God is God and bigger than our problem.
If you enlarge God, your problem becomes smaller. Pray, “I’ve made You too small in my eyes. God, forgive me.”
God, our Father, will give us the courage to walk out his bigger plan. If you sit on just what you have in your own power, satan can tear that out from under you piece by piece.
When we look at the word “dismayed” in the above passage it does not mean what we think it means. In Hebrew, the word dismayed means looking every which way, looking everyplace else. So in the above passage it is indicating that when we have troubles we must look towards God, who can help us, not elsewhere such as to idols.
He will strengthen us so that we don’t fall into circumstances that will tear us apart. He is strengthening our resolve. To strengthen us to be strong to wait on God as Psalm 27 states.
When we are given wise counsel from God, from a pastor, elder, trusted friend, we are wise to get busy and follow through. Satan loves to bother Christians who procrastinate. Procrastination will kill you. The Israelites found that out when they refused to go into the Promised Land and ended up wandering around the wilderness for 40 years until a whole generation died off, except Caleb and Joshua.
How comforting is the image of God upholding us? Pastor Don says that that image reminds him of the footprints poem.
(When we did our closing prayer for this Bible Study, Pastor Don had us meditating on the images of Isaiah 41:10).
Pastor Don also told us that sometimes we think that the only way that a problem can be solved is if we do something. That is not always the case. God is an all the time God, and He even can work when we are resting or sleeping. Sometimes a solution will come to us in a dream, in a vision, when we aren’t really thinking about the problem that we turned over to Him. We just have to listen to His voice in the situation.
Verse 11 is another good promise. Isaiah 41:11-13 Behold, all those who were incensed against you shall be ashamed and disgraced; They shall be as nothing, and those who strive with you shall perish. You shall seek them and not find them- those who contended with you. Those who war against you shall be as nothing, as a non existent thing. For I, the LORD your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, “Fear not, I will help you.”
So many times in the Bible God instructs us to not be afraid. No matter how big our problem, God can make it a non-existent thing. He holds our right hand, and will help us. How comforting is that? With our Big God holding our hand, what do we have to fear?
Verse 14: “Fear not, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel! I will help you,” says the LORD and your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. The Holy One of Israel is Jesus. Notice that the term Israel and Jacob are used. (Heather’s note, we will see this in Genesis). God wrestles with Jacob (the heel snatcher), and gives Jacob a new name, Israel, which means prince with God. Later every time Jacob responds in a fleshly way, God calls him Jacob. When Jacob acts in a spiritual manner, God calls him Israel.
I am going to stop here, but will continue with Isaiah 41 tomorrow, with an exciting revelation that I never saw before in reading this. I will give you a clue – Isaiah 41: 15-16 are the verses that excited me.