|Friday’s Bible Study was a continuation of the previous studies in Isaiah. I will cut this Bible study into two entries. You should know that our Friday Bible studies include a pot luck lunch and around 1:00 we then dig into the Word. Our studies can last anywhere from 1 1/2 hours to 2 1/2 hours depending. We usually are finished after two hours of study, that is why some of my entries are so long. We just love the Word.
Isaiah 45 – I am going to be quoting much of this chapter for it is sooo rich in content, and so important.
Remember, God mentioned a King that came from the Medes and Persians by name – CYRUS. God named this name through Isaiah, the Prophet, over 140 years before Cyrus was even born.
(Heather’s note) Not only did Isaiah predict Cyrus, but also Jeremiah predicted him. And I thought you might be blessed by another passage. 2 Chronicles 36:22-23 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying, Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the LORD God of heaven has given me, And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is among you of all His people? May the LORD his God be with him, and let him go up!
And then you can flip the page and read a detailed account of Cyrus’s work in Ezra Chapter 1 and some of the rest of the book. It is an incredible account. You may wonder why Jeremiah and Isaiah stated the same prophecy – often in the Bible the same truth is taught in many places – that is because you need the word of two or three witnesses to proclaim the truth. And God does that often in his word, having two or three speak the same thing. We can get in big trouble if we try to build a philosophy or theology on an isolated passage. It is better to check out the idea in many passages of the Bible, and if the Word and the Spirit agree then you can find the truth.
Back to Pastor Don’s Teaching:
Isaiah 45:15-17 Truly You are God, who hide Yourself, O God of Israel, the Savior! They shall be ashamed and also disgraced, all of them: They shall go in confusion together, who are makers of idols. But Israel shall be saved by the LORD with an everlasting salvation; You shall not be ashamed or disgraced forever and ever.
How long shall Israel be saved? An everlasting salvation, forever and ever. Those who say Israel had its chance and failed and will be no more are in error. God does not go back on His Word – if He says forever, it is forever. Have you noticed that Hezbollah has been lopping hundreds of rockets into Israel, and have hit virtually nothing. It is the Hand of God that deflects the rockets from doing too much damage. The same thing happened in the 67 War. We need to keep our eye on this area, for someone will come forward with a peace proposal that will seem to work, but it will be a false peace.
The Assyrians and other nations, in Cyrus’s day were rising up against Israel, and God raised up the Medes and Persians to reinstate Israel. In the Bible some prophecies are near and far prophecies – meaning that there is a fulfillment close to the time the prophecy was made, and the prophecy is also for the later days, the end times. We have seen Israel scattered for almost two thousand years, only to come back to the land, reestablish itself as a nation, and also begin speaking Hebrew – a language that has been dead for thousands of years. This has never happened with any other group of people who have been decimated. We don’t know anyone who speaks Jebusite, Hittite, or any of the other dead languages. Only Hebrew has come back. God still is bringing about the part of the prophecy of Israel being saved with an EVERLASTING SALVATION. (Heather’s note – in other prophets we see that they will get into a tight situation and cry out to God, and God will come to save them – God is waiting for Israel to call out to Him).
God made a covenant with Israel. (Heather’s note: as we have seen with the covenant of Abraham, God has made covenants with the people, but it is only God that cuts the covenant, so that only God is held accountable for his covenant. God knows that we are fallible and cannot keep our word, but God can and does keep His Word to His people. It is presumptuous to think that God would make a covenant back in Abraham’s day and not keep it in this day and age. Frankly, I don’t think I could trust God if God did not keep His Word, and we see in scripture that He holds His Word above Himself).
Back to Pastor Don: God has established a covenant He cannot break, but in the process of fulfilling the covenant He will test and try you, just as He tested and tried the nation Israel. But God will not allow your enemies to destroy you.
Verses 18-19 For thus says the LORD, Who created the heavens, Who is God, Who formed the earth and made it, Who has established it, Who did not create it in vain, Who formed it to be inhabited: “I am the LORD, and there is no other. I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I did not say to the seed of Jacob, ‘Seek Me in vain’: I, the LORD, speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.
Pastor Don mentioned that it is difficult, at times, for us to see that with so much wrong in life that the sovereign will of God gets done. We all never want to suffer, but God has not promised us that we will not suffer. Pastor Don mentions how our kids treat us as parents – that they want what they want. They often are not thankful, and often bring their parents grief through disobedience. They bring us joy, but often not happiness, because having kids is a tremendous responsibility and we have to look out for their best interests even when it conflicts with their wants and desires. We, who are God’s kids, treat God the same way.
A false theology which is also preached today on TV is that if you are righteous, if you tithe, if you do all God wants you to do, no trouble will cross your path. Pastor Don said to tell that to Paul or David. Paul was beaten, left for dead, shipwrecked, imprisoned and ultimately killed. David was told he would be king, and spent many years in the backside of the wilderness, spent time being chased by Saul, and treated very disrespectfully. Satan will come at you by a certain prescribed path that is your weakness. If you resist him there, he will wait until a moment of weakness or study you for the next path of weakness.
We have a warped view of life if we believe that tests and trials will not include tests and trials. If we do not have the sensibility to obey and believe in the midst of our tests and trials we will lose a divine opportunity.
Pastor Don mentioned a story Jack Hayford told about missionaries in a country that was bent on destroying Christians. The missionaries were walking on a path, and a man came and made a gesture of finger across lips to indicate be silent. And he motioned for them to get off the road. The missionaries obeyed, and although they could easily see the road and were not that far off of the road. And if God did not protect them, they would have been discovered. A few minutes later a band of armed men walked by. The missionaries could feel their breath, and see them, but the armed men who were out to kill the missionaries did not see them. Pastor Don pointed out that if those missionaries were not instantly obedient, if they had questioned the motives of the man, they would have been dead. By the way, when the missionaries turned to thank the man, the man was gone so they think it was an angel of God. We have to learn to be instantly obedient to God.
What we need to realize is that we need to be singing Hallelujah BEFORE the victory, we need to be praising God in the midst of the trial. We need to praise God through the trial. To pray without ceasing. We need to be thanking the LORD, when when we have no idea if He will deliver us.
Isaiah 45:20-25 (Heather’s note – This is such a beautiful passage I am going to quote it all.) Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, you who have escaped from the nations. They have no knowledge, Who carry the wood of their carved image, and pray to a god that cannot save. Tell and bring forth your case; Yes, let them take counsel together. Who has declared this from ancient time? Who has told it from that time? Have not I, the LORD? And there is no other God besides Me, a just God and a Savior; There is none besides Me. Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other, I have sworn by Myself; the word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that to Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall take an oath. He shall say, ‘Surely in the LORD I have righteousness and strength, to Him men shall come, and all shall be ashamed who are incensed against Him. In the LORD all the descendants of Israel shall be justified, and shall glory.
How many descendants of Israel shall be justified? ALL. Are those who are in Israel today descendants of Israel, YES- again who are we to say that God has washed His hands of Israel?
This is a powerful promise. God has declared Himself, based on the accuracy of His own prophecies. How all of history unfolds and happens according to the Word of God. The written and the spoken Word, all of God’s Word that He has given us lets us know God, so that when we hear the spoken Word we can ascertain if it is of God or not. God has put a Word in each of our hearts – a special word that sustains us through all our trials. We would have to deny ourselves in order to deny the Word that is in our heart. When we are in the midst of trials we need to bring back to our remembrance the Word that God has put in our hearts.
To effectively witness to people, we need to talk with them and find out what Word God has put in their hearts and help them come to remembrance of that word. If we can get people to find that point where they once knew God, then the rest will follow.
We then went into chapter 46, but I will save that for you tomorrow. I apologize that my entries are so long, it is just that the joy of sharing God’s word bubbles out of my fingertips.
Hoping you have a blessed day. Tomorrow we drive Katherine to another Field Hockey Camp – it turns out that they had room and about six of her team will be attending. She is so concerned if she will make the Junior Varsity team, and we want to build up her confidence.
Have a blessed day. I have been visiting your sites, and will continue to do so today. Know that I am so blessed by what you share.
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