BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 29, Day 2: Isaiah 65:1-16

Summary of passage:  God revealed himself to those who did not seek Him and said, “Here am I.”  God has consistently through the ages held out His hands to His people who refused Him, who went their own way, who offered sacrifices to other gods, who sought help from the dead, who eats pork, and who told me to “keep away” because they believe themselves to be more holy.  Such people are smoke in God’s nostrils and He will pay back their sins.

God will not destroy them all.  He will bring forth His chosen people to inherit the land–those people who seek Him.  Those who forsake the Lord will be destined for the sword–those who did not listen, did not answer, and chose evil.

God’s servants will eat, drink, rejoice, sing out their joy, be given another name, and have their past troubles forgotten.  Those who disobey will go hungry, thirsty, be put to shame, cry out from anguish and brokenness, and their name will be a curse. Ultimately, they will be put to death.

Questions:

3a)  Isaiah beseeches God to come down and save them, His people in 63-64.  Yet God says He revealed Himself to those who did not ask for Him, the nation who did not call on His name (the Gentiles).  God tried to help His people by holding out His hands to an obstinate people who continued to follow their ways and not His.  So God looked elsewhere.

b)  God held out His hands but His obstinate people refused to take it, instead chose to go their own way.  His people continually provoked Him by worshipping other gods, sitting in cemeteries seeking help from the dead, eating pork in a ceremony to other gods when it is forbidden by God, and who tell God to keep away because they think they are too sacred for Him.

c)  People refuse to forgive themselves.  They think whatever they did is so egregious that God is not big enough to handle it. Shame and pride get in the way of God.  They refuse to accept God’s help when it is freely offered.  People think they know better and can do better.  They erroneously believe they don’t need God in this life.  People think they are not good enough for God.  That God is “too good” for them.  Also, people think they don’t deserve such a God (they are unworthy of such a God), which we don’t, but He loves us so much He makes us worthy.  I think people don’t understand who God is, what He wants for our lives, and how simple grace truly is.

4a)  65:2-7:  The Lord will judge the people fully for their actions.

65:8-10:  God will not destroy all His people; He will leave a remnant (those who serve and seek Him) and bless and restore them.

65:11-12:  All who forsake the Lord, who did not listen and did evil, shall die

b)  God’s servants shall eat, drink, rejoice, sing out of the joy of their hearts, be given another name, and have their past troubles forgotten and forgiven.  Those who refuse Him (you) shall go hungry, go thirsty, be put to shame, and cry out from anguish of the heart and brokenness of the spirit.  Your name will be a curse and you will be put to death.

5)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The description of God’s servants.  I am seeking Him and He is faithful.  I eat, drink, rejoice, and sing out the joy of my heart.  I have been forgiven, which I readily receive, and am blessed beyond compare.  I accept God and Jesus and although I am far from perfect, I have the Holy Spirit within to guide me in my triumphs and failures.

Conclusions:  I love how Isaiah touches on the same themes: Life will end for the evil but I (God) will preserve a few.  There will be peace for all.  All will know about God.  I picture life in the future (at the end) as life was in the beginning in the Garden.

I liked how the first question brought in Lesson 28.  Some parts of Isaiah are so random you think it is out of order but this part ties in beautifully.

This is a great picture of hope in our time and of life to in the future.  There is something to look forward to even when today there may not seem like there is nothing because we are blinded by our circumstances.  But the fog will clear and hope does reign.

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BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 28, Day 5: Isaiah 63:15-64:12

Summary of passage:  Isaiah 63:15-19:  Isaiah appeals to God:  Look down from heaven and see us.  You are our Father, our Redeemer.  Why do you make us wander from your ways and harden our hearts so we do not revere you?  Return for our sakes.  Our enemies have trampled down your sanctuary.  We are yours from of old (the Old Covenant).

Isaiah 64:  Isaiah is still pleading with God for His people:  Oh, come down to make your name known to your enemies and cause the nations to quake before you like in the past (Exodus).  You are the only God who acts on behalf of those who wait for Him and who do right.  But we continued to sin and you were angry.  So how can we be saved?

All of us and our acts are unclean.  No one calls on your name or strives to lay hold of you for you have hidden your face because of our sins.  Yet, you are our Father.  You are the potter; we are the clay.  Do not be angry forever and remember our sins for we are your people.  Your sacred cities have become a desert and desolate.  Your temple has burned and everything lies in ruins.  Will you hold yourself back and continue to punish us because of our sinful nature (who we are)?

Questions:

11a)  For God to look down from heaven and behold His people and return to them since the people are His. Isaiah reminds God He is their Father and Redeemer and asks God why He has left them.

b)  The people continue to sin against God.  All of them are unclean and all their righteous acts are like filthy rags.  Their sins consume them.  No one calls on God or strives to lay hold of Him.

c)  63:15:  For God to look down from heaven and see His people.

64:1:  God would come down to help and the mountain would tremble before Him

64:2:  To come down to make your name known and cause the nations to quake before you like in the past (Verse 3–a reference to Exodus 19:18 when Mount Sinai shook)

d)  To remember who He is, who His people are, and what Zion has become.  “You are our Father.  We are the clay; you are the potter.  We are your people.  Your city is a desolation and your temple is ruined.  Will you hold yourself back and always punish us for our sin?”

e)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I appeal based on who He is–His goodness and faithfulness–and how He’s my Father who has promised to never forsake me and to walk with me all the days of my life.  I ask Him to look down and come down in every area of my life and others’.  I need Him everywhere and so does everyone else.

12)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God answered with the New Covenant of Jesus Christ.  Isaiah asked, “Because of our sinful nature, will you always punish us for who we are?”  Otherwise, we would forever be separated from God without His gift of Jesus.

Conclusions:  Isaiah recognizes the quandary the people are in and appeals to God to rectify it:  we are forever unclean due to our sinful nature.  We will forever fail.  So what do we do, God? How can we stop your anger due to our inherent sinful nature and regain your favor?  We are your people and you are our God. Remember that, God, and save us.

As we know, God had this all worked out through the blood of Jesus Christ.  But, I’m wondering if Isaiah knew?  He prophesized about the Redeemer, the Savior, the Anointed One but did he truly understand what Jesus would mean to the people?  This passage would make you think otherwise.  It’s like Isaiah knew but he didn’t know.  Does that make sense?  He had an idea but the true depth of what God had planned Isaiah just couldn’t fathom or grasp.

It’s fascinating to ponder life in OT times.  Besides the hardships involved.  But if you were a believer in the One, True God, what would your ordinary life look like?  Constant sacrifices and atonements.  Constant rules and regulations.  Amidst constant failure as a human being.  It doesn’t sound very cheery to me.

BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 28, Day 4: Isaiah 63:1-14 & Revelation 19:11-16

Summary of passages:  Isaiah 63:1-14:  Isaiah poses the question, “Who is coming from Edom, robed in splendor, garments stained crimson?”  Jesus says, “It is I…mighty to save.”  Isaiah asks, “Why are your garments red?”  Jesus says because He has trodden the nations alone in His anger so their blood spattered His garments.  The day of vengeance was in my heart and the year of my redemption has come.  No one was there to help so my own arm and wrath brought salvation and sustained me.  I trampled the nations in my anger and poured their blood on the ground.

Isaiah now tells of the Lord’s kindnesses and the deeds for which He is to be praised:  He became their Savior, in all their distress He too is distressed, His love, and His mercy.  Remember the days of Moses where the Lord set His Holy Spirit among them, divided the waters, and were given rest by the Spirit of the Lord.

Revelation 19:11-16:  Heaven opened up and a white horse and rider whose name was Faithful and True stood before me.  He judges and makes war with justice.  On his head are many crowns. His name no one knows but He himself.  His robe is dipped in blood and is name is the Word of God.  He had armies of heaven with Him.  He will strike down the nations.  He treads a winepress of the fury of the wrath of the God Almighty.  His name is written on his robe:  King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Questions:

9a)  In Isaiah, Jesus is the only one who is mighty to save.  Isaiah says His garments are red and in Revelations we learn He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood and his name is the Word of God (Jesus).  In Revelation He is wearing crowns.  In Isaiah the day of vengeance is in His heart which must be Jesus since only Jesus judges and He will usher in the day of vengeance (see John 5:22).

Isaiah records Jesus as saying, “I looked, but there was no one to help, I was appalled that no one gave support; so my own arm worked salvation for me, and my own wrath sustained me.”  This echoes Isaiah 59:16-17 where “He saw that there was no one to intervene; so his own arm worked salvation for him, and his own righteousness sustained him.” (Review BSF Lesson 26 Day 5.  Read my post here.)

Isaiah mentions this person (Jesus) as trampling the nations in His anger.  Revelations says He will strike down the nations with his sharp sword.  Both mention Jesus as trodden the winepress in wrath.  Revelations leaves the question irrevocably with the answer of Jesus as it says “On his robe his name is written:  King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”

b)  He has defeated His enemies, ushering in the day of vengeance and the year of His redemption.  In essence, Jesus has destroyed the bad guys and saved the good guys.  This was accomplished through His own arm and powered by His wrath.  He made them drunk and poured their blood on the ground.

c)  In Exodus, Moses has a conversation with God and flat out asks Him, “Now show me your glory.”  The Lord proclaims His name to Moses, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger…yet He does not leave the guilty unpunished.”  Exodus 33:12-34:7

Yet, God does get angry when His word and laws are broken (such as in idol worship, etc).  Half of the study of Isaiah was about God’s wrath and anger at His people’s constant disregard for Him and His word. This is similar to man’s anger.  We get mad when things don’t go our way, when our children disobey, when bad things happen to us, or even as minute as someone cutting us off in traffic.

The difference is man can sometime lose control.  In the fit of rage, people end up doing horrible things like murder and acting completely out of character.  God never loses control.  His punishments are just and according to His word. Man’s punishments often are not.  Man is quick to anger and often snaps with sometimes horrible consequences to himself and others.  James 1:20  “For man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”

10a)  To remember God’s character:  His compassion, kindnesses, blessings, good deeds, love, mercy, and that when His people were distressed so was God so He sent the angel of His presence (Jesus) to save them.  Recall the days of old, the days of Moses when God rescued His people from Egypt and how God sent His Holy Spirit to guide them and dwell among them.  Remember how God divided the waters and how they were given rest by the Spirit of the Lord.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Because it’s easy for me to forget.  Earthly endeavors and the Devil constantly distract and pull us away from God so to survive in this world I have to keep His love and faithfulness in the forefront of my mind.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  My husband’s job has flourished finally after 2 lay-offs and many moves.  My faith in God has grown and my writing and this blog is a complete blessing.  The importance His word has become in my daily life.

Conclusions:  I definitely don’t want to be the bad guys here. The picture painted is horrific and gruesome.

BSF needed to give us a lot more space today.  This passage is packed and I couldn’t get all of my observations written down. Good thing I can tell you all here in as many words as I want!

I loved question 9c.  It got me thinking about how I personally react when I get angry.  It is a reaction usually and not an action like God does.  Man snaps.  God never does.  I’ve been in situations where I have completely flipped out over something that later seemed absolutely silly.  But my emotions and my anger took hold and I reacted with little control or thought over my actions.  Great reminder of how I’m still trying to be more like Jesus.

I love how Isaiah ends on a positive note.  To paraphrase he tells the people, “Yeah, God is angry with you and you will go to Babylon to be punished but remember all the good He has done and all the good yet to come.”

End Note:  Great article on the wrath of God here:  http://bible.org/seriespage/wrath-god

BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 28, Day 3: Isaiah 62

Summary of passage:  The Lord will no longer remain quiet until Israel’s righteousness and salvation shines forth to other nations.  Israel will be a crown of splendor in the Lord’s hand.  The Lord will bestow a new name on Israel of Hephzibah (my delight is in her) and Beulah (married) and be rid of Deserted and Desolate.  God will rejoice and be married to God.

Watchmen will be on Jerusalem’s walls who will never be silent.  Call on the Lord and give him no rest until he establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth (keep asking God for His glory to shine).

The Lord has sworn never to allow Israel to be conquered again (to have their food and wine taken by others).  Instead, Israel shall praise the Lord and eat and drink in the courts of the Lord’s sanctuary.  Prepare the way for others to come to Israel.  Raise the banner for nations.

The Savior will come bringing His reward and recompense with Him.  Israel will be called the Holy People, Redeemed of the Lord, Sought After, and the City No Longer Deserted.

Questions:

6)  Her righteousness shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch.  The nations will see your righteousness and all kings your glory.  You will be a crown of splendor.

7a)  Zion was called Deserted and Desolate.  Zion will be called Hephzibah (my delight is in her) and Beulah (married).

b)  To establish a new identity or an indication that person/thing has been transformed.

Genesis 17:5  “No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations.”

Genesis 17:15  “God also said to Abraham, ‘As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah.'”

Revelation 2:17  “To him who overcomes…I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.”

Revelation 3:12  “Him who overcomes…I will write on him my new name.”

c)  The whole world will now know God delights in Israel and is married to her.  He will no longer forsake His people.  I think other nations would be hesitant to take on Israel of try to conquer her knowing this.  I think it would make Israel a desired place to live.

8a)  The Lord has sworn to never again let Israel be conquered (let enemies and foreigners take Israel’s grain and wine), and instead Israel shall eat it in a sanctuary of safety.  Israel must prepare the way for all those to come to receive the Lord’s salvation.

b)  The Savior comes bringing His reward and recompense.  Israel will be called Holy People, Redeemed of the Lord, Sought After, and City No Longer Deserted

Conclusions:  Another message of hope from God to His people:  in the future you will be great.  These days are fun for me because it gives me something to look forward to when my day isn’t going quite as planned.  Our furnace broke 2 days ago and I was majorly stressed.  It’s fixed now but I was stuck in worry. I guess I should have read this passage!

End Note:  Good reference for 7b:  http://www.gotquestions.org/name-change.html

BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 28, Day 2: Isaiah 61

Summary of passage:  The Lord has anointed me (Jesus speaking) with the Spirit of the Lord to preach the good news, bind up the brokenhearted, and bring freedom and light as Jesus proclaims the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God.  Jesus will comfort and provide for those who mourn.  He will give them a crown of beauty, oil of gladness, and praise as they will be oaks of righteousness for the Lord’s splendor.

The people will rebuild the city as foreigners will shepherd their flocks and work the fields.  The people will be the priests of the Lord and be fed by the wealth of other nations.  They will receive a double portion and everlasting joy.  God will reward them with an everlasting covenant for all to see the Lord has blessed them.

Isaiah now says he will rejoice and delight in the Lord as a bride and groom does on their wedding day since God has given him salvation and righteousness.  The Lord will bring righteousness and praise for all the nations just as He does for the seeds that sprout and provide abundance.

Questions:

3a)  The anointed one is indisputably the Messiah, Jesus.  Anoint means to choose as if by divine election.  The Lord has chosen Jesus to preach good news (salvation) to the poor, bind up the brokenhearted, and bring freedom and release from darkness–save from sin.

b)  Because “the day of vengeance of our God” refers to Jesus’s Second Coming, not to His first.  It wasn’t the time to proclaim it; only time to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.  Isaiah 34:8  “For the Lord has a day of vengeance, a year of retribution, to uphold Zion’s cause.”

4a)  They will have a crown of beauty instead of ashes (of mourning 2 Samuel 13:19), oil of gladness instead of mourning, a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.  They will be oaks of righteousness displaying His splendor.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Released from the weight of my sins daily, comforted by God’s faithfulness and goodness, seen beauty where otherwise I wouldn’t have, been grateful and glad instead of melancholy and down in the dumps.

5a)  The people shall rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated.  Foreigners will shepherd your flocks and work your fields (perform menial labor) as you will be the priests of the Lord and live on the wealth of other nations.  The people will inherit a double portion and have everlasting joy.

b)  In God’s faithfulness He will make an ever-lasting covenant with them so all who see them will know they are blessed by the Lord.  They will be God’s testament to His faithfulness and goodness.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  A wedding is one of the happiest days of people’s lives.  Isaiah is as happy as the bride and groom to receive God’s gifts of salvation and righteousness.  As seeds start to grow and we see them sprout, we see God’s miracle of life.  All nations will experience God’s miracles/gifts of righteousness and praise as surely as He makes the seeds sprout.

Conclusions:  I see God’s overwhelming blessings for His people, which is a sign of His incredible love for them.  We see God’s love in providing a Savior and providing for His people’s needs as they prosper as a nation.  He does this partly for the people but also as a testament to who He is.

But God doesn’t stop there:  Isaiah says God will bring His righteousness and praise to all the Nations (most of us today). Yeah!  Praise God!

End Note:  I spent a bit of time on Question 3b.  I was hoping to find a better scripture that spoke specifically of why Jesus didn’t want to address His Second Coming at that time in his ministry.  I’d appreciate any additional verses or ideas.  The following is the best explanation I found (scroll down to the commentary section):

http://bible.cc/isaiah/61-2.htm

BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 27, Day 5 Isaiah 60:19-22

Summary of passage:  The Lord will be your everlasting light and glory instead of the sun and the moon to light our way.  The people’s days of sorrow will end.  They will be righteous and possess the land forever for they are the work of my hands, the shoot I have planted, the display for my splendor.  The least of you will become a thousand, the smallest a mighty nation.

Questions:

11a)  A happy, perfect life.  The Lord will be our everlasting light and glory.  Sorrow will end.  The people will be righteous and will possess the land forever.  The least of you will become great and will display God’s splendor.

b)  Both say all nations will flock to the city to see the Light; Jerusalem/Israel does not need the Sun or the Moon’s light for the glory of God is its light; the nations and kings will bring Jerusalem their splendor (riches, wealth); the gates shall forever be open; there will be no violence, shame or deceit.

c)  By faith and belief in what the Bible says.

12)  There is hope and something better to come.  God’s will and peace will prevail.  When I’m down in the muck of life, remembering God’s promises gives me strength to carry on.

Conclusions:  Another relatively easy day.  I like these days. It’s encouraging to know I don’t have to struggle to “get it” sometimes.  Either that or I’m just getting better at this after 9 months.  Studying the Bible is like anything you work hard at: you have to practice to get better and this year has definitely given me practice that’s for sure!

Just after this one year at BSF I feel much more confident in my knowledge of the Bible, reading the Bible, studying the Bible, praying to God and above all closer to God.  Not that its been easy–most definitely not. But I never gave up.  And the results show.

BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 27, Day 4: Isaiah 60:15-18

Summary of passage:  God will make Israel the everlasting pride and joy of all nations and will drink the milk of nations and be nursed by royal breasts so they will know He is their Redeemer, Savior, and Mighty One.  God will bring the better material (gold instead of bronze, silver instead of iron, bronze instead of wood, and iron instead of stones) and will make peace and righteousness their ruler.  Israel’s walls and gates will be Salvation and Praise.  Violence will be vanquished.

Questions:

9a)  God will make Israel the everlasting pride and joy of all nations and generations.  Israel will drink the milk of nations and be nursed by royal breasts (will receive the wealth of nations freely as a mother nurses her baby).  God will replace bronze with gold, iron with silver, wood with bronze, and stones with iron (give better things).  God will give peace and righteousness, vanquish violence, ruin and destruction, and call Israel Salvation and Praise.

b)  God can make our walls (be it of our home or those around us) a place of salvation, peace, and righteousness.  He can turn whatever we have into something better.  We can be the pride and joy in our generation especially amongst our family.  We can receive God’s riches freely–as freely as a babe nurses (a mother gives her baby milk).

10)  Personal Question.  My answers:

Lord:  Ruler of my life

Your Savior:  God’s unfathomable love for me

Your Redeemer:  I can fall but God will catch me

The Mighty One of Jacob:  God can do anything for me, through me, and with me.

Conclusions:  It’s nice to have an easy day now and then.  The image of God blessing Israel as freely as a mother gives her milk to her baby speaks to me because I remember those days where baby came first in everything including when she or he wanted to nurse.  Great stuff!