Summary of passage: Isaiah is chastising Israel (again) for not trusting in the Lord and instead turning to Egypt for help with the Assyrians. He predicts Egypt will not help them and the fact Israel is rebellious, disobedient, and unwilling to listen to the Lord’s instruction will be recorded on scrolls. The people do not want to listen to the prophets anymore because all they predict is bad things happening. So God replies they will be shattered into pieces as punishment for their rejection of the prophet’s messages. God says to rely on Him and wait on Him so He can be gracious to us. If you cry for help, He will answer and you will see your teacher and He will point you the right way. He will provide for you abundantly through rain and good crops and He will heal your wounds and bruises He caused. Assyria will fall. Topheth (figurative Hell) has been prepared for the Assyrian king which the Lord himself will set ablaze. Israel will celebrate.
7a) The definition of obstinate–perversely adhering to an opinion, purpose, or course of action in spite of reason, arguments, or persuasion; not easily subdued, remedied, or removed. The “how” is simple: they ignore the Lord and rely on other humans to solve their problems. They allow their minds to be corrupted by unbelievers. These humans do not care for alliances nor do they help (here Egypt). To me, a more pertinent question would have been why.
b) We should listen to the Lord’s instruction and not listen to those who contradict God. I would have preferred a question discussing the meaning of verses 8-17 instead since this answer is obvious to most of those who attend BSF.
8 ) Personal question. My answer: I am obstinate when it comes to moving because I hate getting lost and starting over, uprooting and getting out of my comfort zone. If I return to God (draw near), rest in His promises, trust in Him, pray and wait on Him, and not worry, He will do the rest.
9a) Judah will see its teachers. The Lord wills send rain so the food will be rich and plentiful, cattle will graze, oxen and donkeys will work. The Lord will bind up the bruises and heal the wounds He inflicted. Succintly: guidance, abundance, purity, healing. All apply since God provides all. Same for me. If I cry out to the Lord, I will see Him and He will answer. He will provide my sustenance and provide in abundance. He will keep me pure and heal me.
b) Assyria because they are evil, idol worshippers, and practice human sacrifice. See End Note.
Conclusions: Tons of nuggets in this Chapter but my favorite was verses 18-21 because they spoke to me: “Blessed are all who wait on Him.” So, my impatient self must wait on His timing. “How gracious will He be when you cry for help. As soon as he (God) hears, he will answer you” with his graciousness. “Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them.” So, I will see God when I cry out to Him and He will answer. “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.” So, no matter which way I turn or go, God is behind me, cheering, pointing me in the right direction.
I often doubt if I’m heading in the right direction in my life and this passage gives me peace to know if I ask, God will answer and He has my back. Besides my husband, I get this no where else but from God but with God I know it is truth. No matter which way I go, He is there if I wait on Him. Great stuff.
End Note: 9b has some interesting history. My Bible says Topheth is a valley near Jerusalem where human sacrifices were offered to the god Molech. Being unsatisfied with a 5 word explanation, I googled Topheth which confirmed this, saying human sacrifices were outlawed by King Josiah where the valley then became a waste site for the dumping of refuse and dead carcasses. Fire was permanently burning here to keep away disease so Topheth became a synonym for Hell. Biblical references to Topheth: Jeremiah 7:31-32 and 2 Kings 23:10. This information taken from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tophet
I was unsure if the king is the Assyrian king himself or the god Molech (I found different interpretations). Either way, both are now burning in Hell.
Study questions such as these are the reason I keep going to BSF. Some days I get stuff. Other days I don’t. Today I definitely left with a lot on my heart to ponder. The combination of history (who knew Topheth was a figurative Hell on Earth in those days?) and God speaking to me leaves me with a spring in my step, anxious to read more and more!