BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 11, Day 2: Isaiah 24:1-6

Summary of passage: The Lord pronounces a curse on the Earth–He will devastate it and all of its inhabitants without exception.  The Earth dries up along with its people because the people have broken the ever-lasting covenant, disobeyed the laws and violated the statutes, and defiled the Earth.

Questions:

3a) The Lord will lay waste and devastate the Earth.  It will be totally plundered, its inhabitants scattered.  The Earth will dry up and wither.

b) Everyone

c) God says it will happen so it will happen.  I think God will destroy so He can renew; God will cleanse so we can be pure of heart and soul.  We can be prepared for that day by living our life in God’s ways.

4) The Earth is defiled by its people who have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes, and broken the everlasting covenant.

Conclusions: Curious as to what exactly was in this “everlasting covenant” that the people had broken that caused all of this destruction (you have to know if you want to avoid it!), I googled it.  Knowing God made a covenant with Noah that He’d never destroy the Earth again and sent us a rainbow as a sign of this promise, how can He destroy the Earth?

A covenant is a written agreement or promise usually under seal between two or more parties especially for the performance of some action.  In this case between God and His believers.  God made many covenants with man over the course of history.  The Old Covenant would be between Noah and God, Abraham and God, etc all with the purpose and intent of having a relationship between God and man.

The New Covenant is a set of new agreements between God and man, outlined in Hebrews 8.  Here God promises to put his words into our minds and hearts (God will dwell in us not outside of us), forgive our sins, and offer us eternal life.

This New Covenant will be fulfilled when God/Christ returns to Earth to establish His kingdom.  This New Covenant provides a way for humans to have an intimate relationship with God.

Where does Jesus fit in?  Well, through the blood of Jesus, we were cleansed of our sins.  There is no other way to be cleansed and to dwell with God.

So what is Isaiah here talking about?  I’m not for sure because we haven’t studied all this in depth.  We must remember Isaiah lived BEFORE Jesus and although He prophesized the coming of Jesus, he probably didn’t understand what Jesus would mean for all believers after him and probably could not predict all the repercussions stemming from Jesus’s death on a cross.

So, based on the premise Isaiah did not predict the meaning of Jesus’s death, He is saying here in this passage:  for God to dwell with us here on Earth, man must be perfect because God cannot abide with sin.  So, to be perfect, we must be cleansed from sin so God can dwell with us.  Thus, I am extrapolating that these verses in Isaiah is the process Isaiah believed we must go through to be cleansed so God can live with us.  But this covenant Isaiah is referring to is the Old Covenant, and not the New Covenant just enumerated above.  So I am theorizing here that this prophecy will not happen literally; it will be figuratively.

Will the Earth be destroyed when Jesus comes back to bring His Kingdom to Earth?  My answer: doubtful.  I think a lot of people will be destroyed (the non-believers and such) but why would God destroy the place where He wants to set up His Kingdom?  There could be mass destruction of people and places when Jesus first arrives but I just don’t see the Earth vanishing in a puff of smoke and eradicated from the universe.  I believe God loves His creations too much to do such a thing.

Once again, I don’t know.  I’m just trying to figure all of this out in relation to Jesus.

The description of the New Covenant I summarized is taken from here:  http://www.biblestudy.org/basicart/what-is-the-new-covenant-god-offers-to-man.html

This was a great, easy to understand explanation if you want more info.

BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 9, Day 5 Isaiah 14:9-32

Summary of passage: The King of Babylon will be greeted in Hell by other evil leaders.  Maggots and worms will cover you and all the pomp and noise of your harps on Earth will disappear.  Babylon will be cast down despite its dominant past.  The King’s heart boasted how he will ascend to heaven and sit on a throne above God, how he will be above the clouds and like the Most High.  But instead the king will live in the depths of the pit.  He will be cast out of his own tomb and covered with the slain–all in punishment for his crimes of destroying lands and killing people.  The Lord will cut off Babylon, her name, her survivors, and her descendants.  The Lord declares,”…as I have planned, so will it be…”.  Assyria will be crushed and the Lord’s people’s burden will be removed.  The Philistines will not be spared either after Assyria is defeated.  They will be destroyed by famine and melted away by a cloud from the north.

Questions:

9)The Babylonian King believes he is the supreme ruler of the world, invincible and all mighty.  He believes he will ascend to heaven and raise his throne above the stars of God.  He believes he will sit the highest (above God) and above the clouds and he will make himself like the Most High.  Here Isaiah says he will be brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit (Hell).  He will be cast out of his tomb and be covered with the slain and with those pierced by the sword.  I find the irony in how the King of Babylon’s pride and arrogance makes him believe he’s above God and in the end He will be the lowliest of the low.

10) Maggots are spread out beneath you and worms cover you.  There is no pomp, no music.  For the wicked, this is their fate.  Going off of just this one passage, for the good, their fate must be the opposite.  Instead of wallowing in Hell’s pit, you will rise to Heaven.  Instead of being covered in maggots, you will be covered in God (maggots being the lowly of the low, God being the highest of the high).  Instead of no pomp and music, you will experience much celebration and cheer.

11a) Satan

b) The Lord will rise up against Babylon and eliminate its name, survivors, and descendants from the Earth.  The city will be swampland, a place for owls, a home for demons, and a haunt for every evil spirit and unclean bird.  The city of Babylon will be completely destroyed, never to be found again.

12a) The Lord begins by saying, “…as I have planned, so it will be…” leaving no doubt for the people that God is in charge.  God says He will crush the Assyrians in His land.  The yoke and burden of Assyria will be removed from the people.  Against the Philistines, God says just because Assyria is defeated, does not mean the Philistines are off the hook.  He is not finished with His judgments against them.  So, the oracle says the Philistines will be destroyed by famine.  He describes a cloud of smoke coming from the north (which is possibly referring to Babylon), saying the Philistines will melt away, which in essence, happens (see my explanation below).

[Side note: Being curious as to how the mention of the Philistines fit into Assyria, I researched the Philistines and here is what I found.]

Philistines were one of Judah’s neighbors and they were constantly at war with the Israelites, frequently invading.  Assyria defeated them in 732 BC and when Babylon conquered Judah, the Philistines were swallowed up in the Babylonian empire.  The Bible makes little reference to them after this time period and we can only assume they were assimilated amongst the peoples.

Being a visual person, here’s another really nice map that gives you a sense of the lay out of the lands:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Kingdoms_around_Israel_830_map.svg

Information taken from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philistines

b) Personal Question.  My answer:  To me, it means no matter how much I fight God and His purposes for my life, He will win out in the end, which is very encouraging, especially when I’m in the midst of uncertainty.  To know despite all my mistakes, God is in charge and will put me where he wants me brings me a level of peace to my life.

Conclusions: Good lesson.  You learn how despite what man thinks, God’s will prevails, and sometimes man is oblivious to it all until the very end.  God is the judge and eventually everyone answers to him and suffers the consequences of their actions.  God is in charge.  Period.

BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 6, Day 5 Isaiah 9:8-10:4

Summary of passage: The Lord is angry with Israel because of their pride and arrogance of heart.  They have not returned to him nor have they sought him.  So, the Lord will bring on Israel’s enemies to scorch the land, leaving the people hungry.  Isaiah warns those in power who make unjust laws and oppress the people that nothing shall remain.

Questions:

12a) Repeated phrase:  Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised.  Isaiah tells/lists the reasons for the Lord’s anger to explain why He is against Israel.

b) The people have not returned to Him nor have they sought Him.  The people are prideful and arrogant.

13a) God’s angry when His people do not obey Him nor turn to Him, and ignore Him.  God’s wrath is provoked by man’s sin when they turn against Him.

Deuteronomy 29:24-28  “All the nation will ask: “Why has the Lord done this to this land?  Why this fierce, burning anger?”  And the answer will be:  “It is because this people abandoned the covenant of the Lord, the God of their fathers, the covenant he made with them when he brought them out of Egypt.  They went off and worshiped other gods and bowed down to them, gods they did not know, gods he had not given them.  Therefore the Lord’s anger burned against this land, so that he brought on it all the curses written in this book.  In furious anger and in great wrath the Lord uprooted them from their land and thrust them into another land, as it is now.”

Isaiah 13: 6-13  In verse 9 “See, the day of the Lord is coming–a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger–to make the land desolate and destroy the sinners..I will punish the world for its evil..and the earth will shake from its place at the wrath of the Lord Almighty in the day of his burning anger.”

b) Personal answer.  My answer:  Most people discount His wrath and do not think it’s real.  God is so far removed from their lives people believe there are no consequences.  Consequences–They will be judged.  They are not prepared for His return.  They do not understand or accept His grace.  They view God as angry when He’s only angry from His great love for us in our disobedience (like parents to children).

14) God gets angry over our behavior but loves us enough to grant us grace and forgiveness for our transgressions.

Romans 3:21-31  …for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus…

Ephesians 2:3-5  “All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts.  Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.  But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved.”

Conclusions:  Wow.  I spent a couple of hours doing this lesson and learned a lot.  I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of finding passages that address God’s wrath and grace.  I gained a much greater understanding of the reasons for God’s behaviors and felt even more loved and privileged by Him.  There are many more passages but I picked the ones I liked the best to share with you.  Feel free to share your favorites in the comment section.  God bless!

BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 6, Day 4 Isaiah 9:6-7

Summary of passage: Isaiah once again predicts Jesus’ birth in this passage, saying a child will be born who will reign on David’s throne and establish justice, peace, and righteousness forever.

Questions:

9) Both predict Jesus Christ

10a) Wonderful Counselor: Wise Teacher

Mighty God: Holy and Righteous

Everlasting Father: Forever with you

Prince of Peace: Harbinger of a new world

b) Personal question.  My answer:  They are a reminder of God’s sovereignty and how He is everything to me.

11a) David’s line will rule forever.  He will bring justice, peace, and righteousness forever.  The government will be on his shoulders.

b) Personal question.  My answer: Jesus always gives me hope for a better tomorrow.  I hope to continue being more Christ-like every day.

Conclusion:  Straight-forward today.  A reminder of how God even knew Jesus before he was born (just like He knows us before we are born); how God had the world all planned from Day One; how He is soveriegn and almighty.

BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 6, Day 2: Isaiah 8:19-22 & 1 Samuel 28

Summary of Isaiah 8:19-22:  Isaiah tells the people not to consult mediums or spiritists and consult God and His word instead.  If you don’t speak to the truth of His word, you will have no light.  You will be distressed, hungry, and angry at God and, as a result,:  curse Him.  Darkness will reign.

Summary of 1 Samuel 28:  Saul was afraid of the Philistine army so he inquired of the Lord but the Lord did not answer him.  So Saul turns to a medium for answers even though Saul had expelled all mediums as required by Law.  He consults the witch of Endor in hopes of discovering the outcome of the battle.  The witch calls up Samuel who chastises Saul in not consulting the Lord and tells Saul because he hasn’t obeyed the Law and God, he will be handed over to both Israel and the Philistines and tomorrow you and your sons will be with me.  Saul was filled with fear.

Questions:

3a) A medium or spiritist is a living person who is said to be a channel of communication between the Earthly world and the world of spirits.  People consult them when they believe God has abandoned them or in distress (like Saul did in 1 Samuel 28) or they are desperate and feel they have no where else to turn.

b) In Moses’ laws, you will be defiled by them (Leviticus 19:31); He will set his face against the person who consults them and cut them off from his people (Leviticus 20:6); Evil in the eyes of the Lord and provokes Him to anger (2 Kings 21:6); detestable things as outlawed in the book in the temple of the Lord (2 Kings 23:24); bring the Egyptians plans to nothing and lose heart since they consult mediums (Isaiah 19:3); do not listen to them as they only prophesy lies that will only serve to remove you far from your lands; I will banish you and you will perish (Jeremiah 27:9-10).  Yes since only God knows the future and He is the one in control.  Astrology can only lead you astray.

c) They have no light of dawn.  They will be distressed and hungry and roam through the land and when they are famished, they will become angry and curse God.  They will only be able to see darkness and despair–not His light and truth.

4a) Other people, from societal and cultural norms, strangers, people in authority, leaders, elders, preachers

b) Personal question.  My answer:  doctor, family, God

5) Your mind becomes clouded and darkness takes over.  Your thinking is futile so you become foolish and blame God for your unfaithfulness.  The path is opened for the Devil to step in.

Conclusions:  Tough one today.  Lots of passages to look up but it’s always fascinating to me to see how many times God mentions a subject and voices His opinion on it in multiple ways.  It reveals the importance of the topic to Him, and sometimes (like in this case) a topic I never much think of because I don’t believe in mediums.  It’s interesting to see how much this affects God and the importance of your actions; no matter how small they may seem to you, they can be big to Him.