BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 10, Day 5 Isaiah 21-23

Summary of passage: Isaiah 21: Isaiah prophesizes against Babylon, saying Elam and Media (allies of the Assyrians) will attack, Babylon will fall, and all of its images of its gods will be destroyed.  Isaiah sympathizes with their destruction.  Edom and Arabia will fall as well to the Assyrians.

Here’s the best map I could find of Elam.  I like it because it also has Media on there and you can tell that it would be easy for them to join with Assyria and attack Babylon.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Elam_Map.jpg

Dumah is in the northern part of Edom and Seir is referring to Mount Seir, also in Edom.  In the dark hour there is a respite then another dark hour.  Assyria is the invader.  Historical Note: Kedar falls to Sargon II shortly after the fall of Samaria in 722 BC.

Map of Kedar (Arabia) and you can see Phoenicia as well, where Tyre is located:

http://bibleatlas.org/full/kedar.htm

Isaiah 22: Jerusalem will suffer the same fate at the hands of the Babylonians.  The Lord has a day of tumult, trampling, and terror in store for Jerusalem.  Because they did not ask Him for help, all of their preparations will be useless.  The Lord will remove Shebna, a steward in charge of the palace or a chief assistant for King Hezekiah, from office because he is mocking God by building a tomb, essentially saying I will not be exiled to Babylon when in fact He will.  He personifies Jerusalem’s self-interest by building a magnificent tomb for himself.  The Lord replaces Shebna with Eliakim son of Hilkiah because he is God’s servant.  In this Eliakim prophesizes the Messiah when God gives him the key to the house of David as mentioned in Revelation 3:7.  Eliakim’s family will be blessed as well, a secure peg.  This could also mean all will depend on Jesus and hang on him.

Interpretation taken from:  http://www.enduringword.com/commentaries/2322.htm

Isaiah 23: Tyre will be destroyed, left without house or harbor.  Tyre, north of Israel on the Mediterranean Sea, was a huge shipping and trade center during Isaiah’s time.  Tyre was part of Phoenicia.  It had two parts: a city on the coast and a city that sat on a nearby island.  The coastal city was conquered by both the Assyrians and the Babylonians.  The island city was not conquered until Alexander the Great conquered it in 332 BC, using methods never before thought of which was part of his genius as a military conquerer. Egypt will be in anguish at Tyre’s fall.  The Lord planned Tyre’s fall, to humble it.  The merchants and traders prospered because of their skill and because of God’s blessings.  Cyprus, an island nation still in existence but under Tyre’s control during Isaiah’s time, will not be spared.  The Babylonians (who will be brought down) and the Assyrians have made the land a desert and a ruin.  For 70 years Tyre will be forgotten but at the end of 70 years, Tyre will be remembered and will return to its glory (symbolized by the prostitute) but its riches will be for the Lord’s purposes.

I got help in understanding this here:  http://www.enduringword.com/commentaries/2323.htm

Tyre and Cyprus have a huge amount of history just on their own.  You could spend hours learning about their role in ancient times.

Questions:

12) Babylon: Elam and Media attack, Babylon falls, all the images of its gods lie shattered on the ground

Edom: First one attack, then a respite, then another attack all by Assyria

Arabia: all the pomp of Kedar will end with few survivors

Tyre: Assyria conquers Tyre as well, destroying the city and leaving no houses or harbor (Tyre was a huge center of trade in Isaiah’s day)

13) A day of tumult, trampling and terror by bows and chariots, battering down of walls, crying out to the mountains, Elam and Kir (probably allies with Babylonians at the time) invade, the defenses of Judah are stripped away.  This is the prophesy of the overthrow of Jerusalem by the Babylonians.  Jerusalem made all of these preparations for the attack except for the one that mattered: turning to God for help.

14a) Personal Question.  My answer: The cruel enemies of Judah will be destroyed and judged by God.   Jerusalem, God’s people, will also be judged because they did not turn to Him for help.  Yet through the example of Eliakim, God always has something better in store for His people, be it Earthly or unearthly.

b) Personal Question.  My answer: Knowing there is hope when life seems hopeless.  God has a plan even though we cannot see it and cannot know it.

Conclusions: I get the message of gloom and doom, but I refuse to live my short life chastising myself for all of my shortcomings and being afraid of the future.  I try to live as much as possible in the present moment, enjoying my husband, kids, and family and the rest of my blessings, helping others along the way and striving to know God better on a personal level.

We are incredibly lucky to be living in a relatively peaceful time unlike Israel and Judah in Isaiah’s time and we also have Jesus. This gives us the luxury of enjoying our Earthly life, being secure in the Lord if we have Jesus, and doing as much as possible for Him while we are here without the fear and trepidation wars and uncertainty bring.  That’s not to say we don’t have our problems (our nation that is) but on an individual level, we can live life secure from war and secure in Him.  I know my eternal destiny and if I keep that in the forefront of my mind, I should have nothing else to fear in this world.

I’m a fairly positive person and Question 14 sets me off.  It’s so hard for me to grasp war in general and its atrocities because I have not lived it so it’s hard for me to picture how I would react, but I can’t imagine I wouldn’t turn to God in those desperate times.  So extrapolating the people of Jerusalem’s mindset is hard so its impact on my life would be little to none.  All I can do is try to bring it to my world and in my world I have hope and faith in God when life sucks.

Maybe I’m missing the point here so any help would be appreciated.

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BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 8, Day 5 Isaiah 12

Summary of passage:  A song of praise to the Lord because He has turned his anger away and comforted his people.  He is their strength and salvation of living waters.  Isaiah says to proclaim His greatness to the world and give thanks.

Questions:

11a) God has turned his anger away and He has comforted his people.  His people will trust and not be afraid.  The Lord is the people’s strength and salvation.

b) Anyone who believes in God/Jesus will have streams of living water flow from within him or her.  Whoever accepts Jesus (drinks the water) will have eternal life/salvation.

12) Proclaim, shout, sing

13) Personal question.  My answer:  I’m not for sure I shout but I am joyful to be walking with the Lord through life.  I do trust but sometimes I’m afraid.  The Lord is my strength and joy.

Conclusions:  It’s good to be reminded He is all things and He should be praised for all His goodness.  Reading songs of praise to Him is comforting, knowing it’s not all gloom and doom 2500 years ago.  So often God just gets our problems but He needs our thanks too.

BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 7, Day 6 Isaiah 10:5-34

Summary of passage:  God sends Assyria against his people to loot and plunder.  Assyria intends to bring destruction so God will punish the King of Assyria for his pride and haughtiness.  God explains how He uses countries to enact His will through an analogy of Him wielding an axe.  The remnant (remaining people after the sacking of the Israel and Judah by Assyria) will truly rely on the Lord and turn to him only.  The Lord assures his people He will come against Assyria and destroy them.  Assyria will be stopped before they enter Jerusalem.  He uses the axe analogy once again, saying He will fell Assyria’s trees.

Questions:

13) Personal Question.  My answer:  God’s priorities are for His people to follow Him in a just and Godly way.  He will use whomever He desires to teach His followers lessons if they cannot learn it through other means.  But all of this punishment/discipline is out of His great love for us.  It is our benefit so we can grow closer to Him after the lessons are learned.

14) Personal Question.  My answer:  To be more humble, to teach my children humility and to always put His will first.

Conclusions:  Great lesson.  We learned about God’s sovereign power, His use of nations to enact His will, His overwhelming love for us that causes his discipline of our behavior, the harmfulness of pride, the power of humility, and God’s means of teaching us His lessons for life.  We must remember God loves us unconditionally despite our foibles, idiosyncracies, and mistakes.

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.

BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 3, Day 5: Isaiah 5:26-30

Summary of passage:  Isaiah describes how God will bring forth distant nations to conquer Israel and enact His justice for their sins.

Questions:

11a) God will allow distant nations to overtake Israel’s land and people.

b) Personal Question.  My answer:  Personally, no.  I wouldn’t want to be conquered.  Yet, for Israel, in this time, I would say yes since their sins are great and they heed no warnings to repent.  Punishment is inevitable.  [This question is hard since we do not live in their time.]

12a) Personal Question.  My answer:  That God uses war (something He despises) to enact justice.  Because in war people are killed, women are raped, families are separated, etc.  War is the worst instrument of justice in my opinion.

b) Personal Question.  My anwer:  Personally, I wouldn’t want to be.  One always appreciates something more when it’s gone.  When I lived in a camper, my next house was a mansion!  God is teaching His people to appreciate Him through bereavement so I believe being forced from the Promised Land ultimately was a good thing for the people of Israel.

Conclusion:  Most of these questions were personal in nature.  However, I hope by providing my answers, it helps you as you answer your questions.  I know sometimes I’m  think, “What are they getting at here?” so you can see at least what I think they are looking for.  I will try to do this as often as possible as long as I am comfortable with the question.

Easy passage.  Not so easy to think about how you view God’s justice.  Interesting day.