BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 17, Day 5 Isaiah 40:27-31

Summary of passage:  Israel and Jacob (the people of these lands) complain that God has disregarded them during their exile to Babylon.  Isaiah answers that God, the Creator of the Universe is ever-lasting.  He does not grow tired or weary and we (the people) cannot understand his reasoning.  But He gives strength to the weary as long as you hope in the Lord.  You will soar on wings like eagles, run and not grow weary, and walk and not be faint.

Questions:

10a) They think God has abandoned them because of their plight.  They don’t see it as a punishment or if they do as an unfair one.  But after the punishment (time-out) you get to come out of your room, (Babylon) back to the family (Jerusalem).

b) He tells them again God is the Creator of the Universe; He is ever-lasting.  He won’t grow weary; His understanding no one can fathom (basically, He has his reasons).  He will give you strength to endure if you believe in Him.  Those who hope in the Lord will soar on wings like eagles, run and not be weary, walk and not be faint.

11) Faith and hope in the Lord

12a) God, as Creator of the Universe, never grows tired or weary so He has the power to do the same for you if you have faith and hope.

b) Personal Question.  My answer:  Tired of dealing with public schools.  Stumbling in my relationships.  Sometimes weary of writing books that are relegated to merely word documents on my computer.  But God gives me strength to endure and keep moving, the discernment to see my problems, and the ability to work to correct them.

Conclusions:  It’s all about keeping the faith in this lesson.  Sure, bad things happen and we never understand.  But you must hold strong and believe there is light at the end of the tunnel–His light.  He never gives us more than we can handle and He has the power to do anything.  What is a more inspiring picture than soaring on wings like eagles?

Something I Learned From Romans 1:20

As some of you know, I got lambasted for recommending Glenn Beck’s books because he’s a mormon.  I said to stop judging him based on his beliefs:  he still is doing great things for people and this country.

In his new book, “The Seven Wonders That Will Change Your Life”, he talks about how he came to Mormonism.  He asked a question,”Where’s Gandhi?”  Gandhi never accepted Jesus.  The Mormon teacher responded by saying, “Would it be fair for one who had never had the chance or opportunity to accept Him to be banished to that lake of fire?” P.148

I had been contemplating this ever since I read it.  I knew the logic was flawed somehow and now I have an answer from the Bible.  Romans 1:20:  “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”

There really is no excuse NOT to know Him, especially in today’s world.  We all can buy a Bible. Churches are on every street and we can worship freely.  But more than that:  God is everywhere we look.  How can a human being with a logical mind not stop and think I wonder where all of this came from? And then find the answer:  God.

I’m extrapolating here because I don’t know much about the Mormon faith but apparently Mormons take the fluffy view of, “Well, you won’t go to Hell.  You just won’t be in Heaven with the rest of us.”

But what does the Bible tell us?  John 14:6  “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”  Revelation 20:15  “If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”

Mr. Beck denies the existence of this “lake of fire” in his book on P. 149 (the fluffy view of what happens to unbelievers).  I guess he missed Romans 1:20, Revelation 20:15, John 14:6, and Isaiah 40:21.

BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 17, Day 4 Isaiah 40:21-26

Summary of passage:  Isaiah asks who doesn’t know about God who sits enthroned above the earth and stretches out the heavens like a canopy.  He reduces rulers and princes to nothing with a mere blow of his breath.  “To whom will you compare me?” says the Holy One.  To the heavens since he brings them all out and calls each by name.  None are ever missing.

Questions:

7) That God is the Creator of the Universe and Earth.  God is the one and only.

8 )  Personal Question.  My answer:  People are wicked in general and will do wicked things or are elected by wicked people.  These rulers all serve God’s purpose (think King of Assyria) so they come to power by His will.  Maybe to teach people a lesson or about Him.  But God merely has to blow on them and they are gone.

9a) Look to the Heavens, the stars that God calls by name

b) Nothing or no one.

c) Personal Question.  My answer:  Looking at the stars at night reminds me how insignificant I am in comparison to infinite space.  So when life loses control, I can look at the stars and know God is in control of everything–the stars, the moon, and my life.  He can do any thing since He created everything.

Conclusions:  What I got out of this was my last line I wrote:  He can do anything since He created everything (another one to go up on my mirror).  But, I yearned for more here.  I yearned to study more.  I yearned for more of His word.  I yearned for more of Him.  I guess that’s one of the lasting legacies of a good bible study such as BSF:  making you yearn for more of Him.

BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 17, Day 3 Isaiah 40:18-20

Summary of passage:  Isaiah asks who or what will we compare God to.  If we compare Him to an idol, an idol is first cast and then covered in gold and silver chains.  A poor man selects good wood (presumably instead of metal or some material more durable for an idol that a richer man would choose) and looks for a skilled craftsman to make sure his idol does not topple.

Questions:

5a) A craftsman and a goldsmith and a poor man who looks for a skilled craftsman.  A craftsman casts the idol in an image and a goldsmith covers it in gold and silver ornaments and a poor man tries to find someone who will make a nice idol without it toppling over.

b)  Psalms 115:4-7; 135:15-18  Idols are made by the hands of men; they cannot speak, see, hear, smell, feel, walk, talk and those who make them and trust in them will be like them (the idols)

Jeremiah 10:8-16  Idols are worthless, objects of mockery; they are a fraud with no breath in them; they will perish from the earth.  Idol-makers are foolish and senseless.  The makers are shamed by their idols and when their judgment comes, they will perish.

Habakkuk 2:18-19  Idols have no value since a man has carved it; they have no breath in them and cannot give guidance.  Woe to idol-makers who trust in their own creation.

c) God is Creator; idols are created.  God made people; people make idols.  God breathes life; idols are breathless.  God speaks and God lives; idols don’t.  God sees, hears, smells, feels, and answers prayers; idols just sit there.  God is everything; idols are nothing.  Structurally speaking, God is the action and idols are acted upon.  God is the verb.  Idols are nouns.  God does.  Idols  don’t do anything.

6a) Celebrities, money, material objects and wealth, other people in power

b) Sometimes I envy everything in 6a but as far as actual worship, I am not sure.  But I do allow life elements to get put before God–busy deeds such as surfing Internet and just getting caught up in the day-to-day living instead of being still and knowing He is God.  I am guilty of allowing life to lead me at times but as always I am trying to keep Him as my center in my fallible human way.

Conclusions:  First Commandment:  You shall have no other gods before me.  Second Commandment: You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.  You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.  Exodus 20:3-6

I would think these are important to God since they are above the others we tend to remember:  don’t commit murder, adultery, steal, or covet your neighbor’s house or wife.

Bowing down and praying to foreign idols was a real problem in Isaiah’s time.  The influence of foreign cultures and their gods was one of the sins that led to God’s punishment of exile of His chosen people. People were (and are today) easily influenced and didn’t have the benefit of technology and an interconnected world as we do to more easily know the One, True God.

We, in the twenty-first century, have trouble relating to such a culture since ours is mostly homogenous in the sense people worship one God.  But instead of a physical idol like a golden calf or something, people today do worship other things such as material wealth, people, etc so in this sense we can relate.

It’s important to be cognizant of our God, who admits he is jealous over us (of all insignificant things!) and of putting Him first and to make sure He knows He is first in our hearts.

BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 17, Day 2 Isaiah 40:12-17

Summary of passage:  Isaiah asks a series of questions describing God:  who has measured the water in the hollow of his hand or marked off the heavens?  Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket or weighed the mountains on scales?  Who has instructed god or understood his mind?  Who taught him the right way or showed him the path of understanding?  The nations are like a drop in the bucket in comparison to God.  They are dust.  Lebanon does not hold enough to atone for man.  Before God, all nations are worthless and less than nothing.

Questions:

3a) 1) Who has measured the water in the hollow of his hand?  2) Who with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens?  3) Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket?  4) Who has weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance?  God.

b)  1) Who has understood the mind of the Lord?  2) Who has instructed God as his counselor?  3) Whom did the Lord consult to enlighten him?  4) Who taught Him the right way?  5) Who taught God knowledge? 6) Who showed God the path of understanding?  No one.

c) God is omnipotent (Creator of the universe) and omniscient (He is the source of all wisdom and answers).  Isaiah is giving us illustrations so our human minds can try to understand who God is, His character, and what He does.

d) Omnipotent, omniscient, the Source of all existence.  The one, true God

4a) The power of the nations is like a drop in the bucket compared to God’s.  They are dust.  Everything in Lebanon is not sufficient.  Before him all nations are nothing and worthless.

b) You get a sense of how tiny we are if you think we are a dust granule in God’s mighty hand.  How insignificant.  How awesome is God.  We are nothing without God.

Conclusions:  It’s good to be humbled sometimes especially since humans can get pretty puffed up over themselves and this passage will do it.  You can see Isaiah’s descriptions in your mind of just how powerful God is and how insignificant we are.  Without God we are nothing and we need to remember that with every breath we take and every step we take.

BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 16, Day 5 Isaiah 40:9-11

Summary of passage:  The messenger will bring good tiding to Zion and Jerusalem.  He will go up on a high mountain and shout so all can hear, “Here is your God!”  God will come with power.  His reward is with him as well as his recompense (forgiveness).  He watches over us like a shepherd and holds us in his arms close to his heart.  He gently leads us.

Questions:

10a) The messenger will go up to a high mountain and shout with all of his might, “Here is your God!”

b) God comes with power.  The reward is with him and his recompense accompanies him.  He will gather his people and hold them close to his heart.  He tends them, leads them, and watches over them.  In God’s timing, He will rescue them and forgive them of their sins.  He holds them as they suffer.

c) Personal Question.  My answer:  Nothing can defeat God.  He is just.  He has a plan and when my little world is in chaos, He is holding me next to His heart.  He is tending me, watching over me as I grow, and leading me.  For He is my reward.

11a) Reward:  something that is given in return for good or evil done or received and especially that is offered or given for some service or attainment; recompense.  Recompense:  to give something to by way of compensation; to pay for; a return for something done, suffered, or given.

b) His reward is Him.  His recompense is his forgiving of our sins and His giving of Jesus to pay for our sins.  He will come and bring forgiveness.  God is with us always and forgives us always even in the midst of sin.  It’s comforting to know when we fall, His hand is there to pick us back up.

Conclusions:  Great reminder of God’s faithfulness, His goodness, His love, His compassion, His forgiveness, His power, His gentleness, and everything else God.  He is a God of comfort.  He is always there for us in our times of need.  Sometimes we forget that but He doesn’t.  He tends, gathers, carries, and gently leads us to where He wants us–closer to Him.

BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 16, Day 4 Isaiah 40:6-8

Summary of passage:  A voice cries men are like grass and their glory is like flowers.  Both wither and die because the breath of the Lord blows on them.  People are just like grass and flowers but the word of God stands forever.

Questions:

8a) All their glory (flowers and grass) wither and die just like man and his glory withers and dies

b) People exist because of God.  The word of God stands forever.  People wither and die.  Proof to us humans (who often need proof but God doesn’t) is His word (the Bible) has survived millenium.  It was oral, then written down, then copied by hand, then faced various groups trying to eradicate it, faced orders from kings to burn the Bible, but through it all it has endured.  Has any man?

9a) Nothing in or of this world lasts forever.  Only God’s word lasts.  Lasting satisfaction in this life should be God’s truths and living a life as close to those as possible.

b) Personal Question.  My answer:  Pray more, read the Bible more, work on myself, listening to God and His will–what He wants in my life and striving to become that person.  Constantly strive to be more like Jesus.

Conclusions:  Overarching theme:  God’s word stands forever (like He himself does) and man’s existence is transitory.  I wish we would cover a little more ground here though.  I crave more study of 3 verses in one day.