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Current study: Spiritual Warfare

14 July 2012

Week 28 Review

July 8 Isaiah 5-8
 July 9 Isaiah 9-12
July 10 Micah 1-4
July 11 Micah 5-7
July 12 2 Kings 16-17; 2 Chronicles 28
July 13 Isaiah 13-17

This week’s readings were prophetic. Isaiah and Micah were contemporaries, speaking to Kings Jotham, Ahaz, Uzziah and Hezekiah. God was trying desperately to get His people in the Northern and Southern Kingdoms to pay attention to Him, but they weren’t listening. Isaiah, a Major Prophet, and Micah, a Minor Prophet, each indicted Judah for their sins. Some of Isaiah’s writings are also considered Messianic.

As I read through the lists of indicted sins (1 Kings, 2 Chronicles, Isaiah and Micah), I was struck by how closely our society paralleled Israel and Judah.

·         Covetousness (Isaiah 5:8-10; Micah 2:1-5)
·         Drunkenness (Isaiah 5:11-17 – see Proverbs 20:1, 23:29-31; Habakkuk 2:5; Romans 13:13; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Ephesians 5:8)
·         Disrespect of the Lord (Isaiah 5:18-19)
·         Unacceptable worship (Isaiah 1:5-6, 12)
·         Deceit/finding appropriate terminology to “justify” their sins (Isaiah 5:20)
·         Pride (Isaiah 5:21 – see Romans 1:22; 1 Corinthians 1:18-25; Proverbs 3:7)
·         Injustice (Isaiah 5:22-25)
·         Listening to false prophets (Micah 2:6-11; 3:5-8)
·         Exploitation of the poor and needy (Micah 3:1-4)

What can we learn from the tragic stories in 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles? False worship leads to corrupt practices, and those practices lead to God’s condemnation and judgment. Is your pastor teaching you the Word of God, or are you hearing some other “gospel”? Does your pastor tell you to search the scriptures yourself, or does he just expect you to listen to his sermon and go on about your life? Can you think of examples of contemporary “ministries” that seem to focus on everything except repentance and walking in the ways of the Lord?  Search the scriptures! Don’t believe what I write – examine them yourself. Pray, seek God, repent. God loves all of us and wants us to live holy lives. Don’t fall into the traps that Israel and Judah fell into. Serve God, do His will, and make sure that you attend a church where the ENTIRE Word is preached.

Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love. 19 He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. 20  You will show faithfulness to Jacob and steadfast love to Abraham, as you have sworn to our fathers from the days of old. Micah 7:18-20 (ESV)

Micah’s “distilled theology” reminds us that God doesn’t lie, that He is willing to forgive – if we return to Him. This particular passage reminds us that God has promised an inheritance to Israel, and His promise will stand throughout the ages. There will always be a Jewish remnant until His kingdom is completed after His second coming! God is a promise keeper – to Israel, and because Gentiles have been grafted in (Romans 11:11-24) because of Christ, we will benefit from these promises!

Isaiah wasn’t just a gloom and doom prophet. He also gave the people hope – hope in their Messiah’s birth.

But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.
2  The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined. 3  You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil. 4  For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. 5  For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire. 6  For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. Isaiah 9:1-7 (ESV)

Jesus’ ministry was prophesied in Isaiah 9:1-2, and in Matthew 4:12-15 we see its fulfillment.

Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee. 13 And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14  so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:
15  “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles— 16  the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.” Matt 4:12-16 (ESV)

Isaiah 9:6 was fulfilled in Jesus (see Luke 1:32-33, Zechariah 9:9), and His Second Coming will fulfill 9:3-7. God gave Isaiah a wonderful message of peace along with his messages of warning.

The Apostle Paul believed he was living in the messianic time that Isaiah predicted, where the Gentiles would also come to know the living God, and he quotes Isaiah 11:10:

For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, 9 and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name.” 10 And again it is said, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.”  11 And again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples extol him.” 12 And again Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse will come, even he who arises to rule the Gentiles; in him will the Gentiles hope.” 13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.  Romans 15:8-13 (ESV)

There are many facets of these passages which I left unexplored (or unwritten anyway!). Did you see something in this week’s reading that you think should be brought to light? Did you find a particular verse comforting, or did you see yourself reflected in Israel and Judah’s sins? Did you receive a “call” from these verses? I would like to know! Let me hear from you. We are all in this together.

No matter how dark the day, the light of God’s promises is still shining. No matter how confusing and frightening our circumstances, the character of God remains the same. You have every reason to trust Him! – Warren Wiersbe

I pray that your week will be blessed, and as Steve Brown says, “I hope that your pastor’s sermon was as good as my pastor’s sermon”! See you next week.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks you Trysch for your posts...it really helps me understand the readings much better >blessings this coming week to you :)


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