Friday, December 18, 2009

Challenge Group - Isaiah 7-12

Chapters 7-12 of Isaiah are set in a time of war, when the people and even the king were terrified. King Ahaz failed to trust God, and is spoken of poorly in the Bible. In this section, Isaiah tells the people that they do not need to fear this current threat, but he brings up a time when things will be much worse for them because of their lack of repentance. He also sprinkles in the message of hope in the future that God will bring about, mentioning the birth of Immanuel and the peace that the remnant will enjoy someday.

1. Historical Backdrop
a. This section is set during the Syro-Ephraimite War (735-732b.c.e.)
b. Rather than trusting God, Ahaz looked to the Assyrian king Tiglath-Pileser the 3rd for help. 2 Kings 16:2-9
c. Tiglath-Pileser the 3rd conquered Damascus and dispersed the Aramaens in 732 b.c.e.
d. 10 years later, the northern tribes rebelled again, and were also dispersed into Assyria (722 b.c.e.) Samaria was destroyed in 721 b.c.e.
e. In 701b.c.e., when Hezekiah was king, Sennacherib of Assyria laid siege to Jerusalem. Hezekiah initially trusted in Egypt, but eventually repented and trusted God for their deliverance. When this happened, the Assyrian army was destroyed.
f. Isaiah lived past the date of Sennacherib’s death in 681 b.c.e.. Then, it is believed that he was put in a hollow log and sawed in half for his belief.
2. Summary of the Section
a. In chapters 7 and 8, God comforts the faltering and terrified people by telling them that Ephraim and the Aramaens are not going to succeed. He also makes reference to “Immanuel”, a child born of a virgin.
b. In the first part of chapter 9, God assures the people that the other strong nations of the day are not going to last – but Israel will be restored to glory at the end of the age. Here he brings up “Immanuel” again, saying that a child will be born who is called “Mighty God”.
c. 9:12-10:15 warns the people of Judea about a siege that will come about because the people are unrepentant in their failure to trust God. In 9:20 he predicts that the siege will be so bad that people will eat the flesh off their own arms and hands and still feel hungry.
d. 10:20-11 discuss the faithful remnant who do the exact opposite of what the unrepentant people in 9 do. He encourages them that the mighty nations of this day will be cut down, and a branch of Jesse (Christ) will spring up and make things better in the future. This section descibes the Millenial Kingdom in cool detail (i.e. a child playing by a viper's den, lions eating hay, etc..)
e. Chapter 12 focuses on how God is our salvation. We should trust Him and not be afraid.
3. A Closer Look at the themes
“Immanuel” will be born
Other strong nations will not last, but Israel will
Most are Unrepentant, but a Remnant will Trust God and His Wisdom
Do Not Be Afraid
More about Fear-- Prov. 3:25-26, Ps. 112:7-8a
-- Fear comes from an inappropriate view of God.(Rm. 8:15, Heb. 13:5-6, 1 Jn. 3:21-22.) Fear and faith are often brought up together as opposing attitudes.
-- We are used to relying on ourselves or other people. We need to be re-trained.
-- It is only as we abandon ourselves to the care of God that we will no longer be self-reliant and autonomous. It is only as we rid ourselves of alternate safety nets (plan bs) that we will no longer be double-minded. We need to learn from the mistakes of Ahaz and the people who "feared what everyone fears rather than fearing God" and who depended on self and others instead of God.
-- If we want a dynamic life, we need to stop worrying about our safety.

No comments:

Post a Comment