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RCCG Miracle Land Dundalk
Wednesday, December 13 2023

Contributor: Alex Kokobili

The previous session dwelt on the righteous judgment of God (Isaiah 65: 1-25). This also pointed our attention to persistence in communion with God and rejection of idolatry, God’s desire for us to live without corruption in the newness of Him, a prosperous life of peace, love through the nature of Christ, the emphasis on prayer and God’s divine judgment which is a blessing for the righteous and condemnation for the wicked. This discussion of the sixty-sixth chapter of Isaiah will deepen our understanding of God’s expectation for humanity in this dispensation so that we can partake in His glorious blessings reserved for the saints.

• Isaiah 66: 1A. The Heaven is God’s throne and earth His footstool.
This reveals the sovereignty of kingly worship. Heaven is God’s throne implies the authority of a king whose throne is the highest and most esteemed. This implies the weight of God’s glory is on His throne in Heaven and that is why as believers we also partake in this glory through Christ (Eph. 2:6 And God raised us with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus). The significance of His footstool refers to his doings on earth because the earth cannot handle the full weight of His glory. It is royal etiquette for a king to put his leg on a stool while on his throne and this stool here is described as the earth. V1. God looks for His throne in heaven to his footstool where his leg is laid and He sees the activities of the earth. He doesn’t have to jump down to the earth, because from His Footstool He sees His creation. He sees the heart of humanity and if we truly tremble before Him as a King. V2. God’s expectation for true worship from humanity: One who is poor with a remorseful heart (contrite).

• Isaiah 66: 1B -4. God’s temple and its significance.
Since heaven is God’s throne and the earth His footstool this means God wants a relationship with His people (Israel) in a manner that He will dwell with them bringing the need for a temple “Where is the house that you will build Me? And where is the place of My rest?”. The temple became a reference point or a place of fellowship with God, but the people became too familiar and their heart was on religiosity but without communion with God “Says the LORD. “But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at My word”.
True fellowship with God is beyond the ordinances that make us feel that we are Christians i.e. going to church, having a Christian name, giving to the poor, etc. but a life that is yielded to God in Spirit and truth. We also see the case of the temple and true worship in Haggai chapter 1 and 2 which reminds us about true worship that entails us living as the temple of God at all times. This does not diminish the relevance of physical fellowship in church

“Hebrews 10: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another”.

To access God’s throne which is in heaven, we have to be poor in the spirit which means not attributing anything to ourselves but God. Such a person will tremble at his word. V3 tells what was happening in Israel as many approached outside of God’s alignment (“He who kills a bull is as if he slays a man; He who sacrifices a lamb, as if he breaks a dog’s neck…..) those they thought they were sacrificing God was seeing atrocity being committed.

• Isaiah 66: 5-6. Zion is vindicated for true worship.
Zion was hated because of her desire to worship God and not to embrace falsehood “Hear the word of the LORD You who tremble at His word: “Your brethren who hated you”. Zion shall rejoice and not be ashamed. These were the remnants who desired to follow God in spirit and truth.

• Isaiah 66: 7-9. Before Zion travailed, she births forth a male child V7.
This refers to salvation birthing out of Zion to the entire world which is a description of the birth of Christ. “Rev 12: 5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne”. God’s salvation through Christ is available to all who partake of the Sonship of Christ (John 1: 12, Gen 25:5 tells us about the significance of inheritance and sonship – male child).

• Isaiah 66: 10-11. The rejoicing shall be the glory of Zion shall be upon Jerusalem (God’s city).
This is the joy that a mother experiences after the birth of a child. Zion shall be full of God’s glory. Those who mourn shall be satisfied with comfort and strength from Zion which is the city of God’s manifestation.

• Isaiah 66: 12-13. The Gentiles shall be comforted in Jerusalem.
For God will extend His glory to the Gentiles (all nations and people) and they shall experience God’s comfort from Jerusalem.

• Isaiah 66: 14-17. God’s judgment upon all flesh.
“V14 When you see this, your heart shall rejoice, And your bones shall flourish like grass; the hand of the Lord shall be known to His servants, And His indignation to His enemies”. This is twofold: the first part tells us how those who would enjoy God’s comfort with rejoicing and gladness, and the next is the repercussion for those who rebel against God's prescribed true worship. They will be called God’s enemies (V17 Those who reject God’s righteousness in exchange for idol worship and defile themselves with abominables).

• Isaiah 66: 18-19. God shall reward people from all nations with His glory.
He will gather people from all nations. The sign (V19) shall be that the word of God will be declared to the people of Tarshish, Pul, Lud, Javan, and the Gentile world shall see His glory.

• Isaiah 66: 20-21. The wall of partition between the Jews and Gentiles shall be broken
“Then they shall bring all your brethren for an offering to the LORD out of all nations, on horses and in chariots and in litters, on mules and on camels, to My holy mountain Jerusalem,” says the LORD, “as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the LORD. 21 And I will also take some of them for priests and Levites,” says the LORD.” We also see this in Ephesians 2: 14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us.

• Isaiah 66: 22-24. The promise of a new heaven and a new earth and those who will inherit this are those who will remain before the Lord.
The new heaven and earth shall be glorious. It is important to know the significance of the new moon and Sabbath. The new moon represents glory and there will be no fatigue but rest (Sabbath) unto the Lord. Humanity will serve God in the fullness of His glory without corruption. (Isaiah 65:17-19 God will create a new heaven and earth for His pleasure so that He can take delight in us as His people.) This is what awaits us as God's people (Revelation 5:9-10. God will take people from every tribe and tongue, and “all flesh shall come to worship before Me, says the LORD”.

This is a call for a return to God for humanity which requires us to manifest His glory until the end of this human civilization. (Romans 8: 18-21 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God).

Wednesday, November 29 2023

Contributor: Clem Roberts

Isaiah 64 is a chapter in the Book of Isaiah, known for its heartfelt and impassioned prayer for divine intervention and restoration. It is a prayer from the remnant of Israel, pleading for God’s intervention and mercy. The historical context of Isaiah 64 is the Babylonian exile, a time of great suffering and uncertainty for the people of Judah. The chapter 64 is divided into two parts: the first part (verses 1-7) is a prayer requesting God to come down and intervene in their situation, while the second part (verses 8-12) is a confession of Israel’s sins and a plea for God’s forgiveness.

The prayer in the first part of the chapter is a plea for God to reveal His power and glory to the nations, so that they may tremble at His presence. The remnant of Israel acknowledges that they have sinned and are unclean, but they still plead for God’s mercy and intervention. They remember God’s past works and ask Him to act on their behalf once again.

The second part of the chapter is a confession of Israel’s sins and a plea for God’s forgiveness. The remnant of Israel acknowledges that they have sinned and that their sins have caused them to be consumed by God’s wrath. They plead with God to remember His covenant with them and to have mercy on them.
• Yearning for God's Presence:
The chapter opens with a cry expressing the deep longing for God to rend the heavens and come down. This vivid language conveys a profound desire for God's direct and powerful intervention in the affairs of humanity. The people of Israel are yearning for a tangible experience of God's presence.
• Acknowledgment of Sin and Need for Forgiveness:
The prayer in Isaiah 64 is marked by a recognition of the people's sinfulness and unworthiness. The plea for God to "remember not iniquity forever" reflects a genuine repentance and a desire for forgiveness. The acknowledgment of sin is a crucial aspect of the prayer, recognizing the need for God's mercy and grace.
• Appeal to God's Past Deeds:
The prayer recounts the mighty deeds of God in the past, especially in relation to the people of Israel. There is an appeal to God's historical acts of deliverance, emphasizing that God is their Father and Redeemer. This serves as a basis for the plea for divine intervention in the present circumstances.
• Contrast Between God's Holiness and Human Sinfulness:
Isaiah 64:6 highlights the vast difference between God's perfect holiness and the people's sinful state. It emphasizes that even their righteous deeds are like filthy rags in comparison to God's purity. This stark contrast underscores the need for God's grace and redemption.
• Lament Over the Desolation of Jerusalem:
The chapter expresses a lament over the desolation of Jerusalem, portraying the city as a place where God's presence is not felt. The devastation is seen as a consequence of the people's sin, and there is a plea for God to act on behalf of His holy city.
• Trust in God's Sovereignty:
Despite the lament and acknowledgment of sin, there is a profound trust in God's sovereignty and ability to shape the destiny of His people. The prayer expresses confidence that God is the potter and His people are the clay, emphasizing God's authority and the people's dependence on Him.

Isaiah 65 is a chapter in the Book of Isaiah is a prophetic text that addresses the issues of life regarding God’s people on the premise of divine judgment, restoration, and the future messianic age. Major key points in this chapter are outlined as follows:
• Divine Judgment and Rejection of Idolatry:
The chapter begins with God expressing his willingness to be found by those who did not seek him and his willingness to be known to those who did not inquire after him. However, it also highlights the contrast between those who sought God and those who persisted in idolatry and rebellion. God declares judgment upon the disobedient and idolatrous, using strong language to convey the severity of their actions.
• Promise of a New Heaven and a New Earth:
Isaiah 65:17 introduces the concept of a new heaven and a new earth. This theme is often associated with the idea of renewal and restoration. It suggests a time when God will make all things new, free from the corruption and sin that plagued the old creation.
• Joy and Prosperity in the Messianic Age:
The chapter paints a vivid picture of the messianic age, characterized by joy, peace, and prosperity. It describes a time when people will build houses and inhabit them, plant vineyards and eat their fruit, and enjoy the work of their hands without fear of harm. This imagery is often seen as a vision of the ultimate fulfilment of God's promises to His people.
• Longevity and Blessings:
Isaiah 65:20-25 describes a time when people will live long and full live that is free from the threat of premature death. It depicts a harmonious relationship between humans and the animal kingdom, reflecting a state of peace and well-being.
• Response to Prayer:
The chapter emphasizes the responsiveness of God to the prayers of His people. It suggests that before they even call, God will answer, underlining the close and intimate relationship between God and those who seek Him in righteousness.
• Judgment for Sin:
While there is a vision of restoration and blessings, Isaiah 65 also underscores the principle of divine judgment for those who persist in rebellion and sin. God's mercy is available, but there are consequences for those who reject Him.

Isaiah 64 is a prayerful and repentant plea for God's intervention and mercy, marked by a deep acknowledgment of sin, a yearning for God's presence, and a trust in God's sovereignty. It reflects a desire for a renewed relationship with God and a restoration of the covenantal bond between God and His people. It is also a reminder that even when we have sinned and are unclean, we can still turn to God and ask for His forgiveness and mercy.

Isaiah 65 is a prophetic passage that presents a vision of divine judgment, renewal, and the blessings of the messianic age. It emphasizes the themes of repentance, righteousness, and the ultimate fulfilment of God's promises to His people.
Isaiah 64 and 65 offer timeless themes that connect with our human experience today. It addresses the need for repentance, hope for renewal, a longing for justice, and the importance of a trusting relationship with God. These passages invite us as individuals and as God's congregation to reflect on our lives, seek positive change, and pursue a vision of a more just and righteous walk, work and world.

Wednesday, November 22 2023

Contributor: Adewale Abiona


Last week in Isaiah 60-61 the picture of God’s faithfulness to his promises and His ability to restore and transform His children to His original plan was painted in our heart. We were encouraged to see God’s profound love and concern for His children in any circumstance that we may be going through, we were assured of God’s favour, justice, and the hope of His eternal covenant. In today’s lesson, we will again discover God's love and faithfulness to redeem His children from the hands of the enemies and how He had planned to pour out His indignation on those who oppose Him and His plan for His children.

Chapter 62 - God’s Redemption promise

Verse 1 – Continued advocacy for Zion - Romans 8:34 62 vs 2-3 – Christ's intervention will bring God’s goodness and honour to His chosen elect. Nations and kings will see it We will have a new name that God Himself will give to us Wonderful description of what these will look like; “You will be like a beautiful crown that the Lord holds up, like a king’s crown in the hand of your God.” 62 vs 4 – You will no longer be termed forsaken, your land will no longer be destroyed, but you will be God’s delight and your land His bride because the Lord loves you.

Verse 5 - The Bible always uses the things we know and can understand to describe God’s relationship with His people. God in this verse wanted us to know the depth of the love He has towards us, so He said, “As a young man takes a bride and she belongs to him, so your land will belong to your children. Note that He didn’t say as a young woman takes a groom, so those who think the woman should go and marry the man, the head of the Church is the one that marries the church. So, if you are a man and you are married to a woman, now you know. Rebecca did not marry Isaac.

Verses 6-7 Emphasises the role of continuous prayer as a way to remind God of His promise and to hasten Him to come to our aide or to fulfil His promises.

Verses 11-12 – God is coming to save us and also bringing our reward. Revelation 22:12. We are and will again be known as His holy People 1 Peter 2:9

Chapter 63:1-14 - God’s Day of Vengeance

2 Corinthians 10:6 – God will punish all disobedience when our obedience to Him is complete. When we have become fully obedient, everyone who remains disobedient will be punished. When we consider the atrocities of this present world and how some so-called believers are conducting themselves and appeared to be doing well. You may even ask yourself; "How are they getting away?" It is almost tempting to want to say maybe they know something that I don’t know or perhaps God is not that difficult, He is a loving Father and surely He will forgive them. Maybe there are no consequences after all. This chapter makes us understand that God’s Vengeance, His judgement, and punishment await disobedient ones.

Verses 1-6 – Demonstrates the punishment that will be inflicted on the abominable nations and disobedient children.
1.Understanding Edom and Edomites
Events in the Bible were for us to learn and to know more about God. The story of Jacob (Israel) and Esau (the foundation and growth of the nation of Edom) Malachi 1:2-3 declares, “‘I have loved you,’” says the LORD. But you ask, ‘How have you loved us?’ ‘Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?’ the LORD says. ‘Yet I have loved Jacob, but Esau I have hated, and I have turned his mountains into a wasteland and left his inheritance to the desert jackals.’” Malachi 1:3 is quoted in Romans 9:10-13,

The quote referred to God's decision to choose one and reject the other, nothing to do with human emotional love and hate pattern. He chose Abraham of all the people on the face of the earth, He chose Isaac not Ishmael. Two nations in the womb struggled so much the mother Rebecca was feeling the pain Genesis 25:23. We know the event that happened between the two brothers and how they later settled their differences. Genesis 33:9 and God also blessed Esau Hundreds of years after Jacob and Esau had died, the Israelites and Edomites became bitter enemies. The Edomites often aided Israel’s enemies in attacks on Israel. Esau’s descendants brought God’s curse upon themselves.

Genesis 27:29 tells Israel, “May nations serve you and peoples bow down to you. Be lord over your brothers, and may the sons of your mother bow down to you. May those who curse you be cursed and those who bless you be blessed.”

This is simply to show how the Edomites became God’s enemy as described in these passages which show God avenging Israelite people of all the afflictions they suffered from the hands of the Edomites. So is the case for all disobedient nations and all children that are in disobedience to God’s command. Because of God pronouncement upon Israel, anyone that opposes Israel have God to fight. The same is for everyone that is a genuine child of God every of their opposition will experience the wrath of God. It so easy for anyone to make himself or herself the enemy of God. Just disobey God’s Word concerning His people, nations, and servants that He has called His own, God Himself will take vengeance on the wicked.

2. Christ's robe of righteousness is fine linen, clean and white; the garment of His human nature, or hisform as man, was white and ruddy; but this, through His bloody sufferings, became red but here the red colour not with His own blood, but with the blood of His enemies at His vengeance.

3.He was trodden as a vine in their time, but here, the winepress is a symbol of the wrath of God onHis enemies, He had trodden them.

4.God resolved with Himself and has fixed by Him, the desirable day He has it at heart, in a time to come that He avenge the blood of His saints. When He shall pour out all His wrath on the anti-christ, and revenge the cause and quarrel of His people Revelation 16:1 and the year of my redeemed is come; the time when those who are already redeemed by the blood of Christ shall be redeemed again from the anti-christ, bondage and slavery.

5.He will wage the war alone with His might, strength and righteousness. A salvation which Hiown omnipotent arm could only bring, fired up by His zeal for His church and people, and His indignation against their enemies Revelation 19:1.

6.The wrath of God is signified by a cup, which He gives wicked men to drink, as we see in Psalms 75:8
Revelation 18:4 – God does not want His children to have any part in these vengeance, So He called us to come out 2 Corinthians 6:14-17

Chapter. 63:7-14 – I will have mercy on whom I will…

Romans 9:15. These verses demonstrate God’s mercy and kindness towards His people. For those who have made the decision to trust Him and abstain from all manners on ungodliness:

  • He became their Savior.
  • In all their affliction He was afflicted.
  • The Angel of His Presence saved them.
  • In His love and in His pity He redeemed them.
  • And He bore them and carried them.

As we read in verse 10 (But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit; So, He turned Himself against them as an enemy, And He fought against them) How can someone turn against the one who has been very kind and merciful to them. It not much of a surprise because humans at the very best are just mere mortals except for those that have been regenerated 1 Peter 1:23 and have their senses exercised…. Hebrews 5:14.

In Mark 4:38 the disciples were angry at Jesus simply because He was sleeping through the storm. They thought He didn’t care about them. In Luke 7:18 John the Baptist sent a messenger to Jesus when he was in prison asking "should we be expecting another Messiah?" Why have you not come to save me from prison? Each time we fail to trust God, and wait patiently on His promise and His timing, we run the risk of moving ourselves out of His plan for us. This will always lead to frustration and ultimately sin.

In Exodus 32:1; 7-10

"1 When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.”

"7 The LORD told Moses, “Quick! Go down the mountain! Your people whom you brought from the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves. 8 How quickly they have turned away from the way I commanded them to live! They have melted down gold and made a calf, and they have bowed down and sacrificed to it. They are saying, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.’” 9 Then the LORD said, “I have seen how stubborn and rebellious these people are. 10 Now leave me alone so my fierce anger can blaze against them, and I will destroy them. Then I will make you, Moses, into a great nation.”

God’s anger and vengeance will come upon disobedient children. My prayer is that by His Spirit, He will lead us in the right path in Jesus’ name.

Verses 15-19 – Humble yourself before God and Trust Him to see you through.

But If we will come back to our senses like the prodigal son and acknowledge His power and His wonderful works and then trust Him with our future, He will definitely come to our aide and deliver us for His name sake. You may ask: 

“What are we to be delivered from? Am I not a Christian? Should I not be free from all things?"

Yes you should be free from sins and the condemnation of the same. But not from occasional temptation that will arise because of needs, not from afflictions and the trial of our faith. For these and many others, you need Christ to deliver you daily.

Psalms 34:19 - Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.

Matthew 6:33-34 after Christ had told us not to worry about our needs because God knows what they are and will meet us all at that particular point, He admonished us to focus on God’s kingdom and doing what is right. He concluded by saying every day has enough trouble of its own. Another version says "sufficient for the days are the evil thereof".

What Christ is telling us is that anytime we allow our needs to get us down, we are not trusting God, we are living in denial of God’s ability to come through for us. This is why many children of God have gone away from His presence to seek their own salvation, thereby sinning against God. Instead, we are to acknowledge God’s power and His sovereignty over all things rather than fearing the challenges in front. By doing this, God is moved to come and demonstrate His power in us and through us.

God’s redemption promise awaits those that trust in Him and that wait upon Him for help. Psalm 121:1-8

Wednesday, November 15 2023

Contributor: Dolapo Williams

In the last bible study, we looked at “Falsehood, Hypocrisy and Sins” and concluded that God never cast away His beloved. His plan of redemption remains valid, if only the backslider will look back and repent like the prodigal son. God is a jealous God. We must be sensitive as to what we worship secretly in this end time. Spiritual adultery is not of old. It is all around us.
This week, we will look at Isiah 60-61. Isaiah 60-62 has years of materials if you understand prophetic language in these 3 chapters. We will see in chapter 61 where the Spirit of God comes upon Jesus to do the impossible – it is chapter 61 that makes 60 and 62 work. It’s the same combination of chapters, they fuel each other and make it possible. WE the CHURCH need to start to see our place in the scripture. I see it’s not an easy road, but when you see God’s intentions then you know how to pray. There are 2 things we will see as we study today:

  1. The world as God intends for it to be, and
  2. God’s people as God intends us to be.

Isaiah 60 Verses 1-5:
“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. 2 See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you. 3Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. 4 “Lift up your eyes and look about you: All assemble and come to you; your sons come from afar, and your daughters are carried on the hip. 5 Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy; the wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the nations will come."

Remember when Jesus told the disciples to lift up their eyes (in John 4) – Lift up your eyes look into the fields….

Let’s go to verse 5 again – one of the translations says, “you will tremble” There is a connection between the trembling of the fear of the Lord and extreme joy.
You have to understand prophetic terminology to really get these chapters. It starts by saying "ARISE shine", so here we are waiting for something to happen, and God says arise, Shine. I mean, I know how to get up, but I don’t know how to shine! Take your place and shine because your light has come. John 1 says Jesus is the Light that enlightens every person that comes into the world! Shine because your light has come – Jesus is the light there is no other light coming….

When you arise, in the glory that God has placed in your life, it attracts the glory of the Lord, it would actually be seen over you. In the same way that water attracts water, money attracts money, favour attracts favour, mercy attracts mercy, so Glory attracts GLORY! That’s why in the gospel of Mark, Jesus taught: Guide your ears because whatever standard you set, it will be given to you. So, if you have a standard for testimony guess what? – it attracts Testimonies.

It is all about the manifestation of the Glory of God in the earth! That is, the target from Day one that the Glory, the manifestation of Jesus will be seen, realised, visibly recognised all over the earth! Everything is building to this ONE plan! And the crowning moment of humanity is when the Glory of God becomes manifested and, in these verses, he is saying, whenever you take your place, and you shine it attracts the Glory and His Glory will be seen upon you! – we need to become fully who God has designed us to be, that the Nation of the earth celebrates who God has made the Church to be! We would be people that take our rightful place not in ruling – in servicing, in yielding to the presence of God. As a result, they will gather to you, they will come to you.

The Old Testament terminology for ZION often time in prophecy is Old Testament terms that point to a new reality that is THE CHURCH! – A new name would be given to her.
Your success am not talking money (however, it is included in a minor way), your success in knowing how to reign in life is what the nations ache for. They ache for why they are alive and how to do it well, they ache for fulfilment on why they are alive, for some its business, for some its raising family, for others it’s in art the list is endless but there is ache in the heart for fulfilment by stepping into God’s design for Life. And we (the Church – the body of Christ) have access to what nobody else has access to: Something in the Lord!

A City (our Church once light up) cannot be hidden – recognised when dark and people will look to that direction because they are in darkness and they need nourishment they need safety, they need refuge, they need community, they need all the things that the City on a hill speaks of – and they are attracted in darkness to that place in hope that they will find what they were born for. We were sent to the Nations of the world – World Mission!

We are to be a watchman – it’s an area of responsibility, a watchman is not a gossip who gathers information to spread a watchman is a person who looks for activities even outside the walls of the city and when seen, they sound the alarm (pray for the people – partner with God). You have been given sight so that what you see will cause you to pray, we have not been given sight so that we can gather information (ain ’t nobody doing studies of the city here) – we need to see so as to take it to Him in prayer.

Isaiah 60 Verses 6-9:
6Herds of camels will cover your land, young camels of Midian and Ephah. And all from Sheba will come, bearing gold and incense and proclaiming the praise of the LORD. 7 All Kedar’s flocks will be gathered to you, the rams of Nebaioth will serve you; they will be accepted as offerings on my altar, and I will adorn my glorious temple. 8“Who are these that fly along like clouds, like doves to their nests? 9 Surely the islands look to me; in the lead are the ships of Tarshish, bringing your children from afar, with their silver and gold, to the honor of the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor.

Wealth of the seas, Riches of the Nations, Camel from Midian, Gold and Incense from Sheba, Flocks from Kedar, Rams from Nebaioth, the ships of Tarshish with their silver and gold! All these nations that are named are enemies of Isaiah and this is saying they are to bring everything that they have TO Isaiah – Interesting!

Isaiah 60 Verses 10-14:
10 “Foreigners will rebuild your walls, and their kings will serve you. Though in anger I struck you, in favor I will show you compassion. 11 Your gates will always stand open, they will never be shut, day or night, so that people may bring you the wealth of the nations—their kings led in triumphal procession. 12For the nation or kingdom that will not serve you will perish; it will be utterly ruined. 13 “The glory of Lebanon will come to you, the juniper, the fir and the cypress together, to adorn my sanctuary; and I will glorify the place for my feet. 14 The children of your oppressors will come bowing before you; all who despise you will bow down at your feet and will call you the City of the LORD, Zion of the Holy One of Israel.

Vs.14 summarises this scene very well. All life in this new earth is going to be focused on a City – A City called Zion (the Church). The only light in this world is going to be focused on this City and this people and everyone around the world will bring their best to this City. The City is to be like a cultural centre where the best of human beings who have worked with their hands will be on display and FOR the use of everyone present. So, unlike a world where depression and hurting seems to rule, this world is to be a world of robot sharing.

Isaiah paints a picture of a world where the people of God don’t gain by going out and taking, they gain by invitation. That is, the people of the world see what the people of God have (the Presence of God), and they bring everything that they have to that space. This is the world where the overwhelming centre of existence is not greed, but God! Not man, and money and profits but YAWEH!

Isaiah 60 Verses 15-22:
15 “Although you have been forsaken and hated, with no one traveling through, I will make you the everlasting pride and the joy of all generations. 16 You will drink the milk of nations and be nursed at royal breasts. Then you will know that I, the LORD, am your Savior, your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob. 17 Instead of bronze I will bring you gold, and silver in place of iron. Instead of wood I will bring you bronze, and iron in place of stones. I will make peace your governor and well-being your ruler. 18No longer will violence be heard in your land, nor ruin or destruction within your borders, but you will call your walls Salvation and your gates Praise. 19 The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. 20 Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the LORD will
be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end. 21 Then all your people will be righteous and they will possess the land forever. They are the shoot I have planted, the work of my hands, for the display of my splendor. 22 The least of you will become a thousand, the smallest a mighty nation. I am the LORD; in its time I will do this swiftly.”

The Lord is telling these people through Isaiah that not only is the world going to be different when he works his final redemption, but the people are going to be different too. Go back to vs 17-18. Picture this restoration – so these people have lost their land, their temple and their King and what God is saying here is that they are going to get it all back. The land is going to be restored and its not going to be a nation, it’s going to be a City – ZION. They will also get a King back – they will get the King they were always meant to have – God himself.

A future where the community is different, a community full of Joy, Peace, Prosperity where the world is to be different. We don’t think about that future very often, it is very easy for us to get cut up in the day-day and forget how much our future are meant to shape our present. In Christ, we have the fulfilment of every single promise of God which means there is something about Jesus that fulfils the promise of Isaiah 60.

The restoration of the world has already begun, and the church is supposed to be an actual physical place where those things are actually present – the Church is suppose to be the place where the Spirit redeems people from the consequences of sin – this Church is suppose to be the space where the Spirit morally transforms us and equip us to put to death the deeds of the flesh and teach us to work according to the Spirit. The Church is supposed to be the place where one rejoices, all rejoice, where we fight the injustice of the world by eliminating them in the Church. The Church is to be the place where because we are all on same page about Jesus been our Lord and no one else, if we can actually become a community of peace, of love, free of poverty and oppression. The most regular way God works through the world is through the Church – so that when the world tells us turning from sin is impossible, we respond with a vision of a world where all things are made new. You can go to school with the assumption that your fellow students are not your competitors to be crushed, but rather people to be loved.

Isaiah 61 Verses 1-3:
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, 2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, 3and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.

These verses speak about Christ, before Christ but which would end up been fulfilled by Christ. Jesus read these same verses in Luke 4 vs 17-20. Isaiah here mentions, and Jesus confirms by reading this in in Luke 4, four things about the ministry of Jesus:

1. To preach the good news to the poor: now when the word poor is used here, it doesn’t mean materially of financially, it means spiritually poor.
2. To bind up the broken-hearted: There are a lot of broken-hearted people in this world, people have experienced tremendous loss and heart ache – people dealing with medical issues, bankruptcy, there is no shortage of pain in this world. But you will never find more compassion and hope for the broken hearted than with Jesus.
3. To proclaim freedom for the captives: As the word implies, captive means that we are in bondage to something and people can be in bondage to a lot of things (drugs, alcohol, anger, unforgiveness etc). By nature, we are all captive to sin BUT the good news is there is freedom in Christ and therefore we can never be master again by sin in the way that we were before we came to know God.
4. To release the prisoners from darkness: Before we came to Christ, we lived in darkness – spiritually blind – prisoners of that darkness. And when you come to know Christ, you step into LIGHT and
begin to see things as you had never seen them before – you begin to understand things like you never understood before.
In vs 3 he summarises by saying in addition to all these, he has come to give a crown of beauty instead of ashes, oil of gladness instead of mourning, and garment of praise instead of spirit of despair. In other words, it is telling us here that God takes spiritually bankrupt, broken-hearted lives that are captive to sin and spiritually blind and he brings beauty out of them.

Isaiah 61 Verses 4-11:
4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations. 5 Strangers will shepherd your flocks; foreigners will work your fields and vineyards. 6 And you will be called priests of the LORD, you will be named ministers of our God. You will feed on the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast. 7 Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours. 8 “For I, the LORD, love justice; I hate robbery and wrongdoing. In my faithfulness I will reward my people and make an everlasting covenant with them. 9 Their descendants will be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a people the LORD has blessed.” 10 I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. 11For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations.

Promise of restoration – God announces a new time for his people. A time of renewal, a time of encouragement. These 5 verses show a powerful show of what God can do for his children when they face extremely painful/dangerous situations. Note the verbs used in these passages: Rebuild, Restore, Renew, Rejoice, Inherit: Wonderful promises. These promises must be seen as God’s words in announcing good news of redemption even today.

Vs 5 says he is going to send strangers (believers that you don’t know) to bless us! Some people won’t even know why they are blessing you – it’s called the anointing, some will even tell you “I don’t know why am been nice to you, I don’t know why am doing so much for you” – that’s God’s anointing. Foreigners (unbelievers that you don’t know). It doesn’t have to be a saved person that blesses, an unsaved person can bless you as well – God decides.

God will change your name! You are a royal priesthood. When God called us out of darkness into light, you have to understand that you now have royalty. When you are over in the light, you need to remember each day that where you are going is better than where you are. Whatever God gives you he gives you knowing your need. God said you will now be called priest of the Lord not only that, you will be well spoke of!
And the remaining vs promises reward and blessing and even your children’s children will be blessed – you don’t have to earn it. He said: Am giving it to you – you shall possess it.

Isaiah 60 paints a powerful picture of God's faithfulness to His promises and His ability to restore and transform. It encourages us to remember that no matter how miserable the situation, the light of God's glory can break forth, bringing restoration, transformation, and elevation and Isaiah 61 powerfully reminds us of God's profound love and concern for the oppressed and broken-hearted, His divine plan of restoration and renewal, and the joy and celebration that follow redemption. Amid life's ruins and desolation, we can be assured of God's favour, justice, and the hope of His eternal covenant. Isaiah's message continues to inspire us to seek, recognize, and rejoice in God's transformative work in our lives and the world around us.

Wednesday, November 08 2023

Contributor: Martins Olubiyi

Fortnight ago, we learnt from the book of Isaiah 53 about the vicarious sacrifice of Christ, Jehovah’s servant. Last week, we studied the book of Isaiah 54-56 that focused on the blessings accrued to us through that vicarious sacrifice in terms of our restoration, salvation and the reward of living an obedient life as we follow on to know the Lord. Today by the grace of God, we shall continue from Isaiah 57-59 to learn about falsehood, hypocrisy and sins. We shall conclude with a reality check on our relationship with the Lord.

A. Judah’s adultery is like spiritual adultery
1. Isaiah 57: 1-2. The persecution of the righteous

(a). The righteous perishes- carrying on the rebuke of Judah’s leaders from the previous chapter, the Lord speaks about the persecution of the righteous, that it is the persecution through neglect (the righteous perish and no man takes it to heart).
(b). The righteous is taken away from evil. He shall enter into peace: Though the righteous were ignored and persecuted by the wicked leaders of Judah God would not forsake them. When merciful men were taken away. God used it to bless the righteous, to take them away from evil and to allow them to enter into peace.

2. Isaiah 57: 3-10. The spiritual adultery of God’s people
(a). Whom do you ridicule? The wicked among God’s people made fun of the righteous. They mocked them, and God heard it. Here, the Lord challenges them, simply asking “who do you think you are? Who are you mocking. This speaks to a common perspective of how we address the sin of others at the neglect of our own sins.
(b). Inflaming yourselves with gods under every green tree: Here the Lord begins to expose the spiritual adultery of His people. They are ‘hot’ with passion for other gods, worshipping them in ritual worship places of Canaanite paganism (every green tree among the smooth stones of the stream… on a high and lofty mountain). In this picture, the Lord is the husband of Israel, and their passionate, chronic attraction for idols was like the lust of an adulterer. His people pursued the false gods like a lover runs after the focus of their love, and they yield themselves to the idols as a lover yields themselves to their beloved. The picture of “spiritual adultery” is especially fitting, because many of the pagan gods the Israelites went after were “worshipped” with debased sex rituals. A green tree might be a place of such idolatry because the ever-green tree spoke of constant fertility.
(c). Slaying the children in the valleys: This is about one of the Canaanites gods the Israelites worshipped was named Molech, and he received children as sacrifices.
(d). Even to them you have poured a drink offering, you have offered a grain offering: True oblation that that should have been given to the Lord. But His faithful people gave them to idols instead.
(e). Also, behind the doors and their posts you have set up your remembrance: In Deuteronomy 6:4-9, God told Israel to inscribe His name and His words on every door post. Here, there was a perverse twisting of that- they remembered their pagan gods behind the doors and their posts.
(f). You are wearied in the length of your way: As time went on, the spiritual adultery of God’s people wasn’t rewarding. After the initial thrill of their spiritual adultery wore off, they were wearied. But even then, they would not repent.

B. God describes His dealing with His disobedient people.
1. Isaiah 57: 11-13. The end of God’s patience with His people.

(a). And of whom have you been afraid, or feared, that you have lied and not remembered Me. Here, the Lord confronts the fact that His people do not fear Him, and that they do fear someone or something else.
(b). Is it not because I have held My peace from of old that you do not fear Me? God’s people lack respect for Him because He showed mercy and did not punish their sin immediately. They mistook God’s mercy and forbearance for weakness or lack of resolve.
(c). I will declare your righteousness and your works, for they will not profit you: God’s people didn’t trust in Him, and the things they trust in- themselves and their idols (let your collection of idols deliver you) could not help them. Their idols were so weak and helpless that a breath will take them.
(d). He who puts his trust in Me shall possess the land, and shall inherit My holy mountain: Trust in the Lord makes a person secure, while trust in one’s self or in idols ends in ruin.

2. Isaiah 57: 14. A stumbling block removed.
(a). Heap it up! Heap it up. This doesn’t describe setting things in the way of those coming to God. Instead, using the same imagery as Isaiah 35:8, which describes a high way for God’s people, meaning a raised road that is above all obstacles. Heap it up refers to the building of this road, so that God’s people can return to Him without obstacle.
(b). Prepare the way, take the stumbling block out of the way of my people: Whatever gets in the way of our getting right with God must be taken out of the way. In the following verses, the Lord deals with those obstacles.

3. Isaiah 57: 15-21: God describes the way of peace and restoration.
(a). For thus says the High and lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: To be right with God, the first thing to do is to understand His great majesty. The Lord introduces Himself to His people with titles reflecting His great majesty and expects His people to respond to Him as such a glorious God.
(b). To revive the spirit of the humble: Though God is the High and Lofty One, and lives in the high and holy place, at the same time He will live with men- with him who has a contrite and humble before the God of great majesty.
(c). For I will not contend forever, nor will I always be angry: The third thing to understand in getting right with God is His great love. Here, the Lord shows His mercy to His people but promises to relent and not be angry forever. Though God discipline His people, He now says, I have seen his ways, and will I heal him; I will also lead him, and restore comforts to him.
(d). Peace, peace, to him who is far off and to him who is near. In His mercy, God invites all men to peace- both him who is far off and him who is near. Each one can receive God’s shalom, which is more than the absence of hostility; it is the gift of precious well-being. In Eph. 2:17, Paul speaks of Jesus fulfilling this promise exactly.
(e). But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest…..there is no peace…for the wicked: In contrast to those return to God, the wicked are still without peace. God’s great mercy is held out to man- but it must be received.

A. The Lord exposes the shallow worship of His people.

1. Isaiah 58: 1-3a God’s people ask: “why do our prayers go unanswered?”
(a). Cry loud, spare not …tell My people their transgression: God spoke loudly and directly. His people need to hear their transgression- but would they hear?
(b). They seek Me daily, and delight to know My ways: God first described the appearance of their spiritual life. On the surface, it seemed that God’s people loved Him and were devoted to Him. They had the reputation of a nation that did righteousness and they looked like people who would take delight in approaching God.
(c). Why have we fasted….and You have not seen? With this spiritual veneer, they felt God was unfair to them. It was as if they said, “Lord, we have fasted, but You still don’t answer our prayer. Don’t you know that we seek you daily, delight to know Your ways, do righteousness, and take delight in approaching You? Yet You do not answer our prayers!”

2. Isaiah 58: 3b-5 God exposes the shallow worship of His people.
(a). In fact, in the day of your fast you find pleasure, and exploit all your laborers: Enough with the image; now God exposes the reality. The reality was that His people didn’t fast with the right heart and did it only as an empty ritual. The reality was that even on a day when they fasted, they still exploited their employees. God didn’t accept their fasting when it wasn’t connected with a sincere heart of obedience.
(b). Indeed you fast for strive and debate, and to strike with the fist of wickedness: They fasted for needs, certainly; but selfish needs like “Lord, help me win this argument,” “Lord, help me defeat this person” Though their prayer was accompanied with fasting, it was still a selfish, even wicked prayer- so God did not answer.
(c). You will not fast as you do this day, to make your voice heard on high: The purpose of their fasting was to glorify themselves, to make their voice heard on high. God says, “No more. You will not fast as you do this day.”
(d). Is it a fast that I have chosen: The kind of fast rebukes here is a hollow, empty, show, without the spiritual substance behind it. This isn’t the kind of fast God has chosen. Even though they do all the right things in fasting (bow down his head like a bulrush …. spread out sackcloth and ashes). God does not even call this a fast. Check Mat. 17:21; Luke 18: 9-14.; Mat. 23: 23.

B. The character and blessings of true worship.
1. Isaiah 58: 6-7. The kind of worship and fasting most acceptable to God.

(a). Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To lose the bonds of wickedness. God tells His people. “If you want to fast the way that pleases Me, begin with getting right with your brothers and sisters. Stop oppressing others and reach out to help others.”
(b). Lose the bonds of wickedness …undo the heavy burden …let the oppressed go free …break every yoke: First they have to stop acting wickedly towards others. This means that getting right with God continues by doing loving things for other people.

2. Isaiah 58: 8-12. The blessings God promises for the true worshipper.
(a). Then your light shall break forth like the morning: If God ‘s people would couple their fasting with lives of righteousness and love, then they would see their prayers answered. They would have lives full of light, full of healing, full of righteousness, full of the glory of the Lord. When they call out to God, then the Lord will answer.
(b). If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness: Again, the Lord gives them three things to stop doing. Stop oppressing others, treating them as animal bound with a yoke; stop pointing …the finger at others; stop speaking wickedness. These are sins of commission. They are sins that we go out and do against the Lord and against others. If we will walk right with God, we must stop and guard against sins of commission.
(c). If you extend your soul to the hungry and satisfy the afflicted soul: Again, the Lord gives them two things to start doing. They needed to minister to the hungry with more than food; they had to extend their soul to the hungry. They had to look for the afflicted soul and seek to satisfy it. Failing to do these are sins of omission. They are things that we should have done, yet we have not. If we walk right with God, we must open our eyes and do what is our loving duty before Him.
(d). Then your light shall dawn in the darkness, and your darkness shall be as the noonday: To the repentant, God promises blessing. Not only will they have light, but even their darkness shall be as noonday!
(e). The Lord will guide you continually: This is a promise for those who do more than just empty religious rituals. To have the guidance of the Lord, empty religious ritual isn’t enough. We need to seek God with both sincere hearts and sincere actions.
(f). And satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones: Those who serve God with sincere hearts and actions enjoy a health and life of the soul that is impossible for the superficial follower of God to know.
(g). Those from among you shall build the old waste places: Those who serve God with sincere hearts and actions also accomplish things for God’s kingdom. They build and are called the Repairer of the Breach, the Restorer of Streets to Dwell in. You can’t build anything for God’s kingdom on the foundation of a superficial walk with God.
All in all, these passages show several characteristics of a life right with God
• It is an enlightened life: Your light shall dawn in the darkness.
• It is a guided life: The Lord will guide you continually
• It is a satisfied life: And satisfied life: And satisfy your soul in drought
• It is a fragrant life: Like a watered garden
• It is a freshly sustained life: Like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
• It is a productive, healing life: You shall build the old waste places.

3. Isaiah 58: 13-14. True Sabbath keeping and the blessings of it.
(a). Call the Sabbath a delight …the holy day of the Lord honourable: The Sabbath was another empty religious observance for the Jewish people of Isaiah’s day. God calls them to take a delight in the heart and in the purpose of the Sabbath- to honour Him, not doing your own ways.
(i). The fulfilment of the Sabbath is in the light of the finished work of Jesus. We keep the Sabbath when we set aside every day to honour Him, and by not doing your own ways as a means of justifying ourselves. (ii). Are Christians required to keep the Sabbath today? The New Testament makes it clear that Christians are not under obligation to observe a Sabbath day. Colossians 2: 16-17; Gal. 4: 9-11, because Jesus fulfils the purpose and plan of the Sabbath for us and in us heb.4: 9-11 (iii). Gal. 4; 10 tells us that Christians are not bound to observe days and months and seasons and years. The rest we enter into as Christians is something to experience every day, not just one day a week- the rest of knowing we don’t have to work to save ourselves, but that our salvation was accomplished in Jesus Heb. 4: 9-10. (iv). The Sabbath commanded here and observed by Israel was a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ Col. 2: 16-17. We have a rest in Jesus that is ours to live in every day. Therefore, since the shadow of the Sabbath is fulfilled in Jesus, we are free to keep any day- or no day- as a Sabbath after the custom of ancient Israel. However, though we are free from the legal obligation of the Sabbath, we dare not ignore the importance of a day of rest- God has built us so that we need one. (v). If anyone would insist on the Sabbath, they must also insist on the six-day work week. Exod. 20:9, in the command regarding the Sabbath, says Six days you shall labour and do all your work.
(b). Then you shall delight yourself in the Lord: When we keep the meaning of the Sabbath, not merely as an empty religious ritual, then you shall delight yourself in the Lord. God will bless us, and we shall delight, not only in the blessing, but in the Lord Himself. We know it is sure because the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

In this chapter, God exposed the emptiness of two religious rituals as practiced in Isaiah’s day: fasting and Sabbath keeping. Both of these are expressions of not doing things. In fasting, you don’t eat. In Sabbath keeping, you don’t work. An important aspect of this chapter is showing us that what we don’t work. An important aspect of this chapter is showing us what we don’t do isn’t enough to make us right before God. Our walk with God shouldn’t only be defined by what we don’t do. What do we do for the Lord?

A. The sin God sees
1. Isaiah 59: 1 - The problem of God’s people: what the cause is not?

Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save: God people wondered why God did not seem to rescue them from their trials. They wondered if perhaps God had diminished in strength. Nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. The problem isn’t that God lacks power. Or He lacks knowledge of our problem or interest in our problem. But Isaiah reminds us God’s ear is not heavy. He can hear us just fine.

2. Isaiah 59: 2 The problem of God’s people: what the cause is? But your iniquities have separated you from your God. The problem is with our iniquities. Sin has separated you from your God. It separates from fellowship with God, we no longer think alike with God. It separates us from the blessing of God, because at the point of sin we are not trusting God and relying on Him. It separates us from some of the benefits of God’s love, just like the Prodigal son (Luk. 15:11-32)

3. Isaiah 59:3-8 A detail description of the sins of God’s people.
(a). Your hands are defiled with blood- They practiced and approved of violence and murder.
(b). Your lips have spoken lies- They lied with ease and regularity.
(c). No one calls for justice- They did not share God’s heart for what was fair and good.
(d). They conceived evil and bring forth iniquity- as if they were snakes giving birth to a more venomous serpent, bringing nothing but death

B. The effects of sin the people see.
1. Isaiah 59: 9-11. Because of their sin, darkness comes
(a) God’s people had no interest in justice, God did not bless them with it. Because God’s people did not care about righteousness, God did not bless them with it.
2. Isaiah 59: 12-15b Confessing their sin and admitting their guilt.
(a). Our sins testify against us … righteousness stands afar off: Now God’s people are in a better place. They have had their reality check and see things as they are. No longer do they blame the “the shortened hand “of God, or His heavy ear”. They know it is because of their own sins that the righteousness stands afar off.

C. The salvation and redemption the Lord sees.
1. Isaiah 59: 15b-16a What the Lord saw.
(a). The Lord saw it, and it displeased Him, that there was no justice. The state of God’s people was no mystery to the Lord. They cried out in Isaiah 59: 12-15b stating how desperate their condition was- and the Lord knew it all along.
(b). He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: None was available to stand in the gap to plead God’s case to the people, and the people’s repentance to their God.

2. Isaiah 59: 16b-19. What the Lord did.
(a). Therefore, His own arm brought salvation for Him- God waited to work through an intercessor. But God’s work would still be accomplished if none arose.
(b). He put on righteousness as breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on His head. It reveals a great connection between Isaiah 59: 17-18 and Paul’s comments on our spiritual amour in Eph. 6:10-17. The amour belongs to Him and He allows us to use it to fight for Him.

3. Isaiah 59: 20-21. What the Lord said.
(a). The Redeemer -the goel-will come to Zion. The word redeemer is Jesus. He is the one who buys us out of slavery (Lev. 25:48). He is the one who avenges wrongs done to us. He protects our inheritance and blesses and guards our posterity. (Num.3 5:19; Lev. 25:25; Deut. 25:5-10

This is a call to eschew evil by walking in the spirit and in obedience to God’s word. God never cast away His beloved. His plan of redemption remains valid, if only the backslider we look back and repent like prodigal son. God is a jealous God. We have to be sensitive as to what we worship surreptitiously in this end time. Spiritual adultery is not of old. It is all around us. For the mystery of iniquity doth already at work: only he who letteth will let, … (“Thes. 2:7-8).
Reference: Message partly culled from © David Guzik.

Wednesday, November 01 2023

Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai

In last week’s study of Isaiah 53, we considered the vicarious sacrifice of Christ for the entire world. A completely selfless sacrifice of the Servant King prophesied hundreds of years before His birth. Prophecies that were undeniably accurate of the death, resurrection, sanctification and glorification of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Today’s study spans three chapters; divided into 3 parts. The Word of God is packed with very many precious promises; but two of the chapters we are studying today (54 & 55) are packed full of God’s promises to restore His people, His offer of salvation, and His many blessings – for both the Jews and the Gentiles. They contain some of the more quoted verses in Scripture, as well as our anchor scripture for last month. Isaiah 54:2-3.

After the prophet had foretold the sufferings of Christ in chapter 53, he foretells the flourishing of the church in chapter 54. Here, in Isaiah 54, we transition from the suffering to the result of that suffering – the deliverance of, and blessing for Israel. The death of Christ is the life of the church and of all that truly belong to it.

• Verses 1-6: The LORD Speaks to Israel as His Wife
The promises that the Lord bestows on His people following the work of the Messiah is amazing. The one that never had children will have more children than a woman who still has a husband. Israel will be restored like a barren woman who bears many children. The consequence of this increase is the call for enlargement. Israel will also be restored like a widow who is rescued from her reproach. “You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.”

• Verses 7-8: God Explains His Restoration of Israel.
Despite the length of time the Israelites were away in bondage, the Lord reckons it as only a moment. The contrast is between the moment of feeling forsaken and the everlasting nature of the kindness that will come. When we feel tried and forsaken, we should recognize that it is just for a moment, and the everlasting blessing will certainly come. 2 Corinthians 4:17 says: “For our present troubles are small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!” See Psalm 30:5

• Verses 9-13: Comfort and Assurance to Restored Israel.
Here, the prophet Isaiah compares the strength of this promise with that of the covenant God made with Noah after the flood (Genesis 9:11). He relates the suffering of the people with the tempest of the flood God used in destroying the earth. The Messianic kingdom is clearly seen in this passage, the main emphasis being God's prosperity, peace and protection for Israel. Even though enemies may contemplate coming against the inhabitants, they will not succeed

• Verses 14-17: Promises of Prosperity, Peace, and Protection.
These verses apparently foretell the growing number of unregenerate people during the millennium who will unite with Satan at the end of the 1,000 years and go to war (although a very short war) against the Messiah (Revelation 20:7-9). They will be destroyed, along with Satan, once and for all.

Verses 15 & 17: " Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by me: whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake." 17 " No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn.."

• Verses 1-5: An Invitation to Receive God’s Blessing, to be Led and Richly Fed
All call for everyone to be saved. The prophet calls out, loud and clear, to all that can hear. This is an important announcement and is therefore prefaced with this unique call. “Ho”. It is a short, significant appeal, urging you to be wise enough to attend to your own interests. We see here in verses 1-2 that eternal life cannot be bought; it may only be received as a gift. In Acts 13:34 Paul quotes a portion of verse 3, "Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David." He does so before his Jewish audience as supporting evidence that Jesus is the Messiah.

• Verses 6-7: An invitation to be Forgiven.
Here, Isaiah prophesies regarding the appeal that will be made by the Messiah to the Gentiles for salvation. The millennium (and thereafter) will not be inhabited by only Jewish people, but by all the righteous coming out of the tribulation, Jew or Gentile. However, we must seek the LORD while He may be found. He can only be found when our hearts are inclined to look for Him, and that inclination itself is a gift from God! We must receive the gift and make the most of it while we have it.

• Verses 8 -11: The Glorious Ways and Operation of the Word of God.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.”
Here, Isaiah prophesies regarding the glorious ways and operation of the Word of God.
God is not just “talk.” When He talks, His words accomplish His intended purpose. The word of the LORD has power, and it never fails in His intended purpose.

• Verses 12 -13: The Joy and Blessing of Restoration.
Here, the prophet prophesies about the joy and blessing of restoration. When God’s people turn to Him, listen to Him, and His Word does His work in them, joy and peace are always the result. The joy is so great, that even the mountains and the hills, and the trees of the field join in.

God, through Isaiah's prophecy, has expressed his disappointment in the Jews for their disobedience and idolatrous practices. One obvious indicator of Israel's disobedience was their disregard for the Sabbath (mentioned in verses 2, 4 and 6). In the preceding chapters, God has promised Israel restoration during the millennium under the worldwide rule of the Messiah. In addition to Jews, here we find the extra benefit of the Messiah's rule during the millennium - blessings upon Gentiles (non-Jews) as well. In this passage Gentiles are referred to as strangers (in relationship to Israel).

• Verses 1-8: A Promise for Those Outside the Borders of Israel.
Verses 1-2 is a call to righteousness.
Keep justice, and do righteousness, for My salvation is about to come: This prophetic Word is directed to God’s discouraged people, who have slacked in obedience and righteousness. They see no reason to repent as long as things look down. God shakes them out of this by calling them to keep justice, and do righteousness in anticipation of what He will do.
God’s promise also extends to the eunuchs and to those outside the borders of Israel.

Verses 5 - 6 say:
“Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. 6 Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the Lord, to serve him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant”

Also observe the stipulations of verse 7,
"Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people."

This is the verse that Jesus quotes in the temple when he overthrows the money tables in Matthew 21:13, Mark 11:17, Luke 19:46.
Also, in these verses, special attention is given to the inclusion of those who were previously "cut off" from Israel i.e. eunuchs, as seen in Deuteronomy 23:1-2. This mention is apparently designed to show the extent to which all will be accepted during the millennium, including Gentiles, eunuchs. everyone.

• Verses 9-12: A Promise to Judge the Blind Leaders of God’s People.
Isaiah's prophecy takes up the issue of the wicked leadership in Israel. These leaders were immediately responsible for the nation's fall to the Assyrians and will in the future (to this prophecy) to the Babylonians. The Gentile armies (Assyrian and Babylonian) are referred to as beasts in this passage while the leaders of Israel/Judah have the distinction of being referred to as lazy, gluttonous watchdogs. It's a pretty vivid description - dogs that never bark, always sleep, but are always ready to eat. He also compares them to incompetent shepherds.
Verse 12 says: ““Come,” one says, “I will bring wine, And we will fill ourselves with intoxicating drink; Tomorrow will be as today, And much more abundant.”
Worse than being passively ignorant and blind, these leaders are actively wicked. As judgment approaches, they simply drink and get drunk. Proverbs 31:4-5 says: “It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; Nor for princes strong drink lest they drink and forget what has been decreed, and deprive all the oppressed of their rights."

Hebrews 12:6 says: “For the LORD disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”. Israel was chastised as a beloved child and restored as a barren wife. Because according to Psalm 30:5a, the Bible says: “For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime”
Today, as “outsiders”, now accepted in the beloved, (Eph.1:6-7) we must remain eternally grateful to God for the redemptive work of the blood of Christ.

Wednesday, October 25 2023

Contributor: Peter Folikwe

Last week we had an insightful study of God’s comfort and assurance/promises of salvation for Zion (physical and spiritual) in Isaiah 51 and deliverance for Jerusalem in Chapter 52. Two major take outs from the study were God’s desire for us to live holy and that we do not get discouraged in the face of provocation. Chapter 52 gave a summary of the whole prophecy, and contains in brief the whole story of Messiah's sufferings and the glory which should follow.

Towards the end of chapter 52, the sin bearing Servant of God was introduced. Today, we shall be reviewing Vicarious Sacrifice of Christ, Jehovah's Servant: Is 53:1-12. With continuation from Is 52:13 - end, without necessarily repeating what we learnt last week.

The vivid account of the prophecy recorded by Isaiah in chapter 53 of the coming of the Messiah - Jesus, the servant of God, His sufferings, His sanctification and glorification proved beyond reasonable doubt Jesus is the Messiah and the soon coming King.
By definition Vicarious simply mean “suffering by one person as a substitute for another”. As a righteous King, Jesus was to suffer for the sins of others.

Isaiah 52:13-15
“Behold, My Servant shall deal prudently; He shall be exalted and extolled and be very high. Just as many were astonished at you, So His visage was marred more than any man, And His form more than the sons of men; So shall He sprinkle many nations. Kings shall shut their mouths at Him; For what had not been told them they shall see, And what they had not heard they shall consider.”

  • Described as a servant - He came humbly to serve not to be served.
  • Deal prudently - He will achieve His purpose of purging us of sin.
  • He shall be exalted and extolled very high - He will be glorified.
  • His visage was marred more than any other man - His sufferings and torture we brutal, yet was without sin.
  • Sprinkle many nations - His blood shall atone for the sins of many. He will be offering His blood as sacrifice for nations.

Verses 1-3
“Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.”

Isaiah is here asking in verse 1, who will believe a contradiction that a suffering Messiah will turn out to be a Saviour of mankind.
The Word of the Lord being revealed talks to the strength and might of the coming Messiah, despite His ported weakness and suffering has the power to save. The Centrepoint of our Christian faith is our ‘believe’. Having an unquestionable faith in the risen Lord. 2 Chron 20:20
“………“Hear me, O Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem: Believe in the Lord your says God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.”

He came weak and vulnerable like a tender plant. He was to be killed by Herod, but they fled with to Egypt. 1Cor 1:27 tells us “God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty”

  • As a root out of dry ground - There were no records major spiritual activities or incidents in Israel before Jesus suddenly came to the scene.
  • He has no form or comeliness - There was nothing physically special about Him, and He is not to come as a royal king. He was ultimately born in a manger.

Verse 3 “He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.”

Isaiah - a Jew, here is writing to his fellow Jews about a future deliverer who they will reject. A prophecy that eventually came to past. Not only was he rejected by the Jew, Gentiles whom he also died for rejected him. Isiah further described Him as despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. His sorrows and griefs were for the fallen, desperate condition of humanity.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him”: Mankind naturally hid their faces from His purity and humility.

Verse 4 Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted.

Our greatest grief and sorrows He was to bear was our sins. We esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God and afflicted. Isiah’s prophecy here is that during His travails to the cross, when he was beaten, scorched and eventually crucified, the Jew believed that He was suffering for His sins - blasphemy. Little did they know that God simply looked away from Him because of the enormous sins of the world He decided to shoulder.

Verse 5 “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.”

The film Passion of the Christ, by Mel Gibson tried to dramatically display the excruciating torture our saviour Lord Jesus experienced on His way to and on the cross. He went through all these torture because of my sins.
Chastisement of my peace simply meant that I was at war with God for reasons of sin, until He brought peace between me and God. Here we see His Vicarious Sacrifice - substitutionary atonement for our sins.

Verse 6 “All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”

We like sheep gone astray means, we have strayed away from our maker because of our sinful ways. God decided to place all our iniquities on Him.

Verse 7 “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.”

He had the powers to release Himself but chose to be a lamb led to the slaughter. Even when false accusers libel led against Him, He offered no defense . He needed to be condemned and crucified for our sins.

Verse 8 “He was taken from prison and from judgment, And who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.”

He was cut off from the land of the living. He was killed extrajudicially. Again for our transgressions He was stricken.

Verse 9 “And they made His grave with the wicked— But with the rich at His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit in His mouth.”

He was crucified with and like a criminal. The tomb where He was buried was for the rich.

Verse 10 “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.”

It pleased God to see Him bruised and crucified because, of the ultimate peace of seeing the sins of the world taken away. Seeing His seed is seeing rebirths in Christ: 2Cor 5:17.
Prolonging His days talk to His resurrection from the dead. This is one place in the Old Testament, the resurrection of Jesus Christ was prophesied.

Verse 11 “He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, For He shall bear their iniquities.”

His death and resurrection brought us justification. A sincerely born again Christian is absolved from the wrath of God because of justification.

Verse 12 “Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, And He shall divide the spoil with the strong, Because He poured out His soul unto death, And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors.”

Again this verse clearly resonate with Phil 2:9-11. His name is revered among the high and might up until today and forever. Here we see that He bore the sins of many; not everybody. Only those who believe on His works of salvation.

The prophecy of Isaiah was undeniably accurate of the death, resurrection, sanctification and glorification of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Modern Rabis have tried denying the obvious, but the Deas Sea scroll of Isiah that they can never deny keeps haunting their foolish denial of the truth that we have in Christ Jesus.
Glory be to God for what Jesus did for us on the cross of Calvary.

Wednesday, October 18 2023

Contributor: Esther Alajiki

Last week explored God's desire for a harmonious relationship with His people and His desire for us to live holy and walk intimately with Him, He made us for companionship and we should hunger and thirst for Him. Today we will be looking at His comfort and assurance of salvation for Zion in Isaiah 51 and deliverance for Jerusalem in Chapter 52.

The first 7 verses reveal 3 promises for His people. The LORD here speaks to His people, but His people have had trouble listening to Him. So, three times in this chapter, the exhortation is given - Listen to Me. We have evidence of how God has dealt with His people and this gives us faith and guidance for His work in our lives – if we will listen to Him. God’s people were in a discouraging place. They felt defeated, and the prophet told them to look at God’s work in and through His people in days past. This should remind His people today that God does not need many people to do a great work. He can bless and increase one man alone. When we hear of what God has done and is doing in the lives of others, it can build our faith for God’s work in our own lives. God can do a lot with a little (Zech. 4:6-10) 1 Cor. 1:26 “For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world”
It takes a great deal to shake off the Christian who has been eaten up with discouragement and unbelief. These two emotions are the masterstrokes of Satan. But, so long as the child of God maintains an attitude of praise and trust in the Lord, then he/she will not be hit by the devil’s arrows.

Promise #1: God Will Restore (51:1-3)
The three promises are delineated by the three calls for the people to listen to the Lord. Isaiah 51:1, 4, 7 all begin calling for the people to listen to what God has to say. “listen” (Shammah) in verse 1 and verse 7 are the same. The word means to listen in the sense of understanding, applying and obeying the Word of God, We must be comforted by looking at what God is able to restore. – consider what He did with Abraham. God is a covenant keeping God.
Zech. 4:6 -7 “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,” Says the Lord of hosts.7‘Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain!

Promise #2: God Will Teach The World (51:4-6)
God’s revelation and instructions would not be limited to the physical nation of Israel any longer. God’s faithfulness (righteousness) and salvation will extend to the entire world.
Those tied to the earth will be cast away, and even the earth will vanish away., When the LORD ultimately regathers, blesses, and saves Israel, He will also shine forth His justice to all the world – to Israel (My nation) and to all the nations.

Promise #3: God Will Give Lasting Salvation (51:7-8)
God is faithful to his people and he has promised salvation to those who know him. This world is temporal - don’t be temporal

A Prayer and Response (51:9-16) - A prayer to God (51:9-11) and a response from God (51:12-16). The call is for the arm of the Lord to be awaken. God’s power to be made manifest so “the ransomed of the Lord will return and come to Zion with singing.” God responds that there is no reason for His people to live in fear.
We will only live in fear continually every day if we forget the LORD. When we forget the LORD, we forget His tender love and care for us. “I have covered you with the shadow of My hand”. The phrase I have covered you with the shadow of My hand reminds us of how God covered Moses with His hand, as Moses hid in the rock and the LORD made His glory to pass before Moses (Exodus 33:17-23).

A wakeup call is directed right at Jerusalem. God’s people sometimes spiritually “fall asleep” and need to be awakened. A common picture of judgment in the Old Testament is the cup of God’s wrath or fury. The idea is that God gives a cup “full” of His wrath to those who are under judgment, and they must drink it. Here, God calls Jerusalem to remember that they have drunk at the hand of the LORD, the cup of His fury when they experienced God’s judgment through the Babylonians. This powerful image was in the mind of Jesus when He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night before His crucifixion. When He prayed, Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done (Luke 22:42), He had in mind the cup of God’s wrath He was about to drink – to the dregs – at the cross.

Romans 13:11-12 says, And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.

There were none to give guidance to her children (vs.18) - That those who should have been her comforters were their own tormentors… spite of judgement, God is mindful of us and our children, He sees if the children are being taught or not
The judgment of God affects generations but God is merciful and compassionate, whatever the distresses of God's people may be, He will not disown His relation to them, even if they have they lost their interest in Him and in His promise.

They have fallen so low that no one mourns their affliction. That is, because of their sins, they have no friends. It is easier for men to look down on those who are reaping negative consequences for their choices than to have compassion on them. God, however, is not that way; although they have been under God's wrath, God will deliver the Jews. He has compassion on those who are afflicted, even if they are afflicted because of their sins.
This promise of deliverance is a specific prophecy concerning Babylon; the Babylonians who took the Jews captive were themselves overthrown by the Persians. As they took advantage of other's weaknesses, they would be made weak and lowly. This prophecy, then, is not to be extended to all believers. God delivered the Jews because of His covenant; this does not mean that He will deliver one from the consequences of one's sins. He may do so, but then again He may not.

Comfort #1: God’s Wrath Has Ended (51:17-23)
Thus says your Lord, the LORD, your God who pleads the cause of his people: “Behold, I have taken from your hand the cup of staggering; the bowl of my wrath you shall drink no more; and I will put it into the hand of your tormentors, who have said to you, ‘Bow down, that we may pass over’; and you have made your back like the ground and like the street for them to pass over.” (Isaiah 51:22–23 ESV)

The only escape that can be found from the wrath of God is in the mercy of God., when we look to the God of all comfort, only then are we able to have hope of mercy for our sinful condition.

The greater part of this chapter is on the same subject with the chapter before, concerning the deliverance of the Jews out of Babylon, which yet is applicable to the great salvation Christ has wrought out for us; but the last three verses are on the same subject with the following chapter, concerning the person of the Redeemer, his humiliation and exaltation.
God's people are stirred up to appear vigorous for their own deliverance- let them awake from their despondency, and pluck up their spirits, encourage themselves and one another – be hopeful - all will be well yet, don’t be discouraged, let go of doubt and distrust, take hold of God’s promises, look into the providences of God. There shall be a cleansing - the uncircumcised and the unclean sneaked in with their idolatrous customs in Ezra's time and Nehemiah's, the unclean crept in, they were soon by the vigilance and zeal of the magistrates expelled again, and care was taken that Jerusalem should be a holy city. Thus the gospel Jerusalem is purified by the blood of Christ and the grace of God, and made indeed a holy city.

There is a call to prepare for liberty - that the bands of their necks should be loosed, that they should not now be any longer oppressed, nay, that they should not be any more invaded –every band the enemy has put around lives will be destroyed. No invasion- keep close to God, and keep in with him, God will keep off, will keep out of the enemy; The gospel proclaims liberty to those who were bound with fears and makes it their duty to take hold of their liberty. Let those who have been weary and heavily laden under the burden of sin, finding relief in Christ, shake themselves from the dust of their doubts and fears and loose themselves from those bands; for, if the Son make them free, they shall be free indeed.

Here God says both got nothing by indulging in sins, Satan/world reproaches God when we partner with them. "Therefore, because my name is thus blasphemed, I will arise, and my people shall know my name, my name Jehovah." By this name He had made Himself known in delivering them out of Egypt, Ex. 6:3.

God will do something to vindicate His own honour, something for His great name; and His people, God would manifest His providence governs the world, and all the affairs of it, that it is He who speaks deliverance for them by the Word of His power, that it is He who speaks deliverance for them by the Word of His power. His Words will be fulfilled- Christ Himself brought these tidings first (Luke. 4:18, Heb. 2:3), and of Him the text speaks: How beautiful are His feet! His feet that were nailed to the cross, how beautiful upon Mount Calvary!
Those that bring the tidings of deliverance of the messiah ought to be welcomed with abundance of joy and thankfulness. the tidings of peace and salvation- good tidings of good- Let us be encouraged to proclaim the covenant Keeping God and His power to deliver.
There shall be illumination - when the LORD shall bring again Zion. They shall see an exact agreement and correspondence between the prophecy and the event, the promise and the performance; they shall see how they look one upon another eye to eye, and be satisfied that the same God spoke the one and did the other.
God's people will have the comfort of this salvation; and what is the matter of our rejoicing ought to be the matter of our thanksgiving

Chapter 52
Comfort #2: You Are Holy (52:1-10)

The second comfort is God decreeing that Zion is no longer polluted and defiled. This is a God-given holiness, not an intrinsic holiness. God is cleaning His people up from the mess of their sins and setting them free. God has no trouble setting His people free.

Go Out In Freedom (52:11-12)
The call is for His people to live in holiness. God has set you apart and purified you to belong to Him. The last thing we are to do is go back into our sinful ways that enslaved us. We have been purified and set apart to walk away from the ways of the world. Do not act like the world. Do not think like the world. Do not look like the world. The apostle Paul used this prophecy when he wrote to the Corinthians.

The Servant Exalted (52:13) (Philippians 2:5-11)
“Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.”
Are you God’s servant or you think only pastors and leaders are God’s servants - Christ qualified for it. Isaiah11:2 says: “And the Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding,”
God exalted Him, because He humbled himself. Three words are used for this (v. 13): He shalt be exalted and extolled and be very high.

Jesus: He was buffeted, smitten on the cheek, and crowned with thorns, and hid not His face from shame and spitting. His face was foul with weeping, for He was a man of sorrows; He that really was fairer than the children of men had His face spoiled with the abuses that were done Him. Never was man used so barbarously; His form, when He took upon Him the form of a servant, was more mean and abject than that of any of the sons of men.
His cleansing blood will cleanse, purify blot our sins and iniquities they shall not open their mouths against Him, as they have done, to contradict and blaspheme His name no more – every knee and every tongue shall bow before Him

God goes to great lengths to get our attention. He wants to communicate to us His plans for the future. He wants us to patiently trust Him and rely on His faithfulness to His promises despite the bleakness of our present circumstances. He does not want us to be paralyzed by fear. Here God calls on His people 3 times to pay close attention and listen to His encouragement regarding the future. Remember Your Past – God has been faithful and will continue to fulfill all of His precious promises to those who are children of Abraham by faith
Anticipate Your Future – Ultimate Salvation and Righteousness are Coming
In the Present, Choose Faith, not Fear – Walk by Faith and proclaim the Righteousness of God — not intimidated by Fear, live in expectation of the Lord’s return

Wednesday, October 11 2023

Contributor: Tobi Morakinyo

Last week's study on Chapter 49 revealed the profound prophecy of the Servant of the Lord, Jesus Christ, and His divine mission. It unveiled God's unfailing love and His promise to restore Israel, offering a message of hope for both the nation of Israel and the world at large. As such, this chapter concludes with a promise of salvation and vindication for Israel. Today, our focus is on Isaiah 50, which centers around three broad themes: Israel's feelings of abandonment and God's response, the revelation of the Servant's obedience, His ability to speak comforting words, and the unshakable confidence He maintains even in the face of suffering.

• God response to Israel’s sense of abandonment (Verses 1 – 3)
"1Thus saith the Lord, Where is the bill of your mother's divorcement, whom I have put away? or which of my creditors is it to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities have ye sold yourselves, and for your transgressions is your mother put away. 2Wherefore, when I came, was there no man? when I called, was there none to answer? Is my hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem? or have I no power to deliver? behold, at my rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a wilderness: their fish stinketh, because there is no water, and dieth for thirst. 3I clothe the heavens with blackness, and I make sackcloth their covering."

The people of Israel, in exile in Babylon, were likening themselves to a divorced wife, feeling forgotten and forsaken by God. Their emotion resembled that of a child whose father and mother are separated or divorced – a profound sense of abandonment. It was also likened to one who is sold to a creditor, a feeling of disownment. The Lord intervened, interrupting this line of thinking. He questioned their feelings and asked rhetorically for evidence to justify their perception. He went on to mention that these feelings (of separation, abandonment, and disownment) were based on their disobedience, iniquities, and transgressions. Due to the consequent separation, they had not responded to the summons of the Lord, as revealed in verse 2 – when He came, no one was there, and when He called, there was no response. In verse 2b, God posed two more rhetorical questions to Israel to question their choice to remain at distance: "Is my hand shortened in any way that it cannot redeem? Or do I lack the power to deliver?" (See also Isa 59:1-2). He proceeded to remind them of some of His exploits in the days of their fore-fathers including the parting of the sea (Exo 14:21); and the plaque of darkness (Exo. 10:21-23) to affirm to them He is still mighty to save.

These verses have a direct application to us as contemporary Christians. At times, we may experience similar feelings of separation, abandonment, and disownment during challenging periods. We must always remember that as long as we maintain a covenant relationship with God, He will never abandon us according to Isaiah 49:16: "Can a woman forget her nursing child or lack compassion for the son of her womb? Even if she could forget, I will not forget you! Behold, I have engraved you upon the palms of my hands; your walls are continually
before me" . However, in those moments, it is essential to conduct a thorough examination of our hearts and spirits to ensure there is no sin (Psalms 139:23-24). And even if sin is found, God reaches out with His unconditional love, drawing us back to His side.

Sin creates a gulf between God and His people, and the longer we delay in repenting, the wider that gulf becomes. Yet, from His side, He continues to call.

• The Obedience of the Servant of the LORD: The tongue and ear of the learned (Verses 4-5)
“4The Lord GOD has given Me the tongue of the learned, That I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to hear as the learned. 5The Lord GOD has opened My ear; And I was not rebellious, Nor did I turn away.
It is interesting to observe that, having explored the cause and effect of Israel's negative emotions, the subsequent verses convey the words of the Servant of the LORD, the Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ, regarding His submission to the Lord GOD. The LORD God has endowed Him with the ability to speak wisely, offering timely words of comfort to those who are weary (see also Luke 4:18). He goes on to explain how this was achieved: (1) Through daily fellowship and a relationship characterized by attentive listening, similar to the learned. He speaks what He hears, as also revealed in John 12:49 -50: “For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak”. Furthermore, this obedience is emphasized as He was not rebellious, which signifies a depth of compliance to GOD grand (see Philippians 2:5-11).

As Christians today, and especially as ministers, we can learn from this pattern. Active listening to God through an intimate relationship on a daily basis makes us effective instruments in God's hand. By seeking a deep and obedient relationship with God, we can better equip ourselves to offer words of encouragement and hope to those in need, just as Jesus did during His earthly ministry.

He who will speak with the tongue of the learned must learn to listen like the learned and obey what's heard.

• Marks of obedience of the Servant of the Lord, and confidence in the Lord God (Verses 6 – 9)
6 I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. 7 For the Lord God will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed. 8 He is near that justifieth me; who will contend with me? let us stand together: who is mine adversary? let him come near to me. 9 Behold, the Lord God will help me; who is he that shall condemn me? lo, they all shall wax old as a garment; the moth shall eat them up.

This prophecy details the Messiah's sufferings. We know Jesus was smitten on the back (Mark 15:15), on the face (Luke 22:63-65), and endured shame and spitting (Mark 15:19-20). Amid this suffering, humiliation, and pain, the Jesus exhibits unwavering confidence
in the help of the Lord GOD, similar to unshakable flint. His steadfastness rests on confident assurance in the ever-present Lord GOD and the certainty of divine assistance even amidst suffering.
As 21st-century Christians, this remains applicable—though not easy. We must retain our confidence in God amid trials, persecution, and temptations. Obedience may leave marks, not necessarily physical but as the "marks of the Lord Jesus," as Paul states in Galatians 6:17: "From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus."

• The Servant of the LORD challenges all to submit to the LORD as He does (verses 10 – 11)
In these verses, the Messiah speaks to His people and challenges them to fear the LORD and obey His Servant. Having exemplified obedience, He challenges Israel and extends this challenge to us as citizens of the commonwealth of Israel, urging us to obey the Lord God even when we are being smitten, spat upon, and maltreated, while despising all shame in obedience to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. In verse 10, He addresses two groups of people: the first group consists of those who fear the LORD and obey the voice of the Servant, and the second group includes those who walk in darkness. Regardless, His admonishment was: trust in the name of the LORD and rely upon your God. In verse 11, this is a prophecy of the judgment that will befall those orchestrating strange fire amidst God's people.

This study emphasizes God's desire for a harmonious relationship with His people. While He does not condone sin, His will is that none should perish, but all should come to repentance. We have also learned that one who wishes to speak with the wisdom of the learned must learn to actively listen to God as the learned do and obey what is heard. Lastly, we've observed, as the Servant of the Lord modelled, that we must not be rebellious in regard to Kingdom principles, but rather live in obedience, even during challenging and difficult circumstances, some of which may leave their marks upon us. May God's grace and empowerment be upon us in Jesus' name.

Wednesday, October 04 2023

Contributor: Ngozi Roberts

In this chapter we are encouraged to recognize the dominion and power of God, who even in our disobedience, extends His mercy and promises redemption. It challenges us to re-examine our faithfulness, to trust in God's plan and promises, and to move away from spiritual 'Babylon', which is a symbol of everything that that keeps us from achieving God's plan and purpose for our lives.
The Reproach of the Israelites and God’s Sovereignty (48:1-8) The Jews prided themselves with respecting Jerusalem, temple, respecting Jehovah as their God. Yet God criticised them for living a superficial devotion. There was no holiness in their lives. They was no sincerity in their religion. They were not obedient to God's Word. In the prophecy God reveals to them how He foreknew them and that they were born into sin, therefore disobedience was in their nature, so sin follows them natural. Reminds us of the scripture

Psalm 51:5 KJV “Behold, I was shaped in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me”.

ASV “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity; And in sin did my mother conceive me”

In verse 1 the emphasis that was placed on the refence to the Jews was so evident that He wanted them to pay attention to Hear ye this, O house of Jacob, which are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah, which swear by the name of the LORD, and make mention of the God of Israel, but not in truth, nor in righteousness. So, He calls them repeatedly by what they pride themselves as and went on to point that though they claim to be all these, yet they do not obey Him in truth and do not follow Him in righteousness! The Israelites received so many promises and blessings, yet God says there is no Genuity to their relationship with Him.
As we go along its important that we think about ourselves in this journey, are we the type that showcases ourselves as over righteous ones, holier than thou Christians yet our hearts are far away from Him? Food for thought!

God declares His foreknowledge and the power to fulfil prophecies, letting them know how well He knows them. Emphasizing that He had foretold events before they occurred to prevent the Israelites from attributing them to false Gods. He points out their obstinacy and their refusal to listen to His commands. Confirming to them that he knew them from their womb that they were rebels, sinners and wicked. He emphasised on His works, giving them irrefutable evidence of His foreknowledge and power. So that they will not think that it came from their idols. In other words, letting them know that those things He said He will do came to pass.

Mercy for His Name’s Sake Vs 9-15 The Israelites had no defence for themselves on why God should spare them, nothing to plead with God, why He should have mercy. God was so unhappy with them, yet, He decides to contain His anger and show mercy. He rather chose to refine Israel and refrained from destroying them. This is not the kind of refinery that is used for silver or gold but the kind of refinery that goes through affliction. It is called furnace of affliction. Why would He do such a thing? He says it is for His own sake. So that His name will not be polluted, and no one take His glory. God will not share His glory with false idols or anyone for that matter. Interestingly, He allows affliction to come to the life of His people for the same reason He shows mercy! And that is for His name’s sake! To show forth his glory! Amazing!

So after having revealed how sinful they were, God revealed the reason He showed mercy or deferred His anger which is because He wants to bring glory to himself. Note we all did not deserve God sending his Son to die for us but it’s because He showed us mercy why? Because it exhibited His glory. He is the centre of the universe. So, He has the right to say that He does it for His glory so when we consider his greatness then we understand why. When we look at God’s work in us, our family members, our neighbours, the universe we see His glory!

One lesson we ought to learn from this is that there are times when God allows us His children to go through challenges and afflictions and he does these for our own good and for His glory. It is true that most people who are in the right path with God today would have gone through a lot of afflictions. When such people look back, they would understand why God took them through such affliction. He would mould us and allow us to go through the furnace so that we become fit for the purpose which He has ear marked for us. It is comforting to Gods people that God will secure His own honour. Hence, it is all for His glory! God went on to emphasize in Vs 12-13 why He can do whatever He likes. He lays out His right to do so.

I am he; I am the first, I also am the last. Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens: when I call unto them, they stand up together.

In other words, no one can make this kind of claim except me your God! So, they ought to listen to Him, the God that loves them. For them to know that He is being a God that can make and unmake He declares he will raise a man that He loves that will deal with the Babylonians and Chaldeans and set the Jews free. This man turns out to be Cyrus an unbeliever! He says He loves this Pegan king! Why? Because God said He has called him and will make his way prosperous. That reminds us of how God used Pharoah as a tool to showcase His glory and set the children of Israel free. So, it is Gods prerogative who to use to bless anyone. It might be an unbeliever or believer, it’s all up to Him as long as His children are set free from whatever bondage. He can use anybody!

Gods’ Guidance and call to leave Babylon and Trust in Him
Vs 16 – 22

The Spirit of the Lord is declared, emphasizing the idea of God's direction and help for His people. In the prophecy the Lord declares and reminds them that He is the Lord that teaches them things that is good for them. The God that leads them in the way they should go for prosperity and peace. Just as He still does even till now for example in 2nd Corinthians 6:14-18 teaches us not to be unequally yoke with unbelievers and it is just for our own good! He does these things so we can benefit for them.

In Vs 18-19 He continues to stress to the Jews that if they had paid attention to His commandments, they would have been revived, would have been at peace. God laments on all the blessings and benefits that they would have received if they have paid attention and adhered to his commands. This is also true for us even now. When we pay attention and attend to His commands in obedience, we will surely reap the blessings from His promises.

The prophecy declares to them of their release from captivity and how joyous it will be. They will be so free to declare and express their freedom and joy to the ends of the earth telling them how their God had delivered them from bondage. This is like our experience when we get born again and how free we feel that we want to tell anyone that cares to listen. He likens this event to the time He set the Children of Israel free from Egypt and how he led them through the wilderness and caused waters to flow from the rock and was always with them. He will always take care of those that walk in obedience to Him. Note that the chapter ended with a note of warning that there is no peace for the wicked i.e., the unbeliever.

Chapter 49
Gods Servant: A light and Salvation to the Nations

Isaiah 49 shows God’s enduring love and promise to His people. It teaches us that, in the midst of trials and tribulations, God's promise of salvation and restoration remains sure. His plans for us are of prosperity and not of hopelessness and His love is unshakeable. Let this be an inspiration of hope for everyone facing life's challenges today.

God's Servant’s Mission (Verses 1-6)
In the previous chapter the prophecy was about a deliverer that will deliver the children of Israel from the Babylonians. The deliverer was to bring them back to their homeland. However, in this chapter there is another deliverer that is being talked about, the Servant of the Lord, likely a representation of Christ, declaring His God-given mission. He is to bring salvation to the ends of the earth. He is to be a light not just for Israel but also for the Gentiles (the non-Israelites), revealing God’s salvation to the all the nations.

God's Promise & Assurance to Israel & all Nations (Verses 7- 21)
The Father is the Lord sending His Son as Redeemer and Saviour to all. Even though the people He came to save condemned Him, yet He submitted Himself for our salvation. Christ therefore brought mercy that released us from the curse of the law and renewing grace that released us from the dominion of sin. Note, wherever God brings His people no evil shall befall them. Those who follow divine guidance closely may expect divine comfort even though there are difficulties in the way, yet the grace of God will carry us over them and make even the mountain become a way.
God assures the forsaken Israel of restoration, portraying a time when even kings will bow to them. Nations are going to flock to Israel to acknowledge that their God is good He promises to answer their prayers, provide for them, and comfort them. Let us therefore rejoice because God will have compassion on His own because of his covenant.

In anguish, Zion feels forgotten by God. However, God reassures Zion, likening His love for them to a mother's love for her child. God has a tender affection for his church and people, if a mother cannot forget her babies, how much more God. As long as we have scriptural evidence that we belong to his redeemed flock, we ought to be sure that He will never forsake us. Therefore, let us make our calling and election sure and rejoice in the hope and glory of God. Zion is described as afflicted widow, bereaved of her children, but is reassured that numbers of children shall flock to her, and she is guaranteed that they will come to be a comfort to her. God says he will bring back their children. They would have thought the children are no more, but He will bring them home from all places and it’s going to be a great time of rejoicing. He also promises their land will be too small to accommodate their children, which indicates a prosperous future. This suggests times when the church is few in number, yet we are reassured that the desolation shall not last for ever and God will repair them. That is why we ought to remember to deal caringly and carefully with our converts and new beginners in church.

The Gathering of Israel (Verses 22-26)
God affirms He will make the nations, to return His people from all corners of the earth. He also vows to contend with those who oppose His people and even though His people entered the net of the evil one by right, yet He declares that He will set them free as the lawful captives shall be delivered. God declares that he will save our children even if they are in the hands of the enemy. This will make them know that He is the mighty one of Israel. Note that we are the bride of Christ and joint heirs to his kingdom as though we were lawful captives to the justice of God, yet we were delivered by a price of unspeakable value. So, this chapter concludes with a promise of salvation and vindication for Israel.

Isaiah 48 is a reminder of God's steadfast commitment to His people, despite their persistent disobedience. God admonish the Israelites for their obstinacy, reaffirms His sovereignty and authority, reveals His divine foreknowledge, and calls them back to Himself, promising deliverance from Babylonian captivity. The chapter gives insight to our human weakness, God's patience, and the power of redemption.
So, 3 things to learn here, firstly, God due to the obstinacy of the children of Israel re-iterates the fact that he is a God that declares a thing and it comes to pass. Secondly God is a God that can have mercy. He can defer his anger and instead mould us through the furnace of affliction so as to come out fit for His purpose and thirdly, there is no peace for the wicked. Those that chose not to obey the commands of God will not enjoy Gods kind of peace.
Chapter 49 reveals the profound prophecy of the Servant of the Lord Jesus Christ and His divine mission. God's unfailing love and his promise to restore Israel was revealed and it offers a message of hope for both the nation of Israel and the world at large. So, this chapter concludes with a promise of salvation and vindication for Israel.

Wednesday, September 27 2023

Contrinutor: Isekhua Evborokhai

Today’s study of Chapter 47 concerns the fall of Babylon, personified as a woman, referred to as "the virgin daughter of Babylon", "daughter of the Chaldeans", no longer to be called "the Lady of Kingdoms" or "a Lady for ever". God’s punishment of Babylon was a righteous one that no one can condemn. Although as we have seen through the scriptures, God often permits wicked kings and nations to prevail against His people; but those who cruelly oppress His people will be punished. Today’s study also serves as a warning to us today against the sin of pride.

Verses 1-3: Babylon, represented as a woman, is humbled.
“Come down and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon; Sit on the ground without a throne, O daughter of the Chaldeans! For you shall no more be called Tender and delicate. Take the millstones and grind meal. Remove your veil, Take off the skirt, Uncover the thigh, Pass through the rivers. Your nakedness shall be uncovered, Yes, your shame will be seen; I will take vengeance, And I will not arbitrate with a man.”

The prophet Isaiah pictures proud Babylon as a humiliated woman, who shall no more be called tender and delicate. Stripped of her fine clothing and forced to march into a foreign land (pass through the rivers). The humiliation God will impose on Babylon is exactly the humiliation she put upon Judah and Jerusalem. God’s decision to humble Babylon, was Him taking vengeance that no one can talk Him out of. Rev.17:5-6 says:
“5 There was a name written on her forehead which had a secret meaning. It said, “The big and powerful Babylon, mother of all women who sell the use of their bodies and mother of everything sinful of the earth.” 6 I looked at the woman. She was drunk with the blood of God’s people and those who had been killed for telling about Jesus. When I saw her, I wondered very much.”
Sin may look pleasant on the outside but it’s always destructive. Those who trust in the way of sin will be shamed when the pleasant exterior crumbles.

Verse 4: The LORD of hosts is glorified.
“As for our Redeemer, the LORD of hosts is His name, The Holy One of Israel.”

As for our Redeemer: Seemingly, Isaiah cannot help himself – when he sees how God will take vengeance on this enemy of God’s people, he praises God and boasts in his Redeemer.

Verses 5-7:Why God will humble Babylon.
“Sit in silence, and go into darkness, O daughter of the Chaldeans; For you shall no longer be called The Lady of Kingdoms. I was angry with My people; I have profaned My inheritance, And given them into your hand. You showed them no mercy; On the elderly you laid your yoke very heavily. And you said, ‘I shall be a lady forever,’ So that you did not take these things to heart, Nor remember the latter end of them.”

Babylon thought that she conquered Judah and Jerusalem through her own power. But she really conquered them because God was angry with His people, and therefore used Babylon
as an instrument of His work. God says, “You didn’t know that I had given them into your hand.”
As an instrument in God’s hand, Babylon enforced their wickedness in their attack on God’s people. Even though God allowed it and used it, they still should have shown mercy to God’s people. We are always safe when we take the path of mercy.
And you said, “I shall be a lady forever”: Babylon was blind, Babylon was cruel, and now Babylon is shown to be proud and presumptuous. For all these reasons, God promised to humble Babylon.

Verses 8-9:Why sudden humiliation comes to Babylon.
“Therefore hear this now, you who are given to pleasures, Who dwell securely, Who say in your heart, ‘I am, and there is no one else besides me; I shall not sit as a widow, Nor shall I know the loss of children’; But these two things shall come to you In a moment, in one day: The loss of children, and widowhood. They shall come upon you in their fullness Because of the multitude of your sorceries, For the great abundance of your enchantments.”

In these verses, God brings the first charge against Babylon. But it is a charge that applies to anyone and everyone today: those who are given to pleasures, who have a false sense of security and who say in their hearts ‘I am, and there is no one else besides me; I shall not sit as a widow, Nor shall I know the loss of children’ Because pride goes before a fall (Proverbs 16:18). Proverbs 27:1 also warns us not to boast about tomorrow.

Babylon was famous as a founding place and breeding ground for occult arts and practices. This was the basis of the second charge God brought against them. For the multitude of their sorceries and their enchantments.

Verses 10-11: Babylon is rebuked for her pride and arrogance.
“For you have trusted in your wickedness; You have said, ‘No one sees me’; Your wisdom and your knowledge have warped you; And you have said in your heart, ‘I am, and there is no one else besides me.’ Therefore evil shall come upon you; You shall not know from where it arises. And trouble shall fall upon you; You will not be able to put it off. And desolation shall come upon you suddenly, Which you shall not know.”
You have trusted in your wickedness: Proud sinners usually trust in their wickedness and schemes to cover the tracks of their previous sin. They are clever, but their wisdom in wickedness has warped them Your wisdom and your knowledge have warped you. Proverbs 21:7 says: “The violence of the wicked will destroy them, Because they refuse to do justice.”
Therefore evil shall come upon you: And it did for Babylon, the near fulfilment of Isaiah’s prophecy occurred when Babylon was suddenly conquered in one night when they believed all was safe and secure (as recorded in Daniel 5). The far fulfilment is seen in Revelation 18:1-24. Emphasis on verses 7-8
“Give her as much torment and grief as the glory and luxury she gave herself. In her heart she boasts, ‘I sit enthroned as queen. I am not a widow; I will never mourn.’ 8 Therefore in one day her plagues will overtake her: death, mourning and famine. She will be consumed by fire, for mighty is the Lord God who judges her.”

The rebuke of Babylon’s pride is a simple fulfillment of a principle repeated three times in the Scripture: God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. (Proverbs 3:34, James 4:6, 1 Peter 5:5).
1 Corinthians 10:11 says:
“These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come”
We are therefore admonished to steer clear of pride because it sets us on a collision course with the Almighty!

Verses 12-15: A challenge to the stargazers and sorcerers of Babylon.
“Stand now with your enchantments And the multitude of your sorceries, In which you have labored from your youth—Perhaps you will be able to profit, Perhaps you will prevail. You are wearied in the multitude of your counsels; Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, And the monthly prognosticators Stand up and save you From what shall come upon you. Behold, they shall be as stubble, The fire shall burn them; They shall not deliver themselves From the power of the flame; It shall not be a coal to be warmed by, Nor a fire to sit before! Thus shall they be to you With whom you have labored, Your merchants from your youth; They shall wander each one to his quarter. No one shall save you.”

God challenged the sorcerers of Babylon to save the people from His judgment. After all, if they had real spiritual power, they should be able to. But their weakness in the face of the Lord’s judgment would be exposed.

There is an ultimate judgment that the whole world must face. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment (Heb. 9:27). Unfortunately, many people underestimate the blazing strength of God’s judgment! It is the same tragic thinking we see in our days among those who joke about going to hell. The Bible talks about the power of the flame; not like coal to be warmed by, nor a fire to sit before!
The final sentence in this chapter is quite a sobering one. This is true for all who will not find their salvation in the LORD; if you will not look to Him and be saved, then certainly no one shall save you.
Revelation 18:15 says “The merchants who sold these things and gained their wealth from her will stand far off, terrified at her torment. They will weep and mourn”
Revelation 18:17 says “. . . Every sea captain, and all who travel by ship, the sailors, and all who earn their living from the sea, will stand far off.
There are many people in the world today, agents of Satan with evil agendas instigating a rebellion against God by justifying insolence, and encouraging all manner of defiance. They call it different names and identify it with different themes: freedom of speech, freedom of expression, inclusion and diversity, etc. They have become blinded to the truth given to different levels of depravity and foolishness. Some of them have now identified themselves as animals. But one day God’s judgment will come down on those deserving of it, and when it does, everyone will steer clear! We know better not to join forces with ignorant fools (Psalms 14:1) because according to Proverbs 11:21a “Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished:”

Wednesday, September 13 2023

Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai

Today’s study of chapters 45 and 46 is a continuation of chapter 44 and of the prophesy about king Cyrus. In the conclusion of last week’s study, we learnt that God chose Cyrus long before he was born because God saw in him that he will certainly do what was asked of him. “he will certainly do as I say. He will command, ‘Rebuild Jerusalem’; he will say, ‘Restore the Temple.’” (vs28). And we closed with this question: “Can God see that in us?” The royal proclamations of Cyrus fulfilling these prophecies can be found in Ezra 1:2 and 2 Chronicles 36:23. In today’s two-part study titled “Proof of God's Sovereignty” we will further investigate the purpose of God’s choosing of Cyrus, as well as His salvation plan.

PART 1: CHAPTER 45:1-25
Verses 1-3 God’s Calling And Mission For Cyrus.

From these verses, we learn a couple of things that would naturally give birth to questions. Questions such as:

• Why would God call Cyrus His anointed?
He was not even born yet, and would later be born into a heathen nation and not brought up to know God. Yet, God called him His anointed.

• Why did God make him so powerful?
To crush the strength of mighty kings. The MSG says God gave him . . . “the task of taming the nations, of terrifying their kings—He gave him free rein, no restrictions:”

• Why did God choose to go ahead of him clear the way for him?
Again the MSG says: “I’ll go ahead of you, clearing and paving the road. I’ll break down bronze city gates, smash padlocks, kick down barred entrances. I’ll lead you to buried treasures, secret caches of valuables— Confirmations that it is, in fact, I, God, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name”

Verses 4-7 The Purpose Behind Cyrus’ Calling
Verse 4 kicks off by saying “For Jacob My servant’s sake”
It was not because Cyrus was the smartest or most talented or strongest man available. It wasn’t Cyrus that moved God to act, but the condition and cry of His people. It was for their sake.
The MSG says “It’s because of my dear servant Jacob, Israel my chosen, That I’ve singled you out, called you by name, and given you this privileged work. And you don’t even know me!”

Amazing that although Cyrus didn’t even know the LORD, yet God could anoint him, guide him, bless him, and use him. How much more should God be able to do through those who have at least a mustard seed’s worth of faith in Him. Proverbs 21:1 says, The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes. God can work in and through others in very unexpected ways.

In most religions of Isaiah’s day, it was believed that a god would do nothing for a person unless one gave something to that god, usually a sacrifice or promise of offerings. The Lord, however, is not like that. He dispenses His grace and favor on whoever He pleases. It is not determined by what one promises Him.
Verse 6 says: “That they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting that there is none besides Me”
This verse was fulfilled in Ezra 1:1-3. That passage shows how when Cyrus made his proclamation allowing the people of God to return to the Promised Land, that he acknowledged to the whole world the greatness and uniqueness of the LORD God of Israel.

Verses 8-10 The Foolishness of Resisting Our Creator.
Verse 8 shows us that salvation and righteousness always spring up together. When God brings salvation to a life, He also brings righteousness to that life.
In verses 9-10, we see that while God desires everyone to be saved, not all people accept His righteousness. Questioning God’s creation is to make oneself God’s judge, telling Him what He should or should not have created. Humans have no right to critique their Creator.

Verses 11-21 The Almighty is the God of All Creation
Repeatedly through chapter 44 and in these verses, God emphasizes His place as Creator. By sheer repetition, Isaiah virtually pounds it into our awareness – that God is our Creator, and we have obligations to Him as our Creator. And when we seek for God with all of our heart, we will find Him. Jeremiah 29:13 says, and you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. Hebrews 11:6 says, he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

As Creator, He can choose to do as He pleases! How He fashioned His plan for the salvation of Israel and ultimately the world is not what anyone could have fathomed. Cyrus, did not conceive any of the ideas or strategies on his own. It was God who raised him (vs 13). It goes to show that we cannot stereotype God. His ways are incapable of being investigated, analyzed, or scrutinized; they are mysterious and unfathomable. The ultimate truth is that knowing God as Creator isn’t an option, or a matter for debates. When we reject God as Creator, we reject the God of the Bible, and serve a god of our own imagination. (Romans 1:18-20) As the LORD declares His own greatness, faithfulness, and saving power, it naturally contrasts with the foolish idols of the nation – which must be carried, instead of being able to carry the one who worships them.

Verses 22-25 Look to God and be Saved.
These verses of scripture portray a simple but powerful message that reveals God’s plan of salvation.
•It shows the simplicity of salvation: all we must do is look. “One can read many bookson theology which expound all kinds of things in an attempt to show how man canreach God, but these theories are far from the truth.
•It shows the focus of salvation: we must look to God, and never to ourselves or toanything else of man. “Look unto ME, is His Word, which means looking away fromthe church because that will save nobody; away from the preacher because he candisappoint and disillusion you; away from all outward form and ceremony. You mustlook off from all this to the throne and there, in your heart, see the risen, reigning LordJesus Christ.”
•It shows the love behind salvation: God pleads with man, “Look to Me.”
•It shows the assurance of salvation: and be saved.
•It shows the extent of God’s saving love: all you ends of the earth!

PART 2: CHAPTER 46:1 -13
In this Chapter, Isaiah exposes the inability of the main Babylonian gods to protect their city from an inevitable coming attack. He also writes about the power and majesty of God, as well as His worthiness of worship.

Verses 1 -7: The One True God
These verses are like a continuation from last week’s study of chapter 44:18-20. In verse 1, reference is made to Bel and Nebo. Names of Marduk and Nabu, the two principal gods in the Babylonian pantheon. “Bel bows down, Nebo stoops low;”
From these verses we can make out two great contrasts:
• The people who make idols have to carry those idols themselves; but God carries His people. (vs 3&4)
• The people who make idols have to use their skills to make the idol look pretty; but God has made His people fearfully and wonderfully; in His image and likeness!

Verses 8 -13: God Displays His Majesty
In a similar manner to the way in which God asked Job to account for himself (Job 38:1–3), In verses 8–10, God summons the subjects of Isaiah’s prophecy to give a full account for themselves: “Remember this, and show yourselves men; recall to mind, O you transgressors” (vs 8).

Interestingly, in verse 9 God goes further to say: “Remember the former things of old.”
It was a call for His people to review the track record of His dealings with mankind and conclude that He is God, despite their present captivity.
In this passage God declares the following:
(1) that He alone is God; (vs 9)
(2) that there is none like Him; (vs 9)
(3) that He determines the end from the beginning; (vs 10)
(4) that He establishes all that takes place; (vs 10)
(5) that His divine counsel is sufficient and sure; (vs 11)
(6) that His good will is always accomplished. (vs 11)

In verses 11–13 God speaks of His future work, which would entail the overthrow of Babylon, which Isaiah has been prophesying about. God, through the prophet Isaiah declared saying that I will be: “calling a bird of prey from the east, the man who executes My counsel, from a far country. Indeed, I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass. I have purposed it; I will also do it.”
This bird of prey referred to here, was Cyrus, the leader of the Medo-Persian empire (Isa. 45:1), who would capture Babylon in 539 BC (Dan. 5) the fulfilment of the prophecy we studied last week, which was more than 150 years after the writing of this prophecy. God can choose to use anyone; that is why He is sovereign. In Ezra 1:2 the Lord instructed Cyrus, giving him the responsibility to build a temple in Jerusalem.
In verses 12–13 God describes the recipient of the prophecy as “stubborn-hearted” and “far from righteousness.” Next, God affirms that His righteousness and salvation is “near, it shall not be far off; my salvation shall not delay” (vs 13).
Ultimately, this refers to justification by faith alone in the promised Messiah. (Eph. 2:8-9)

Wednesday, September 06 2023

Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai

Today’s study covers two chapters of the book of Isaiah – chapters 43 and 44. Isaiah 43 is one of the high-point chapters in all of the Old Testament, as here in this chapter, God makes it clear that the reason for the creation, salvation, and deliverance of Israel did not arise from something within the nation itself, but from God’s own sovereign choice of Israel as a people to worship Him. The same applies to us today. It was not because of anything we did that He chose to call us His own. Isaiah 44 sheds light on the confusion which permeated the societies of biblical times as well our societies today. The foolishness of idolatry; where people attribute power to, and worship gods that they have made by themselves. But in all, God continues to be gracious and faithful to His promises.

PART 1: ISAIAH 43:1-28
Verses 1-7: God’s Deliverance

This is a unique part of Scripture, as here God spoke through Isaiah to those who would be captive in Babylon some 100 years after the writing of this book. Note God begins this chapter by referring to Himself as the one “who created you . . . who formed you, O Israel” (Isa. 43:1).

• Verse 1
God’s declaration to Israel is one that is two-fold. The first outcome was to humble the proud and the second was to comfort the humble, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are mine.” (Paraphrased).
The same declaration goes out to you and I today.

• Verses 2–4
God graciously promised to be with His people in their trials—whether it be deep waters or raging fires, God would protect Israel and consequently, you and I. The rivers will not overwhelm us, neither will we be scorched or burnt by the flames of the fire of life’s challenges. This is an everlasting and comforting promise we must always fall back to.

• Verses 5–7
God encouraged His people not to be afraid, as He promised to gather them from all places—north, south, east, and west. This promise has dual fulfilment. Firstly, it promises Israel’s return from exile back home to Palestine on the one hand while on the other, it represents God gathering His people to Himself at the end of the age.
Verse 7 is a key verse in this chapter, here God says, “Everyone who is called by My Name,
Whom I have created for My glory.”
When God says “Everyone” He means “Everyone”!

Verses 8–21 God’s Character
In these verses, God reminded His people that His deliverance and redemption is not unusual but is in accord with His character.

• Verse 8
God calls Israel to testify about His past deliverance, as well as about His future salvation. Because God delivers His people, the blind can see and the deaf can hear. Of course, spiritually speaking, this happens in salvation (Isa. 42:7, 18), and was even physically manifest in Jesus’ gospel ministry (Luke 7:22). Furthermore, as Isaiah had previously recorded, this will happen again when Christ returns (Isa. 29:18; 35:5; 42:7).

• Verse 9
God calls the nations to testify about the inability of their own gods to deliver them.

• Verses 10-13
Here we see God using thirteen personal pronouns to highlight His sovereign power. As He calls His people to testify about the nature of His holy character.
o ““But you are my witnesses, . . . You are my servant. You have been chosen to know me, believe in me, and understand that I alone am God. . . .” vs 10
oI, yes I, am the Lord, . . . vs 11
o “First I predicted your rescue, then I saved you and proclaimed it to the world. . . You are witnesses that I am the only God,” vs 12
o “From eternity to eternity I am God.
o No one can snatch anyone out of my hand. No one can undo what I have done.”

Verses 14–21: The Lord’s Promise of Victory
God again describes the future deliverance of His people as well as His own holy character.

• Verses 14–15
These verses refer to the fulfilment of a near prophecy. Here, God reveals that He would soon cause the Babylonians to become fugitives. Surely, this was both surprising and encouraging to the Israelites who were themselves exiles in Babylon.

• Verses 16–21
Next God through the prophet Isaiah, speaks about the future deliverance of His people at the end of the age. Just as He had delivered Israel from the Egyptians by making a path through the Red Sea, so God will rescue His people from their enemies by making a path through the barren desert of the fallen world. God refers to this deliverance as “a new thing” (Verse 19). “For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.
Three times between verses 19 & 20, God notes that the rescue of His people will be like rivers in the desert or water in the wilderness.

Verses 22–28: God’s Plea
After writing about Israel’s future deliverance and His own character, in these verses, God reminds the nation that their history was one of abandoning Him. Implicitly, God was calling His people to trust in Him, while at the same time reminding the nation that their own history was full of sin.

• Verses 22–24
God noted the while He had not burdened the nation with religious requirements, they had burdened Him with sin.

• Verse 25
God again taught the people salvation was both of Him and for Him, writing, “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake” (Ps. 106:8).

• Verses 26-27
God invited Israel—likely with sarcasm—to state their case before Him. Because the nation was guilty of sin and unable to defend herself. “Let us review the situation together,
and you can present your case to prove your innocence.” If this was written in our age, there would have been three smiley faces (😊😊😊😊😊😊) following. Because there was no way they could have defended themselves. Their sin had been from the very beginning (vs 27). Even our righteousness is as a filthy rag before Him. (Isaiah 64:6) But thank God for Jesus! (1 Cor. 1:30, Rom. 5:19; 10:4; 2 Cor. 5:21)

• Verse 28
God declared that, apart from their trust in Him, He would “give Jacob to the curse, and Israel to reproaches.

PART 2: ISAIAH 44:1-28
In this chapter, God continues to address Israel with grace despite their sins. This chapter also sheds light on the confusion which permeated the societies of biblical times as well our societies today. Where people erroneously attribute the power to perform a task to the tool instead of the one who uses the tool; leading to the rise of idol worshipping.
A good example of this is the way many handle money. Money is a tool to exchange for goods and services. It serves a purpose and is neither good nor evil in any way. But when people see that it can get them things, they begin to elevate it above its proper place and attribute power to it when, in fact, the power still resides in a person to use the money.

Verses 1-5: The Almighty’s Patience

• Verses 1-2
Even though the Jews as a nation have sinned, God promises them grace. When a society falls away from God, if there is a faithful remnant, God may show grace instead of judgment (Genesis 18:22-33). Additionally, if God sees that in the future one will repent, He will patiently withhold judgment to give one time to repent (2 Peter 3:9). This holds true of both nations and individuals. (2 Chronicles 7:14)

• Verses 3-5
Seeing that the children of the present day Jews would repent, God promises blessings and restoration. This is a direct counter prophecy to the end of chapter 43. God will punish the fathers for their sins yet bless the children for their faith. Such a refreshing promise:

“For I will pour out water to quench your thirst and to irrigate your parched fields. And I will pour out my Spirit on your descendants, and my blessing on your children. 4 They will thrive like watered grass, like willows on a riverbank. 5 Some will proudly claim, ‘I belong to the Lord.’ Others will say, ‘I am a descendant of Jacob.’ Some will write the Lord’s name on their hands and will take the name of Israel as their own.”

Verses 6-20: The Foolishness of Idols

• Verse 6
Here, both the King of Israel (God) and the Redeemer and Lord of hosts, (Jesus), make this declaration. (See I Sam. 8:7, Josh.7:13-15, and Rev.1:11). Even though the two are speaking, they, plus the Holy Spirit, are one God (Deut. 6:4). I believe this goes to emphasize the potency of this promise.

• Verses 7-8
God is saying that He does not need anyone’s help to perform His will, since from the beginning of time He has appointed all things. This is not a verse in opposition to free will; God, seeing what choices people will make, appoints certain things to ensure that His plans are carried out despite man’s rebellion. This verse is similar to chapter 41 where God challenges the false gods to defend themselves by declaring the future, a task they cannot perform but should be able to if they were gods. Because God’s prophecies have been fulfilled in the past, one can trust that whatever God says about the future will come to pass.

• Verses 9-11
In the time of trouble, rather than seeking refuge in the Almighty God, those who believe and seek refuge in false gods will be ashamed. “Who but a fool would make his own god
. . .?” Vs 10a. Idol worshippers know in their subconscious that their gods are their creation and cannot help them. (See Romans 1:18-23.)

•Verses 12-20
In these verses, God exposes the foolishness of idol worshippers. And the folly of the creation of their own gods. How the remnant from the wood they used to roast their meat for instance all of a sudden become a god they bow down to worship. Verse 18-19 say: “Such stupidity and ignorance! Their eyes are closed, and they cannot see. Their minds are shut, and they cannot think. The person who made the idol never stops to reflect, “Why, it’s just a block of wood! I burned half of it for heat and used it to bake my bread and roast my meat. How can the rest of it be a god?” However, unfortunately, they cannot bring themselves to ask: “ “Is this idol that I’m holding in my hand a lie?” (vs 20)

Verses 21-28: Restoration for Jerusalem

•Verses 21-22
Having entered into a covenant relationship with God, Israel will not be forgotten by Him. Anyone who has become a child of God has this same promise. Once we receive forgiveness from God, we become beloved children. God will beckon on us to return when we stray. A person who has strayed does not have to be saved again but instead is to return to the Lord.

•Verse 23
Redemption is a cause for praise, for the one who is saved, for those who are already saved, for the angels, and even for creation itself. (Luke 15:10)

•Verses 24-28
In an amazing promise of grace, God declares His sovereign power, His superiority over the wicked, His faithfulness to His servants, and a very specific prophecy of Jerusalem’s restoration. God mentioned Cyrus by name many years before he was born and about 160 years before he conquered Babylon. History tells us that in Daniel’s time, he took over Babylon by digging tunnels and diverting the great river Euphrates into lakes and his army walked into Babylon unhindered and invaded the city as king Belteshazzar partied with the gold and silverware taken from the temple of God. In Daniel 5:5, the king saw the writing on the wall that predicted his end. Verse 27 is exactly how Cyrus conquered Babylon.

God promises good to those who endure chastisement. Because it is those He loves, He chastises. (Hebrews 12:6) Sometimes, we also suffer for righteousness sake. But if we are faithful to God, He will restore us at the end. The story of Job is an example. (See also Matthew 10:22 and James 1:12). Cyrus, referred to in verse 28 was the king of Persia who conquered Babylon and freed the Jews after their seventy years of captivity (2 Chro. 36:20-23). God saw in him that he will certainly do what is asked of him. “ he will certainly do as I say. He will command, ‘Rebuild Jerusalem’; he will say, ‘Restore the Temple.’” (vs28). God saw the same in Abraham (Genesis 18:19) “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.” Can God see that in us?

Parts of this study was culled from:

Wednesday, August 30 2023

Contributor: Adewale Abiona

As we continue in our study of the book of Isaiah, looking at chapter 41 and 42 which bring some hope about God sending help to Israel to deliver them from their great difficulty of their exiled from their land and their exposure to all sorts of practises and false religions and false gods in those Gentile nations to which they were exiled. The nations that cared not for the true God or for His ways. So, in previous chapters, Isaiah prophesied, and he warned them of the dangers and the snares that would come their way. But the 2 chapter we are looking at today, he wrote to give them hope that someone is coming, someone who could right the wrongs and establish righteousness and justice in this earth.

Chapter 41 God's care for His people Israel in raising up Cyrus to be their deliverer.
This chapter is intended both for the conviction of idolaters and for the consolation of all God's faithful worshippers.

2 Things From This Chapter
A. God by the prophet shows the folly of those that worshipped idols. God especially challenges the idol worshipper and their idol to a contest for knowledge or power with Him either (v. 1-9; 21-24).

B. He encourages his faithful ones to trust in him, with an assurance that he would make them victorious and bring about a happy change of their affairs (v. 10-20; 25-29).

Isaiah 41:1-9
(2 Chronicles 36:1-14 Gives us catalogues of Kings after kings doing evil in the sight of the Lord (vs 14-15) and the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, but they mocked the messengers of God. Therefore, He brought upon them the king of the Chaldees, who slew them in their numbers (vs 17-20) And them that had escaped from the sword carried away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia, (vs 21) to fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept Sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years.(70years)

Remember Daniel’s Prayer for His People in Daniel 9:1-3. It was the first year of the reign of Darius the Mede, the son of Ahasuerus, who became king of the Babylonians.2During the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, learned from reading the word of the LORD, as revealed to Jeremiah the prophet, that Jerusalem must lie desolate for seventy years.[3 So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and fasting. I also wore rough burlap and sprinkled myself with ashes. (Jeremiah 25:11-12, 29:10) “If my people who are called by my name….”

Verses 1 - 9
This is a challenge to the worshippers and admirers of idols to "Keep silence before God because their argument is baseless and void of the truth. Let them come say what they have to say, in about their idols; let them speak freely (vs:21), let us come near together to judgment.
The enemies of God's church are permitted to say and do their best for the support of their unrighteous cause. He that seat in heaven laughs at them, and the daughter of Zion despises them, because the truth and will prevail. Similar experience is found in 1 Kings 18:24-40. . Why? The Lord that is strong and mighty… will defeat them.

The fear of the greatness both of Abraham that was a convert from idolatry, and of the people of Israel drive them to their old gods for protection, but also made new ones, Deu. 32:17. So
they gather to make war. Sinners thus animate and quicken one another in the ways of sin and make so much noise that believers do become worried and sometimes terrified but the Word of the Lord in verses 8-9 stress the fact that we have been chosen by God, we are the seed of Abraham his friend and though we may have been scattered among the heathen, but He will fetch us from the ends of the earth.

He had not yet cast them away, though they had often provoked him, and therefore he would not now abandon them. What God has done for his people, and what he has further engaged to do, should encourage them to always trust in him.
In Gods defence, He reminded them of how their fathers worshipped idols (Jos. 24:2, 3) and how Abraham the righteous man raised up from the east to become God’s friend. Gen. 12:2. He called him follow Him with an implicit faith; for he went out, not knowing whither he went, but whom he followed, Heb. 11:8.
He empowered Abraham so much that nations bowed before him Gen. 23:6.
God is the first and the last. He’s unchangeable and eternal.

  • That He has made Israel His own and in whom He will be glorified. As Elijah prayed in 1 Kings. 18:36, “Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel”.
  • That it is He who will raise up Cyrus from the east. It is spoken of according to the language of prophecy as a thing of the past, as if it were already done because it will surely be done in its season.

God will raise him up in righteousness (so it may be read, in chapter. 45:13), will call him to his foot, make what use of him He pleases, and make him victorious over the nations that oppose his coming to the crown, and give him success in all his wars; and he shall be a type of Christ, who is righteousness itself, the Lord our righteousness, whom God will, in the fullness of time, raise up and make victorious over the powers of darkness; so that he shall spoil them and make a show of them openly.

Verses 10-20
The scope of these verses is to silence the fears and encourage believers of God's support in challenges; that they should serve God faithfully through patience and comfort of the hope these verses bring. It is also addressed to Israel as a single person, that it might the more easily and readily be accommodated and applied by every Israelite indeed to himself.
It is against the mind of God that his people should be a fearful, so he assures us

  • That we should depend upon His presence with us as our God, and a God all-sufficient in the difficult times" Ps. 48:10.
  • That God will strengthen our hands, that is, He will help us " Ps. 73:23.
  • That He will silence our fears by Saying unto us, Fear not. He has said it again and again in his word and has there provided sovereign antidotes against fear: but he will go further; he will by his Spirit say it to our hearts, and make us to hear it, and so will help us.
  • That believers will become a terror to those who were now a terror to them, and power will change hand.

Verses 14-16
We may be little, so weak, and so defenceless, despised and trampled on by everybody, forced to creep even into the earth for safety; but we must not wonder that a believer has become a worm, Ps. 22:6. The helper of the helpless is coming to our aid.
The need of the needy shall be meet.

  • God Himself will be nigh unto them, in all that which they call upon Him for.
  • They shall have a constant supply of fresh water,
  • They shall have a pleasant shade to screen them from the scorching heat of the sun
  • They shall see and acknowledge the hand of God, His power and His favour.

Verses 21-24
The Lord, by the prophet, repeats the challenge to idolaters to prove that their idols are gods, and worthy of their adoration. To bring proofs of their knowledge and power, let us see what they can inform us of, and what they can do.
They can tell us nothing that we did not know before, so ignorant are they. They cannot declare the former things, or what shall happen.
They can do nothing that we cannot do ourselves, so impotent are they." He challenges them to do either good or evil, good to their friends or evil to their enemies: "Let them do, if they can, anything extraordinary, that people will admire and be affected with.
A servant is at liberty to choose his master, but a man is not at liberty to choose his God. He that chooses any other than the true God chooses an abomination; his choosing it makes it so.

Verses 25-29
God here produces proof that He is the true God, and that there is none besides Him

  • His irresistible power will appear shortly in the raising up of Cyrus and making him a type of Christ (v. 25): He will raise him up from the north and from the rising of the sun.

Cyrus by his father was a Mede, by his mother a Persian; and his army consisted of Medes, whose country lay north, and Persians, whose country lay east, from Babylon. God will raise him up to great power, and he shall come against Babylon with ends of his own to serve.
God has an infallible foresight. He would not only do this, but by his prophet, foretell it. None of all the false gods or idols had foretold, or could foresee, this work of wonder

2 Chronicles 36:22-23
"22 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying, 23 Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the LORD God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah. Who is among you of all His people? May the LORD his God be with him and let him go up!"

We know that these verses speak of Christ, for the book of Mt. 12:17-21 tells us expressly that in him this prophecy was fulfilled.

Isaiah 42:1 "Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations."
God says 'Behold My Servant' Who is this?

'Behold' means to look intently, to fix your gaze. It also means to consider and to perceive. This is what whole Christian life is really based around this 'Beholding'. The Christian life begins with this looking unto Jesus. It's what John the Baptist said when he first saw Jesus - 'Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. But the Christian life doesn't just begin there. Every aspect of coming into what God has for us is a new beholding of His Son - the Servant, the Messiah. The New Testament says that we are changed as we behold in a mirror the glory of the Lord. So as we look at the glory of Jesus Christ through His nature and character, who He was then and who He is now and who He is in us, well that is how we are actually changed.

The world is looking for answers but unfortunately in many wrong and different directions. But only a few are following God's command to 'Behold His Servant'. Now if we were to Behold Jesus Christ we would see someone totally unique... someone who came to do the will
of God 100% of the time - twenty four seven. You know the first thing we learn in Isaiah about this one, this Messiah, is that it says 'Behold My Servant'. Jesus was a servant. He was a bond Servant of the Father. He only did and said that which came from the Father and He could not be distracted from this. He couldn't be distracted by praise, by fear or by temptation. And we see here in Isaiah that it gives God's testimony of His servant. He says: 'He is my chosen one in whom my soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him.'
What delights God's heart is when we delight in doing His will. When we make it our aim to want to be pleasing to Him... When we offer ourselves (even when we are broken and fell unworthy in many regards), when we offer into His hand all that we are, to be used and to make something of - that is what delights Him. Jesus Christ offered Himself up 100% and that delighted the heart and soul of God.

Isaiah 42:2 "He will not cry out or raise His voice, Nor make His voice heard in the street."

Now this is not saying that He was not going to speak! We know that Jesus did. He did go around teaching, instructing, and helping people. What this is trying to bring out is that He was the ultimate non-showman! In contrast to the Pharisees, Jesus Christ did not need to be noticed, or recognised. He never put on a show!


So Matthew quoted the passage that we are looking at today - Isaiah 42:1-4. So firstly he knew that this passage was about Jesus. But he also knew that it was fulfilled in the fact that Jesus warned people to actually not say who He was! He was not there to be a showman, to whip up a crowd or anything like that. He never, ever drew attention to Himself, put on a show or tried to entertain or please the masses. He was there solely to do the will of God. Full stop! The man who comes to do the will of God doesn't have to resort to fleshly efforts to please the crowd. Jesus gave the Word that God the Father had placed on His heart and He did not ever try to please the crowd. But look at what we have got today... the surveying of non-Christians to see if the church service is right for them. It's just a load of nonsense. Let's go back to the book of Isaiah and look at verse 3.

Isaiah 42:3 "A bruised reed He will not break And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice.

Another reason why that this Servant was unique is the type of people that He ministered to. Verse three speaks about 'bruised reeds and smouldering wicks'. Jesus Christ did not come just looking for perfect reeds. He came looking for those who knew of their need for Him. Nor did He come looking for those that were already burning brightly. [6] What this marvellous passage in Isaiah 42 is telling us that a lot of us are like broken and bruised reeds or we are like a dimly burning wick that is just giving of a tiny bit of smoke and a little bit of light... but Jesus isn't going to extinguish us or throw us away!

This world is actually leaving more and more people battered and bruised and with little light. All of us feel this way at times. Maybe you do today? There are some problems in this life that
only Jesus can deal with. But thank the Lord that God has sent One to this world, to live, to minister, to die and to be raised again so that He can come into our hearts and grant us the hope, strength and encouragement that we need. He is not one that will ever turn His back on us.

Isaiah 42:4 "He will not be disheartened or crushed Until He has established justice in the earth; And the coastlands will wait expectantly for His law."

This verse says that He will not be disheartened or crushed. It is the same Hebrew word that is in verse 3 where it is translated 'bruised'. It basically means, cracked, broken, bruised, crushed, or discouraged. What it is saying is that there will never, ever come a time when Jesus Christ says, 'I have had it with you, you've blown it too many times'. There will never, ever come a time when Jesus will just give up. He will not be disheartened, or crushed until He has established justice in this earth. Praise the Lord that this is His ministry as our High Priest as well. He will ever intercede for us. This is the one who has said that He will never leave or forsake us. That's God's servant, that's the One who God asks us to behold. And God is in the business of restoring damaged reeds so that we can make some pretty good music again. The Bible says that we 'have this treasure in earthen vessels so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be from God and not from us.' So yes, that means that we will be battered from time to time. We will be bruised; we will be cracked but that is actually God's will. Why? So that something of God's character, something of God's life can come forth through our life.

Chapter 41 may be summed up in those words of Elijah, "21 And Elijah came to all the people, and said, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” But the people answered him not a word." 1 Kings 18:21

God examined the philosophies of the nations and is presenting a case against the Gentile nations. What God was doing in this whole chapter is surveying the entire religious and spiritual thought and actions of these Gentile nations and He was seeing if there was any merit to it.

Basically, God's assessment of the best that these nations could offer - It's wind and its emptiness! And if God were to survey the Gentile nations today what would He find? He would find the New Age, He'd find atheism, He would find evolution, materialism, humanism... and He would say they are simply chasing after the wind and emptiness - and nothing to it! There is nothing that can help the soul of man in any of that... ultimately it is simply emptiness. So that's the background..
And this leads us into chapter 42 where we have God's answer to the emptiness . We have got something that does amount to something, a better promise, a better covenant, a High Priest.

Jesus Christ is God's absolute unique 100% Servant. He is unique in His commitment. He is unique in His compassion. Has wasn't attracted to people who looked like they had life working just as they had planned. He wasn't attracted to the perfect looking reeds down by the river side. What attracted Him to those that He ministered to and spent time with. They were battered reeds and smouldering wicks... many of whom society had totally given up on! But praise God that He is also unique in His endurance. Jesus Christ will not give up, He will not back down, He will not change plans, He will not be discouraged until He has established justice in this earth. And that is what He will do. That is what we long for. That is what we hope for. There is a day coming when this earth is going to be transformed by the coming again of the Messiah and the setting up of His Kingdom where justice will reign from one end of the earth to the other. That is the hope that we have and that is what we look for... but until that day we need to behold the Servant of God. We need to behold Jesus Christ. We need to behold His character. We need to turn our eyes and look into His face and to see who He is in us and through us. Amen.

Wednesday, August 16 2023

Contributor: Dolapo Olaoye

In the last bible study, we started to look at “Hezekiah’s healing”. In that study, we learnt there is always a need for prayer, that prayers that come from the heart passionately connects to God’s heart, we learnt that God delights in answering prayers and that once we receive answers to prayers, we should not forget to be thankful. This week’s study will be in two parts. In the first part, Chapter 39, we see how Hezekiah seemed to lose his values on the accounts of “show off”, while the second part, Chapter 40, we see a change of tone with God promising comfort.

Isaiah 39 vs.1-8
Verse 1-2: Hezekiah’s Vanity

At that time Merodach-Baladan the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah, for he heard that he had been sick and had recovered. 2 And Hezekiah was pleased with them and showed them the house of his treasures the silver and gold, the spices and precious ointment, and all his armory all that was found among his treasures. There was nothing in his house or in all his dominion that Hezekiah did not show them.

When Hezekiah received the letter from the king of Assyria, he handled the threat by spreading it before the Lord in the house of the Lord. But when he now receives a letter from Babylon (a flattering letter), AND a present with it, Hezekiah acts very differently.
Hezekiah’s illness gave the Babylonian king an excuse to send representatives to Hezekiah and
Hezekiah taken in by the flattery of Babylon, he trusted these ambassadors. Hezekiah’s faith, which had been strengthened through his miraculous recovery from death, soon weakened. He was proud of the prosperity he had brought to his kingdom, and he jumped at the opportunity to impress Babylon. He therefore gladly showed his willingness to cooperate.
We have need to watch over our own spirits when we are showing our friends our possessions, what we have done and what we have gotten. We must always remember it is not by our might or our merit that we have purchased or obtained any wealth. When we look upon our enjoyments, and have occasion to speak of them, it must be with humble acknowledgments of our own unworthiness and thankful acknowledgments of God's goodness.

Verse 3-4: Isaiah reproves Hezekiah
3 Then Isaiah the prophet went to King Hezekiah, and said to him, “What did these men say, and from where did they come to you?” So, Hezekiah said, “They came to me from a far country, from Babylon.” 4 And he said, “What have they seen in your house?” So, Hezekiah answered, “They have seen all that is in my house; there is nothing among my treasures that I have not shown them.”

Isaiah already knew the answer to these questions he was asking Hezekiah here. We could say that his questions were guided by God to give Hezekiah the opportunity to answer honestly (which he did) and perhaps to see his error himself as he speaks of it (which he apparently did not) but instead, Hezekiah was proud to tell Isaiah all about it (small boy like me got the attention of a big man).
Hezekiah’s pride and extravagant ego have made him blind to anything else that was happening at the time. Let’s practice to always observe! Observe before acting, and observe after acting.

Verse 5-7: The Word of the LORD to Hezekiah through Isaiah.
5 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the LORD of hosts: 6 ‘Behold, the days are coming when all that is in your house, and what your fathers have accumulated until this day, shall be carried to Babylon; nothing shall be left,’ says the LORD. 7 ‘And they shall take away some of your sons who will descend from you, whom you will beget; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.’”

Hezekiah kept thinking his display of wealth would impress the Babylonians however, what that display did was show the Babylonians what Hezekiah had, and what was available in their camp to be taken away. Which did happen under a different king, year after, but it did happen - the kings of Babylon did come and take it all away. Worse than taking the material things of the kings of Judah, the king of Babylon would also take the sons of the king of Judah — his true riches.

Verse 8: King Hezekiah’s Response
8 So Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The word of the LORD which you have spoken is good!” For he said, “At least there will be peace and truth in my days.”

A very disappointing sad state of heart and response from a king (shows himself to be almost the exact opposite of an “others-cantered” person). God declares judgment coming, and all his reaction was with relief stating that at least it will not happen in his lifetime, and he won’t have to deal with it although he exposed them to such. All he cares about is his own personal comfort and success.
Hezekiah was certainly a godly king without a doubt in the beginning, and overall, his reign was one of outstanding godliness. Yet Hezekiah did not finish well (his beginning was much better than his end). The extra gift of years of life God gave him did not make him a better or more godly man.

Time or age doesn’t necessarily make us any better. Consider that time does nothing but pass away. We sometimes say, “time will tell,” “time will heal,” or “time will bring out the potential in me.” But time will do nothing of the sort! Time will only come and go. It is only how we use time that matters. Hezekiah didn’t make good use of the extra time the LORD gave him.

Isaiah 40 vs.1-31

This chapter begins with a change of tone (softer). Instead of wrath, God is promising comfort. Where do we find comfort when life is overwhelming? How do you handle the news that you are being laid off? How do you deal with moments when your children live in rebellion? How do you fight depression and loneliness? This chapter provides the “comfort” needed in such moments. We’ve all experienced times in our lives when we struggled to maintain a godly character (for example that moment Hezekiah had in chapter 39) in the midst of a godless culture. This chapter however reminds us that God desires his people to have comfort. The chapter also provides us with method of giving comfort to others.

Verse 1-11: The promised Comfort for Zion
“Comfort, yes, comfort My people!” Says your God. 2 “Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her, That her warfare is ended, That her iniquity is pardoned; For she has received from the LORD’s hand Double for all her sins.” 3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the LORD; Make straight in the desert A highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be exalted And every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight And the rough places smooth; 5 The glory of the LORD shall be revealed, And all flesh shall see it together; For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” 6 The voice said, “Cry out!” And he said, “What shall I cry?” “All flesh is grass, And all its loveliness is like the flower of the field. 7 The grass withers, the flower fades, Because the breath of the LORD blows upon it; Surely the people are grass. 8 The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.” 9 O Zion, You who bring good tidings, Get up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, You who bring good tidings, Lift up your voice with strength, Lift it up, be not afraid; Say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God!” 10 Behold, the Lord GOD shall come with a strong hand, And His arm shall rule for Him; Behold, His reward is with Him, And His work before Him. 11 He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, And carry them in His bosom, And gently lead those who are with young.

A message of comfort, pardon and tenderness follow the ending of Jerusalem's warfare and the pardoning of her iniquity.
In the first verse, “Comfort” is repeated as a form of emotional intensity. It also includes the phrase “says your God” which indicates that this is a command. Something else we see in this first verse is the word “my people” and “your God”. God has not cast them off - He is still their God. Just as a loving father will discipline his children, so God disciplines those He loves but it doesn’t mean He still won’t bring them “comfort”! These verses can be used to lift those who are downcast and troubled – it’s the Word of God to those who have lost hope. It’s not the time for anyone to give up but rather time for those weak in faith to be strengthened.

The second verse reminds us that true comfort comes from knowing God and His Word, and if we are in need of encouragement, we are not to go to “modern prophets” who are better characterized as “motivational speakers” who only make you feel better about yourself but rather we must turn to God.

Verse three then goes on to tell us that across the wilderness and desert the way of the Lord is to be prepared, and His glory will be revealed to all. Jesus is the ultimate Comforter, the coming King whose glory was revealed in the manger of Bethlehem, and throughout His life. He is our Comforter. He is the King who is coming to deliver His people from their enemies. Encouraging us to prepare ye the way of the Lord. Zion is commanded to shout the good tidings that the Lord God comes to rule with might and to tend His flock like a shepherd. God’s might is not to be underestimated, and His presence brings joy and blessing to His children.

Verse 12-17:
12Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, measured heaven with a span And calculated the dust of the earth in a measure? Weighed the mountains in scales And the hills in a balance? 13Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD, Or as His counselor has taught Him? 14With whom did He take counsel, and who instructed Him, And taught Him in the path of justice? Who taught Him knowledge, And showed Him the way of understanding? 15 Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket, And are counted as the small dust on the scales; Look, He lifts up the isles as a very little thing. 16 And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, Nor its beasts sufficient for a burnt offering. 17 All nations before Him are as nothing, And they are counted by Him less than nothing and worthless.

Who Measured Heaven and Earth? The heavens, earth, seas, is lands, and nations are as nothing when compared with God. Compared to the nations, God has so much more wisdom and resources. The point and reminder here is that no one can measure the amount of blessings God is able to give out by His hand because it is so vast. There is no amount of blessing you can offer to appease God, even if one uses up all the wood in the earth’s greatest forest as “burnt offering” still won’t be enough! So the least we can do is offer Him what He asks (praise, or taking comfort as the case may be).

Verse 18-26:
18 To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare to Him? 19 The workman molds an image, The goldsmith overspreads it with gold, And the silversmith casts silver chains. 20Whoever is too impoverished for such a contribution Chooses a tree that will not rot; He seeks for himself a skillful workman To prepare a carved image that will not totter. 21 Have you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning?
Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? 22 It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. 23 He brings the princes to nothing; He makes the judges of the earth useless. 24 Scarcely shall they be planted, Scarcely shall they be sown, Scarcely shall their stock take root in the earth, When He will also blow on them, And they will wither, And the whirlwind will take them away like stubble. 25 “To whom then will you liken Me, Or to whom shall I be equal?” says the Holy One. 26 Lift up your eyes on high, And see who has created these things, Who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name, By the greatness of His might And the strength of His power; Not one is missing.

There isn’t anybody like God - No person or image can be a likeness of God in ALL this Earth. Visualise this for a minute: God siting above the earth and spreads out the heavens like a tent seeing all of us here on earth as grasshoppers. So, who do you even want to dare compare the Holy One to? He who created the stars and calls them by name. God is so superior to humanity that man is like a tiny little insect in His sight. God is sovereign over all creation, even the princes and rulers of man (the toughest of them all). To compare God’s power and authority to any created work is great foolishness.

Verse 27-31
27Why do you say, O Jacob, And speak, O Israel: “My way is hidden from the LORD, And my just claim is passed over by my God”? 28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. 29 He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. 30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, 31 But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.

An everlasting Creator THAT’s who God is. He is the in-comparable Lord of the heavens and earth. He does not overlook the faint and exhausted, but everyone who wait for Him will be renewed to fly like eagles and to keep running “life” without getting tired. God calls out to the Jews, reminding them that He will never change, will not cease to be, and will not be stooped down to the level of human understanding. It is pointless to say that one has hidden oneself from the Lord and that He will not judge us for our actions. God is just, holy and sees ALL - These facts will never change.

Those who foolishly believe they have escaped God’s judgment will be stripped of their strength and fall, but those who believe in God and trust in His ways have been promised to have everlasting strength and renewal. On the earth, God performs this through the indwelling of the Holy Ghost who gives believers the strength to press on towards the goal of serving God even when your physical strength has run out. After death, we (believers) will all have everlasting life and a glorified body that will never tire. The sinner, however, has none of this! So let’s keep going because our end goal has been revealed and Glorious as it is – it’s worth the push.

Even as we speak here now, some are here, low and dry! Tired and weary!! You are really feeling the weight and wondering what's happened to God’s promises. You have called out to God and it seems like you are not getting any answer. Today, I would like to encourage and remind you that God IS the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth and YOU are His reward. Your sin has been paid for so stop downsizing yourself because of sins you have already confessed, and He has forgiven you for! You've received double grace. You're His people, He is your God and you need to start trusting in Him again today.

Wednesday, July 26 2023

Contributor: Esther Alajiki

Hezekiah was the first king since David to keep the Lord's commandments, He restored right worship for the people, and the honor of God as the True God. But in this chapter, we learn that he became gravely ill and was at the point of death and God had decided that He would use the situation to call him home. But Hezekiah appealed to the Lord, he called on the Lord to remember his service onto Him. Philippians 4:18c implies that our faithful services are a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and pleasing to God. Exodus 23:25 tells us that when we serve the Lord, He will bless our bread and water and take sickness away from our midst. Cornelius’s account in Acts 10:1-4 tells us that service rendered to God goes up to Him as a memorial and in today’s study which is in two parts, we see that within the confines of God’s prerogative, we can “cash in on it” just like Hezekiah did.

PART 1 VERSE DISCUSSION (Isaiah 38 Amplified Bible (1 – 9) Message Bible (9 – 22).)

Verse 1: God Speaks to His Children
In those days Hezekiah [king of Judah] became sick and was at the point of death. And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, came to him and said, “For the LORD says this, ‘Set your house in order and prepare a will, for you shall die; you will not live.’ (2 Kings 20:1-11)

God sent His prophet to Hezekiah. He sends His word to His children, we are not to walk in darkness concerning any area of our lives. from comparing 2 Kings 18:2 with 2 Kings 20:6, Hezekiah was around 39/40 years old when he got his death sentence.

Verses 2 -3: Be Honest With God
“Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD, (3) and said, “Please, O LORD, just remember how I have walked before You in faithfulness and truth, and with a whole heart [absolutely devoted to You], and have done what is good in Your sight.” And Hezekiah wept greatly.”

He did not hold on to the prophet to seek solution. When faced with difficult situations, what do we do? Hezekiah had trusted God to deliver His people from an invading army but his personal situation was overwhelming for him. When trouble comes, instead of blaming God in frustration be honest with God. Trust for divine intervention.

Verses 4 – 6: God Answers His Children
“Then the word of the LORD came to Isaiah, saying, (5)“Go and say to Hezekiah, ‘For the LORD, the God of David your father says this, “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; listen carefully, I will add fifteen years to your life. (6) I will rescue you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city [Jerusalem].”

God re-sends His prophet back to Hezekiah. God delivered on a personal and a national level. He gave 2 gifts to Hezekiah - an extended life and knowing how many years’ left

Verses 7 – 8: God Can Alter the Natural Course of Nature
“This shall be the sign to you from the LORD, that the LORD will do this thing that He has spoken: (8) Listen carefully, I will turn the shadow on the stairway [denoting the time of day] ten steps backward, the shadow on the stairway (sundial) of Ahaz.” And the sunlight went ten steps backward on the stairway where it had [previously] gone down.”

Did God make the earth go back in its orbit? Did He spin the earth backwards while still keeping gravity intact? Do not focus on rationalizing how God would perform miracles, recognize and celebrate His power and interventions. You may not know how, you may not know when but He’ll do it again.

Verses 9 – 15: Honesty and Simplicity in God’s Presence
“This is what Hezekiah king of Judah wrote after he’d been sick and then recovered from his sickness “In the very prime of life I have to leave. Whatever time I have left is spent in death’s waiting room. No more glimpses of God in the land of the living, No more meetings with my neighbours, no more rubbing shoulders with friends. This body I inhabit is taken down and packed away like a camper’s tent. Like a weaver, I’ve rolled up the carpet of my life as God cuts me free of the loom And at day’s end sweeps up the scraps and pieces. I cry for help until morning. Like a lion, God pummels and pounds me, relentlessly finishing me off. I squawk like a doomed hen, moan like a dove. My eyes ache from looking up for help: “Master, I’m in trouble! Get me out of this!” But what’s the use? God himself gave me the word. He’s done it to me. I can’t sleep— I’m that upset, that troubled.” [MSG]

Hezekiah expressed himself as he felt- no fancy words. He was grieved and expressed his grief to God.

Verses 16 – 20: Always Give God the Glory
“O Master, these are the conditions in which people live, and yes, in these very conditions my spirit is still alive— fully recovered with a fresh infusion of life! It seems it was good for me to go through all those troubles. Throughout them all you held tight to my lifeline. You never let me tumble over the edge into nothing. But my sins you let go of, threw them over your shoulder—good riddance! The dead don’t thank you, and choirs don’t sing praises from the morgue. Those buried six feet under don’t witness to your faithful ways. It’s the living—live men, live women—who thank you, just as I’m doing right now. Parents give their children full reports on your faithful ways. God saves and will save me. As fiddles and mandolins strike up the tunes, We’ll sing, oh we’ll sing, sing, for the rest of our lives in the Sanctuary of God.”

In response to God’s miracle, Hezekiah writes a song of praise, give Him praise for His daily mercies, Let God and others know how thankful you are. Shifted to the correct perspective of his illness, Hezekiah writes that his sins had caused his bitterness, not God. The Lord is interested in life and healing as the dead cannot be a witness of a living God and one of the privileges of man is to praise God while on earth. Hezekiah promised to praise God and teach the next generation about Him. 1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.

Verses 21 - 22
“Isaiah had said, “Prepare a poultice of figs and put it on the boil so he may recover.” Hezekiah had said, “What is my cue that it’s all right to enter again the Sanctuary of God?”
The Lord already knew the remedy, and He provided a sign to Hezekiah because the king had wanted proof that Isaiah spoke truthfully.

A Need for Prayer - When Hezekiah received his sentence, he had no heir. He chose to appeal to God in prayer. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James. 5:15-16). For us could be a situation or a challenge. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6)

A Heart of Prayer - Notice the heart Hezekiah exhibited when he prayed. Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD, he poured his heart out to the Lord. Prayer that truly touches the heart of God and changes things comes from a heart that is passionately dependent on God. Luke 22:42 yet not my will, but yours be done.”

An Answer to Prayer - God delights in answering the fervent prayers of the righteous - Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find” (Matthew 7:7) If you remain in Me and My Words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. (John 15:7)

A response to answered prayer – thankfulness in receiving, faithfulness in stewarding, humility in responding. Psalm 34.

Hezekiah knew when to “turn his face to the wall” and pray to the Lord. He knew God well enough to hold on to Him and appeal to God’s justice and mercy, and present his case before the throne. Whenever we face whatever we deem to be the greatest challenge, the deepest valley, an impossible situation of life, seemingly hard and impenetrable walls we must turn to God. God heard Hezekiah’s cry, changed his death sentence, and added fifteen years to his life! Furthermore, God responded to Hezekiah beyond what he actually prayed for. This is a reminder of Ephesians 3:20: Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all we ask or think. God even set aside the astronomical laws to give a sign to Hezekiah!
In the face of unpleasant circumstances, you can “turn your face to the wall” and get through to God boldly and without shame, because you are anchored in His love, His word, and His blood bought redemption! God is ready to pour out His compassion, ready to bare His strong arm of deliverance in response to your prayer and loves praise in response to His goodness.

“14Inasmuch then as we [believers] have a great High Priest who has [already ascended and] passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession [of faith and cling tenaciously to our absolute trust in Him as Saviour]. 15For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize and understand our weaknesses and temptations, but One who has been tempted [knowing exactly how it feels to be human] in every respect as we are, yet without [committing any] sin. 16Therefore let us [with privilege] approach the throne of grace [that is, the throne of God’s gracious favor] with confidence and without fear, so that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find [His amazing] grace to help in time of need [an appropriate blessing, coming just at the right moment]”. Heb. 4: 14 -16. [AMP]

Wednesday, July 19 2023

Contributor: Peter Folikwe

Assyria from our recent study was the super power of the world at this time: conquering many nations. Amongst nations conquered was northern Israel and the target of the Assyrians was to conquer the southern part of Israel called Judah.
During David and Solomon’s reigns, Israel was a single nation, later spilt into two during the reign of Rehoboam. The Northern part maintained its identity as Israel, but the south was named Judah. Hezekiah was the King of Judah at the time of Assyria’s invasion. In Chapter 36, we see Assyria evade the fortified cities surrounding Jerusalem, the capital of Judah. Judah had shut the gate of its capital Jerusalem to protect its inhabitants and the king. The Assyrians laid siege and their king Sennacherib wrote a threat letter to Hezekiah, demanding a wilful surrender. By way of repetition of the questions posed at last week’s study: Can God be trusted? Is He strong enough, is He good enough, to deliver us? Will He be faithful to keep His promises? In today’s study we will see from this chapter how the Hezekiah reacted to the threat and how God responded in His power and splendour.

Verse 1                                                                                                                   

“When King Hezekiah heard their report, he tore his clothes and put on burlap and went into the Temple of the Lord.” [NLT]

Just like Hezekiah, some challenging times overwhelmingly make us helpless and fearful, but our response to the threat/challenge makes all the difference. He tore his clothes as a sign of morning. He wore sackcloth as a sign of humility/helplessness. In those days the trend was offer prayers in the house of the Lord. Today our body is the temple of the Lord. We don’t need a special location for prayers.

Verses 2-3                                                                                                                 

“And he sent Eliakim the palace administrator, Shebna the court secretary, and the leading priests, all dressed in burlap, to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz. They told him, “This is what King Hezekiah says: Today is a day of trouble, insults, and disgrace. It is like when a child is ready to be born, but the mother has no strength to deliver the baby.” [NLT]

Imagine the description of the problem: a woman in labour unable to deliver the baby. It’s a case between life and death. Besides seeking the face of God, Hezekiah sent for the Prophet Isiah to pray for the nation against the Assyrian assault. When in trouble or challenges of life, it is wise to deploy a two-prawn approach to addressing the problem: Seeking the face of God and asking your friends to pray for you. Apostle Paul in 2Thess 3:1 requested for prayers from the brethren. Jesus in Matt 18:19 reiterated the power in prayers of agreement. Hezekiah recognized the value of prayers.

Verses 5-7
“5 After King Hezekiah’s officials delivered the king’s message to Isaiah, 6 the prophet replied, “Say to your master, ‘This is what the Lord says: Do not be disturbed by this blasphemous speech against me from the Assyrian king’s messengers. 7 Listen! I myself will move against him,[a] and the king will receive a message that he is needed at home. So he will return to his land, where I will have him killed with a sword.’” [NLT]

Isaiah, a true prophet of God (not like the fake prophets), after seeking the face of God, debunked the threat of Sennacherib delivered through Rabshakeh – his General.

Verses 10-13
‘This message is for King Hezekiah of Judah. Don’t let your God, in whom you trust, deceive you with promises that Jerusalem will not be captured by the king of Assyria. You know perfectly well what the kings of Assyria have done wherever they have gone. They have completely destroyed everyone who stood in their way! Why should you be any different? Have the gods of other nations rescued them—such nations as Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Tel-assar? My predecessors destroyed them all! What happened to the king of Hamath and the king of Arpad? What happened to the kings of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah?

Rabshakeh reels out a credential presentation of Sennacherib’s conquest. These are voices the enemy uses to intimidate and destabilise its victims. Here the enemy warns that the people of Judah should not trust their king. Secondly that their God cannot save them either.

Verses 14-20
‘After Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it, he went up to the Lord’s Temple and spread it out before the Lord. And Hezekiah prayed this prayer before the Lord: “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, God of Israel, you are enthroned between the mighty cherubim! You alone are God of all the kingdoms of the earth. You alone created the heavens and the earth. Bend down, O Lord, and listen! Open your eyes, O Lord, and see! Listen to Sennacherib’s words of defiance against the living God. “It is true, Lord, that the kings of Assyria have destroyed all these nations. And they have thrown the gods of these nations into the fire and burned them. But of course the Assyrians could destroy them! They were not gods at all—only idols of wood and stone shaped by human hands. Now, O Lord our God, rescue us from his power; then all the kingdoms of the earth will know that you alone, O Lord, are God.’

Hezekiah spread this letter of sorrow before the Lord in His temple. He knows the true God he serves. Many who run to God when in trouble are not in right standing with God. The prayer of the sinner the Bible says is an abomination.

Prov 15:8 “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight.”

Some, when they run to their gods they get no answer, just like the nations overrun by the Assyrians. Furthermore, their god were burnt together with their covens. In V20, Hezekiah charged God to glorify Himself. The real trust for our prayer should be to bring glory to God.

Verses 21-22
 “Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent this message to Hezekiah: “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Because you prayed about King Sennacherib of Assyria, the Lord has spoken this word against him: “The virgin daughter of Zion despises you and laughs at you. The daughter of Jerusalem shakes her head in derision as you flee.”‬‬ [NLT]‬‬‬‬

‭‭This testifies that when we are confronted by overwhelming life’s trials and we seek the face of God in prayers, He hears us and respond appropriately. Particularly when the name of the Lord is disdained, the culprit will have himself to blame.‬‬‬‬‬‬

Verses 23-26 God Responds
“Whom have you reproached and blasphemed? Against whom have you raised your voice, And lifted up your eyes on high? Against the Holy One of Israel. By your servants you have reproached the Lord, And said, ‘By the multitude of my chariots I have come up to the height of the mountains, To the limits of Lebanon; I will cut down its tall cedars And its choice cypress trees; I will enter its farthest height, To its fruitful forest. I have dug and drunk water, And with the soles of my feet I have dried up All the brooks of defense.’ “Did you not hear long ago How I made it, From ancient times that I formed it? Now I have brought it to pass, That you should be For crushing fortified cities into heaps of ruins.”[NKJV]
God clearly stating that He permitted the Assyrians to possess all the have, because He created all things and gives to whom He pleases. Sennacherib is making an empty boast. IsaiahThe Lord says in 37:29 NLT “And because of your raging against me and your arrogance, which I have heard for myself, I will put my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth. I will make you return by the same road on which you came.”

God says I will put my hook in Sennacherib’s nose and my bit in his mouth. Scary I must say! The nose and the mouth are critical organs that supply nourishment to the body - air and water. A man may survive without water for a while but, if he loses breath for more than 5-7mins he is a goner.

Verses 30-32
“This shall be a sign to you: You shall eat this year such as grows of itself, And the second year what springs from the same; Also in the third year sow and reap, Plant vineyards and eat the fruit of them. And the remnant who have escaped of the house of Judah Shall again take root downward, And bear fruit upward. For out of Jerusalem shall go a remnant, And those who escape from Mount Zion. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.” [NKJV]

Usually during a siege, the farmlands are destroyed by the intruder.
God here promised to give a sign of their deliverance that for two seasons they will harvest their crops without planting.

Verses 33-35
“And this is what the Lord says about the king of Assyria: “‘His armies will not enter Jerusalem. They will not even shoot an arrow at it. They will not march outside its gates with their shields nor build banks of earth against its walls. The king will return to his own country by the same road on which he came. He will not enter this city,’ says the Lord. ‘For my own honour and for the sake of my servant David, I will defend this city and protect it.’””[ NLT]

God is Covenant Keeper, not a Covenant Breaker.
God pronounced that He will defend Judah against the onslaught of Assyria for His name sake. God is ever faithful to keep His covenant, a covenant He had with David, years before.
Each time we are oppressed, repressed or depressed by those who assume undue authority over us, rather than become confrontational, let’s remember our covenant keeping God who fights our battles.

Verses 36-37
“That night the angel of the Lord went out to the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. When the surviving Assyrians woke up the next morning, they found corpses everywhere. Then King Sennacherib of Assyria broke camp and returned to his own land. He went home to his capital of Nineveh and stayed there.” [NLT]

In one night, an angel of God killed 185 thousand soldiers of the Assyrians. The survivors woke up to see many of their colleagues slain without fighting a war. Quite terrifying.
No surprise that king Sennacherib took to his heels and fled. This is what is called ‘a victory without a fight’. Psalms 20:7 AMP says: “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, But we will remember and trust in the name of the Lord our God.”

Finally, in Isaiah 37:38 PAM “It came to pass as he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons killed him with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Ararat [in Armenia]. And Esarhaddon his son became king in his place.”

The gods of Sennacherib could not save him from the swords of his own sons.
Zechariah 2:8 AMP says, “For thus says the Lord of hosts, “After glory He has sent Me against the nations which plunder you—for he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye.”

If only many in privileged positions of authority today can understand how ephemeral such powers and authority that come with such positions are, they will use such for the good of mankind. May the Lord help us to focus our gaze on the eternal, and not on the temporal.

Wednesday, July 12 2023

Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai

The Chapters 36 - 39 of the book of Isaiah is like an interruption to one’s regular programme on television by a late night breaking news. In these chapters, Isaiah interrupts his prophesies to bring news from the battle front. Chapter 36 records a historical account that can be likened to the first part of a 4 part movie. In Part 1, today’s study, we see the faith of the people of God being attacked. This was not simply a contest between two kings or two nations, but actually an epic showdown between arrogant humanity and the living God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the Sovereign of the nations, the Holy One of Israel. And the question, as always, is: Can God be trusted? Is He strong enough, is He good enough, to deliver us? Will He be faithful to keep His promises? In today’s study we will see from this chapter how the enemy uses the power of intimidation and deceit to manipulate the world.

Verses 1-3: Jerusalem Threatened
“Now it came to pass in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah, that Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the defenced cities of Judah, and took them. 2 And the king of Assyria sent Rabshakeh from Lachish to Jerusalem unto king Hezekiah with a great army. And he stood by the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller's field. 3 Then came forth unto him Eliakim, Hilkiah's son, which was over the house, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah, Asaph's son, the recorder.”

King Sennacherib king of Assyria has come up against all the fortified cities of Judah and taken them. He’s just taken the city of Lachish, and Jerusalem now is left. So, he sends the “field commander” of his great army with an ultimatum for King Hezekiah.

If you recall in chapter 7, when Rezin the king of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up toward Jerusalem to war against it, God told Ahaz to ask for a sign, but he refused to “put the Lord to the test.” (Isaiah 7:10-25) Why? Because in reality, he had chosen worldly wisdom over faith. Furthermore, Isaiah prophesied in Chapter 8: 7-8a:

“7 Therefore, behold, the Lord is bringing up against [you] the waters of the River, mighty and many, the king of Assyria and all his glory. And it will rise over all its channels and go over all its banks, 8 and it will sweep on into Judah, it will overflow and pass on, reaching even to the neck”
And that’s exactly what happened in 701 BC—our text today. Because of his father’s unbelief, because God’s Word of judgment had proven true, King Hezekiah is now faced with essentially the same decision: Will he trust the Lord?

Verses 4-6: The Rabshakeh Speaks Against Judah’s Trust in Alliance With Egypt
4 Then the Rabshakeh said to them, “Say now to Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: “What confidence is this in which you trust? 5 I say you speak of having plans and power for war; but they are mere words. Now in whom do you trust, that you rebel against me? 6 Look! You are trusting in the staff of this broken reed, Egypt, on which if a man leans, it will go into his hand and pierce it. So is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who trust in him.

a.What confidence is this in which you trust? One of the great battles for Hezekiah during this time was the temptation to make a defensive alliance with Egypt, which seemed to be the only nation strong enough to protect Judah against the mighty Assyrians. As a prophet, Isaiah did everything he could to discourage Hezekiah and the leaders of Judah from putting their trust in Egypt (Isaiah 19:11-17, 20:1-6, 30:1-7). The Lord wanted Judah to trust Him instead of Egypt.

So what Rabshakeh spoke in these verses, was the truth! God wanted Judah to have no confidence in Egypt at all. But Rabshakeh isn’t doing it to bring Judah to a firm trust in the LORD God, who can and will deliver them from the Assyrians. He does it to completely demoralize Judah and drive them to despair.
Satan attacks us the same way! Often, even when he tells the truth (“You are such a rotten sinner!”), he never does it to lead us to a firm trust in the Lord our God (“Jesus died for sinners, so if I am a rotten sinner, Jesus died to forgive and free me!”). Instead, Satan’s strategy – even if he tells us the truth – is always to demoralize us and drive us to despair.

b. You are trusting in the staff of this broken reed, Egypt: Strangely, Rabshakeh could see the truth of Egypt’s weakness better than many of the leaders of Judah could. He refers to their alliance with Egypt as a broken reed that is not just a worthless one but that leaning on them for support and will cost Judah.

Verse 7: The Rabshakeh Speaks Against Judah’s Trust in God.
“But if you say to me, ‘We trust in the Lord our God,’ is it not He whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah has taken away, and said to Judah and Jerusalem, ‘You shall worship before this altar’?”

The devil seeks to deceive us: by twisting the truth, speaking lies that have a ring of truth to them and sound like something God has actually said! Even though Hezekiah did tear down the high places (which he was supposed to do), and though Assyria was a tool in God’s hand, this did not mean that God was against them!

Verses 8-9: The Rabshakeh Speaks Against The Army of Judah.
“8 Now therefore, I urge you, give a pledge to my master the king of Assyria, and I will give you two thousand horses—if you are able on your part to put riders on them! 9 How then will you repel one captain of the least of my master’s servants, and put your trust in Egypt for chariots and horsemen?”

Although king Sennacherib had a vastly superior army and could have just attacked Jerusalem without this little speech, he would prefer it if Judah would simply give up, out of fear, discouragement, or despair. The Assyrians were masters of intimidation and cities usually just surrender without a fight. The devil uses the exact same approach. Many of us picture him as always “itching for a fight” with us. Really, he doesn’t want to do battle with us. First of all, there is the strong chance you will win. Second of all, win or lose, the battle can draw you closer to God. Thirdly, what the LORD does in your life through the battle can be a great blessing for other people. So he would much rather not fight but rather, talk you into giving up or have you distracted from fulfilling your purpose in life.
(In Luke 4:5-8, we see him attempting to distract Jesus with his temptations.) He also attempt to frighten us, deceive us or bully us into surrendering. 1 Peter 5:8 says he prowls like a roaring lion. But James 4:7 tells us that if we submit to God and resist him, he will flee!

Verse 10: The Rabshakeh Claims God is on His Side.
“Have I now come up without the Lord against this land to destroy it? The Lord said to me, ‘Go up against this land, and destroy it.’ ”

In this verse, he goes for the jugular; in other words, “Admit it, Hezekiah. You know that your God is on my side.” And like all good deception, it would have been easy for Hezekiah and his men to believe this one. After all, hadn’t the Assyrians been wildly successful? Surely, God must be on their side. Didn’t they have the most powerful army? Surely, God must be on their side. Then he moves in with a finishing blow: “The LORD said to me, “Go up against this land, and destroy it”. “Hezekiah, God told me to destroy you. I’m just doing His will, and there is nothing you can do to stop it, so you may as well surrender.”

Verses 11-20: The Rabshakeh Sows the Seed of Doubt in the Hearts of the People
11 Then Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah said to the Rabshakeh, “Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, for we understand it; and do not speak to us in Hebrew in the hearing of the people who are on the wall.” 12 But the Rabshakeh said, “Has my master sent me to your master and to you to speak these words, and not to the men who sit on the wall, who will eat and drink their own waste with you?” 13 Then the Rabshakeh stood and called out with a loud voice in Hebrew, and said, “Hear the words of the great king, the king of Assyria! 14 Thus says the king: ‘Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you; 15 nor let Hezekiah make you trust in the Lord, saying, “The Lord will surely deliver us; this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.” ’ 16 Do not listen to Hezekiah; for thus says the king of Assyria: ‘Make peace with me by a present and come out to me; and every one of you eat from his own vine and every one from his own fig tree, and every one of you drink the waters of his own cistern; 17 until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards. 18 Beware lest Hezekiah persuade you, saying, “The Lord will deliver us.” Has any one of the gods of the nations delivered its land from the hand of the king of Assyria? 19 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Indeed, have they delivered Samaria from my hand? 20 Who among all the gods of these lands have delivered their countries from my hand, that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem from my hand?’ ”

It was a difficult situation for the leaders in Hezekiah’s government. It was bad enough that they had to hear these words themselves, but because he was speaking in Hebrew, everyone could hear, become discouraged and possibly ask the king to surrender so they appealed for him to speak in Aramaic

But the Rabshakeh would not have it. The more fear, discouragement, and despair he can spread, the better. He pointed forward to what conditions would be like in Jerusalem after an extended siege (that people will eat and drink their own waste). He wanted this to disgust everyone who heard it, and he wanted to magnify the sense of fear, discouragement, and despair.

And then, in verse 16, Sennacherib’s devilish ultimatum was given by the Rabshakeh: “Thus says the king of Assyria: Make your peace with me.” “Don’t trust the Lord. Don’t listen to Hezekiah. Trust me. If you don’t, we’ll besiege your city and cause you unimaginable pain and suffering. You will perish unless you follow me. But in reality, the Lord was not against His covenant people. He had not deceived them. Rather, He had brought them to the end of their resources so that Judah might depend upon her God in wholehearted trust. The Rabshakeh’s speech was going on well until he overstepped in verse 20. “Who among all the gods of these lands have delivered their countries from my hand, that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem from my hand?’ ”

The gods of other nations have not been able to protect them against us. Your God is just like one of them and can’t protect you either. It is one thing to speak against Judah, its people and leaders. It was another thing altogether to mock the Lord God of Israel this way and count Him as “just another god.” And just like the officer in 2 Kings 7:2 who ran his mouth challenging Elisha and consequently, the Almighty God by saying: “That couldn’t happen even if the LORD opened the windows of heaven!”
There was no way God would let him off the hook for this one. He has offended the Lord God in a way he will soon regret. He just kicked against the pricks, Acts 9:5, Exodus 14:14 says the Lord will fight for us and we will hold our peace.

Verses 21-22: CONCLUSION
“But they held their peace and answered him not a word; for the king’s commandment was, “Do not answer him.” 22 Then Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, Shebna the scribe, and Joah the son of Asaph, the recorder, came to Hezekiah with their clothes torn, and told him the words of the Rabshakeh.”

Hezekiah had instructed the leaders not to argue with the Rabshakeh but to give him the silent treatment. King Hezekiah was wise enough to make this command, and his officials and the people were wise enough to obey him. It is often useless – if not dangerous – to try and match wits with demonic logic. It is much better to keep silent and trust God, instead of trying to win an argument. We can never win the battle with the enemy in the place of reason but the place of faith.
No matter how relentless the schemes of the devil are, no matter how hopeless the situation may seem, and no matter how undeserving we are, the Lord is a mighty and gracious King. So we must be still in God’s presence. In Deuteronomy 32:35 God tells us that vengeance is His. Exodus 14:14 says: “The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace and remain at rest.”
The chorus of the song “Stand Still” by Deitrick Haddon says:
“Stand still and know that He is God
There's no need to fight
For the battle is not yours
The battle is the Lord's”

Parts of this study was culled from

Wednesday, July 05 2023

Contributor: Tobi Morakinyo

This study is a continuation of a prophecy by Isaiah about two events of the end times starting from chapter 34 studied last week which was about the judgment of God and the consequent catastrophe during the Great Tribulation period.
Chapter 35 however talks about the blessings that will come to the world when Jesus returns to reign upon the earth together with the raptured saints for one thousand years (Rev. 20:1- 6) in what is known as the Millennial reign or Millennial Kingdom. It would be a time of peace, righteousness, and restoration. During this period, Satan will be bound and unable to deceive the nations.
This study will delve into the specific nature of God's restoration for the regathered Israel during this kingdom and examine the spiritual infrastructure known as the Highway of Holiness.

After the devastating tribulation period, Jesus Christ and the Saints will come back to Earth. Isaiah chapter 35 vividly describes the prophesied restoration of both the physical world and the people of God during the millennial reign of the Lord. The prophecy specifically highlights three areas where this restoration will occur:

1. Restoration Land And The Glory Of Cities (Verses 1-2,7)
(vs. 1&2) The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose; It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice, Even with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, The excellence of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the LORD, The excellency of our God. 

(vs.7) And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water:
in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes.

Isaiah 34:9-15 describes the desolation that will befall Edom, symbolizing a proud nation opposed to God, leading it to become a "Land of Nothing." However, in contrast, after God's judgment is lifted and His Kingdom is established, the once deserted and ruined land and cities will undergo a remarkable transformation. Instead of desolation, there will be joy, rejoicing, and abundant growth, likened to the blossoming of a rose. This flourishing will be widespread, with biodiversity restored to previously barren places, resulting in great joy and singing. This imagery represents a complete and joyful renewal, where life emerges and fills the once barren land. The glory of cities such as Lebanon, Carmel, and Sharon will also be restored (Zech 11:1-2; Isaiah 60:13; Ps. 92:12).

Practical applications for daily life
The terror of the Lord is real, but so is His plan for restoration. No matter the challenges you may be facing, may be likened to a wilderness experience, take comfort in knowing that God is coming to bring transformation. He will turn your life around, causing it to flourish abundantly, and fill your heart with rejoicing if you hold on to Him.

2. Restoration Of Physical Health And Vitality (Verses 3-6)
"3 Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. 4 Say to those who are fearful-hearted, 'Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God; He will come and save you.' 5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. 6 Then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb sing. For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert."

The impending judgment could easily weaken anyone's hands and make their knees feeble. However, considering the magnificent restoration that God will bring about, it is not a time for weakness or hesitation (Hebrews 12:12). Especially for the regathered Israel and surviving believers, God desires them to be strong. After experiencing the horrors of the great tribulation, it is natural for survivors to be filled with fear. However, upon the return of the Lord, fear will dissipate, and a profound faith will be reignited within the hearts of people. The reign of our Lord will be days of miraculous power just like it happened during His ministry, there will be widespread healings and restoration of physical health.

Practical applications for daily life

- Present day believers with weakened hands (lacking in diligent service to the Lord) and feeble knees (struggling to walk closely with the Lord and pray fervently) can find encouragement in this promise. It assures them that they can receive divine strength and spiritual vitality to carry them through the remaining journey of their Christian walk.

- God is never late! When fully trusted, He will surely come and save His people to the uttermost (Hebrew 7:25). In our present trials, we need the strong hope of the LORD to overcome our fearful hearts by the assured confidence that He will come and save.

3. Restoration Of Spiritual Life - The Highway Of Holiness (Verses 8-10)
"8 A highway shall be there, and a road, and it shall be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean shall not pass over it, but it shall be for others. Whoever walks the road, although a fool, shall not go astray. 9 No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast go up on it; it shall not be found there. But the redeemed shall walk there, 10 and the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with singing, with everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away."

The "highway of Holiness" symbolizes a path of holiness, righteousness, and obedience to God. During the millennial kingdom, holiness will prevail due to the righteous reign and the binding of Satan, limiting his corrupting influence. Consequently, the majority of those living in the millennial kingdom will be saved, although a rebellion may occur among those who are not truly saved towards the end of the Millennium. The highway of holiness has three important characteristics.

1. (vs.8) The highway of holiness is a is a place of holiness, a path exclusively for the righteous; the unclean and wicked fools are not welcome. The way of holiness is made possible solely through Christ, who, in exchange for our sins, offers His perfect righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21).

2. (vs.9) The highway of holiness is a place of safety, set apart for the redeemed of the Lord. It represents the safety and protection that God's people will find on this path without the fear of lions and ravenous beasts. The redeemed of the Lord will walk there in peace and safety.

3. (vs 10) The highway of holiness will be a place of joy. The path of holiness will be filled with indescribable joy, as the joy of the Lord becomes the strength of His people. All those who have been redeemed by the Lord will enter the millennial kingdom with great rejoicing.

Practical applications for daily life
Hebrews 12:14 states that "Without holiness, no one can see the Lord." In order to partake in Christ's millennial kingdom and reign with Him, we must make it our aim to live our lives on the path of holiness. Embracing a lifestyle of holiness not only ensures our participation in Christ's reign but also guarantees us safety, security, peace, and an overwhelming sense of joy. Although the road may sometimes feel lonely and narrow, we can be assured of a safe landing.

Isaiah 35 is a prophecy of hope, restoration, and transformation following the destruction in the preceding chapter. It about the characteristics of the millennial kingdom when God will bring about remarkable changes, both in the physical world and in the hearts of people. The highway of Holiness represents a path of righteousness and obedience to God, where the redeemed will walk in safety and joy. Overall, it reminds us that God's promises of renewal and abundant life are certain, and that He has the power to bring about a glorious transformation in our lives. It encourages us to place our trust in God, knowing that He will guide us on the path of holiness and lead us to a place of everlasting joy.

Wednesday, June 28 2023

Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai


Isaiah 34 begins a prophecy that spans two chapters (34 & 35), and deals with things of the end times. Isaiah 34 deals with the judgment of God during the Great Tribulation period, while Isaiah 35 will talk about the blessings that will come to the world when Jesus returns. In today’s study, we see the prophet Isaiah being transported into the future, and onto the final battle of Armageddon

Verse 1: A Demand for Universal Attention – An Invitation of the Nations
“Come here and listen, O nations of the earth; let the world and everything in it hear my words.”
After the promise of heaven and hell from chapter 33, God expands His judgment to all people. God is not partial in judgment, for "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Rom 3:23).

In the previous chapters, the judgment of God had either been directed to Babylon or Assyria, but here we see God’s judgment directed to all nations because it is only at the end of times that “all nations” will be rallied by the anti-Christ to come against Israel. Revelation 16:13-16 tells us that when the sixth vial is opened, lying demon spirits are sent out to the kings of the whole world to bring them down to “the battle of that great day of God Almighty,” more popularly known as the Battle of Armageddon. If we look around the world today, there are several things that are being put in place that will ensure that at the end time, all nations will be able to unify. One of them is Globalisation. In Genesis, God dispersed the people at the tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1–9), but at Armageddon, the anti-Christ will rally the whole world against Jerusalem. That is why the call was being made to all the nations of the earth, the world and everything in it.

Verses 2-7: A Scene of Blood and Confusion - God’s Coming Judgment on Edom
“2 For the Lord is enraged against the nations; his fury is against their armies. He will utterly destroy them and deliver them to slaughter. 3 Their dead will be left unburied, and the stench of rotting bodies will fill the land; the mountains will flow with their blood. 4 At that time the heavens above will melt away and disappear just like a rolled-up scroll, and the stars will fall as leaves, as ripe fruit from the trees. 5 And when my sword has finished its work in the heavens, then watch, for it will fall upon Edom, the people I have doomed. 6 The sword of the Lord is sated with blood; it is gorged with flesh as though used for slaying lambs and goats for sacrifice. For the Lord will slay a great sacrifice in Edom and make a mighty slaughter there. 7 The strongest will perish, young boys and veterans too. The land will be soaked with blood, and the soil made rich with fat."

These verses reveal the fury of the Lord Jesus, and we should therefore make no misstate, the cross is the only beating Jesus will ever take. When He comes again He will spill the blood of the armies of the world. He will utterly destroy the armies of the world. As depicted by the destruction of Edom mentioned here. It is no doubt a picture of the ultimate end of all who oppose God and His people (verses 6-7).

Ezekiel 36:5 tells us that Edom was a perpetual enemy of Israel
“5 this is what the Sovereign Lord says: In my burning zeal I have spoken against the rest of the nations, and against all Edom, for with glee and with malice in their hearts they made my land their own possession so that they might plunder its pastureland.’

Isaiah 63: 1-6 says:
“Who is this who comes from Edom, from the city of Bozrah, with his magnificent garments of crimson? Who is this in royal robes, marching in the greatness of his strength? “It is I, the Lord, announcing your salvation; I, the Lord, the one who is mighty to save!” 2 “Why are your clothes so red, as from treading out the grapes?” 3 “I have trodden the winepress alone. No one was there to help me. In my wrath I have trodden my enemies like grapes. In my fury I trampled my foes. It is their blood you see upon my clothes. 4 For the time has come for me to avenge my people, to redeem them from the hands of their oppressors. 5 I looked but no one came to help them; I was amazed and appalled. So I executed vengeance alone; unaided, I meted out judgment. 6 I crushed the heathen nations in my anger and made them stagger and fall to the ground.”

When we studied the book of Revelations 11 years ago, in chapter 14 Verses 16-20 we learnt about the bloody judgment at Armageddon, where the of bloodshed will be so much that it will yield a flow of blood deep enough to come up to the bridle of a horse. A "thousand and six hundred furlongs" is the distance in which the blood will flow "unto the horse bridles" 1,600 furlongs is about 183.86 miles which is approximately 296km. The distance between Newry and Cork is 291km. We are talking about a flow of blood across Ireland deep enough to drown a horse!

Verse 8: The Reason Given for These Judgments
“For it is the day of vengeance, the year of recompense for what Edom has done to Israel.”

Time and time again in our study of this book, we have heard the prophet Isaiah explain the reason for God’s judgments. God is a just God, and no matter how the world tries, no one can prove He is not just. Because of sin, God will destroy the nations. All the enemies of the Lord will one day be gathered together in battle and slain by God Himself. See Revelation 19:11-21, 20:7-10.
Just before the coming of the Lord, society will be as it was in the days of Lot (Luke 17:28). While he focused especially on Edom, he was using that proud nation as an example of what God would do to all the Gentile nations during the coming of the Lord. As a result of God’s judgment on Edom, it will lie desolate for many generations (v. 17).

Verses 9-15: Continued Desolation
“9 The streams of Edom will be filled with burning pitch, and the ground will be covered with fire. 10 This judgment on Edom will never end. Its smoke will rise up forever. The
land will lie deserted from generation to generation; no one will live there anymore. 11 There the hawks and porcupines will live, and owls and ravens. For God will observe that land and find it worthy of destruction. He will test its nobles and find them worthy of death. 12 It will be called “The Land of Nothing,” and its princes soon will all be gone. 13 Thorns will overrun the palaces, nettles will grow in its forts, and it will become the haunt of jackals and a home for ostriches. 14 The wild animals of the desert will mingle there with wolves and hyenas. Their howls will fill the night. There the night-monsters will scream at each other, and the demons will come there to rest. 15 There the owl will make her nest and lay her eggs; she will hatch her young and nestle them beneath her wings, and the kites will come, each one with its mate"

Verses 9-10 depict the world-wide carnage of the Battle of Armageddon. God made humans stewards over the earth (Gen 2:15). When a person sins, whatever they touch becomes defiled (Hag 2:13-14). A person’s sin therefore has wide-reaching consequences, even to the point that the land can be cursed (Gen 3:17). That is why it is so very important that we take care of whatever is in our charge.

Verses 16-17- CONCLUSION
“Search the book of the Lord and see all that he will do; not one detail will he miss; not one kite will be there without a mate, for the Lord has said it, and his Spirit will make it all come true. 17 He has surveyed and subdivided the land and deeded it to those doleful creatures; they shall possess it forever, from generation to generation.”

Verse 16 isn’t only an assurance of justice from a just God but an assurance of His promises as well! Search the book of the Lord and see all that he will do; not one detail will he miss.Isaiah 55:10-11 says:
“10 As the rain and snow come down from heaven and stay upon the ground to water the earth, and cause the grain to grow and to produce seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry, 11 so also is my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It shall accomplish all I want it to and prosper everywhere I send it.”

This is such a reassuring promise. But you don’t know unless you search the book of the Lord. It is our responsibility to search the book of the Lord (the Bible) and see that God's prophecies and declarations are always fulfilled. The wicked will inherit a terrible, ruined land from generation to generation, that is, forever. But you and I have a sure promise of the Lord’s goodness, here on earth and for eternity. Matthew 19:29 says:

“And everyone that hath forsaken houses or brethren or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold and shall inherit everlasting life."

Wednesday, June 21 2023

Contributor: Ngozi Roberts

In the previous chapter we discussed about how God detests the trusting of the arm of flesh instead of God. The Jews trusted in the Egyptians prowess which is a symbol of trusting the arm of flesh or man and God did not like it. He assured the Jews and ultimately you and I of God's care and protection. The study ended by the prophet calling all to repentance, and prophesied the destruction of those that do not trust God. Following these sequence, the prophet in the next two chapters 32 and 33 prophesies of the coming righteous king that will bring about a righteous government establishing the fact that the blessings that comes out of this righteous rule will only be experienced by the repentant children of God while the sinners will experience His judgement.

This chapter contains a prophecy of the Messiah which is, however applicable to Hezekiah, as a type of Christ as it only has its full accomplishment in him, and in his times. He is described as a righteous King, having Just princes ruling under him. The chapter is filled with metaphors and will require attentiveness to be able to understand these chapters. It is divided into 3 sections. The first section talks about the period of peace and happiness which will characterise the reign of the righteous king. The second section talks about the times of trouble which would be as a result of the existence of bad people and the third section reflects on the blessings that will be seen in the end.

The Prophet prophesies about the reign of a righteous King. This godly king is going to establish a godly government and will have many godly helpers within the society. It is evident this is about Christ our righteous King and His true disciples. Though during the time of Isaiah this king seems to reflect the local historical king – Hezekiah however, for us this ultimately talks about the messiah Jesus Christ and His kingdom. The metaphorical expressions seen in verses 2-8;
See, a king will reign in righteousness and rulers will rule with justice. 2 Each one will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land. 3 Then the eyes of those who see will no longer be closed, and the ears of those who hear will listen. 4 The fearful heart will know and understand, and the stammering tongue will be fluent and clear
These expressions connotes that the this government will bring about stability and comfort in the society. This brings to remembrance, Psalm 47:5-9, which praises God as…the King over all the earth, who reigns with justice and equity.
Also in Isaiah 2:2-4, which foretells that the…nations will stream to Jerusalem to learn from the Lord, and that He will judge between the nations and make peace.
Similarly, in Rom 14:17 : 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,

Here again, the use of metaphorical expressions that indicates that during this righteous reign that fools will not be found in this helm of affairs. Why? Because the characteristics of fools as in verses 6-7 will not be found in this government.
"5 No longer will the fool be called noble nor the scoundrel be highly respected. 6 For fools speak folly, their hearts are bent on evil: They practice ungodliness and spread error concerning the LORD; the hungry they leave empty and from the thirsty they withhold water. Scoundrels use wicked methods, they make up evil schemes to destroy the poor with lies, even when the plea of the needy is just."

So Isaiah prophesies that even in this ideal society, there is going to be rogues and bad people but however, these bad people are going to be recognised and ostracized from leadership

8 But the noble make noble plans, and by noble deeds they stand.
Note that the government will be constituted by noble and princely men.

These verses talks about the rich people of Isaiah days. Again the use of metaphor to express and reflect on the warning to those who are relaxed in their luxury and feel secure due to their own means. The prophet sounds a note of warning that if the ones that are bad continue to provoke God then there is going to befall them a time of hardship and series of anguish that will be coming to them. In reflection for us, we are being admonished to repent and be on the alert and not to rely on our own strength. Reminds us of 1Cor. 7:29-31 where we are admonished to live as if end is at hand. It says:
29What I mean, brothers and sisters, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they do not; 30 those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; 31 those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.

Vs15 talks about the out pouring of the Spirit of God. This brings to mind Joel 2:28-29 that said:
“And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. 29 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.

Also in Isaiah 44:3, For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.
So the prophets lists out the things that will be the outcome of the spirit outpouring.
The Sprit of God will pour out the power and presence of God for us to be able to act on God’s will. When the manifestation of the Spirit of God is on mankind there will be :
1. Abundance of justice,
2. Personalised life style of righteousness that will bring about -
a. peace, quietness,
b. confidence,
3. Undisturbed resting places ; undisturbed land, home,
4. Real security and peace
Again, this brings to mind the scripture Rom. 14:17- 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,

Note that in the middle of blessing of pouring of spirit, Isaiah also prophesies judgement (Vs. 19). which seems odd and makes me to believe judgement refers to the destruction of Assyrian (Chapter 27). So putting this into context, while the Assyrians are being punished by God, the children of God are experiencing the out pouring of the spirit of God and its benefits. However, it is also true that in situations where the children of God are, evil exists. Remember, God treats His enemies differently as we learnt in our previous lessons and they usually end up being destroyed. That is why the scripture tells us that Job 22:29 29When men are cast down, then thou shalt say, There is lifting up; and he shall save the humble person.
So as believers, we should always understand that it is in allowing ourselves be filled with and led by the Holy Spirit that we can experience exemption from the judgement that will befall the evil ones. He says in Romans 8: 14 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
When believers are led by the Holy Spirit , they shall live in fertility, in so much abundance that no matter the poverty that grips the world around them, they shall not be affected.

In this chapter, Isaiah gives an account of God's judgments upon the enemies of his people, and of the peaceable, comfortable, and happy state of the church in the latter day. This chapter is divided in two sections. The first section refers to Gods judgment on His enemies while the second section refers to the happiness to be experienced as a result of the glorious reign of the Messiah.

In verse 1 the prophets reminds us of the Assyria who were a tool in the hand of God to punish the children of Israel in other to bring them back to repentance. These Assyrians did not go unpunished. They still had to experience the wrath of Gods anger. God still held them responsible for their godless action so they have to pay the price. The lesson here is that we as children of God will always be held responsible for any of our actions, even though God already knows from the beginning. If we do evil, without repentance, we will reap whatever we sow. Remember the story of Judas, though it has been prophesied that someone will betray Jesus, Judas stepped into the prophesy and without repentance he was destroyed. He was held responsible for his betrayal action. Same also was Pharoah, he was held responsible for his action when he was destroyed in the Nile pursuing the children of Israel. The righteous ruler often pays the sinner in their own coin. Those who by faith humbly wait for God shall find Him gracious to them.
In Vs. 2, Isaiah both prays and prophecy. He becomes emotional as he calls on God to have mercy. “LORD, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress. This reminds me of the Lord prayer where in Matthew 6:11 it say 11Give us this day our daily bread. Praying for the help of God for daily living. And true to the word, there is no way we can live the Christian life without trusting in Him to lead us daily. God wants us to trust him daily for our daily need. Day by day walk in fellowship with Him. This will bring about our genuine stability and security.
In Vs 3- 6 – The prophets takes us into a peep of his life and experience in God. He leads us to understand who God is. The fear of the Lord is the key to his treasure. When we live in the fear of the Lord we will experience Gods wisdom, salvation and knowledge. The greatest treasure is knowing God and it is a great blessing.

Vs 7 – 9 highlights to us the distress that Jerusalem was brought into.
The prophet reflects on what really happened to the negotiations between the representatives of Israel and Assyrians. The break down on the negotiations brought about the men crying and mourning on the streets of Jerusalem. Why? Because the treaty they had with Assyria had broken down. Everyone is afraid and runs into hiding. This is described in 2Kings 18:13-16. Even though Hezekiah gave the king of Assyrians a lot of treasure to stay away yet he came back anyways to fight.

It’s interesting to know that it is when all other helpers fail, that is the time for God to appear in our lives. Psalm 60:11 says 11 Give us help from trouble: for vain is the help of man.
The Prophet prophesies about the help of God. As God arises to help His people , the children God praise, and exalts Him on high.
The Prophet kind of blows the trumpet of God, letting those who have heard of what God has done to acknowledge that God can do all things. He also reiterates that those sinners that are still living in Jerusalem and outside will experience the wrath of God as He delivers His true children. Reminding us of Hebrew 12:29 29 For our God is a consuming fire.
Also, Deuteronomy 2:24 tells us same. God’s wrath will burn those who make themselves fuel for it. So, He warns the jews that are far away and near to watch what God was going to do. When God arises, his enemies scatters!

Vs 15-16
Isaiah reflects on the characteristics of the people in this new day of righteousness. They reflect the character of God himself. In the Old Testament the goal of righteousness was to be like God. The word righteous connotes straightening - measuring reed and describes God himself. God’s characteristics manifested in humanity and in the New Testament is Christ. These characteristics of God’s righteous people are best explained in Psalm 15:
Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? 2 He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.3 He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour. 4 In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the LORD. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not. 5 He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved.
And psalm 24-3-6 also stipulates same as God’s righteous people characteristics.

From verse 17, the prophet makes reference to the righteous King that we talked about in verse 32. It is during the reign of this miraculous child and king that the children of God will start wondering why they revolted against God in the first place. They note that there is no longer the terror they used to experience. No more task masters. No more strangers with foreign language (Chapter 28:11- indicating that the Assyrians language was foreign to them). They will then appreciate the new government and the new land. Zion the city of Gods dwelling place. A land of peace with stability and no chaos. This is because the Lord God almighty will be the ruler. A land without sickness and there will be so much abundance that none will lack and none will be harmed.

As believers we are reminded to remember the conditional response from God. We should understand that our hope, our Jerusalem will not be destroyed if we as believers follow God and love Him and walk in His ways. He will keep us in Zion, our abode from all harm if we live righteously, however, if we don’t by living unrighteous, He will take His presence from us and we will fall. Note that all of man’s relationship with God is based on unconditional promise followed by man’s individual response which is conditional.
As true believers, we should watch out for all occasion to sin and avoid it. By faith we take Christ as our King and Saviour. Most importantly is that He will be our King in heaven where there will be no sickness or trouble, all our transgressions blotted out and souls healed.
Zephaniah 3:15 says The LORD has taken away your punishment; He has turned back your enemy. Israel's King, the LORD, is among you; no longer will you fear any harm
Job 36:11-12 says 11 If they obey and serve Him, They shall spend their days in prosperity, And their years in pleasures. 12 But if they do not obey, They shall perish by the sword, And they shall die [e]without knowledge.
Also, Matthew 24: 13 encourages us :13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
Ultimately, we are all encouraged and admonished to endure to the end. As long as we trust in God and not man, He will bring us home safely. God is saying to you and I to trust Him and He will forgive us and bring us home to an everlasting life.
Parts of this study was culled from : Matthew Henry – Commentary on the whole Bible

Wednesday, June 14 2023

Contributor: Ayomide Oladipo


Isaiah 30 was an account of a situation the nation of Judah went through, how they handled it and the result of their actions. Judah was facing threat of invasion from Assyrian army, and out of fear and distrust in the Lord they sort help from Egypt. Though Judah knew rightly that it was sinful for them to seek help from Egypt and not from God, yet they did due to bad counsel. 1 Corinthians 15:33 “Evil communication corrupts good manners”, God had encouraged Judah to trust in Him, but due to bad counsel, they disobeyed God and worshipped an idol “Egypt”. The result of their decision according to Isaiah 30:3-5 was shame, humiliation, and disgrace. Isaiah 30: 31 “For through the voice of the LORD shall the Assyrian be beaten down, which smote with a rod.” Prophet Isaiah prophesied how Assyrians would be destroyed. Today’s study will look at God’s characterisation of the actions of Judah, His call for them to repent and the result of their repentance as it pertains to their current predicament.

The Lord will Defend (Isaiah 31: 1-9)
Verse 1: “Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD!”

This is telling us the reason why Judah turned to Egypt for help. Egypt was a strong nation, they had chariots and horses with a great army, so when the invasion from Assyrian was imminent, the leaders of Judah weighed their options, did consultations, they knew they were at war and its obvious they needed war equipments. This led to their decision to go to Egypt.

Proverbs 3 :5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; (6) In all your ways acknowledge him, and He shall direct your paths.”

Looking at Judah’s antecedents, they are not unbelievers that we may say they did not know to trust in the Lord. In proverbs 3: 5-6, king Solomon gave us what we should and should not do when we are faced with decisions or challenges of life. First, trust in the Lord, second, don’t lean on your own understanding, third before you do anything, acknowledge the Lord and the result of that principle is direction from the Lord. Judah despised this principle by taking counsel from unbelievers, leaning on their own understanding of how to fight the war, which lead to their sinful decision.

Why do we call their act sinful? Luke 9: 42 says: “But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

It was sinful because it is an act of rebellion, they knew the truth, Psalm 20:7 (Some trust in chariots, and some in horses, but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.) but decided to go against the truth they already know.

Lesson: It is not just disobedient for us as believers to turn to other things for help and not God, it is a sin. And the Bible says we cannot be in sin and ask grace to abound. We despise the Lord when we allow fear to push us out of trusting in Him.

Verse 2-3: “2 Yet he also is wise, and will bring evil, and will not call back his words: but will arise against the house of the evildoers, and against the help of them that work iniquity. (3) Now the Egyptians are men, and not God, and their horses flesh, and not spirit. When the LORD shall stretch out his hand, both he that helpeth shall fall, and he that is holpen shall fall down, and they all shall fail together.”

Though the leaders of Judah had their obvious justification for seeking help from Egypt and not from the Lord prophet Isaiah here was calling them to remember the reasons why they should trust the Lord over the Egyptians.

Vs 3: Now the Egyptians are men, and not God, and their horses flesh, and not spirit.

God is superior to the chariots and horses of Egypt because He is not a man. (3b): “When the LORD shall stretch out his hand, both he that helpeth shall fall, and he that is holpen shall fall down, and they all shall fail together.”

All it takes is for God to stretch fort His hands and the helper (Egyptians) and those that sort for their help (Judah) will fall together. Prophet Isaiah here was telling them how futile their trust in the Egyptians army is.

Recall our study last week, Isaiah 30:3-5, the trust in Egypt shall end in shame, humiliation, and disgrace.

Lesson: Let us always remember that God is superior to all in every of our decisions. Putting trust in any other thing or man other than God is unreliable. If we can only think a little deeper that if God created all that were made by His word, what can He not unmake by His Word? This includes our challenges Isaiah 30:31 “For through the voice of the Lord, Assyria will be beaten down, as He strikes with the rod.”

Promise of God to Defend His People.
Verse 4-5: “For thus hath the LORD spoken unto me, Like as the lion and the young lion roaring on his prey, when a multitude of shepherds is called forth against him, he will not be afraid of their voice, nor abase himself for the noise of them: so shall the LORD of hosts come down to fight for mount Zion, and for the hill thereof. (5) As birds flying, so will the LORD of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver it; and passing over he will preserve it."

Though Judah made a sinful decision to seek help from Egypt rather than looking unto the help that is already available to them (The Lord), God here, according to prophet Isaiah stood by His commitment to defend mount Zion and Jerusalem which are the cities of His people.

Lesson: God is committed to His promise to defend His own people, if we seek His help or not, His help is always there to defend us, and come through for us if only we can trust in Him.

Call to Repentance.
Verse 6- 7: “Turn ye unto him from whom the children of Israel have deeply revolted. 7 For in that day every man shall cast away his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which your own hands have made unto you for a sin.”

Prophet Isaiah here was admonishing the people to turn back to God. Vs 7: “For in that day” What day? The day people turn away from the idols they have built for themselves. Prophet Isaiah referred to the actions of Judah as idolatry because they put Egyptians in the place of God.

Verse 8-9: “Then Assyria shall fall by a sword not of man, and a sword not of mankind shall devour him. But he shall flee from the sword, and his young men shall become forced labor. (9) He shall cross over to his stronghold for fear, and his princes shall be afraid of the banner, Says the Lord, whose fire is in Zion and whose furnace is in Jerusalem.”

In that day, when the people turn back to God, destroy their Idols, then will the Assyrians be destroyed. This will not happen by sword of any man, but by the great fire of the Lord as recorded in 2 Kings 19:35 God sent his angel and killed 185,000 Assyrians in one night. When the people woke up, there were 185,000 dead Assyrian soldiers. That is God defending His people when they turn to Him and turn away from Idols.

Lesson: Last week we were asked “What can represent idols in our lives today?”, anything we put in God's place in our lives is an idol.

Psalm 110: 1 “The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.””

The Lord is committed to defending us, but not when we have our eyes set on other source of help in place of God. God is committed to all those that have absolute trust in Him, according to the psalmist, God wants us to win without fighting and the only way to live this victorious life is to trust in the Lord.

Psalm 91 tells us about they that dwell in the secret place of the Most-High. The secret place of the Most-High, is the everlasting arm of God and in the everlasting arm of God, we have guaranteed everlasting protection, help and provision. Not on the arms of any man or thing. God wants us to honor men, psalm 115: 6 “The heaven, even the heavens, is the Lord’s, But the earth He has given to the children of men.” As long as we remain on earth, we will always need men because God himself gave the earth to men, but we despise God when we put our trust in men. Whatever you trust in, you will worship and the moment our trust is not God we become idol worshippers, and this will end in disgrace, humiliation, and defeat.

Isaiah 51:1-2 “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, nor his ear heavy, that it cannot hear. (2) But your iniquities have separated you from your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.”

The Lord is always committed to His children, but idol worshipping will sabotage our victory as His children. Turn to the Lord today for help, turn away from idols and watch Him make your enemies your footstool while you hold your peace.

Wednesday, June 07 2023

Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai

Today’s study covers 4 Chapters. (27-30). Chapter 27, the 4th chapter of "Isaiah’s Apocalypse"
concludes the previous three chapters of Isaiah (24, 25 & 26) as it continues to focus on the End Time and on Christ’s divine battle. Chapter 24 showed us a picture of the devastation on the earth that will take place during the upcoming Tribulation period, Chapter 25 showed us what heaven will be like, Chapter 26 showed us how the nation of Israel would come through the Tribulation. Today, in the first part of the study, we will continue to look at the full restoration of the nation of Israel as it comes through the Tribulation in chapter 27, and then come back to more current times of Isaiah’s day in the second part, Chapters. (28-30).

Chapter 27, Verse 1: Satan Will Lose The Battle
In that day the Lord with His severe sword, great and strong, Will punish Leviathan the fleeing
serpent, Leviathan that twisted serpent; And He will slay the reptile that is in the sea. See Rev 12:7- 13
Isaiah 27:1 and Rev 13, have many similarities. Here the prophet Isaiah speaks about the end time. The leviathan has similarities with the dragon in Rev 12:17 and the sea beast in Rev 13:14. The use of two symbols, the woman in labour (chapter 26:17–18) and leviathan (chapter 27) describes the pain and defeat of the Israelites by their enemies, on one hand and on the other hand, the leviathan’s destruction provides hope to the Israelites and focuses on God’s power to deliver His people.

Chapter 27, Verses 2-6 Restoration of Israel
These verses paint a picture of restoration; a vineyard of red wine is one that bears fruit unlike (Isa.5), God Himself is the one who keeps it. He will guard, watch over and water it every moment. (Hosea 14:5). He will do this, night and day. The One who keeps us does not slumber (Psa. 121:3- 4)
Verse 4 tells us that God is no longer angry at His vineyard. “My anger against Israel is gone. If I find thorns and briars bothering her, I will burn them up, unless these enemies of mine surrender and beg for peace and my protection. 6 The time will come when Israel will take root and bud and blossom and fill the whole earth with her fruit!”

Instead of being plucked up and carried off by every army that comes their way, Israel will be
settled permanently in the land. And as a vine that gets rooted firmly, there will be fruit. In the last fifty years, we see the nation of Israel has been re-established in the land, and there’s even been a physical fulfillment in that they are now one of the world’s largest exporters of fruit.

Chapter 27, Verses 7-13 Tables Turned
These verses tell us what was before, and how God turned the tables to the favour of His children. God doesn’t treat His people the same way as He treats those who are His enemies. Difficult times come to all kinds of people. For those who are God’s enemies, they could end up being destroyed. But for those that God loves, they are allowed to happen only to help us grow. God carefully measures how He disciplines His people. It’s all according to what we can handle. Heb. 12:6-11 tells us that to be chastened by God is a sign that we belong to Him and that He loves us! And that the result is a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

By this chastening of the Lord, the iniquity of Jacob is purged and all altars of stones dedicated to worshipping idols will be ground into fine dust as chalkstones.(Vs. 9). Finally, the cities that the enemies of God resided in, like Babylon, and all of their defences, (Rev. 17-18, Is. 25:2) will be brought to nothing. God will pull out His own His enemies, like a farmer separates the grain from the chaff in the wheat, and then picks up His own, one by one when the great trumpet is blown.

In these chapters, Isaiah deals with more current times to his day; the coming destruction of the Northern Kingdom of Israel as well as the problems facing Isaiah’s own country, the nation of Judah

Chapter 28, Verses 1-4 Judgment for the Northern Kingdom
Ephraim is a name used to describe the very fertile Northern Kingdom of Israel; Isaiah, however, lives in the Southern Kingdom of Judah. God will send the nation of Assyria, to throw those of Ephraim to the ground. Because they are too proud to listen to the Lord, to have God tell them what to do. The Northern Kingdom of Israel, in particular the city of Samaria, would be destroyed by Assyria in 2 Kings 17:6.

Chapter 28, Verses 5-6 Promise for the Remnant
The promise to the remnant, the humble is that God Himself will be their "crown of glory" and He will grant the spirit of justice to him who sits in judgment, and strength to those who battle at the gate. God wants us to get our sense of "importance" from the fact that we know Him. Our sense of "beauty" should come from our relationship with Him. 1 Pet 3:3-4 tells us that it’s not about how we appear in the exterior but the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.

Chapter 28, Verses 7-13 Problems With the "Remnant"
Though God has great things for those who will humble themselves, some of these people would miss out on what God had for them because of their own drunkenness. They will make bad decisions because of their drunkenness. A Japanese proverb says: "First the man takes a drink, then the drink takes a drink, and then the drink takes the man."

These rebellious, drunken leaders didn’t like Isaiah’s ministry. Verse 9-10 says: “Who does Isaiah think he is,” the people say, “to speak to us like this! Are we little children, barely old enough to talk? 10 He tells us everything over and over again, a line at a time and in such simple words!”

God’s reply is, "If you’re having trouble understanding baby talk, then I’ll just speak to you through foreign oppressors (the Assyrians) who speak an unknown language when you are invaded.”

Chapter 28, Verses 14-22 Warning for Jerusalem’s Rulers
The warning shifts from Ephraim to Jerusalem and the leaders of the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Because they have made a lie their refuge and falsehood their hiding place. They thought that by making a covenant with death, and an agreement with Sheol, that when the overflowing scourge passes through, it will not come to them. But God says that people who are trusting in falsehood and lies will find their stories swept away. (Vs. 17) and that He is cancelling their contract with the devil. The devil doesn’t have any authority to make a lasting deal with anyone. The only outcome will be death and hell, along with the devil. (Vs. 18-19)
These people by their actions were waging a war against God in futility. Akin to trying to sleep on a bed that is too short and with covers that aren’t big enough for a covering; exposing them to the anger of God. (Vs.20-22) The Lord will come suddenly and in anger, as at Mount Perazim and Gibeon, to do a strange, unusual thing—to destroy his own people! (Vs.21)

Chapter 28, Verses 23-29 Listen to the Teaching of God
The Lord of hosts, is wonderful in counsel and excellent in guidance. So listen to His Words. Psalm 19:7–8 (NLT) says: 7 The instructions of the Lord are perfect, reviving the soul. The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. 8 The commandments of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are clear, giving insight for living.

Chapter 29, Verses 1-4 Coming Siege of Jerusalem
These verses tell us that it is not about sacrifices but obedience.We cannot buy a right standing with God by our many offerings (Vs.1) See 1 Sam 15:22-23, Psalms 51:16-17. God isn’t interested in you thinking that you have to do something to "butter Him up". He just wants you to get serious about following Him. Israel’s life of disobedience set God against them. (Vs. 2-4). The result was, heavy judgment, weeping and sorrow, God becoming their enemy, laying siege against them (Sennacherib laid siege to Jerusalem in 2 Kings 18:13–15; Isa. 36:1) and forts to destroy it.

Chapter 29, Verses 5-8 Deliverance for Jerusalem
Suddenly, by the Lord’s prerogative, the Nations fighting Jerusalem would vanish like a dream. (Is. 37:33-37). A picture of what would happen when Jesus comes back and He will fight to rescue Jerusalem. (Zech. 14:2-3). It will be so prompt, it will feel like they are just about to get their goal in conquering Jerusalem when they suddenly "wake up" and their victory has vanished.

Chapter 29, Verses 9-12 Ignorance as a Result of Hardened Hearts
Even with the disappearance of their enemies, they remain hard-hearted and so God gives them up to their own hardness of heart. "You want a hard heart? You’ve got a hard heart!" (Rom. 11:8)

Chapter 29, Verses 13-16 Rebellious Hearts
Just like the Pharisees in Jesus’ time, they only drew near to God with their mouths and honoured Him with their lips, but their hearts were far from Him. (Matt. 15:1-11). They try to twist things like clay telling the potter “You know nothing” by their actions. God is not interested in "religion", but a "relationship" with you and I.

Chapter 29, Verses 17-24 Change is Coming
Verses 17-24 tell us of a change that is coming. One that brings fruitfulness and fertility (Vs. 17), spiritual restoration of hearing and sight (vs 18) “the deaf will hear the words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the blind will see my plans.” The meek joyful, the poor exulting God, bullies vanishing and scoffers disappearing as well as those who plot evil. And those living in error will believe the truth, and complainers will be willing to be taught!

Chapter 30, Verses 1 -7 Following Bad Counsel
The backdrop to this chapter is that nation of Judah was facing the threat of the invading Assyrian army. They knew it was coming. God had encouraged the people to trust in Him, but there were some people who had a problem with that. So they went seeking help from Egypt. The first 7 verses of this chapter tell us how it grieves God when we choose to do things the world’s way instead of God’s way. When we seek counsel from the ungodly (Psa.1:1). The result according to verses 3-7 is disappointment, humiliation and disgrace. Because as a matter of fact, no help can come from the ungodly.

Chapter 30, Verses 8-17 Spiritual Stubbornness Brings Judgment
Verse 11 tells us that the people did not want to hear the truth. Instead they wanted to hear nice things. Just as in 2 Tim 4:3-4 KJV “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”
The consequences of their perverse ways of life, we see in verses 13-14;

This perverse way of life will be like a towering, badly built wall that slowly, slowly tilts and shifts, and then one day, without warning, collapses— Smashed to bits like a piece of pottery, smashed beyond recognition or repair, Useless, a pile of debris to be swept up and thrown in the trash.”

Even when God tells them the secret of their salvation and strength, “Only in returning to me and waiting for me will you be saved; in quietness and confidence is your strength;” they refused to accept but chose to get help from the “world” Egypt.

Chapter 30, Verses 18-26 God’s Unfailing Love, Grace and Mercy Displayed
Verses 18-19 says: “Yet the Lord still waits for you to come to him so he can show you his love; he will conquer you to bless you, just as he said. For the Lord is faithful to his promises. Blessed are all those who wait for him to help them. 19 O my people in Jerusalem, you shall weep no more, for he will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. He will answer you."

Chapter 30, Verses 27-33 Destruction of the Enemy
Isaiah prophecies the destruction of the Assyrian army in Hezekiah’s day. Verse 31 says: “For through the voice of the Lord Assyria will be beaten down, As He strikes with the rod.”
The Assyrians suffered a great defeat in Isaiah 37:1-38 where God sent one Angel in verse 35 to destroy the entire army of the Assyrians made up of 185,000 soldiers.

Despite the pain and difficulties we face as believers, the leviathan’s destruction provides hope, and focuses on God’s power to deliver His children. God carefully measures how He disciplines His people. It’s all according to what we can handle. Heb. 12:6-11 tells us that to be chastened by God is a sign that we belong to Him and He loves us! And that the result is a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. And therefore restoration awaits us; here on earth and ultimately in heaven as long as we listen to the Lord’s wonderful counsel and excellent in guidance.
God’s blessings come to those who wait. Even when we don’t wait for Him, He waits for us. Verse 18 says: “Yet the Lord still waits for you to come to him so he can show you his love.” God is patient towards us and is waiting to give us a chance to repent. (2 Pet 3:9 KJV) The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But it is in returning and rest will we be saved; and our strength is in quietness and confidence.

Parts of this study was culled from

Wednesday, May 31 2023

Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai

After spending a dozen chapters judging the nations of his day, the prophet Isaiah sees into the future and he beholds God’s judgement in the world’s final days. Isaiah chapters 24-27 are breath-taking chapters that parallel the events we find in the book of Revelations chapters 6 – 19. They also foresee the time the Bible refers to as the “Day of the Lord”. Today, as it were, is the day of man, man is having his way, getting his say. But the day of the Lord is coming when the Lord will have the final say in all human affairs. It will begin with the rapture of the church and the return of Jesus to rescue the Jews, the restoration of God’s Kingdom and ultimately, the reign of our Lord Jesus Christ. Today’s study looks at two chapters of praise of the Almighty God!

I. CHAPTER 25 Verses 1-12

  • Praising God For The Wonderful Things He’s Done (Verses 1-3)

In Isaiah 24, the prophet spoke of the judgment that was to come upon the world, especially in the Great Tribulation. During that time, those who have come to trust in the LORD will praise Him, even in the midst of His righteous judgment. Here in these verses, the prophet makes a decision to praise God (I will). Worship is never to be just a feeling, even if it is an intense feeling. We are to worship God with a decision. For the wonderful things He has done, for His counsels of old, faithfulness and truth and for His righteous judgment. (Vs. 2) The people of the LORD see His work and glorify Him. This is the first of two effects of the judgment of God. Second, the city of the terrible nations will fear You. The unrighteous fear God when they see His righteous judgment.

  • Praising God for His Goodness to the Weak. (Verses 4-5)

God is worthy of our praise because He brings strength to the poor and needy. He is a refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat: This is a wonderful reason to praise God, and even the strangers (aliens) are blessed by His goodness. God will even quiet the song of the terrible ones.

  • Praising God for What He Will Do - A Glorious Feast For God’s People (Verse 6)

In several places, the Bible speaks of what is sometimes called the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Rev. 19:9 says, blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb! According to Isaiah 25:6, we might say that this great feast takes place on earth, not in heaven. For God’s people, this will be the “victory banquet” or the “awards banquet” when the final battle is over. What a feast that will be!

  • The Destruction of Evil. (Verses 7-8)

The picture is that there is a veil that is spread over all nations that keeps them from seeing God, loving God, and obeying God. In this glorious day, the LORD will destroy that veil. In 2 Corinthians 3:15, the Apostle Paul speaks of Israel being blinded by a veil: But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. In Isaiah’s day, it was apparent that the nations were veiled, and in Paul’s day, it was apparent that Israel was veiled. But when people return to God, the veil is taken away (2 Corinthians 3:16).
The LORD will also destroy death in that day. Death was introduced by Adam’s rebellion (Genesis 2:16-17) and will one day be completely eliminated by God. 1 Corinthians 15:54. And He will wipe away tears from all faces: This is how glorious the tender mercy of God is. It isn’t just that He takes away the things that made us sad, or even that He gives us a handkerchief to dry our eyes. Instead, He will gently and lovingly wipe away tears from all faces and the rebuke of His people He will take away from all the earth

  • The Testimony of God’s People. (Verses 9-12)

We will proclaim, unashamed and unafraid (Luke 12:8) “Behold, this is our God. We have waited for Him, and He will save us. We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.
The LORD will settle His hand of favour, power, and glory on Mount Zion (That is you and I today). After the Great Tribulation, when Jesus Christ reigns from Jerusalem, the whole creation will know that the hand of the LORD does rest on this mountain. Moab shall be trampled down: In that day, Jesus will rule the nations with all authority and righteousness (Psalm 2:8-12). God will reach out (As a swimmer reaches out to swim) and bring low every proud, rebelling heart. Those who oppose His rule He will bring to the ground, down to the dust.

II. CHAPTER 26 Verses 1-21
Chapter 26 is a song of praise to the Lord. If chapter 25 was the verse of the song, this chapter would be the chorus. Revelation 21: 2 says: “I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.”

  • The Strength of God’s City (Verses 1-2)

The context from these verses point to the day of the Messiah’s ultimate triumph, the day when the Messiah reigns over Israel, and over all the world. In that day, there will be a lot of joyful singing, such as this song that will be sung in the land of Judah. “Our city is strong! We are surrounded by the walls of his salvation!”
Since cities came into being after the fall of man in Genesis 3, mankind has never known a truly godly city, the City of God on earth. In that day, all will know the strength and glory of the city of God. Surrounded by the walls of His salvation!
Open the gates, that the righteous nation which keeps the truth may enter it: The city of God, with all its strength and salvation, is only for the righteous, and those who keep the truth. (Revelation 21:22-27).

  • The Lord is Our Source of Strength and Peace. (Verses 3-4)

In Hebrew, the term perfect peace is actually shalom shalom. “You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You”.
To be kept in this perfect peace is a matter of our mind not so much a matter of our spirits, souls or our hearts. We are to love the LORD our God with all of our mind (Matthew 22:37). We are transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2). We can have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16, Philippians 2:5). We are not to set our mind on earthly things (Philippians 3:19), but to set our mind on things above (Colossians 3:2). The Christian life is not an unthinking life of just doing, or experiencing, but it is also about thinking, and where we set our mind is essential in our walk before the LORD.
It is not only having perfect peace, but being kept in perfect peace. So it is possible for someone to have “seasonal” or “temporary” perfect peace because they have not been kept there. It is also possible to be kept in peace, but peace that is not perfect peace, (John 14:27). But there is a perfect peace that the LORD will keep us in.
“Whose mind is stayed on You Because he trusts in You”: This is the place of perfect peace and the source of it. When we keep our minds stayed – settled upon, established upon – the Lord Himself, then we can be kept in this perfect peace. (Proverbs 3:5)

  • The Destiny of the City of Man. (Verses 5-6)

The city of man, represents the world system that is all about power and prestige, built on the backs of the weak and the poor. But when God brings the city of man down to the dust, He will turn all that around, and the feet of the poor shall tread it down.

  • The Upright Vs The Wicked (Verses 7-11)

7 But for good men the path is not uphill and rough! God does not give them a rough and treacherous path, but smooths the road before them. 8 O Lord, we love to do your will! Our hearts’ desire is to glorify your name. 9 All night long I search for you; earnestly I seek for God; for only when you come in judgment on the earth to punish it will people turn away from wickedness and do what is right. 10 Your kindness to the wicked doesn’t make them good; they keep on doing wrong and take no notice of your majesty. 11 They do not listen when you threaten; they will not look to see your upraised fist. Show them how much you love your people. Perhaps then they will be ashamed! Yes, let them be burned up by the fire reserved for your enemies. TLB

  • The Prayer of a Humble Heart. (Verses 12-19)

2 Chronicles 7:14 says: “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
The humble heart repents of past idolatry, and rejoices in the present freedom in the Lord. The humble heart knows the futility of working apart from the direction and blessing of God. The humble heart knows the LORD is responsible for increase and blessing. The humble heart relies on the Lord in times of distress and futility. The humble heart looks unto the Lord for the promise of resurrection.

CONCLUSION: Refuge from the Coming Judgment. (Verses 20-21)
This call for refuge, away from the devastation that would happen could be in reference to the deliverance of the Jewish people from the fury of the Antichrist described in Revelation 12:6 and 12:13-16. But it is more likely that it speaks of the refuge, the safety, the security of you and I when we will be caught up together with the Lord in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17) and escape the horrific indignation of the Lord that He pours out upon the world in the Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:21-22, Revelation 9:15-21), which will immediately precede the second coming of Jesus Christ (Matthew 24:29-30).

Parts of this study was culled from The Enduring Word Bible Commentary by David Guzik

Wednesday, May 24 2023

Contributor: Joy Okpebri

We have been looking at the book of Isaiah which constitutes prophecy sometimes called the "Isaiah Apocalypse". Last week, we looked at the five burdens, weighty revelations via prophecy which became a burden to Isaiah – The basic theme being the encroachment of Babylon on God’s people and the reliance of Jerusalem on the strength of the city walls rather than on God. Today, we will be looking at Chapter 24 which contains the prophecy on the devastation of the land and Judgement on the people.

We will be looking into 3 main segments:
1. Destruction of Judah for its defilements and transgressions (Isaiah 24:1–12).
2. A remnant that will hold on to God and praise Him (Isaiah 24:13–16a).
3. God, by His judgments on His people and their enemies, will advance His Kingdom (Isaiah 24:16b–23).

Some of these sections contains some subsets as we go through the verses…
It is pertinent to state here that prophesies are basically a revelation of an action and its consequences. They are God’s warnings which when taken seriously, and correction done, would save the recipients from the consequences but if ignored will manifest.
Also, prophesies as the word of God, can replicate and transcend time in its advantages to bring to light an ongoing action, mindset and attitude while portraying the effect or consequences thus laying out a choice to continue in that trajectory, or make amends and prevent pending doom.
What we are looking at in this chapter is a microcosm or a small segment representing a greater demography. Isaiah’s prophesy does not just relate to the Babylonian conquest of Judah but applies to the earth and the purpose of mankind.

Destruction of the Current Earth (Isaiah 24:1–12)

a. The LORD’s Devastation of the Earth (Vs1)
In Vs1, Isaiah invites us to see.
We should bear in mind as we see the picture painted by Isaiah, that it is a representation of God’s judgement upon the earth and not just on Judah.
This tells of great devastation and tribulation we see that if it is left to run its course, no man will be saved. Same if the full consequence of the actions and sins of mankind are allowed to manifest, no one will survive. For the consequence of sin is death. But then by our own might shall no man succeed.
However, the consequence of our sin was laid upon Christ our saviour who has redeemed us from the course of the law. So, a choice is paced before mankind…now choose …Christ or death.

b. Everyone Will Be Affected (Vs. 2-3).
Vs 2 list out several type of people that would be affected by the judgement.
In these comparisons, Isaiah shows that all will be affected no matter their status in life… (Master, Mistress, Low station, Religious, economically buoyant, derelict, whether you believe in God or otherwise; not one of these statuses will protect one from the judgments of the LORD. When the judgment of the Great Tribulation comes, it will be complete in its scope.
The same with the wages of sin…it is death irrespective of your status on earth. The laws of heaven do not have different interpretations or perspectives.
The end of Vs 3 says: The earth will be completely laid waste and totally plundered. The LORD has spoken this word.
God’s sovereignty is such that whatever He speaks will come to pass. Consider that He spoke creation into existence as seen in Genesis 1.

c. Destruction Came Up Because of The Actions of Mankind (4-6).
Vs 4-6 gives us the reason for the destruction and judgement.
The destruction is total. The earth dries up and wither while the heavens languish alongside.
Heaven also languishes because it is not the desire of God that any should perish. (2 Peter 3:9) He rather wishes for all to come to repentance so that they would be delivered from destruction.

Vs 5 of Isaiah 24 answer the questions…Is it God’s fault? is it His desire? Does He no longer want the redemption of man?
The answer to all these questions is No. It is the blatant and repeated rejection of God’s Words, His will, His mercy, and love, is what will bring the ultimate judgment: The Great Tribulation.

d. The Scene of Judgment (7-12).
Vs 7-12 paints the picture of the scene of judgment.
The things that we seem to think are so precious on this earth and we cannot do without, those activities we engage in that prevents us from Seeking and obeying God; will all turn to nothing.
When the LORD brings the judgment of the Great Tribulation, there will be no more “partying as usual.” The days for eating and drinking, marrying, and giving in marriage (Matthew 24:38) are for before the Great Tribulation. When the Great Tribulation comes, the noise of the jubilant ends, the joy of the harp ceases.
The judgment will be so complete that the cities will look like bare olive trees. No fruit nor flavour…just chaff.

A Remnant That Will Hold on to God and Praise Him (Isaiah 24:13–16a)

Vs 13-16b shows the glory of God and the woes of mankind.
Even in the midst of great judgment and desolation, God has His own who will praise Him.
These will be a remnant who have turned back to God at the late hour after judgement have been unleashed. Revelation 7:9-14 refers to them as… those who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
This shows God’s desire for as many as possible to be saved. In His mercy, His Word is still in action that he who calls unto Him, anywhere and at any time, will be saved. This is clear in Romans 10:13… for, “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

The godly can see the goodness, the greatness, and the glory of God even in judgment, even in the great tribulation. We the believers know that God is gloriously righteous and merciful even in the full glare of our unfaithfulness and that is why we crawl back after going astray.
The question now is … “Why would we wait for consequences before we run back to God?”; Before we obey his ordinances. Isaiah is warning us ahead and we should heed now before the trumpet sounds, and it becomes too late.

God, by His Judgments on His People and Their Enemies, Will Advance His Kingdom Isaiah 24:16b–23.

a. The Character of God’s Judgment (16b-18).
While some repented, turned back and glorified God in the midst of the tribulation, some did not repent and got caught up in their destruction.

Vs 16b-18 shows that the judgment of the LORD will always be completed as the treacherous dealers have dealt very treacherously.

Vs 17 mirrors the writing in the book of Revelations of this time of Great Tribulation. This judgement is specifically for the people of the earth. We can liken this to a divide between those who has received the salvation and kept away from sin and those who had wallowed in their sins and now suffer the consequences.

Vs.18 shows that the judgment of the LORD is inescapable. If you escape the fear or terror, you will fall into the pit. If you escape the pit, you will fall into the snare. God’s judgment has enough back-up plans to catch everyone because the wages of sin is death.

b. The Intensity of the Judgment of the LORD Touches Everything Vs. 19-20).
The weight of the guilt of man’s sins is likened to lava from a volcano. It forces itself to the surface violently and splits the earth as it goes. It consumes everything in its part and turns it all to ash.
The final act of judgement is being cast into hell where sinners shall burn for ever with great and violent suffering for eternity.

c. The Judgment of the LORD Will Touch Everyone (Vs. 21-23).
One of the more frustrating aspects of life is to see the rich, powerful, and wicked escape the present consequences of their sin. But in His great judgment during the Great Tribulation, no one will be able to buy a high-priced lawyer to escape judgment or bribe a politician to come out without being hurt.
God is the impartial judge. That is why we are advised to hold on to our salvation with fear and trembling so that after going so far, one slips up and still end up in hell. It is not a function of how long or how loudly one holds on to the claim of being a believer but the holding on and not looking back in steadfast believe and obedience to the instructions of God.
Under God’s great and final judgment, the status of princes, priests, heads of government and all else on this earth will buy them nothing.
It is very important to note that God’s purpose in judgment isn’t simple vengeance or vindictiveness, it is to bring about a glorious new world.

The entrance of the Word of God, brings light. The Word of God never fails. It always performs the enterprise to which it is sent. Prophecy could be for a particular duration, a season or open ended such that whoever receives it and works in it, will be delivered. It is not debarred by geographical, time or race constraints. We need to heed the warnings and ensure we do not run fowl of God’s Words. The wages of sin is death. The gift of God is eternal life.
But he that harkens to the voice of the Lord through His Word of commandments and exaltations, and warnings, will be upheld by the everlasting arms of God. This is the only true way of escape from the devastation and judgement to come.

Remember Ecclesiastes 10:8b…’He that breaks the hedge, the snake will bite’. The snake is symbolic of the devil whose goal is to steal, kill and destroy. So, the disobedient one is exposed to the workings of destruction and death while his salvation, protection is stolen.

This will not be our portion in Jesus Name. Amen

Wednesday, May 17 2023

Contributor: Alex Kokobili


The previous study (Isaiah 17-20) reminded us about how Assyria came against Ashdod which is a Palestinian city and seized it and then further led captive of the Egyptians and Ethiopians (Isaiah 20). Isaiah had to take off the sackcloth worn by prophets walking around barefoot as he declared the humiliation of Egypt. This signified the shame of Egypt and Ethiopia and how they would be in captivity of the Assyrians. This was also a deterrent to Judah to depend on God or else they also will fall into the hands of the Assyrians.
The discussion today is on Isaiah’s burdens which is revealed in chapters 21, 22 and 23. The prophecies in chapter 21 were burdens against the desert of the sea also referred to as burden of Arabia which became the destruction and fall of Babylon, then Dumah the offspring of the Ishmaelite and also the Assyrians. The other burdens were the besiegement of Jerusalem (chapter 22), and later the destruction of Tyre in chapter 23.

Part A. Isaiah 21: 1-17. (The fall of Babylon)
This emphasizes on the wilderness of the sea refers to Babylon with different prophetic warnings which were also described in Jeremiah 50 warning the habitants of Babylon to flee the land that it will be captured. Burden of the desert of Arabia or desert of the sea (See Jeremiah 50 – 51:42 talks about the drowning of Babylon (destruction), The fall of Babylon, and Dumah (the descendant of Ishmael).

- Isaiah 21: 1-10

Explains the destruction of Babylon which was eminent as God was going to use the Elamites and the Persians to bring judgment on Babylon for using the Medes to besieged its people. Babylon was known to have dealt treacherously with other nations and captives but now it will also face treacherous judgement. Isaiah’s prophecy at this point links us to Daniel 5:1-4 which reminds us of the consequences of the actions King Belshazzar who used the holy utensils to host a feast which was looted by King Nebuchadnezzar from the temple in Jerusalem.We then noticed (Isaiah 21:4) that Isaiah was shocked and dismayed about the judgment that will come on the Babylonians which will make it loose its advantage as a powerful. Bible scholars believed that this great fall of Babylon was actualized about two hundred years from the time Isaiah’s prophesy was released. Isaiah doesn’t seem to be happy about this message, he then speaks in agony (Isaiah V3-6) but regardless in this vision he had to be set as a watchman on a watch tower to declare what he saw. In v 6, Isaiah stands on the watch tower as he saw the vision of that Babylon is falling. Two chariots of animals – one of donkeys and the other of camels which is applicable of the meddle Persian empire which will be responsible for the demise of the people of Babylon. Then V9, Isaiah exclaimed, Babylon is fallen. Isaiah cries at the fall of Babylon saying “Babylon is fallen and its carved images”. We noticed in the Old Testament, it was not called Babylon the great! However, see a slight difference in Revelations 18: 2 “Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great!’ She has become a dwelling for demons and a haunt for every impure spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detestable animal”) This tells us the Babylon would eventually fall at the apex of his glory. Babylon was known for its worship of idolatry and political grip and such narrative meant oppression of God’s people. This great fall thus signified the end of a Gentile rule that had a religious and political grip over God’s people, and also an end to evil that will user reign of God’s righteousness.

- Isaiah 21: 11 -12

Focuses on the prophecy against Dumah which is Edom, the cousin of Israel the descendants of Esau. The bringing of night, when is it going to end? The message comes that morning will come, but however more night will also come again. More nights coming, so the Edom will still suffer more persecutions for its actions against Israel and Judah its brethren. We also see this situation as repercussion for the way Esau dealt with his brother (Obadiah 1: 10-11) “For violence against your brother Jacob, Shame shall cover you, And you shall be cut off forever”. This continued with further emphasis (Obadiah 1: 18-19, “the house of Jacob shall be a fire, And the house of Joseph a flame; But the house of Esau shall be stubble; They shall kindle them and devour them, And no survivor shall remain of the house of Esau, for the LORD has spoken.19 The South shall possess the mountains of Esau”. Eventually Dumah shall be taken over and but Zion referring to the house of Israel shall be elevated as that which spring forth salvation (Obadiah 1:21 Then saviors shall come to Mount Zion. To judge the mountains of Esau, And the kingdom shall be the LORD’s).

- Isaiah 21: 13-17

These verse puts our attention on fall of Arabia because it was centered on the Ishmaelite’s with a focus on Kedar which is the second son of Ishmael (Gen 25:13 “These are the names of the sons of Ishmael, listed in the order of their birth: Nebaioth the firstborn of Ishmael, Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam”). Kedar was a trading pattern of the people of Tyre (Ezekiel 27:21) and they were also known for the worship of false gods. From Isaiah’s prophecy we understand that the people of Kedar were mighty, glorious and had skilled men that shot bow and arrow on target (Isaiah 21:16-17) but God’s judgment on them means that they will be diminished.

Part B. Isaiah 22: 1-15 (Declaration Against Jerusalem)
The besiegement of Jerusalem was the burden of the valley of vision. Despite the fact Jerusalem is on the mountain, it was called the valley of vision because it was surrounded by its enemies.

- Isaiah 22: 1-7

Shows us God’s judgement against Jerusalem (The valley of vision). Isaiah in this narrative is agonized by what will become of the city and how it will be invaded with its city wall levelled. The description of city of hill which signified glory and honour of Jerusalem was exchange for that of a valley with a similitude in Jeremiah 21:13 “Behold, I am against thee, O inhabitant of the valley, and rock of the plain, saith the Lord; which say, Who shall come down against us? or who shall enter into our habitations?”.

- Isaiah 22: 8-14

Jerusalem is faulted here for focusing on fortifying itself from external intrusion instead of repentance before God. Despite warnings they partied and were confident in themselves. So therefore God held them accountable for their sins and they will be vulnerable to attacks from their enemies.

- Isaiah 22: 15-24

This section tells us about Shebna who was the head of the treasury in the reign of king Hezekiah (2Kings 18:26). He had influence in the economy of Babylon while Jews where in exile. He was prude and exalted himself like a king building himself expensive tombs. His punishment would be in captivity in a strange where he shall die in shame (Isaiah 18-19 “He will surely turn violently and toss you like a ball Into a large country; There you shall die, and there your glorious chariots Shall be the shame of your master’s house. 19 So I will drive you out of your office, And from your position he will pull you down”. Shebna would then be replaced by Eliakim (V20-21), “That I will call My servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah; 21 I will clothe him with your robe). We however noticed that Eliakim was described as a type of Christ that will emerge (V22) “a key to the household of David”.

Part C. Isaiah 23: 1-18 (The Proclamation Against Tyre)
This is the burden of the Lord against Tyre of the Phoenicia (todays Lebanon) which was an Island and they were known commerce and shipping.

- Isaiah 23:1-7

Tyre will be destroyed because of its pride which is due to its success in commerce and wealth from shipping (Ezra 3:7) “They also gave money to the masons and the carpenters, and food, drink, and oil to the people of Sidon and Tyre to bring cedar logs from Lebanon to the sea, to Joppa, according to the permission which they had from Cyrus king of Persia”). Then we also notice that the people of Tyre at some point will join the Edomites’ against their brethren Israel. The ships of Tyre were used for slave trade (Isaiah 23:2-3) which brought them huge revenues, Ezekiel 27: 25 “The ships of Tarshish” here are deep-sea ships, great ships trading to the most distant coasts”. We then see the consequences of their pride here in Isaiah 23:4-5 that that Sidon will be ashamed and Tyre in anguish and will be a laughing stock.

- Isaiah 23:8-18

The people of Tyre were called the merchant princes and were proud of their success (V8-9). The destruction of Phoenicia (Lebanon) which includes Tyre and Sidon will be likened to Assyria and Babylon which means it will become deserted and even if they find refuge with their neighbor in Cyprus they will have no rest. The fortress of Tarshish will also be destroyed making it difficult for Tyre to find a safety for its ships and therefore described as a forgotten prostitute (V14-15). Tyre will be forgotten for seventy years and at the end of the seventy years God’s judgment will be manifested upon it. The prophet Ezekiel also explained the judgment of Tyre for their disregard for Israel “Ezekiel 26:3B Behold, I am against you, Tyre, and I will bring up many nations against you, as the sea brings up its waves”. The implication will be that Tyre will not benefit from its enterprise (shipping businesses) which is now likened
to prostitution because of how it turned them away from God into pride. Isaiah 23:17 tells us, although Tyre will return to her commerce, it will not be profitable but however, Tyre’s wealth will be restored through a life of concentration to God which is holiness (V18 “Yet her profit and her earnings will be set apart for the LORD; they will not be stored up or hoarded. Her profits will go to those who live before the LORD, for abundant food and fine clothes Yet her profit and her earnings will be set apart for the LORD; they will not be stored up or hoarded. Her profits will go to those who live before the LORD, for abundant food and fine clothes”).

The five burdens were prophecies were weighty revelations and were enough to be a burden (Isaiah 21-23). We noticed that the Babylonian kings crossed their boundaries by having no regard for God or his chosen people (Isaiah 21), then also how Jerusalem on its part relied on the strength of the walls instead on the salvation of God (Isaiah 22). The consequences of pride in the case of Tyre (Isaiah 23) due to its prosperity of commerce cannot be overemphasized as God will puts our complete adherence to holiness. Unfortunately, so many people including Christians trivialize prophecies without analyzing the consequences (Hebrews 10: 31 For it is a fearful thing to fall into the anger of the living God). We must act with action when we are being directed or redirected by God because it is better than we ending up in self-destruction which was the case of these nations which eventually in great repercussions. We can meditate on this with these scriptures; (Mathew 6: 33 Seek for the kingdom of God and His righteousness all other things shall be handed over to you), (2 Timothy 3: 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works).

Wednesday, May 10 2023

Contributor: Alex Alajiki

We are studying chapter 17, 18, 19 and 20 today. We shall be reading from The New King James Version (NKJ), International Standard Version (ISV) and The Message Version (MSG) of the bible for our in-depth study today.

Chapter 17:1-14
1. A Rebuke to Damascus; Isa. 17:1-3
A message about Damascus: “Look! Damascus will cease to be a city. Instead, it will become a pile of ruins. 2 The cities of Aroer will be deserted— they will be devoted to herds that will lay at rest, and terrorism will be no more. 3 The fortress will disappear from Ephraim, and royal authority from Damascus; the survivors from Aram will be like the glory of the Israelis,” declares the Lord of the Heavenly Armies.

This chapter contains a prophecy of the ruin of Syria and Israel, the ten tribes; who were in alliance against Judah. Damascus, the head city of Syria, must be destroyed; the houses, the walls, gates, and fortifications demolished, and the inhabitants carried away captive. It will be reduced not only to a village, but to a ruinous heap. Vs 2, the cities of Aroer (a province of Syria) will be forsaken so that the places which should be for men to live in are for flocks to lie down and none will disturb nor dislodge them. Vs 3, The fortress shall cease from Ephraim, that in Samaria, and all the rest. They had joined with Syria in invading Judah and now those that had been partakers in sin should be made partakers in ruin and judgement.

2. A Time of Weakness for Israel; Isa. 17:4-6
Vs 4, the glory of Jacob was their numbers, that they were as the sand of the sea for multitude; but this glory shall be made thin, when many are cut off, and few left. Then the fatness of their flesh, which was their pride and security, shall wax lean, and the body of the people shall become a perfect skeleton, nothing but skin and bones.

Vs 5, The corn is the glory of the fields (Psa 65:13); but, when it is reaped and gone, where is the glory? The people had by their sins made themselves ripe for ruin, and their glory was quickly taken away, as the corn is out of the field by the husbandman.

Vs 6, Mercy is here reserved in the midst of judgment, for a remnant that should escape the common ruin of the kingdom of the ten tribes. those that are left are but like the poor remains of an olive tree when it has been carefully shaken by the owner.

3. Repentance and Revival; Isa. 17:7-8

Vs 7-8, They shall be a sanctified remnant. These few that are preserved are such as, in the prospect of the judgment approaching, had repented of their sins and reformed their lives, and therefore were snatched as brands out of the burning judgement. They were awakened, partly by a sense of the distinguishing mercy of their deliverance, and partly by the distresses they were still in, to return to God. They shall look up to their Creator, shall enquire, where is God my Maker, who gives songs in the night, in such a night of affliction as this? Job 35:10, Job 35:1, Psa 123:2. We must remember that God is in covenant with us and the God of grace; particularly, when we are in affliction, our eyes must be towards the Lord, to deliver us (Psa 25:15).

4. Desolation to the Nations: Verses 9-14
Vs 9, Here the prophet returns to foretell the woeful desolations that should be made in the land of Israel by the army of the Assyrians.

Vs 10, the sin that had provoked God to bring so great a destruction upon that pleasant land. It was for the iniquity of those that dwelt therein. It is because you have forgotten the God of your salvation. The God of our salvation is the rock of our strength; and our forgetfulness and not mindful of him are at the bottom of all sin. The harvest used to be a time of joy, of singing and shouting (Isa 16:10), but it shall be a time of desperate sorrow, for they shall see not only this year's products carried off, but the property of the ground altered and their conquerors lords over them. The harvest shall be removed into the enemy's country (Deut. 28:33).

Vs 12-13, these verses read the doom of those that spoil and rob the people of God. If the Assyrians and Israelites invade and plunder Judah, if the Assyrian army take God's people captive and lay their country waste, let them know that ruin will be their lot and portion. God will make them like a wheel, or rolling thing, and then persecute them with his tempest and make them afraid with his storm, Ps. 83:13, Ps. 83:15. Note, God can dispirit the enemies of his church when they are most courageous and confident, and dissipate them when they seem most closely consolidated.

Vs 14, At evening-tide they are very troublesome, and threaten trouble to the people of God; but before the morning they are not. Like in Exo. 14:13-14 when Moses assured the children of Isreal
“And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever”.

Summary of Chapter 18:1-7
This chapter is a prophecy of the desolation of a land or country, described by the wings with which it was shaded, and by the rivers by which it was situated.
1. The prophet addresses himself to the nation here described as a 'land shadowing with wings,' and as sending ambassadors, in a manner designed to call their attention to the great events soon to occur Isa 18:1-2.
2. He addresses all nations, calling upon them also to attend to the same subject Isa 18:3.
3. He says that God had revealed to him that destruction should come upon the enemies here referred to, and that the immense host should be left to the beasts of the earth, and to the fowls of the mountains Isa 18:4-6.
4. The consequence, he says, of such events would be, that a present would be brought to Yahweh from the distant nation 'scattered and peeled,' and whose land the rivers had spoiled Isa 18:7.

Summary of Chapter 19:1-25
This chapter contains prophecies of various calamities that should come upon Egypt in a short time, and of the conversion of many of them to Christ in Gospel times. The calamities are many; the Lord's coming unto them, which their gods cannot prevent, nor stand before, nor save them, and at which the hearts of the Egyptians are dispirited.

1. He sees Yahweh coming in a cloud to Egypt Isa 19:1.
2. The effect of this is to produce alarm among the idols of that nation Isa 19:2.
3. A state of internal commotion and discord is described as existing in Egypt; a state of calamity so great that they would seek relief from their idols and necromancers Isa 19:2-3.
4. The consequence of these dissensions and internal strife would be, that they would be subdued by a foreign and cruel prince Isa 19:4.
5. To these political calamities there would be added "physical" sufferings Isa 19:5-10 - the Nile would be dried up, and all that grew on its banks would wither Isa 19:5-7; those who had been accustomed to fish in the Nile would be thrown out of employment Isa 19:8; and those that were engaged in the manufacture of linen would, as a consequence, be driven from employment Isa 19:9-10.
6. All counsel and wisdom would fail from the nation, and the kings and priests be regarded as fools Isa 19:11-16.
7. The land of Judah would become a terror to them Isa 19:17.
8. This would be followed by the conversion of many of the Egyptians to the true religion Isa 19:18-20; Yahweh would become their protector, and would repair the breaches that had been made, and remove the evils which they had experienced Isa 19:21-22, and a strong alliance would be formed between the Egyptians, the Assyrians, and the Jews, which should secure the divine blessing and favour Isa 19:23-25.

Summary of Chapter 20:1-6 (NKJV)
In the year that Tartan came to Ashdod, when Sargon the king of Assyria sent him, and he fought against Ashdod and took it, 2 at the same time the Lord spoke by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, “Go, and remove the sackcloth from your body, and take your sandals off your feet.” And he did so, walking naked and barefoot. 3 Then the Lord said, “Just as My servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot three years for a sign and a wonder against Egypt and Ethiopia, 4 so shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians as prisoners and the Ethiopians as captives, young and old, naked and barefoot, with their buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt. 5 Then they shall be afraid and ashamed of Ethiopia their expectation and Egypt their glory. 6 And the inhabitant of this territory will say in that day, ‘Surely such is our expectation, wherever we flee for help to be delivered from the king of Assyria; and how shall we escape?’”

This chapter contains a prophecy of the destruction of the Egyptians and Ethiopians by the Assyrians, which had been prophesied of separately in the two preceding chapter of Isa 18:1.
In the year that Tartan came to Ashdod, when Sargon the king of Assyria sent him, and he fought against Ashdod and took it. This was describing an event in 2 Kings 18:9-12 The Assyrian empire had extended its conquests over Syria, Damascus, and Ephraim or Samaria.

Vs 2 go, and loose the sackcloth from off your loins; a token of mourning, and which the prophet wore because of the captivity of the ten tribes; and it may be also on account of the miseries that were coming upon the people of the Jews; though some think this was his common garb, and the same with the royal garment the prophets used to wear, Zac 13:4 and put off your shoe from your foot; as a sign of distress and mourning. Here we see the obedience of God’s prophet to His instruction as a sign of His judgement coming against Egypt and Ethiopia.

Vs 3-4, Like as Isaiah has gone stripped of his special garment as a prophet, so shall the Egyptians and Ethiopians be stripped of all that they value, and be carried captive into Assyria.'

Vs 5-6, And they shall be afraid; The Jews, or the party or faction among the Jews, that were expecting aid from allied Ethiopia and Egypt. When they shall see them vanquished, they shall apprehend a similar danger to themselves; and they shall be ashamed that they ever confided in a people so little able to aid them, instead of trusting in the arm of God.

God wants His people to know that they can’t put their trust and security in other nations except Him, the one with everlasting Arms.
They shall be alarmed for their own safety, for the very nation on which they had relied had been made captive. And when the "stronger" had been subdued, how could the feeble and dependent escape a similar overthrow and captivity? All this was designed to show them the folly of trusting in the aid of another nation, and to lead them to put confidence in the God of their fathers.

Wednesday, May 03 2023

Contributor: Clem Roberts

Unlike most of the other oracles against the nations, which gloat over their eventual downfall, this oracle about Moab is sympathetic. In v. 5 and 16:9–11, God Almighty laments over the misfortune of Moab. Still, the same sin of pride and arrogance requires judgment. Jeremiah offers a similar prophecy against Moab in Jer 48.

Summary on Isaiah 15:1–16:14

Chapter 15
15:1 Moab was Israel and Judah’s neighbour to the east across the Jordan River. Many of the northern Moabite cities described in this passage were once possessed by Israel. 
Several of them—such as Heshbon and Elealeh—were built by Israelites (Num 32:37).
When Israel and Judah were strong, they dominated and controlled this area of the Transjordan. During Isaiah’s day, Moab—along with all the other countries in the region—was subject to Assyrian invasion.
Ar is devastated in a night, Moab Locations throughout the territory of Moab are named, beginning with their main center of power in the south and moving northward. The northern cities of Moab are destroyed; the southern cities are depicted mourning over the
loss, while fugitives flee southward.

15:2 Dibon Located in disputed territory; Israel claimed the territory east of the Jordan for the tribes of Reuben and Gad. Historically, those areas were predominantly controlled by Moab and Ammon. 
The high places The temple and high places indicate sites of worship for Chemosh, the god of Moab. He is mentioned in 1 Kgs 11:7, 33 as one of the foreign deities whose worship was promoted in Israel. The deity is mentioned outside the Bible in an inscription attributed to Mesha, king of Moab.
Every head is bald A sign of mourning (see Isa 22:12).

15:3 They gird themselves with sackcloth A symbol of despair, humiliation, and mourning, wails, going down in weeping.

15:4 Heshbon and Elealeh Cities in the northern part of Moab’s territory that may have been built by Israel (Num 32:37).

15:5 My heart cries out for Moab; we see God Himself empathizing with the Moabites. Zoar, to Eglath-shelishiyah are locations in the southern part of Moab. On the road of Horonaim The fugitives are fleeing from the destroyed northern cities and heading south. The exact location of Horonaim is unknown; but its connection here with the ascent of Luhith suggests a general location in south central Moab.

15:6 the waters of Nimrim Likely refers to a stream running along the southwest edge of the Moabite plateau and into the Dead Sea. There is no greenness, economic and ecological destruction brings down Moab, leaving its inhabitants with nothing.

15:7 they carry the abundance it has made and their store of goods The wealth and supplies of the kingdom are carried off as spoils of war. The devastation envisioned is likely connected to one of the Assyrian campaigns.

15:9 The waters are full of blood The blood is from those who fell during the Assyrian invasion. The Assyrians took pride in cruel and bloody tactics that kept their subjects living in fear. A lion for the survivors of Moab The few who escape the invaders will have to contend with an untamed wilderness, where even the beasts are under God’s command to destroy them in judgment. Other nations in this sequence of oracles have similarly been promised that they will have no remnant. See Isaiah 14:22, 30.

Chapter 16

16:1 Send a ram Moab, in distress, sends a gift to Judah along with a request for asylum. Referring to Judah as the “ruler of the land” acknowledges the Moabites’ past status as subjects of Israel. See 2 Kgs 3:4–8.
The mountain of daughter Zion Jerusalem.

16:2 Like a bird fleeing from a thrust away nest The refugees are weak and defenceless—they are women seeking shelter at the fords of Arnon. The Arnon River, the primary river in the region, formed a large canyon that created a natural boundary for Moab. It would have presented a difficult obstacle for fleeing refugees to bypass.

16:3 “Bring counsel The daughters of Moab appeal to standards of social justice in requesting protection in Zion. Their request is found in Isa 16:3–4a, Isa 16:4b begins God’s response.

16:4 Let my outcasts of Moab dwell as aliens among you.
Oppressor is no more, God later laments over their plight. Here, He simply defers their plea until the Messiah comes to hear it. The time when all the nations come to Zion has not yet arrived; they are too early (see Isa 2:2–4).

16:5 in the tent of David The Davidic Messiah.

16:6 the pride of Moab Pride is again the besetting sin of all peoples. See 2:11–12; 10:12; 14:10.

16:7 Kir-hareseth A city in south central Moab.

16:8 Heshbon withers the fields Focuses on the physical and economic ruin of the northern part of Moab. Heshbon was a city near the northern border of Moab.

16:9 I weep with the weeping of Jazer for God Almighty empathizes with Moab in vv. 9–11, even though He is responsible for bringing the destruction (v. 10).
Jazer A city north of Heshbon. Sibmah was in the same region. Both Jazer and Heshbon are part of the land allotted to the tribe of Gad in Josh 21:39.
Heshbon and Elealeh Cities in the northern part of Moab’s territory that may have been built by Israel (Num 32:37)

16:10 joy and gladness are taken away similar language appears in Jeremiah’s proclamation about Moab (Jer 48:33).
Make reference to a scenario or in the vineyards where no one triumphs Isa 5:1; Judges 9:27.

16:11 my heart the Hebrew term here refers to the belly, which is associated with emotions in Hebrew or “my stomach trembled.”

16:12 - 14 This is the word the Lord has already spoken concerning Moab. 14, But now the Lord says: “Within three years, as a servant bound by contract would count them, Moab’s splendour and all her many people will be despised, and her survivors will be very few and feeble.” Taking a cue from our study last week we can see how pride became the downfall of Satan, Moab and destruction became inevitable. Let us therefore come to God for mercy, with a heart full of gratitude for His sacrificial Love and change our ways to that which is pleasing to God. Pride is dangerous and a killer of destiny. Don’t pride rob you of your final destination. Eternity is not a few years but forever and ever lasting.

Wednesday, April 26 2023

Contributor: Martins Olubiyi

Last week, we examined the prophetic declaration of Isaiah on the last days, with particular emphasis on Babylon. We observed that Babylon being a province in Assyria was also a term used by the Lord to typify wickedness in the end times. Today, we shall continue to examine what Babylon represented in the end time agenda of God and the ultimate goal of establishing Christ’s kingdom on earth with the restoration of Israel.

A. The Fall of The King of Babylon.
1. (vs 1-2) Judgment on Babylon Indicates Mercy on Israel.

a. For the Lord will have mercy on Jacob. Isaiah 13 ended with desolation and gloom that would come upon Babylon. Since Babylon was Judah’s great enemy, any judgment on Babylon was an expression of mercy to Israel. So, Isaiah followed the pronouncement of judgment on Babylon with ‘for the Lord will …., and still choose Israel’. Sometimes we feel that God chose us, but if He had to choose again, God would change His choice. Here, the Lord reminds His children that He does still choose us and would choose us all over again.

b. And settle them in their own land: The promise of restoration to their own land was also important. The Babylonians had forcibly exiled most of the population of Judah, so the promise of return to their own land was precious.

c. The strangers will be joined with them: The invitation to Gentiles was precious. The regathered and restored Israel would invite Gentiles to receive the goodness of God with them.

d. They will take them captive whose captives they were, and rule over their oppressors: In inviting the strangers to come and be joined with them, Israel would eliminate their enemies. The ultimate way to conquer an enemy is to make them your friend.

2. (vs 3-8) The Joy of the Earth at the Fall of the King of Babylon.
a. In the day the Lord gives you rest from your sorrow, and from the fear and the hard bondage in which you were made to serve: The Lord announces a day when He will give real rest to believing Israel. They will have rest from sorrow, from fear, and from their hard bondage. This rest is the birth right of every believer in Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Mat 11:28). Do you have rest from sorrow? Do you have rest from fear? Do you have rest from hard bondage? b. That you will take up this proverb against the king of Babylon: In the day of restoration, the defeat and weakness of the king of Babylon will be exposed, and Israel will rejoice.

As this prophecy continues from the context of Isaiah 13, it is important that we remember that Isaiah has two aspects of prophetic fulfilment in mind. First, there is the immediate and partial fulfilment regarding the empire of Babylon and its king. Second, there is the distant and ultimate fulfilment regarding the spiritual empire of Babylon – the world system – and its king, Satan. So, this proverb against the king of Babylon was, in a partial sense, in the mouth of the returning exiles when Babylon was finally conquered, and the people of Judah could return to the Promised Land. But in an ultimate sense, this proverb against the king of Babylon will be in the mouth of God’s people when the world system and her king, Satan, are each conquered and destroyed.

He who struck the people in wrath …who ruled the nation in anger: Both the king of literal Babylon and the king of spiritual Babylon were mighty, oppressive rulers over the people and the nations. But now, the one who once persecuted is himself persecuted and no one hinders, and as a result, the whole earth is at rest and quiet, and they even break forth into singing. Even the trees rejoice over the fall of the king of Babylon. This is true of the king of literal Babylon because the attacking kings cut down thousands of trees for both fuel and lumber, leaving Israel and Lebanon deforested

3. (vs 9-11) Hell Receives the Fallen King of Babylon.
Hell from beneath is excited about you: Hell, itself is excited to meet the king of Babylon because it can’t wait to be the place where the one who tortured so many is tortured himself. This was true both for the king of literal Babylon, and the king of spiritual Babylon.
God wants us to know now that Satan is destined for hell. He isn’t a winner, he is a loser, and he certainly isn’t the boss or lord of hell. Satan will go to hell as a victim, as the ultimate prisoner in the dungeon of darkness, and hell will be happy to receive him this way. Have you also become as weak as we? Have you become like us? When he went to hell, the king of literal Babylon was exposed as a mere man, though he thought of himself as greater than that. As well, when the king of spiritual Babylon goes to hell, all will be amazed to see that he was only a creature.

We often – to his great delight – exaggerate Satan’s status and importance. We think of him as the opposite of God; as if God were light and Satan were darkness, as if God were hot and Satan were cold. Satan wishes he was the opposite of God, but God wants us to know now what everyone will know someday – that Satan is a mere creature and is in no way the opposite of God. If Satan has an opposite, it is not God the Father or God the Son, it would be a high-ranking angelic being such as Michael.

Your pomp is brought down …. the maggot is spread under you, and worms cover you: In the end, it just won’t be a defeat for the king of Babylon. Both for the literal and spiritual kings of Babylon, their defeat in hell will be disgusting and degrading.
Knowing this now – how disgusting and degrading the end of Satan will be – why would any of us serve him or work for his cause, even for a minute? Who wants to end up with the maggots and the worms?

And the sound of your stringed instruments: Before his fall, Satan was associated with music in heaven Ezekiel 28: 13 says of Satan before his fall, the workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created. Apparently, the musical career of Satan did not end with his fall, because the sound of his stringed instruments is only brought down when he is imprisoned in hell.

4. (vs 12-15) The Fall of Lucifer
How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning: Here, the prophet identified the king of Babylon as Lucifer, son of the morning. Some debate if Lucifer is a name or a title; the word means morning star or day star, referring to a brightly shining object in the heavens. Whether it is a title or a name makes little difference; this once brightly shining king of Babylon is now fallen from heaven.

In the prophetic habit of speaking to both a near and a distant fulfilment, the prophet will sometimes speak more to the near or more to the distant. Here is a good example of Isaiah speaking more to the distant, ultimate fulfilment. It is true that the king of literal Babylon shined brightly among the men of his day and fell as hard and as completely as if a man were to fall from heaven. But there
was a far more brightly shining being who inhabited heaven and fell even more dramatically – the king of spiritual Babylon, Satan.

Fallen from heaven: In fact, there are four falls of Satan, and this passage refers to his final, fourth fall.

  • Satan fell from glorified to profane (Ezekiel 28:14-16). This is what Jesus spoke of in (Lk 10: 18) when He says He saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. This is the only fall of Satan that has already happened.
  • Satan will fall from having access to heaven (Job 1:12, 1Kgs 22:21, Zech. 3:1) to restriction on the earth (Rev. 12:9).
  • Satan will fall from his place on the earth to bondage in the bottomless pit for 1,000 years (Rev. 20:1-3).
  • Finally, as mentioned here in Isa. 14:12, Satan will fall from the bottomless pit to the lake of fire, which we commonly known as hell (Rev. 20:10).

This Son of the morning: This is a title of glory, beauty, and honour, which fit Lucifer well before his fall. The morning is glorious, and in Hebrew thinking, the son of “x” is characterized by “x.” So, before his fall, Lucifer was characterized by the glory of the morning.
Jesus Himself is called the Bright and Morning Star (Rev. 22:16). Satan, though a created being, had some of these glorious qualities in himself. No wonder that Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14), deceiving many with his apparent glory, beauty, and goodness.

How you are cut down to the ground: What a contrast! This being, once so high, once so shining, once so bright, is now cut down to the ground.

For you have said in your heart: Here, God tells us the reason behind the fall of both the literal and spiritual king of Babylon. The fall was prompted by something he said, even though he may have never said it with his lips – it was enough that he said it in his heart.

I will: The pride, the grasping selfish ambition, the self-will of the king of Babylon is powerfully expressed in five I will statements. This is the essence of the self-focused and self-obsessed life.

  • I will ascend into heaven: It was as if Satan said, “Heaven will be my home and my place of honour”.
  • I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: “I will be enthroned and will be exalted above all other angelic beings.”
  • I will also sit on the mount of the congregation: “I will sit in the place of glory and honour and attention.”
  • I will ascend above the heights: “I will continue to rise, even in heaven, until all see me in my bright shining glory.”
  • I will be like the Most High: “I will be glorious, and be set equal to God, far above all other created beings.”

We see in these statements not so much a desire to exalt one’s self above God, but the desire to exalt one’s self above one’s peers. From this passage, it seems that Satan’s desire was not so much to be above God, but to be honoured and regarded as the highest angel, above the other stars of God, receiving the glory and attention one would receive being next to God, equal with God, like the Most High. We don’t have to want to be exalted higher than God to be like Satan. It is enough to want to be exalted above other people.

Lucifer was certainly a glorious angel (day star, son of the morning, and also called the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty…the anointed cherub who covers in Ezekiel. 28: 12,14). Yet, there came a time when despite all his beauty and glory, he departed from the heart of God by wanting to exalt himself above his peers. Instead, the heart of Jesus says, “The status of equality with God is not something to hang on to. I will let it go. I will give up My reputation, be a servant, live humbly among men, and even die an excruciating and humiliating death.” (Phil. 2:5-8).When Lucifer departed from this heart, he fell from glory.

I will be like the Most High: What prompted Satan’s desire to exalt himself above all other creatures? What prompted these five I will statements?

Why Did Lucifer Rebel?
Perhaps because he rejected God’s plan to create an order of beings made in His image (Gen. 1:26) who would be beneath the angels in dignity (Heb. 2:6-7a; 2 Pet. 2:11) yet would be served by angels in the present (Heb. 1:14; 2:7-8; Psa. 91:11-12) and would one day be lifted in honour and status above the angels (1Cor. 6:3; 1 John 3:2) Satan wanted to be the highest among all creatures, equal to God in glory and honour, and the plan to create man would eventually put men above angels. He was apparently able to persuade one-third of the angelic beings to join him in his rebellion (Rev. 12:3-4, 7 and 9).

If this is the case, it explains well Satan’s present strategy against man: to obscure the image of God in man through encouraging sin and rebellion, to cause man to serve him, and to prevent the ultimate glorification of man.

Yet you shall be brought down: Despite Satan’s desire to exalt himself, he will not be exalted at all. Certainly, there is a sense in which he is exalted right now, but this is but an eye-blink in the scope of eternity. Satan, like all those who desire to exalt themselves, shall be brought down.
1Pet. 5:6 expresses the true path to being exalted: Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time. In Mark 9:35, Jesus said If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.

5. (vs 16-17) The Nations are Amazed at the Fall of the King of Babylon
Those who see you will gaze at you …”Is this the man who made the earth tremble… who did not open the house of his prisoners?” When the king of literal Babylon fell, his weakness was exposed, and others were amazed that at one time he had so much power, and so many feared him. The same will happen when the king of spiritual Babylon falls. People will see him for what he really is and be amazed at how much power he actually had.

6. (vs 18-23) The Amazing and Bloody Destruction of Babylon
All the kings of the nations: In this brief section, Isaiah brings his focus back more upon the king of literal Babylon. He notes the comfort and ease the other kings of the earth enjoy, but not the fallen king of Babylon, who is instead cast out of your grave like an abominable branch.
I will sweep it with the broom of destruction: The destruction of Babylon – both literal and spiritual – will be complete. The Lord will cut off from Babylon the name and remnant. There will not even be a remnant of Babylon left.

It is important for us as believers to know that every prophetic word of the Lord will definitely come to pass. We should not be like “last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts and saying where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from beginning of creation”. 2 Pet 3:3-4. God wants us to know now that He has numbered the days of the king of spiritual Babylon – Satan. There will come a day when his oppression will cease, when the Lord will break the staff of the wicked, and the sceptre of the rulers. Therefore, we should not get so weary and discouraged from Satan’s attack and schemes in this present age. We should not think his day will last forever. Moreover, we should always remember that one reason Satan works so hard is because he knows his time is short. Today’s lesson should be view as an encouragement to us. We can remain steadfast; we can outlast him the devil.

Wednesday, April 19 2023

Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai

In this Chapter, Isaiah had several prophetic declarations against Babylon. Babylon, apart from being a province in Assyria is also a term used by the Lord to typify wickedness in the end times. What Isaiah foresaw was a graphic destruction of Babylon, the degradation of its nobility, and the universal wickedness of its masses. Each era of the earth has known its own Babylon, but the Babylon of the latter days was seen by the prophets as being among the most wicked of any era and the object of destruction at the coming of the Lord. So when Isaiah speaks of Babylon he refers to both the empire of that time and spiritual Babylon of our present time.

Dual Fulfilment
Isaiah’s prophecies are broadly grouped into two, the near fulfillment and the far fulfillment. The prophecies were sort of like a two-edged sword in that they had an immediate connotation, but oftentimes there was also a future connotation. If we recall from chapter 7 and verse 14 when he said, "Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel". It had a near fulfilment, not of the virgin bearing a son, but if a child was born at that time, before he would be old enough to really know much, the kings would be destroyed from Samaria and from Syria. (Which did happen), as well as a far fulfilment of Jesus Christ, being born of the virgin Mary.
In this chapter, the prophesies were against Babylon. This particular cry against Babylon is the same as we see in Revelation 17:1-18, and Revelation 18:1-24. It talks about the Babylon of the last days. So this prophecy is carrying us out to these end times.

Judgment Upon Babylon - God Judges Nations Verse 1
At the time of this prophecy, Babylon was a significant nation, but they were definitely behind the Assyrian Empire in status. Yet, God who knows the end of all things spoke of the judgment on the pride of Babylon hundreds of years in advance.
We will all one day stand in judgement. Everyone that have been on the planet since Adam and Eve will stand at the judgement seat of God. It has been said that since Adam and Eve there have been over 77 billion people that have lived and died on earth. Judgement will come for everyone. Revelation 20 tells us that God judges the lost, 1 Corinthians 3 tells us that Christ judges His own. Revelations 2 tells us that churches are judged and here in this chapter, God judges nations.

God Raises An Army Against Babylon Verses 2-8 (Near Fulfillment)
Verse 5: “They come from faraway lands, from the ends of the heavens—the Lord and the weapons of his wrath—to destroy the whole country.
This speaks of Media and Persia, coming from the north and the east to destroy Babylon.

Jeremiah 51:1 Thus says the Lord: “Behold, I am going to arouse against Babylon And against the inhabitants of Leb-kamai The spirit of a destroyer.

Jeremiah 51:11 “Sharpen the arrows, fill the quivers! The Lord has aroused the spirit of the kings of the Medes, Because His purpose is against Babylon to destroy it; For it is the vengeance of the Lord, vengeance for His temple.”

It was this destruction that Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream was all about. Media and Persia are the arms of silver. Daniel 5:32 “The head of the statue was made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze”

History tells us that Babylon finally fell in 539 BCE to Cyrus and came under Persian control. The Bible in Ezra 1:1 says: “Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom . . .”
The Terrors of judgment Upon Babylon. Verses 9-16 (Far Fulfillment)

Verse 9 - The day of the LORD comes: Isaiah now speaks in the “prophetic tense,” having in mind both a near fulfillment (the day of judgment against the Babylonian Empire), and an ultimate fulfillment (the final day of judgment at the return of Jesus).

Verse 10 - The stars of heaven and their constellations will not give their light; the sun will be darkened: Several prophetic passages describe the cosmic disturbances that will precede and surround the return of Jesus (Joel 2:10, Revelation 6:12-14, Isaiah 34:4). Here is what Jesus said in Matt. 24:29

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”

Verses 11-12 - “11 I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins. I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty and will humble the pride of the ruthless. 12 I will make people scarcer than pure gold, more rare than the gold of Ophir.”

Once again, God not only tells us judgment is coming, but also gives the exact reason for it.

The Devastation of Babylon. Verses 17-22 (Near and Far Fulfillment)
In Verse 20 Isaiah prophesied that Babylon will never be inhabited or lived through all generations
“She will never be inhabited or lived in through all generations; there no nomads will pitch their tents, there no shepherds will rest their flocks.”

And over time, that is what happened; and to the present day, Babylon has remained uninhabited! Today, a Google search of the question: “is Babylon habitable” returns this result.
Isaiah 55:11 says of the Lord’s Words
“[11] So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”

Whatever it is the Lord has promised us, by His Word, hold on to it and don’t let it go because it shall not return to Him void!

Whenever we see the destruction of cities, the calamities of nations, and the overturning of kingdoms, as in the case of present day Babylon, that has become desolate. And when we realize that these were as a result of the Lord’s judgements prophesied years ago, we must allow them humble us that we may learn to gather wisdom from the affliction of others, and pray for divine intervention in our own circumstances and situations. Proverbs 28:26 MSG says:
“If you think you know it all, you're a fool for sure; real survivors learn wisdom from others.”

Wednesday, April 12 2023

Contributor: Ayomide Oladipo

Isaiah 12 is a song that follows the events of chapter 10 & 11. Those chapters showed us the dual prophecy that applied to the near-term invasion of Judah by the nation of Assyria, as well as a future invasion of Israel by the Antichrist. The prophecy by prophet Isaiah in those chapters gave us an insight into the destruction of the enemies of God’s people, God’s deliverance of His people and the establishment of messiah’s kingdom. Last week, we were taught and asked to imagine what life will look like when we get to heaven, when God comes to take the people that are still left on earth Isaiah 11: 11, those things that used to be afraid of for example: lions, we will play with them, Isaiah 11:6 talks about how wolfs will dwell with sheep, everyone will be at peace with each other. Isaiah11:13 was a revelation of the Messiah’s kingdom. This whole chapter was reveling to us how God will deliver his people In the same similitude by which he delivered the children of Israel from the land of Egypt.
(Isaiah 11:16 KJV) “And there shall be an highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt”
The prophecy is telling us that the people that are remaining on earth will now have a way out of their troubles and oppressions. Just like God made a way for the children of Israel, after Moses lead the Israelite through the red sea, Moses lead the people in a song:
(Exodus 15:1-2 KJV) “Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. (2) The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God …”
In our study today, we are going to look at the song Israel will sing when Jesus comes again to rescue them from their oppressors.

Song of Praise
Verse 1: And in that day thou shalt say,O LORD, I will praise thee: though thou was angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comforted me.

This confirms to us that God could be angry, and that he has the right to be angry. The bile in Romans 6:23 “"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

This verse shows us that at some point we were all sinners and by law we are meant to die, but God been a loving father that he is, gave Christ to us for the remission of our sins. The anger of God was turned away because Christ paid the price for our sins (Death) and the later per said “and thou comforted me”, comfort there means “Salvation”. Now because the price for our sins have been paid, the anger of God is turned away and we are comforted (Saved).

The people that are singing here are the people of God from whom God’s anger had been turned away. They also represent those who have been that have accepted that gift of Christ Jesus. Those are the once God was once angry at, but the anger of God is turned away.

How Was God’s Anger Turned Away?
God’s anger was not turned away because we kept all the laws, or that we are righteous. The Bible says in:
(Isaiah 64:6) “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”

No one can turn the anger of God away by his own deeds, (Luke 18:9-14) is the parable of the tax collector and the Pharisee that went to the temple to pray, the Pharisee was talking to God about his righteousness but the tax collector acknowledge that he was a sinner and no righteousness is found in him, Jesus said it was the tax collector that went home justified. Not because of his own righteousness, but because he acknowledges his filthiness before God, mercy was given to him, (God’s anger was turned away from him).

Romans 3:20-26 tells us that we can’t be made right before God by just trying to obey the laws. All the laws do is show us just how sinful we are, just how far short we fall of God’s standards. But being right with God comes when we accept the righteousness of Jesus and trust in his faithfulness. We go from being sinners to being declared right before God because of the price (redemption) that Jesus paid for us. God made Jesus to be the one who paid the price for our sins, the one who "appeased" His righteous anger for our sins.

Accepting the price that Jesus paid is however our individual choice to make, it is those who accept his gift of salvation that can sing this song that we are talking about today. It’s when we’ve come to the point where we are no longer going to try and please God by our own actions but have realized that the only way to please God is by accepting His solution to my sins, which is Christ Jesus.

Vs 2: “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.”

This is telling us that though Jesus Christ was the one that paid the price for our sins on the cross, that price was a gift from God to mankind.

Vs 3: “Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.”
This is telling us that after the anger of God is turned away from us when we have accepted the gift of salvation of Jesus Christ (Isiah 12: 1&2), then we can take hold of all that salvation has to offer us. The salvation that we receive gives us access into the kingdom of God.

How Do We Draw With Joy?
In John 4: 14, Jesus talks about the water He has made available for Believers.
“ . . . Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
Here we see Vs 3 saying that it is with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. So, to draw this water, we need joy. Joy is the bucket we need to draw this water from the wells of salivation.
That is why the enemy targets our joy because as it is in warfare the enemy targets the strongholds of their opponents. He knows if he steals our joy, he has not only prevented us from accessing this water but he has also stolen our strength.

Nehemiah 8:10 “Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our LORD: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

John 16:13-14 “However when He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth; for He shall not speak from Himself, but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak, and He will show you things to come. (14) He will glorify me, for he shall receive from mine, and show it unto you”.

The Spirit of truth is the Holy Spirit, which is the life of Christ in all of us. This life of Christ in us comes alive when we accept Jesus Christ, then the Holy Spirit will teach us how to please the father, how to work towards perfection. We would not have to struggle in our own strength but through the teaching of the Holy Spirit in us. Struggling is not a joyful process but teaching and following is a Joyful one. Provided we are willing to obey, we are assured that our father is happy because the Holy Spirit will not speak of Himself, but of that which He hears the Father say.

Vs 4-6: “In that day you will say: “Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name, make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted. (5) Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things, let this be known to all the world. (6) Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.”

In the day when Jesus comes to rescue his people that are left on earth, when that anger of the Lord is turned away, then the people shall sing this song to the Lord.

We believers must learn to obey the Holy Spirit that is in us, because He is the life of Christ in us and the living life of Christ in us is our advantage over the unbelievers. And if you are here and have not at any point made that decision to accept Jesus or you have accepted him but have backslidden, you are at a great disadvantage on earth, not only on earth even in eternity. The gift of salvation through Christ Jesus is available for all and you can make that decision today.
We believers (Those that have taken that decision to accept Jesus) have a responsibility to rise for the salvation of others. Jesu said, “I will work the work of him that sent me while it is day, for the night cometh when no man can work”.
And together in that day, we will all sing songs of praise to the Lord.

Wednesday, April 05 2023

Contributor: Esther Alajiki

The previous Chapter concludes with a picture of doom and gloom, the nations being levelled, chopped down to bare stumps, with no new growth, no future and no hope due to arrogance and oppression. God’s judgment was going to cut down the nations like the trees of Lebanon and leaving just stumps. But suddenly, in chapter 11, amid that scene of worldwide devastation, with the final destruction of Assyria, this contrasts with the recuperative energy of Israel, which, though equally levelled to the ground (Isaiah 9:18, Isaiah 9:19), it shall spring afresh into life, and birth hope for all.

SECTION 1: The Description of the Coming Messiah
1. A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. Although through the times, David’s lineage seemed to have been cut down to the stumps. God causes a new life, a new branch to come forth in fulfilment of His words. A MESSIAH WILL COME FORTH . 

2. And the Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him- He is a suitable place or vessel for the Spirit to rest. --The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, (unreproachable leadership), The Spirit of counsel and strength (ability to strategically wage war, overcome sin and deliver victories), The Spirit of knowledge and of the [reverential and obedient] fear of the LORD (intimacy and holiness)—The sevenfold anointing of the Spirit working in Jesus. (Rev 1:4, 3:1, 4:5, 5:6)

3. And He will delight in the fear of the LORD, (God is the priority and He desires to please God), And He will not judge by what His eyes see, (He is omniscient.), Nor make decisions by what His ears hear – (he has no need to call witnesses or listen to testimonies, defendant or plaintiff, no need for argument or retrials, evidences or forensics)

4. But with righteousness and justice He will judge the poor, And decide with fairness for the downtrodden of the earth; (He is the voice for the voiceless, a holy judge, morally upright). And He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked. (He is a righteous judge and recompenses all according to their deeds.)
5. And righteousness will be the belt around His loins, And faithfulness the belt around His waist. (There is no injustice or unfaithfulness in Him – John 14:30 (Satan) is coming. And he has no claim on Me, no power over Me nor anything that he can use against Me)

Lesson For Us
As Christ has made us joint heirs with him we need to grow in his knowledge and our intimacy will cause his anointing to work in and through us- 2 Timothy 2:20 – 26.

We must be suitable a place for the spirit to rest. If we do not imitate God with our lives, we will not be able to do exploits for him.

SECTION 2: The Description of the Messiah’s Kingdom 6-9
6. And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, And the leopard will lie down with the young goat, And the calf and the young lion and the fatted steer together; And a little child will lead them.
7. And the cow and the bear will graze [together], Their young will lie down together, And the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8. And the nursing child will [safely] play over the hole of the cobra, And the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den [and not be hurt]. 9. They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD As the waters cover the sea..

All kinds of crises and wars we are seeing now will cease The coming of our Messiah will terminate every evil work have all disappeared because they have been solved by the Messiah. Painted before us was what obtained in the garden of Eden before the fall into sin. When the curse is removed, that situation will be restored by the Lord The earth will then have been freed from the curse that has been placed upon it since man fell into sin. Peace and harmony will return.

The curse between humans and animal will cease, the curse on the ground will cease and it will no longer yield thorns and thistles. (Genesis 3:18 ). The animals no longer at war with each other. Can you picture a 2 year old riding on a lion or sitting on the back of a crocodile or your 6 months old swimming with sharks? No more hurt or pain, the instigator of evil can do no more evil and cause no more destruction, currently the earth as it is suffering as the result of man's rebellion against God. And that is why it is manifestly wrong to blame God for all of the pain and the hurt and the bloodshed and the evil and the hatred that is in the earth today.

Lesson For Us
When we allow the Lord to reign in our lives, we will enjoy the days of heaven on earth, we will enjoy the peace of God, Christ dealt with the curse on the cross. 1 Kings 5:4 But now that the LORD my God has given me rest [from war] on every side, there is neither adversary nor misfortune [confronting me]. We can pray His kingdom to manifest in our lives even now. Jesus has defeated devil and death, he has finished the work of restoration and healing, when we pray His kingdom come, we are praying for harmony, absolute peace, love and joy, no sickness, no disease, no pain, no suffering, so sorrow, no war, no poverty and lack, wickedness, manipulations, adulteries, abortions, fornications, lies, barrenness, murders and envyings – etc. But even if we don’t see it now in the world - its coming is guaranteed.

SECTION 3: The Assignment of The Coming Messiah Verses 10-16
10. Then in that day, The nations will make supplications to the Root of Jesse. Who will stand as a signal for the peoples; And His resting place will be glorious.- As we are in the last days, we need to preach the gospel more than before, the Gentiles would seek Christ Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, and find rest for their souls 11. Then it will happen on that day that the Lord, Will again acquire with His hand a second time. The remnant of His people, who will remain, From Assyria, from [Lower] Egypt, from Pathros, from Cush (Ethiopia), from Elam [in Persia], from Shinar [Babylonia], from Hamath [in Aram], And from the coastlands bordering the [Mediterranean] Sea. 12. And He will lift up a signal for the nations And ASSEMBLE THE OUTCASTS OF ISRAEL, And will GATHER THE DISPERSED OF JUDAH From the four corners of the earth. - God will gather the remnant of his people, He does not leave any behind. 13. Then the jealousy of Ephraim will depart, And those who harass Judah will be cut off; Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah, And Judah will not harass Ephraim – There will be peace and harmony, no more evil operations. 14. Ephraim and Judah will [unite and] swoop down on the slopes of the Philistines toward the west; Together they will plunder the sons (Arabs) of the east. They will possess Edom and Moab, And the sons of Ammon will be subject to them – Children of God will arise and possess their possessions. 15. And the LORD will utterly destroy, The tongue of the Sea of Egypt; And with His scorching wind. He will wave His hand over the River; He will strike and divide it into seven channels And make [it possible for] people [to] walk over in sandals God’s hands of Judgement will be outstretched and he will utterly destroy. 16. And there will be a highway from Assyria for the remnant of His people who will be left, Just as there was for Israel In the day when they came up out of the land of Egypt.

Lesson For Us
God is our hope and help, we must strive to know him personally, He is a loving God, he does not want any destroyed. He wants His children to be at peace and enter into His rest. But we must submit ourselves unto Him, because he will not force Himself upon us. God will put an end to the wickedness of the wicked and make His children triumphant. Isaiah 60: 16-22
The shoot of the Lord will endure for ever- Will you abide in Him.

This world will not continue like this for ever, Jesus is coming back. Are we ready for Him? While we await His coming we must be fully occupied as profitable servants. His Spirit is available for us to do His works.
Rev 22: 10 And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time [of their fulfillment] is near. 11Let the one who does wrong, still do wrong; and the one who is filthy (vile, impure), still be filthy; and the one who is righteous (just, upright), still be righteous; and the one who is holy, still be holy. ” 12. Behold, I (Jesus) am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to each one [d]according to the merit of his deeds (earthly works, faithfulness). 13. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End [the Eternal One].” 14.Blessed (happy, prosperous, to be admired) are those who wash their robes [in the blood of Christ by believing and trusting in Him--the righteous who do His commandments], so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. 15. Outside are the dogs [the godless, the impure, those of low moral character] and the sorcerers [with their intoxicating drugs, and magic arts], and the immoral persons [the perverted, the molesters, and the adulterers], and the murderers, and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying (deception, cheating). 16. “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you and to give you assurance of these things for the churches. I am the Root (the Source, the Life) and the Offspring of David, the radiant and bright Morning Star.” 17. The [Holy] Spirit and the bride (the church, believers) say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take and drink the water of life without cost.

Wednesday, March 29 2023

Contributor: Ngozi Roberts

In our last week’s study we saw the love of God exhibited in an interesting way in spite of the sins of the Israelites. His promise of the great light that was later seen in the new testaments as Jesus Christ. This light was to give them a way out of darkness. He was to be characterised as Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God and Everlasting Father. Emphasis was placed on the fact that those who refused to repent will surely bear the consequences which is also applicable to us all today. It was reiterated that the punishment that followed the disobedience of the Israelites was indeed started, fanned and fuelled by the sinners themselves and this is also the applicable to us today. We are therefore to continue to keep ourselves clean and pure as we await the glorious future.
Today we are continuing with the prophecy of Judgment on the Israelites who having heard the word of God through His prophets and were still not listening. This chapter 10 has been sectionalised into 3 parts. The first part being the judgement of the oppressors (Isaiah 10:1-4) and second section being the destruction of Israel by King of Assyria – Sennacherib and prophecy of his destruction due to pride. Third section is on the encouragement to the people of Israel.

The prophet continued with his prophecy of punishment that was to follow as a result of God’s anger on the proud legislators that oppressed His people. These people abused their power and perverted justice. Isa 10:1–4 connects to the similar “Woe” sayings in 5:8–30; those sayings also condemned the leaders of Judah for disregarding their responsibility to deal fairly with the poor and weak.
Let’s take a closer look at how these rulers managed to do this.

They made unrighteous laws (vs 1) note that even though they had righteous commandments /laws yet they had corrupt judges that were able to find a way of making unrighteous decrees that is contrary to the good laws God already made.

They deprived the poor (v2) – by perverting justice in the way they interpret and carry out the laws, thereby turning aside the poor from judgement so that they do not get what is due to them. It was so bad that they enriched themselves through evil means like bribery and made the poor ones like the widows, fatherless to be at their mercy! See Isa 5:23. Refers to the injustice of the rich and powerful exploiting the poor and weak.

They are interrogated (Vs 3) - The prophet then challenged them on what will become of them with their power and pride when the real judgment of God comes upon them.

Sentence passed on them (Vs 4) – The prophet went to confirm their judgement and the kind of sentence that befalls them. They will be doomed, imprisoned or sent to captivity! Showing that Gods anger is still very hot on them. The same phrase occurs in 5:25.

Lesson For Us
For us as believers this goes to reiterate what we were discussed in our previous chapter that those that do not live in accordance to Gods will surely be destroyed. When we put God out of our daily living, we are bound to be heading for destruction as we will be out of his protection.

Destruction of Israel by King of Assyria

  • Commission to King of Assyria – Verse 5-6

Verse 5 Assyria, the rod of my anger. Yahweh used Assyria to punish Israel. Victory in the ancient world was often attributed to the superiority of one’s god. Yahweh is thus presented as truly superior—He, not Assyria’s god, is behind their success. The foreign nations are simply tools in the hands of God

Isaiah does not explicitly identify the king of Assyria in this passage, though 2 Kgs 17–18 identifies the king who attacked Israel as Sennacherib. The omission is likely intentional, as the prophet wants this oracle against Assyria to apply equally to all of Assyria’s kings. The cities listed in Isa 10:9–11 seem to reflect the conquests of several Assyrian kings who were active during Isaiah’s ministry.

Verse 6 - A godless nation. Israel is considered godless since it had turned away from Yahweh. See 9:17. the clay of the streets Assyria will trample everything in its path like dirt on the roads, leaving behind a muddy mess.
So we see here that the Assyrians were called the rod of God’s anger! Why? because God employed them. God emphasised how he sent the Assyrians. Making us realise the power they had was derived from God.

Lesson For Us
It is worthy of note also that sometimes disobedient children of God can be undergoing some rough times simply because God allowed it having gone out of the protection of God. We as children of God should ensure that we are under Gods protection at all times by living a life of obedience to His will.

  • The Assyrian Kings Pride - Verse 7-14

Assyria’s arrogance is revealed in this self-confident speech. The king of Assyria believes his military victories represent spiritual victories over the idols of the cities he has conquered. He also elevates himself to demigod status, boasting in his own strength, wisdom, and understanding.

Verse 8 Are not my commanders altogether kings ..The Assyrian Empire turned conquered kings into subject vassals, so the king of Assyria could rightly boast that his subject commanders were kings in their own right.

Verse 9 Are not Samaria like Damascus … The king boasts over the cities he has conquered. Each pair moves geographically closer to Israel.

Verse 10 Outlines images …Assyria has already conquered stronger city-states than Israel and Judah. The boast is asserted in a religious sense—the cities with the most powerful gods already fell. See 37:12–13.

Verse 12 All his work refers to the predicted judgment. Mount Zion Yahweh’s holy mountain, the location of the temple. Symbolically, Zion often refers to the city of Jerusalem. Here they are mentioned separately.

I will punish… Assyria will also be judged for pride and arrogance once Israel’s punishment is complete. .

Verse 13 ….by the strength of my hand ….The king of Assyria believes his victory is the result of his own strength and cunning. Psalm 9: 20 Strike them with terror, LORD; let the nations know they are only mortal.
So In carrying out the assignment from God, Sennacherib did not wase time to exhibit his wickedness. Showing his pride and insolence. Magnifying himself and even showcasing his ignorance that he was in control as a fact. Unknown to him these were the very characteristics
that God abhor and God was to deal with him in the later verses. He actually demonstrated himself as a real punisher just like God intended as we saw in 2 kings 18.
So the prophecy continues to show case his pride and arrogance in his letter to Israel in vainglory. He boasts of his prowess over other nations, making of other kings and how he made them subjects to himself thereby making himself their master and even went as far as laying siege over – this actually came to pass in 2Kings 18:13-16 even after Hezekiah had given gifts to the Sennacherib, yet he did not let go of the Israelites.
We also see how King Sennacherib enriched himself through the peace making gifts that we later got to know were from Hezekiah just as he had always done to other nations as was prophesied by Isaiah(vs 14)

Lesson For Us
God sometimes makes use of men as instruments in His hands to do His work. Though in most cases those being used do not realise this. As children of God, we should strive to always make ourselves ready to be used as vessels of honour instead of dishonour.


Isaiah have outlined in his prophesy the use of the king of Assyria by God and went on to prophesy how God was going to deal with him. He would have served the purpose for which he was raised by God. So now we are going to see how God in his Justice reproves his pride and prophesies his fate. God by His servant Isaiah shows that God is above him.

Verse 15 The axe boast against the one who cuts. God used Assyria to bring judgment on rebellious Israel and Judah, but the Assyrians are still accountable for their actions and their arrogance. A tool is useless on its own. Assyria is judged for not recognizing that it is only a tool in the hand of God.

Verse 16 will send leanness See 37:36.

Verse 17 in one day See 9:14. The Assyrian king Sennacherib abruptly leaves his siege of Jerusalem. See 37:37 and 2 Kings 19:15-21. So due to his evil doings the prophet prophesies his down fall and destruction – it’s important to note that when God has finished doing his work of salvation on his people as we shall see in the chapter 37:37 and 2 Kings 19:15-37. Hezekiah and the children of Israel eventually repented.

Verse 20 the remnant of Israel Contrasts with the imagery in v. 19, which depicts the destruction of Assyria until only a remnant of forest remains, the survivors of the house of Jacob See 1:9 and 4:2.

Verse 21 A remnant will return referring to a spiritual, not necessarily physical, return. The phrase “a remnant will return” is also the name of Isaiah’s first son, Shear-Jashub. See 7:3 and 8:18.

Verse 22 like the sand of the sea …The Apostle Paul quotes this verse in Rom 9:27–28. overflowing with righteousness See Isa 28:22. God’s judgment is righteous and necessary.

Isaiah had foretold that the Lord himself will perform his work on mount Zion which we saw done by Sennacherib invading the land. Vs 20-23 elaborates how Gods promise of grace to His people and their suffering under affliction. The suffering indeed yielded some fruit as the remaining children of God eventually returned and repented as we shall see later in Chapter 37:14-37 Then the second part of the Vs 12. We see the punishment of King Assyria for his pride being elaborated which later came to pass in 37:38.


The prophet now comforts the sincere ones. He encourages them not be afraid. He gives them hope promising them that all will eventually end well.

Verses 24 - 34

Verse 24 Assyria -This group of people came from central Mesopotamia on the Tigris River. They were the dominant power in the ancient Near East during the eighth and seventh centuries BC.

Verse 26 - Assyrians will be dealt with just as when Midian was defeated. The coming deliverance is compared to God’s victory over Midian in Judges 7:19–25. Also just as he did in Egypt. Referring to the parting of the Red Sea in Exodus 14:15–31.

Verses 28–32 The path of the Assyrian invaders is laid out from the northeast part of Judah to the vicinity of Jerusalem. The place names are mentioned in order, drawing geographically closer and closer to the immediate vicinity of Jerusalem.

Verse 32 he will shake his fist at the mountain of Assyria gets close enough to threaten Jerusalem, but does not conquer her. Zion Refers to Jerusalem. Isa 1:8.

Verse 33 is about to lop off the branches with great power. Assyria was metaphorically depicted as a tool in the hand of God.

Verse 34 He will cut down the thickets of the forest with iron, And Lebanon will fall by the Mighty One. That metaphor is turned about as a cut down to size.

Isaiah in these last verses prophesied to confirm that all suffering will end soon. These words were intended to encourage the children of Israel. Letting them know that for sure their enemy will be destroyed in the end. That the storm will soon be over. The enemy that has been threatening them will soon come to his doom. Assurance that they will all be delivered from the power of the Assyrians.

Continues to reassure the children of Israel that the more daring the enemy was the more God will be exalted in all his strength. He flies to the defence of his Children in Zion. The power of the enemy will eventually be broken. In all these we should always remember that God does not leave the wicked unpunished.

Lesson For Us

This is an assurance that no matter the challenge that is threatening us , we should not be afraid as God will surely come through for us.


Isaiah predicted that because of the evilness of Judah and Israel, the Assyrians would attack both nations. The Lord would no longer protect and help them. The Assyrian invasion would fulfil the Lord’s purposes in turning Judah to repentance and scattering the nation of Israel. From this chapter we have come to realise that our God is a sovereign God who has the power to make and to kill. Just s Proverbs 21:1 says - In the LORD’s hand the king’s heart is a stream of water that he channels toward all who please him. He did just that with the heart of Assyria King. We are made to understand that walking in disobedience to Gods word can endanger us into the camp of the enemy. It is better to be on the right side of God at all times so that we will not be exposed to evil as we may not even come out of it. God is also a merciful God that forgives once we come to repentance. No matter how far gone or how long it may take. He is always waiting to take us back. We also need to understand that there is nothing too difficult for our God as he is a God of impossibility.

Wednesday, March 22 2023

Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai

Last week’s study of Chapter 8 concluded with gloom and darkness for God’s people. Verse 22 says: “Wherever they look there will be trouble and anguish and dark despair. And they will be thrust out into the darkness.” The invasion of the Assyrians would be terrible for the Jewish people, especially for the northern regions of the Promised Land, the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali. In today’s study is split into two parts, we will be looking at promises (from a loving God) and Judgement (from a just God).

Verses 1-2: The Promise of Glory

Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair shall not go on forever. Though soon the land of Zebulun and Naphtali will be under God’s contempt and judgment, yet in the future these very lands, Galilee and northern Transjordan, where lies the road to the sea, will be filled with glory. 2 The people who walk in darkness shall see a great Light—a Light that will shine on all those who live in the land of the shadow of death.

From verses 1-2 of this chapter we see that although the land of Zebulun and Naphtali will be under God’s judgment. He now decrees that despite the fact that He has afflicted them for their sins, He will now show them a great light; giving them a way out of the darkness. See Matthew 4:13-16

What does this mean to us?
Jesus is that great light that has shone in our lives. It’s a light of deliverance and freedom from the power of darkness purchased by His blood. But we must accept it, arise, and shine! Isaiah 60:1

Verses 3-5: The Lord Will Make Israel Great Again and They Shall be Joyful!
“3 For Israel will again be great, filled with joy like that of reapers when the harvest time has come, and like that of men dividing up the plunder they have won. 4 For God will break the chains that bind his people and the whip that scourges them, just as he did when he destroyed the vast host of the Midianites by Gideon’s little band. 5 In that glorious day of peace there will no longer be the issuing of battle gear; no more the bloodstained uniforms of war; all such will be burned.”

These verses spell out the consequences of the great light the Lord promised. Israel will again be great, filled with joy because God will break the chains binding His people and the whip that scourges them, just like He granted Gideon victory over Midian in Judges 7.

What does this mean to us?
We must take God for His Words and promises in our lives, whatever the situation or circumstances, He has promised a change! Wherever we have fallen, we will rise and be great again!

Verses 6-7: The Glory of the Messiah and His Reign
“6 For unto us a child is born; unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder. These will be his royal titles: “Wonderful,” “Counselor,” “The Mighty God,” “The Everlasting Father,” “The Prince of Peace.” 7 His ever-expanding, peaceful government will never end. He will rule with perfect fairness and justice from the throne of his father David. He will bring true justice and peace to all the nations of the world. This is going to happen because the Lord of heaven’s armies has dedicated himself to do it!

A child is born, . . . a son is given
God could have sent an angel, or the Messiah could have been God without humanity. He could have also come as a fully-grown man, created as an adult even as Adam was created, but none of these options would have qualified the Messiah to be our Saviour and High Priest as Jesus is. The Child had to be born so that He could fully identify with humanity, and to display in His life the servant nature that is in God, He made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men (Philippians 2:7).

His name shall be called . . .
These are not to be literal names of the Messiah, but aspects of His character, that describe who He is and what He has come to do.
• Wonderful –Full of wonder! The glory of who He is and what He has done for us should fill us with wonder. There’s nothing too difficult for Him.
• Counselor – He knows the answers we need. He is the only One fit to guide our lives and should be our immediate resource as a counselor.
• Mighty God – He is the God of all creation and glory, the LORD who reigns in heaven, the One worthy of our worship and praise. He is Jesus, fully man and fully God.
• Everlasting Father – The idea in these Hebrew words is that Jesus is the source or author of all eternity, that He is the Creator Himself. Not that Jesus Himself is the Person of the Father in the Trinity.
• Prince of Peace – He is the One who makes peace, especially between God and man and puts peace in our hearts.
Jesus our Messiah will not only reign for 1,000 years, though the millennium is a special aspect of His reign, but there will be no end to it. He will rule for all eternity.

What does this mean to us?
We must accept what the Lord Jesus has paid the price for, believe in Him unreservedly and take refuge in His names in every area of our lives.

The prophecy now switches from the coming of the Messiah back to present day Israel, who has heard the Word of God through His prophets but has not listened. This section (Isaiah 9:8-21) is in three parts, the concluding fourth part is in the first few verses of chapter 10, each part concluding with an indication that more punishment was to follow because the Lord’s anger had not been satisfied.

Verses 8-12: Because of Their Unholy Pride, Israel Will Be Defeated By Her Enemies
“8-10 The Lord has spoken out against that braggart Israel who says that though our land lies in ruins now, we will rebuild it better than before. The sycamore trees are cut down, but we will replace them with cedars! 11-12 The Lord’s reply to your bragging is to bring your enemies against you—the Syrians on the east and the Philistines on the west. With bared fangs they will devour Israel. And even then the Lord’s anger against you will not be satisfied—his fist will still be poised to smash you.”

In their pride, the leaders and the people of the Northern Kingdom of Israel said, “Who cares if God judges us? Whatever is torn down, we will rebuild with something better. We have nothing to fear from what God can bring against us.” Instead of humbling themselves before the face of God on account of the many calamities that had already descended on them, they still entertained a light-hearted optimism regarding the future. So, God sent successive waves of enemies against Israel (The Syrians before and the Philistines behind). The destruction of Israel would be complete, and their proud promise to rebuild would be unfulfilled.

What does this mean to us?
God does not tolerate pride. He resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. James 4:6
We must be humble and live our lives in humility before our Maker. James 4: 10 says: “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” Also see Micah 6:8

Verses 13-17: Because They Refuse To Repent, Their Leaders Will Be Destroyed
“13 For after all this punishment you will not repent and turn to him, the Lord of heaven’s armies. 14-15 Therefore the Lord, in one day, will destroy the leaders of Israel and the lying prophets. 16 For the leaders of his people have led them down the paths of ruin. 17 That is why the Lord has no joy in their young men and no mercy upon even the widows and orphans, for they are all filthy-mouthed, wicked liars. That is why his anger is not yet satisfied, but his fist is still poised to smash them all.

Each episode of judgment was followed by Israel’s refusal to turn to the LORD. They refused to turn to God for an explanation of why they were experiencing such evil. They were like dumb animals that resist even more when they are beaten.
“So the Lord will cut off from Israel both head and tail, both palm branch and reed in a single day; 15 the elders and dignitaries are the head, the prophets who teach lies are the tail.

What does this mean to us?
Although God is under no obligation to explain His divine decisions to us, He desires us to understand that His actions are not based out of ill-will but out of necessity as an answer for the sin and evil we humans create on the earth. It is the wickedness of Pharaoh’s heart that was hardened by the Lord. God did not put the wickedness there. See Romans 1:28.

Verses 18-21: Because of Their Wickedness They Will Attack Their Own Brothers
“18 He will burn up all this wickedness, these thorns and briars; and the flames will consume the forests too, and send a vast cloud of smoke billowing up from their burning. 19-20 The land is blackened by that fire, by the wrath of the Lord of heaven’s armies. The people are fuel for the fire. Each fights against his brother to steal his food but will never have enough. Finally they will even eat their own children! 21 Manasseh against Ephraim and Ephraim against Manasseh—and both against Judah. Yet even after all of this, God’s anger is not yet satisfied. His hand is still heavy upon them to crush them.”

The wickedness of Israel was as a raging wildfire: unstoppable, swift, uncontrolled, and devouring everything it touches. However, the people shall themselves by their wickedness, be the fuel for the fire. If they had ceased from their wicked ways, the fire would have no more fuel to continue to burn. But their wickedness prevailed to the point where they lost all sense of reasoning and started attacking each other. Verse 20 says:
“Each fights against his brother to steal his food but will never have enough. Finally they will even eat their own children!”

What does this mean to us?
Proverbs 21:7 says, “Because the wicked are unfair, their violence boomerangs and destroys them". Let’s be wary of any and every form of evil. Psalm 34:21 says: “Evil shall slay the wicked, And those who hate the righteous shall be condemned”

In today’s study, we see how the Lord decreed that despite the fact that He has afflicted Israel for their sins, He will now show them a great light; giving them a way out of the darkness. However, for those who refuse to repent, there are consequences. Jesus Christ shone His marvellous light in our darkness; and we must continue to walk in the light (1 John 1:7). To refuse and be adamant is to grope in darkness (Job 12:25,Isaiah 59:10) and like Israel, suffer the consequences. The fire that burned Israel was not started by God, neither did He fan the flames; it was started, fanned and fuelled themselves. He simply did not extinguish the fire when it started. We are therefore encouraged that in this world of evil, to by the Grace of God, keep our hands clean and our hearts pure and know that there is a glorious future ahead, that the world will see the day of redemption, that the oppressed and the weak will be delivered. (Titus 2:11-13)

Parts of this wtudy was culled from

Wednesday, March 15 2023

Contributor: Alex Kokobili

The previous study of the seventh chapter emphasized on how Ahaz King of Judah feared being conquered by an alliance between Israel and Syria. God assured King Ahaz not to fear and gave him a sign “IMMANUEL” as an everlasting protection for His people which meanings He will always be with them. 

Isaiah 7: 13-16 Then said Isaiah, Hear ye now, O house of David, Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son and shall call his name Immanuel.15He shall eat butter and honey that he may know to refuse the evil and choose the good.16 For before the child shall know to refuse the evil and choose the good; the land that thou dost abhor shall be forsaken of both her kings).

Despite  God’s warning to King Ahaz, he went ahead to make a treaty with the Assyrians for protection. The consequences of Ahaz’s action will be that the Assyrians take over Judah as the waters flood over a territory.
Isaiah’s message in this eighth chapter explained the confederacy of Syria and Israel against the house of Judah. God’s assurance to protect Judah, the disobedience of King Ahaz and the consequences that lies ahead on the people. Although Israel and Judah both were brethren, they were divided as two separate kingdoms.

Isaiah 8:1-9 explained God’s message to Judah through Isaiah with instruction that he should write it with a pen on a scroll and also call the priest –Uriah as a witness so that it can be in records for everyone to see and then reveal it to King Ahaz. Why was this done? This was because King Ahaz did not trust God for the salvation of Judah. The Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz was mentioned figuratively as a prophecy which means son of plunder which is opposite to God’s redemption of humanity “IMMANUEL”. God did not take Ahaz’s actions lightly because King Ahaz himself did not trust God to depend on Him for protection for the fear of attack from Syria, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah despite His assurance of victory to the House of Judah.
The significance of Judah is beyond a territorial extension of Israel but part of the covenant and as such should “stood out to honor the praise of God” and from which is the lineage of David and also Christ the Messiah.

2 Kings 8:19 Yet for the sake of His servant David, the Lord was unwilling to destroy Judah, since He had promised to maintain a lamp for David and His descendants forever).

Also, Joshua willed Judah the Southern of the promised land which became part of Jerusalem in Judah (Joshua 15) and this region became the site for the temple in Jerusalem, Mount Moriah, and also Mount Zion, and became the spiritual headquarters and strength of other tribes. We see this in Genesis 22:2, And later David affirmed in Psalm 132:13 that God has chosen Zion as His desired habitation. Bible scholars also tells us that Mount Moriah where God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac later became known as Zion in Southern Jerusalem. David own his own evolution willed Judah the Southern part of the city to God (2 Samuel 5: 7 Nevertheless, David captured the fortress of Zion—which is the City of David). This region of Judah was also where Solomon built the temple in Jerusalem

2 Chronicles 3: 1 Then Solomon began to build the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the LORD had appeared to his father David. It was on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, the place provided by David.

Despite the good news of God’s redemption that will be pioneered by the House of Judah, God will bring judgment against the House of Judah because of the actions of King Ahaz in which he aligned with the Assyrians to fortify Judah against the aggression of Syria and Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah. King Ahaz was justified and had reasons to be afraid because they had suffered similar situation in the past and the antecedent of the Syrians, Ephraim and Remaliah was enough to frighten King Ahaz.

We notice this in - 2 Chronicles 28:6-8

For Pekah the son of Remaliah killed one hundred and twenty thousand in Judah in one day, all valiant men, because they had forsaken the LORD God of their fathers. 7 Zichri, a mighty man of Ephraim, killed Maaseiah the king’s son, Azrikam the officer over the house, and Elkanah who was second to the king. 8And the children of Israel carried away captive of their brethren two hundred thousand women, sons, and daughters; and they also took away much spoil from them, and brought the spoil to Samaria.

However, we will observe despite Ahaz’s justification in Isaiah 8:7, that God showed displeasure with Judah for King Ahaz’s treaty with the Assyrians and how such an action will be a yoke and snare to them.

The Assyrians were also the enemies of Israel who had invaded them before which also made God not pleased with the actions of Ahaz (2 Chronicles 5: 26 So the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of King Pul of Assyria, the spirit of King Tilgath-pilneser of Assyria, and he carried them away, namely, the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh, and brought them to Halah, Habor, Hara, and the river Gozan, to this day).
However, the warning of judgement of the consequences of Judah and Israel’s disobedience will be a long lasting consequence on its people which we can trace in the scripture as it continued to Hosea to Malachi with emphasis on God’s desire for the restoration of Israel out of their backsliding state.

Isaiah 8:10-16 – At this point, God makes a demand on King Ahaz to ask for a sign as an assurance over His people. God’s intention was for King Ahaz to understand that He will be an everlasting savior over the people of Israel and Judah, and also out of the tribe of Judah comes forth salvation “IMMANUEL”. This prophecy was beyond the immediate threat of the Syrians and Israel against the House of Judah. As a people the task of trusting God for the fulfilment of His word means not settling for Ismael because of the NOW situation of temporary comfort which is short sightedness and only an opposition to God’s everlasting blessing of Isaac that requires our faith and complete obedience to Him.

Isaiah 8:16-20, God warns Isaiah not to focus on the conspiracy against Judah but to tell the people to adhere to His law but regardless Ahaz put his trust and that of His people in the might of the Assyrians. Furthermore, the people Judah continued in their ways and then God tells Isaiah to pay attention to the testimony (law) of the Lord; wait on Him and position himself and his children as God’s sign and wonder which the people will now read because they have derailed to seeking mediums and fortune tellers. The became a case of backsliding and complete derailment from the only true God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The failed to come to the understanding their action of seeking other gods through mediums was a rejection of God’s law and also an abomination before Him.

Isaiah 8:21-22 The consequences of Judah’s level rejection of God will bring His God’s judgment and hardship on both Israel and Judah which prevailed for many years until the fulfilment of the coming of Jesus Christ, Immanuel (Mathew 1: 23) whose coming reconciled humanity to God.

Sometimes Christians struggle to trust God due to fear of the security of the future and most often our confidence is rather tilted towards other processes such as education, insurance policy, pension and retirement plans, etc. that point us towards a good future. God is calling us to a faith-based relationship

Hebrews 1: 1-3 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear).

This is a life void of sentiment, because life of sentiment focuses on reality and pragmatism which cannot pass the test of faith in God. Did you wonder why God’s rebuke of Judah and Israel was so severe? This is because God does not spare His own when it comes to complete adherence. He expects us to trust Him in order to bring out the best in us even though the process might seem unrealistic just as He assured King Ahaz of the safety Judah and His redemption “Immanuel”, but Ahaz was shortsighted by aligning with the Assyrians.

Proverbs 3: 5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight)

Wednesday, March 08 2023

Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai

Throughout the history of God’s people, there are several instances where siege was laid against them, and also several accounts where the Almighty God intervened. There is an interesting account in Isaiah 37:1-38 where God sent one Angel in verse 35 to destroy the entire army of the Assyrians made up of 185,000 soldiers. This account is also recorded in 2 Kings 19:1-36 and 2 Chronicles 32:1-23. Isaiah Chapter 7 is the account of another of such failed attempt of the enemies of God’s people, that later culminates in the greatest deliverance in Isaiah 37:1-38; during king Hezekiah’s reign. 
But this time, Ahaz is king; and the prophet Isaiah summarises the entire failed attempt with this statement at the end of verse 1. “However, they were unable to carry out their plan.”
And then, from verse 2, he tells us how it all happened. And as we progress through the incident, it presents us with very important learning points.

1. Point 1 (Verses 2-4): See Your Challenges Through The Eyes Of God!
“The news had come to the royal court of Judah: “Syria is allied with Israel against us!” So the hearts of the king and his people trembled with fear, like trees shaking in a storm.” [NLT]

As we see in verse 2, Bad news had come that Israel and Syria had formed an alliance to fight against Judah and they were terrified. Just like Israel at the walls of Jericho who said they were like grasshoppers in the eyes of the Anak (Numbers 13:33) the people were terrified. But the Almighty has this to say in verse 4
“Tell him to stop worrying. Tell him he doesn’t need to fear the fierce anger of those
two burned-out embers
, King Rezin of Syria and Pekah son of Remaliah.”

God called the two kings burned-out embers. All smoke no fire. All bark no bite. Here is an unfailing truth. “Everything fades into irrelevance when they come in contact with the Almighty.” So whose report will you believe? Isaiah 53: 1

2. Point 2 (Verse 7-9a): Sometimes God Does Things For His Namesake
“But this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “This invasion will never happen; it will never take place; for Syria is no stronger than its capital, Damascus, and Damascus is no stronger than its king, Rezin. As for Israel, within sixty-five years it will be crushed and completely  destroyed. Israel is no stronger than its capital, Samaria, and Samaria is no stronger than its king, Pekah son of Remaliah.

Psalms 23: 4 says: “He leads me in the path of righteousness for His namesake”
That’s why we see here that although Ahaz was not a good king, God still saved His people and thwarted the attempt of Syria and Israel. He does certain things in spite of us, not because He is pleased with us. He, choosing to remain faithful to His Word and promises, is not a yardstick to measure our standing with Him. We must consistently seek His grace made available to us through Christ, to live each and every day of our lives in right standing with Him.

3. Point 3 (Verse 9b): We Need Faith to Stand Firm
“Unless your faith is firm, I cannot make you stand firm.”
The MSG says: If you don't take your stand you won’t have a leg to stand on.

This statement stands true even to today. It is very important for us as Christians to in faith, stand up for what we believe
1 Cor.16:13 says: “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.”
1 Pet. 3:15 says: “But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defence to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,
Phil.1:27 says: “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel”

4. Point 4 (Verses 10-12): Faith and Trust is better than Signs and Wonders
Ask for a sign from your God. Ask “God spoke again to Ahaz. This time he said, “ anything. Be extravagant. Ask for the moon!” But Ahaz said, “I’d never do that. I’d never make demands like that on God!”” MSG
Having faith and trusting in God completely is the sign of a healthy relationship with God. And people with such give Him more pleasure as opposed to those who will not believe unless they are given signs. (See 1 Peter 1:8)
Signs are really for the unbelieving. Matthew 16:4a says: “A wicked and adulterous  generation looks for a sign . .”
In John 23:20, Jesus told Thomas, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Ahaz was an idolater. So God asked Ahaz to choose a sign. And when he refused, God gave him His own sign.

5. Point 5 (Verse 14): The Significance of the Virgin Birth
“All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).” NLT
In this verse, Isaiah prophesies of a virgin birth.

Why was the birth of Christ through a virgin very important?
It is because it is crucial to and the bedrock of our faith. After the fall in Eden, sin started to be passed down through Adam, through the father. So if a human father had been responsible for the birth of Christ, Jesus would have been born with sin Himself. And His death on the cross would not have been substitutionary for us. He would have been dying for His own sins not ours. For Jesus to die for us, it was necessary for him to be born sinless. It was the virgin birth that enabled Jesus to be as human as his mother, Mary while at the same time as sinless and divine as His Father God Almighty

6. Point 6 (Verses 15-16) Assurance of Safety
“By the time the child is twelve years old, able to make moral decisions, the threat of war will be over. Relax, those two kings that have you so worried will be out of the picture.” MSG

Here again is where the prophecy of Isaiah spans two eras. He prophesies the birth of a miraculous child and that before that child will attain maturity, Israel and Syria would have been dealt with by the Assyrians and will no longer be a threat. Although the virgin birth refers to Jesus here, but it was 730 years after this prophecy that Jesus was born. However, if Jesus had been born at that time, the time frame would still have been valid!
Because a Hebrew child celebrates his passage to adulthood at age 12; and in less than 12 years, the Assyrians came and wiped out Israel and Syria. See Isaiah 17:1-6
2 Kings 17:6 also records how Assyria swept out of the north, captured the Northern Kingdom of Israel, and took the ten tribes into captivity. And from there they became lost to history.
“In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria and deported the Israelites to Assyria. He settled them in Halah, in Gozan on the Habor River and in the towns of the Medes.”
Also see 2 Kings 18:5–18

7. Point 7 (Verses 17-25): God Does Not Compromise When It Comes To Consequences
In these verses, the prophet Isaiah prophesies against Judah. Immediately after prophesying against their enemies. Verse 17 says

“But also be warned: God will bring on you and your people and your government a judgment worse than anything since the time the kingdom split, when Ephraim left Judah. The king of Assyria is coming!” MSG

This prophecy came to pass as recorded in 2 Kings 18:13, when the new Assyrian King Sennacherib led a powerful invasion force to suppress Judah’s revolt. He came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them.
“In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah’s reign, King Sennacherib of Assyria came to attack the fortified towns of Judah and conquered them.”

We have looked at seven learning points from the study of this chapter. We are admonished to take these learning points to heart and allow them guide us as we journey through our paths in life. Every of our actions and inactions have consequences. Galatians 6:7-9 says:
“God will never be mocked! For what you plant will always be the very thing you harvest. The harvest you reap reveals the seed that you planted. If you plant the corrupt seeds of self-life into this natural realm, you can expect a harvest of corruption. If you plant the good seeds of Spirit-life you will reap beautiful fruits that grow from the everlasting life of the Spirit. And don’t allow yourselves to be weary in planting good seeds, for the season of reaping the wonderful harvest you’ve planted is coming!”

Wednesday, February 22 2023

Contributor: Peter Folikwe

We shall be reviewing Chapter 5 - the six woes/curses pronounced on Israel, borne out of their defiance to God’s commandments. And in Chapter 6, we shall x-ray the birth of prophet Isiah’s ministry and a call to service.
Societal decadence of morals and spirituality in Isiah’s time is not any different from what we see around us today.

Is 5:1-7. It begins with a very sorrowful, bitter and heart-breaking song. Here the song composer (God Almighty) who gave a description of a vineyard that He had invested in.

Verses 1-2 - He bought a land, removed stones that will hinder the roots of the vine from nourishment, He planted special breed of vines/not genetically modified, ensured there is wall of protection around the vine, and employed experienced vine dressers to keep it.
He expected bumper harvest of sweet choice grapes, but on the contrary He harvested useless and sour grapes.

In Verse 3, God asked His people to judge between Himself and the vineyard he had planted (the people of a Israel). He asked why the vineyard produce sour grapes against His expectation.

In Verse 5, God describes what will happen to this fruitless vineyard; destruction and curses await them. God tearing down the hedge that was meant to protect it, and dressers will no longer prune/hoe it. It was left for weeds and thorns to choke it to death till it becomes stone dried.

In Verses 5 & 6, God pronounced His judgment on the vineyard.
He will tear down its hedges and let it be destroyed. He will break down its walls and let the animals trample it. He will make it a wild place where the vines are not pruned and the ground is not hoed, a place overgrown with briers and thorns. Rain to cease from falling.
Now God itemizes specific sins, 6 in number, for which curses “WOEs” are pronounced in V8, V11, V18, V20, V21, & V22.

Verse 7 tells us, who this vineyard of the Lord is. The vineyard is the people of Israel and by extension the body of Christ, living unrighteous. God chose the most fertile piece of land - Israel. He dug a trench around them, because they are surrounded by enemies. Removal of the stones may well indicate how God empowered them to eliminate the Canaanites in order for His people to give undiluted service to Him. They are the choicest vine.
The expectation God from them, for all the privileges (provision, protection, nourishment, etc.) enjoyed by these chosen people, is that they produce excellent fruits.
The expectations of God of them is holiness, righteousness, justice and love for mankind.
God asked in Verse 3, what else was expected of Him to do for them, reason He asked that they judge between Himself and they - the vineyard.

Verse 8: The focus here is on how His people have abandoned the faith and focused on material possessions.
God pronounced a curse Verses 9 & 10 reminiscent of famine conditions, where many of the land and houses they acquired illegally will become desolate and yield very little fruits.
The next “WOE” - curse is directed at the sin of drunkenness and pleasure seeking in

Verses 11 & 12. Within the body of Christ some defend their position on strong drinks with the popular quote by Apostle Paul 1Tim 5:23 “Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities.”

In Verses 14 & 15 this class of sinners (drunks and pleasure seekers) are condemned to death. The mouth of hell is open to swallow them in large numbers.

God in Verse 16, vindicates Himself of their judgement as He remains holy and righteous.
We see the next judgement - “WOE” in Verse 18. It paints a picture of those who have truck load of sin, evil, iniquity immortality and wickedness: yet they drag their sins all over the place with impunity and without shame.

Verse 19 states that not only are they shamelessly exhibiting their folly, they have the audacity to challenge God to do His worst.
I struggled to exonerate the church from this group, but having pondered over the list, I asked sincerely, don’t we still have pride, deceit, envy, unforgiving and disobedience to parents, still prevalent with the church - I want to believe that Miracle Land is absolved in Jesus name.

We find the next category of “WOE” in Verse 20 where everything is made contrary to the norm. This seems familiar to what is happening in our world today. What is evil they call good and vice-versa. What was light they call dark, what was bitter they call sweet. I want us to critically review this with practical examples in our world today.

The next curse “WOE” in Verse 21 is matted to those who indulge in the sin of arrogance - what we call back home as “ITK”. They have a very arrogant disposition to life. They are highly opinionated of themselves. They hate being corrected and do not heed advice. One of the learnings from our Proverbs challenge is Prov. 24:6.” No wonder the arrogant goof always.

Verses 22 & 23 reel out the final curse “WOE” upon leaders in government, the society the church who take bribes to pervert justice, and take away the rights of the righteous. These are leaders who are corrupt and lack integrity.
The above are the specific sins in Chapter 5 that propelled God to bring judgement’s upon the children of Israel.

And in Verse 24, it reels out the unavoidable punishment where all that fall into the above categories are consumed like grass in a summer bonfire, because they all have rejected the word of the Lord and despised God.

Verse 25 says God is furious against these people. He promised to whisper to the enemies of Israel to go into a battle with them and destroy, and even the remnants captured by the enemy.

This above prophecy of Isiah was fulfilled during the Babylonian destruction of Israel and captivity of remnants into exile. The Babylonian captivity or Babylonian exile is the period in Jewish history during which a large number of Judeans from the ancient Kingdom of Judah were captives in Babylon, the capital city of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, following their defeat in the Jewish–Babylonian War and the destruction of Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem.

Chapter 6

Isaiah must have struggled with this prophecy of doom and gloom. He must have asked, if God was still in charge and in control. This led to the birth of Isiah’s ministry in Chapter 6.
The opening verses 1-4 gave vivid account Isaiah’s visit to the temple to seek the face of God, after the death of king Uzziah. King Uzziah became king at age 16 (2 Chron. 26:1-4).
God showed Isaiah a vision of His throne, that in spite the confusion, He - God is still on His throne, in control and He reigns in His majesty. Angels are at His beck and call. That He - God remains Holy.

In Verse 5, the awesome wonders of God’s majesty, His power, glory and honour in His throne Isaiah was faced with no choice than to curse himself, just as he had been instructed to curse the people of Israel in chapter 5. How filthy, unrighteous and sinful natured he was as a human being became glaring to him as he compared himself with God in His throne room.
Isaiah admitted that he is a man of unclean lips, living in the mist of unclean people.

Verse 6: Isaiah had to go through a purification process after a genuine repentance. The coal touching his lips portrays atonement of sin, purification and cleansing from all forms of unrighteousness

Verse 8: The question here is who is God looking to send into a world in crisis and confusion as we have today? As we have learnt, this person must have a clear vision of God’s glory, majestic splendour, His holiness and unshakable kingdom.
This person must be broken, having an awareness of his sinful nature.
The person should be humbled enough to admit his sins and ask for forgiveness. Only such will be willing to Go.

Verse 9: Having displayed his preparedness and willingness to Go, Isaiah was asked to keep preach until there will be no one left to hear it.

Finally in Verse 13: Despite the confusion, impunity and blatant disregard for God’s commands, God still kept His 10%, His holy seed who will hear, see and understand with a brokenness of heart.My prayer is that Miracle Land will be among the holy seed of God in Jesus name.

Wednesday, February 15 2023

Contributor: Clem Roberts

Isaiah 1:1–31 

The first chapter of Isaiah serves as a summary vision and presents the major themes of the book: judgment on Judah for rebelliousness and hope for the future restoration of Zion. 

Verse 1- The vision of Isaiah This opening heading identifies the book as prophetic revelation associated with Isaiah the prophet. 
Isaiah The prophet’s name means “Yahweh’s is salvation.” Or “The Lord shall save”.  
Isaiah’s ministry spans the reigns of four kings of Judah over a period of several years, but most of his prophetic activity relates to the crisis during the reign of Ahaz or the Assyrian king Sennacherib’s invasion and siege of Jerusalem during the reign of Hezekiah. His access and relationship to the royal court seems similar to that of Nathan, Elijah, or Elisha (2 Sam 7; 1 Kings 18–19; 2 Kings 6).

Judah and Jerusalem The northern kingdom of Israel fell to Assyria, during Isaiah’s lifetime. This and other traumatic events provide the dramatic backdrop for Isaiah’s warning of impending judgment against the southern kingdom of Judah.

Verses 2–20 God’s formally brings a legal suit against Judah for a breach of contract (breaking their covenant with Him). The accusation appears in Isa 1:2–3, followed by a direct address to the people outlining the charges detailed in Verses 4–20.

SUMMARY OF CHAPTER 1 - God’s Case Against Judah
Verses 1- 9

•    Jerusalem is called by more than 30 different names in the book Isaiah.
•    The chastening of the Lord (re: Deut. 28-29) has been visited upon the land and the time of expulsion is near. 
•    Total destruction: Deut. 29:22; Amos 9:11; Isa 13; Jer. 50.
God’s condemnation - of sheer outward religion and formalism: Hos. 6:6; Amos 4:4; 5:21-25; Micah 6:6-8; Jer. 7:4, 21; Ps 50:3-15.
•    10 Reference to Jerusalem as Sodom (Rev 11:18).
•    13 “Abomination due to use of images and idolatry (Rev 13).
•    18 - 31 Entreaty and warning. 
•    18 An invitation to “Reason together”
•    19 Grace for all which includes full amnesty.

Again another derailment 
•    20 - 22 Silver & Harlotry: Ex 34:15; Hos. 1:2; Isa 50:1; 54:1, Ex 30:11-16
•    24 The call of Trinity. 
•    25 Dross: Ezek. 22:18-22.
•    26 Judges are to be restored in the future kingdom (Mt 19:28).
•    29 Trees: 2 Kgs 16:4; Hos. 4:13; Jer. 2:20; 3:6-13; 17:2; Ezek. 6:13; Isa 57:5.
•    Gardens: Isa 65:3; 66:17.


Vs 2 - “I have nourished and brought up children, And they have rebelled against Me; 
God is emphasizing His role as caretaker or master over Israel’s well-being; He cared for them like a father.  Yet they rebelled against Him. The Hebrew word for “rebel” is used to describe political rebellion (see 2 Kgs 3:5–7). It indicates a breach of contract—when someone has not fulfilled his or her contractual obligation. 
In this case, the Israelites are accused of breaking their agreement to obey God. The metaphor of Israel as a rebellious child connects directly to the covenant law in Deut. 21:18–21, where the penalty for disobeying parents was death.

Are we conscious and committed?
1:3 An ox knows its owner God’s children have shown less sense and loyalty than stubborn farm animals, who at least recognize their master’s role in providing for them.
Israel here, refers to God’s people generally, not just the northern kingdom. The vision is addressed to Judah and Jerusalem, the southern kingdom.
1:4 children Indicates that those being addressed are connected to God’s rebellious children in Isa 1:2.
The Holy One of Israel This title for God is frequently used in Isaiah to emphasize the holiness of God. Isaiah’s experience may have profoundly impacted his vision of God, and led him to stress this aspect as central to God’s identity. 
Isaiah develops a portrait of God as all powerful and greater than other so-called gods. He also emphasizes God’s separateness and otherness compared to His creation (Hosea 11:9), and His demands for moral perfection and ritual cleanness (Lev 19:2). Isaiah’s dismay in Isa 6:5 is related to his awareness of his own uncleanness for standing before that which was most holy.

God’s Grace  
As God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for their wickedness (Gen 19). The prophets frequently referenced the cities to illustrate what God’s judgment looks like (see Isa 13:19; Jer. 49:18; Amos 4:11; Zeph. 2:9). 
A small remnant was saved from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah—only through God’s grace.  But Isaiah referenced it and also added a spiritual angle to it.

SUMMARY OF CHAPTER 2 Emphasises On A Vision Of The Coming Kingdom.
•    Verses 2-5 similar to Prophet Micah in Micah 4:1-3, 5.
•    Mountains an idiomatic expression for kingdom, authority, rule: Dan 2:35, 44-45; Rev 17:9-11; etc.
•    6 - 22 The necessity of humility
•    11 Compare with Isa 14: the fall of Lucifer through pride.
•    17 Only God should be exalted. 
•    19 Rev 6:16; Josh 10:16,17.

SUMMARY OF CHAPTER 3 - National And Regional Disintegration Of Israel Due To Sin And Transgression
•    Talks about the chaos that will befall those leaders who lead people away from God almighty.
•    Obscene nature of the society at large. 

SUMMARY OF CHAPTER 4:1-6: We Will See A Vision Of The Coming Kingdom.
•    Seven women 
•    “The Branch of the Lord” to be fully manifested after His return in glory (Mt 25:31);
•    “The Branch” of David (Isa 11:1; Jer. 23:5; 33:15), the Messiah, “of the seed of David according to the flesh” (Rom 1:3), revealed in earthly glory as King of Kings.
•    The Lord’s “servant, the Branch” (Zech. 3:8), Messiah’s humiliation and obedience unto death (Isa 52:13-53:12; Phil 2:5-8);
•    Cloud covering for them that believe: Ex 13:21,22.

What we have learnt in these first four chpaters on the book of Isaiah is a theme pointing towards, a call to righteousness and total reliance on God

Wednesday, February 08 2023

Contributor: Alex Alajiki

We must remember to thank God for our past studies, acknowledge the help of the Holy  Spirit; the Spirit of truth and the hard work of our teachers.
We are studying the book of Isaiah until the end of 2023 and I believe that the lessons stored up for us by God will enrich our knowledge of the Bible and transform our lives.
The book of Isaiah was written between 739 and 681 B.C. during the time when Israel was a divided nation. After King Solomon’s death, the ten northern tribes formed Israel, with its capital city being Samaria. The two remaining tribes of Benjamin and Judah united to become the southern kingdom, Judah, with Jerusalem as its capital. Isaiah spoke mainly to Judah (but sometimes also to Israel) “in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah” (Isa.1:1)
His message was to a nation that had turned a deaf ear to the Lord. Instead of serving Him with humility and offering love to their neighbours, the nation of Judah offered meaningless sacrifices in God’s temple at Jerusalem and committed injustices throughout the nation. Prophet spoke mainly to the people of Judah and the message was mostly to ‘repent’ and turn from their wicked ways that the Lord might bless them yet again (Isaiah 1:2; 2:11-20; 5:30; 34:1-2; 42:25).
At the same time, Isaiah understands that God is a God of mercy, grace, and compassion (Isaiah 5:25; 11:16; 14:1-2; 32:2; 40:3; 41:14-16). The nation of Israel (both Judah and Israel) is blind and deaf to God’s commands (Isaiah 6:9-10; 42:7). Judah is compared to a vineyard that should be, and will be, trampled on (Isaiah 5:1-7). Only because of His mercy and His promises to Israel, will God not allow Israel or Judah to be completely destroyed. He will bring restoration, forgiveness, and healing (43:2; 43:16-19; 52:10-12).
More than any other book in the Old Testament, Isaiah focuses on the salvation that will come
through the Messiah. The Messiah will one day rule in justice and righteousness (Isaiah 9:7; 32:1).
The reign of the Messiah will bring peace and safety to Israel (Isaiah 11:6-9). Through the Messiah, Israel will be a light to all the nations (Isaiah 42:6; 55:4-5). The Messiah’s kingdom on earth (Isaiah chapters 65-66) is the goal toward which all of the book of Isaiah points. It is during the reign of the Messiah that God’s righteousness will be fully revealed to the world.

1. The Author (Isaiah 1:1)
The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.
As is the case with nearly all the books of “the prophets,” the book of Isaiah takes its name from its writer. Isaiah was married to a prophetess who bore him at least two sons (Isaiah 7:3; 8:3). He prophesied under the reign of four Judean kings; Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah (1:1).
The name “Isaiah” means “Jehovah saves” or “Salvation of Jehovah.” It is believed that Isaiah
was from a prominent family, or perhaps even related to the royal family of Judah, because of his apparent influence among the rulers of Judah. Isaiah is sometimes called the “prince of prophets” for this reason. He made the most prophecies regarding the Jewish people and Christ. And he is the prophet who is most often quoted in the New Testament.
Isaiah is considered a “major” prophet of the Bible (along with Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel) as opposed to the “minor” prophets (Obadiah, Joel, Jonah, Amos, Hosea, Micah, Nahum,
Zephaniah, Habakkuk, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi). These prophets are not divided based
on significance of the messages, however, but rather simply by the length of their books.
Some scholars debate whether or not one man, Isaiah son of Amoz, actually wrote all sixty-six chapters of this book, dividing the book into three sections: 1–39(Punishment of Jerusalem),
40–55(Captivity in Babylon), and 56–66(Persian Era). These scholars insist multiple authors must have added to the scrolls to account for the fulfilment of the words in the book of Isaiah; in other words, someone snuck in and added prophecies after foretold events had already occurred. However, if you believe in the Holy Spirit and in God’s ability to speak to and through His prophets, you can set aside this reasoning.

2. Historical Perspective (Isaiah 1:2-3)
Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth! For the Lord has spoken: “I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against Me; 3 The ox knows its owner And the donkey its master’s crib; But Israel does not know, My people do not consider.”
Isaiah lived in the eighth century BC, during the time when Israel was a divided nation. After King Solomon’s death, the ten northern tribes formed Israel, with its capital city being Samaria. The two remaining tribes of Benjamin and Judah united to become the southern kingdom, Judah, with Jerusalem as its capital. Isaiah’s ministry as a prophet took place in the range of 740–680 BC, during some very turbulent times for the Jewish people. There were threats to their safety and culture on all sides, including between and among the tribes themselves.
The northern kingdom of Israel was taken captive by Assyria in 721 BC. Then, the southern kingdom of Judah was defeated by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, in 586 BC. At this time, the capital, Jerusalem, major buildings, and the beautiful temple Solomon had built were all destroyed. Thousands of Jewish people were taken to Babylon for seventy years, a key event in the history of the Jewish people, known as the Babylonian captivity or exile.
Isaiah predicted these and other events long before they occurred. These and many other prophecies spoken by Isaiah can be traced through secular, non-Christian sources.

3. The Message or Purpose (Isaiah 42:6-7)
“I, the Lord, have called You in righteousness, and will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the Gentiles 7, To open blind eyes, To bring out prisoners from the prison, Those who sit in darkness from the prison house.
More than any other book in the Old Testament, Isaiah focuses on the salvation that will come through the Messiah. The Messiah will one day rule in justice and righteousness (Isaiah 9:7; 32:1). The reign of the Messiah will bring peace and safety to Israel (Isaiah 11:6-9). Through the Messiah, Israel will be a light to all the nations (Isaiah 42:6; 55:4-5). The Messiah’s kingdom on earth (Isaiah chapters 65-66) is the goal toward which all of the book of Isaiah points. It is during the reign of the Messiah that God’s righteousness will be fully revealed to the world.
Chapter 53 of Isaiah describes the coming Messiah and the suffering He would endure in order to pay for our sins. In His sovereignty, God orchestrated every detail of the crucifixion to fulfil every prophecy of this chapter. The imagery of chapter 53 is poignant and prophetic and contains a complete picture of the Gospel. Jesus was despised and rejected (v. 3; Luke 13:34; John 1:10-11), stricken by God (v.4; Matthew 27:46), and pierced for our transgressions (v. 5; John 19:34; 1 Peter 2:24). By His suffering, He paid the punishment we deserved and became for us the ultimate and perfect sacrifice (v. 5; Hebrews 10:10). Although He was sinless, God laid on Him our sin, and we became God’s righteousness in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Conclusion Isaiah (12:1-3)
Isaiah’s overall theme receives its clearest statement in chapter 12:1-3
Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; ‘For Yah, the Lord, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.’ 3 Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.


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Miracle Land Parish Castletown Road, Castletown,
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