Monday, August 10, 2015

Isaiah 2:1-5 NASB - "1 The word which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

2 Now it will come about that In the last days The mountain of the house of the LORD Will be established as the chief of the mountains, And will be raised above the hills; And all the nations will stream to it. 3 And many peoples will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; That He may teach us concerning His ways And that we may walk in His paths." For the law will go forth from Zion And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4 And He will judge between the nations, And will render decisions for many peoples; And they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, And never again will they learn war.

5 Come, house of Jacob, and let us walk in the light of the LORD."

This prophecy was given during difficult times in the life of God’s people. It was a time of great political struggle for Judah.  Assyria was aggressively expanding its empire, attacking Israel and Syria to the North of Judah. 

Israel (10 northern tribes) and Syria looked to Judah to form an alliance with them to stop the Assyrian empire.  But the historic mistrust between Judah and Israel motivated Judah to refuse this offer.

When Judah rejected this coalition with Israel and Syria to fight Assyria, Judah was attacked by Israel and Syria demonstrating the amount of distrust and tension that existed.  In response to this, Judah seriously considered inviting Assyria to help. 

Isaiah sought to encourage the king and the people to trust only in The LORD to protect them.  King Ahaz of Judah rejected Isaiah's counsel and asked Assyria to come to his aid.  Assyria accepted, using the divisions that existed as an opportunity and the capital of Israel (Samaria) fell in 722 B.C.   The ten tribes were taken into exile by the Assyria at this time.

It soon became apparent that Judah was next on Assyria's strategic plan for military conquest.   Yesterday’s ally would become today’s target.  In response to this new threat, Judah began looking to Egypt in the south for help. 

Once again, Isaiah counseled the nation to make no alliances but trust only in the LORD to defend them. King Hezekiah listened to the counsel of Isaiah and God rewarded his faith by destroying the Assyrian host (Isaiah 36-37). 

But in a moment of weakness Hezekiah showed the ambassadors from Babylon (Assyria's enemy) the house of his treasures (Isaiah 39:1-2).  This led Isaiah to foretell that the king’s treasure and his descendants would be taken away to Babylon (Isaiah 39:5-7).  With this prophecy as a context, in chapters 40-66 Isaiah speaks from the perspective of God’s people going into Babylonian exile and foretells of coming pardon, deliverance, and restoration.

During this time God sent several prophets to Israel and Judah.  Hosea
(750-725 B.C.) prophesied mainly to Israel, the northern ten tribes.
Micah (735-700 B.C.) together with Isaiah spoke primarily to Judah in
the south. 

So this great promise and prophecy that God’s Kingdom will come to earth comes at a time filled with divisions, wars, uncertainty, and the need to make big decisions.   Why should the people of God reject the help of offered by the rebellious cultures of the world?   The answer is that it is God’s revelation and truth that will dominate the world and not the societies committed to rebellion against the true God who will prevail.   God wins!

This is important for us as God’s people to remember today.  Sin and rebellion against God’s will not win.   In the end rebellion against God is going to lead to ruin.  One does not beat the Creator of Heaven and Earth.  This simple truth is one of the hardest for us to believe. 

Faith in this eventual complete and total victory of God by converting every culture to the truth through teaching in love is a vision that should encourage us in our evangelism and living daily in the light of God’s great love found in the gospel of Jesus the Messiah.   Indeed the prophet believes that the only logical response to this vision is today to develop a lifestyle guided by and controlled by the Word of God day by day. 

The whole community of God’s people (the church) as well as the individual Christian needs to live in the light of the inevitable and unstoppable victory of God over all the unbelief found in every culture under the sun. 

Prayer:  Lord, help me not give into fear and make compromising with unbelief in my life.  Provide for me a faith in the victory you have won on the cross and through the resurrection.  Help me today live by your light and not be controlled by the dark forces of unbelief.  Lord, I believe, help my unbelief. 

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