Sunday, May 13, 2012

THE BOOK OF ISAIAH // CHAPTERS 2-4: Pride and Arrogance

Chapters 2-4
Chapters 2-4 of Isaiah flow together like a short book. They have their own introduction, indicating that this text was once a separate text and has since been included with the rest of Isaiah’s work in the Book of Isaiah.
-       Verses 2-4: Isaiah provides a picture of the world as it was created to be. The House of the Lord would be the most important place on Earth, where people of all nations will come to worship God. He teaches us and we walk in His ways. There would be peace on Earth, as no nation would fight against another nation.
o   Verse 3: The word says that God’s teachings will go out FROM Zion and FROM Jerusalem, indicating that these two places were designed/chosen by God to be centers of His ministry here on Earth. But as we see in the text, that is not the case. That is not what has transpired.
-       Verses 2:5 – 3:26: Contrast how the world was created to be with how the world has become.
o   2:6 - The Lord rejects his people because they have turned from Him. They make alliances with pagans, they are obsessed with money, they are constantly at war, and they worship idols.
o   2:11 - One of two times that Isaiah makes this statement of how human pride will be brought down and arrogance will be humbled on the day of the Lord’s judgment.
o   **The Day of Judgment – this phrase is used frequently in the Old Testament and can mean two things: One, it can mean any day in which God acts as judge either against his enemies or against his people for their sins. Two, it can mean a great and final day of judgment when God permanently ends all evil in the world.**
o   2:12 – States that God will punish the proud and mighty, and then that is followed with several images depicting awe-inspiring marvels of the natural world that God will destroy, indicating there is nothing here on earth that will last.
o   2:17 – The second time that Isaiah makes the statement concerning Human pride’s destruction.
o   2:22: “Don’t put your trust in mere humans. They are as frail as breath.”
o   3:1: Isaiah now shifts to talk about Judah, saying that on that day God will take away everything they depend on.
o   3:8: Isaiah prophesies that Jerusalem will stumble and Judah will fall because they speak out against God.
o   3:9: They have brought destruction upon themselves. Isaiah is way ahead of himself, as Jesus taught that we were held responsible for our own actions before the Lord.
o   3:13-15: Isaiah presents the imagery of a courtroom and talks about how the Lord will bring judgment on Judah
o   3:16: Isaiah now shifts to talking about Jerusalem, describing it as a haughty woman who things she is more arrogant and superior than she is.
o   3:18-23: Isaiah overkills to make a point, describing 21 different items that a woman uses to make herself beautiful that God will strip away from Jerusalem.
o   3:26: Isaiah uses strong imagery here, comparing Jerusalem on that day to a ravaged woman huddling on the ground.
-       Chapter 4, Verses 2-6: Isaiah now transitions to a promise of restoration for those who remain in the Lord.
o   Verse 2: In that day the Branch of the Lord, those who remain in God and His righteousness, will be glorious.
§  Later in Isaiah, God will speak through Isaiah calling Jesus, who came to earth through the line of Jesse and David, as the “Branch” of Jesse.
o   Verse 5: After the storm, God will provide protection and shelter for those who have survived and remained in Him.

Stop and think about the world we live in for a second. Think about life in the United States, where we hustle and bustle along consumed in our own lives each and every day. Think about the rest of the world too. Think about the billions of people on this earth. Now think about God, who created all of it. Each person. Each place. Everything in it, He created it. Do you think that this is the way He intended for it to be when He created it? I don't. In the beginning of Chapter 2 it talks about how God intended for all the people of the earth to come together and worship Him, and that there would be peace on earth, and that the House of the Lord would be the most important place on earth. I think somewhere along the way we got off course and have ended up where we are today. Human beings, God's creations, the things that were made in His image, have turned our backs to God, and let our own pride and arrogance get in the way over and over again, leading us to where we are today. But God also promises restoration. He promises that 'the Branch of the Lord' will be beautiful and that it will come, and that it will restore His Kingdom. And we will again be united with God as he originally created us to be. I look forward to that day.

Isaiah 2: 11 and 17: "Human pride will be brought down, and human arrogance will be humbled. Only the Lord will be exalted on that day of Judgement."

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