Isaiah 1

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Isaiah 1 & 2

Good evening church! It has been a blast meeting together as Growth Groups in our homes over the past few months, but it is nice to gather as a whole as well and fellowship together. It is my hope that as we continue to grow together, that our digging deeper into the Scriptures does not end when we are not in session. No, I’m not going to put out questions for all of our church services, but when we gather, or when you gather on your own, may the things that the Lord is taking us through as a church in the Scriptures, still be on your hearts and minds, and in your conversations.
I know we shared in communion together on a Sunday morning a while back, but it always had been our practice to share together the first Wednesday night of the month, so we want to do that this evening, so if the guys can pass out the elements. And as a reminder, to our growth group leaders, you guys can still share communion together in your groups when we aren’t meeting together here midweek, if you have any questions about that, just ask.
I think tonight, where we began our evening with an agape feast, or love feast, in our modern age called a pot-luck supper, and I don’t like that nearly as much. Pot luck means bring a pot or something to share if you want, and you’ll be lucky if there’s enough to go around. Now in the beginning days of this church, I used to encourage people to come, bring something if you could, if not just show up, because there is always more than enough, because it was true.
And then enthusiasm died down, and the amount of food died down, which means the number of families participating declined, and if we are being honest in our church assessment, our love died down. Nicole and I started trying to supplement the meal every week and spend a couple of hours before the service cooking back in the kitchen, and I don’t know still if it was loving the church or enabling complacency, or maybe even apathy towards one another.
That is why I like the idea of an agape feast much better, its more Biblical. I’m preparing enough food for myself, or my family, and maybe something extra to share, or if I see that there isn’t enough, I know that if I personally give up my portion, my family will still eat, at the one that came without because they have not, can still eat and be loved by this church. So burgers and dogs this week on the church, and we’ll do it the first Wednesday of the month until we resume Growth Groups, and we will have Agape feasts on the rest of the Wednesdays, and we will see what kind of love we can stir up around here. Does that make sense?
In light of that encouragement/rebuke I think the passage in 1 Corinthians for our communion service is just perfect. I will read it all the way through, I’ll pray, and then we will all partake together.
Paul begins addressing the church in Corinth:
"17 Now in giving these instructions I do not praise you, since you come together not for the better but for the worse. 18 For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. 19 For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you. 20 Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord's Supper.
Paul is saying, I don’t know or care what you are calling the gathering that you are doing, but your conduct alone says it’s not to eat the Lord’s supper, not really....He continues....
21 For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk.
Each one is not just looking out for number one, but they are eating and drinking to excess at the expense of others, like a pot luck, not an agape feast…He says,
22 What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I do not praise you.
Paul says it’s like you guys are going to a Brazilian steak house, or an all you can eat buffet and are starving yourselves before you go so you can further take advantage! He says eat at home, drink at home rather than be a self serving glutton. A love feast puts others first, like Jesus did, like Jesus does.
And now he says,
23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me." 25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me." 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes." - 1 Corinthians 11:17-26 NKJV
Lord give us this heart of Jesus in all that we say and in all that we do. Help us to learn to love each other better. Thank you for your sacrifice that makes that possible, that makes salvation possible, we love you Jesus, please bless our time together in your Word, and to remember that you are the Word, it’s in your name we pray, Amen. Let’s eat together, let’s drink together.
Isaiah 1:1 NKJV
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.
For those of you trying to do the math here. Maybe you have noticed that there are 66 chapters in the book of Isaiah and you know we have about 3 weeks of summer here in Maine total, and wonder how in the world are we going to do that, we are not! Even if you go by what the calendar calls summer, we can’t make that and truly do this book justice, so we will just pick away at it until we finish, or the Lord returns. Both are good options. We may tackle portions of it on Sunday mornings as we get into fall and resume Growth Groups and alternate back and forth.
I mentioned that there are 66 chapters in this book, that is one of the reasons, some refer to the Scroll of Isaiah as a miniature Bible. Not because it is so long, but because there are 66 books in the Bible. 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the new testament. This book is not Chronological, meaning everything doesn’t go in by earliest date to oldest like you would think of if you were plotting it out on a chronology chart or timeline.
You need to remember it was written in a different time or age, in a different culture, and as far as literature was concerned, thought were expressed differently. Meaning if I were to ask you for your summer plans or after the fact asked what you did. You might say, well in June I enjoyed the back flies and the rain, then the mosquitoes and ticks, early July I did the Muddy Mainer and started seeing the deer flies something fierce, got baptized at the church picnic near the end of July, I enjoyed our three weeks of heat in August, then got my plow ready for winter.
If you asked someone in this culture it might be. I got baptized, or I went to the Whoopee Pie festival! Priority of events might cause something to be recorded first before other things that proceeded that event chronologically. Being a book of Prophecy, I think that is all the more reason not to fly through this as we don’t want to jumble a bunch of things out of order. Remember that prophecy is not just for-telling things that are yet to occur. It is very much that, as we will see the destruction of the northern kingdom of Isreal is prophesied in this book, the restoration of Israel is prophesied in this book, it contains several Messianic prophecies, or stuff about Jesus before the incarnation, before He was born on this earth. Such as the announcement of His coming, the virgin birth, His sacrificial death, Christologically or concerning Christ specifically, check out this verse…Isaiah 9:6
Isaiah 9:6 NKJV
6 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Who is that talking about? Who’s the only one that could be talking about?
So there is for-telling in this book of prophecy, but also what is called forth-telling prophecy. I think that’s easier to understand if we turn that word forth-telling around and call it telling forth, because that is also what Isaiah does in this book. Tells forth the heart and mind of God in a way that others were not gifted to do. The Old Testament prophets were gifted and given the ministry of telling forth the heart and mind of God as God supernaturally revealed it to them.
I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that the chronological timeline that covered the ministry of Isaiah extended from around 740 BC to about 690 BC. And that that portion of the history of Israel and Judah in the Scriptures is found in 2 Kings 15-21 and in 2 Chronicles 26-33 you guys should be reading that, to help you better understand our Wednesday evening study as there is enough in the book itself to be going over.
Can I tell you something that I think is just awesome? And further confirmation God is the one that is in control and planning things around here? I won’t ask how many of you are doing the chronological Bible readings that are posted every morning at 6 am on our Facebook page because that’s a lot of work. But, in this church that teaches through the Bible in almost 11 years, we’ve finally made it to Isaiah, and in a church that has never done a Chronological reading through the Bible together, guess where our reading has us this Friday? 2 Chronicles chapter 26, and on Saturday, the book of Isaiah chapters 1-4! I see that as miraculous! I also see it as confirmation for some of you that haven’t jumped on board, that maybe, just maybe it is part of God’s plan for this church and now is the time to start if you haven’t yet.
This is how we’re going to do this book. I’m always going to prepare too much and we are just going to go as far as we go. If I’m not here on a Wednesday night, my plan is to have whoever is filling in for me to start with the verse that follows where I left off. Again, part of that is my belief that it is the Lord who has orchestrated our church to be in this place at this time. So, The first verse again tells us Isaiah 1:1
Isaiah 1:1 NKJV
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.
That it was in the days of Uzziah, Jotham Ahaz, and Hezekiah, and many believe partially into the reign of Manasseh. I say that, because the Bible doesn’t record for us that manner of his death, nor does the primary Jewish historical sources such as Josephus tell us, but Jewish tradition holds that he was sawn in two at the orders of King Manasseh, but we can’t be dogmatic about that, because we simply don’t know, or I should say, I don’t know. We do have a passage in the book of Hebrews 11:37
Hebrews 11:37 NKJV
37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented—
That speaks of the death of some of the prophets that many believe is reference to the death of Isaiah. Don’t know for sure.
I mentioned the book being a like a mini Bible, I know I’m taking a long time on this intro, but it is for a purpose. Your Bible’s are broke up into 4 major sections, the first 5 books, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy are what? They make up the books of the law. After that from Joshua all the way to Esther are the historical books, then we have the books of poetry - Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon, and then the major and minor prophets from Hosea to Malachi. Those aren’t major and minor by their importance, just their size. The remaining 27 books make up the New Testament.
For centuries scholars have divided up the Book of Isaiah into several sections. I don’t like to do that because much of their reasoning comes from the changes of writing style and subject that we see in this book, so there is the assumption by many that it wasn’t all written by Isaiah. Not just because of the linguistic changes, but because of the accuracy of the prophecy. Some say that there was one Isaiah who wrote the beginning, and another after the time of Jesus because no one could be that accurate in their prophecy, God could.
For me a couple of things that settle the issue for me simply without much scholarship. In John chapter 12:37-40 John quotes directly from both Isaiah chapter 6 and Isaiah 53 and says the word of Isaiah the prophet, not prophets, and makes no distinction about the sections of the book. And Jesus in Mark 7 quotes from Isaiah 29 and in Matthew 12 he quotes from Isaiah 42 the second section of the book and Jesus attributes it to the same Isaiah and if I’m going to trust Jesus with my eternity, I’m going to trust Him with this.
I will acknowledge a major change in the book and you’ll see the 1st 39 chapters talk heavily about the sin and failure of the people of Isreal and Judah, it deals with the law and government, and then in chapter 40 there is a major transition and it is about comfort and love and salvation of the people, it is about Jesus. After the first 39 books of the Old Testament, we see the same thing in the New. SO, lets move on, verse 2. Isaiah 1:2
Isaiah 1:2 NKJV
2 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;
The people are not listening, so God calls the heavens, the stars and the earth to be His witnesses. Both to testify for Him, and in a sense to be His jurors to who He is laying out His indictment. God is saying, I’ve brought up kids, I’ve fed them, I’ve raised them, and they have rebelled against ME. Parents let me ask you a question. What are your children dependent upon you for? Everything! Right. So does it ever cause you to be a bit dumbfounded when they turn on you? The one that provides for all of their needs and probably too many of their wants? God says...
Isaiah 1:3 NKJV
3 The ox knows its owner And the donkey its master’s crib; But Israel does not know, My people do not consider.”
The Ox, sometimes referred to as the dumb Ox, God probably knew that would be a reference point we would have, he says even the Ox knows its owner but my children don’t. Imagine if every time you came home from work and entered your house your dog attacked you. I don’t mean with hugs and kisses, I mean he forgot that you are the one that feeds him and he attacks you like you are an intruder, that dog would be short lived in my house, I don’t know about you. For my peta friends, by short lived, I mean he would go to live on a nice farm somewhere with some one else.
Even the donkey knows its master’s crib! Even the dumb donkey! I’ve heard Pastor Chuck teach on this passage and he tells the story of a man in Israel who rode his donkey to a particular place and committed a crime. When he got away, he left on foot, so he could get lost in the crowd and make a faster get away. The detective that was assigned the case was familiar with the book of Isaiah and knew this verse so he just waited for the man’s donkey to get hungry, and then patiently followed it back to the man’s home and made his arrest. God is essentially saying the dumb ox knows its owner, and the donkey his master’s crib, but My people Israel are even dumber than that and don’t consider, or My people don’t know ME. Verse 4 Isa 1:4-10
Isaiah 1:4–10 NKJV
4 Alas, sinful nation, A people laden with iniquity, A brood of evildoers, Children who are corrupters! They have forsaken the Lord, They have provoked to anger The Holy One of Israel, They have turned away backward. 5 Why should you be stricken again? You will revolt more and more. The whole head is sick, And the whole heart faints. 6 From the sole of the foot even to the head, There is no soundness in it, But wounds and bruises and putrefying sores; They have not been closed or bound up, Or soothed with ointment. 7 Your country is desolate, Your cities are burned with fire; Strangers devour your land in your presence; And it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers. 8 So the daughter of Zion is left as a booth in a vineyard, As a hut in a garden of cucumbers, As a besieged city. 9 Unless the Lord of hosts Had left to us a very small remnant, We would have become like Sodom, We would have been made like Gomorrah. 10 Hear the word of the Lord, You rulers of Sodom; Give ear to the law of our God, You people of Gomorrah:
God compares them to the leaders of Sodom and Gomorrah, who He completely destroyed! And He is saying you guys aren’t much different. While we are here, what do you think God was talking about, besides being far from Him and being dumb? What was the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah? Any ideas? Do you want to know what God saw the sin of S&G as and what He saw as so severe that they were completely destroyed for? He tells us in the book of Ezekiel, Eze 16:49
Ezekiel 16:49 NKJV
49 Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.
Pay attention to this gang. I know what sins the church always brings up about S&G and yes they are sins too. But God says here’s the problems that He had real issue with Sodom it was pride and not just pride, but they had stuff, not just stuff, but so much stuff that storage units actually became big business, they had luxury, they had abundance, and they heaped on the very best for themselves and had no regard for the poor and needy, no compassion for the poor. I’m sorry, I confused our country with the storage unit thing, not sure if Sodom had that kind of luxury. No care or concern for the poor and needy sounds like our communion passage earlier as well, do you think it concerns God? You bet it does! Next God, their God, gets into His problem with their religion!
Isaiah 1:11–15 NKJV
11 “To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?” Says the Lord. “I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams And the fat of fed cattle. I do not delight in the blood of bulls, Or of lambs or goats. 12 “When you come to appear before Me, Who has required this from your hand, To trample My courts? 13 Bring no more futile sacrifices; Incense is an abomination to Me. The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies— I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting. 14 Your New Moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates; They are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them. 15 When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood.
When you spread out your hands, that was their posture for prayer. In this country we’re taught like as an act of contrition, to have our heads bowed and our eyes closed, theirs was to have their hands lifted looking into the Heavens talking to the One they were talking to. Only God is saying, you’ve got a cute little show there that you’re doing, but I’m not interested in your show and I’m not listening to your prayer because you’ve got blood on your hands.
Sometimes we wonder why it seems like God is not hearing our prayers without considering have we rebelled against Him, are we failing to consider the compromise of our sin. Perhaps we need to start with repentance, seeking forgiveness. Isaiah means Jehovah is Salvation, that is the goal of the book, not just salvation of Israel, but of the nations as well. God knows that those things will destroy you, the wages of sin is death, separation from God, so He is saying I want you to taste that rather than to have your cake and eat it too. If you are choosing sin, live in that, if you want Me to hear your prayers, verse 16 says…Isa 1:16-18
Isaiah 1:16–18 NKJV
16 “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, 17 Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow. 18 “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.
God tells them to come to Him! His heart is not to shun them even though they are acting like children in rebellion, He says come now, and I’m not asking you to take some crazy leap of faith, let us reason together, there are so many good reasons for you to come to me, the blood of My Son will wash you as white as snow.
Isaiah 1:19–20 NKJV
19 If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land; 20 But if you refuse and rebel, You shall be devoured by the sword”; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
God is not and has never been a cruel puppet master, this is free will. If you are willing. If you exercise your free will and obey Me you shall be blessed, if you rebel, you will be cut off from His blessing.
Isaiah 1:21–23 NKJV
21 How the faithful city has become a harlot! It was full of justice; Righteousness lodged in it, But now murderers. 22 Your silver has become dross, Your wine mixed with water. 23 Your princes are rebellious, And companions of thieves; Everyone loves bribes, And follows after rewards. They do not defend the fatherless, Nor does the cause of the widow come before them.
What looked good on the outside in Jerusalem was just a show, you didn’t have to look far to see the compromise and the ugliness of sin. verse 24
Isaiah 1:24–31 NKJV
24 Therefore the Lord says, The Lord of hosts, the Mighty One of Israel, “Ah, I will rid Myself of My adversaries, And take vengeance on My enemies. 25 I will turn My hand against you, And thoroughly purge away your dross, And take away all your alloy. 26 I will restore your judges as at the first, And your counselors as at the beginning. Afterward you shall be called the city of righteousness, the faithful city.” 27 Zion shall be redeemed with justice, And her penitents with righteousness. 28 The destruction of transgressors and of sinners shall be together, And those who forsake the Lord shall be consumed. 29 For they shall be ashamed of the terebinth trees Which you have desired; And you shall be embarrassed because of the gardens Which you have chosen. 30 For you shall be as a terebinth whose leaf fades, And as a garden that has no water. 31 The strong shall be as tinder, And the work of it as a spark; Both will burn together, And no one shall quench them.
God is addressing Judah here. Giving them their invitation to come and reason with Him, to repent, but recognizes their dryness. In the book of John we read
John 7:38 NKJV
38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”
Oh, but Jerusalem, Oh Judah, you are spiritually dry like some of the plants in your garden already, where some of the leaves are browned and if they aren’t refreshed with the living water, they are going to be destroyed.
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