Monday, September 26, 2011

Isaiah the Prophet

For the next several weeks we will be studing prophesies from the writer Isaiah.  Scholars believe that the book of Isaiah was probably composed from the words of several prophets.  Even with that, the writings clearly show a prophetic voice speaking to Israel as they are about to go into exile and as they are exiled.

Don't forget--"prophetic" in this case doesn't exactly mean predicting or pointing to the future.  It mostly means that they will speak to issues of justice in their own society.  Mostly prophets pointed out what was going on wrong in society and that there would be consequences to their actions.  Yes, in these cases we believe the writings may have pointed to Jesus, but they could also just be speaking to the time period.  Let us read the passages from Isaiah thinking with both minds!

This week's passage is the Word of God speaking to Ahaz.  Ahaz was king of Judah, and mentioned in Matthew's Geneology of Jesus.  At this point, what we think of as Israel was in fact two kingdoms.  Israel in the North and Judah in the South.  They had a bitter rivalry.  Ahaz was an evil king who was cruel and worshipped other Gods.  However, his son Hezikiah was widely revered and loved.  The final words of verse 9 are poignant, "If you do not stand firm in faith, you shall not stand at all." 

This Week's Assignment:
1) Read Isaiah 7:10-25 twice.
2) Put it down and pray over it. 
3) Read it again and answer the questions below!

Questions:

1) What verses seem to speak directly to the time--to King Ahaz?
2) What verses seem to point to Jesus?
3) What makes you believe that these verses point to a Messiah?  Or what makes you think they don't?
4) Do you believe its a good idea to ask the Lord for signs?  Why or why not?
5) What part of the passage was most interesting or insiteful to you?
6) Is this study working?  Has it been helpful?

God--Open our eyes so that we may see your truths!  Let us not forget your love and your Word to us!

Blessings!
Pastor Emily

3 comments:

Martha J. M. Orlando said...

#1 - I think 7:16 speaks directly to Ahaz who is afraid of his enemies.
#2 - Verses 7:14-15 refers directly to the eventual coming of Jesus.
#3 - The statement that a young woman (virgin) will bear a son and his name will be Emmanuel, God with us. Certainly, that was exactly who Jesus was!
#4 - I don't think it's the wisest idea to ask God for a sign, but I believe He gives them to us all the time if we are watching, waiting, listening, being still with Him.
#5 - I loved the references to "curds and honey"; my Bible reference notes said these were first foods that babies ate when weaning. In light of this, the imagery evokes a sense of newness of life, a new beginning, and the "children" we will all have to become to enter God's kingdom. It also resonates with the "land of milk and honey", a place overflowing with good things.
#6 - This study is working well for me as I am really challenged with a new project I have undertaken with a friend and time is of the essence some days! I love, Emily, how you ask us to read the passage in scripture more than once and to PRAY over it for understanding. This is enriching my knowledge and understanding of God's word in a new and enlightening way!

Lynne Watts said...

I'm catching up! I'm going to focus on the asking God for a sign part because that was what caught my attention. It's something that I have thought about a lot lately, probably because I feel I am at a crossroad in my life and I am trying to decide the direction to go in. Ahaz doesn't want to ask God for a sign because he thinks it would be putting God to the test... I have a differennt interpretation. What if it's not a test, it's asking God to speak to us in language that we understand and give us more information? What if God is waiting for us to ask, to express our need, our dependence on Him? What if asking for a sign is our way of recognizing what God would gladly give us anyway? As you can see, I'm in favor of asking for a sign!

Mary said...

The virgin will give birth to a child and will call him Immanuel- God With us!
I believe God gives us signs, but I'm not sure we always see or understand them.