My Week with the Prophet Isaiah

Greetings from Indianapolis!!!

Since this past Monday, I’ve been at our Free Methodist National Headquarters in Indianapolis for 2-weeks of pastoral training that will go towards my ordination requirements.  Like Summer School, I have 1 compressed course each week.  This past week was spent on an in-depth study of the Book of Isaiah.  Unfortunately, I’ve been sick for over 2 weeks and did all my coursework from my hotel room out here, emailing my assignments daily.  It’s been a unique situation for me, similar to a correspondence course, where I was left to interact with the material mostly on my own.  Thankfully, God is good and aided me in improving my depth of  understanding for this material.

Here’s some thoughts and passages from this week:

1.)  The God of Justice –  My Final Project for the class was to pick a theme from Isaiah to build a sermon around.  I’ve preached on this theme before, but it is amazing how many passages in the Bible (as well as in Isaiah) stress God’s commitment to justice and rescue for those that are forsaken and forgotten in our world.  Not only does God care about this, He deeply desires that His people share that mission and that “heart” for justice.  Many of the rebukes in Isaiah eventually come back to how Israel has neglected the cause of justice and doing what is right.  Some of these passages are:  Isaiah 1: 16-23, 10: 1-2, 29: 19-21, 30:18, 58: 6-12, 61:8.

2.)  Israelite Idol –  Aside from not seeking justice, God’s other main complaint with the Israelites was their dependence on their idols and not on God, himself.  People actively worshiped other gods in addition to the One True God, but they also put their trust and dependence in their wealth and possessions (rather than the God who gave it to them).  God longs for them to return to Him wholeheartedly, but that will mean letting their idols go.  We cannot serve two masters, nor will God stand for it if we try.  Some of the passages that deal with this idea are:  Isaiah 17: 7-10, 30: 19-22, 31: 6-7, 43: 10-13, 44: 6-21, 57: 6-13.

3.)  False vs. True Prophecy –  Throughout the Books of the Prophets, God takes aim at a group of people called the “false prophets”.  Some were legitimately gifted in prophecy, others were imposters; but all chose to tell the people of Israel the “good news” of God’s love and care for them (but left out God’s call for holy living and care for their neighbors).  Prophets like Isaiah were walking against the current, calling out an unpopular message of repentance and judgment.  God loves us too much to leave sin in our lives, hearts, and society left unchecked.  We must embrace the full truth; even when it convicts, challenges, and hurts.  Here’s a few passages that address this concern:  Isaiah 1: 11-15, 3: 8-15, 5: 18-21, 22: 12-13, 30: 8-14, 47: 8-15.

4.)  God’s Loving Dedication to a Rebellious People –  As with the entire Story of Scripture, God is constantly trying to woo back to Himself a mankind that will not come willingly.  It is only when things get truly bad (due to God’s discipline or as a consequence of their own sinful choices) does Israel receive the wake-up call to return to their Creator.  Although Isaiah is filled with many judgments and rebukes, there are many other uplifting and inspiring passages where God declares His compassion for Israel and His vision of the true “happy ending” to the Story.  Passages that show this love are:  Isaiah 9: 6-7, 11: 1-9, 16:5, 25: 6-9, 35: 3-10, 40: 10-11, 42: 1-16, 43: 5-7, 25; 45: 5-12, 21-25; 48: 17-18; 49: 5-16; 51: 4-6; 52:13 – 53; 55; 56; 57: 14-19; 59: 14-20; 61; 65: 17-25.

Now…..I’m sure everyone will read those verses right now 🙂

If not, maybe come back to them for personal study on your own some time.  I will miss being at NBFMC tomorrow, but will be fasting and praying for God’s Spirit to fall and bless you all!

–  Pastor Josh

Published in: on January 15, 2011 at 8:31 PM  Leave a Comment  

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