Class 1

Original URL | Sunday, May 22, 2022


so so um you may have heard that brother jim sullivan uh is not well and so he's asked me to uh pick up his class this morning and what i wanted to do was uh spend some time today talking about isaiah the book of isaiah and the historical context to it because the the daily bible readings are bringing us through isaiah right now and i thought it might be helpful just to sort of have a big picture view about what's going on in the book and uh what we'll do god willing is we'll take a look at as i say the historical background and try and understand what's actually happening here so first off the name isaiah

the name isaiah means the lord saves

yahweh saves

and i would i would suggest to you brothers and sisters and friends that the the main purpose

of this prophecy

is is one where isaiah is offering


and offering encouragement to the people to turn back to god because his theme is one of salvation

and we get a sense of that and and rich thanks for for doing that reading in in chapter one you know i think the the problem with the nation of judah at this point in time is that they were

they were worshiping

but not really you know it was one of these things where they were just going through the motions and their hearts were were not in tune with what god desired of the people

they were being unkind

toward the poor for example and this was uh there was no justice for the poor and this was a real problem the people were coming to god they were worshiping god they were offering sacrifices to god they were doing you know sort of um

show worship you know what i mean by that right but what they weren't doing is they weren't they weren't bringing their hearts to god they weren't putting their their uh

you know their religion into practice

and so isaiah is going to correct the people and he says in isaiah chapter 1 verse 8 we can see it here he says come now let us reason together says yahweh says the lord if you're willing and obedient you will eat from the best of the land so let's let's open our bibles uh we'll take a look at chapter one

and um

i'm looking at uh chapter one verse one the vision concerning judah and jerusalem that isaiah son of amos saw during the reigns of uzziah jotham ahaz and hezekiah so the first thing we see is sort of the the historical context these are the kings that were going to be uh reigning at this point in time during his life and during his his prophecies and then he starts out in verse two with this you know rebuke to a rebellious nation

hear o heavens listen o earth for yahweh has spoken i reared children and brought them up but

they have rebelled against me

look at verse 4 ah

sinful nation

a people loaded with guilt

a brood of evildoers

children given to corruption

they have forsaken the lord

they have spurned the holy one of israel

they have turned their backs on him

what a you know

what a challenging rebuke

and i think when i read these words

and when we read the scriptures we need to try to think about our own lives and how these things can apply to us you know have we

come to god

but not with our hearts

do we claim to be followers of jesus

yet at times find ourselves following the ways of the world

and if you're like me i mean there are going to be times in our lives where we we fall down where we fall short and i think the message to

that isaiah is bringing to the people is is this message that despite your sins if you turn around salvation is available to you and i think that's a lesson for us we have to endure to the end we have to we have to examine ourselves brothers and sisters we can't just read these words from a historical perspective and think oh they only apply to those people back then we've got to say okay can we be convicted by these things can we examine ourselves and say you know what

you know there are areas in my own life that i can and should change that i can and should improve we want to make sure that we have not spurned the holy one of israel that we've not turned our backs on him

the problem with all of this

was that

during the

teachings of moses

he instructed the people


obedience and disobedience from a national perspective

if as a nation

moses said you disobey god these are the punishments that will be levied against you

and conversely he said as a nation if you obey me these are the things that you will be rewarded with so there were these cursings and blessings that we read in deuteronomy you remember that

and what we're seeing here is the people are experiencing because of their national disobedience difficulty and we get a sense of that in in verse seven

your country is desolate

your city's burned with fire

your fields are being stripped by foreigners right before you laid waste as when overthrown by strangers and so this is really a fulfillment of what we read in deuteronomy 32 these are the blessings and the cursings because as a nation they've been disobeying god they're being punished and as a result there is this spiritual crisis

and it was the message of isaiah was delivered to judah

remember that the nation had divided right we've got israel and judah and this is now primarily a a prophecy that's delivered to judah

and it's because they had fallen away

verse four again ah sinful nation a people loaded with guilt a brood of evildoers

children given to corruption they've forsaken yahweh they've spurned the holy one of israel and turned their backs on him

okay so where do we go from here right

we've got this nation that is worshiping god but really only by show

take a look for example at verse 10. hear the word of yahweh you rulers of sodom listen to the law of god you people of gomorrah are these messages being delivered to the nation of sodom and gomorrah no

these messages are being delivered to the people of judah and they're being compared to sodom and gomorrah remember the problem with sodom and gomorrah was not just their their

you know sinful behavior their sexual behavior it was that they were uncaring

towards the poor

that was that was one of the big problems with sodom and gomorrah

and so now

the people of judah are being compared to sodom and gomorrah and in verse 11 he says the multitude of your sacrifices what are they to me says yahweh i have more than enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fattened animals and so the point here brothers and sisters is that sacrifice without faithfulness to god

is wholly unacceptable is completely unacceptable to him turn with me to hosea

we'll just get a we'll get a sense of that same thing in hosea chapter 6. so towards the end of the old testament before joel we come to hosea

hosea chapter 6. we'll start in the fourth verse

another prophet challenging the people of judah what can i do with you ephraim what can i do with you judah your love is like the morning mist

like the early do that disappears

you know yesterday i went out early with some friends and we were out uh exercising and it was uh cold

and wet and there was this mist that was coming off the roads you know and i'm riding my bike behind a guy and i'm getting covered with like the muck from the road

but what happened yesterday

it got stinking hot you know that mist quickly disappeared and this is what the prophet hosea is saying you know your love is like the mist you know you tell me you love me but it goes away

verse 5. therefore i cut you in pieces with my prophets i will i killed you with the words of my mouth my judgments flashed like lightning upon you and here's the point in the comparison to what we read in isaiah he says for i desire


not sacrifice

an acknowledgement of god rather than burnt offerings

so here's the you know here's the point brothers and sisters where we've got to turn inward you know and we're we're here at meeting on sunday you know we're tuning into bible class on wednesday night and we need to make sure that while we're sitting in the pews

our hearts and our minds

are equally attuned that we're not just here physically but we're here mentally and spiritually too

so here's what i would suggest you know in an hour or so we'll be sitting in these same spots

and the bread

and the cup will be passed

and we're going to share communion together and when we do so let's take a moment to meditate take a moment to truly think about the purpose for us being here that it's not just to be here because this is our routine that this is the norm this is what we do on sundays that we're here in remembrance

of him

and that we use this time to

meditate prayerfully

and to think about how we can show mercy as jesus did

god says here in hosea and here in isaiah that it's mercy not sacrifice that he wants questions comments thoughts

rich here phil's gonna do a 50-yard sprint with the microphone


too funny

you tied it in with isaiah um christ is going to pick up on that as well in um matthew 9. okay please yeah where he he's going to use this

as a teaching moment to the pharisees in verse 11 of the ninth chapter of matthew and when the pharisees saw it he was eating republicans and sinners they said unto his disciples why eat your master republicans and sinners and when jesus heard that he said unto them they that be whole need not a physician but they that are sick now he gives them like a homework assignment he says

ye and learn what that meaneth i will have mercy and not sacrifice for i am i am not come to call the righteous but the sin is to repentance so he uses hosea as justification uh for eating with sinners he wants them to bring them to the gospel message um and then he's going to use it again so just read that again sure he says learn to yeah go go and learn this is the king james i'm not sure how but that's good yeah uh uh chapter 9 verse 13. yep he goes but go ye and learn what that meaneth so he's telling the you know the pharisees he's learned doctors of the law go look up hosea tell me what you think what is he saying here so he uses his hair and he's going to use it again in

matthew 12. yeah when it when there is uh in verse 6 of matthew 12 but i say unto you that in this place is one greater than the temple but if ye had known what this meaneth i will have mercy and not sacrifice you would not have condemned the guiltless for the son of man

is lord even of the sabbath day so he uses it twice it obviously was a verse that spoke to christ on some level yeah right as far as exactly what you said they had all of this ritual with the temple and they had like you know over a thousand years of ritual kind of built up with this thing and jesus's mind

is to hosea where it says you know i will have mercy and not not sacrificed i think it just tells you where christ's mind was despite the fact he was in this magnificent edifice with all of these rituals taking place you know what kind of effect is it having and it was the point isn't it yeah for sure the sacrifice god doesn't want dead animals right

you know yeah aaron you gotta grab the mic man

so all this is kind of bringing you gotta hold the mic near you uh all this is kind of bringing me back to psalms 51 where it's david and he's repenting at this point uh if you go to psalm 32 it talks about him after he was forgiven he knew he's forgiven but in psalms 51 he's still repenting for a sin with bathsheba

in verse 16 it says for thou desirest not sacrifice or else i would give it thou delight us not in burnt offering the sacrifices of god are a broken spirit and a broken and contrite heart oh god that will not despise

that's a great point aaron yeah yeah brother richard

hold on a second

for our vast online audience thank you there you go i know i got a bad accent but no okay

brother aaron was just in connection peter uh

a member peter saying how many times shall i forgive my brother lord and the lord says seven times seventy and

then right after that

but anyway the pharisees and pharisees then said this man eat us and drink it with sinners and then it has the thing of of your brother saying against thee go to him and go to him alone if he doesn't hear you take two or more then if that doesn't work take it to the ecclesia i used to think that meant well when you get to the ecclesia out he goes but it doesn't mean that what it means is

because all over again because because they said he doesn't sense with tax collectors and so forth and jesus says that's who i've come to save

and so the uh but anyway yeah thanks richard yeah so you know i think the point is that it's not the dead animals that that god desires it's the the contrite heart as aaron quotes from the psalms it's it's coming to god with our heart



staying in isaiah now let's flip back to isaiah chapter one

and what we've done is we've looked at verse 11 which which says you know your multitude of sacrifices what are they to me and that you know what what god is saying here is they're meaningless to me unless

there is an effect to rich's point for these sacrifices it's meaningless for us to come on a sunday morning and sit here with thoughts of cycling and thoughts of you know whatever else might be running through our mind right

we've gotta we've gotta come here so that it changes us so that when we leave here we leave with you know a stronger conviction to be like jesus

to eat with the sinners so that they might learn the gospel message right

now as we come through isaiah chapter 1 you know god is saying verse 13 stop bringing meaningless


meaningless offerings your is detestable to me verse 15 he says when you spread out your hands in prayer i hide my eyes from you

why because their prayers were meaningless

now look what it says in the 16th verse

he's just said that your hands are full of blood but there's still hope

despite the sins that you or i might commit in our lives

there's still hope

god says in the fir in verse 16 through isaiah wash

and make your selves clean

take your evil deeds out of my sight

stop doing wrong

learn to do right

learn to do right remember what jesus said rich read it from matthew

he says to the teachers of the law

go to hosea and learn what it says

and we need to have minds and hearts brothers and sisters that are receptive

to this learning

and how is it that we can learn to do

right i'm curious i mean that's not a rhetorical question right what are things that we can do as brothers and sisters

as as a family to help each other to learn to do right give me some examples

yeah aaron again

lead by example he says yeah i think that's a i think that's a good example

lead by example brother richard

okay so richard says you go to the scriptures in corinthians for example there's the comfort chapter comfort one another so what does comforting mean how do you draw

teaching from that or learning from comforting one another

helping to take anxiety away from a person yeah yeah


good so i think those are some anxious brother mark

so mark says uh going to micah chapter six it speaks of uh say it again mark

loving mercy walking humbly with your god and walking humbly with you yeah yeah so we gotta learn to love mercy right yeah



uh brian lloyd says the rest of the verse

oh you don't need to see that

i didn't know that would show up nobody texts me

dear brother yeah

all right so what's the rest of the verse uh which verse brian where were we uh learn to do right seek justice encourage the oppressed we're in verse 17 defend the cause of the fatherless brian says learn to do good right this is what we've got to do it's about action it's not just about what we know i think that's the point

i think that as a community we have a reputation for having good knowledge

for having an understanding of these things but we've got to take the knowledge and we need to apply it we need to learn to do good the doctrine of doing is something that is so important and i think we've seen examples of that you know i was so encouraged when we saw the sunday school students for example get involved in the the packaging of uh of uh backpacks for students who were

you know who were struggling you know financially they're going to school they don't have backpacks for their books all the kids got together they got these backpacks and they delivered them to children in need i mean i think that's a great example of that that the children can do we're teaching the children to learn to do good brother jim sullivan let's see if i can find that text without

jim sullivan is alive and well

supporting each other who other when in need so let's remember brothers and sisters those that are in need and i think we do that you know

as as the recording brother who's got the uh the privilege really of you know doing the announcements each week people will send me notes saying will you pray for so-and-so so for example this morning i got a text from brother ray pratt

ray has a dear friend susie wright you might remember susie she joins us each wednesday night she's a a bible you know student she's um she's interested in the chris adelphian community she's been studying with us she's got covert and she's got some uh some other health issues and ray's really worried about it so he says you know would you pray for susie this morning that's a way that we can encourage and it's not just like praying but letting people know

i can't tell you how

you know sandy's had a tough couple of weeks right she had covered she hasn't been feeling great and for her to get a text message from somebody or to receive a card from somebody i mean it buoys the spirits you know one day i came down and i went out to the mailbox and there was a stack of cards there for her you know it just made a difference it you know just to know that


people are thinking about me people are praying for me you know that was a that was an encouraging thing for her so on behalf of sandy thank you right so

these are things that brothers and sisters we can learn these are things that are that we can teach one another and our hearts need to be receptive to that learning so that even if we are an elder in israel when jesus says to the elders go to hosea and learn what it says

we need to be receptive when people come to us and say learn what it says

think about the way you're living change your ways

the people in israel the people in judah right now had blood on their hands

what it says there in the 15th verse

your hands are full of blood

and now isaiah the prophet

is being called by god to go out and deliver this message of corruption to a people who were in spiritual crisis

now i don't know about you but you know when i think about all the jobs that you could be called to do in life

profit might not be on the top of the list

you know the profits were treated very poorly by the people

to whom they spoke right you know they went out and they were they were delivering in many times and in many occasions hard messages

challenging messages you can see how it affected jesus you know jesus goes out to the leaders in israel and delivers a hard message to them

and what do they do they conspire

to murder him

and this was the life and the death of many a prophet

so isaiah is now being called by god

to be a message of salvation to the people but in order for this salvation to be given to them they need to understand the error of their ways and they need to understand that they have to change

so what is it that is going to motivate an individual to actually be the prophet and deliver this hard message

and in the case of isaiah what we find is god gives isaiah training

he prepares isaiah to be a prophet

and when we turn to chapter 2 we see

how it was

that god provided the encouragement

so that isaiah could go and do the hard work

of correcting

a corrupt people and the way that god did that was he gave isaiah this marvelous vision of what the world would become

he gave isaiah a vision of the coming kingdom a kingdom that wouldn't be

rife with difficulty it wouldn't be rife with corruption it wouldn't be filled with you know war and tumult and problems but instead would be a kingdom that would be perfect when people would worship together as one

it's a marvelous


vision of the coming age brothers and sisters so let's take a look at it

chapter 2 this is isaiah's introductory vision it's a concise picture of the coming vision of the coming kingdom and it expands really on the end of what we see in chapter one so before we get here chapter 1 verse 26 gives us a sort of a a foretaste of what is in store

so the beginning of the chapter is you know you guys bring me these sacrifices i don't care for them i want your hearts

if you do that here's the reward verse 26 i will restore

your judges as in the days of old

your counselors at as at the beginning

afterward you will be called the city

of the righteousness

the faithful city

zion will be redeemed



see justice was so important to god he didn't want the people oppressing the poor he wanted justice and if you do these things you will be known as the faithful city you will be known as the redeemed of people redeemed with justice her penitent ones with righteousness

so these this is the foretaste of what's to come and in chapter i chapter 2 isaiah sees this vision expanded he receives a vision from god so that he can in his mind's eye


the perfection of the coming kingdom let's take a look at it verse 2. in the last days

the mountain of the lord's temple will be established

as chief

among the mountains

it will be raised above the hills and all nations will stream to it

many peoples will come and say come let us go up to the mountain of yahweh to the house of the god of jacob


will teach us his ways

so that me so that we may walk in his paths

you see the connection here brothers and sisters to that verse we saw in chapter 17 chapter 1 verse 17 where where isaiah says you need to learn to do right

he will teach us of his ways so that me he may walk so that we may walk in his paths the law will go out from zion the word of the lord from jerusalem he'll judge between the nations and settle disputes

for many peoples

they will beat their swords

into plowshares

and their spears

into pruning hooks

nation will not take up sword against nation nor will they train for war anymore


o house of jacob

let us walk

in the light of the lord

so isaiah is given this vision he sees the beauty of what the world will become there'll be no more war the people will beat their swords into plowshares

the people will worship as one and as a result of this vision brothers and sisters i think what happens next is isaiah's heart

is changed he's not fearful anymore he's not worried about bringing this hard message to a corrupt nation

he's eager

to serve

let's flip over to chapter 6. isaiah is now commissioned

the 8th verse


i heard the voice of yahweh saying whom shall i send

and who will go for us

and i said

here am i

send me

reminds me of welcome back cotter right rich nose

pick me right

isaiah wants to be selected he wants to be the one he is going and prepared to be the one that god will send

and i think what happens next is fascinating so we're in chapter six

isaiah you know sort of raises his hand he says i will be the one that will go forth

he's commissioned

and then the clock starts

and a day goes by

and isaiah is not called to do anything

and then a week goes by


then a month goes by

still no call

isaiah still hasn't been called to do anything on behalf of yahweh

and a month turns into a year

in a year turns into a decade

and 20 10 years then turns into 20 and so for 20 years isaiah has been on the sidelines waiting

to be called

now brothers and sisters

each one of us who has put on the name of christ has been called by god

to be a king and to be a priest

and we wait we wait for that day when our lord will return

but while we wait

we must remember to keep our hearts attuned to our god and to our calling and we need to be prepared always

to give an answer

20 years later

crisis hits the nation

and it's at this point in time isaiah chapter 7 verse 1 that isaiah begins his service of prophecy

20 years after having first been commissioned isaiah is finally called into action

when ahaz

son of jotham the son of uzziah the king of judah king resin of aram and pika son of remeliah the king of israel marched up to fight against jerusalem but they did

but they could not overpower and it's at this point in time that isaiah goes out and begins his

mission of teaching and preaching um i've got a book at home it's called um

the illustrated map book or something like that

this is a this is a picture of it it's really good um

and it really gives you you know big picture lessons big picture uh stories about you know what's happening and at this point in time you know israel and samaria these nations in the north they're conspiring together

and they want judah to join them so that they together can form sort of a unified alliance that will fight against uh the nation of syria that's up in the north there damascus right and so

the people from a political and pragmatic standpoint are being encouraged by the nations around them to form this unholy alliance

and isaiah has to go out and tell them not to isaiah has to say no don't form an alliance with the nations around you remember that yahweh is your god and you need to stand firm

and so we'll finish up by looking at a couple of passages from chapter seven first is verse four

so as i say twenty years has gone by isaiah is finally committed you know called after his commission and in verse seven this is his first message he says say to him be careful

keep calm

don't be afraid

do not lose heart because of these two smoldering stubs of firewood he's talking specifically about us arum is syria and israel don't align yourselves with these two smoldering stubs

that's all they are don't be don't think that they're going to provide any protection for you against syria in the north

stand firm

verse 9 the head of ephraim is samaria the head of samaria is only remaliah's son if you do not stand firm in your faith

you will not stand at all this is the point this is the message that isaiah has to give ahaz the king

stand firm don't align yourselves with these unholy nations

but what happened

king didn't listen

the king did not listen to isaiah's prophet prophecy he trusted in his own abilities to combat the threat and he formed this alliance

in an effort to push back the the syrians again the lord spoke to the house ask the lord your god for a sign

but as he said as a has said i will not ask isaiah chapter 10. and then what happens is hezek is sennacherib the king of assyria comes down

not to completely destroy but to punish them rich what's this thing on the left

it's the taylor prism right

from years ago so the team i think found that like nineveh or someplace and it's the writings of sennacherib when he came down that's right which is interesting to steve because it's like the exact opposite of what scripture says happened

in other words his he lost his whole army there but he's saying that he came down and he he's got he's got hezekiah like a caged bird right yeah he's he's exaggerating for effect exactly which happened all the time fake news fake news that's it fake news

fantastic snack rib


where do you go

so so god appointed assyria to punish judah and uh and we see sort of confirmation of this from an extra biblical source right so they discover the the archaeologists you know dig up this this prism and it's written in all these different languages and here sennacherib

he's proclaiming that hezekiah the jew was sort of shut up as a as a royal as a as a bird in a cage right

and uh it it goes to show that the bible record is is true and accurate and so god's promise was that if the remnant remained faithful they would be rewarded that there would always be a remnant that the nation wouldn't be completely destroyed

chapter 10 says in that day the remnant of israel the survivors of the house of jacob will no longer rely on him who struck them down but will truly rely on yahweh there was a reason for their suffering the reason was that they would turn back to god and i think that can always be a lesson for us we might ask ourselves why is it that we suffer why do we go through hard times and oftentimes it's so that we will turn to god

as the god who provides comfort so our exhortation as we close sunday school is to consider our ways hosea that our our lesson is to remember

that god doesn't desire sacrifices alone he desires the effect that those sacrifices are to have that when we meet together to break bread it's not simply the

the ritual of passing bread it's to make a change in us it's for us to to think and consider the life and the death of jesus and to remember that as we eat this bread and drink this cup we are showing the lord's death we are participating in the lord's death and that our role as brothers and sisters

our role is to be like jesus

is to sacrifice ourselves for others god desires mercy