QT – Isaiah 36

Vs. 1, “In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah’s reign, Sennacherib king of Assyria attacked all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them.”  Life doesn’t always make sense.  King Hezekiah had seemed to do all the right things.  He had led a revival of Judah.  God’s people had turned away from idols and restored the temple worship.  Everything seemed to be going perfectly as planned, but then the evil Assyrian King Sennacherib had invaded.  He sends his three most important officers and King Hezekiah also sends three representatives to have a meeting.  Back in Isaiah 7, he had prophesied this would happen if God’s people kept turning from Him.  The speech of the Assyrian field commander (Rabshakeh) is blatant and incredibly disrespectful of God.  It is a ploy to scare them and it worked.  Even though Hezekiah had spent time fortifying Jerusalem, it was in vain.  The enemy can find ways to scare us and make us want to give up.

Regarding application… Enemy Can Intimidate.  Vs. 14, “This is what the king says: Do not let Hezekiah deceive you. He cannot deliver you!”  Question: How can this happen?  When we do not know the Word of the Lord, the enemy can be most effective.  Even in the midst of turning to God, these types of things can happen.  So, don’t be scared or discouraged when you try to walk with God and then bad things begin to happen.  The enemy will do whatever he can to intimidate you.  There are even people within the church that the enemy can use.  When these types of things happen, humble yourself to the Lord and trust in Him!  You will see in the next couple of chapters how this plays out!  Brothers and Sisters in Christ, even in this passion week of Easter…the enemy tried several times to discourage our Lord Jesus.  But Jesus showed us the way by prayer and submission to God.  Let’s follow and trust even when we don’t always understand.

QT – Isaiah 35

Vs. 4, “say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.”  Isaiah would remind us that while God’s judgment was upon the earth, He also has plans of salvation!  God would/will restore His people…both from Babylon back in captivity as well as the restored earth during the 1000 year reign of Christ.  The mention of Lebanon, Carmel and Sharon are important because they represent the beauty of God’s creation restored!  The highway example (vs. 8) shows us the safety that God will provide.  Back then, any type of highway was dangerous with animals and bandits.

Regarding application…Blind Will See.  Vs. 5, “Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped.”  Question: When will this happen?  When Immanuel comes!  There are still so many people who walk in darkness (Isaiah 2:9).  Imagine for a moment if you were blind.  Perhaps you may have been born blind or became blind due to a disease or accident.  Yikes, I would rather be mute, deaf, or an arm or leg amputated before I would want to be blind.  Yet, there is something worse than physical blindness; Spiritual blindness.  Question: Are you blind?  Do you have friends who are blind?  This passion week, we remember the one who came to help the blind see.  Let’s ensure we are reaching out to a people who are blind and bring them into the Light of Christ!

QT – Isaiah 34

Vs. 1, “Come near, you nations, and listen; pay attention, you peoples! Let the earth hear, and all that is in it, the world, and all that comes out of it!”  Similar to the judgment we are reminded Jesus lamenting as He entered Jerusalem before His death…we cannot escape the reality of an impending wrath upon this world.  Edom (Esau’s descendant’s and Jacob’s older twin) is singled out here, but the Edomites really signify all nations.  God will have vengeance on His day (Vs. 8).  Question: What is Isaiah picturing?  We are getting a glimpse of what the results will be after the final war…The War of Armageddon!  This is not easy reading, but one we must accept as believers.  God will bring judgment to the wicked.  

Regarding Application….Why the Wait?  For those of you who wonder if God is fair.  We keep waiting because God is giving us every opportunity to turn back to Him.  II Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”  Dearest brothers & sisters…until Judgment comes, we live in a time where we are to share the grace of our Lord Jesus.  We were reminded on Friday how the apostle Paul would implore us to be ambassador’s of Christ.  God is waiting for us to go to this world and do our part in  fulfilling scripture so that everyone will hear of the Good News.  Who can you reach out to this week?

QT – Isaiah 33

Vs. 1, “Woe to you, O destroyer, you who have not been destroyed.”  Question: Who is the destroyer?  The Assyrians.  Judah’s King at this time was Hezekiah and in his unbelief…he tried to make a pact with Assyria to buy them off (II Kings 18).  But the Assyrian king Sennacherib would break his promise and attack anyway.  He was a thief, a traitor and a tyrant…and God would finally deal with him.  He destroyed others, so God would destroy him.  God cannot be mocked.  We reap what we sow.  God will rise up (vs. 10) and bring forth judgment and deliver His people.  He desires for us to trust him alone and promises that one day we will see the true King (Jesus) (Vs.15-17).
Regarding application…Power of Prayer.  Vs. 2, “O LORD, be gracious to us; we long for you.  Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress.”  Isaiah had promised the people if they would just turn to God…He would be gracious.  God answered their prayer for their faith and because of His covenant to Israel.  Though the people who prayed were few, never underestimate the power of prayer.  The very existence of any church is because of the power of prayer.  This Passion week, we as a church at CTC will be attending early morning prayer everyday!  It’s time to pray and desire that we be honoring to the Lord this special week.  Let’s be ambassadors and pray for those who do not yet know the saving knowledge and love of our Lord Jesus Christ!

QT – Isaiah 32

Vs. 1, “See, a king will reign in righteousness and rulers will rule with justice.”  Isaiah will now invite us to see a glimpse of our future and what plans God has for us.  The next few chapters are not Isaiah’s speculation…rather divine revelation of what lies ahead.  The “King” is none other than Jesus Christ…and it isn’t just a king, or the king…but our King!  Unlike the failed kings of the past…Jesus will reign with righteousness.  We will no longer be spiritually blind to the King.  Isaiah also warns the people (women) of the present day who were growing complacent.  Before the promised King, there would be turmoil…don’t get too comfortable. 
Regarding application…Popularity.  Vs. 5, “No longer will the fool be called noble nor the scoundrel be highly respected.”  In our present day…it is the fool and the scoundrels who receive all the glamour and glitz.  Whether it be actors, singers, politician’s, rich, popular, cool, etc…one day others will not look up to them.  We have it all reversed.  We stand in awe of the famous, but pay little regard to the men & women who have served our Lord faithfully over many years.  People will stand & applaud lifetime achievement awards for people who happen to be good at acting, singing, sports, politics, etc.  Yet, we take for granted those who are the backbone of God’s church.  What the world deams as popular and what God deams as noble & respected are two entirely different things.  Don’t waste time on the foolish and repected of this world.  The true hero’s are the ones who honor the Lord Jesus in all that they do.

QT – Isaiah 31

Vs. 1, “Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help…”  We see a continuation of what was going on in the previous chapter.  Israel was putting it’s trust in horses & chariots…rather than God.  God would warn Israel many a time not to seek help from Egypt.  Question: Why should God’s children fear the Assyrians?   As a lion has no fear of shepherds, God has no fear of little men.  We read later that in one night God would wipe out the Assyrian army.  Only if Israel would have learned simply by obeying…but they chose to learn the hard way.
Regarding application…EmergencyQuestion: What comes to mind when you think of this word?  Perhaps “911” or and ambulance, or perhaps those OnStar commercials that help people in emergencies.  Israel was in an emergency and there first reaction was to dial up Egypt for help.  When we live in this world, even as Christians…we sometimes are programmed to think of other things for help before we think of God.  We seek guidance from our School counselors for career paths (but what about God’s Word for our career paths)…we seek counseling for stress, drugs, depression (But what about God’s Word to heal us instead)…We seek friends advice on all sorts of topics (But what about our Pastors, YD’s, Brothers & Sisters in Christ)  Note: I’m not saying that these things are bad…I’m just saying, we should always seek the guidance of God’s FIRST!  So the next time you find yourself in an emergency….PRAY first =)

QT – Isaiah 30

Vs. 1, “Woe to the obstinate children,”declares the LORD.”  Like an obstinate child,  Israel would turn to others rather than its Father.  After all that God had done for Israel…Israel would have the audacity to turn to one of it’s former enemies.  Egypt was but a shadow compared to what God could have provided.  The name Rahab (vs. 7) is not referring to the Rahab the woman who helped the spies…but Rahab is one of the words that were also used for Egypt.  It was bad enough that Israel would turn to Egypt and seek it’s protection, but the real danger and sadness was that they were rejecting God and His Word!  Isaiah would do his best to reach out to these obstinate children, but they would reject God’s prophet.  Bad decisions always have consequenes and in the end, Egypt would not assist Israel in it’s invasion by the Assyrians.
Regarding application…God’s Desire.  Vs. 15, “This is what the Sovereign LORD , the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength”  There is an old song by Vineyard that uses this verse.  In this song, it comes from the perspective of God speaking to us, “I have longed to hold you in my arms….Take all of your fear away…I will take your filthy rags and make them clean if you’ll receive my love.”  I love this song and it always touches my heart.  So many times, we think of what is our own desire.  What do I like?  What do I want to do?  Where do I want to go?  I want to sing that song.  I want to serve God this way.  Yet…in this passage from Isaiah, we are sadly reminded what God’s desire is for us.  Like any parent with a child…God the Father desires for us to trust Him…to rest in Him!  Sometimes, it amazes me just how busy all of your lives can get at such a young age.  Let’s stop, rest, and remember that God is always there for us.  We don’t have to do things on our own.  We have the freedom to be independent…but it’s in our dependency that we find true freedom in Christ!

QT – Isaiah 29

Vs. 1, “Woe to you, Ariel, Ariel, the city where David settled…”  Question: What city is this?  This city is none other than Jerusalem!  We see a few different pictures of Jerusalem at varying intervals of time.  We are reminded of the attacks put upon the Holy City.  Jerusalem has been attacked and captured more often than any other city.  One pastor has counted 27 times attacks have leveled Jerusalem throughout history. Almost every time it was taken, it was destroyed.  Yet in the end, God will prevail.  We also see a blind city, where God’s people are blind to Him and his righteousness.  Yet, God will come one day and fulfill His promises and turn this city into a blessed city! 
Regarding application…Fake vs. Real.  Vs. 13, “The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.”  I recently talked with someone (person A) who is having problems with a person (Person B) in their church. They happen to be in the same type of business as another church member.  However, it seems the other church member (B) business is doing poorly.  This leads this church member (B) to blame church member (A) of ruining their business.  Obviously, this is not church member (A)’s fault.  Church member (B) now rudely and coldly treats church member (A) everytime they see each other.  Yet, church member (A) observes Church member (B) sitting close to the front of church and lifting their hands in worship and honoring God with their mouth & lips.  But just like this verse…it would seem that church member (B)’s heart is far from God.  This is a practical way to look at this verse.  Are we hypocrites are genuine…are we Fake or Real with God and with others?

QT – Isaiah 28

Vs. 1, “Woe to that wreath, the pride of Ephraim’s drunkards…”  This chapter brings us to an entirely new section.  We had just been reading of future prophecies in our previous chapters (24-27).  Now we are reading of prophecies that are fulfillment of that time and also looking into prophecies of the future which culminate into the War of Armageddon and the Millennial reign of Christ!   Ephraim was synonymous with Israel and linked to the Northern 10 tribes.  They gave into the ways of the world with drinking and defiance to God’s laws.  They would not listen to God through Isaiah so God gave them over to the foreign enemy the Assyrians.  But this warning would extend to Jerusalem & Judah who also turned from God to false God’s.
Regarding application…False Gods.  Vs. 15, “...for we have made a lie our refuge and falsehood our hiding place.”  For Judah, they had turned to a pagan God’s of death…for they saw their own impending death imminent.  Their hope was to escape death by honoring a God of death (though false.)  While it may seem crazy to us that God’s children would do such a thing…let us refrain from judging so quickly.  While we may not have false deities we worship…we do have things of this world that we sometimes put our trust in.  Our worst enemy is perhaps our own sin nature (pride, selfishness, self-reliance, etc.)…we can put our hope or trust in relationships or friendships, we can put our trust in our jobs and worldly items.  Yet our future does not lie in such things…our future lies in the Rock of Christ!

QT – Isaiah 27

Vs. 1, “In that day, the LORD will punish with his sword…”  Question: What does the sword represent?  His Word!  God will bring another exodus back to His land!  He will defeat the Leviathan and destroy the nations and the evil that has corrupted this world.  From Israel, God’s blessings will flow to the world.  Remember that the Vineyard symbolizes Israel.  And this Vineyard will bear fruit again.
Regarding application…Victory (Trumpet).  Vs. 13, “And in that day a great trumpet will sound…”  One day that Trumpet call will be heard by all of us…past, present & future who are God’s children.  And that Trumpet is a sound of victory and moment that signifies to us the entering into God’s Eternal Kingdom!  Remember, Jesus himself would exhort us to pray, “Thy Kingdom come…”  Are you praying for His coming Kingdom?  Let’s remember to not get so wrapped up in the here & now.  Life has so many distractions…goals, stress, worries….but let’s keep our hopes towards the future…let’s wait in eager anticipation of that glorious Trumpet call of Victory!