God Intervenes- Isaiah- Week 3- Day 2

For the head of Syria is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is Rezin; and within threescore and five years shall Ephraim be broken, that it be not a people. And the head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is Remaliah’s son. If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established.

Isaiah 7:8-9

Explanation:
Today’s text continues a poetic statement that Isaiah started in verse 7. He is speaking to Ahaz, King of Judah, the words of God Himself. He has already told Ahaz of the plot of the kings of Syria and Ephraim (the northern kingdom of Israel) to overthrow Judah and Jerusalem in verses 1-6. He had also assured Ahaz that their plot would not come to pass. God was intervening both by telling him what was happening and what would happen. In this part of the poem (v.8-9) God foretells of the breaking of Ephraim. There would be an exile of those people. Eventually there would also be foreign settlers that come in, all within 65 years.
The end of the statement, in verse 9, is interesting. “If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established.” God was telling Ahaz that if he were to believe God and act based on what God was telling him then his actions and leadership would be established. He’d make the right decisions moving forward. If he would not believe God, then his decisions would be wrong. Unless Ahaz decided to trust God, he would find himself continuing to lead in fear, without confidence, and from a state of panic.

Application:
It is so important that we trust God. When it comes time to make the right decisions in life we will be panicked, live in fear, and live without confidence if we put our trust in anything less than God Himself. When it is time to make decisions we ought to trust God. What are some ways we can show that we trust God?

  1. Consult and Obey His Word. God’s Word speaks directly to so many decisions we must make. It also gives us principles that help us make decisions that may not be as clear.
  2. Pray about the decisions we make. When we pray about our decisions we put ourselves in a posture of submission to God. We are opening our minds and hearts to God’s direction for our lives.
  3. Ask for wisdom. God’s Word tells us that He desires to give us wisdom. He gives it out liberally!
    James 1:5

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

James 1:5

When we seek God’s will through His Word, seek God’s will through prayer, and seek God’s will through wisdom, we are showing that we trust God. When we do trust God our way is established.
God is working. We must trust His plan.

Response:
Would you say that you are trusting God right now?

God Intervenes- Isaiah- Week 3- Day 1

Thus saith the Lord GOD, It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass.

Isaiah 7:7

Explanation:
At this point in Israel’s history, Israel was divided in two. 10 tribes of Israel, sometimes referred to as Ephraim which was one of those tribes, made up the northern kingdom. Judah was the southern kingdom, and was made up of the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin. King Ahaz was the king of Judah at this time. In verse 1 we learn that the northern kingdom and the nation of Syria had gone to Jerusalem to make war. They had made a pact together to fight Judah. When King Ahaz heard this he and his people were quite fearful (v.2). God tells Isaiah to take his son Shearjashub and go speak to Ahaz while he is inspecting the water supply (v3). He tells him to tell Ahaz not to fear (v.4). He tells Ahaz of their plot (v.5-6). Their plan was to defeat Judah and set up a new kingdom and then share in the spoils. They even have an idea of who the king of the new kingdom could be.

Now if you were the king of a kingdom, finding out that there is a plot to war with your people and take over is never a fun message to receive. If you were ever going to receive this message, to receive it this way would be the best. Why? God was the one telling him, through the prophet Isaiah, exactly what was going to happen. Why was this good?

  1. God always tells the truth. Any military leader will tell you that a large part of warfare is having the right intelligence. Much of the information you receive you may not be able to trust. In this situation the person giving the information could be fully and completely trusted.
  2. God was intervening. Not only was God telling him what had happened, He was also telling Ahaz what was going to happen. In today’s verse Isaiah makes it clear that according to God the plans of these two kings will not stand, and will not come to pass. God was intervening by communicating this to Ahaz and by making sure that this plot would not happen.

Application:
Two truths we can say at this point in the passage that would apply to our lives are as follows:
First, God can be trusted. If God says something to us it is true. If he says something will happen, it will happen. He cannot lie. If we build our lives on what He has said our ways will be established.
Second, God is active. Sometimes we think that God is up in heaven, unconcerned with what is going on in our lives. We tend to think that there are so many “important” things happening in the world, how can God be concerned with the things that concern us? The truth is that God is big enough to handle everything. He tells us to cast our cares on Him. Although sometimes we feel like God is silent we should not take his silence as absence. He has spoken to us through His Word. Even though it may not seem like He is working, it does not mean that He is absent. He loves us and wants what is best for us and that which will bring Him glory in our lives.

Response:
• What has caused you to believe that God is not trustworthy?
• What has tempted you to believe that God is not active?

Are you wise or simple? Proverbs- Week 7- Day 1

(8) The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way: but the folly of fools is deceit...(15) The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going.

Proverbs 14:8, 15

Explanation:

The passage in Proverbs this week has a particular kind of poetic or narrative structure that was somewhat common in ancient near-eastern literature.  It’s called a “chiasm” or “chiastic structure”.  Chiastic structure, or chiastic pattern, is a literary technique in narrative motifs and other textual passages. An example of chiastic structure would be two ideas, A1 and B1, together with variants A2 and B2, being presented as A1,B1,B2,A2.   Let me give you an example from the New Testament:

A1  Give not that which is holy unto the dogs,

            B1        neither cast ye your pearls before swine,

            B2        lest they trample them under their feet,

A2  and turn again and rend you.

Matthew 7:6 

In this example it is obvious that the dogs are the ones “rending”, and the swine are the ones who “trample”.  The first phrase (A1) corresponds to the last phrase (A2) and the two phrases in the middle (B1 and B2) correspond to each other.  Traditionally the innermost part of the Chiasm is what is being emphasized.  Chiasm’s can be as small as one verse, and as large as whole chapters.  It has even been suggested that Luke and Acts, 2 parts of one work by the same author, are written as a chiasm.

The scripture we are studying this week in Proverbs 14:8-15 are written in chiastic structure.  Consider the text this way:

  • A1(8) The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way: but the folly of fools is deceit.  
    • B1 (9)  Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous there is favour.  
      • C1 (10)  The heart knoweth his own bitterness; and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy.
        • D (11)  The house of the wicked shall be overthrown: but the tabernacle of the upright shall flourish.   (12)  There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
      • C2 (13)  Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness.  
    • B2 (14)  The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself.  
  • A2  (15)  The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going.
    Proverbs 14:8-15 

Now that you see the way the text is structured, you can see why I have highlighted the verses as I have.  Most of the time we “walk through the passage” verse by verse.  This week we are going to walk through the passage according to this pattern.  Today we have highlighted verses 8 and 15 (A1 and A2).

Notice that verses 8 and 15 both talk about two kinds of people.  Let’s look at what these verses say about each one.

First, we meet the prudent.  The prudent person seeks to “understand his way” in verse 8.  And in verse 15 the prudent man “looketh well to his going”.  These verses explain that a prudent person thinks about how they are living and what they are doing.  The prudent person is not haphazard about decisions and direction.  They take it very seriously.  They think and plan considering and seeking for what God wants, and how He has designed the world.

Next, we meet the simple and foolish person.  These are 2 descriptive names that describe the same kind of person.  In verse 15 you see the simple person as one who “believeth every word”.  In verse 8 the fool’s folly is deceit.  The idea is that they believe people who tell them lies, not looking to their way because they want to believe the lies they are being told.  They may believe every word because they don’t take the time to think about what they are being told and are therefore naive.  In contrast to the prudent who thinks carefully about their way, the fool does not and suffers for it.  It is their folly.

Application:

I think the application to today’s text is pretty clear, but can be as profound as you make it.  Which person are you?  Prudent or simple? Wise or foolish?

Are you a simple person?

  • A simple person does not take time to plan their lives.  Life happens to them and they react.  They do not think about the way they are living.  There is no introspection, evaluation or planning.  
  • A simple person takes what they are told only at face value.  A simple person never investigates or verifies what they are being told. They are easily deceived.  Have you ever questioned any of your basic assumptions?  You see, everyone has faith in something.  No person can know everything, but that does not mean you cannot know anything.  Do not become easy prey for the enemies of God.

Are you a wise person?

  • What habits or processes do you have to investigate your life?  Do you think about how you are living? 
    • Do you have a daily “quiet time” in which you talk to God and let the Word of God discern the thoughts and intents of your heart?
    • Do you have a plan for your time, called a schedule?  
    • Do you have a plan for your resources, called a budget?

Response:

As you have read the contrast between the simple and wise person today what actions do you need to take to begin to live wisely?