September - Reading 15

Discussion in 'Bible Reading Plan 2016' started by Clint Kritzer, Sep 15, 2002.

  1. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2001
    Messages:
    7,739
    Likes Received:
    4
  2. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2001
    Messages:
    7,739
    Likes Received:
    4
    Once again, good evening -

    Today in Isaiah we began the final section of this great writing, The Books of Comfort. Whereas chapters 1-35 spoke primarily of the fall of the Assyrians, who had captured the Northern Kingdom, and chapters 36-39 dealt with the actual history of Assyria's failure, the final phase of this Book will focus on an era that seems to be just prior to the rise of the Persians. Chapter 40 begins with the indication that Jerusalem's sins have been forgiven. At the time of Isaiah's writings, Jerusalem's sins had not yet even been fully realized. The "voice crying in the wilderness" is an image of a crier that went before a monarch proclaiming their arrival. The immediate implication is that of Israel's return under Cyrus and the long term implication was of John the Baptist.I enjoyed the series of rhetorical questions in verses 40:25-28. It is very reminiscent of the end of Job. How insignificant we are in comparison to God! How easily we forget it!

    I've always felt a little bit sorry for Pilate. It is interesting to me that in all four Gospels the story varies slightly and would have a more profound effect on the given audience. In the Gospel written to the Jews, Matthew 27, it is a crowd of Jews at the Feast that called for the release of Barabbas and Pilate's wife disuaded the governor from having any involvement. In Mark, the gospel for the gentiles in Rome, it is again the crowd that calls for the crucifixion, this time without the involvement of Pilate's wife, no washing of the hands, and no cry from the crowd for the Blood to be upon themselves. In John it is not specified what Jews Pilate addresses. In Luke it is specified that the call to release Barabbas comes straight from the accusers of Christ, the cheif priest and rulers.

    A quick synopsis of Hebrews 9:1-10 is that the Tabernacle and all of it's elements was insufficient and incomplete for the atonement of man. The Mosaic Covenant was a temporary measure, recognized in hind sight AS a temporary measure. The mention of the ark is quite interesting as it was the center of the Most Holy Place. The ark is lost after 2Chronicles when the contents of the Temple are taken to Babylon along with its revered contents. The loss of such an important artifact must have spoken volumes to these newly converted Jews as this letter was read.

    May God bless you

    - Clint
     
  3. Aaron

    Aaron
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2000
    Messages:
    15,666
    Likes Received:
    225
    To me, the KJV just sounds so much more beautiful here--probably because that's the way I hear it in Handel's Messiah,

    In exile, the Jews had a lot of time to think about their idolatry and the iniquity which bound them over to pagan rule.

    The late Richard Wurmbrand spent 14 years in communist prisons, three of those in solitary confinement. He said that hell was being alone with your sin. Without all the distractions of daily life, he could not keep the burden of his own sins from weighing heavily upon him and crushing him.

    What can be more comfortable to one in such agony of spirit than to hear, "Your warfare is accomplished. Your iniquity is pardoned. Comfort ye, comfort ye, my child."

    It is indeed a "foretaste of glory, divine."

    Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine!
    Oh, what a foretaste of glory, divine!
    Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
    Born of his spirit, washed in his blood.
     
  4. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2001
    Messages:
    7,739
    Likes Received:
    4
    Sunday School lesson 2/20/05

    Luke 23:13-56

    Chapter 23 of Luke takes us through the trials and up to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Once again it is important to note that all four Gospels vary in some respects and each adds different details to the account. Luke, for instance, omits the scourging but is the only to include the details of the lament over Jerusalem. Therefore, it is once again important for the student to read all four parallel accounts for an accurate picture of what transpired those two millennia ago.

    Luke 23:13-25 The Condemnation of Jesus

    Pilate assembles the accusers to make his second declaration of the innocence of Jesus at this point. The “chief priests, rulers and people” represent the nation of Israel. In a strange twist to the story, the judge, Pilate, becomes the counsel for defense. We can only speculate what impact the interview with Christ had on Pilate but Luke places him in the best possible light in view of the circumstances. Of course, Luke’s purpose is not to exonerate Pilate but rather to show that Jesus was not a disappointed revolutionary, but the Savior of mankind.

    The two men who represented Rome as rulers of the region had found that Jesus was innocent. By Jewish law, two witnesses were decisive in such a matter. Pilate rightly concludes that Herod would not have sent Him back if He was indeed an agitator.

    Pilate therefore says that he will “chastise” Jesus. The term “chastise” implies a softer punishment than “scourging” as reported in Mark 15:15. Again, we are seeing Pilate put in the best light by Luke. Chastisement did not even necessarily indicate corporal punishment, but could just mean a warning. Matthew and Mark, however, bear witness that Jesus was scourged and John uses the synonym “flogged.”

    Pilate’s third attempt to release a man he knew was innocent brings into the picture Barabbas who Mark reports as being one of a group of rebels that had been thrown into prison. In other words, he was guilty of the very crimes of which Jesus had been falsely accused. The fact is also added that he was a murderer. Since it was Pilate’s custom to release a prisoner at the time of the feast, the chief priests stirred up the people to ask for the release of Barabbas.

    The demand for the release of Barabbas demonstrates the real stance of the Jewish leaders. Though they had accused Jesus of hostility against Rome, their sympathies lay with a man who had been involved in an insurrection. In this gross miscarriage of justice, Pilate releases the real enemy of his ruler to go free while a man who had no ambitions towards an earthly kingdom is scourged and crucified.

    Though it was in theory Pilate who had the power to release or crucify Jesus, in reality it was the enemies of Christ who pronounced sentence. For the third time Pilate pronounces Jesus innocent stating He has committed no capital crime. Once again he states that he will chastise Him and release Him. But in the final analysis, the will of the Jewish leaders was stronger than the will of Pilate. He pronounces a sentence that reflects the demands of the crowd rather than his own convictions. While Luke’s portrayal of Pilate is gentler than the other Gospels, there is no denying the fact that he was a poor administrator of Roman justice.
     
  5. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2001
    Messages:
    7,739
    Likes Received:
    4
    Isaiah 40

    Sunday School 4/23/06




    For those of you who have been reading straight through the Book of Isaiah, you will notice a marked change in the text beginning in chapter 40. When one turns the page from chapter 39, a full century and a half passes and the reader finds the setting to be Babylon near the end of the exile. There is also a marked difference in style and content. The most commonly accepted explanation for this transition is a joint authorship of the Book. It is commonly accepted that the first 35 chapters are from the 8th century BC prophet, the historical interlude from 36-39 are from either the prophet or a historian disciple, and chapters 40-55 were written by a disciple of Isaiah in the exilic period and chapters 56-66 are written by the same disciple or perhaps a third that lived in post-exilic Palestine.

    It should be noted once again that espousing a theory which supports multiple authors of the Book of Isaiah by no means diminishes the belief in true Divine inspiration. To the contrary, that the Lord would choose to continue speaking to the people of Israel after rejecting the prophet’s call to repentance is quite significant. Isaiah had set in place a school that continued his ministry clear through the captivity that he foresaw.

    The tone changes in that ministry, however. The Jews had suffered through the gloom of the exile. They were a people without a country and little hope left. It was now time for them to know that God was still with them. It was important to know that the same God who could punish a nation for their sins had the capacity to forgive and once again become a Shepherd to His people. The comforting tone set in chapter 40 has given rise to the name “the Book of Consolation” to the remainder of the Book.

    The Forgiveness of God – Isaiah 40:1-2

    The repetition of the word “comfort” in verse 1 shows the intensity of the command. This is the only place in the Scriptures where the prophets are commanded to comfort without a preceding command to condemn. In other instances, it is God who comforts. The comfort that is offered is not a glossing over of Israel’s past sins but a pardon of her former iniquities. The word “warfare” is best understood as meaning bondage. Her bondage was nearly over but that release would have been meaningless without the following message from the prophets. The word of forgiveness had to be spoken.

    To “speak comfortably” is a Hebrew idiom meaning to “speak to the heart.” Of the eight other occurrences in the Old Testament of the phrase, four express the idea of praise and reassurance and the other four express tenderness of a lover for his mate. Both concepts are suitable for the Passage at hand.

    Isaiah 40:3-5 - The Glory of God

    In response to God’s command to give comfort, an unidentified speaker calls for the preparation of a highway through the wilderness. The wilderness in Hebrew literature was more than just the desert land between Babylon and Israel. The wilderness represented servitude and discipline and punishment for sin. The wilderness represented a withdraw by God leaving the man lonely and destitute. Only God’s return could bring it back to a state of beauty.

    Upon completion of the highway, God’s glory would be revealed to “all flesh,” that is to say, all mankind. We see here a universalism introduced into the Book of Isaiah that will remain a motif for the remainder of the Book.

    Isaiah 40:6-8 – The Word of God

    The initial call to the prophet to comfort the people of Israel seems to be met with despair. The command to “cry (preach, proclaim) is met with the question, “What shall I cry?” The reluctance to preach comes from a pessimistic, and probably realist8ic, view of man. Men’s resolve is as transient and frail as the grass and flowers.

    The prophet is therefore advised to not concentrate in the unreliable nature of man but on the steadfastness of God. Yes, men pass away, both physically and spiritually, but the word of God is permanent and it is upon this assurance that the prophet is to build his ministry. The prophet will not be crying his own word but the words of God. That word is charged with the ability to effect its own fulfillment.

    Isaiah 40:9-11 The Strength and Gentleness of God

    The scene now shifts to Jerusalem, the city far to the west, which is now entitled “the bringer of good tidings.” Typically in the Book of Consolation, Jerusalem is pictured as desolate and full of despair as it lay in ruins while its former inhabitants remain in captivity. Now, however, it is the one giving comfort as it is told to proclaim to the other cities of Judah the coming deliverance.

    Jerusalem proclaims, “Behold your God!” If one were to sum up the message of Isaiah 40-66, this phrase would be it. The great Shepherd of Israel was returning to Zion. He is both strong and gentle. These two qualities are shown simultaneously, not separately. He is both a Shepherd and a Warrior King.
     
  6. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2001
    Messages:
    7,739
    Likes Received:
    4
    Isaiah 40

    Isaiah 40:12-26 Creator and Lord of the Universe

    To interpret and understand these verses, one must keep in mind that in ancient times, many felt that wars did not just determine which nation was more powerful, but also which deities were superior. Many Jewish exiles shared this point of view. They viewed the defeat of Jerusalem as a sign that Bel or Murdock were more powerful than Yahweh and were tempted to adopt the religious practices of their captors.

    The prophet meets this challenge in two ways. First he proclaims the incomparable greatness of the Lord and secondly by ridiculing the man made idols of Babylon. The prophet was addressing those who were as frail as the flowers and grass and who had lost all confidence in God to protect them. The prophets mission at this juncture was to convince them of God’s total sovereignty. He was and is the Lord of all creation and history and the Jews were still His chosen people.

    He sets before the people a list of rhetorical questions each begging the answer, “No one!” The overall point of the argument is that God is not reliant upon man for His power or His wisdom. Men are not capable of directing His mind or His Spirit.

    Conversely, the prophet shows neither fear nor awe when he contemplated the power of Babylon. Compared to God, all nations combined are but a drop in the bucket when compared to him. If all of Lebanon, known for its forests were set fire consuming every living animal in it, even that would be an insufficient sacrifice to God.

    Verses 18-20 are a satire based upon the manufacture and uselessness of idols. This was a very common device in exilic and post-exilic literature. The poor man’s idol was made of wood while the rich man’s was made of silver or gold. God on the other hand, could never be represented by a man-made likeness. It appears that the prophet witnessed the making of idols first hand in captivity and it had a profound effect on him.

    The questions in verse 21 are designed to arouse the Israelites from their religious dormancy by reminding them of their rich and authentic history. It is God and God alone who sits enthroned above the circle of the earth. From His lofty position the people of earth appear as grasshoppers. He has the power to stretch out the heavens to make Himself a tent. He also has the power to bring the rulers of earth to naught. He but wills it and they wither away.

    In verse 25, the Lord repeats the questions of verse 18. He is called here “Holy One,” without the article, making Holy a proper name for Him. He is referenced in the following verse as the creator and controller of the stars. The word “create” is used 21 times in chapters 40-66, almost twice as many times as it used in Genesis. It is also significant that God being the controller of the stars is referenced here as the Babylonians were known for their astronomy. They viewed stars as deities and firmly believed that they controlled men’s destinies. The prophet strips them of their divinity and makes them but pawns to God. He calls them by name and they immediately report to Him.

    Isaiah 40:27-31 Sustainer of the Weary

    For the 6th century Jew, knowing that God was enthroned somewhere above the circle of the earth was not the comfort he needed. If men appeared as grasshoppers, would God take notice of their plight? Their religious history told them that He once had b8ut the question remained as to whether he would have anything to do with them now. To this, the prophet reminds them of God’s limitless dimensions and strength. The Jews were thinking entirely too small.

    The climax of the sermon comes in the fact that God’s strength is available to those who are faint and weary. He not only has power but also gives power. The strong and hearty of this earth are the ones who fall faint while the weak and exhausted are given strength.

    The basic meaning of the verb “wait” in verse 31 means to twist or wind. From it comes the nouns for rope and spider web. Hence the meaning of “to wait on the Lord” means to make Him your lifeline. We do not wait passively but eagerly. The same verb is used in Psalm 56:6 and 119:95 to describe evil men waiting to ambush and kill the righteous. In Isaiah 5:4 & 7 it describes a farmer’s eagerness to see his crops sprout.

    In this anxious state of holding out and holding on to God, the weak exchange their inability for strength. They discover a renewal of their purpose for life. Some have detected an anti-climax in the progression of verse 31. It moves from flying to running to walking. The structure of the phrase is no accident however, when we consider the course of faith we all travel. There are times that we soar as eagles and times that we run with urgency, but the majority of our spiritual lives we spend merely walking. It is in those times of plodding along that we reveal our true character. Flying and running are not the measure of our faith. It is the endurance we show in staying on course between those times.

    Waiting on the Lord, therefore, means to respond with faith to the promise of the Lord’s coming. In this way we receive the benefits of His coming before He even arrives. Faith is not the means by which victory is achieved. Faith IS the victory.
     
  7. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2001
    Messages:
    7,739
    Likes Received:
    4

Share This Page

Loading...