Bible Study Recap – Isaiah 8-10

Our discussion of Isaiah continues!  I keep thinking that when we get entrenched in the history we won’t have much to talk about, but I stand corrected!  I don’t want to force the pace to pick up and then have us miss something, so this may just be a longer session than usual. :) As usual, add your thoughts in the comments!

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Bible Study Weekly Recap
March 3, 3015
Isaiah Week 4 {Isaiah 8-10}

Isaiah 8 

Isaiah 8:1-4
The Lord said to me, “Take a large scroll and write on it with an ordinary pen: Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz.”[a] So I called in Uriah the priest and Zechariah son of Jeberekiah as reliable witnesses for me. Then I made love to the prophetess, and she conceived and gave birth to a son. And the Lord said to me, “Name him Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz. For before the boy knows how to say ‘My father’ or ‘My mother,’ the wealth of Damascus and the plunder of Samaria will be carried off by the king of Assyria.”

  • This is a first-person testimony from Isaiah
  • The prophetess was Isaiah’s wife
  • This passage confused us – why did he have to write this name down?
    • In reading our notes and commentaries, it appears we are not the only ones who are confused – scholars do not know why the prophet was asked to write this name down
    • We do not know what this was done legally, but the point is that there is a legal record of Isaiah’s son’s name

Isaiah 8:5-8
The Lord spoke to me again:
“Because this people has rejected
the gently flowing waters of Shiloah
and rejoices over Rezin
and the son of Remaliah,
therefore the Lord is about to bring against them
the mighty floodwaters of the Euphrates—
the king of Assyria with all his pomp.
It will overflow all its channels,
run over all its banks
and sweep on into Judah, swirling over it,
passing through it and reaching up to the neck.
Its outspread wings will cover the breadth of your land,
Immanuel[b]!”

  • When Isaiah talks about “the mighty floodwaters” he is referring to the Tigris River in Assyria going into the dessert of Israel
  • This is a metaphor for the troops coming in
  • Israel is going to be attacked by the Assyrian troops
  • “Immanuel” – this is the NIV translation; my CEB translation says, “But God is with us” – the cry for “Immanuel” is a constant throughout this book. This book is the most quoted in the New Testament and often used in conjunction with the birth narrative and Christmas story
  • Discussion Question: In what ways are we still crying out for “Immanuel” today? How is that cry being answered?

Isaiah 8:9-10
Raise the war cry,[c] you nations, and be shattered!
Listen, all you distant lands.
Prepare for battle, and be shattered!
Prepare for battle, and be shattered!
10 Devise your strategy, but it will be thwarted;
propose your plan, but it will not stand,
for God is with us.[d]

  • Isaiah is now talking to the Assyrians
  • Isaiah is telling the Assyrians that they need to prepare for battle, but they are going to be defeated after they defeat Israel

Isaiah 8:11-13
This is what the Lord says to me with his strong hand upon me, warning me not to follow the way of this people:
12 “Do not call conspiracy
everything this people calls a conspiracy;
do not fear what they fear,
and do not dread it.
13 The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy,
he is the one you are to fear,
he is the one you are to dread.

  • Isaiah’s testimony that in the midst of the chaos, God is still with us.
  • Discussion Question: How can WE testify to the truth that in the midst of the chaos of life, God is still with us?

Isaiah 8:14-15
He will be a holy place;
for both Israel and Judah he will be
a stone that causes people to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall.
And for the people of Jerusalem he will be
a trap and a snare.
Many of them will stumble;
they will fall and be broken,
they will be snared and captured.”

  • God is more powerful than any human enemy – those who take refuge in God will be protected and those who oppose God will stumble
  • It’s important to remember that we ALL stumble. Even people of great faith stumble – we get caught up in the busyness of life and are tempted by the things in society that surround us. WE ALL NEED our faith to be renewed and to remember to turn back to God.
  • Discussion Question: Do you remember a moment within the last few weeks where you have gotten caught up in something in your earthly life and have turned away from God? How can you get yourself back on track?

Isaiah 8:16-18
Bind up this testimony of warning
and seal up God’s instruction among my disciples.
I will wait for the Lord,
who is hiding his face from the descendants of Jacob.
I will put my trust in him.

Here am I, and the children the Lord has given me. We are signs and symbols in Israel from the Lord Almighty, who dwells on Mount Zion.

  • Ambiguous; references to the disciples are unusual and has led to speculation

Isaiah 8:19-22
19 When someone tells you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?20 Consult God’s instruction and the testimony of warning. If anyone does not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn. 21 Distressed and hungry, they will roam through the land; when they are famished, they will become enraged and, looking upward, will curse their king and their God. 22 Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness.

  • Why don’t people turn to God when things are bad? Why do they look for comfort in other ways?
  • Juxtaposition of darkness and light – this sets us up for chapter 9

Isaiah 9:1-7

Isaiah 9:1-2
Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan—
The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned.

  • Juxtaposition of darkness and light
  • This gives hope

Isaiah 9:3-5
You have enlarged the nation
and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you
as people rejoice at the harvest,
as warriors rejoice
when dividing the plunder.
For as in the day of Midian’s defeat,
you have shattered
the yoke that burdens them,
the bar across their shoulders,
the rod of their oppressor.
Every warrior’s boot used in battle
and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning,
will be fuel for the fire.

  • Isaiah goes from preparing for battle and desolation to victory and joy

Isaiah 9:6-7
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this.

  • This is often used in conjunction with the birth narrative
  • Did Jesus fulfill this prophecy? If we look at it literally, no – Jesus came much later and did not reign on David’s throne. But you can’t ignore the way that he did fulfill this prophecy in his way and in his lifetime.
  • Discussion Question: This passage is such a powerful part of our Christian identity and story. In what ways is it still being fulfilled today? In your life?

Isaiah 9:8 – 10:4

The expression “Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised” is repeated four times in this passage (9:12, 9:17, 9:21, 10:4)

  • The NIV uses the expression, “his hand is still upraised” while the CEB uses the expression, “God’s hand it still extended”
  • Is God reaching out to guide us or is he ready to strike?
  • The Jerusalem Bible translates the Hebrew to say, “For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.”
  • Hebrew: “yā-ḏōw” “nə-ṭū-yāh” meaning “his hand” “[is] still stretched out”
  • Discussion Question: How do you interpret this recurring expression?

Are these people oblivious?

  • It seems like God has to keep reiterating his point – like a parent who has to tell a child the same thing over and over again
  • Discussion Question: But are we any better? We are imperfect human beings who are really good at letting the “stuff” around us distract us and turn us away from God.

Isaiah 10:5-19

Isaiah 10:5-6
“Woe to the Assyrian, the rod of my anger,
in whose hand is the club of my wrath!
I send him against a godless nation,
I dispatch him against a people who anger me,
to seize loot and snatch plunder,
and to trample them down like mud in the streets.

  • This is no longer in the first person!
  • Assyria = Nation carrying out God’s purpose
  • I = God
  • Him = Assyrian
  • Godless Nation = Israel

Isaiah 10:7
But this is not what he intends,
this is not what he has in mind;
his purpose is to destroy,
to put an end to many nations.

  • But Assyria is not doing exactly what God intends

Isaiah 10:12-13
 When the Lord has finished all his work against Mount Zion and Jerusalem, he will say, “I will punish the king of Assyria for the willful pride of his heart and the haughty look in his eyes. 13 For he says:
“‘By the strength of my hand I have done this,
and by my wisdom, because I have understanding.
I removed the boundaries of nations,
I plundered their treasures;
like a mighty one I subdued[a] their kings.

  • God clearly does not like the Assyrian Kings either

Isaiah 10:15
Does the ax raise itself above the person who swings it,
or the saw boast against the one who uses it?
As if a rod were to wield the person who lifts it up,
or a club brandish the one who is not wood!

  • God is the power behind the ax, the saw, the rod and the club
  • Are we stronger than God who gives us strength?

Isaiah 10: 16-17
Therefore, the Lord, the Lord Almighty,
will send a wasting disease upon his sturdy warriors;
under his pomp a fire will be kindled
like a blazing flame.
17 The Light of Israel will become a fire,
their Holy One a flame;
in a single day it will burn and consume
his thorns and his briers.

  • Light WAS a symbol of hope earlier
  • Isaiah now take an image hope and makes it destroy Israel

Isaiah 10:19
And the remaining trees of his forests will be so few
that a child could write them down.

  • Interesting to see the “child” imagery come back – the prior chapter a child was being used as a sign of hope and restoration, now it is being used as an insult

Isaiah 10:20-34

Isaiah 10:20-23
In that day the remnant of Israel,
the survivors of Jacob,
will no longer rely on him
who struck them down
but will truly rely on the Lord,
the Holy One of Israel.
21 A remnant will return,[b] a remnant of Jacob
will return to the Mighty God.
22 Though your people be like the sand by the sea, Israel,
only a remnant will return.
Destruction has been decreed,
overwhelming and righteous.
23 The Lord, the Lord Almighty, will carry out
the destruction decreed upon the whole land.

  • This too shall pass, the flood waters will recede
  • But not everyone will recede
  • This kind of reminds me of the end of the Flood Narrative – there was hope even though there had been destruction

Isaiah 10:26-27
The Lord Almighty will lash them with a whip,
as when he struck down Midian at the rock of Oreb;
and he will raise his staff over the waters,
as he did in Egypt.
27 In that day their burden will be lifted from your shoulders,
their yoke from your neck;
the yoke will be broken
because you have grown so fat.[c]

  • There is a little bit of hope, “their burden will be lifted from your shoulders”

Isaiah 10:29-34

  • These are all cities listed
  • The Army is on the move

General Thoughts and Discussion Questions

  • This book is very choppy – it goes from remnants of hope to promises of destruction very quickly. But isn’t the same true for our lives? Our lives are roller coasters – moving quickly from good to bad, often times in what seems like a matter of moments.
  • Even in the midst of the destruction in this book, there is still hope.
  • Where is there still hope in our lives?
  • How can we be a testament to the hope that is in our lives?

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