This Friday evening’s 101 Bible Study in Astoria focuses on Isaiah 7. Call 971/238-6101 for details on time and location.
King Ahaz faces a political/military threat. He is convinced that the Word of God through the prophet Isaiah cannot fix it.
“Ahaz’ wickedness is seen in the fact that by his stubbornness he was in fact rejecting the very foundation of the covenant. God had promised to be a God and a Deliverer to His people. Syria and Israel, therefore, will not overthrow the Davidic dynasty, for if they could succeed in so doing, the promises of God would be rendered void and salvation would not ultimately be accomplished through the Messiah. . . . A son of David is willing to reject the covenant. God, therefore, must take over, and and give a sign of the greater deliverance, as well of the proximate deliverance from Syria and Israel.” (Edward J. Young, The Book of Isaiah, Vol. 1, pp. 283–284).
“. . . in the dealings of God with His covenant people will be found a profound and and supernatural promise of greater things to come. So, in our passage, the prophet, when he placed before the rebellious Ahaz that strange picture of the mother and child, was not merely promising deliverance to Judah in the period before a child then born should know how to refuse the evil and choose the good, but also, moved by the Spirit of God, was looking forward, as in a dim and mysterious vision, to the day when the true Immanuel, the mighty God and Prince of Peace, should lie as a little babe in a virgin’s arms.” (J. Gresham Machen, The Virgin Birth of Christ, p. 293).
Does God fix things? He doesn’t necessarily fix them according our diagnosis of the problem, but he is not distant from you. In taking upon himself our human nature, he became Immanuel. That is the ultimate ground for your hope.
“To praise His name involves more than the mere repetition of the word qadosh [holy]. It includes deep meditation upon God and His attributes and the living of a life of humility in accordance with the precepts laid down in His Word. It is, in other words, the life of faith in Jesus Christ, lived for the glory of God.” (Edward J. Young, The Book of Isaiah, Vol. 1, p. 243).
“[W]hen we have seen God, we then begin to feel and know what we are. Hence springs true humility, which consists in this, that a man makes no claims for himself, and depends wholly on God.” (John Calvin, Commentary on Isaiah at 6:5).
What is the secret of Isaiah’s long and faithful work, even when discouraged? His vision of the thrice holy God ought to encourage you to be faithful in the work to which God has called his church. As you are confronted with God’s holy glory, confess your sinfulness. The live coal is a sign of cleansing. What Isaiah felt symbolically, you experience in Jesus Christ. The glory that Isaiah saw is, according to John 12:41, the glory of Jesus. In him alone is there forgiveness. Catch the vision of God’s holiness, experience the cleansing work of Christ, and in the power of the Holy Spirit go with the good news.
Studying Isaiah 4:2–5:6: God not only commands you to bear good fruit—he also sends the true vine. Only as you are grafted into him can you be the fruitful branch you should be.
“Light and darkness, salvation and judgment go together and form the concept, the Day of the Lord.” (E. J. Young, The Book of Isaiah, Vol. 1, p. 173).
“The Branch is of the Lord, it is His, and comes from Him.” (Young, p. 175).
“Using the metaphor of a vineyard, Isaiah’s song retells Israel’s history from their initial ‘planting’ in Canaan to their continual failure to bear righteous fruit (5:1–7). While Isaiah sees destruction coming in the future (5:5–6), the psalmist later writes from the midst of it and pleads for God to ‘have regard for this vine’ (Ps. 80:14). This is the background to Jesus’ announcement, ‘I am the true vine’ (John 15:1). He is the True Vine who bore the fruit of righteousness that Israel and all of us failed to produce.” (Drew Hunter, Isaiah: A 12-Week Study, p. 16).
Rembrandt’s Isaiah (Louvre)
The 101 Bible Study in Astoria is beginning a study of the Book of Isaiah.
“Isaiah brings us face to face with Him who sits upon the throne, high and lifted up, who controls the destinies of nations, and who sends to us a Child, even our Lord and Redeemer. The late Dr. J. Gresham Machen once spoke of the Old Testament prophesies as ‘full of the grace of God.’ And as we read of that grace may our deepest gratitude be to Him who is the true Author of this prophecy, and who in the fullness of time sent to this earth Him whose name is Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” (E. J. Young, The Book of Isaiah, pp. viii-ix).
“In the first chapter we also find a reference to ‘a few survivors,’ that is, a remnant. This, too, is a recurring theme in the book. Isaiah already raises it in connection with his calling (6:13). He named one of his sons Shear-jashub, which means a remnant shall return or repent (7:3). Isaiah’s prophetic mission may have seemed a thankless task, but it was not, for there remained a remnant chose by God in His sovereign grace.” (C. Vanderwaal, Search the Scriptures, Vol. 5, pp. 14–15).