Isaiah 46-48

Heavy Laden

Back when Ahaz was king of Judah, Israel and Syria invaded Judah and were overpowering the nation. Ahaz sought help from Assyria and hired them to invade Syria. His plan worked. Syria was defeated by Assyria and without the help of Syria Israel had to back off with their invasion plans.

Ahaz went to Damascus to meet with the king of Assyria and he saw an altar to a god that the people of Syria worshiped. He reasoned that the Syrians had a stronger god than the idols he worshiped so he had a copy of this altar made and set it up in the temple area in Jerusalem.

This type of thinking was common in those days.

 Through this prophesy of Isaiah, God said that even though Babylon took Judah and destroyed Jerusalem and the temple, their power would only last a short time. In the last part of Chapter 44 and the first part of Chapter 45 He tells the people that Babylon will be taken by Cyrus and that He would allow the people to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the city and the temple. God raised up Cyrus for this purpose.

Babylon was known for its wise men, magicians, and conjurers, along with its power. Bel and Nebo, mentioned in Chapter 46, were gods of Babylon. Babylon had great power but only for a short season and the strength of their gods ran out as they aged. They could carry Babylon no longer.

Starting in verse 3 God says that He carried Israel from the beginning and He will carry them till the end. Though the gods of the other nation’s come and go the true and living God is unchanging. He is the first and the last, the beginning and the end. God is comparing Himself to the gods of Babylon but there is no comparison at all. Israel can take comfort in that, and so can we.

God’s faithfulness is an expression of His great love. Yes, there will be times of discipline as will be covered in our reading today, but that discipline is rooted in God’s love and faithfulness.  The message starting in Chapter 40 is, comfort my people. Now that the people of Israel and Judah have come to the end of themselves after their nations were destroyed, they  are crying out to God from the dust. God is doing everything possible to show them who He is and how much He loves them. He is coming at this from many different directions so the people will understand. Along with His love we see God’s mercy and grace. His character and testimony will be established by the truth and fulfillment of the prophesies He is giving.

The Church needs to take a lesson from this section. We need to be careful that we don’t trade in what we know for what we don’t know simply because it is “new.” The Apostle Paul warns us that we need to be growing in our faith and understanding of God and His love for us in Ephesians 4:1-16. Crafty men will attempt to sway the Church with winds and waves of doctrines based not on the truth but on their deceitful scheming. Verse 14.

Peter also warns of false teachers in 2 Peter. The easy targets are the casual Christians whose bodies are in church (sometimes) but their heart is elsewhere.

Over the years I have seen fads come into the Church in the form of a book or a teaching and everyone gets caught up in the “new” thing.  That is all anyone is talking about. After a period of time though, the fad goes out with the tide and a new one washes in. The one book that remains the same day in and day out is the Bible. Let’s stick with it. I hope and pray this chronological study is encouraging you to read your Bible. I read through the Bible every year. I have done it for over 30 years now. I do not get tired or bored with it because I find the Word of God speaking to me and my situation every day. God is faithful, loving, merciful, kind, and full of grace. With all that, why should I run after something else just because it is new? The old adage is true. If it is new it is not true. And if it is true it is not new.

Homework today is Matthew 11:28-30

Put your faith and trust in God and His word.  You’ll be blessed!

Pastor Dave