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man faces large alarm clock July 14 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: Isaiah 33, 34, 35

Maturity; Awareness

In our July 11 Bible study we talked about growing pains, and in particular spiritual growing pains. Usually in our teen years there is a time of rebellion and waywardness, know-it-all attitudes, not listening, and seeking our own solutions. About the time of becoming adults we realize that mom and dad weren’t so dumb after all. We mature. We are truly sorry for our arrogance and how we may have treated others. We get our act together and start living responsible lives. The northern kingdom of Israel went through rebellion but failed to realize her sin. The kingdom was destroyed, and her people were taken into captivity in Assyria. Her sister nation, Judah, followed in her tracks and was also in danger of destroying herself and being taken into captivity. Would she wake up and realize her foolishness in time? Have you matured enough to know when you need help? Will you repent, fear the LORD and ask Him for help? God will release his power to help us when we rely upon him.

Assyria was a powerful nation. She was God’s arm of strength against Israel and other sinful nations in and around Canaan. By God’s sovereign will she attacked them with the ferociousness of a lion. The nation of Judah was afraid, for they saw all other nations quickly become ripped apart and destroyed by Assyria. They had hoped Babylon could overpower her, but Assyria put down that rebellion. Assyria was moving south. Besides Israel, she had already taken other neighboring nations and most fortified cities of Judah. Jerusalem was the only notable city left. When Hezekiah became sole-regent after Ahaz’s death, he led the nation in revival. Many years passed, and apparently Judah worshipped the LORD in pretense and with a rebellious heart. Then, just before Assyria’s attack on Jerusalem, it appears she matured and realized she needed forgiveness for her sin and God’s help. Isaiah the prophet offered this prayer on behalf of the nation of Judah that seems to indicate nation - wide repentance. It shows that Judah woke up and realized her need for God’s wisdom and help. Praise the LORD for leaders who see the need and are courageous to lead people to rely upon the LORD. The nation matured under Hezekiah:

O LORD, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress. “The LORD is exalted, for he dwells on high; he will fill Zion with justice and righteousness. He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure,” (Isaiah 33:2,5-6, NIV).

As Judah realized that she needed help, feared the LORD, repented and asked for assistance, God says in Isaiah 33:10a, “’Now will I arise,’ says the LORD. ‘Now will I be exalted; now will I be lifted up,’” (NIV). Now God would help Jerusalem. Isaiah continues,

You will see those arrogant people no more [The Assyrians], those people of an obscure speech, with their strange, incomprehensible tongue. Look upon Zion, the city of our festivals; your eyes will see Jerusalem, a peaceful abode, a tent that will not be moved; its stakes will never be pulled up, nor any of its ropes broken. There the LORD will be our Mighty One. It will be like a place of broad rivers and streams.... For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; it is he who will save us.” (Isaiah 33:19-22, NIV).

Have you matured enough to know when you need help? Will you repent, fear the LORD and ask Him for help? God will release his power to help us when we rely upon him.

In future days, after the Great Tribulation period, Israel will be saved. One day when Christ comes back to rule and reign, he will first take vengeance on all of Israel’s enemies and bring a long awaited peace to her land.

The desert and the parched land [of Israel] will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the LORD, the splendor of our God.

Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you,” (Isaiah 35:1-4, NIV).

In those days, never again will the re-united Israel be rebellious. Never again would they cease to listen to God’s Word or be blind to their own ways.

And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness. The unclean will not journey on it; it will be for those who walk in that Way; wicked fools will not go about on it. No lion will be there, nor will any ferocious beast get up on it; they will not be found there. But only the redeemed will walk there, and the ransomed of the LORD will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.” (Isaiah 35:8-10, NIV).

Like Israel, in spite of our rebellion, the LORD forgives, heals and restores. We have the promise of forgiveness, peace and spiritual life if we look to him for forgiveness (more...). To those who mature and overcome, they also have the promise that they will someday rule and reign with him over a beautifully renewed earth (Revelation 5:10; 20:6; 22:5). Won’t that be a great day for the mature in Christ? Through him we gain the victory.

Lessons to live by:

  • Have you matured enough to know when you need help? Will you repent, fear the LORD and ask Him for help? (more...) God will release his power to help us when we rely upon him.
  • Praise the LORD for leaders who see the need and are courageous to lead people to revival and to rely upon the LORD.
  • God can bring peace to us and our families.
  • Like Israel, in spite of our rebellion, the LORD forgives, heals and restores.
  • To those who mature and overcome, they have the promise that they will someday rule and reign with him.
  • Through God we gain the victory

Today’s Bible memory verse: Hosea 6:1 “Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds.” (NIV)

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