8.6.09, Isaiah 7:1-9

1 When Ahaz son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, was king of Judah, King Rezin of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel marched up to fight against Jerusalem, but they could not overpower it.

2 Now the house of David was told, “Aram has allied itself with Ephraim”; so the hearts of Ahaz and his people were shaken, as the trees of the forest are shaken by the wind.

3 Then the LORD said to Isaiah, “Go out, you and your son Shear-Jashub, to meet Ahaz at the end of the aqueduct of the Upper Pool, on the road to the Washerman’s Field. 4 Say to him, ‘Be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid. Do not lose heart because of these two smoldering stubs of firewood—because of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and of the son of Remaliah. 5Aram, Ephraim and Remaliah’s son have plotted your ruin, saying, 6 “Let us invade Judah; let us tear it apart and divide it among ourselves, and make the son of Tabeel king over it.” 7 Yet this is what the Sovereign LORD says:
” ‘It will not take place,
it will not happen,

8 for the head of Aram is Damascus,
and the head of Damascus is only Rezin.
Within sixty-five years
Ephraim will be too shattered to be a people.

9 The head of Ephraim is Samaria,
and the head of Samaria is only Remaliah’s son.
If you do not stand firm in your faith,
you will not stand at all.’ “

Ganging Up On You

Israel’s historyis not sugar-coated in any way – it’s incredibly blunt with its assessment of itself and its leaders.  The kings of Israel were a mistake from the beginning, as the Lord was supposed to lead Israel himself, but the people wanted a human leader.  This saddens God, but he acquiesces, and so begins a tragic part of their history.

But Ahaz was one of the rare good guys.  And the thing about being a good guy in a position where nearly everyone has failed before you means that the expectations are high, and most likely, people are waiting for you to mess up.  If you’ve ever been in that situation, you know how difficult it is.  And to make matters worse, Israel’s enemies take this opportunity to gang together to overtake the country – poor guy!

But God’s response is pseudo-mathematical.  He basically says this: Ephraim + Aram + Rezin = NOTHING COMPARED TO ME.  He reminds Ahaz that when you look past all the alliances and such, these people are led by a human, just somebody’s son, nothing more, and certainly nothing compared to God.

When things gang up on us, it can be hard to keep our head – work + relationships + tiredness + stress, when it all hits at the same time, it can feel like we’re about to break.  But remember God’s math, that all those things put together are nothing compared to God himself!

Questions

1. What are some of your “enemies” right now, the things that are discouraging you?

2. Do you remember when these “enemies” all seemed to come together at one time in your life?  What did you feel?

3. How does God’s power or promsies counter each of the enemies you listed above?

4. What form does God’s salvation most commonly take in your life?  The encouragement of friends or the church?  The promises of the Word?

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8.6.09, Isaiah 7:1-9

1 When Ahaz son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, was king of Judah, King Rezin of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel marched up to fight against Jerusalem, but they could not overpower it.

2 Now the house of David was told, “Aram has allied itself with Ephraim”; so the hearts of Ahaz and his people were shaken, as the trees of the forest are shaken by the wind.

3 Then the LORD said to Isaiah, “Go out, you and your son Shear-Jashub, to meet Ahaz at the end of the aqueduct of the Upper Pool, on the road to the Washerman’s Field. 4 Say to him, ‘Be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid. Do not lose heart because of these two smoldering stubs of firewood—because of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and of the son of Remaliah. 5Aram, Ephraim and Remaliah’s son have plotted your ruin, saying, 6 “Let us invade Judah; let us tear it apart and divide it among ourselves, and make the son of Tabeel king over it.” 7 Yet this is what the Sovereign LORD says:
” ‘It will not take place,
it will not happen,

8 for the head of Aram is Damascus,
and the head of Damascus is only Rezin.
Within sixty-five years
Ephraim will be too shattered to be a people.

9 The head of Ephraim is Samaria,
and the head of Samaria is only Remaliah’s son.
If you do not stand firm in your faith,
you will not stand at all.’ “

Ganging Up On You

Israel’s historyis not sugar-coated in any way – it’s incredibly blunt with its assessment of itself and its leaders.  The kings of Israel were a mistake from the beginning, as the Lord was supposed to lead Israel himself, but the people wanted a human leader.  This saddens God, but he acquiesces, and so begins a tragic part of their history.

But Ahaz was one of the rare good guys.  And the thing about being a good guy in a position where nearly everyone has failed before you means that the expectations are high, and most likely, people are waiting for you to mess up.  If you’ve ever been in that situation, you know how difficult it is.  And to make matters worse, Israel’s enemies take this opportunity to gang together to overtake the country – poor guy!

But God’s response is pseudo-mathematical.  He basically says this: Ephraim + Aram + Rezin = NOTHING COMPARED TO ME.  He reminds Ahaz that when you look past all the alliances and such, these people are led by a human, just somebody’s son, nothing more, and certainly nothing compared to God.

When things gang up on us, it can be hard to keep our head – work + relationships + tiredness + stress, when it all hits at the same time, it can feel like we’re about to break.  But remember God’s math, that all those things put together are nothing compared to God himself!

Questions

1. What are some of your “enemies” right now, the things that are discouraging you?

2. Do you remember when these “enemies” all seemed to come together at one time in your life?  What did you feel?

3. How does God’s power or promsies counter each of the enemies you listed above?

4. What form does God’s salvation most commonly take in your life?  The encouragement of friends or the church?  The promises of the Word?