Isaiah Lesson 10 Isaiah 46-49 Pastor Barry BruceThe Gathering
i·dol 1. an image or representation of a god used as an object of worship. 2. a person or thing that is greatly admired, loved, or revered.
Bow Down! Philippians 2:6-11
Axl Rose wore a shirt during the Guns N’ Roses Use Your Illusion Tour which became very popular. (The Use Your Illusion Tour was a concert tour by the rock band Guns N’ Roses which ran from January 20, 1991 to July 17, 1993. It was not only the band’s longest tour, but one of the longest concert tours in rock history, consisting of 194 shows in 27 countries.) The shirt was designed as an anti-religion shirt suggesting that man should have no idols…even Jesus Christ. The irony is that Christ was killed by sinners who put him to death because they loved to practice their sin and were tired of Jesus calling their attention to it. They chose their idols over the God who came down to show them the way, the truth and the Life. Furthermore, Axl Rose himself had become a rock idol to millions and a rival of the only God who should ever be worshiped. One day every knee will bow and every tongue confess (even Axl Rose) that Jesus Christ is Lord. They tried to kill Jesus but He rose again. Idols don’t rise again.
Into captivity Isaiah 46:1-11, 47:1, 8-11, Matthew 6:19-21, 33
Bel and Nebo (Nabu) were two of the primary gods that were worshiped in ancient times by the Babylonians. Isaiah begins this prophecy by saying that these gods (moreover, the Babylonians that worship them) will bow down to another and go into captivity. (Note: Babylon was taken over by the Persians (Cyrus the Great 539BC) following this prophecy.) When this occurred the Jews were freed from their 70 years of Babylonian captivity and were permitted to return to Palestine. Here God speaks through Isaiah about the foolishness of worshiping false gods and reminds His rebellious people that there is no god like Him.
The Babylonians had many false gods and lived in luxury. Their city was the most beautiful and prosperous of its time. It boasted of one the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World (The Hanging Gardens of Babylon), but its government and its people were steeped in sin. God was not pleased with all that pleases men. That amazing city of people fell as will all people who turn against the will of God. Sodom and Gomorrah fell, Babylon fell, Rome fell and so will Las Vegas, Hollywood , and America if her people choose to worship idols over God. Like Babylon, we as a nation or as individuals, may think we are getting away with our sin but we will eventually discover that we have lost our high place and are sitting on the ground. We may be secure now but in a moment judgment will come as it did for Babylon. We must kill our idols now or go down with them. Trusting in them is an illusion that will come to an end. Jesus advised us to store up a relationship with God rather than a life of pleasure. Those that do this will discover that everything they need will be taken care of as they put God first.
Stubborn Israel Isaiah 48:1, 4-6a, 9-11, 17-18, 20a,22
In chapter 48 God scolds His people (“descendants of Jacob who take oaths in the name of the Lord but not in truth”) for worshiping idols. In short he calls them stiff necked and thick headed and bids them to finally admit how stupid they were to drift away from Him and over to false gods. God reminds His wayward people that He is rescuing them because He will not be defamed on their account. God is jealous for us (Exodus 34:14). Like a good father towards his son. He will teach us what is best…He will direct us in the way we shall go. He tells the Jews to leave Babylon, because “there is no peace for the wicked”. God wants us to have peace but there is nothing but judgment coming for the wicked. We must get away from them or we will be swept away. Kill your idols or you will go down with them.
A New Covenant Isaiah 49:1, 5b-8-10, 2 Corinthians 6:1-2
In chapter 49 God speaks through His Prophet Isaiah (49:1) to bring Jacob (Israel) back to Himself(49:5b), but the promise of salvation is not for Israel alone…Israel has become a new covenant for “the people” (all people). That salvation is now extended to all of mankind, and as the apostle Paul said: Now is the time of God’s favor, today is the day of salvation! If you have not yet given your life to Christ then now is your time to Kill your idols and receive the only living God!
Engraved on His palms Isaiah 49:14-16, John 3:16
When we mess up like Zion (Israel) did and fall into sin and trip into judgment, we might also say “the Lord has forsaken me”. We may find ourselves in cauldron of trouble with no peace in sight, but God has not forsaken us. God did punish Israel for their sin with a captivity that lasted 70 years but He did not forsake them. God will not forsake us. We must call out to Him!
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast?” is God’s reply. (Well… I have met some that actually have, and so God also recognizes this tragic fact) though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.
This is a prophecy of Christ’s love for mankind and His individual love for me and you. The savior has come to redeem us and not to judge us. His hands were pierced through on a cross for our forgiveness. So that we might kill our idols and live in peace with our great and glorious God!