Category Archives: Education

Book Giveaway With KDP Select Starting Tomorrow

From my author friend Russell Sherrard:

My book “Genesis: Book of Beginnings” is FREE for 5 Days Monday, September 3 to Friday, September 7.

Genesis: Book of Beginnings

Genesis: Book of Beginnings

This book is a Bible Study of the Book of Genesis in the Holy Bible. The Bible text used for this study is the King James Version (KJV). This Book is the first book in the Series entitled Journey Through the Bible. Genesis: Book of Beginnings Book 1.

This book is a Study Guide for the Book of Genesis in the Holy Bible. The Bible text used for the study is the King James Version (KJV). It is fitting that we should start with Genesis, which is the book of Beginnings. Genesis: The Book of Beginnings is the first book in this series of Journey Through the Bible.

Genesis means “the beginning” and it is a book of beginnings. It records the creation of the world and the beginning of the nation of Israel. Chapters 12-50 focus on one man, Abraham, and his descendants. Abraham, his son Isaac and his grandson Jacob are called the patriarchs of Israel. Jacob’s twelve sons are the beginnings of the twelve tribes of Israel. Through Joseph, one of Jacob’s sons, the whole family settles in Egypt.

The word Genesis means origin or creation. Genesis, the first book of the Old Testament, is a book of beginnings. It has been said that every major doctrine has its seed or beginning in Genesis. For example, the material universe, the human race, sin, the promise of the Messiah, languages and the Hebrew nation all have their beginnings in the book of Genesis. For this reason Genesis is called the seed pot of the whole Bible. Every great fact, truth and revelation is found in this book in germ form. The book of Genesis is essential to the understanding of all the other books of the Bible.

Moses wrote the book of Genesis about 1500 years before Christ. Moses received the oracles directly from God. They were not handed down by word-of-mouth (Acts 7: 37, 38). God can just as easily tell a person the past as he can the future. The book Genesis covers a time period of nearly 2500 years, from the Creation to the journey of Israel into Egypt.

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The Beginning of the Gospel — Post by Michael J. Findley

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This is the record of the life of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Matthew 1:1

The Jews knew the Law, the Old Testament, and understood the Messiah. This introduction to the first gospel ever written, just a few years after the resurrection of the Messiah, was either a declaration of the power of God or absolute blasphemy. To the Jewish audience and non-Jews who understood Judaism, this was the clearest possible declaration that Jesus had the legal authority to be the Messiah.

Since many people have attempted to write an orderly account of the events that have transpired among us, just as they were passed down to us by those who had been eyewitnesses and servants of the word from the beginning, I, too, have carefully investigated everything from the beginning and have decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught. Luke 1:1-4

Written after Matthew, probably before Mark, and decades before John, Luke was the only gospel writer who did not personally witness the life of Jesus on earth. Luke’s gospel is based on careful investigation of eyewitnesses. This provides us a different point of view, probably a Greek point of view. Because of his Greek name, many also assume that Luke was not a Jew. Since many people attempted to write about the Messiah, we know that the Spirit of God did not see fit for most of these attempts to survive.

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Mark 1:1

Mark is the gospel to the Romans, written decades after Matthew and Luke were well known. It was intended to communicate as much information as possible to very busy people who, at least on the first read, would not spend much time with yet another religious book. However, Romans were used to multitasking and assimilating written material.

So what is this beginning of the gospel? It immediately relies on the authority of the Old Testament, “As it is written in Isaiah the Prophet…” Mark 1:2

Under Solomon, Israel controlled the eastern Mediterranean and sent trading ships far beyond any boundaries the Romans knew. They defeated a million-man army out of Egypt and Africa. Israel still existed as a nation, unlike Assyria, Persia, the Hittites, the Babylonians, and the other kingdoms of the Middle East.

Jews friendly to Rome lived throughout the Roman Empire, including in Rome. The Jewish temple of Herod was larger, covered in gold and the most magnificent building in the entire Roman Empire. The thick, tall walls combined with the water supply of the pools of Bethesda made Jerusalem more defensible than any city in the Roman Empire, including Rome. Jerusalem was also rebellious and difficult to govern. For these and many other reasons, the average Roman was very much of aware of the Jews and their prophets, even if they did not know Isaiah by name.

The Romans also believed in a recent creation by God, or gods, as described in Ovid’s Metamorphoses. The Romans believed in just laws and just administration of those laws. Though Roman beliefs were very different from taught by Moses and in the Torah, Mark believed that he could omit Creation and the Law from his gospel and go immediately to Jesus the Messiah based on the prophets and the testimony of John the Baptist.

Decades later the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke were known throughout the Roman Empire and available to anyone who was interested. John wrote the final gospel to the philosophical Greeks to combat Gnosticism. He took a very different approach, beginning with Creation and Jesus as the Creator.

In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God. And God was the Word. All things were made by Him and without Him was not anything made which was made. John 1:1,2.

Creation is where God’s revelation to the Jews begins.

In the beginning, God created the universe. Genesis 1:1

The entire universe came into existence by God speaking it into existence. God did not wave a wand, cast a spell, or use intermediates such as angels. God did not think the universe into existence. God spoke it into existence. Without creation, there is no gospel.

For by him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether they are kings, lords, rulers, or powers. All things have been created through him and for him. He himself existed before anything else did, and he holds all things together. Colossian 1:16,17

He holds everything together by his powerful word. Hebrews 1:3

“What happened to the Messiah’s promise to return? Ever since our ancestors died, everything continues as it did from the beginning of creation.” But they deliberately ignore the fact that long ago the heavens existed and the earth was formed by God’s word out of water and with water, by which the world at that time was deluged with water and destroyed. 2 Peter 3:4-6

All Scriptures are from the International Standard Version.

Image Credit: The Four Evangelists — Painting by Jacob Jordaens  1625–1630. Photo by Marie-Lan Nguyen (2005), Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

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To Glorify God — Post by Michael J. Findley

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Westminster Shorter Catechism: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.”

Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:14

Let your light shine before people in such a way that they will see your good actions and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16

Every believer I know agrees that every thought and action should glorify God; many with a shrug. because it should go without saying. But many who call themselves believers simply are not living this way.

However, when the woman saw that the tree produced good food, was attractive in appearance, and was desirable for making one wise, she took of its fruit and ate it. Then she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate some, too. As a result, they both understood what they had done, and they became aware that they were naked. Genesis 3:6,7

“If you think it’s the wrong thing for you to serve the Lord [Wrong; certainly not. Inconvenient at times. It’s just that serving the Lord isn’t always the thing I want to do.], then choose for yourselves today whom you will serve—the gods whom your ancestors served on the other side of the Euphrates River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose territories you are living. (Certainly not. My gods were only invented a few years ago.) But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15

There will be suffering and anguish for every human being who practices doing evil, for Jews first and for Greeks as well. But there will be glory, honor, and peace for everyone who practices doing good. Romans 2:9,10

Who are you to tell me that doing what I enjoy is evil?

I therefore urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercies, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices that are holy and pleasing to God, for this is the reasonable way for you to worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but continuously be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you may be able to determine what God’s will is—what is proper, pleasing, and perfect. Romans 12:1,2

To the messenger of the church in Laodicea, write:
‘The Amen, the witness who is faithful and true, the originator of God’s creation, says this:

‘I know your actions, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were cold or hot. Since you are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold, I am going to spit you out of my mouth. You say, “I am rich. I have become wealthy. I don’t need anything.” Yet you don’t realize that you are miserable, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked. Therefore, I advise you to buy from me gold purified in fire so you may be rich, white clothes to wear so your shameful nakedness won’t show, and ointment to put on your eyes so you may see. I correct and discipline those whom I love, so be serious and repent! Look! I am standing at the door and knocking. If anyone listens to my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he will eat with me. I will give a place to sit with me on my throne to the one who overcomes, just as I have overcome and have sat down with my Father on his throne. Revelation 3:14-21

All Scriptures are from the International Standard Version (ISV)

Public domain image from a painting by  John Rogers Herbert

 

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What Is Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World? — Post by Michael J. Findley

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Aldous Huxley called his Brave New World, “The nightmare of total organization …” As one of the most widely read books written in the 20th century, many people, like myself, read it as an English requirement without spending much time thinking about it.

“The nightmare of total organization, which I had situated in the seventh century After Ford, has emerged from the safe remote future and is now awaiting us, just around the next corner.” Brave New World Revisited 1958 (Aldous Huxley, about Brave New World, 1932)

When Aldous Huxley contrasted his fantasy world with Orwell’s 1984, he believed that his fantasy world, Brave New World, was more likely to become reality.

“The society described in 1984 is a society controlled almost exclusively by punishment and the fear of punishment. In the imaginary world of my own fable, punishment is infrequent and generally mild. The nearly perfect control exercised by the government is achieved by systematic reinforcement of desirable behavior, by many kinds of nearly non-violent manipulation, both physical and psychological, and by genetic standardization.” Brave New World Revisited 1958 Aldous Huxley

“We who were living in the second quarter of the twentieth century A.D. were the inhabitants, admittedly, of a gruesome kind of universe; but the nightmare of those depression years was radically different from the nightmare of the future, described in Brave New World. Ours was a nightmare of too little order; theirs, in the seventh century A.F. [After Ford], of too much. In the process of passing from one extreme to the other, there would be a long interval, so I imagined, during which the more fortunate third of the human race would make the best of both worlds – the disorderly world of liberalism and much too orderly Brave New World where perfect efficiency left no room for freedom or personal initiative.” Brave New World Revisited 1958 Aldous Huxley

Both 1984 and Brave New World are fantasies of total government control. Only the methods are different. The question Aldous Huxley raised is “Which method is more effective: fear of punishment or desire for acceptance and reward?” “In the light of what we have recently learned about animal behavior in general, and human behavior in particular, it has become clear that control through the punishment of undesirable behavior is less effective, in the long run, than control through the reinforcement of desirable behavior by rewards, and that government through terror works on the whole less well than government through the non-violent manipulation of the environment and of the thoughts and feelings of individual men, women and children.

“Punishment temporarily puts a stop to undesirable behavior, but does not permanently reduce the victim’s tendency to indulge in it. Moreover, psycho-physical by-products of punishment may be just as undesirable as the behavior for which the individual has been punished. Psychotherapy is largely concerned with the debilitating or anti-social consequences of past punishments.” Brave New World Revisited 1958 Aldous Huxley

I, and many others, am not too certain that Brave New World Revisited is not an entirely accurate view of the fantasy nightmare published in 1932. Brave New World ends with John, also called the Savage, hanging himself. John certainly viewed that civilization as an inescapable nightmare. The very terminology of Brave New World is the language of a nightmare. Yet if Aldous Huxley did not believe these principles to be good and desirable, he seems to at least believe that they were inevitable. “…impersonal forces over which we have almost no control seem to be pushing us all in the direction of the Brave New Worldian nightmare; and this impersonal pushing is being consciously accelerated by representatives of commercial and political organizations who have developed a number of new techniques for manipulation, in the interest of some minority, the thoughts and feelings of the masses.” Brave New World Revisited

It certainly shows a lack of understanding to deny the influence of evil spirits. It seems odd, even hypocritical, that Huxley believed representatives of organizations are impersonal.  Yet the justifications for total organization spoken by Mustapha Mond, Resident World Controller of Western Europe [one of ten throughout the world], when talking to John, Bernard, and Helmholz in a private meeting to banish Bernard and Helmholz, seem to represent what Aldous Huxley believed in 1931. “Because our world is not the same as Othello’s world. You can’t make flivvers without steel—and you can’t make tragedies without social instability. The world’s stable now. People are happy; they get what they want, and they never want what they can’t get. They’re well off; they’re safe; they’re never ill; they’re not afraid of death; they’re blissfully ignorant of passion and old age; they’re plagued with no mothers or fathers; they’ve got no wives, or children, or lovers to feel strongly about; they’re so conditioned that they practically can’t help behaving as they ought to behave. And if anything should go wrong, there’s soma.” Mustapha Mond Brave New World p. 245

This view, expressed by World Controller Mustoapha Mond, is very similar to the written goals of Secular Humanism. They believe it to be a good goal. Plato’s Republic uses very similar, though not identical, goals for his ideal government. It is similar to the stated goals of the French Revolution, Karl Marx, and even Fascism. All of these found that the reinforcement of desirable behavior through rewards failed to control enough people and turned to force as in the 1984 fantasy. These governments believed in control first and foremost. While reinforcement of desirable behavior was preferred, control was essential and whatever methods were necessary were used. This was historic reality.

Aldous Huxley believed that the tools to manipulate desirable behavior would be improved and become more pervasive. However, even in the total fantasy of fiction, Mustapha Mond had to lie, perhaps even deceiving himself to make his case. The phrase (sentence actually), “they’re not afraid of death” is a lie. It might be that citizens of the Brave New World are too busy and too conditioned to face or even think about death. But the death of John’s mother Linda shows death when they actually faced it. She returned to civilization after living for decades on an Indian Reservation in New Mexico.

“At forty-four, Linda seemed, by contrast, a monster of flaccid and distorted senility.” p 223 She choose to escape reality and live entirely in a drug (soma) induced wonderland until her death shortly after her return.””Every one belongs to every …” Her voice suddenly died into an almost inaudible breathless croaking. Her mouth fell open: she made a desperate effort to fill her lungs with air. But it was as though she had forgotten how to breathe. She tried to cry out-but no sound came; only the terror of her staring eyes revealed what she was suffering. Her hands went to her throat, then clawed at the air–the air she could no longer breathe, the air that, for her, had ceased to exist.

“The Savage [her adult son John] was on his feet, bent over her. “What is it, Linda? What is it?” His voice was imploring; it was as though he were begging to be reassured. “The look she gave him was charged with an unspeakable terror—with terror and, it seemed to him, reproach.  “She tried to raise herself in bed, but fell back on to the pillows. Her face was horribly distorted, her lips blue.” pp. 227,8

They were conditioned to believe that death ended everything. Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die. The individual existed solely to support the community. Solitude and independent thinking were heretical. It was a society with no moral purpose or even reason for existing.  Any attempt to obey any form of tradition outside of society’s conditioning was wrong and produced a guilty conscience. Huxley uses the third person omnipotent point of view to explain this.

“In the taxicopter he [John] hardly even looked at her [Lenina]. Bound by strong vows that had never been pronounced, obedient to laws that had long since ceased to run, [marriage and chastity] he sat averted and in silence. Sometimes, as though a finger had plucked at some taut, almost breaking string, his whole body would shake with a sudden nervous start.” p. 186Mustapha Mond shows that this moral vacuum is the result of rigidly enforced choices.

“”The author’s mathematical treatment of the conception of purpose is novel and highly ingenious, but heretical and, so far as the present social order is concerned, dangerous and potentially subversive. Not to be published.” He [Mustapha Mond—Resident World Controller of Western Europe; 1 of 10 world controllers] underlined the words. “The author will be kept under supervision. His transference to the Marine Biological station of St. Helena may become necessary.”

“”A pity, he thought, as he signed his name. It was a masterly piece of work. But once you began admitting explanations in terms of purpose-well, you didn’t know what the result might be. It was the sort of idea that might easily decondition the more unsettled minds among the higher casts-make them lose their faith in happiness as the Sovereign Good and take to believing, instead, that the goal was somewhere beyond, somewhere outside the present human sphere, that the purpose of life was not the maintenance of well-being, but some intensification and refining of consciousness, some enlargement of of knowledge. Which was, the Controller reflected, quite possibly true. But not, in the present circumstance, admissible.

“He picked up his pen again, and under the words “Not to be published” drew a second line, thicker and blacker than the first; then sighed. “What fun it would be,” he thought, “if one didn’t have to think about happiness!”” p.195

The fantasy nightmare Brave New World government exists solely to produce happiness. This happiness can only be brought about by conformity “”Actual happiness always looks pretty squalid in comparison with the over-compensations for misery. And, of course, stability isn’t nearly so spectacular as instability. And being contented has none of the glamour of a good fight against misfortune, one of the picturesqueness of a struggle with temptation, or a fatal overthrown by passion of doubt. Happiness is never grand.”” [Mustapha Mond]  p. 246

Like the very real European Dark Ages, the greatest crime is novelty, something new. The established religion of government declares itself to be infallible. “Every change is a menace to stability. That’s another reason why we’re so chary of applying new inventions. Every discovery in pure science is potentially subversive; even science must sometimes be treated as a possible enemy. Yes, even science.” [Mustapha Mond]   p. 250

“Yes,” Mustapha Mond was saying, “that’s another item in the cost of stability. It isn’t only art that’s incompatible with happiness; it’s also science. Science is dangerous; we have to keep it most carefully chained and muzzled.” p. 250

Is this so different from today? Today, people today also claim to believe in science. “”Yes; but what sort of science?” asked Mustapha Mond sarcastically. “You’ve had no scientific training, so you can’t judge. I was a pretty good physicist in my time. Too good-good enough to realize that all our science is just a cookery book, with an orthodox theory of cooking that nobody’s allowed to question, and a list of recipes that mustn’t be added to except by special permission from the head cook. I’m the head cook now.”” p. 251

“Helmholtz laughed. “Then why aren’t you on an island yourself?” “Because, finally, I preferred this,” the Contoller answered. “I was given the choice: to be sent to an island, where I could have got on with my purer science, or to be taken on to the Controllers’ Council with the prospect of succeeding in due course to an actual Controllership. I chose this and let the science go.” After a little silence, “Sometimes,” he added, “I rather regret the science. Happiness is a hard master-particularly other people’s happiness. A much harder master, if one isn’t conditioned to accept it unquestioningly, than truth.” He sighed, fell silent again, then continued in a brisker tone, “Well, duty’s duty. One can’t consult one’s own preference. I’m interested in truth, I like science. But truth’s a menace, science is a public danger. As dangerous as it’s been beneficent. It has given us the stablest equilibrium in history…” p.253 Brave New World, written 1931, published 1932

This mythical “stable equilibrium” has never existed and never will exist without God. Aldous Huxley observed the advances the ruling elite have made. “why has the nightmare, which I had projected into the seventh century A.F., made so swift an advance in our direction?” Brave New World Revisited 1958 Aldous Huxley

For those who deny God and claim that His purposes cannot be known, the warnings of Brave New World are the best they can do. They understand the results of certain forms of evil. They understand that this vision of the future is a nightmare. But without God, their solutions are only other nightmares of various forms. Without God, there are many other possible nightmare scenarios besides a totalitarian 1984 verses a manipulative Brave New World.

“But as it is written, No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love him.” (I Corinthians 2:9 quoting Isaiah 64:6 ISV)

“You cause me to know the path of life; in your presence is joyful abundance, at your right hand there are pleasures forever.” (Psalm 116:11 ISV)

“And since I’m going away to prepare a place for you, I’ll come back again and welcome you into my presence, so that you may be where I am.” (John 14:3 ISV)

“Dear friends, we are now God’s children, but what we will be like has not been revealed yet. We know that when the Messiah is revealed, we will be like him, because we will see him as he is.” (1 John 3:2 ISV)

“For everything that is in the world–the desire for fleshly gratification, the desire for possessions, and worldly arrogance–is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world and its desires are fading away, but the person who does God’s will remains forever.” (1 John 2:16, 17)

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Isaiah Chapter 3: Culture of Youth and Beauty — Post by Mary C. Findley

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Sounds like Jerusalem and Judah had it pretty good, right? Look over that list of material provision (support system, food, water) and leadership (military, judiciary, teachers, advisers, craftsmen, and someone who may have been a charismatic speaker or influencer). The use of the phrase skillful enchanter gives us a hint that they weren’t sourcing any of their things or their leaders from the right place.

We worship a culture of youth and have for a long time, and here God gives people what they want, youngsters in charge, with disastrous results. People begin to take advantage of each other and the honorable suffer at the hands of these childish rulers. One guy with an intact coat will be grabbed and thrust into leadership, if anybody can make him do it. Apparently nobody will have much more than a coat in those days. Certainly not a will to give proper leadership.

Verses 8 and 9 make it clear that the people oppose God and flaunt their rebellion. When disaster comes, they can’t pretend it wasn’t their own fault. Public sins have public consequences.

Time to reassure the righteous in verse 10. No matter how bad things seem to get, it will go well with them. And in verse 11 another reassurance we often need when, as the Scriptures say in other places, this question hangs in the air: “Why do the wicked prosper?” God says things will turn bad for the wicked. “Let the punishment fit the crime,” Gilbert and Sullivan’s Mikado says. God says the wicked will get what they deserve.

Once again God restates in verse 12 that His people are oppressed because they wanted unsuitable rulers – immature, inexperienced, leading the people down twisting paths.
God will judge these rulers. Make no mistake. I’m pretty sure those crushing and grinding references refer at least in part to taxes. People tend to think that government takes care of the poor with welfare and social services. But it doesn’t work that way when corruption takes hold. God is outraged at the twisted mentality that steals from people who already have too little.

Verses 16-24 detail a culture that should be very recognizable to us today. Is it a sin to want to be beautiful and have pretty things? Look at the words used: proud, seductive. Women can bring down a whole culture by worshiping self, sexuality, beauty. Dressing little girls in revealing outfits is starting them down the road to sensuality without reserve. Females scream about their rights and their freedoms Modesty has become kind of an obsolete term but God hates that mentality.

God will send scabs into that beautiful hair. He will make it fall out, or pluck it out. All that long list of pretty things will disappear and be replaced by stench, coarseness, and disfigurement.

The men they have gotten themselves dressed up for will be dying in battle, trying to save their women, but failing. All that emphasis on self, on attracting attention, will change to mourning and loneliness.

Questions for Further Study, Discussion, or Thought
1. What clues indicate that God’s people were prosperous but not by depending on Him?
2. Briefly explain what kinds of oppression take place when the wrong kind of rulers get into power.
3. What are some proofs that these people deserve what they get when destruction overtakes them?
4. Give examples in modern culture of women lacking understanding of modesty.
5. Do you think women have in some cases made it more difficult for men to protect them? Explain your answer.

Your Turn in the Microcosm
Can you see any way in which Isaiah 3 resembles Leviticus? God spelled out laws, described beautiful garments, and even gave proper age ranges for his different kinds of servants. The story of Nadab and Abihu might help provide an example that parallels how people sometimes respond to God’s expectations. There are rewards and punishments in Leviticus. Step into the microcosm and share your observations on how we should really be seeking God’s blessing or avoiding His wrath.

Image Credit: Artist August Riedel Title: Judith Current location: Neue Pinakothek Source/Photographer: Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen Wikimedia Commons

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Isaiah Chapter Two — Post by Mary C. Findley

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What are “the last days?” According to many Bible teachers, they are the time when the Lord has returned to govern the earth. Some people think they want to go to Heaven and be with God forever. Some think we never actually go there, but will live forever on earth. The beginning of this chapter seems to indicate that God will establish a place of worship on earth, in the New Jerusalem.

Whatever and wherever this place is, I want to be there.

And all the nations will stream to it. And many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, To the house of the God of Jacob; That He may teach us concerning His ways And that we may walk in His paths.”
(Isaiah 2:3)

What would it be like to just have everyone want to go to God’s house and learn God’s ways? Right now we do everything we can to wriggle out of it. Commentator Matt Walsh said we are insane in America, trying to find reasons why going to church isn’t really a thing anymore when people in other parts of the world are dying to be able to go to church.

Not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near (Hebrews 10:25)

When the Lord is the judge of all the world, there will be peace. Weapons become farm implements. Whoever says they are working for world peace and isn’t willing for God to be in charge is deceived or a deceiver. So many people know that verse about the plows and the swords but so few want that dominion to come. Submission to God means we lose our freedom, right? (I speak as a fool.)

Verse 6 says God abandoned His people? What? No! God never does that, does He? Well, if He did, why would He do it? Verses 6-9 explain that there seems to have been so much stuff in the land that there wasn’t any room for God. There are those influences of the east again, like we brought up in the last chapter. Mystical things and just plain things have crowded God out. Every class of people found itself devolving, losing touch with spiritual reality, forcing God out. And so, He went, because He wasn’t wanted.
He’s coming back, though, whenever “in that day” is, to humble mankind out of those feeling that they are on top of the world. Hide under the dust and rocks, people. Only the Lord should be on top of the world. This day of reckoning is when God says, “No more. No more idols, no more stuff, everybody down on the ground. Hide if you can …” but you can’t.

Terror and splendor don’t usually go together. But they look good on God. At least, they would, if we could look at Him. People will be too busy trying to survive, to hide, to toss away those objects of worship. Did Adam and Eve eat that whole fruit they took and shared? Or did they toss it, dig a hole and bury it, try in some way to hide it?
Some people hunt for buried treasure. Looking at the passage where it describes the mountains of riches these people accumulated, and their idols of silver and gold, I wonder how much buried treasure there will be when the Lord rises to make the earth tremble. (v. 19) No one will go hunt for it though.

The key to what people are really putting ahead of God is in verse 22. “Stop regarding man, whose breath of life is in his nostrils; For why should he be esteemed?” People don’t really worship those false gods or those things. They worship themselves. Until they accept God’s humbling, they will never understand how terror and splendor can bring salvation.

Questions for Further Study, Discussion, or Thought
Briefly comment on what you think “the last days” means. Use two or three Scriptures as support.
What are reasons people give to justify not going to church? Are there any legitimate ones?
Why would God abandon His people?
What is man really worshiping instead of God? What is necessary for that to stop?
Your Turn in the Microcosm
Does Isaiah 2 in any way echo the message of the Book of Exodus? Does it show people insisting that they want to follow God? Any incidences of people seeing God’s clear provision and commands but shoving off in the other direction? Please share your thoughts on these parallels you find on your trip into the Isaiah Microcosm.

This is part 2 in an occasional series for a future book I am calling “The Isaiah Microcosm” Please let me know your thoughts on these posts, and how you would answer the questions at the end.

Image Credit: Composite of sunrise image by Paulbr75 and crowd scene by puzzleboxrecords on Pixabay Public Domain

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A “To God” List

Here’s a video version of this post.

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Yesterday in our Sunday school class we were talking about the true meaning of the Sabbath. Some people believe the Sabbath is obsolete because it was part of the law. But Jesus kept the Sabbath, and never said we shouldn’t. He often said, however, that the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. He also said the Jewish leaders burdened people with wrong ideas about the Sabbath. They condemned Jesus for healing on the Sabbath, but He quite rightly pointed out that they would not hesitate to water and feed their livestock or pull them out of pits on the Sabbath. To these Jewish leaders, their Sabbath rules were a means to control people.

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Sometimes we think God is trying to control us. Many people say that is why they reject Jesus Christ and salvation, because they see it as a loss of freedom. They will be burdened with a heavy list of rules to follow, a life filled with “don’ts” that will make them miserable.

I want to share the whole 58th chapter of Isaiah because it is so fantastic on the subject of real reasons to do real things for God. But I’ll just share verses 13 and 14 and stick with the Sabbath discussion. God had a very different view of the Sabbath from the Pharisees and Sadducees, I think.

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“If because of the Sabbath, you turn your foot from doing your own pleasure on My holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy day of the Lord honorable, and honor it, desisting from your own ways, from seeking your own pleasure and speaking your own word, then you will take delight in the Lord, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; and I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” (NASB)

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Yes, we have to turn away from our own pleasure. But look! We can call the Sabbath a delight. People are fond of “name it, claim it” theology and visualization. This is a place where it works. Call the Sabbath a delight and it will be. You will also get to take delight in the Lord. Imagine how it would feel to “ride on the heights!”

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What is the heritage of Jacob? Maybe he’s not our father, if we are not literal children of Israel, but God gave Jacob, who was a most imperfect man, as are we all, huge blessings. Salvation is by grace, and was even for Jacob, and salvation puts us into God’s family. In Christ we can claim God’s blessings. God wants to feed us, and send us soaring like that daddy who swings his little one up in the air and makes him scream with joy.

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So instead of grumbling about all God is going to make us do, why don’t we make a change in our thinking? That’s all God really wanted us to do, with all the laws and regulations and commandments. Love God, love your neighbor. Jesus said these fulfill the commandments. It’s not a burden. It’s a delight.

Some people make “To Do” lists. What if we made a “To God” list, committing our day to God and seeking just to delight in Him, to honor Him, and see if we can’t get that ride to the height, and that feeding from His bounty?

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What would your “To God” list look like? We’d love to have you share it with us.

All images Public Domain from Pixabay

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Filed under Bible Teaching, Education, Everyday observations