Friday, December 10, 2010

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday December 12, 2010

(GOD forever dwells with HIS people)
(Isaiah 41)

One of the more frequent images in Old Testament literature is that of a courtroom scene, or trial, whereby the LORD, is not only the injured party, but HE is also the prosecutor and the judge. In Isaiah chapter 40, we found the prophet Isaiah speaking for the LORD, in regards to HIS holy intentions toward the Israelites, however, here in chapter 41, we find GOD speaking for HIMSELF. This divine depiction of a courtroom trial is brilliantly used by GOD to present HIS case against HIS beloved Israelites, who had by now, reduced their behavior before HIM, down to the level of the pagans. It is a setting staged for the announcement of a divine sentence of judgment against the evildoers of Judah.
Here in chapter 41, verses 2-3, GOD pre-announces the emergence of the great Persian king, Cyrus, whom HE would later use to overthrow King Nebuchadnezzar and his Babylonian Empire, after HE has used them, to destroy Jerusalem and take Judah into a 70-year captivity in Babylon. However, these coming events are not to spell the end of the people that GOD calls HIS OWN. Tomorrow’s wars can hold no terror for those who choose GOD. Eventually, all of Israel’s enemies will be put down, and her needs met, for that is the eternal promise from GOD, that is backed by all the honor of HIS name (Psalm 138:2b).
We can see that promise of hope quite vividly here in 41:8, as GOD continues to refer to Israel as “MY servant”. Here, the term “servant” underscores two things; “divine choice”, and “fulfillment of a divinely ordained task”. Even though Israel has always been GOD’s servant, she has also, always fallen miserably short of completing her assigned mission. And as Isaiah will reveal in the following chapter (Isaiah 42:1-7), GOD would eventually send another servant, HIS only begotten SON, JESUS CHRIST, and as we all know now, JESUS would successfully complete the mission that GOD gave HIM to do. HE would redeem all mankind, not just Israel, back into a personal relationship of friendship with GOD, if they choose to accept and be a part of HIS Kingdom, through JESUS the REDEEMER.
This passage serves to show us that GOD will not discard us when we fail, but rather, HE will remain committed to us in love, despite our failures. HE will help us to dig our way out of the seemingly hopeless situations that we find ourselves in, because of the poor choices that we make, trying to find physical answers to spiritual problems. GOD is committed to strengthening HIS people, and, as a result, we can take solace in the fact that the awesome power of GOD will always be available to us, through CHRIST JESUS.
Throughout this passage, GOD speaks comforting words that go a long ways toward allaying the fears of HIS people, and thereby, building up their faith so that they can earnestly rely on HIM for all of their needs.
In verse 26, the term “in the beginning”, in the King James Version of scripture, stresses the purposeful aspects of Creation, as they unfold through the process of time. However, GOD did not set the world as if HE was setting time on a “windup watch”, and then, sit back and wait on it to wind down. From the beginning, HE had a plan and a purpose that must be carried out by every person, down through the annals of time, and, it all must work out, according to HIS divine and eternal design.
GOD is the writer, producer, and director of the story of our lives, and HE knows exactly, how, and when the drama will end. And, inherently, the enigmas of life will become less baffling, when we come to rest in the thought, that this life is not the final act of the human drama. GOD will never forsake us, nor will HE abandon us to the grave (Psalm 16:10-11), and not one of our modern-day idols (people, money, houses, cars, etc) can make us that promise.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

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