Friday, December 31, 2010

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday January 2, 2011

(GOD redeems, ransoms, and releases us to fulfill HIS purpose)
(Isaiah 44)

It is for the purpose of GOD that the Christian is called. It is by the work of the HOLY SPIRIT that a person’s life is hallowed towards GOD. And, it is by the sprinkling of the blood of CHRIST JESUS that past sins are forgiven, and we can look forward to a future of obedience to GOD.
When we choose the Christian Walk, we automatically become strangers to worldly behavior. We are no longer permanent residents of this earth, but rather, we become citizens of Heaven, and therefore, the Laws of GOD become paramount to us. We have been resurrected into a new life with CHRIST and our relationship with GOD becomes our greatest asset, not the people and things of this world that we previously tended to over-cherish.
In the biblical Greek, the word used for “resurrection” is “anastasis”, and it is “a moral recovery of a spiritual truth”, and, it also means “to stand up again”. It is not until a person falls in love with goodness, that wrong things will no longer fascinate and have power over them. A right relationship with GOD allows us to recover a spiritual truth that may have been lost by previous generations of our families, because they failed to pass on the legacy of faith that had been previously passed on to them. GOD, through HIS unfailing love, mercy, and faithfulness to mankind, continues to allow each generation a new chance to recover the baton that has been dropped by those who came before us.
In Isaiah 44, after Isaiah had shown in the two previous chapters how Israel had failed as GOD’s servant, the LORD promises through HIS prophet, to restore those who are called by HIS name, those who choose to follow HIM, back into a right relationship of friendship with HIM during the millennial kingdom of CHRIST.
GOD promises to give us even a better chance this time, as HE vows to pour out HIS HOLY SPIRIT, and HIS blessings upon all those who believe in HIM, even those of future generations to come. The LORD would revive those believers, both physically and spiritually, even the Gentiles who choose to honor the name of Israel as their own (Vs. 1-5).
In verses 6-23 the uniqueness of GOD is illustrated as Isaiah shows us how illogical and ludicrously absurd idol worship really is, by contrasting it against the Almighty GOD, the CREATOR of the Heavens and the Earth. Here several titles are used by Isaiah, in addition to the title “Almighty GOD”, to emphasize GOD’s sovereignty. Those titles include “Israel’s King”, “Redeemer”, and, “The First and the Last”.
The practice of idolatry dominated the ancient world that is depicted in the Holy Scriptures, both, in the Old Testament, and, in the New Testament. Some idol worshippers were very superstitious, and they viewed their carved images as deities, even though they had made them with their own hands, from whatever scrap leftover wood, metal, or stone that may have been lying around.
Some were of a more sophisticated nature, seeing the figures that they bowed down to, only as physical representations, of spiritual beings from on high. However, idol worship, in any form, involves an explicit, blatant denial of the GOD WHO is the CREATOR of even the materials which idol worshippers use to make their worthless idol gods. In truth, GOD makes HIMSELF plain for all to see, especially through HIS Creation, and any swift or gradual slide into idolatry, amounts to little more than just another blasphemous way of saying to GOD, “We are not what YOU made us”. It is no better than the sin of “self worship” that is comprised in sexual sins such as homosexually, adultery, fornication, etc.
In Isaiah 44:21-22, we see that through it all, GOD continues to refer to us as HIS servants. HE continues to claim us as HIS OWN and says HE will continue to help us get it right. Through JESUS CHRIST, HE has swept away past sins like the morning mist, and HE has scattered our offenses against HIM, like the clouds. HE beckons us to return to HIM because, through JESUS’ vicarious sacrifice, HE has paid for our trespasses and has set us free from the dominion of death and sin. And as a bonus, in verses 25-28, GOD promises to expose all those false prophets who would mislead HIS children by way of their lies and deceitful advice, and HE will make them look like fools in front of the whole world.
However, GOD will continue to uphold the words of those whom HE has truly sent to represent HIM here on earth, and HIS commitment to do right will continue to be revealed in the salvation of sinners, as well as, in HIS judgment of sin. GOD will continue to be true to us despite of our failures, and we can see clearly in this passage from the book of Isaiah, how salvation has been moved beyond the deliverance from any present danger, and into a realm of “resurrection” at the “end of days”, or in the much anticipated, “Day of the LORD”.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

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