Devotional Reading: Psalm 92:1-8
Lesson Scripture: Isaiah 12
Lesson Aims: To see how God worked/works in our lives; to accept that praise and worship to God doesn’t have to look like ours; and to always praise Him for His mighty acts!
Background: The years of prosperity and stability were over. King Uzziah (Azariah) died around 740 B.C., followed by Jotham and Ahaz in Judah, the southern kingdom. The northern kingdom (Israel) and Aram (Syria today) were in a crisis because they felt threatened by the growing strength of Assyria. They formed a coalition and pressured Ahaz to join. Isaiah cautioned the king to trust God. He also predicted Israel and Aram’s defeat. When the threat became more real, Ahaz appealed to Assyria in secret. Assyria attacked Israel and Aram, annihilating them and made Judah a vassal state. Isaiah explains that God will use Assyria as His instrument of judgment.
In the midst of pronouncing judgment, the prophet gave words of hope. In chapter 9, Judah will fall into a dark despair but unto them a child will be born. His name is Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace! He is the “Father of Eternity” (Richards’ Complete Bible Handbook). Isaiah then goes back to judgment. God was and is angry with His People for a host of sins – pride, arrogance, unjust laws, oppressive decrees, depriving the poor and making women and children widows and orphans. Sound familiar? After describing the destruction and what will happen to Assyria, Isaiah said a remnant will remain or return. God will not stamp out all of His Chosen. In chapter 11, a shoot from the stump of Jesse (the house of David) will come to bring justice. Even nature will reverence Him. In that day, God’s People will know Him and drink from the well of Salvation that never runs dry!
Lesson: Isaiah breaks into a song of praise to God for sustaining a remnant of His people through His anger. In spite of being angry, God comforts! “In that day” is synonymous with “Day of the Lord,” the millennium, and the ultimate Judgment. Several Old Testament prophets predicted the thousand year reign of the Messiah who will defeat evil forever. Individuals as well as nations who believe will sing praises unto Him who is. Isaiah praises God for giving the gift of Salvation (grace/Jesus). Those believers will recognize who He is and will adore Him! The well will never dry up nor, is it controlled by humans. Amen for that. Isaiah’s song reminds us of Moses’ in Exodus 15. God is the Holy One; He and He alone deserves praise!
Application: Who among us can look back over our lives and miss the hand of God delivering, sustaining and comforting us. Though He was/is angry with our behavior; He continues to forgive and to love. We are chained to sin and He guides us out if we would simply trust and obey. Because He’s been so so good, why not serve Him? Worship takes different forms, but it should always be sincere and humbling. We have no room to judge because we too come short. Yet, He loves, chastises and forgives. Can we not follow His lead? Words alone can not express our gratitude and joy for His Salvation. He is faithful!