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Lowell Brueckner
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Only God Foretells the Future

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38. An expository study of Isaiah, chapter 41

We have read of Assyria and its king recently in the book of Isaiah. Not only is there prophecy concerning this empire, but we have learned some of its history, particularly that which relates to its invasion of Judah. Isaiah foresaw the Babylonian Empire and he spoke of the satanic influence upon it.

A message to the nations

In this chapter, Isaiah begins to prophesy concerning Cyrus of Persia and we will learn much of him in the following chapters. He becomes a prominent figure, who is even named by Isaiah in 44:28 and 45:1, long before his birth (see also 41:2, 25; 45:13; 46:11). In the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, he has much to do with the return of the Jews to their land and the rebuilding of their temple.  

Divine Attributes and Power

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37. An expository study of Isaiah, chapter 40

Comfort, comfort my people

“Comfort, comfort my people, says your God” (v.1). This chapter is one of the great treasures of Isaiah and ranks among the highest portions of Scripture. It is a wonderful word from God for His flock. His intentions are always good towards them and His longing is for them to feel comfort and security under His care. He instructs His messengers to give comfort.

He chastens, as a good father always must, and He said in his covenant with David, concerning his offspring, “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul…” (2 S.7:14-15). The destiny of Saul should never be used to frighten the Lord’s sheep into obedience and subjection. The end of David’s line was not to be compared with Saul’s. “Speak tenderly to Jerusalem…” Conflict was one of the ways, in which God frequently disciplined, but now Jerusalem is assured that the war had ended and the punishment was more than sufficient (v.2).

Hezekiah’s Illness and Error

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36. An expository study of Isaiah, chapters 38 and 39

Chapter 38

Please open your Bible to Isaiah 38, so that you can follow the text, as I try to comment on it. We run into a difficulty in this chapter, but it only serves to teach us the ways of God. It is our purpose in the study of Scriptures, not to look for support for pet doctrines, but to open our hearts to learn the character of God and His dealings with mankind.

When we contemplate the sovereignty of God, we must take the relationship between God and man into account. Abraham was His friend and He spoke and communed with him.  This is a most wonderful thing in God’s personality: “The Lord said, ‘Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do’” (Ge.18:17). God was also very intimate with Moses and spoke with him, “face to face, as a man speaks to his friend” (Ex.33:11). I have always been amazed at the following passage, when God intended to destroy the Israelites, after they made a golden calf to worship. He exclaimed to Moses, Let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against your people” (Ex.32:10). Moses actually detained the hand of the Almighty.

There are multiple times in the Bible, when we see the Lord withholding judgment, which He had declared upon people. The case of Jonah, prophesying destruction to the people of Nineveh, is a classic example, when the grace and mercy of God entered into the picture. Here is another interesting prophecy from the life of Paul, in which the disciples in Tyre prophesied: “Through the Spirit they were telling Paul not to go on to Jerusalem” (Ac.21:4). Agabus also prophesied concerning this in Caesaria, and all the Christians tried to persuade him not to go on, but finally resigned to “let the will of the Lord be done” (21:14). We must conclude that, in the end in every case, the sovereign, unchangeable will of God is done.

A Mighty Move of God

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34. An expository study of Isaiah, chapter 37

Judah humbles itself before God

Judah alone remains unconquered in the Assyrian Empire...
"She despises you, she scorns you - the
virgin daughter of Zion."
The attitude of the people that we will see in this chapter is sweet in God’s mouth and precious in His eyes. It was partly because there were mani-festations of humility like this in the temple of the Old Testament that Christ was incited against the practices that took place there in His day. It came to a point, when with divine authority and anger, He twisted reeds together and stormed into the temple, declaring that His Father’s house was to be known as a house of prayer (Jn.2:14-16; Mk.11:17).

The situation demanded drastic action. I certainly understand the leaders, who are giving examples of dramatic conversions and motivating us to focus on the present need and put our time and exert our efforts in bringing individuals in from the paths of sin. However, I cannot concur with them, if they emphasize that point to the exclusion of interest in classical revival. They tend to classify the people who are looking and praying for revival as impractical and unrealistic dreamers. Would they, please, reassess that position? I assure you that right now individual results are not enough and that revival is the only cure for the Western world, especially America.  

Eight Tactics of the Enemy

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33. An expository study of Isaiah, chapter 36

The Assyrian Empire

The prism of Sennacherib
I have been looking forward to this chapter and the three that follow, in which Isaiah relates some current events of his time. He has been prophesying of the Assyrian invasion into various countries in the Middle East and has shown that cities in Judah itself would not be spared, He has said that the citizens of Jerusalem would be greatly shaken and ambassadors would fail in their negotiations with the Assyrian authorities.

Assyrian inscriptions, which are found in museums around the world, tell of Sennacherib and his conquests, stating that he lived some 20 years after this invasion. Many inscriptions have been translated and published in various books during the latter part of the 20th Century. Assyria is an ancient nation, but the Assyrian Empire, so entwined with Israel’s history, rose and expanded somewhere near 900 B.C. and fell near 600 B.C. The siege of Jerusalem, of which we now read, occurred very close to 700 B.C.

Under the reign of good King Hezekiah there are signs of repentance and spiritual revival in Jerusalem. In 33:2 we see the people looking to their God and waiting upon Him for deliverance. As we approach the end of Old Testament history and observe the national decay, first of Israel and then of Judah, we have before us a reprieve, a time for encouragement. However, it is also a time of crisis and great trouble, through which the people turn to the Lord. This has been the case in church history and proves that the people of God have been at their best when under attack.