CSBC Sunday School: Isaiah
Lesson #5: Isaiah 25:1-10a
October 4, 2020
Resources: Phillips; Hearson; MacArthur; McCrary, B. Jennings, Explore the Bible
HOOK: (Why should we listen to this lesson?)
Central Theme: GOD SAVES!
Objective Statement: EVERY CHRISTIAN CAN KNOW THAT GOD SAVES FOR THOSE WHO BELIEVE IN HIM BY TWO CONFIRMING PRINCIPLES!
Points: PRINCIPLE #1 – SINGING PRAISE! PRINCIPLE #2 – FEASTING TOGETHER!
- FOCUS ATTENTION: We usually admire people who have a plan and implement that plan. Almost always that kind of planning and strategy results in success. Well, the Bible teaches us that God has a plan. His plan includes redeeming creation and assembling a people out of every nation. Every people group will be represented when God prepares His inaugural feast, and everyone in attendance will be there because of their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Salvation is by faith alone in Jesus alone. Isaiah emphasized this truth as he anticipated the destruction of death and the celebration of the Lord’s salvation before His throne.
- CONTEXT: Commentators often call chapters 24-27 of Isaiah the “little apocalypse.” The term “apocalypse” comes from a Greek word that means “to reveal” or “revelation.” It is the same word that gives the last book of the Bible its name (Revelation). Apocalyptic literature is a specific type of writing – one that usually includes fantastic elements such as the darkening of the sun, falling of the stars from the heavens, angels, shaking mountains, and strange, symbolic beasts. More generally speaking, apocalyptic writings depict God’s breaking into His creation in a way that results in massive upheaval. CAN YOU NAME SOME OF THE BOOKS OF THE BIBLE THAT CONTAIN THIS TYPE OF WRITING? Allow for comments such as The Book of Revelation, portions of Zechariah, Daniel, Ezekiel, and here in Isaiah 24-27. In fact, Revelation refers back to specific passages of Isaiah and Zechariah in its narration. Following the chapters of Isaiah that have cataloged the judgment of God upon the nations ( 13-23), suddenly Isaiah places these verses of apocalyptic literature. These chapters (24-27), speak to the sovereignty of God over the whole created order. It also reveals to us that God is not a respecter of persons (as He will judge the common laborer, the priests, and the leaders). Chapter 24 depicts a level of destruction by God that is aimed at judgment upon an ungodly world. Then Chapter 25 depicts a praise service for our victorious God. As we will see in our lesson today, God is to be praised because of His awesome ability to redeem His creation and His people. In Ch. 26-27, Isaiah casts an image of a judgment of the wicked and a reward for the righteous, as they are dealt with according to the justice and faithfulness of God. The wicked will be destroyed and the faithful will be redeemed. God’s promise of restoration to His chosen people back into their land (Ch. 27), reveals His plan to bring them out of exile with a purpose that gives them hope and leads the faithful to sing praises to their God. We find some of those praises in our text today.
- Let’s Explore the Bible in Isaiah 25:1-10.
BOOK: (What does the Bible say?)
PRINCIPLE #1 – SINGING PRAISE! (Isaiah 25:1-5)
- Isaiah 25 should be understood as a song of praise. Although it sounds like the song of an individual, it is probably best understood as the faithful remnant who will be saved through God’s judgment of the world. In verse 1 it begins, “O Lord, thou art my God” which is both a general statement of thankfulness and a renewed commitment to the Jewish covenant. The covenantal formula God issued in Exodus is “I will be your God and you will be my people” ( 67; 29:45-46). Thus the people were praising God in a time-honored way that was also deeply personal. Their thankfulness to God for His deliverance leaps from the page. The phrase “I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name” (vs. 1b), may sound familiar to us from reading Scripture, but it is not a normal expression in English. In the Bible and in the Ancient Near East in general, a ruler or deity could lay claim to people or property by metaphorically (and sometimes literally) placing his name on them. The name was representative of the king or deity’s presence. A king could place his name on a place or building, and it was understood that it belonged to him. (For example, Pharaoh Raamses II of Egypt, went all around Egypt and defaced monuments by scratching off the name of the true monarch and adding his name. He claimed ownership of many items by putting his own name on them and destroying the history of the true founder of the monument, as he did it). Here, the remnant sang praise to God and His name, thereby acknowledging that they belonged to Him. Being His possession gave them great joy. The “wonderful things” of God that Isaiah forecast were planned “of old” and carried out in “faithfulness and truth” (vs. 1c). In other words, the things that were happening to Isaiah’s audience were not catching God by surprise. While His plans might have seemed new and even startling to Isaiah’s audience, events were unfolding in the way God had planned. The singer praised God that he and the remnant could rest in the fact that God is, has always been, and will always be in control. Their faith in Him was not misplaced; He is faithful to His plans and commitments. How wonderful to have a God who does not change.
- In 2-3, the wonders that God would do were the destruction of the “city” and reduction of the “defenced city” to “a ruin” (more specifically, formlessness). Commentators tend to agree that these cities represented the various nations rather than referring to specific cities of the Ancient Near East. They were symbols of human pride and humanity’s false belief that it could build something lasting and indestructible without God. This interpretation is reinforced by the next statement that “a palace of strangers to be no city” (vs. 2b). Here, ‘strangers’ are all those who resist God and seek to establish their own name in the world. Much like Cain’s city (Gen. 4:17), their works would be swept away from the face of the earth. The word “Therefore” points to the fact that “strong people” will “glorify” God because of His overthrow of the barbarians’ fortified cities. Even “the terrible nations shall fear” God when they see His power to overthrow them. Throughout history, powerful militaries have been held at bay because of the overwhelming, deterrent, power of an even greater, super-power. According to Isaiah, one day all world powers will come to acknowledge and worship God through the experience of His power over them. We can have hope that one day our faith in God’s power will be justified. This hope should encourage us to persevere and be faithful even in the face of oppression and struggle.
- While God brings destruction on the prideful, He is also “a strength to the poor” and “the needy” ( 4). Here, the poor and the needy refer to those who suffered under the oppression of the violent city builders in verse 3. The poor and the needy were often victimized by the powerful and used as slave labor. But God will be their protector. All people are equally created in the image of God and God’s Word regularly warns believers we should be concerned for the poor and needy (Ex. 22:21-27; Lev. 19:33; Deut. 10:18-19; Matt. 19:21; Luke 4:18; Gal. 2:10; Jas. 2:5). God always reminded Israel that there was a time they were the ones that were poor and oppressed. WHAT SITUATION HAPPENED WHEN ISRAEL WAS IN BONDAGE? God brings to their memories their 400 yr. bondage in Egypt. Since they knew the abuse of being subjugated, they were to be conscientious about their treatment of others in their own land who were deprived. Ultimately, though, God would be the strength for the poor – one that would never be destroyed. Isaiah reveals God as the protector of the less fortunate by using weather imagery. God is “a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat,” protecting the poor from the aggressive and “terrible” oppressors who got ahead by dominating others. He is like “the shadow of a cloud” that gives some relief from the unrelenting heat. GOD WILL SET ALL THINGS RIGHT IN HIS PERFECT TIMING!
PRINCIPLE #2 – FEASTING TOGETHER! (vs. 6-10a)
- Verse 6, the phrase “this mountain” must refer to Mount Zion. Even though it is a relatively insignificant mountain in comparison to many higher mountains of the world, but what makes it amazing is the presence and power of God. It is there that God would prepare “a feast” for all the peoples, with Mt. Zion serving as a metaphor of a changing world. That it is “the Lord of hosts” who would accomplish this is a testament to God’s power. In Isaiah’s day, the comment about the “fat things full of marrow” and “wines on the lees well refined” are references to the magnificence of this feast prepared by God for His true followers. It somewhat reminds us of the marriage feast of the Lamb in 19:6-9.
- In verses 7-8 Isaiah again returns to the place of Mt. Zion as he mentions destruction that will occur there. DOES ANYONE KNOW WHAT IT MEANS WHEN IT SAYS GOD WILL DESTROY, “THE FACE OF THE COVERING CAST OVER ALL PEOPLE”? Well, it is a reference to a burial shroud that would be placed over a dead person’s face. (Perhaps you have heard of the Shroud of Turin). Death is the greatest enemy, and its defeat will be the ultimate testimony to God’s power. If there is any doubt that is what Isaiah is talking about, it is removed by the first phrase of verse 8 where he says, “He will swallow up death in victory.” All peoples that trust in God will be delivered from death forever! What glorious news – and what a wonderful feast it will be. With the defeat of death, there will be no more tears. Notice the tremendously powerful image when Isaiah depicts the “Lord God” of the Universe wiping away “tears from off all faces” ( 8). What a description that conveys a profound level of care and concern for each individual. As a part of the removal of sorrow, God will remove “the rebuke of His people” and take away their reproach “from off all the earth” (vs. 8c). In other words, all of the persecution and suffering that has been directed at God’s children will be forever eradicated from the earth. Death will be destroyed and God’s people will be vindicated for all eternity. How do we know this will happen? “. . . for the Lord hath spoken it” (vs. 8d). It’s as good as DONE since God said it!
- CAN SOMEONE SUMMARIZE VERSES 9-10? Allow for a paraphrase of those verses! In summary, the ones who remain faithful will have their faith vindicated! The divide between God and humanity caused by sin has been removed. He has given “His salvation” ( 10a).
LOOK: (Why is what it says important?)
Objective Statement (Repeated): EVERY CHRISTIAN CAN KNOW THAT GOD SAVES FOR THOSE WHO BELIEVE IN HIM BY TWO CONFIRMING PRINCIPLES WE STUDIED TODAY!
- One Day, God will destroy death and all of us will feast with Him and be in His presence for all eternity! Meditate upon that future destiny and praise God for His wonderful salvation!
TOOK: (Why is it important to me? What should I do with it?)
Evaluation: This week remember that there will be BELIEVERS from every nation in the world assembled in heaven one day. God has a plan for salvation and true believers must be a part of that plan to spread the good news. So this week, acknowledge His power over death and thank Him for His gift of eternal life. GOD SAVES but everyone needs to hear His GOSPEL!
In preparation for our next Bible Study please read Isaiah 31:1-9.