Just FYI- Footnotes in bible studies may come from any of the following: Life Application Study Bible, NLT, Tyndale House Publishers; Dake's Annotated Reference Bible, Finis Jennings Dake, Dake Bible Sales, Inc.; we also occasionally use a Strong's Concordance, and Vine's Expository Dictionary for Greek and Hebrew referencing.
For further study or reference check these out: www.biblegateway.com or biblos.com
:) Finally had some time! Next week should be fun... we're heading into some messianic prophecies... :) Happy studying!
- “In that day the remnant left in
Israel, the survivors in the house of Jacob, will no longer depend on
allies who seek to destroy them. But they will faithfully trust the
Lord, the Holy One of Israel.”
- In what day? In the day that God
strikes down Assyria. Assyria will serve its purpose and will receive
its punishment. In the day that God consumes Assyria's glory and the
people that survive are so few in number that a child could count
them. (v. 12-19)
- In the day when the enemy is defeated
and Israel's punishment for her sin is complete... then the remnant
that is left in Israel, will learn to depend on God. They will have
run after strong nations long enough. They will have been taken
advantage of enough times. They will finally look to the Lord to save
- You know... I have a cousin who is
living a crazy life right now. She's living life the way she thinks
it's fun to live it. She's chasing after all the typical things in
this world that are thought to bring pleasure or happiness.
- Her story reminds me of Israel's
relationship with God.
- A month or two ago, my mom sat her
down and had a very hard talk with her about where her life was
going. She was basically warned that if she didn't stop, God was
going to punish her, because her actions are those of one who spits
in the face of God in contempt.
- She was repentant for a week or
two... and then went right back to what she had been doing before...
with a vengeance.
- Recently, she's started to become
very ill. The doctors aren't sure what's wrong and the medication
that should be helping... isn't. If she continues her downward
descent... I believe that she will very soon find herself on the
verge of death... But regardless of all this... she's still wanting
to live life her own way. Still determined that nobody's going to
tell her what to do. No matter the cost.
- Israel lived their national life much
the same way. Prophets would come with a warning for them to turn
from their sin. The people would act contrite for a few days, months,
maybe even years... maybe even start to make an outward change... but
before you know it... they're wallowing in their sin again...
sometimes deeper than before. Sometimes with a renewed intent TO
- Punishment would come. The people
would repent... and sometimes for a few generations, they would live
righteously before God... But then, you would yet again find the
springing up of sin in the life of a nation.
- We are now at a point in Israel's
ongoing cycle that God says “Enough!” His anger has burned long
enough. They have been given enough chances. It is time for
disciplinary action. It is time to end the wishy washy heart cycle of
the nation. God brings His righteous judgment down on them, leaving
only a faithful remnant to survive. Much like the flood of Noah's
day, the wickedness of the hardened heart is done away with.
- God sees into the heart and knows
that they have no intention of ever allowing Him to soften their
hearts. But the remnant! Those left whose hearts are willing!
- Romans 1:28-2:16
- “A remnant will return, yes, the
remnant of Jacob will return to the Mighty God. But though the people
of Israel are as numerous as the sand of the seashore, only a remnant
of them will return. The Lord has rightly decided to destroy His
people. Yes, the Lord, the Lord of Heaven's Armies, has already
decided to destroy the entire land.”
- My mind automatically goes to the
founding of Israel as a nation in 1948.
- A few points to check out on this...
just as a side note- Ezekiel 36-40 talks about the restoration of
- God brought the people back to the
nation. And He not only brought them back... He brought them back
exactly when He said He would... down to the hour.
- footnote- “Those who remained
faithful to God despite the horrors of the invasion are called the
remnant. The key to being a part of the remnant was faith. Being a
descendant of Abraham, living in the Promised Land, having trusted
God at one time—none of these were good enough. Are you relying on
your Christian heritage, your participation in church, or a past
experience to qualify you for belonging to God's family? The key to
being a true Christian is faith in the mighty God.”
- So to precursor this event...
- “So this is what the Lord, the Lord
of Heaven's Armies, says: “O my people in Zion, do not be afraid of
the Assyrians when they oppress you with rod and club as the
Egyptians did long ago. In a little while my anger against you will
end, and then my anger will rise up to destroy them.” The Lord of
Heaven's Armies will lash them with His whip, as He did when Gideon
triumphed over the Midianites at the rock of Oreb, or when the Lord's
staff was raised to drown the Egyptian army in the sea.”
- I Timothy 5:24-25
- In other words, in speaking to the
faithful, do not be afraid when the oppressors come... for although
judgment must fall on the nation, there WILL be a restoration...
there WILL be a renewal of the heart... God WILL remain faithful to
- Many places in the New Testament
speak about not giving up in times of tribulation or persecution.
Rather, we are told to rejoice that we are being persecuted for the
sake of the name of Christ.
- Israel was being punished for their
disobedience... and this brings the question, “well what about the
faithful? If they were faithful, why were they being punished along
with all the rest?”
- I think sometimes persecution comes
as a way of testing. Sometimes it may not be a punishment so much as
other people's response to who we are in Christ. Sometimes, we just
happen to get grouped in with the people or groups around us. For
instance, ALL of the Israelites ended up in bondage in Egypt. Not
just the unfaithful... In war, all are impacted... not just soldiers.
And unfortunately, we are all in a battle... a spiritual one, but a
- II Thessalonians 2:3-7 says this: “We
proudly tell God's other churches about your endurance and
faithfulness in all the persecutions and hardships you are suffering.
And God will use this persecution to show His justice and to make you
worthy of His Kingdom, for which you are suffering. In His justice He
will pay back those who persecute you. And God will provide rest for
you who are being persecuted and also for us when the Lord Jesus
appears from heaven...”
- Luke 8:4-18
- Judges 2:16-3:11
- Ezekiel 21:1-17
- James 1:2-8 says: “...When troubles
come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know
that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.
So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will
be perfect and complete, needing nothing. If you need wisdom, ask our
generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for
asking. But when you ask Him, be sure that your faith is in God
alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as
unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.
Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.
Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are
unstable in everything they do.”
- Our lives are a journey to perfection
in Christ. Perfection is never reached until we come into our
heavenly bodies in a sinless state after death. The more like Christ
we become however, the more perfect we are. (Still imperfect... but
better than we were...) Christ sometimes uses testing to perfect us.
Consider it as the sculptor shaving off the rough edges of the
masterpiece. Testing or Trials into our lives a way of getting rid of
the things that bind us to this world or to sin.
- When the Lord avenges His people and
ends their time of punishment, it will be a complete salvation.
- “In that day the Lord will end the
bondage of His people. He will break the yoke of slavery and lift it
from their shoulders. Look, the Assyrians are now at Aiath. They are
passing through Migron and are storing their equipment at Micmash.
They are crossing the pass and are camping at Geba. Fear strikes the
town of Ramah. All the people of Gibeah, the hometown of Saul, are
running for their lives.”
- Basically this passage is telling the
people that the Assyrians are drawing ever closer. The cities
mentioned are on the path to Jerusalem. They're getting closer and
closer. Geba is the city on the other side of the mountain pass. They
had made it past the natural boundary and defense system. They were
going to be coming to the main city quickly.
- I find it a little odd that the city
that they're going for, and the city that's running is the city of
Saul. The first thing that God is taking out of Israel's life is the
starting point of their dependance upon man instead of on God as King
- “Scream in terror, you people of
Gallim! Shout out a warning to Laishah. Oh, poor Anathoth! There go
the people of Madmenah, all fleeing. The citizens of Gebim are trying
to hide. The enemy stops at Nob for the rest of that day. He shakes
his fist at beautiful Mount Zion, the mountain of Jerusalem.”
- No place to hide... They are all
running from the wrath of God... and the enemy who's chasing them
down... stops to take a break. They're not worried about catching
them. They know they are the superior force. Indeed... he stops to
shake his fist at Jerusalem, the city of God. He is threatening the
people of God and in my mind, he's going after them with a vengeance.
To shake your fist at something generally denotes anger... I don't
see him leaving many survivors with that attitude.
- So here's Israel. The enemy is
bearing down upon them quickly. The end is near. Where is their help?
Where is their God? Has He forsaken them in this time of danger and
distress? Will He not rescue them out of the hand of the enemy?
- “But look! The Lord, the Lord of
Heaven's Armies, will chop down the mighty tree of Assyria with great
power! He will cut down the proud. That lofty tree will be brought
down. He will cut down the forest trees with an ax. Lebanon will fall
to the Mighty One.”
- Lebanon was known for its mighty
trees. They were strong cedars. They were used for a little bit of
- As strong as Assyria is... or thinks
it is... God will cut down the tree. And not just one... It says
“trees”. The whole forest is going down.
- footnote- “Assyria would be like a
tree cut down at the height of its power, never to rise again...”
- And indeed they were...
- II Kings 19 includes the story of the
Assyrian invasion. Because king Hezekiah went to God first with the
issue of the Assyrian attack, God Himself went out to the Assyrian
camp and killed 185,000 soldiers. When the rest of the Assyrians woke
up the next morning, it was to find the dead bodies of their comrades
strewn about them. They broke camp and went home.
- If you read through the story in II
Kings, I see Hezekiah calling out to God the first time he hears of
the oncoming Assyrians. Then when the Assyrian king sends word and
says “Don't let your God, in whom you trust, deceive you with
promises that Jerusalem will not be captured by the king of Assyria.
You know perfectly well what the kings of Assyria have done wherever
they have gone. They have completely destroyed everyone who stood in
their way! Why should you be any different? Have the gods of other
nations rescued them?...”
- Instead of getting scared and running
away, or giving up... Hezekiah goes to the Temple to lay out the
message before the Lord. “O Lord, God of Israel, You are enthroned
between the mighty cherubim! You alone are God of all the kingdoms of
the earth. You alone created the heavens and the earth. Bend down, O
Lord, and listen! Open your eyes, O Lord, and see! Listen to
Sennacherib's words of defiance against the living God. It is true,
Lord, that the kings of Assyria have destroyed all these nations. And
they have thrown the gods of these nations into the fire and burned
them. But of course the Assyrians could destroy them! They were not
gods at all—only idols of wood and stone shaped by human hands.
Now, O Lord our God, rescue us from his power; then all the kingdoms
of the earth will know that You alone, O Lord, are God.”
- Hezekiah didn't go to God and whine
and complain. He went and sought the character of God. He recognized
the lies beneath Sennacherib's challenge. True, the other gods might
not have protected the other nations... but they weren't THE ALMIGHTY
GOD! They were just man made images with no ability to help the
people who bowed down before them. Hezekiah knew the character and
power of HIS God. The TRUE God. He knew if God chose to do so, that
He would save the nation, because God's character is always faithful.
- Had Hezekiah's response been one of
fear, or one of apathy, or defeat... I don't think God would have
responded in the same way. He might have allowed the Assyrians to
attack and conquer. However, because Hezekiah turned to God in an
impossible looking circumstance, despite how things looked on the
outside, God was faithful and came through completely.