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Lesson 3: When Your World Is Falling Apart *

Introduction: Think about what causes you the most worry. Is it something bad that already happened? Or, is it something bad that you think might happen? I find that most of my worry is about things that might happen in the future. If you find that you turn "molehills into mountains" this lesson is for you. If you are not sure where to turn in times of trouble, this lesson is for you. Let's jump in!

  1. The Test

    1. Read Isaiah 7:1. Remember in our lesson last week we learned that Uzziah, the king for over 50 years, had died. Time has passed and Uzziah's grandson is now on the throne. What problem does Ahaz face? (Two kings have laid siege to his country.)

      1. Aram is Syria. Anything seem odd about the other country that is laying siege to Judah? (The other country is Israel - the ten tribes to the north. Their brothers are ready to attack them!)

    2. Read Isaiah 7:2. How did Judah react to the news that its brothers to the north had joined Syria to attack it? (It greatly upset them. Their "hearts ... were shaken, as the trees of the forest are shaken by the wind.")

      1. Ever have your heart shaken? Ever have severe worry? If so, let's see what God does next.

  2. The Counsel

    1. Read Isaiah 7:3-4. Let's get into this story. What is God's counsel to King Ahaz?

      1. What does God call Syria and Israel? (Smoldering stubs of firewood.)

        1. Is it a compliment?

        2. Is this what you want in a fire? (You want fire, not smoke. You want an entire log, not just the ends.)

          1. What do you think God means by this? (Israel and Syrian were about to fall to the Assyrians. Ahaz should not be worried about them.)

          2. Why didn't God just say, "Hey, I'm bigger than they are. Trust Me!" (God does say this to us. But, I like the fact that God appeals to the logic of King Ahaz. He says these countries are really in decline.)

      1. Notice that Pekah, the King of Israel, is referred to as "the son of Remaliah." Do you like to be called by your own name or do you prefer to be identified by a relative? Imagine you have a sister named Carol. Do you like to be called "Carol's sister?" "Carol's brother?" (The extent of God's insult is not obvious. In that culture you showed contempt by calling a person by the name of their father-if their father was not well known. Nothing is said about Remaliah in the Bible other than he was the father of Pekah. God is saying, "This is the son of an unimportant man.")

        1. Whose son or daughter are you? (The sons and daughters of God!)

      2. No one has attacked Judah. They people are just very nervous and worried. God comes to comfort them with logic and power. Consider turning to God the next time you are worried about the future.

  1. The Context

    1. We've looked at the message. Let's look at the context for a minute. In verse 3 God tells Isaiah to meet King Ahaz on the road by the waterworks. What does this tell you about Isaiah's working relationship with the King? (If Isaiah were a trusted confidant, he would not have to try to tackle the king out on some road.)

    2. What does this tell you about King Ahaz? (He was not a good king. We can find proof for this by reading 2 Chronicles 28:1-3.)

      1. On who has Ahaz been relying? (He worshiped other gods. He was so corrupt in his worship that he sacrificed his own sons!)

    3. If Ahaz is so corrupt, why is God trying to help Ahaz? (This shows that God keeps trying to work with us. No one who is lost will be able to complain that God did not do enough to save him or her.)

    4. What does the fact that Israel had allied with Syria suggest to you? (God did not intend that His people be allied with other nations to gain power. It seems God has a couple of lousy choices. Neither of the two nations of "His people" are faithful to Him. He has decided to offer help to Ahaz - perhaps to bring him back to faithfulness, perhaps because of God's love for his ancestor, King David.)

    5. Read Isaiah 7:5-6. What did Syria and Israel have in mind for Judah? (Tear it apart and put someone else on the throne.)

      1. Why did they want to replace King Ahaz? Because he was corrupt? (Our lesson quarterly and the commentaries I read suggest a background that I have not brought into this lesson. The suggestion is that Israel and Syria are concerned about the rising power of Assyria. They want Judah (King Ahaz) to join in an alliance with them to resist Assyrian expansion. If Ahaz will not join them, they will attack and put someone on his throne who will cooperate. King Ahaz, 2 Kings 16:7-9 reveals, has entered into a secret deal with the Assyrians to be their ally.)

  2. The Solution

    1. Read Isaiah 7:7-8a. According to God, who is the power of Aram (Syria)? (A man - Rezin.)

    2. Read Isaiah 7:8b-9a. Who is the power of Ephraim (Israel)? (The son of an unimportant man.)

    3. Read Isaiah 7:9b. On whom should Judah and Israel have been relying? On whom should we rely? (Friend, burn this text into your memory. "If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all!" The serious defect in all of the planning and maneuvering I discussed above is that no one is relying on God's power. They are all relying on other people.)

    4. Read Isaiah 7:10-12. Compare Matthew 4:7. Has Ahaz suddenly become a godly guy? He speaks the same words that Jesus spoke hundreds of years later! Is Ahaz's attitude like that of Jesus? (No. The real difference is who invites the test. Here, God invites the king to test Him. God invites us to test Him when it comes to paying tithe. See Malachi 3:10.)

      1. What kind of test could the king give God? What was God offering? ( Isaiah 7:11 seems to be an offer of any kind of sign. Either in heaven or the depths of the sea.

    5. Read Isaiah 7:13. Put yourself in God's place. If you offered a "test" to show you were reliable, how would you feel if the other person (who was not relying on you), said "That's okay. Some other time, maybe." (The Old Testament reveals that God wants obedience, accepts anger towards Him, but hates being ignored or considered irrelevant. Ahaz definitely has the wrong response here.)

    6. Read Isaiah 7:14-15. There are various theories for how this prophecy was fulfilled in the days of Ahaz and Isaiah. Instead of speculating on their history, let's look at ours. Prophecies can have more than one fulfillment. What comes to your mind when you read this text? (Read Matthew 1:22-23. This prophecy was fulfilled in Jesus.)

      1. When you face problems, when you are tempted to rely on other humans for help, how is the birth of Jesus a sign to stand firm in faith, a sign to rely on God? (This was the ultimate rescue of humans! We were consigned to eternal death. We had no power to save ourselves. God loved us so much that He made the ultimate sacrifice to save us. Now there is a sign for you!)

    7. Read 2 Kings 16:7-9 and Isaiah 7:17-20. King Ahaz thought he was hiring the Assyrians to protect him. What did the Assyrians end up doing? (Destroying his country. Humiliating him.)

    8. Friend, Ahaz traded God's money, he traded God's offer of free help, for the help of another person. Is that you? Do you use the Lord's money to try to get yourself out of problems? Do you turn to others to solve your problems and your worries instead of relying on God? When Jesus came to die on our behalf, He showed that He was willing and able to solve our greatest problems. Will you put your trust in Him?

  3. Next week: The Hard Way.
* Copr. 2004, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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