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Sabbath School Lessons on Isaiah
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About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 38 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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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!
- The Test
- 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.)
- 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!)
- 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.")
- Ever have your heart shaken? Ever have severe worry?
If so, let's see what God does next.
- The Counsel
- Read Isaiah 7:3-4. Let's get into this story. What is
God's counsel to King Ahaz?
- What does God call Syria and Israel? (Smoldering
stubs of firewood.)
- Is it a compliment?
- Is this what you want in a fire? (You want fire,
not smoke. You want an entire log, not just the
- What do you think God means by this?
(Israel and Syrian were about to fall to
the Assyrians. Ahaz should not be worried
- 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.)
- 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.")
- Whose son or daughter are you? (The sons and
daughters of God!)
- 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.
- The Context
- 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.)
- What does this tell you about King Ahaz? (He was not a
good king. We can find proof for this by reading 2
- On who has Ahaz been relying? (He worshiped other
gods. He was so corrupt in his worship that he
sacrificed his own sons!)
- 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.)
- 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
- Read Isaiah 7:5-6. What did Syria and Israel have in mind
for Judah? (Tear it apart and put someone else on the
- 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.)
- The Solution
- Read Isaiah 7:7-8a. According to God, who is the power of
Aram (Syria)? (A man - Rezin.)
- Read Isaiah 7:8b-9a. Who is the power of Ephraim (Israel)?
(The son of an unimportant man.)
- 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.)
- 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.)
- 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
- 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.)
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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.