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Battle of the Gods

June 21, 2017

Wednesday Bible Study

Isaiah 41:1-7

Title: Battle of the Gods - The Lord recalls the history of Abraham to put forth why He Himself alone is God.

Opening Prayer

Intro: The Lord continues to both rebuke and comfort His people.  However, He is agitated.

1. Listen to me in silence, Two cannot talk at one time.  Stop talking with each other and listen to Me for a change.   O coastlands; these are the people.  The Israelites live along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea (also known as the Great Sea).  let the peoples renew their strength The imagery is changing from one set of clothing to another.  Put on strength.  Let us together draw near for judgment.  Let us have a contest.  Put forth your argument and I will put forth Mine.\

 

2. Who stirred up from the east  This is speaking about Abraham who came from the Babylonian area to Judea.  A righteous man Abraham was previously wicked and an idolater/pagan.  He called him to travel from his homeland through dangerous territory, trusting God alone.  (Psalm 105:13)  Abraham is the only one called out from the Babylonian worship of Hur (which means fire - they worshipped god before the fire).  Abraham’s parents did not give up the worship of Hur.  This is the first miracle.  Abraham actually left his homeland.  Many friends and family would certainly argue against such a thing.  But, his wife and many servants/helpers willingly follow.  At every step.  God led Abraham every step.  This is a Hebrew idiom understood as every dangerous step.  Abraham then had many enemies.  He gives up nations before him.  This is the second miracle.  Abraham was never harmed.  Genesis 14.  Four kings pursue five kings during which Lot is captured.  Abraham allies with three kings to make four kings.  Lot is rescued.  The five mightier kings/emperors are defeated.  No harm to Abraham or Lot.  Luther, thinking according to the flesh, calls Abraham a simpleton.  But look at God does and what Abraham receives by faith.  He tramples kings under foot  Luther says: “See how exceedingly powerful his faith and word were and made the opposing kings afraid. This is so because faith consoles the godly and terrifies the ungodly to such an extent that they think they are surrounded by enemies on all sides.”

 

4. I am the God of the first and the last. Luther: “Noah was the first in relation to those who came after him but the last in relation to Adam. So we are the last in view of our ancestors and the first in the view of our descendants. This God has established the limits of kingdoms and rulers for all, as Acts 17:28 says, “In Him we have our being.” Just as all kingdoms have their boundaries, they will not go one thread beyond them.”

 

5.  They are afraid  They are not afraid of God but they are afraid of being defeated.

 

6. Each one helps his neighbor.  The enemies gather together and support each other against the truth and against changing their ways.  Take courage!  Stand strong against the Creator and those who speak His word faithfully.

 

7. The craftsman encourages the goldsmith, and he who smooths with the hammer him who strikes the anvil.  They work hard to make idols and then hammer Scripture to fit their understanding of their own gods.  Saying of the soldering: It is good.  and then hammer Scripture to fit it to their understanding of their gods rather than follow God.  Even Christian false teachers do this such as Enthusiasts (those who separate the Holy Spirit from Holy Scripture and therefore think of God’s Word needs to be defended and made effective by God’s people) or Anabaptists (those who place reason above Scripture and therefore reject of the power of God - ie. good confession of a person before baptism, Holy Communion as a Christian gathering but without the forgiveness of sins)  He has fastened it with nails  Luther; “he has tacked it down, because that wretched god is so impotent that he must be nailed down so that he may appear to stand.”  For us, God’s Word stands on its own; God’s Word endures forever on its own.  God has promises.  Let us trust Him by being faithful to His strong and enduring Word.

 

Some Questions:

 

  1. How was Abraham made righteous?  Genesis 15:6

  2. Was this before or after the war?

  3. How are the faithful warred against today in our setting?

  4. What protects the Word of God from being destroyed?

  5. What promises has God given in the Book of Isaiah that are important?  Is. 7:14; 40:31;...

  6. What is the key to Abraham’s righteousness and your righteousness?