South Valley Community Church

South Valley Community Church
By Gospel Centered Mission Focused
About this podcast
South Valley Community Church is one church in ma…
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Dec. 4, 2017
There is a fork in the road ahead. There is ALWAYS a fork in the road ahead which means we are constantly in a state of “decision.” But which “way” do we choose? Through the first thirty-nine chapters of Isaiah, we have seen Isaiah pointing to YHWH’s people choosing the wrong path, setting a pattern of making bad choices. The people of the promised land are devoid of “righteousness and justice” and because of it, they have been exiled, placed back in the wilderness like their forefathers. Even Israel’s kings have gone the wrong way. King Ahaz offers a faithless, pseudo-spiritual rejection to God’s request to ask for a sign in chapter 7. King Hezekiah (chapters 36-39) leans upon God to save Jerusalem from the Assyrians who had already ravaged the northern part of Israel. He faithfully calls out to God for physical healing. Unlike Ahaz, Hezekiah seems to resemble the messianic “Branch” of chapter 11, but within a few verses our hopes are dashed. In a faithless attempt to seek protection outside of YHWH, he reveals all the treasure and strength of Israel to Babylon, the nation that will be the next invader, sacking the city and destroying its temple. You can feel the irony. Israel was to be the light to the nations, but when God’s solution becomes part of the problem, someone must save humanity from itself.
Nov. 27, 2017
There is a fork in the road ahead. There is ALWAYS a fork in the road ahead which means we are constantly in a state of “decision.” But which “way” do we choose? Through the first thirty-nine chapters of Isaiah, we have seen Isaiah pointing to YHWH’s people choosing the wrong path, setting a pattern of making bad choices. The people of the promised land are devoid of “righteousness and justice” and because of it, they have been exiled, placed back in the wilderness like their forefathers. Even Israel’s kings have gone the wrong way. King Ahaz offers a faithless, pseudo-spiritual rejection to God’s request to ask for a sign in chapter 7. King Hezekiah (chapters 36-39) leans upon God to save Jerusalem from the Assyrians who had already ravaged the northern part of Israel. He faithfully calls out to God for physical healing. Unlike Ahaz, Hezekiah seems to resemble the messianic “Branch” of chapter 11, but within a few verses our hopes are dashed. In a faithless attempt to seek protection outside of YHWH, he reveals all the treasure and strength of Israel to Babylon, the nation that will be the next invader, sacking the city and destroying its temple. You can feel the irony. Israel was to be the light to the nations, but when God’s solution becomes part of the problem, someone must save humanity from itself.
Nov. 20, 2017
At this point, we see Isaiah describing the marriage between human rebellion and satanic influence giving birth to systematic evil—what the Bible consistently refers to as Babylon. In the sixth and seventh centuries, the nation conquering the known world was Babylon, so when an Israelite heard its name, it would bring painful images to mind: the place of their exile, the ruin of Jerusalem, and the destruction of the Temple where YHWH met His people. But over a century earlier, when Assyria was the world power that conquered Israel’s Northern Kingdom, cosmic “Babylon” already existed. When Nazi Germany sent out its forces to overtake Europe with its fascist ideology, “Babylon” was there. Today, “Babylon” is still at work. Whenever our broken humanity desires the same exalted position, or when groups come together with the goal to elevate themselves above the throne room of God, we will find communities, institutions, and even governments that look just like the Babylon of the Bible.
Nov. 13, 2017
The majority of chapters 13 through 24 of Isaiah are grim oracles for the nations, where YHWH proclaims His dismay and judgment, ultimately, on all the lands. Individuals disobey. Rebels band together in groups, tribes, even nations. YHWH has clearly labeled His own people, Israel, as unfaithful and unrighteous. But as we read the Scroll, we are posed with another deep question—what is the essence that lurks beneath the evil of humanity? What gives humanity such a sinister unity and boldness in the face of its Creator? In Isaiah 14, we are introduced to the “day star,” where the King of Babylon is likened to the planet Venus wanting to elevate itself at the beginning of each day before the light of the Sun. But we know this imagery has a greater implication. There are spiritual forces that underlie all of humanity’s rebellion, and these forces influence our physical actions (or inactions) and Isaiah is dreadfully aware of this reality and its effect on all. This includes his own people.
Nov. 5, 2017
A theme easy to find in Isaiah is judgment. It comes for the enemies of Israel and the neighbors of Israel, but it also comes for Israel itself. One of the images used to identify judgment is the use of YHWH’s “outstretched hand or arm” indicating his sovereign power not only to save, but judge. The King of the universe can be found in several parts of Isaiah as a presiding judge in a courtroom, presenting the facts of the case against His enemies, including Israel, His chosen people. We might imagine a courtroom with Perry Mason, Judge Judy, or our favorite version of Law & Order, but we should think more of a similar biblical scene. Imagine the wisdom of Solomon as he hears the arguments of two women who claim an infant as their own. No attorneys. No court reporter. Just a king on his throne interpreting the facts, identifying what is needed to produce his desired outcome, and rendering a decision— ”Cut the baby in half.” The sovereign, decisive power of a king delivering royal judgment compels immediate response, but Isaiah shows us that Israel as a nation is not easily moved.
Oct. 30, 2017
It is here that the true king of Israel calls his servant to deliver a message to people who don’t want to hear it. Do you like being a messenger? Were you “that kid” in middle school that shuttled notes between your best friend and the person they had a crush on because your friend was a “chicken”? Imagine for a minute what Isaiah was asked to do. Go tell your people—your family— that they are a bunch of rebellious losers who are about to experience the beat down of the century, but you need to know something else. This horrifying message you are communicating, which should motivate change, will not only be rejected, but no matter how clear, obvious, and rational the message is, it will have the opposite effect. Do you feel the weight of this task? The burden of this message is unfathomable, and the obedience to deliver it astonishing.
Oct. 22, 2017
The apostle Paul, along with the majority of New Testament authors, knew that the book of Isaiah was essential to understanding Jesus and His gospel. “Isaiah’s prediction” noted in Romans 9 above is from the beginning of the Scroll of Isaiah. In fact, Isaiah’s first chapter can be viewed like a summary of what is contained in all of its pages. It is important that we look for terms and imagery used throughout the book and trace them throughout the series.
Oct. 15, 2017
Why does Isaiah matter to us? After all, we are Christians, so why would this ancient Jewish prophet’s voice have any impact on us? If you review concordances, commentaries, or other biblical reference works, you will find that the books of the New Testament make direct or indirect references to the words of Isaiah more than 400 times. Do the math. If a typical New Testament (without commentary and footnotes) is less than 400 pages, then on average, you would see at least one Isaiah reference for every New Testament page. But it’s not just “quantity” that matters. The content of the Scroll had “qualities” that the New Testament authors and theologians found indelibly connected to the life and work of a humble carpenter who would become the hope of Israel and all the nations.
Oct. 2, 2017
All the functions of a name—reference, revelation, and reputation—come together to carry a lot of weight. A nickname given by a friend or a foe can bring with it remembrance, sometimes in the form of encouragement, and other times as an anchor around one’s neck. We can see that these names of God carried significant weight in the memory of the people of God in the Bible and they still carry weight for us. As with all the names we have studied, YHWH Yirah or “God provides” can be seen not only as a life-granting reminder for the people of Israel, but also a pointer forward to the hope we find in Jesus.
Sept. 25, 2017
Sometimes names can give a feel for one’s reputation and point to history. Think of figures such as Alexander the Great, Bloody Mary (Queen of Scots), or Vlad the Impaler. Though the name may not carry a wealth of information, it can speak of the renown (or infamy) of a person. In the Bible, there are many examples of names for God that do this. In Isaiah, it often speaks of the “Holy One of Israel” and in Jeremiah the “Lord of Hosts” but regardless of the book, these names carry a story, a memory of what God has done. One of the most powerful of these names is “El Shaddai” or what is sometimes translated “God Almighty.”