Monday, November 24, 2014

On 11-30-14, Isaiah 52:1-2, 7-12 will be our Adult Sunday School/Uniform Series/International Sunday School Lesson herein is my commentary. This lesson is known by some as Let Zion Rejoice or Good News Brings Rejoicing

                            Let Zion Rejoice                              
Good News Brings Rejoicing
Isaiah 52:1-2, 7-12
International Sunday School Lesson
November 30, 2014

Jed Greenough

Jumping through time as we do week after week it can be really difficult to switch gears or at least it is for me.  Context is everything when we do this having been in Ezekiel for a month and now making our jump over to the latter fourth part of Isaiah.
So if you have the same feeling of a scriptural jetlag maybe it will help you to read from the beginning of Isaiah.  I did this and it helped me a lot to better understand the joy and confidence that was being expressed reading today’s scripture.
In Isaiah 1 I read about rebellious children (Israel), a sinful nation (Israel), guilty, evildoers, corrupt (yes, all Israel).  A desolate, burning, beaten country that only had survivors because the Lord allowed and wanted a remnant.
Destroyed and crushed by Assyrians and Babylonians alike eventually taken off to exile in Babylon, Isaiah would foresee it all.  As if the defeat of war wasn’t enough the people would have to endure being taken away.  70 years was necessary so that the land and Jerusalem and the people Israel could in a sense be purified.
So Isaiah got to see so much pain and sadness so to see that God would raise up Cyrus the Persian who would defeat the Babylonians and then let Israel freely return home this was a gloriously joyous thing to see.
Anyone knows the feeling of relief and sometimes joy at coming home after being away for a time.  Imagine a 70 year trip.
But you have to wonder about that.  Isaiah got to foresee pain and he got to foresee the joy in today’s scripture.  I think it would have been much more real for him then those returning from exile after all the percentage that would have still been alive from 70 years before and could remember things well must have been fairly small.  But I can see how this would have been a good way to begin again considering what we read of the people in the beginning of Isaiah.
Hey, guess what, we are jumping all the way to Hebrews next week but at that time we will start with the very first verse!
For Discussion:
1.      Discuss how these people who returned to their country were rather like the chance given to new Christians to start anew.
2.      Discuss the different ways that Isaiah uses to describe Jerusalem.
3.      Discuss that part of verse 3 that reads, “You were sold for nothing and without money you will be redeemed.
4.      See where else verse 7 has been used and discuss.
5.      Discuss the manner in which this all occurred including Cyrus.

Upcoming Lessons
12-7-14     Worship Christ’s Majesty, Hebrews 1:1-9                             
12-14-14   Make a Joyful Noise, Psalm 95:1-7a
12-21-14   Give Glory to God or Glory to God in the Highest, Luke 2:8-20
12-28-14   Worship God’s Son or In Awe of Christ’s Power, Matthew 14:22-36
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved

1 comment:

  1. Amazing is how God orchestrates our own captivity and exile in order to gather us unto Him. This was powerfully revealed to me by a prison inmate, through a prison ministry, in which he cried unto God for an answer regarding his own captivity. He hated the fact he was there; he hated that his liberty was taken; he hated it was his fault; and he was tormented by his lengthy sentence. He shared how he found comfort in the fact that way back at the dedication of the temple, Solomon prayed for Israel, for their sin, for their captivity and that God would forgive them (1 Kings 8:44-51). God is still honoring Solomon's prayer today.