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Do not live as the people of this world do
Isaiah 8:11-22

Scripture reading: Isaiah 6, 2 Kings 16

Today we are going to begin a study of the book of Isaiah.

AN INTRODUCTION

-Isaiah is a big book (66 chapters)
-Isaiah served God as a prophet for over 50 years in the 7th century B.C
-Isaiah name means "God saves, The Lord is salvation"
-Isaiah has one of the most amazing calls to ministry, as recorded in the Bible- for God blesses him with a vision of Himself on his throne in Heaven. From the throne God asks "Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?" To which Isaiah responds, as we all should to God, "Here am I. Send me!"
-During Isaiah's tenure, the Northern Kingdom of Israel was taken into captivity by the Assryians. Isaiah lived and served in the Southern Kingdom of Judah. During his days, the Southern and Northern Kingdom did not get along.
-Isaiah was married to a prophetess
-Isaiah had at least two children. Of the two that we know about, God instructed him as to what there names should be. In both cases their names contained messages that served as reminders of various messages that God had Isaiah declare. i.e His first son had a name which meant "a remnant shall return". His second son had a name which meant "Quick to the plunder, swift to the spoil"
-The book of Isaiah is a prophetic book. a. Some of what Isaiah said about the future had to do with the near future as it related to the time that he lived in. b. A fairly big portion of what Isaiah said has to do with Jesus, his coming, the nature of his ministry, his kingdom. It's amazing how much the book of Isaiah is about Jesus. c. Some of what Isaiah prophesied about the future is yet to come to pass. Hence we have prophecies that address (From Isaiah's perspective) the near future, 700 years in the future, and the distant future
-Isaiah's job was a tough one, for many of the messages that God sent him to deliver were messages of judgment. So deserving were the people of judgment that in Isaiah 10:22b it says; "Destruction has been decreed, overwhelming and righteous"
-While much of Isaiah concerns judgment, what's incredible is this: all the messages of judgment are perfectly balanced with calls by God to repentance, with promises of forgiveness and blessing for those who are reconciled to Him. This is called grace. This is undeserved.

TODAY'S LESSON: DO NOT LIVE AS THE PEOPLE OF THIS WORLD DO

In Isaiah 8:11-22, God has a very simple message for Isaiah: Don't live like the people who are around you. Don't get sucked into their way of thinking and their lifestyles. Stay holy. Stay on the straight and narrow. Stay faithful.

The message that God gave to Isaiah is the very message that we need to hear. READ TEXT

I. CONTEXT OF THE COMMAND

A. The evil reign of King Ahaz 2 Kings 16

B. A threat from the North that the King of Judah tried (despite Isaiah's council) to handle by making an alliance with the Assyrians (isaiah 7-8:10) (see 2 Kings 16)

C. Unbelief- King Ahaz was evil and led the people in similar ways

-Isaiah's message was falling on deaf ears
-Isaiah's messages were not being taken seriously (His messages of judgment, his messages of God's grace -- at least during the reign of Ahaz who was wicked in the eyes of the Lord)
-To the naked eye it looked like everything was alright and that their deal with the Assryians was working


It is within this context that God tells Isaiah to not live as the people of his time were living. It is within this context that God tells Isaiah to stay faithful, to stay true.

Thought: Staying faithful to God is hard during periods of affluence. Staying faithful to God is hard when God's words and ways fall on deaf ears.


II. THE SPECIFICS OF GOD'S COMMAND TO NOT LIVE AS THE PEOPLE OF THIS WORLD DO

1. Do not follow the way of this people v.11
2. Do not call conspiracy everything that these people call conspiracy v.12
3. Do fear what they fear v.12
4. Hold the LORD in high and holy regard v.13
5. Fear the LORD- v.13

Note that verse 13 has a New Testament connection. In Matthew 10:28 Jesus says; "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Note also that God's words come with a promise: Trust in Him and he will be a sanctuary to you v.14-15

Interesting: While God will be a sanctuary to Isaiah and the righteous, He will be a stumbling block to the unfaithful and to the wicked, to those who refuse to listen to God's message.

As v.13 has a New Testament connection, so to does v.14-15. (SEE Romans 9:30-33 and I Peter 2:4-8). They are both in reference to Jesus as a stumbling stone


III. DO NOT LIVE AS THE PEOPLE OF THIS WORLD DO: ISAIAH'S RESPONSE

1. I will wait for the LORD
2. I will put my trust in God
3. I will stay stay faithful and true

Note the beautiful way in which Isaiah communicates this. "Here am I, and the children the LORD has given me." v.18. This also reminds me of Isaiah's response to God's calling "Here I am, send me" (Isaiah 6)

This reminds us of the words of Joshua, who said; "As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD" Joshua 24:15.

4. I will not involve myself in the occult practices of my neighbours v.19

People in that day, as well as today, thought that they could learn the future and get help from the dead and other spirits. The Bible forbids dabbling in the occult. The Bible condemns the practice.

Are you involved in the occult? Are you involved in superstitious practices, the signs of the Zodiac, tea leaves, fortune tellers, Yoga, Tai Chi, Ouiji Boards, etc? If you are, repent of it. Seek the forgiveness of God. You will not experience the fullness of God's blessings until you turn your back on such things.

Other texts that address this: Deuteronomy 18:9-13

5. I will live my life by the teachings of your Word v. 20

The Bible tells us how to live.

It is vital to our spiritual health to be a people of God's word. You will not grow to be a strong Christian apart from the Word.

The Bible tells us how to think and act. To please God, we must be students of God's Word, committed to being doers of the Word of God.

Note the end of those who refuse to attend to the God's word: Read v. 21-22. Such is the end of all who reject God.

CONCLUSION: "Do not live as the people of this world do"

Romans 12:2a says; "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind."

1 Peter 1:15-16 says; "As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy."

3 John 1:11 says; "Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good."

Ephesians 4:17, 22-24 says; "So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking." "You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness."


As the followers of Christ, it is imperative that we live, talk, think differently than the people around us. The call of God that we be holy demands it. We are not to engage in the sinful activities that the world promotes.

Instead of language that is crude, base, disrespectful of God, filled with lies, deception, and half truths, we are speak with honesty, integrity, and purity

Instead of sleeping with who we want or conducting ourselves in sexually inappropriate ways, we are to save sex for marriage, dress modestly, and not engage in the sexual banter that so many others do

When it comes to what we watch, read, download, stream, we need to take great care. We are to have high standards when it comes to television, music, the internet, movies, books, and magazines. If you and I like all the shows, music, magazines, books, and places our non Christians neighbors like, what is their in us to prove that we have devoted our life to Christ and to holiness? As the Scriptures say, we will be known by our deeds and fruit.

When it comes to our thought life, priorities, motives, we need to be different and that difference needs to be reflected in how we talk about ourselves, our dreams, our desires.

As a teenager I had a tshirt with a fish on it. This fish was going the opposite direction of all the other fish. The caption that was on my shirt was "Go against the flow". We need to go against the flow - not to show ourselves off, but because we need to show ourselves to be people of whom the words of Christ have truly been impacted. We need to live the godly lives that God has called us to.

Let us resolve, as Isaiah did, to stay faithful to God, no matter what those around us do.