Lesson 6

Playing God

(Isaiah 13 & 14)
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Introduction: Do some people really irritate you? As I’ve gotten older, I’m less irritated by people who are unintentionally irritating. Why is that? In my youth I learned a lesson about pride and irritation. After my wife and I were married, she got a job as a church school teacher. The chairman of the church board invited us to dinner. Almost immediately I was annoyed by our host. Why? Because he was a "Mr. Know-it-all." His pride of opinion rubbed me the wrong way until I realized the reason I was so annoyed was that I too had strong opinions. In my former church we devoted part of the worship service to prayer requests and praises. I was often in charge of this and I found, to my great irritation, that some members used this time to give a mini-sermon rather than a prayer request or a praise. Arghh! Then I realized, "I love to teach and preach and tell people how they should live!" We notice our sins in other people. Maturity has helped me see this. Our lesson this week is about pride. Let's jump into a very relevant study and see if we can mature!

  1.         Battle Cry!

  1.         Read Isaiah 13:1-3. When you think of the term "Babylon" in the Bible, what comes to mind? (Babylon generally represents the power opposed to God. We often think of God's city, Jerusalem, versus Satan's city, Babylon. The idea of Babylon opposing God begins with the Genesis 11 account of the tower of Babel and ends in Revelation 14:8.)

  1.         How do verses 2 and 3 of Isaiah 13 have anything to do with the powers of evil? (God is summoning His warriors to rally for an attack on evil.)

  1.         Why is the hilltop "bare?" (This tells us that God's banner can be seen by all who want to see it. His call to arms is clear to all.)

  1.         If you accept this commission to call the righteous to rally, what would a bare hilltop mean to you? (Don't mix other issues with your call. Today that is good advice when it comes to purely political issues.)

  1.         Read Isaiah 13:4-5. Where does God find His army? (All nations! God has His servants in every country.)

  1.         What country are they attacking? (They are to destroy Babylon.)

  1.         Read Isaiah 13:9-10. What is the goal of God's army? (To destroy sinners in Babylon.)

  1.         That sounds like an approach not endorsed by Jesus. When is this supposed to take place? (Signs in the heavens tell us it is on the “day of the Lord.”

  1.         Have you seen this prediction before? (Read Matthew 24:29, Revelation 6:12-14, Ezekiel 32:7-8, Amos 8:9 and Joel 2:10. These signs are well-supported by prophecy. An important point is that destroying sinners involves the final judgment.)

  1.         Why does God use signs in the heavens? (This is a "hint" that God is in charge of the universe!)

  1.         The Battle Target

  1.         Read Isaiah 13:11. The target of the amassed army is sin. Of all the sins in the world, what sins are specifically mentioned? (Arrogance and pride.)

  1.         Why do you think those sins are specifically mentioned? Why not murder, child abuse, stealing, or adultery? (Murder, stealing, and adultery are specific acts. Arrogance and pride are attitudes that bring about all sorts of sinful acts.)

  1.         Read Isaiah 13:12-13. How prevalent is pride and arrogance? (The idea that everyone will be saved is at odds with this text. This text suggests that those saved are as scarce as pure gold.)

  1.         Why would "pure gold" be a fit description? (The Church of Laodicea, the church of the end time, is counseled to stop being "luke-warm" and to trade pride for spiritual "gold refined in the fire." See Revelation 3:14-18.)

  1.         Am I correct in suggesting that this battle takes place only at the end of time? (As I mentioned last week, Isaiah has a "two-track" prophecy. Part of this describes Assyria/Babylon - here specifically Babylon. However, we are looking at the modern application. This battle of "good v. evil" is at the end of the world. Our job today is to convert, not destroy evil people.)

  1.         Pride's Origin

  1.         Let's skip ahead to Isaiah 14:3-5. If you have a proud heart, what do you most dread? (People making fun of you.)

  1.         What are God's people doing? (They are "taunting" the "King of Babylon.")

  1.         Is this appropriate? Who won the battle? (Verse 5 tells us God won. We are beneficiaries of His win.)

  1.         Read Isaiah 14:12. Who is the "morning star, son of the dawn?"

  1.         Read Revelation 22:16. Who is referred to here as "the bright Morning Star?" (Jesus.)

  1.         Is Isaiah 14:12 referring to Jesus? (No. This could not be Jesus for He was never "cast down" to earth. He went voluntarily. John 10:17-18.)

  1.         If this is not Jesus Christ, but the two use similar titles, who is this? (This must be Satan, the anti-Christ. This is Jesus' competitor. The one who wanted to be God.)

  1.         Read Isaiah 14:13-14. Does this make our identity of the "morning star" clearer? (This is further evidence that this is Satan. Who else would want to be God? Remember this is a "two-track" prophecy which also refers to a king of Babylon. However, the Babylonian kings had their own gods which they tried to avoid offending. The person described in these two texts wants to be the God of Gods.)

  1.         What sins do you see in verses 13 and 14? (Covetousness, pride, arrogance.)

  1.         Read Revelation 12:7-10. Who is "cast down" here?

  1.         Put together Isaiah 14:13-14 and Revelation 12:7-10 and tell me how it appears sin entered heaven and our earth? (Isaiah gives us the first record of sin. Satan wanted to be like God. He wanted to ascend God's throne. He convinced angels in heaven to join with him in his efforts and the result was war in heaven. Satan and his angels lost and they were hurled down to earth. The next time we see Satan is in Genesis 3.)

  1.         Read Genesis 3:5-6.  What caused Eve to sin? (Eve wanted to be like God! The sin that caused Satan to fall was the temptation he successfully used with Eve.)

  1.         What are the most important sins to address? (Pride and covetousness.)

  1.         Why don’t we address this more vigorously in church?

  1.         Let’s see if we can achieve some maturity regarding the sins of pride and covetousness. Recall in the introduction that I said that recognizing my own sins in others led me to a more mature attitude? Let’s answer a few questions:

  1.         Who do you think shows the sin of pride? Rich and powerful people?

  1.         Who do you think shows the sin of covetousness? People who are not rich and powerful?

  1.         When you hear someone in church raise the issue of pride, it that always someone who is relatively poor? Or, do rich people raise the issue?

  1.         When you think about our discussion so far, what kind of pride is being discussed - is it pride of possessions or spiritual pride?

  1.         Do relatively poor people have spiritual pride because they are not rich?

  1.         The subject of our study is Babylon. What if I told you that the name meant “Gate of the gods?” Would that suggest that the real pride problem is not in the possession of things, but rather believing you are spiritually superior to others?

  1.         Read Genesis 11:2-4. This happened just after the flood. What motivated the people to build this tower? (Pride. Notice this pride has to do with being able to survive another flood.)

  1.         We normally think of spiritual people having spiritual pride. Can wicked people suffer from spiritual pride? (Yes! Thinking you do not need God is pride.)

  1.         Friend, God is at war with the sins of arrogance, pride, and covetousness. How are you in that department? It is the genesis of sin and it is the reason for the fall of humans into sin. Pray that God will cleanse your proud and covetous heart so that it is not the cause of your fall!

  1.         Next Week: Defeat of the Assyrians.

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Lessons on Isaiah

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