Lesson 6

Playing God

(Isaiah 13 & 14)
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Introduction: Some people really irritate me! How about you, do you find that a certain type of person irritates you? When I was first married my wife and I were invited out to lunch. 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. Our church devotes part of the worship service to prayer requests and praises. I am often in charge of this and I find, to my great irritation, that some members use this time to make spiritual exhortations. It is not a prayer request or a praise, but a little "Let me tell the rest of you how you should live." Arghh! Then I think, "I love to teach and preach and tell people how they should live!" We notice our sins in other people. Our lesson this week is about pride. Let's jump into a very relevant study!

  1. Battle Cry!


    1. Read Isaiah 13:1-3. What is an oracle? (A word from God.)


      1. 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.)


      2. 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.)


      3. 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.)


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


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


      1. How will we know that day is at hand? (Notice the signs in the heavens.)


        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.)


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

  1. The Battle Target


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


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


    2. 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 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 in their earthly possessions for spiritual "gold refined in the fire." See Revelation 3:14-18.)


    3. When does this battle take place? (As I mentioned last week, Isaiah has a "two-track" prophecy. Part of this describes Assyria/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.)


  2. 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.")


    2. Read Isaiah 14:9. What does this suggest about world leaders? (That their final resting place is "below." Not a good sign for them.)


    3. Read Isaiah 14:10-11. I like the way the New Living Translation renders the last part of verse 11: "Now maggots are your sheet and worms your blanket." Note the picture here. God's people taunt "the King of Babylon" in his defeat. When the King of Babylon enters death those leaders who died before him taunt him with (v.10) "you have become weak, as we are." Is this really happening? (No. Without making a detour into this hotly contested area, the two leading theories of "the afterlife" for the wicked are "soul sleep" (that you are unconscious in the grave until the Second Coming) and hell (where you are eternally frying). A conscious "maggot/worm bed" is not one of the leading theories.)


      1. Aside from being laughed at, what other thing do the proud fear? (Losing the basis for their pride. Here the proud "King of Babylon" has no more power. He loses the basis for his pride.)


      2. If this is an allegory, what is God's point? (That pride comes to nothing (or maybe just worms) when you die.)


    4. 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.)


      2. 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.)


    5. 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 Babylon 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.)


    6. 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. As a quick aside, what caused Eve to sin? ( Genesis 3:5-6. Eve wanted to be like God! The sin that caused Satan to fall was the temptation he successfully used with Eve.)


    7. What, then, is the "granddaddy" of all sins? Or, as Saddam Hussein would say, "the mother of all sins?" (Pride and covetousness.)


      1. Why don't we address this more vigorously in our churches?


      2. For example, in our church we have a "not very prominent" member who is involved in adultery. The "Board of Elders" is right on top of that situation. At the same time, the sin of pride is never addressed. Which of those sins is worse? (There is some justification for the common practice of churches treating adultery as a special sin. 1 Corinthians 6:18 suggests that adultery is a unique sin. But the real reason we do not more actively address pride is that it is such a common sin. If pride were addressed as vigorously as adultery, the Board of Elders would be visiting me!)


    8. 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 heart so that it is not the cause of your fall!


  3. Next Week: Defeat of the Assyrians.

Discussion

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