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April 26, 2007

Isaiah: What I'm studying and what I'm learning

I heard it recommended that to really study a passage of God's Word it is good to photocopy those pages from your Bible and mark them all up as you study. Well, I've modified the method a bit but I get the text of the passage or book from, put it in two columns and number the pages and then print it off. I'm excited as I'm starting to study Isaiah in this way. I formatted the first 23 chapters of Isaiah and later I plan to add more sheets to my binder. I also like to use different coloured pencil crayons as well as pens or pencils to mark up the passages.
I consulted a Bible survey book to see what others say are the main themes and divisions of the book. A big thing I try to observe are patterns in the text: reoccurring characters, words and themes.

As I've started to observe the text one huge thing I'm seeing is that the people of Judah remind me of the people in Alberta, Canada. Actually, if I think carefully, maybe they would remind me of my carnal self. I see parallels in the actions of the people of Isaiah's day and the actions of people "in the last days" (2 Tim 3:2).
When people hear that I read my Bible or believe in a Creator, they automatically categorize me as "religious". If I get a chance, I like to tell them that religion isn't what the God of the Bible is after. Sometimes they'll agree with me, but I don't think they quite know yet what I am saying. Maybe I should start telling them that in a way, religion is easy compared to what the true God seeks.
What God wants from us is not empty religious motions, whether the futile, abominable sacrifices of the people of Judah (1:13) or my co-worker's belief that she can sin and continue in sin and be OK as long as she "asks Jesus for forgiveness" for those sins which she isn't trying to quit!
He wants a relationship where we humbly and willingly obey. There is a giant contrast between what God said about Judah at that time "they have rebelled against Me...they have turned away backward" (Is 1:2,4) and that future day where people from all nations will say "Come, and let us go up to the...Lord....He will teach us His ways and we shall walk in His paths" (Is 2:2).
Like Adam and Eve who walked with God in the cool of the day in the Garden, God wants to walk with us, talk with us, and have a friendship with us. Adam and Eve had nothing to hide until they sinned.
It is so much easier for us* (in the flesh) to perform religious motions
than to consistently walk in fellowship with a holy Creator God.
It is easier to make my pastor or parents happy
than to be in true fellowship with the Lord.
It would be far simpler to confess to a priest
than to stand always "naked" (Hebrews 4) in God's sight.
If a person told me how I should act and what I should do, I might even feel like I'd succeeded...
but when my standard is the holy character of my Creator, I know I would never make it on my own.

What does he see in our hearts when we come to Him? Are we "proud and lofty" (2:12), "against the Lord" (3:8), refusing and rebelling (1:20)? Or are we willling and obedient (1:19)?
If anyone knows of a good commentary on the book of Isaiah I'd like to know what a good resource would be.

*I'm talking about believers...talking about fellowship with God (which can be broken), not relationship (we can't lose our adoption into His family).


  1. Shouldn't there be a Warren Weirsbe book? One of the "Be" books like we read at the BI? I think it is "Be Comforted" Hope you have a great day! How is your practicum going?

  2. that's a good idea linds. thanks.
    my practicum went ok. i finished on thurs and it really opened my eyes to things that go on in printing presses/beyond my work. it is nice to be done school tho, just convocation left. this year has passed quickly.
    i hope u have a good day too.

  3. Thanks! I've been wanting to do a personal, in-depth study of Matthew and printing off the pages like this with the scripture in a double column is such a great idea. I want to highlight and underline and colour and make notes and I didn't really want to do that to my Bible. :)

  4. this has been a helpful method for me, except that sometimes i'd like way more room next to the passages