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


Commentary
By
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


Sunday, November 16, 2014

On 11-23-14, Ezekiel 47:13-23 will be our Adult Sunday School/Uniform Series/International Sunday School Lesson herein is my commentary. This lesson is known by some as A Transformation Continued or Inheritance Marks a New Beginning

A Transformation Continued     
Or
Inheritance Marks a New Beginning
Ezekiel 47:13-23
International Sunday School Lesson
November 23, 2014
                                                                                 


Commentary
By
Jed Greenough



Hey, let’s cut to the chase!  I freely admit that no other book of the Bible challenges me as much as the book of Ezekiel. 
My best belief is that as I have been saying, I believe these latter chapters deal with Israel having to hold up their end of the bargain after they came out of exile and they did not.  They never built the temple described in the book of Ezekiel.
In order for the temple to be rebuilt and sacrifices to resume God would have to think about people in two different ways and that would have to include His son, don’t you think?
Yes, God does think of Israel “differently” than the rest of us in a way.  Yes, God does keep His promises we cannot forget this but this is keeping with His character is it not?  Paul affirms this for us in Romans and so we must never forget any of that.  But you have to assess the totality of Ezekiel and the totality of Ezekiel and watch speaking in absolutes.  And the latter is something I am not prepared to do.
Have you ever gone through scripture that deals with prophecy and visions and jumped around in both “space and time”?  You know you have and as student of these letters it has been just recently as we have been in Jeremiah and Ezekiel.  Please, keep that in mind but know that despite literal or figurative scripture God is always the same, He does not change like the wind. 
Interpret scripture with that in mind.  God will not forget Israel, He promised He would not.  At some point the division of land must occur in this location.

For Discussion:
1.      Discuss how difficult this type of scripture can be?
2.      Discuss how we need to agree to pleasantly disagree.
3.      Discuss the tribes in brief histories.
4.      Discuss the problem between Judah and Israel.
5.      Discuss verses 22-23.
6.      Find and show an illustration showing where each tribes’ land would be located.
7.      Discuss when you think this might occur in the future.


Upcoming Lessons
11-30-14   Let Zion Rejoice or Good News Brings Rejoicing, Isaiah 52:1-2, 7-12
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