Bible study was, again, awesome this past week. I feel like we’ve been filling up the time so fully with great content and conversation. I love it! Here are some highlights from the night:
– We started off the night with a non-sequitor discussion on awareness of sin, and do we consider ourselves sinners saved by grace, or saints? We live in the tension that is both: we are saints because God called us and we are saved, we are continuously being made into saints through sanctification, we are indeed sinners who are saved by grace, and we must be aware of our sin nature yet allow grace to make changes in our lives. It seemed each one of us was living on a different place on that spectrum. How about you?
– Isaiah 27 continues the more worshipy passages that Isaiah has gotten into, and mostly focused on “that day” (What day? The Day of the Lord!) when everything will be made right again. The peace of the eternal kingdom is punctuated by verse 4: “I have no wrath.”
– In Isaiah 5 the Lord compared Israel to a vineyard in which wild and unpleasant fruit grew. Here, He tends to a vineyard again, but there is now nothing wrong with the vineyard; the people are in full righteousness. There’s a bit of talk about God’s chastisement of His people, but it also asks in verse 7, “Even though Israel was chastised, were they punished as much as the unbelieving other nations?” Nope. God was still harsh, but spared them much pain.
– Oh, Leviathan, you crazy sea dragon, you! The Lord promises He will punish you and kill you. So what is Leviathan? Jump back to Job 41 and you’ll see. My translation has a footnote that says “crocodile,” which is so wrong if you read the passage. This dude is a giant, armored, fire-breathing beast of a sea monster. The Lord made him, though, which is terrifying and peaceful at the same time. But is Leviathan just a giant sea dragon? The fact that he is a serpent/dragon/snake of some kind, and the end verses of 41, seem to suggest that this thing is…Satan? Jump to Revelation 13. I think so.
– Continuing on with our mini-study, we looked at the church of Sardis. They were command to WAKE UP! from their spiritual slumber and strengthen the things that remained. The city of Sardis had a history of guards falling asleep on duty and losing the city to invaders, so they would have gotten the meaning of what Jesus was writing to them!
– Philadelphia, along with Smyrna, is a church that is not condemned for anything. They may be small but they are stewarding well the opportunities the Lord has given them. Jesus actually directly quotes from Isaiah (22:22) when He identifies Himself to the church: “‘The words of wthe holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens.”
– Laodicea is the last church, and was part of a tri-city area with Colossae and Hierapolis. Colossae was like the ski resort town, and Hierapolis had the hot springs, so when the water was transported to Laodicea from either place, by the time it got there it was…lukewarm – the accusation Jesus levels against them, though the metaphor relates to their spiritual temperature. As we decided lukewarm is gross (“Taste your own spit!”) and if Jesus is going to do the refining He needs to do, we need to have the heat turned up to sluff off the dross, and then be allowed to cool. Lukewarm doesn’t reveal any impurities.
Hope this helps! Leave your thoughts and feedback below.