Do You Take Your Burdens to the Lord?
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Background Passage: Isaiah 32:1-39:8
Lesson Passage: Isaiah 37:10-12, 14-20, 33-37
Introduction: Stylistically and thematically, this week’s lesson falls into two sections. Chapters Thirty-two through Thirty-five continue the themes of the previous lessons, and Chapter Thirty-seven through Thirty-nine provide a brief historical interlude that will introduce the second half of the prophecy (Chapters Forty through Sixty-six).
For several chapters (beginning as early as Chapter
Thirteen), Isaiah recorded God’s complaint against the nations of the
Chapters Thirty-six through Thirty-nine recount important
historical information concerning the reign of Hezekiah, king of
After the Assyrian defeat, Hezekiah grew ill, and appeared
to stand at the threshold of death. He
asked God to spare his life, and the Lord granted the monarch’s request. Unfortunately, during the next fifteen years,
Hezekiah made some serious mistakes.
Among the grave errors of these last years, Hezekiah allowed pagan
Outline of the Background Passage:
I. The Reign of the Coming King (32:1-20)
A. The Righteous King (vv. 1-8): These verses clearly have messianic significance. The coming King will rule in justice, and serve as a shelter for his people. Like streams of water and a great rock, he will nourish and protect. He will bring great change to the people.
1. He will open eyes and ears, in contrast to the pronouncements of Isaiah 29:9-10 and 31:1 (v. 3).
2. Hasty men will have understanding, and the tongues of stammerers will speak clearly (v. 4).
3. The fool and the scoundrel will no longer be seen as honorable (vv. 5-8).
coming doom of complacent women in
1. These women will come to catastrophe soon (v. 10).
2. A call to repentance (vv. 11-14)
3. A promise of future restoration (vv. 15-20): The Spirit will be poured out, and the people will dwell in the land in peace and security (v. 18). Great fruitfulness will accompany this settled peace of this time.
A Cry for Mercy (34:1-24): Some commentators think this
chapter reflects the repentant lament of the people of
the presence of treacherous and cruel people in
will lay waste to the nation (vv. 7-14): The sinners in
C. God will not judge the upright (vv. 15-24): Such a man will dwell in the heights with God and will find safety and sustenance. Notice, in verses twenty and following, the emphasis Isaiah placed on what the people will see.
1. They will see the beauty of the Lord (v. 17).
2. They will not see captivity (vv. 18-19).
will see a restored
III. A Final Contrast Between the Destinies of the Wicked and the Godly (34:1-35:10)
A. God’s judgment on the nations (34:1-17)
1. A summons for judgment (vv. 1-2): God called the nations to his bar of judgment for a final reckoning.
2. Prediction of a great slaughter (vv. 3-4): The enemies of God will perish in disgrace. Their slaughter will be so great that the survivors cannot bury all of the bodies. A great stench will arise and the mountains will flow with blood.
will make his sword drunk with the blood of his enemies (vv. 5-7): Vivid imagery creates a sickening impression
upon any reader of this section. The
utter destruction of
will so completely destroy
B. The salvation of the godly (35:1-10)
1. The wilderness, as a token of the Lord’s mercy, will blossom like a rose (vv. 1-2).
2. Jehovah admonished the prophet to strengthen and comfort the righteous (vv. 3-4). The consolation of the Lord’s people rests in the confidence in the justice and saving power of God.
3. A catalog of the blessings of the Lord (vv. 5-10): The blind will see, the deaf will hear, the lame will walk, the mute will sing, streams will break out in the desert, a highway of holiness will be opened, and the ransomed of the Lord will return in everlasting joy.
The Assyrian Threat to
Assyrian conquest of the fortified cities of
1. The occasion of the conquest (v. 1): The “fourteenth year” probably refers to the period in which Hezekiah ruled as sole monarch. Recall that he had governed as regent with his father for several years.
threatening speech (vv. 3-22): This pagan military official mocked
B. Hezekiah’s response to Rabshakeh (37:1-38)
1. The king’s humility before the Lord (vv.1-2)
2. The king’s inquiry to the Prophet Isaiah (vv. 3-4)
3. Isaiah’s message of assurance to Hezekiah (vv. 5-7)
continued blasphemy against God and threats toward
C. The king’s prayer (vv. 14-20): Note the God-centered prayer of Hezekiah. Clearly, the king infused his prayer with great personal pathos; yet, he disciplines his prayer to focus on the glory of God.
D. The defeat of the Assyrians (vv. 21-38)
1. God’s assurance that God has designed, long ago, the destruction of the Assyrians (vv. 21-29).
gave instructions for
pledged to defend
E. The angel of the Lord killed 180,000 Assyrian soldiers, and, some time later, the sons of Sennacherib murdered their father (vv. 36-38).
V. Hezekiah’s Illness, Miraculous Healing, and Final Years (38:1-39:8)
A. Hezekiah’s grave illness and impending death (38:1-3)
B. God’s answer to Hezekiah’s prayer for healing (38:4-8)
1. God added fifteen years to the king’s life (vv. 4-6).
2. God moved the sundial as a token of his favor toward Hezekiah (vv. 7-8).
C. The king’s prayer of thanksgiving (38:9-21)
1. A reflection of Hezekiah’s fear when he learned that he would die (vv. 9-18).
2. The king’s rejoicing when God spared his life (vv. 19-21)
D. Hezekiah’s foolish courting of the Babylonians (39:1-8)
1. Hezekiah’s naivety about the Babylonians (vv. 1-2)
2. Isaiah’s inquiry about the king’s activities with the Babylonians (vv. 3-4)
3. The Lord’s postponed judgment on Hezekiah (vv. 5-8)