Church History

Help Reading Isaiah

Here are some history dates to keep handy to help you understand much of the Old Testament. (Why not slip a copy into your Bible?)  Don’t forget, Isaiah is a book of prophecy–not historical narrative like I and II Kings.  So you need to look for visual images, Biblical principles, predictions, and read with your “gospel spectacles” on.  You also should read it like you were taught to read poetry, instead of like you would a novel or Harry Potter or even a history book.  Most of these events after 740 BC are predicted by him—even the coming of the Savior.

Why bother with this history?…..You could say to someone (or ask yourself):  Why wouldn’t you believe the Bible is true since Isaiah’s predictions all came true?  Part of the comforting assurance that we experience from reading with the right attitude and asking the right questions is the knowledge that God’s word is true, his promises are reliable, and He is always faithful to those who believe in and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.

1000 BC …David is King of a United Kingdom

740BC….Isaiah’s vision of God and call to comfort God’s people

722 BC…The Assyrian Empire (capital is Nineveh) overtake the Israel (the N. Kingdom of 10 tribes) and deport many to N. Iraq and N. Iran. 

701 BC.…Assyrians take over all the nations except Judah (the Southern Kingdom).  Jerusalem was never captured by the Assyrians.

612-605…Rise of Babylonian Empire. Its capital is on Tigris River in S. Iraq.

586 BC…Babylonians capture Jerusalem and Judah.  Deportations to S. Iraq including Daniel and friends.

539 BC….Babylon defeated by Persians under King Cyrus. Rise of 200 year empire.  Daniel is moved from Babylon to Susa.

538-22…Exiles return to Judea and temple is rebuilt. (The family line of David is preserved and continued, waiting for Jesus’ birth)

486 BC….Nehemiah rebuilds Jerusalem’s wall and city revitalized.

331 BC.. Rise of  Greek Empire (take over Persians).  Greek becomes the international language of business.

27 BC to 395 AD ….Roman Empire

Psalm 28

The LORD is My Strength and My Shield—Of David

To you, O LORD, I call:  my rock, be not deaf to me, lest, if you be silent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit.

Hear the voice of my pleas for mercy when I cry to you for help, when I lift up my hands toward your most holy sanctuary.

Reading Proverbs everyday like we have this last month gives us principles on which to live wisely.  Proverbs remind me of the way less direct people talk.  They give examples or tell stories or talk around what they are really trying to get across. Not that that is bad communication; it is just less direct and to the point.  Like some less patient people, the commands of scripture are more directive!  Do not commit adultery.  Do not bear false witness.  Flee sexual immorality (I Cor. 6:18). Contrast these directives with Proverbs 7:6-27:  For at the window of my house I have looked out through my lattice, and I have seen among the simple, I have perceived among the youths, a young man lacking sense, passing along the street near her corner, taking the road to her house in the twilight, in the evening, at the time of night and darkness….Her house is the way to Sheol, going down to the chambers of death.

In all of these, sexual purity is the point.  No matter the style or the time or culture from which it was written.  In this case, from Moses to Solomon to Paul.  Look how different their circumstances, cultures, and times were.  Moses was wandering in the desert with a homeless people, Solomon was one of the world’s richest kings, and Paul was a missionary to non-Jews within the Roman Empire.  Inerrancy of scripture, though, teaches us that all the Bible is from God in some mysterious way–whether directive or not.

My point is that there are differences in style among the writers of the Bible.  Naturally that would be so.  But, that doesn’t mean interpreting its meaning is open to individual style and preference or cultural ways.  We need to remember this when reading through the Bible and seeking its truth for our life and knowledge of God.

At any rate, reading the Bible in our own language for ourselves is a hallmark of the Protestant Reformation.  It is a treasure to hold on to and pass on to our children and grandchildren.

And reading the Bible for ourselves shows us our need for mercy.  Who could ever really live as wisely as Proverbs calls us to do?  Who could ever be entirely sexually pure in mind, body, and desire?  That is why we need a Savior and why we need mercy from a just and sovereign God.  David sees this in Psalm 28.  He is crying out for the Holy Spirit to strengthen him and stir his heart to remember His Savior.

I hope He will stir our hearts today–to read His word, to remain sexually pure, to tell the truth.

Let’s read Psalms this month.