Biblical Theology: Major Prophets | God’s faithfulness

by | May 21, 2024

Biblical Theology: Major Prophets | God’s faithfulness

Today, Adrianna and Austin are exploring the major prophets and seeing God’s plan for His people from all nations. While these books occur in the context immediately preceding and during the Exile, God’s faithfulness permeates the whole thing. We see that God has not forgotten His people or His covenant with them. We see that while He uses the nations for judgment, He remains faithful to Israel and will deliver them from the consequences of their sin. God’s faithfulness extends also to the nations, who have been a part of His plan from the beginning.

We hope you are enjoying this series and that you are sharing with your family and friends, but more importantly, we hope that you are reading and praying along with us. Time in God’s word is never wasted!

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Episode Transcript

Grace and peace, friends. Welcome back to United We Pray. Austin Suter back with Adriana Anderson for some more Bible study. How are you doing today, sister? Adrianna Anderson (00:21.982) Doing fabulous. Austin (00:24.407) I’m glad to be back, glad to be doing this with you, glad to be in the major profits. Adrianna Anderson (00:29.822) Yes. Austin (00:32.645) We looked last week at the exile and what that was like for God’s people in the books of Daniel and Esther, and we looked at what the end of the exile was in Ezra and Nehemiah. Today we’ll be looking at Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, and Ezekiel. So these books roughly follow the timeline starting in Isaiah in the days preceding Sennacherib’s siege of Jerusalem, and they end with, you know, after the exile and the Chaldean sacking of Jerusalem, Ezekiel’s ministry actually occurs in exile. These books are not so much looking at the history itself so much as they’re providing us divine commentary on why these things are happening and what God is doing in the big picture. And given just the scope of the text we’ll be looking at, we’ll be exploring these books thematically. So we’ll be looking at sin, judgment, God’s plan for the nations, and then the salvation that God promises through these four books. So Adriana, unfortunately, we have to start with sin because that’s the cause of this whole mess. What are we talking about when we’re talking about sin that led to the exile? Adrianna Anderson (01:33.182) So, you know, to your point, Austin, it’s sad that we have to talk about sin, but unfortunately, that’s where the… issues of life stem from. But specifically, you know, the Lord is very clear when it comes to the sin of idolatry and he doesn’t cut any corners. Some verses that come to mind when thinking about how the Lord detests idolatry specifically, there’s a passage in Isaiah one, I think it’s verses four through six that describe or Isaiah is describing sickness as being full of wounds and there’s no soundness in it. That paints quite a picture and then you have Jer… Yeah, then you have Jeremiah I think the second chapter the 20th verse describes it as whoredom again another very strong picture and painting of what it is and then Ezekiel 16 actually refers to Israel’s idolatry as being like an unfaithful wife and we know this is the Lord speaking through these prophets, but These descriptions are pretty stark, but they’re very clear. Austin (02:43.333) And when God is describing through these prophets about Israel’s sin, he often speaks about Israel as a whole, but then he narrows in on some specific people and there’s some delineation about who is at fault. So what kind of detail do we get about who is at fault for Israel’s sin? Adrianna Anderson (03:01.182) So we know based on the whole context of scripture that God always holds everyone accountable for their sin, including and especially leaders. So for example, there’s a reference in Isaiah 43, 28 that talks about the transgression of the priests as they were leading in the sanctuary. So they are in God’s house, but they are transgressing against God’s ordinances and what he has told them to do. Then there’s another passage in Jeremiah 22, I believe it’s 18 through 19, and it talks about condemning the kings for their sins. But as I said in the beginning, we know each person is and will ultimately be held responsible for their own sin, and we get another glimpse of that in Ezekiel 18 26. So God is very specific about this this area. Austin (03:58.949) So we see this pattern of Israel rejecting God and turning aside to follow idols and acting like the nations around them instead of being a light to the nations, which is what they were called to. So what will God do with that? Adrianna Anderson (04:12.926) So, you know, this is nothing new for those that have been listening to this podcast with us, you know, for the duration here we see again, Israel repeatedly turns against God to follow after idols. So that should not be shocking to our listeners at this point. But as a result of this, and because the Lord cannot let sin go unpunished, they’re forced into expulsion from the land and back into exile. And so we see an example of this in Isaiah, I think it’s 36 through 37 when Israel literally dodges a bullet for their sin, but then they continue to sin and then you have this enemy of Israel called the Chaldeans. They basically finish what the Assyrians, another enemy that is raised up, has started. And we see examples of that, I think, in Jeremiah 50 to 52. Austin (05:08.005) And so the ultimate consequence for the sin and for this idolatry is exile. And what is the effect of exile on God’s people? Is it just like they had to move down the street when they wouldn’t have preferred to? Or what’s it like? Adrianna Anderson (05:22.078) So, you know, Austin, as we read in scripture, we repeatedly see the consequences for their sin and ours is dire. So they didn’t just move on down the road or move on down the street. You know, their lives were uprooted and they lived under evil regimes and exile. So this was not a party. And one of the things that we’re reminded of in the Book of Lamentations is how deep their suffering was. We get another glimpse of their tragedy in Ezekiel chapter 10 when we see the Lord’s glory actually leaving the temple and this was a devastating to Israel devastating Austin (06:00.805) Yeah, I mean, you see in episodes we’ve previously covered when the glory of the Lord enters the temple after it’s built and how it’s this huge, you know, consummation of God being with his people and it’s being undone in these books and it’s just, it’s so heartbreaking. And something I hadn’t noticed exactly in this way before is that the point of these books, like the whole point is that… Adrianna Anderson (06:17.95) Alright. Yeah. Austin (06:28.709) is the punishment that God’s people are receiving for their sin. But each of these prophets also has warnings for the surrounding nations and they’re very specific, like warnings to specific tribes and specific nations and ethnicities for their sin. So it’s not that God is removing his favor from Israel and placing it on the Chaldeans. They’re just part of his whole plan. So what is God’s plan for the nation in these books? Adrianna Anderson (06:55.134) So. Again, just to remind our audience idolatry for any nation will not go unpunished and scripture is clear on that But just because god uses other nations to judge his people israel doesn’t mean that they’re therefore exempt from god’s judgment themselves For example, we see in isaiah He brings specific judgments or specific judgments are brought against israel and I think we see that in isaiah chapters 13 to 20 Isaiah calls out judgments against many nations like Babylon, Assyria, Moab, Egypt, and Sidon. Those are all listed and there’s others. And then Jeremiah in chapters 46 to 51 lists judgments against the nations of the Ammonites, the Philistines, the Moabites, the Edomites, and Babylon. And then finally in Ezekiel, we see judgments against Tyre and Egypt. And then you also see the laments for them in chapters 25 to 32. And there’s lamenting because it’s sad. I mean, all of this whole context is just, it’s sad. It’s very sad. Austin (08:06.341) It is sad and there’s a lot of judgment in these books, but what’s interesting, I mean, when you read them closely, they’re also shot through with mercy. How do we see that for God’s people and for the nations, even those who are spoken of, as you just mentioned, in future judgments? Adrianna Anderson (08:24.99) So Austin, we know that the Lord is so very merciful. He’s deeply compassionate towards people. I mean, my word, we see that even in the midst of what we walk through in culture today. You know, if God’s judgment was just unleashed, we would all be destroyed. And so as we walk and read through these deeply hard to read judgments, we do see glimpses of God’s mercy permeate. the nation of Israel, their promise that their exile won’t be forever. We see this in passages in, I think it’s Isaiah 2 through 4. You’ve got a note to that in Jeremiah 33 and Ezekiel 37. And we hear phrases like, call to me and I will answer you. Then there’s another phrase that says, there shall be heard again the voice of gladness and the voices of those who sing. Another reference says, for I will restore the fortunes of the land as at first. And then you see another example where it says, behold, I will take the people of Israel from the nations amongst which they have gone and will gather them from all around and bring them to their own land. And I will make them one nation in the land on the mountains of Israel. And these words from the Lord through their prophets paint a beautiful picture of God’s mercy and grace. I love it. Austin (09:52.229) that and it’s so clear from passages like that that you just mentioned that God is doing something more than just moving people around. The exile is serving a larger purpose and the deliverance of people from exile will also serve a greater purpose. And there are a few themes that emerge in these books that I wanted to take a look at as we think about God’s deliverance and mercy. And the first is the Day of the Lord. What is the Day of the Lord? Adrianna Anderson (09:58.526) All right. Adrianna Anderson (10:15.454) So Isaiah chapter 2 paints a picture of what is called the day of the Lord and some of our listeners may be very familiar with that but for those that are not this day is a reminder that the cycle of sin and judgment has an end date. Praise God. God has a plan to establish his plans forever and then Isaiah 27 tells us that God will one day kill the evil one. Hallelujah. An important reminder is that all the nations that experience God’s judgment will also receive His mercy. There is a beautiful… verse in Isaiah 56 if I could read that for our listeners just two verses really quickly and it’s verses six through seven in Isaiah 56 and this is what it says and the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord to minister to him to love the name of the Lord and to be his servants. Everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it and holds fast my covenant These I will bring to my holy mountain and make them joyful in my house of prayer Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar For my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples and I love that last those last three words for all peoples Austin (11:41.477) Yeah, as we keep seeing in the series, it’s not an afterthought. It’s central to God’s mission. So there’s this idea of the Day of the Lord, as you just mentioned about, you know, history’s end date. What about the servant of the Lord? Adrianna Anderson (11:47.358) correct. Adrianna Anderson (11:55.646) So there are several references to the servant of the Lord throughout the book of Isaiah. And when Isaiah introduces this term, it seems more like an ideal to strive for. But then we see there’s an actual person described in Isaiah 9 as a child being born who will bring peace. And then in Isaiah 11, we see him described as a son of Jesse who will perfectly rule. In Isaiah 42, we see the Lord’s servant will deal gently with his people and bring justice to the nations. And then sadly, in Isaiah 52, we see that he will also suffer greatly. And throughout this book, we see repeated reminders that God is the only savior and the only hope of Israel and humanity. So remember, it wasn’t immediately clear that all these promises represented a single figure. We would have to wait to learn that a righteous son from the line of Jesse would be born in the flesh that he would suffer and die and that he would ultimately bring about a kingdom filled with people from every tongue tribe and nation and of this kingdom there will be no end. Hallelujah. I know. Austin (13:09.381) I mean, it just gives you goosebumps to think about the specificity as it grows over time that God is giving people these glimpses. And it seems too much for one person to be the answer to all of these. And it is too much for one person unless that person is God. And that’s the riddle in these books and why a book like Mark so closely mirrors Isaiah in how it speaks about the Son of Man coming to be. And it’s just… Adrianna Anderson (13:18.077) Yeah. Adrianna Anderson (13:26.59) That’s right. Adrianna Anderson (13:39.23) Yeah. That’s right. At least you’re speechless, literally. Austin (13:39.533) It’s, it’s, yeah. There’s no words for it. There’s no words to think about. Austin (13:49.349) It really does, which is inconvenient when you’re hosting a podcast. But we’ve got the day of the Lord, the servant of the Lord. The whole issue of idolatry and being separated from God and falling under the judgment of God in the form of exile is in the context of covenant. Israel is unfaithful to the covenant and suffers covenant consequences for that. And then in Jeremiah, God starts talking about a new covenant. What’s he up to there? Adrianna Anderson (14:19.262) So, as we know, Israel was continually found guilty in the eyes of God for their unfaithfulness. No surprise. Jeremiah 31 gives us a picture where we see that they didn’t just need to do, they didn’t just need to get their acts together, basically. They didn’t need to just get it together. But that a new and better covenant was needed. This new covenant was also an answer to God’s covenant with David. And we see that in Jeremiah 33, 14 through 26. But this covenant would also include a new kingdom where God would write his law on his people’s hearts. Wow. Austin (15:01.765) Yeah, as with the servant of the Lord, the nearness of God to his people, and this in the context of judgment. So the people are undergoing God’s judgment for their sin, and while they’re getting the spanking, while they’re in timeout, God is telling them that a day is coming when he will make things better than they have ever been. It’s just, it’s unbelievable, the mercy that God offers his people. despite their sin. Adrianna Anderson (15:34.014) Absolutely. Austin (15:36.293) The next one I wanted to ask about is the New Jerusalem. So this is related, as you have said, that a new king is coming who’s going to usher in a new covenant. There’s gonna be a new city as well. What’s going on there? Adrianna Anderson (15:50.174) So in the book of Ezekiel, he basically is painting a clear picture to them, the nation of Israel, as to how the Lord in a vision brings him to this land of Israel, this new land. And he describes in detail the rooms in the temple, like the inner court, the chambers, the gates, places for offerings and more. It’s very specific and very detailed. New Jerusalem will have new everything, including a river of life. But Austin, the most important part of New Jerusalem is that God himself will be there because his glory returns as seen in chapter 43 and the culmination includes in chapter 48 that the name of the city will be called the Lord is there. Wow. Beautiful. Austin (16:41.093) I mean, I get choked up reading it. It’s so moving to think that these people who are in exile, who have been expelled from the land that was promised to them in covenant with God, they would have thought that they had lost the Lord forever. They would have thought that their removal from the land where God’s presence dwelled in the temple, they see the Lord leaving the temple through this vision of Ezekiel, and then through it all, they’re promised this… Adrianna Anderson (16:44.638) No. Adrianna Anderson (16:56.286) That’s right. Austin (17:08.869) Return of the Lord to be with them and naming the city the Lord is there. It’s just it’s What mercy Adrianna Anderson (17:13.79) Yeah. Yes. What love. Austin (17:18.309) Okay, what love? So, related to that and the Lord being with them, there’s this theme of God’s presence. And we’ve already seen in judgment God’s presence leaving the land, leaving the temple. What is promised in the future for God’s presence with his people? Adrianna Anderson (17:34.334) So we’ve again, we’ve repeatedly seen indictments and judgments against Israel and their leaders. But Ezekiel 34 gives us a glimpse into God’s charge against the shepherds of Israel who should have been taking care of the flock, but instead we’re devouring them. And obviously this is a sad picture of leadership abuse. So shepherds were to be examples of God’s heart for his people and they weren’t. So God said he himself would shepherd his people. God was reminding his people that he would be there for them. And then finally in Isaiah 56, we see that God will bring all people to himself. And I just want to shout for joy because what a wonderful savior he is. Man. Austin (18:21.125) Yeah, and I mean, that’s us. I mean, that’s us. We’re not, you know. Adrianna Anderson (18:24.638) That’s us. Austin (18:30.533) You know, BC Jews, we’re, you know, yeah. God is faithful. I mean, that’s the message of these books, right? God is faithful. Adrianna Anderson (18:33.374) Right. Adrianna Anderson (18:37.47) I know. Yes. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. Austin (18:45.509) Well, friends, I hope you’re reading along with us. We keep saying that, but, you know, we’re doing this read through the Bible and looking at God’s plan for the nations and God’s plan for his people and how he merges those two in mercy and calls all people to himself, as Adriana just mentioned. Don’t think of that as an impersonal thing that happened in the past or some distant thing that God’s doing in the future. God’s doing that now. And we get to be a part of it. And it’s it’s God’s mercy and grace towards us. And it’s. for our joy that we get to be a part of it. So I hope you’re enjoying this series. I hope you’re reading along with us. And I hope you’re sharing this series with your friends because we can’t read the Bible enough, right? Adrianna Anderson (19:27.742) That’s right. That’s right. Austin (19:30.309) We were even lamenting off camera the other day about the end of this series in a few weeks and how bummed we were for it. But it’s not like we have to be recording a podcast to read our Bibles, right? Adrianna Anderson (19:35.902) And then… Adrianna Anderson (19:43.23) Right, exactly, absolutely. We get to do that anytime we want. Austin (19:48.357) And, I mean, just as an aside, it’s reminded me of the joy of reading the Bible with other people. Adrianna Anderson (19:54.718) Yeah, in community, that’s right. Austin (19:56.805) Right, just getting to sit down with a friend and read the Word of God and what a mercy that is and what grace God provides to his people through that. We always say, united we pray as a ministry of no new ideas. And so our unoriginal idea for this series is read the Bible with a friend and see what God shows you through it. And he is faithful. Adrianna Anderson (20:15.102) That’s right. That’s right. It reminds me of that verse that says, taste and see that the Lord is good. And that’s what we get to do when we read scripture and especially with brothers and sisters in Christ. Austin (20:23.077) Yes. Austin (20:28.165) So good. Well, Adriana, do you want to join me in praying for our listeners and thanking God for his promises from this word? Adrianna Anderson (20:35.902) Sure, I’d be happy to. Awesome, okay. Austin (20:37.861) All right, I can open us. Father, thank you for the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, and Ezekiel, and for the glimpses of mercy we get in them, and even the specific, I mean very specific prophecies we get of your provision to us in Christ. And even as we think about these passages which speak of exile and consequence for sin, we are just reminded of how kind you are, and how merciful you are, and how faithful you are. So we pray that your people would be people of the book. people who are in your word often, who are reading it by themselves and with others, who are familiar with your character and familiar with your promises. May we read this and learn more of you and find you faithful. In Jesus’ name, amen. Adrianna Anderson (21:28.222) Father, thank you so much for these faithful men who spoke your word with boldness and clarity and fervor. Lord, in the hopes and desires to call your people back to themselves. And Father, I just thank you for your faithfulness to all of us that endures throughout the generations. Father, help us to use the truths that we’ve learned through these prophets to draw closer to your son. We pray these things in Jesus’ name, amen. Austin (22:01.925) Amen. Well Adriana, thank you so much for your expertise, for the time you’ve spent off camera in God’s Word and the ways you use that to bless God’s people. We’re just really grateful you’ve been a part of this series and shared your wisdom with us. And friends, just as I mentioned and as a reminder, hope you’re enjoying this series, hope you’re sharing it with family and friends, and hope you keep listening. Grace and peace. Adrianna Anderson (22:29.214) Grace and peace.

 

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    United? We Pray is a ministry to help Christians pray and think about racial strife. We want to encourage Christians amid the strife to rely upon God in prayer. So our prayers can be informed, we strive to learn and write about race, racism and its effects, and theology. We aim to be biblical, beneficial, and clear in all our efforts. While we’re burdened for all racial strife, we focus on racial strife between Christians because of the unique privilege and stewardship God has given his people: to bear witness to Him and to love all people, especially one another (Gal. 6:10).

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