The Book of Isaiah Bible Study Chapter 65 Part 1

Isaiah

Our last reading for this week is Isaiah 65:1-7

The children of Israel, through Moses and the prophets, were given much revelation and instruction. They did not heed this revelation and fell into disobedience. Even though they had had the truth revealed to them, they pursued other gods. In this chapter Isaiah contrasts this to the nations. The nations were steeped in idolatry. They did not receive commandments or instructions from the prophets. Nevertheless, they responded to G-d’s revelation – the general revelation of G-d which can be found in creation (Roms 1:20). In creation (whether in the heavens or on earth) we see the order of G-d. Nothing is random or produced by chance. Chaos cannot produce something ordered and beautiful – even over billions of years, as so many falsely teach (evolutionists etc). 

v1: Sought: People (the nations) inquired after G-d, they investigated Him. They understood that because of the order that they saw in creation that there must be a Creator. 

  • Did not ask for Me: These are people who were not told to seek G-d, but nevertheless they responded – inquiring after and seeking Him. 
  • I was found by those who did not seek Me: Their objective was not to worship G-d, but nevertheless they found the G-d of Israel – they were able to discern who the One true G-d is.
  • Here I am: Because of their inquiry and because they were seeking G-d, He revealed Himself to them. 
  • (A nation that did not call upon My name): They did not call upon G-d’s name because they did not initially know His name. 

v2: I have stretched out My hands all day long to a rebellious people: This is a verse in contrast to Isaiah 65:1. G-d did not hold out His hands to the nations, yet they responded to Him. He did hold out His hands to the children of Israel (He gave them the Torah and the prophets) but they rejected His revelation and rebelled against Him. 

  • Rebellious: This same word is found in Deut 21:18-21 and speaks of a son who is utterly rebellious, a son who would not receive and submit to instruction. This is how G-d describes Israel – as a rebellious and unteachable people.
  • Walk: This is a word of lifestyle. Their behaviour is not good. 
  • According to their own thoughts: They were given G-d’s revelation (His thoughts) but they rejected G-d’s thoughts and ways and chose to live instead according to their own thoughts and desires. Living in this disobedient way put them exactly where the enemy wanted them to be – in a place of spiritual weakness where they would be easy prey for the enemy. 

v3: A people: Still speaking about Israel.

  • Provoke Me to anger continually to My face: The people knew what G-d desired but despite knowing they cognitively and wilfully desired to rebel against Him.
  • Continually: All day long. This is a word that shows consistency, and some say that it also shows intent. They wanted their actions to make G-d angry.
  • Sacrifice in gardens, and burn incense on altars of brick: Most scholars agree that this means that instead of making sacrifices and burning incense in the way that G-d commanded them to, they sacrificed according to the style or methodology of the nations. They chose to worship in what they deemed a more “socially acceptable manner” rather than hearing and obeying the instructions of worship that G-d had given to them.

v4: Spend the night in the tombs: They keep watch over the dead bodies. This is a clear reference to the honouring of the dead (see Mark 12:27). We serve the G-d of the living. Those who embrace a covenantal relationship with G-d are alive – even if their bodies are dead. 

  • The broth of abominable things: Their food or sustenance is filled with the foods that G-d had forbidden them to eat. 

v5: I am holier than you: They consider themselves to be in a holy state, more holy than other people. They pridefully consider themselves better than others.

  • A fire that burns all the day: G-d is continuously and consistently angry with those who set themselves up above others, those who believe that they are holier or better than others spiritually, those who consider themselves set apart. G-d has not called us to set ourselves apart from others in our thoughts and attitudes. This is an attitude that goes against the call of doing ministry and being a blessing to others.

v6: It is written before Me: Because of their attitude and behaviour it is clear to G-d what He needs to do in regard to them. 

  • I will not keep silent, but will repay: We can understand this to be saying that G-d is going to bring upon them the fullness of His anger. Those who are prideful are going to receive the outcome of G-d’s will. 
  • Their bosom (chest): Their very centre (“bullseye”). They have become a target for G-d to pay out, in its fullness, His punishment upon them.

v7: Your iniquities and the iniquities of your fathers together: G-d sees their iniquities and the iniquities of their forefathers (those in earlier generations) as one and the same. They were all guilty of rebellion and of rejecting G-d’s commandments.

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