International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday September 4, 2016
Purpose: To explore how we can actively participate in God’s peaceful kingdom.
Bible Lesson: Isaiah 11:1-9
Key Verse: They won’t harm or destroy anywhere on my holy mountain. / The earth will surely be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, / just as the water covers the sea. (Isaiah 11:9)
Isaiah 11:1-9 (CEB)
(1) A shoot will grow up from the stump of Jesse; a branch will sprout from his roots. (2) The Lord’s spirit will rest upon him, a spirit of wisdom and understanding, a spirit of planning and strength, a spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord. (3) He will delight in fearing the Lord. He won’t judge by appearances, nor decide by hearsay. (4) He will judge the needy with righteousness, and decide with equity for those who suffer in the land. He will strike the violent with the rod of his mouth; by the breath of his lips he will kill the wicked. (5) Righteousness will be the belt around his hips, and faithfulness the belt around his waist. (6) The wolf will live with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the young goat; the calf and the young lion will feed together, and a little child will lead them. (7) The cow and the bear will graze. Their young will lie down together, and a lion will eat straw like an ox. (8) A nursing child will play over the snake’s hole; toddlers will reach right over the serpent’s den. (9) They won’t harm or destroy anywhere on my holy mountain. The earth will surely be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, just as the water covers the sea.
Some Thoughts by Burgess Walter
For the next 13 weeks, we will be studying about “The Sovereignty of God.” The first four lessons of this series will be from the Book of Isaiah. Isaiah (Isaiah ben Amoz) was a prophet to Israel, the Northern Kingdom, although Isaiah ben Amoz lived in the Southern Kingdom of Judah. As near as experts can tell, Isaiah wrote around 722 B.C.
Historically our text for this week is seen as Messianic prophecy, however some modern day theologians may not see it that way. The reference to Jesse, the father of David, seems to establish a link between the coming of a new ruler and linage of David.
The qualities of this new ruler are interesting, and might be the qualities we would hope for in this election year. They include wisdom; understanding; “planning,” or counsel; “strength,” or might; knowledge; and fear of the Lord.
The “fear of the Lord” as used here does not mean to be afraid of God but rather to live with deep and profound respect toward God. The words reverence and awe are good synonyms for “fear of the Lord.”
This new ruler will use a different measuring stick; he will not judge by appearance or hearsay. His judgement will be more like the Beatitudes we find in Matthew 5:1-12. The poor and meek will be judged on their relationship to God, rather than social ranking. While the rich and powerful will be dealt with, using strong language.
Starting with verse six, Isaiah begins describing what some have called “the peaceable kingdom” where traditional enemies dwell in harmony. These verses read like a description of the restoration of God’s divine purpose for creation. The description continues through verse 8.
In these final verses we see a kingdom that we can only hope for. This is the Kingdom that can only exist when Christ comes and establishes His Kingdom here on earth. In addition, when this comes about the knowledge of God will be spread over the earth like the waters over the ocean.
This is the Kingdom we pray for every time we say The Lord’s Prayer. “Thy Kingdom come thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven.” We join the angels and saints with the shout “even so come quickly.”
My hymn for this week is an oldie but goodie, “Beulah Land” by Edgar P Stites.