International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday August 2, 2015
Purpose: To acknowledge our need for redemption in an unjust world
Bible Lesson: Isaiah 59:15-21
Key Verse: A redeemer will come to Zion and to those in Jacob who stop rebelling, says the Lord. (Isaiah 59:20)
Background Scripture: Psalm 89:11-18; Isaiah 59
Isaiah 59:15-21 (CEB)
(15)The Lord looked and was upset at the absence of justice. (16) Seeing that there was no one, and astonished that no one would intervene, God’s arm brought victory, upheld by righteousness, (17) putting on righteousness as armor and a helmet of salvation on his head, putting on garments of vengeance, and wrapping himself in a cloak of zeal. (18) God will repay according to their actions: wrath to his foes, retribution to enemies, retribution to the coastlands, (19) so those in the west will fear the Lord’s name, and those in the east will fear God’s glory. It will come like a rushing river that the Lord’s wind drives on. (20) A redeemer will come to Zion and to those in Jacob who stop rebelling, says the Lord. (21) As for me, this is my covenant with them, says the Lord. My spirit, which is upon you, my words, which I have placed in your mouth won’t depart from your mouth, nor from the mouths of your descendants, nor from the mouths of your descendants’ children, says the Lord, forever and always.
My Thoughts by Burgess Walter
The question that this lesson asks is: How do we deal with sin we cannot avoid committing? I do not think there is a one fits all answer, but it is something for each of us to consider.
The writer of Isaiah, in speaking for God, paints a picture of a society that is wallowing in injustice. Furthermore, there does not seem to be anybody that cares. God, as he almost always does, intervenes, putting himself into the struggle for justice.
Of course the answer is the coming of Jesus into the world, although it would not happen till some 500 years later. The world is still waiting for the justice to come as promised. We do not know how long we will have to wait for the final victory, but we live with the hope of the promise until He comes in final victory.
I think there is one caveat in the key verse that gets overlooked. The promise is for those that stop rebelling. Today’s climate is for universal salvation that is extended to everyone, and no one goes to hell. I think it is important to note that the promise is only to those that do not rebel against God.
As for the question at the beginning, I think society, with its selfish attitude, must share a portion of blame for society's injustices. We may not be the polluters or the war mongers or the raciest, but have our desires changed? Our wants as a nation and as a society might be fueling the problems mentioned.
All that we have, and all that has been promised is a result of God’s “Amazing Grace.”
The writer of that hymn had this engraved on his tombstone:
John Newton, Clerk. Once an infidel and libertine, a servant of slaves in Africa, was, by the mercy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ preserved, restored, pardoned, and appointed to preach the Faith He had long labored to destroy.