When God Arises

Look for God to arise and do great work in our days. But beware, we will get more than we bargained for when He does.

Believers in the Living God since the Exodus have prayed that God would arise, smite evil, and deliver them from their troubles. In His patience, the Lord delays His judgement, giving each man every opportunity to believe. But eventually, He brings to people what they deserve: disaster to the wicked and blessings to the righteous. Asking God to arise is a dangerous business. We may discover, as Habakkuk did, that God’s plan is neither what we like nor what we want. We will also discover, as Isaiah did, that we are not as righteous as we think we are. When God arises, though our salvation is sure, we will encounter pain and trouble, just like those we oppose.

Do you ever wish that God would arise and oppose evil? Do you wish you could see it? How do we know that God will arise? How do we know that the wicked will be punished? Why does it take so long? This article will examine Isaiah 33:1-17 to discover what happens, and what Christians must do, when God arises.

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The Good, the Bad, and the Complacent

Every society includes the good, the bad, and the complacent. Isaiah shows us what to be, and how. 

A small, fractious, religiously dominated country was paying tribute to a rich empire with an advanced military. In a fit of hubris, the oppressed people stopped sending their wagonloads of gold, hoping that a neighboring nation would come to their aid. The empire mobilized its forces and defeated the weak intervening armies of the neighboring nation. It then turned its greedy eyes and vengeful hands on the rebels.

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Timeline of Events in the Iron Age

What happened in the Iron Age? Which empires rose and fell? How do these events interact with Bible events? Look here for answers. 

This morning in Sunday School I was describing the background of the feast of Belshazzar in Daniel 5. In order to fully understand what this story, and what all Bible stories mean, we must understand the social, political, and cultural context. However it was hard for many in my class to remember and properly order each event so that they could grasp the full meaning of the passage. As a result, I promised to write and post a timeline of people and events that pertain to the eight centuries before Christ.

Keep in mind that these dates, specifically the dates of the reigns of kings, are approximate. Ancient chroniclers reckoned events by when they occurred in a sovereign’s reign (cf. Isaiah 6:1).

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Hezekiah – an Example of Crisis Leadership

Hezekiah had the same foibles and failings as the rest of us, and that is why his example is worth studying. 

After the golden age of Israel, during the reigns of David and his son Solomon, Israel split apart.  The tribes of Judah and Benjamin kept Rehoboam, grandson of David as their king, but the northern ten tribes chose Jeroboam, an Ephraimite.  The subsequent history of Israel is a sad tale of uniformly evil rulers, people unfaithful to the Lord, and near extermination by the Assyrians two hundred years later (721 BC).  The history of Judah is little better, with a few good kings, including Asa, Jehoshaphat, Joash, Uzziah and Jotham interspersed with many evil ones.  Judah lasted 135 years longer than Israel but became progressively more wicked and was finally overwhelmed by the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BC.

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