Back to Bible Class

Often I wind up doing pre-packaged Bible studies because life is so busy or I’m so involved in community group or ladies’ Bible studies at church that use the pre-packaged studies. Don’t get me wrong; there’s nothing wrong with many of these studies, and often they even go through a book of the Bible sequentially. But, all those studies mean that I don’t often sit down with my Bible and a stack of commentaries to work through a book of the Bible on my own. This summer, I started working my way through Isaiah, which was perhaps an ambitious return to this type of study given its 66 chapters.

Tonight I was reminded though of how rewarding this type of study can be as I watched chapter 7 unfold before me. At first glance, chapter 7 is…. well, it’s boring. There I said it. Yes, that section of the Bible is boring (at first glance). But, once I understood what was going on, I understood that a pretty cool lesson lurked beneath the surface. I’ll summarize in very simplified, non-hermeneutic style.

Verses 1-6 – Israel and Syria gang up on Ahaz king of Judah in an attempt to get him to join their alliance against Assyria (who are very bad dudes).

Verse 7 – Isaiah tells Ahaz to shake off the advances of Israel and Syria because they won’t amount to anything.


Verse 9 – Isaiah also tells Ahaz if he doesn’t trust God, God’s not going to let Ahaz survive as a thriving king.

Verse 10-12 – God offers to give Ahaz a sign of assurance. Uh, hello? Did anyone just catch that. God rarely is a fan of offering outright signs of assurance; he generally asks for a bolder faith, but he’s willing to give a sign in this instance. However, Ahaz turns the sign down (with the maturity of a conniving 5 year old) and runs to make Assyria his ally.

Verse 17-25 – Lo and behold, Assyria becomes the razor that shaves Judah (which had it not been for some quality time with my commentaries, I would have missed the fact that this means the bad dudes from Assyria leave Judah without a single shred of dignity).

So, it turns out the chapter 7 isn’t so boring after all. It’s a pretty colorful illustration about a gut instinct gone wrong; it’s a reminder that when I’m not sure what to trust or who to turn to, God’s clear promises are the best places to ground my decision making tree before I start to try to finagle the action plan that seems most apt to keep me in the driver’s seat.

One thought on “Back to Bible Class

  1. I’m brand new to your blog & was looking through your posts. Just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your view in this & how you explained the story. I’m a Christian, too, and have to agree with you that there are life lessons even if we think the story is boring…or thought it was boring at the start.

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