God Demands Our Obedience
God Demands Our Obedience
As we continue our discussion on God’s Providence, we want to point out that, one of the most important things we note when studying God’s Providence is: God demands our obedience and devotion.
The book of Isaiah is a good place to learn about God’s Providence. Isaiah prophesied from 740 BC to 680 BC. Over a span of about 60 years. His prophecy ended about 54 years before the first siege on Jerusalem by the Babylonians. The first exile for Judah was in 626 BC, and the second exile at the destruction of Jerusalem was in 586 BC. Isaiah is broken down into basically 3 parts; chapters 1 through 35 provides the prophecies about the condemnation of the children of Israel that they will receive as a result of their disobedience.
Chapters 36 through 39 is a historical bridge containing information about King Hezekiah.
Chapters 40 through 66 is the prophecies of God’s Providence, how he will restore the children of Israel from their Babylonian captivity. This section of Isaiah is a great place where you can find information about God’s Providence. This portion of Isaiah along with the book of Job provides us a very rich source of God’s providential care.
Isaiah writes in chapter 40, as he begins to look beyond the Assyrian threat to a deliverance that God would bring about for Judah as the Babylonian captivity ends. The theme for the rest of the book of Isaiah changes at this point from judgment to the restoration that would be achieved by Almighty God through His Providence. I have placed a note in my Bible that God changes at Isaiah chapter 40 from judgment to mercy.
Isaiah 40:1–2 (ESV) 1 Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. 2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. Note: God’s statement at the beginning of this chapter, God is trying to comfort His people as God refers to Judah as My people assuring them that He will not abandon them.
We don’t have time to go down every rabbit hole and explore all the different things about God’s Providence here, I just want to give you an overview in hopes that you can explore this study in more detail.
There is similarity between Jeremiah chapter 10 and Isaiah chapter 40. Jeremiah prophesied from 627 BC to 580 BC. Jeremiah 10:1–3 (ESV) 1 Hear the word that the Lord speaks to you, O house of Israel. 2 Thus says the Lord: “Learn not the way of the nations, nor be dismayed at the signs of the heavens because the nations are dismayed at them, 3 for the customs of the peoples are vanity. A tree from the forest is cut down and worked with an axe by the hands of a craftsman. Note the last sentence Jeremiah is referring to God’s Providence at work.
Jeremiah listed the dangers of living by pagan customs. These customs lead to evil events of nature and what Judah had been doing in reality was worshiping the stars – astrology. Jeremiah listed idolatry and the effects that idolatry had on Judah. Jeremiah had first-hand experience with the depraved nature of the Israelite people. He listed dangers and illustrates the results of the pagan customs and the evil that comes as a result of their idolatry. He also encourages the people to stop worshiping idols. As Judah was worshiping idols, they were acknowledging the signs of heavens were controlled, by their idols they were worshiping.
Isaiah 40:22–23 (ESV) 22 It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in; 23 who brings princes to nothing, and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness.
God has executed His power and authority from the very creation of the earth. He is the supreme Ruler. All earthly rulers and judges are nothing and meaningless in comparison.