Patterns in Isaiah 25 The LORD’S Banquet
Patterns in the Bible may be a little difficult to spot. When you find a pattern in scripture, how do you use that pattern? What do you learn from those patterns you find? In a sense, patterns open up a new view on scripture. When you begin to see how patterns were added to the Bible, you will see another portion of God’s literary skills. God has unlimited ways of teaching lessons. Patterns are one method with limitless ways to open new views of information that was in the Bible all that time, but you skipped over it a number of times.
Isaiah 25:6-9 NLTse In Jerusalem, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will spread a wonderful feast for all the people of the world. It will be a delicious banquet with clear, well-aged wine and choice meat. (7) There he will remove the cloud of gloom, the shadow of death that hangs over the earth. (8) He will swallow up death forever! The Sovereign LORD will wipe away all tears. He will remove forever all insults and mockery against his land and people. The LORD has spoken! (9) In that day the people will proclaim, “This is our God! We trusted in him, and he saved us! This is the LORD, in whom we trusted. Let us rejoice in the salvation he brings!”
What crosses your mind when you think of God’s banquet? Do you think of the banquet Jesus is preparing in Heaven? Do you think about the emotions you’ll feel when you see Him serving? What impression will that make on you? Do you think about the food laid out on the table? How many varieties of nuts will there be? Almonds, pecans, cashew, pistachio, Brazil, Hazelnuts, and more. Fruits of all varieties. Apples, bananas, pineapples, mangoes, pears, peaches, apricots, persimmons, figs, dates, papaya, and many more we never heard of. They are all different. Eat all you want! God will make more. We haven’t even mentioned vegetables. What a feast. How will grains be prepared? How many varieties of fresh bread will there be?
Is that the only feast you think about? Is that the only feast you want to attend? Is the feast in Heaven the only banquet your concerned about? What about the last supper Jesus shared with His disciplines before He was taken to the cross? Do you think about those lessons or do you wait for someone to explain the details? Don’t you think about your reaction when Jesus bends over to wash your feet? Would you have listened when He tried to tell the small group about what was about to happen? Do you listen now when Jesus tries to explain the prophecies He fulfilled? Are you listening or are you numbered with the majority of Christians claiming God doesn’t talk to us anymore?
What about the banquet Jesus invites you to everyday? Do you ever think about the table set in the Tabernacle? The small personal table Jesus sets to invite you to diner and a chat. Do you accept His invitation or are you like people in the parable? They were too busy to attend a wedding banquet the king planned for his son. What happened to those people? It seems everyone is concerned with one person wearing the wrong clothes. No one wants to think about those people who decided not to attend. That lesson is too personal. The point cuts too close to the heart to pray about or preach.
People say bread on that small table in the Tabernacle represents God’s Word. Do they think Jesus only offers one type of bread day after day? Is that why people want to turn down the invitation? Did the god they serve run out of lessons to teach, experiences to share, and love to give? Or is life too busy with too many other more important matters to think about, too many issues Jesus won’t understand because He grew up in another time and age, too many problems in life you want to solve yourself, or maybe it’s a lack of interest, or a lack of love. Maybe it’s a lack of, faith, or knowledge about Jesus. Why do people turn down His invitation day after day leaving Jesus to dine alone, waiting for your company?
When we examine the key words it’s not difficult to see banquet and feast stand out. The difficult part is finding a chapter with the same theme in the introduction and summation. In other words the same context and lesson. The New Testament has a number of stories about banquets. A quick search of banquet and feast will show a number of parables about banquets as well as accounts recording details of the last dinner Jesus shared with His disciples before the cross. There is also a description of the banquet prepared in Heaven after Jesus’ return. Most of the parables point to that banquet in Heaven. They all use a number of spiritual symbols. One of those chapters with a parable about that feast prepared in Heaven contains an introduction and summation with spiritual ties to Isaiah 25.
Luke 14:16-24 NLTse Jesus replied with this story: “A man prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations. (17) When the banquet was ready, he sent his servant to tell the guests, ‘Come, the banquet is ready.’ (18) But they all began making excuses. One said, ‘I have just bought a field and must inspect it. Please excuse me.’ (19) Another said, ‘I have just bought five pairs of oxen, and I want to try them out. Please excuse me.’ (20) Another said, ‘I now have a wife, so I can’t come.’ (21) “The servant returned and told his master what they had said. His master was furious and said, ‘Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ (22) After the servant had done this, he reported, ‘There is still room for more.’ (23) So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full. (24) For none of those I first invited will get even the smallest taste of my banquet.'”
This is the simplest parable in the gospels explaining the banquet Jesus taught about. Some writers say a king prepared a wedding feast for his son. Luke kept the details simple, repeating only a few key words, banquet, excuse, and servant. In this translation servant is singular which placed a different view on the story. Many people will agree the man represents God, the banquet here shares the theme of the wedding feast, which points to Jesus’ return. Now look at the excuses and symbols which are not repeated, but related on spiritual terms. The first man wants to work in his own field. What is that telling you? On the spiritual level the field represents the world. The field is the world, and the good seed represents the people of the Kingdom. The weeds are the people who belong to the evil one. (Matthew 13:38 NLTse).
Isaiah is leading us into an unexpected study once we investigate the impact those banquets have on our lives. Where are you at on your Christian walk? Are you still into the milk of the word? When I challenge people to step up, they often use the excuse they are not at a level to share the word. They are only qualified to share information given to them by their preacher or conference to share. They don’t know how to talk with God. Most people have no idea the pathway to God’s throne is open to them. Either that or they don’t like to face the severe honesty it takes to face God.
Approaching God’s throne is an easy process. All you need to do is follow simple instructions in Hebrews 10 and other parts of the Bible. Plead for and accept the cleansing of Jesus’ blood. Ask Him to cover you and wash your sins away. Ask Jesus to make you clean so you can approach God’s throne to sit at His feet and learn. Then LISTEN.
When you approach God’s throne, Satan will cast all his seeds at you – all the cares of the world. Satan will tell you – “you deserve an answer on this or that.” Satan will fill your mind with a thousand distractions and do anything to keep you from hearing God’s voice. “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Luke 16:13 NLTse). What are your thoughts on? Satan wants you to fail. He wants you to ask God for a hundred favors. Satan wants your prayers to focus on what God can do for you and neglect asking what you can do for God. Satan does not want you to see or hear the knowledge He is holding out for you. God is your Father. For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. (Romans 8:16-17 NLTse). God wants to do more than solve your problems. He wants you to understand everything about those problems and learn from them so you don’t repeat mistakes. That way you’ll be equipped to help teach others. It’s such a simple process. If you are not hearing God and He is not taking you into visions to show you stories in the Bible related to problems you face and the studies you are working on, you need to begin right away. You can’t delay. You’ve already wasted too much time, wasted too much of your life, and missed too many opportunities to serve God. That was the main reason Judah was sent to Babylon. They had to learn how to serve. They also had to learn how to look for the Messiah when He arrived. That’s why Daniel was given a vision. It contained a message to the Jews in Babylon. It showed them not only what to look for in the Messiah, but when to look for Him. How much more could God have done? People we’re just not listening. You can decide to either repeat those mistakes or learn from them. All of this is so simple I can’t see why the world doesn’t understand. Sometimes I feel the world does not want to listen. Like the parable says, people were too busy making excuses.
Pray to Jesus in the evening and the morning and throughout the day.
Pray out loud whenever you can.
Night time is time to rest and get away from this world.
Take this time to reconnect with God.
God can reach you through His Word.
Read scripture in the evening and in the morning.
Keep in contact with God like a friend.
God communicates through a series of events.
Look for patterns in His Word, your life, and world events.
Pay attention to conversations with people. God also communicates through people.
Approach God’s throne by praying to Jesus to cleanse you with His blood.
Lay your sins in front of Jesus.
Listen to what He has to say.
Ask Jesus to purify you and place you at the foot of God’s throne.
Ask about a few subjects one at a time and wait for an answer.
Ask God about scripture you are studying.
Listen to scripture that comes to mind.
Pay attention to parallel themes.
Pay attention to parallel events in your life and the world related to the subject your studying.
Learn to identify and suppress distractions while in prayer.
Don’t let your mind wonder.
Repeat the details you learned.
Write to keep a record.
Other details will come out while writing.
Learn to share.
With a little practice you’ll be able to listen to God’s voice in ways you never imagined. While praying about scripture your studying, pay attention to scenes in your mind. Look at people, their reactions to events, the scene they are in, clothes they are wearing, how they are considering choices their facing. Soon you’ll be seeing details in single scenes as well as how they relate to other stories in the Bible. And as always, consider context. Once you begin seeing how God’s Spirit is able to relate stories from different books and time periods, you’ll understand God’s timing and develop skills to see repeated patterns you never saw before, as well as gain a respect for God’s Spirit few people are brave enough to experience.
When you dine with Jesus are you going to stay with milk or are you ready for meat? In the Bible meat refers to anything solid. You can read the details in Leviticus and Deuteronomy. Two of the major offerings for the Tabernacle consisted of the first fruits and a second offering before the final harvest. There is one thing about milk you have to realize. Milk will do nothing to produce more milk, cattle, or anything. If you are stuck on milk you will never be able to produce anything. Look at the first fruits. A cherry has one seed to produce another tree which will make more cherries. Other fruits have many seeds. Consider the pomegranate. If you’ve ever eaten one you know it’s filled with seeds. This is the reason Jesus used pomegranates in the Tabernacle. Pomegranates have very little flesh. They hardly seem worth the trouble to eat. Jesus used this as a symbol of His humility. Jesus takes very little for Himself because He placed the majority of His attention on the seeds He planted.
This translation shows the servant as singular. Luke wanted to emphasize the point Jesus is the one who came to invite us all to the banquet in Heaven. Even when Jesus invited people like the priests and Pharisees, they looked for excuses not to believe, not to accept the invitation He extended to them. After everyone was invited there was still more room. God will always make more room like the food He has prepared for the banquet. Eat all you want, God will make more. This also shows the invitations have to continue. Jesus pointed to our work and cooperation in His ministry. The most important thing about the invitation is what people will see and experience. There he will remove the cloud of gloom, the shadow of death that hangs over the earth. He will swallow up death forever!
What does it take on our part? Isaiah tells us God only requires a little trust from us. In that day the people will proclaim, “This is our God! We trusted in him, and he saved us! This is the LORD, in whom we trusted. Let us rejoice in the salvation he brings!” Remaining on milk and refusing solid food with seeds to spread is doubting God and His ability. It’s not our works that changes people, it is God’s. All we need to do is become a living example and deliver messages God designed. One more detail we need to review is shown in Isaiah’s introduction to chapter 25.
Isaiah 25:1-5 NLTse O LORD, I will honor and praise your name, for you are my God. You do such wonderful things! You planned them long ago, and now you have accomplished them. (2) You turn mighty cities into heaps of ruins. Cities with strong walls are turned to rubble. Beautiful palaces in distant lands disappear and will never be rebuilt. (3) Therefore, strong nations will declare your glory; ruthless nations will fear you. (4) But you are a tower of refuge to the poor, O LORD, a tower of refuge to the needy in distress. You are a refuge from the storm and a shelter from the heat. For the oppressive acts of ruthless people are like a storm beating against a wall, (5) or like the relentless heat of the desert. But you silence the roar of foreign nations. As the shade of a cloud cools relentless heat, so the boastful songs of ruthless people are stilled.
Isaiah opened this chapter like no other in his book. This introduction mirrors many of David’s prayers in Psalms. It may seem strange to find an introduction explaining important aspects of prayer in a chapter containing a prophecy about the banquet God is preparing a banquet. But how do you plan on making it to that banquet? What steps are you going to take? We know Jesus is the bread of life. “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes has eternal life. Yes, I am the bread of life! Your ancestors ate manna in the wilderness, but they all died. Anyone who eats the bread from heaven, however, will never die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and this bread, which I will offer so the world may live, is my flesh.” (John 6:47-51 NLTse). It goes a lot deeper than believing Jesus is the bread of life. Jesus’ life represented much more than salvation. “People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4 NLTse). Jesus meant more than physical bread… we need much more than a casual knowledge of Jesus and a prayer for the salvation He offers. We have to know His Word. We have to commit ourselves to preparing our heart, mind, and soul to be His servant.
Praise to God has to be personal. It has to come from the heart. It has to be real and tangible. It takes practice. Soon you will see a direct relationship between your praise for God and the answers He gives you. Praise God for everything. Praise Him for your house you live in. Praise Him for all the times He came trough for you when everything looked hopeless. Review the details and how God arranged a sequence of events to teach a lesson as well as see you through those rough times. Praise God for your family and friends. Praise Him for the moments you spent alone with Him. Praise God for the message and beauty He sent through a sunset. Praise God for the messages He gave you and the people He sent you to. Review little details in your praise. The more you praise God the more you will see His protection and tender loving care – the easier you will hear His voice. Notice how God always seems to do the unexpected? Notice how problems are solved in ways you never imagined? Notice how God sends you to people you never expected? God reaches out to more people in more ways than anyone can imagine. It is like the generous variety of food He prepares for His banquet. God not only loves diversity, He also loves, cares for, and reaches out to all individuals as we see in the Introduction to Luke 14.
Luke 14:1-6 NLTse One Sabbath day Jesus went to eat dinner in the home of a leader of the Pharisees, and the people were watching him closely. (2) There was a man there whose arms and legs were swollen. (3) Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in religious law, “Is it permitted in the law to heal people on the Sabbath day, or not?” (4) When they refused to answer, Jesus touched the sick man and healed him and sent him away. (5) Then he turned to them and said, “Which of you doesn’t work on the Sabbath? If your son or your cow falls into a pit, don’t you rush to get him out?” (6) Again they could not answer.
There are two questions that instantly come to mind. What does the introduction to prayer in Isaiah have to do with Jesus eating dinner with a Pharisee? The other question is what dinner is Luke referring to? Luke’s simplicity brings to mind a number of dinners recorded in the gospels. One day Jesus met Matthew and told him, “follow me.” Matthew got up and not only followed Jesus, he was so excited he invited Jesus to dinner and invited all his friends. Being a tax collector the only people who associated with Matthew were other tax collectors. This was early in Jesus’ ministry when priests and Pharisees only started to gather information on the man who healed a leper and send him to the priests to administer the offering. Eating with tax collectors was a mark on the negative side as far as the religious leaders were concerned.
Near the end of his ministry Jesus had dinner with Simon, a man Jesus cured of the leprosy. During that dinner Mary came in to anoint Jesus for burial and wash His feet. Some people at that dinner were not happy with a sinner like Mary being around while they were eating.
At another dinner four men lowered their paralyzed friend through the roof of the build, placing him right in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.” But some of the teachers of religious law who were sitting there thought to themselves, “What is he saying? This is blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!” Jesus knew immediately what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts? Is it easier to say to the paralyzed man ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk’? So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!” (Mark 2:5-11 NLTse).
What do those dinners have in common? Religious leaders opposing Jesus were present. Here is a very important point you need to learn before you understand Isaiah or any of the other books of the Bible. Isaiah is a lesson book unlike other books in the Bible. Isaiah communicated with God in many ways. Isaiah teaches us how God communicates with us. God spoke to Isaiah. God also gave Isaiah visions. God also communicates in dreams. Isaiah also shows us how to see common threads in the Bible. Isaiah also teaches us how God’s Spirit leads us to other common threads. Here we see common threads in dinners Jesus attended. Jesus healed people at each of those dinners physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Those were points religious leaders couldn’t see. Now ask yourself why. The answer is plainer than you think. Those religious leaders did not communicate with God. What would God’s Spirit tell them about Jesus if they knew how to listen? How much do people miss today if they don’t know how to communicate with God? If they don’t know how to listen to His voice?
Those religious leaders forgot how to pray. Compare yourself to them. We all make the same mistakes. We all think it’s no use talking to God about what He already knows, or details we think we have figured out. The most important aspect they forgot about prayer, and we forget, is confessing our sins then listening – really listening. God’s Spirit can be brutally honest. People know that. That’s why people avoid that aspect of pray. It’s called confession.
Let’s look at the mistakes those religious made to see if we can learn a few lessons about ourselves. Put yourself in their place. Be honest about what those religious leaders thought and how they justified things they did. The sacrificial system was a big item. Their system consisted of inspecting lambs, rejecting them, paying a small price to take the animal off the hands of the sinner, then charging a high price for an animal they deemed perfect. Of course the lamb purchased from the sinner was taken around the back of the court to a waiting bin. Then transferred to the bin holding perfect sacrifices for sale the next day. Those religious leaders convinced themselves it was a way of serving God by raising money for God. How much money did God get? How much of that money was used to alleviate pain and suffering of poor people, orphans, and widows? That was a second sin those religious leaders neglected to confess. They justified their neglect by convincing themselves widows, orphans and poor people were suffering vengeance from God based on past sins. Those religious leaders convinced themselves they served God by inflicting more pain and suffering on widows, orphans, and poor people, as well as lame, blind,.and sick people. Religious leaders created their own little world where they lived lives of luxury with additional privileges, while people they were supposed to serve suffered under heavy burdens. Another piece of their plan was convincing themselves part of their role in serving God was to go to extremes showing how God blessed them. Those religious leaders led a life masquerading like priests, while no one with as much authority and responsibility was farther from God then themselves.
That was one example showing how people drift from God. The distance is small at first. Change a rule here, another there. Finally they forget to confess sin altogether. Pride is a dangerous cliff with a big drop. Now take this example and compare it to kings in Jerusalem Isaiah had to deal with. Didn’t those kings forget how to pray? Didn’t they forget how to listen to God? The Bible compared those kings to David for a reason. Other kings in Jerusalem were not like David. What were the differences? David spoke to God. When David didn’t want to listen, God sent a prophet. David listened to the prophets then confessed his sins. David was a man after God’s heart. David could never give up His relationship with God. It would have broken his heart – like loosing his first love. God was David’s first love. The last kings in Jerusalem forgot how to communicate with God like David did. Then God sent prophets. A lot of them. They still didn’t listen. Like those religious leaders in Jesus’ time, the kings didn’t want to confess their sins, they couldn’t see their sins, they didn’t talk to God, and they didn’t listen. The Bible says they hardened their hearts.
So what do we do now with these examples from the Bible? We’re seeing how Isaiah leads us to texts with the same theme. As we see how lessons build and expand, we learn to understand context and how God wrote the Bible. We also see how God’s Spirit brings parallel chapters together for us to see how spiritual lessons are taught using a series of examples.
It’s easy for me to see patterns because my training and experience in engineering helped tune me into looking for patterns as well as focus my mind on learning how things are constructed. I was in engineering when drawing with computers was introduced. The first computer was as big as a room. I had to lay the pattern out on paper to calculate points, angles, and distance with a hand calculator. Then I went to the computer to draw a roll cage and cab for a new tractor design. In an attempt to make things easier, I draw half the cab then asked the computer administrator how to select and flip one half , mirroring it to make up the other half. I was surprised to hear, “the computer can’t do that.” No one thought of that. As years passed computer programs grew. We worked on one advanced system with a lot of features built in to make our job easier. Unfortunately that company didn’t corner the market like one of their competitors. As you can imagine, we had a lot of problems because customers with the more popular system couldn’t read the files we sent them. Once emailing files became popular, we had to switch to the more popular program other companies were using. I was surprised to find the most popular program which became an industry standard was missing a lot of the features the system we had been using included as standard. So I found out how to write simple programs called macros. After I finished writing macros, also known as short keys to put the features I needed into the new program, I began keeping track of processes I constantly repeated. When I noticed I used the same process everyday, I would jot down the steps on a post it note. Next time I needed to repeat that process, I entered into the macro mode to create a new short cut. I went through the alphabet with the control key, also the alternate key as well as a third method added in an updated version, the shift-alternate key combination. I created more than a hundred short cut keys to draw on a computer more efficiently.
God doesn’t use short cut keys to reveal lessons in the Bible, but we can use lessons in the Bible to save us the trouble of learning lessons the long, hard way. What you need to do is develop skills to see patterns repeated in the Bible. The Bible is written like a song. Songs will teach a lesson or tell a story then go into a refrain, words that are repeated. The first and easiest part of a song to memorize and repeat is the refrain. Right? God repeated lessons in a rhythm. Learning a few simple Bible Study rules will show you how to find those rhythms. The easiest way to teach a child is with rhymes. Now we can look for the rhyme on the summations for Isaiah 25 and Luke 14.
Isaiah 25:10-12 NLTse For the LORD’s hand of blessing will rest on Jerusalem. But Moab will be crushed. It will be like straw trampled down and left to rot. (11) God will push down Moab’s people as a swimmer pushes down water with his hands. He will end their pride and all their evil works. (12) The high walls of Moab will be demolished. They will be brought down to the ground, down into the dust.
Luke 14:27-35 NLTse And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple. (28) “But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? (29) Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. (30) They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’ (31) “Or what king would go to war against another king without first sitting down with his counselors to discuss whether his army of 10,000 could defeat the 20,000 soldiers marching against him? (32) And if he can’t, he will send a delegation to discuss terms of peace while the enemy is still far away. (33) So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own. (34) “Salt is good for seasoning. But if it loses its flavor, how do you make it salty again? (35) Flavorless salt is good neither for the soil nor for the manure pile. It is thrown away. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!”
As usual, Isaiah is using symbols again. This time it is Moab. Isaiah is using Moab to send us back to scripture. Afterward Lot left Zoar because he was afraid of the people there, and he went to live in a cave in the mountains with his two daughters. So that night they got him drunk with wine again, and the younger daughter went in and had intercourse with him. As before, he was unaware of her lying down or getting up again. As a result, both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their own father. When the older daughter gave birth to a son, she named him Moab. He became the ancestor of the nation now known as the Moabites. When the younger daughter gave birth to a son, she named him Ben-ammi. He became the ancestor of the nation now known as the Ammonites.(Genesis 19:30, 35-38 NLTse). We have to look a bit further back to understand why God is allowing Moab to be pushed around. It wasn’t only because of their birth. Their father had problems long before their time in the cave. We have to look at these types of symbols in a constructive manner. What made Moab what he was? Where did he get his influence and education from? Who brought him up? We can see Moab and his brother Ben-ammi grew up in isolation influenced by three people. We’re not told much about Lot’s daughters, but we are told a great deal about Lot.
Lot left his home when God called Abram. Lot’s cattle grew much like Abram’s showing us Lot was also blessed by God. Soon there wasn’t enough grass and water for all of Lot’s and Abram’s cattle, so they decided to separate. Lot took the best fields near Sodom. One day Abram heard Sodom and a number of other nations were over thrown by a confederation of kings. After talking to God, Abram called 318 of his faithful friends to attack the vast army that carried Lot and his family away captive. Those 318 men must have had a close personal relationship with God to face the world’s largest army at that time. Even though the odds were against them, those 318 men followed Abram to victory. Not a soul was lost. Once again God led a small number of people against a large army, who days and weeks earlier defeated an army made of number of combined nations.
Later Sodom’s wickedness reached levels beyond imagination and control. God had no choice but to destroy the city. God sent His angel who visited Abram before destroying Sodom. Abram pleaded with the angel who agreed to spare Sodom if five righteous people could be found. In the end, Lot left with his wife and two daughters. The angel only found four people willing to accept his word and leave the city. Of course the experience in the cave showed how righteous Lot’s daughters were. The point is, Abram knew 318 men willing to risk their lives to save Lot and his family. Lot could not convince a single person to leave the city with him. Once Lot separated from Abram, he lost something. Lot lost the ability and drive to lead people to God. Something in Lot’s life took God’s place in his heart. The inability to share God showed up in his two sons Ben-amm and Moab.
It’s not difficult to see the Lesson in Isaiah 25 repeated in Luke 14. Lot took the best for himself but never really thought ahead in spiritual terms. Lot saw fields of green grass and an abundance of water for his cattle translating into profit for himself. Lot not only took his eyes off Abram, he took his eyes off his duty to God. Once again we see God using a contrast to teach a lesson when we compare Abram’s victory to Lot’s failure. By the way, whatever happened to all of Lot’s cattle? In Sodom we find Lot living in the city. A strange place to find a shepherd. Lot left with nothing. Lot withdrew to that mountain retreat with nothing but his daughters. Everything Lot thought was important was taken away.
That’s the same lesson Jesus was trying to teach. Sure Lot did nice things. He opened his home to strangers. But he lost the ability to reach people. How? Lot lost communication with God. Remember David talked with God. The worse things got, the more David talked with God. Lot saw the city around him falling into all kinds of sin. Not much different than we see the world today. The closing moments of Sodom showed how little Lot was able to share with his family and neighbors. Other members of Lot’s family decided to stay because they didn’t believe him. A last second show of faith is not enough to change hearts. That’s why Jesus talks about building. It takes time. It takes a foundation, walls, roof, planning, hard work, dedication, and funds. All the things it takes to build a spiritual relationship with God. Of course God provides funds, but how do we use them? To glorify God or take the best for ourselves. Think about that.
Jesus draws our minds back to battle fields Isaiah walked through. Jesus knew the relationship between these chapters long before anyone discovered the spiritual connection long before they were written. Look at key words Jesus used. Construction, building, calculating, cost, complete, and finish are a process leading to carrying your cross. Jesus didn’t tell them to know about the cross. He told them to carry their cross. To know the cost of that cross they had to carry. Jesus also repeated the word discuss to draw your attention to it. Who are you going to discuss your cross with? Does your preacher know anything about the cross you carry? Only what you can tell him about it. So the information he gives back to you can only be less than the information you give him. That’s what people do. They go to someone they trust and the image and meaning of the cross diminishes. The only way it can increase is to go to the One who knows what it’s like to not only carry a cross, but die on it.
It wouldn’t be right to put the meaning of those symbols together without teaching you how to repeat the process so you can use it to properly interpret other symbols, not to mention using this pattern to see if interpretations other people teach are correct. How do we know Moab represented Lot’s relationship with God? Or shall we say lack of a relationship? People come up with a number of interpretations for Moab in Isaiah 25. How do we know which one is correct? How do we know Moab is a symbol pointing to Lot’s relationship with God? We learn to look at context. Moab is mentioned in the summary, so it has to agree with the introduction by following the same theme as well as teach the same lesson. Look back at the introduction. “O LORD, I will honor and praise your name, for you are my God. You do such wonderful things! You planned them long ago, and now you have accomplished them.” Isaiah is praying to God. The introduction is a window looking into Isaiah’s relationship with God. Remember Isaiah is teaching us how God communicates with prophets as well as how prophets communicate with God. In this case God used a contrast to teach the same lesson. As we looked back on the story of Lot’s life we found other contrasts teaching the same lesson. This is what’s known as context. Plain and simple. It is so simple no one should forget those lessons once they learn them.
There should be no doubt the prophecy and its fulfillment are related. They have to be. We also know key words in prophecies lead us to texts explaining exactly how its been fulfilled. There is no guess work. Since the prophecies and fulfillments are related, so are the chapters. Based on God’s pattern in His Word, the introductions and summaries are spiritually related. In this example Isaiah 25 began with a personal prayer to God. Isaiah recorded an example showing how he communicated with God. So the introduction to the parallel chapter must also teach a theme about relationships with God. Jesus showed His relationship with God in the introduction of Luke 14 which also contains a contrast, religious leaders showing the lack of a relationship. Isaiah used Moab as a symbol in the summary. Since the introduction in Isaiah 25 shows a relationship with God, the summary must follow the same theme. This shows us what aspect of Moab to use in Isaiah 25. As a symbol Moab represented a number of things at different times depending on the context. Now we see how the introduction in Isaiah 25 led us to the proper interpretation.
How deep does the lesson go? Isaiah 25 tells us about God pushing Moab away. Why? To answer that question we can look at the contrast in the introduction of Isaiah 25. Isaiah, God’s prophet is drawing closer to God looking for an answer. Since Moab is being pushed away, context shows a lack of communication with God. Isaiah 25’s parallel chapter Luke 14 shows more details in its summary. Moab never took up their cross. They weren’t interested in measuring the cost. They didn’t lay a foundation. Moab had a history of fighting their own wars. We see another parallel between Isaiah 25 and Luke 14 in the summaries when we compare Moab pushed away like water and salt thrown away. If you look back at the two texts you can see other related words I didn’t highlight. Once we understand the lesson we can go back to see how push is related to thrown. Now you can look back at the two related texts and see a new list of related words. This gives us a brief view of measuring the cost of our cross. Part of that cost is understanding God’s Word. Part of that cost is taking time to develop our relationship with Christ and His Spirit to see one detail after another open up, then look back time and time again to see what details were missed the first time. I can tell you for a fact, every time I study, God takes me back over what I’ve learned and shows me a list of details I missed. This always happens. It will always happen when you put time into a relationship with the Infinite God.