Isaiah 13:17-14:3 When Babylon Falls

Isaiah was granted visions from God that involved the immediate and the future of Judah. Isaiah was seeing things that would be hard to describe because he would be looking thousands of years ahead into the future.

Babylon is both a religious and political system and represents the pride of man who says that they do not need God and it is the first place that man began to worship themselves. . (Genesis 11). In the book of Revelation one out of every ten verses concerns Babylon and two entire chapters (17-18) are devoted to this city and its destruction.  Babylon is the most mentioned city in the Bible other than Jerusalem and is referred to 300 times and is located where modern Iraq is today.

The prophecy that Isaiah talks about in these passages have not been fully realized so many people think that these verses pertain to the End Times. Zechariah 5:5-11 talks about how the prophet Zechariah saw a future time when Babylon would fall and that was written 20 years after the Medo- Persian empire destroyed Babylon. The thought is Babylon will become a strong city again as some point and face a greater destruction that has not been witnessed yet.

“From the time of Genesis 10-11, Babylon has represented both a city and the religious system that arose in that city. Babylon is a literal geographical location on the Euphrates River, but it also represents the false religious system that began at the tower of Babel when, for the first time, man organized a religion in rebellion against God. Babylon is the birthplace of worldwide religion. The false religion spread out from there to all the other major nations of the earth.” The End, Mark Hitchcock, Pg 367)

When speaking of Babylon we are speaking about more than a city or government we are talking about a world belief system that is anti-God. One day God is going to wipe out not only the city of Babylon but its world belief system as well. Isaiah encourages the people who would walk through the dark days as a nation to encourage them to stay focused on the sovereignty of God.

 

Isaiah 13:17- 20Behold, I am stirring up the Medes against them, who have no regard for silver and do not delight in gold. 18 Their bows will slaughter[d] the young men; they will have no mercy on the fruit of the womb; their eyes will not pity children. 19 And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the splendor and pomp of the Chaldeans, will be like Sodom and Gomorrah when God overthrew them. 20 It will never be inhabited or lived in for all generations; no Arab will pitch his tent there;  no shepherds will make their flocks lie down there.

1)   When Babylon falls it will be a work of God

“I am going to stir up against them” Up to this point the Medes were not really mentioned in history and just a quiet nation but God is going to stir them up to come and punish Babylon. This was done in 539 B.C. which is typical of prophets showing short term and long term prophecies. The Medes could not be bought because they were not motivated by money but were only set on being destructive. They showed no mercy to anyone they faced. The Prophet Jeremiah prophesied about this as well.

Jeremiah 51:11 Sharpen the arrows! Take up the shields! The Lord has stirred up the spirit of the kings of the Medes, because his purpose concerning Babylon is to destroy it, for that is the vengeance of the Lord, the vengeance for his temple.

God compares them to Sodom and Gomorrah which were two cities that gave into every kind of sin and pleasure and God overthrew them suddenly and completely. A sudden destruction of Babylon has not happened yet in history only a slow depleting one which is why many think that Babylon will be rebuilt and destroyed later. What we can count on is that God will destroy the proud and the disobedient that pay no attention to God or His ways.  We must remember that people have been led astray by a world belief system that is going to bring them into judgment with God so we need to continue to have mercy and love for the very people that in their wickedness harm us. If Jesus from the cross prayed “Father forgive them, they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34) then we need to have the same prayers for our world because people are blinded by the god of this age. (2 Corinthians 4:4)

Isaiah 13: 21-22 But wild animals will lie down there, and their houses will be full of howling creatures; there ostriches[e] will dwell, and there wild goats will dance. 22 Hyenas[f] will cry in its towers, and jackals in the pleasant palaces; its time is close at hand and its days will not be prolonged.

The book of Revelation says something very similar to what the book of Isaiah prophesied about.

Revelation 18:2 And he called out with a mighty voice, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place for demons, a haunt for every unclean spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast.

One day God will bring the total destruction of not only the city of Babylon but its world religion as well.

Isaiah’s main goal was not to give his audience an exact date but the reassurance that God sees and will punish those who have oppressed and destroyed His people. We can know that one day the world system will be destroyed by God and those who followed in its way will be destroyed.

Isaiah 14:1-2 For the Lord will have compassion on Jacob and will again choose Israel, and will set them in their own land, and sojourners will join them and will attach themselves to the house of Jacob. And the peoples will take them and bring them to their place, and the house of Israel will possess them in the Lord’s land as male and female slaves.[a] They will take captive those who were their captors, and rule over those who oppressed them.

2)   When Babylon Falls God will show Compassion to His Children

Some  of the aspects we love about God is that He is love, He is mercy, He is grace and He is compassionate toward His children.

Psalm 103:13 As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.

God uses the analogy of a father to help people see who He is. This is why the breakdown of the family and the fact that God put a father and Mother in a home is so important. Even though our earthly fathers and mothers are not perfect we all still know what a mom and dad should be and we can know that God is perfectly demonstrated in a Father and a Mother.

God’s judgment against those who committed evil against His children will now lead to compassion for those who were oppressed. Later prophecies will expand on this hope we can have. (Isaiah 45:14-17; 49:22-23; 60:1-8; 61:5-7; 66:20) God will reverse the roles of those who are the oppressors and the oppressed. God has a Land waiting for those who put their faith in Him.

John 14:1-3 Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God;[a] believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?[b] And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

Our focus is not on this place but on our future home with Jesus Christ. Home is not an address but where your loved ones are. If you loved ones move you still go to that place because they are there. Heaven is Heaven not because of all the things the Bible tells us about it but because God is there and we will be in a perfect relationship with Him.

One of things we can count on is that God sees all that you are going through He is going to make all these things disappear and be remembered no more. Isaiah 65:17 says the former things will not be remembered so whatever you are walking through or will walk through in this world will not compare to what God has in store for those who love Him. (Romans 8:18)

Isaiah 14:3 When the Lord has given you rest from your pain and turmoil and the hard service with which you were made to serve,

3)   When Babylon falls you will find rest

“When the Lord has given you rest” indicates that this is something we will receive in the future.

Hebrews 4:8-10 For if Joshua had given them rest, God[b] would not have spoken of another day later on. So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, 10 for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.

There is a future day when we will be with God in rest from our sin, from death, from disease and from everything else that tends to bring us sleepless nights. This is the promise that we look forward to when God sets the world back the way He originally created it in Genesis.  Right now we are living in a world of pain, turmoil and hard work because of the sin of Adam and Eve.

Genesis 3:16-19 To the woman he said,“I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children.  Your desire shall be contrary to[f] your husband,   but he shall rule over you.” And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground,… ‘

 

  • Suffering: Experiencing the world that is corrupted by sin
  • Turmoil: When life is uncertain and the things you counted on are destroyed.
  • Hard Work: Same terminology of forced labor or slavery

 

We suffer because of sin in this world and we experience turmoil because the things in this world that we place our hope in get destroyed. Isaiah is telling them that there will be a day when there will be no more sin, pain, heartache and the struggles we have with sin.

Romans 7:15, 21-25   For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

One day this entire struggle that the apostle Paul talked about will be gone forever. We may battle our fleshly patterns here on earth but a day is coming when we will not only want to obey the Lord but we will do so freely without the fallen nature of our flesh. We will no longer live in a world that is corrupted by sin and our world and the relationships we have will be perfect. Our day of rest is coming when we will stand before God free and clear because of the work of Christ but until that time we need to pray for and share the love of Christ with others so they too can enter into the rest they are so desperately seeking.

Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

 

People will not find rest for their souls in Babylon so we must tell them where they can find it. But first have you found rest for your soul through Jesus Christ? Jesus saw what the religious leaders were doing to people and making the way to God impossible but Jesus promises us that we can be at rest knowing that He is the one who paid it all on our behalf if we place our faith in Him. When we die we do not have to wonder if we are going to make it to Heaven and spend eternity with God we can know for sure. (1 John 5:13)

Revelation 18:10 They will stand far off, in fear of her torment, and say, “Alas! Alas! You great city, you mighty city, Babylon For in a single hour your judgment has come.”

Alas is a word for unhappiness or concern. The worlds system called Babylon will one day end and it will be a sad day for many people who face the judgment of God thinking that the religions of the world were the answer.  We need to have a broken heart for the world and not allow their actions to embitter us toward them or fall to their deceptive ways.  Are you searching in Babylon for peace? You will not find it here.  Babylon (The Worlds system) will fall one day and then people will see the truth.  The evil, pain, suffering and hard labor will one day all be gone. Until then we can trust that there is a better day waiting for those who put their trust in Christ.

 

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Isaiah 13:1-16 The Day of the Lord

God is going to continue to tell His people to not put their trust in anything else but Him. The theme that God is in control over all the nations will continue with warnings of His followers to keep their focus on Him and not what other nations or people do.

Isaiah 13:1-6 The oracle concerning Babylon which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw.On a bare hill raise a signal; cry aloud to them; wave the hand for them to enter the gates of the nobles. I myself have commanded my consecrated ones, and have summoned my mighty men to execute my anger, my proudly exulting ones.[a]4 The sound of a tumult is on the mountains as of a great multitude! The sound of an uproar of kingdoms, of nations gathering together! The Lord of hosts is mustering a host for battle. They come from a distant land, from the end of the heavens, the Lord and the weapons of his indignation, to destroy the whole land.[b] 6 Wail, for the day of the Lord is near;  as destruction from the Almighty[c] it will come!

 

1)   The Day of the Lord is near

“Wail for the Day of the Lord is near “The way this was written was to show that this was a burden to Isaiah to even tell the vision that God gave him. Many times the things of God are not easy to discuss with people because they go against the culture and for some people you may even sound crazy. As Christians we are tempted to stay silent when the conversations get difficult but we are to share what God has shown us even if it is difficult and not popular. We need to be burdened for people and warn them with the warnings that God has shown in His word.

The Day of the Lord is when God intervenes personally into the affairs of mankind to bring about His judgment.  We will all face our own individual “Day of the Lord” when we die but Nations face the “Day of the Lord” when God wipes them out because of the sin they refuse to stop doing. At the end of Human history there will be the final “Day of the Lord” when God defeats His enemies once and for all and sets up His Heavenly Kingdom.  As we go through Isaiah 13 we will see that there is a future destruction of nations as well as the final day of the Lord which will be at the end of time.

 

“I have commanded my consecrated ones” Some believe this to be like before where God uses a Nation to carry out His punishments and some believe it is angelic messengers (Zechariah 1:11-13 and 6:1-8) since they come from the “end of the heavens” (vs 5). It could be both another nation and Angelic beings but the point is the destruction is going to happen. We cannot forget that God has at His disposal both the human and spiritual armies to do His will and “Execute His anger”(vs3)  toward those who are disobedient to Him.  There is a story of Elisha and his servant and they were surrounded by an army but Elisha knew despite what he physically saw God was still in control and God has Angelic beings at His disposal to accomplish His will.

2 Kings 6:15-17  When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” 16 He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17 Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

God has given us glimpses into the spiritual realm and with that we do not have to fear nations or individuals because God is in control. The victory of God is a sure thing that we can count on as God is acting out His plan. The plan may not make sense to us but we are assured that God is working it out.

 

“The Lord and the weapons of his wrath” The Final day of the Lord will be personal because God Himself will be involved instead of just using others as He does now. This is a view of God that we cannot ignore that God is love but He is also just and He does demonstrate His wrath when people stay in an unrepentant state. The reason God demonstrates wrath is different than why we do.

Psalm 7:11 God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day.

Indignation is anger toward how one is treated.  Many people see their sins as mess ups but they are against God and God alone. (Psalm 41:4 and 51:4) When you realize that every sin that is committed is a person affront to God it changes your view of what you are doing but also what Jesus did for us when He died on the cross.

 

Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.

We do not know when the “Day of the Lord” will come upon individuals or nations but we must not grow complacent thinking that it is always in the future.

 

A Banner was the exact location that the troops were to rally to where the battle will be showing that God will pinpoint His wrath towards those who do not submit to Jesus Christ. (John 3:36) We are called to be heartbroken and to actually cry for those who will face this day. We should never be glad that someone dies without being saved by Jesus Christ or because of our disdain for them to wish the wrath of God upon them. It will be a dreadful day for those who do not turn to Jesus and something we should not wish upon anyone.  Let us not grow hard hearted toward those in sin but let’s be broken hearted for them because they are living a lie. Let us like Isaiah be burdened for them.

Isaiah 13:7-13 Therefore all hands will be feeble, and every human heart will melt. They will be dismayed: pangs and agony will seize them; they will be in anguish like a woman in labor.
They will look aghast at one another; their faces will be aflame. Behold, the day of the Lord comes, cruel, with wrath and fierce anger, to make the land a desolation and to destroy its sinners from it. 10 For the stars of the heavens and their constellations will not give their light; the sun will be dark at its rising, and the moon will not shed its light.11 I will punish the world for its evil,
and the wicked for their iniquity; I will put an end to the pomp of the arrogant, and lay low the pompous pride of the ruthless.12 I will make people more rare than fine gold, and mankind than the gold of Ophir. 13 Therefore I will make the heavens tremble, and the earth will be shaken out of its place, at the wrath of the Lord of hosts in the day of his fierce anger.

 

2)   The Day of the Lord is Terrible

“To destroy sinners (9) and the proud (11) “Babylon is a city but is also symbolic of wickedness that opposes itself to God. (Gen 11:1-9) When people stand before God on their own without Jesus Christ as their mediator (1 Timothy 2:5) it will be a terrible day because they will not have Jesus Christ to stand in the way of the wrath of God.  Isaiah describes them as people “Failing with hands” (meaning nothing they can do) “Melting hearts” (meaning having No Hope) terror, (Meaning Frightened to a point of not able to move) anguish, writhing in pain, astonishment, and faces aflame (Meaning either embarrassment, anger or fright) Isaiah says it will be a day as a woman who is in labor which is an image of those who had uncontrollable and unavoidable agony.  (Matthew 24:8) Some of the people will be in shock because they believed a lie about God and what it takes to be saved. (Matthew 7:21-22) No one can save them on the” Day of the Lord” when He decrees their destruction.

Hebrews 9:27-28  And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

The mercy and grace of God will not be offered anymore and they will only get His justice and wrath. It will be too late for those who are sinners to repent and there will not be another opportunity for them.

The Bible never calls those who have placed their faith in Christ sinners but only saints. (Acts 9:13, 32; 26:10; Ephesians 4:12, 5:3; Philippians 4:21) The word “saint” comes from the Greek word hagios, which means “consecrated to God, holy, sacred, pious.” For those of us who have accepted Christ we do not have to worry about Jesus addressing our sins (Romans 8:1)

“The sun will be dark” (10) Darkness is always used to show terrible times. There are many things that can cause the sun to go dark. Smoke from war, smoke from volcanoes or because God does something to them are all reasons the sun and stars are blotted out. These verses also show what the end times will be like. Jesus said something similar when He talked about the end of time right after the tribulation.

Matthew 24:29-31 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

So many times we talk how great it will be when Jesus pokes through the sky to come and get us but for many people seeing Jesus is going to be a dreadful day and one that Jesus says they will mourn, a word used as if at a funeral. Jesus will be the one who will judge and punish the people for their sins so not everyone is going to have a good experience when Jesus comes again.

Psalm 130:3 If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,    O Lord, who could stand?

The only way we can stand is because of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on our behalf.  Too many people think that any religion will get them to heaven or by their good works they are on good terms with God.

Every nation in Isaiah’s day thought that their god ruled their area and Isaiah was telling them that only The God rules over everything. The world will be punished for the evil that it has committed this is why we do not have to worry about anyone getting away with anything.

 

Isaiah 7:14-16 And like a hunted gazelle, or like sheep with none to gather them, each will turn to his own people, and each will flee to his own land. 15 Whoever is found will be thrust through, and whoever is caught will fall by the sword. 16 Their infants will be dashed in pieces before their eyes; their houses will be plundered and their wives ravished.

Verses 14-16 describe panic followed by destruction and sorrow with no escape because God’s hand of restraint will be removed. (2 Thessalonians 2:6-7)  God allows Satan to do what He wants and the destruction and fear will be intense. (See Job 1 on how God restricts Satan)

 

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you,[a] not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.  

If you ever wondered why God was taking so long it is because He is giving people the opportunity to put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ and escape the destruction that awaits them as they face the wrath of God. Jesus said what the “Day of the Lord” will look like in Matthew 25

Matthew 25:31-34, 41,46 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

The Day of the Lord is coming either by our death on earth or Jesus return but either way we who have placed our trust in Jesus Christ and His death on the cross have nothing to fear.  It will be a glorious, exciting and awe filled day for believers but a terrible day for those who reject the free gift of salvation through Christ. (Ephesians 2:8-9)  We need to weep and mourn for those who do not know Christ and we need to share about the love of God with them that He provided through Jesus Christ.

Have you prepared for the “Day of the Lord”? Acts 16:31 says to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. You Believe that what Jesus did on the cross puts you in a right relationship with God.

 

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Isaiah 12 Salvation

 

Isaiah is going to prophecy about a time when all the heartache, suffering and pain is gone and this will give the people a new attitude of praise in the midst of heartache and destruction. They will sing about God and praise Him because He will save them from all of the pain and heartache they are currently experiencing.

Salvation is simply the deliverance from the power and effects of sin. I love this definition because it shows that when Christ died He did not just die for our sins but also to set things back to the original design of Creation. He died for our sins but He also died to restore the effects that sin has had on humanity and the world. In Isaiah 6:8 we learned that Isaiah had his sin and guilt taken away not just his sin. God wanted Isaiah to know that because of what God had done (touched him with coal) that Isaiah was forgiven of his sins and that they would be remembered no more. God has put us back in a right relationship with Himself for all who believe that Jesus Christ died and rose again. (Acts 16:31) A day is promised to us that the effects of sin and the struggles we have because of it will all be taken away and God will restore His world and all those who trust in Him through Jesus.

Isaiah 12:1 You[a] will say in that day: “I will give thanks to you, O Lord, for though you were angry with me, your anger turned away, that you might comfort me.

Salvation from God

“You were angry with me” Most people do not see that because of our sin that God is angry with us. We have a grandfather view of God who just accepts everyone because we are part of His creation but that is not what we are taught in scripture.

Romans 1:18-19  For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.

As sinners we deserve God’s wrath and separation from Him for all eternity but God in His grace and mercy did something about the wrath we deserve. Jesus died to take the wrath of God away and this is what makes Jesus death and resurrection so amazing because He died the death we deserve.

John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

Understanding the Holiness of God is crucial to understanding the wrath of God but many people believe that the things that God calls sin are not that big of offenses to Him. People  have their own views of God instead of learning what He has revealed about Himself and therefore they believe lies about God and themselves .

Many people are like some hunters that have been lost in the woods for days and when a search party finally finds them their pride will not admit to themselves or to their rescuers that they were lost in the first place. Many people think that because God is love that they automatically get into Heaven. But God calls those who do not accept what Jesus did for them on the cross as lost. (Matthew 15:24) Until you realize you are lost you will not be thankful for being saved.  Salvation begins by being saved from God’s wrath and only God can turn away the anger of God. That is why Jesus, God in the flesh, had to die in our place because only God could bring us back to God and not by our own works.  Most people think of Salvation as salvation from Hell but it is really salvation from God.

Isaiah 12:2 “Behold, God is my salvation;  I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God[b] is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.”

Salvation is personal

“God is my salvation” God’s salvation is personal in that He personally came down, became a man and died on the cross on our behalf. (John 3:16; John 1:1,14) There is nothing to fear because they are placing their trust that God is the one who can save. The reason why people have no peace is because they are staking their salvation on their own works instead of the work of Jesus Christ. Islam does not believe God would lower Himself to come down to His people but that they must work their way toward Him. This is what separates Christianity from all other religions that believe in God. God knows we cannot do enough good works to earn our way to Him so He took care of it for us.

Luke 19:10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

This was said to all those who were shocked that Jesus was going to Zacchaeus house.  Notice the personal nature of what Jesus is saying about seeking and that He came personally to do it. Jesus told three parables in Luke 15 about a lost sheep, lost coin and lost son. The sheep he went out and found and threw a party. The Coin the entire house was swept to find it. The prodigal son was looked for and then ran after when repented.

“God is my strength, my song and my salvation” This salvation is so personal that the people will break into a love song.  Praise is offering God a thank you for removing His wrath from us.  A sincere thankful heart will lead to worship and it will no longer be a dull sense of duty that many of them showed to God. Christianity is about the God of the Universe wanting a personal relationship with us to the point that He made a way for our sins to be removed. When we think of God’s salvation we cannot leave out the personal, loving relationship that God is calling us to. Christianity is not a religion it is about having a personal relationship with the God of the universe who created us and loves us. This is not some cold religion but God uses wedding language over and over again to describe the relationship He desires to have with us. Revelation 21 we are said to be a bride prepared for her husband. Ephesians 5 God uses the love of Christ toward us on how we are to love our spouses. In John 1fourteen Jesus uses wedding language to describe coming back to take us where He is. If your thought of Christianity is anything but a personal loving relationship with God through Jesus Christ then you have the wrong view of what Christianity is really about.

Salvation is guaranteed

“I will trust and not be afraid”

2 Corinthians 1:21-22  And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, 22 and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.

“Assurance of salvation is a God-given awareness that He has accepted the death of Christ on your behalf and forgiven you of your sin. Assurance includes a sense of freedom from the guilt of sin, relief from the fear of judgment, and joy in your relationship with God as your Father. … But assurance of salvation is not only possible, it should be the normal experience for every Christian.” (How Can I be sure I am a Christian? Donald Whiney, PG. 12)

Romans 8:16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,

As Christians it is easy to doubt our salvation at times and that is why we have to know the truth about where we stand with God. 1 John 5:13 is a plea to have assurance of their salvation and that was written to Christians who may have been having some doubts. Your assurance of salvation comes from Christ and what He did on the cross and not your works. Because we know that Jesus said “It is finished” (John 19:30) we have the assurance that we are accepted based on His work on the cross and not our works no matter how great they might be.

For more verses on assurance of Salvation see John 6:37; Romans 8:1; 1 John 2:3,5:13; Hebrews 10:22; 2 Peter 1:10; 2 Timothy 1:12

Isaiah 12:3-6 With joy you[c] will draw water from the wells of salvation. And you will say in that day: “Give thanks to the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the peoples,
proclaim that his name is exalted. “Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously; let this be made known[d] in all the earth. Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, for great in your[e] midst is the Holy One of Israel.”

Salvation is Fulfilling

“You will draw water from the wells of salvation” People are longing for something that goes beyond what this world can offer and they will never fully find satisfaction in this world. Jeremiah 2:13 says that people have tried to fill their lives with broken cisterns that leak water. If you can imagine rain filling up an cistern only to come back the next day and all the water has drained out. That is what God says about sin that it seems to bring happiness and joy but in the end it leaves you empty longing for something else. This is why people say that you have a void in your life that only Christ can fulfill because what you were created to have is a loving relationship with God. The very thing you are longing for is found in Jesus Christ but many people are believing the lies of the world that you can be filled if you are popular, rich, good looking or successful. The woman at the well had 5 husbands and was still searching for more and Jesus made a personal stop to see her and to tell her about the only thing that would satisfy which was Himself.

John 4:10-14 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.[b] The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

One of the guarantees we have a Christians is that God places His spirit inside of us which is the living water that Jesus promised.

John 7:37-39  On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as[a] the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

The reason people run from job to job, town to town, relationship to relationship, drug to drug is that those things do not satisfy the longing in your heart.

1 Corinthians 3:16  Do you not know that you[a] are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

When you accept the free gift of salvation that comes through following Christ then He gives us His Holy Spirit which fills the longing we so desire. Where and what are you looking to for fulfillment in your life? if it is anything but the relationship you can have with Jesus Christ it will run out.

Salvation is to be shared

“Make known His deeds among the people” Isaiah says that there thankfulness will be so overwhelming that they will share it with everyone they meet. The woman at the well had an experience like that after she learned that Jesus was the long awaited for Messiah she had to tell everyone about her talk with Jesus.

John 4:39-42 Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”

When you realize what God has done for you then you will be compelled to share it. How often do you hold back great news? Not very often

“Shout and sing for Joy” This would be an intense time of worship similar to when you favorite team wins a game.  Our worship of God should be more intense than a sporting event but many times it is not because we do not truly understand our salvation. In heaven we will understand it and there we will worship God for all eternity.

 “Worship is joyfully shouting about the exalted glory of God and retelling his wonderful deeds. For worship to become evangelism it has to be done outside the four walls of a church, where non-believers can hear God’s praise.” The New American Commentary, Isaiah, Gary V. Smith, Pg 284)

When your joy of God overflows out of your life it will spill outside the walls of the church.  For that to happen you have to understand the personal nature of your relationship with God and the salvation He provided through Jesus Christ.

Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?  The only way the wrath of God can be removed from you is through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  It is because of what Christ has done that we have assurance of salvation that when we stand before God that there will be no condemnation (Rom 8:1) If you are looking for the world to satisfy or even a religion you will be disappointed it is only through the personal relationship that God has provided that you will be fulfilled.  Our relationship with God is to be like that of Adam and Eve in the garden as we have a personal relationship with our creator.

Who do you need to share Christ with? Who do you know that is looking for other things for fulfillment?

Romans 10:9-10 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

Posted in Isaiah, Old Testament, salvation, What We Believe | Leave a comment

Isaiah 11:1- 16 Hope in Hopeless World

Hope is a serious problem in our society because people tend to place their hope in the wrong things or things that will not last. When people put their hope in finances then things like the stock market or their job situation controls them. When people put their hope in the Government then depending on how the outcome of the election goes they have despair or joy. Some are putting their hope in a religious organization that promises them a false hope of good works will lead to salvation and prosperity in life.  The people of Isaiah’s day were doing the same things as they placed their hope in a foreign country to save them, the fact that they were financially doing well and the mixture of religions they had developed.   Isaiah is going to tell the few that will survive the destruction that is coming to them that there is always hope no matter how bad life seems to be.

Read Isaiah 11:1 -5 There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord, He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear, but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins.

1)   Hope because of Jesus

“A shoot from a stump” is a reference meaning Jesus would come from the line of David and Jesse was David’s father. (2 Samuel 7:16) If you can imagine an entire forest being cut down and then burned but you see one of the stumps with a shoot coming from it this is the picture that Isaiah has in mind.  As bad as things looked Isaiah wanted them to know that there is a hope that goes beyond their current situation and it is in the prophecy of the one who is to come.

“And the Spirit of the Lord will rest upon Him.” Isaiah has already talked twice about a future King that will come who is the Messiah but he is going to go into further detail of what this King will look like from Isaiah 9:6.

Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born,  to us a son is given and the government shall be upon[a] his shoulder, and his name shall be called[b] Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

When future Kings would have the spirit of God come upon them there was the possibility of the Spirit being removed from them but this King (Jesus) would never lose the Spirit of God which would show the difference between Him and all other Kings who have reined. The Apostle Matthew also wanted to show that Jesus was the fulfillment of this passage.

Matthew 3:16-17 And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him,[a] and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son,[b] with whom I am well pleased.” (See Also John 1:43)

“Fear of God” means absolute loyalty to God and Jesus showed that by being sinless according to Hebrews 4:15. Fear of the Lord is a respect and awe of God that grows from intimate knowledge of His justice, holiness, goodness and worthiness of honor. (Proverbs 1:7 and 9:10)

 

There were attributes of this King that would set Him apart as well.

Wonderful counselor: which means a Spirit of Wisdom and understanding which would go beyond human ability?

Prince of Peace: He will judge disputes not by what His eyes see or His ears hear because He knows all truth.

Mighty God: He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth (by speaking) and with the breathe of His lips He will destroy the wicked. (Speaking)

2 Thessalonians 2:8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming.

He will stand up for the helpless and the weak because He is the Everlasting father. He will display the character of God because He is God and He will rule with the belt of truth (Ephesians 6:11-17) because He is righteous in all that He does. The belt or sash was used to gather up the robe when a person was getting ready to do an activity. Jesus is active in our world, He was active in bringing salvation to us and He is active in making all things new.

It’s easy to say our hope is in Jesus but so many times we put our hope in other things. When our Hope is in Jesus we can know that HE is the wonderful counselor, the Prince of Peace, the Mighty God and the Everlasting Father. When you place your hope in anything else besides Jesus Christ then all of those things fall short of who Christ is and they will leave you hopeless.

Isaiah 11:6-9The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

2)   Hope because this is not our home

Isaiah moves from describing the King to describing His kingdom. Today our focus is on this world and trying to do all we can to keep it going. Movies like Avengers infinity war, and the movie Kingsman both talk about killing off half the population for the purpose of saving the planet. People put all of their hope in this world but the Bible encourages us to think about the world that is to come.

People get excited about over crowded over Priced Magic Kingdom but wait till we see the everlasting Kingdom. We look forward to a kingdom that will be restored to the original design that God had given to Adam and Eve, a world where sin will no longer scar nature or people. Isaiah describes this place where people and animals will get along and even babies will play over the hole of snakes. The picture here is that it will be paradise with no more evil, conflict or death. This place will be called “God’s Holy Mountain because the new world will be filled with the presence of God.

Revelation 22:3-5 No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.

Isaiah 11:10- 12 In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious.11 In that day the Lord will extend his hand yet a second time to recover the remnant that remains of his people, from Assyria, from Egypt, from Pathros, from Cush,[a] from Elam, from Shinar, from Hamath, and from the coastlands of the sea. 12 He will raise a signal for the nations and will assemble the banished of Israel, and gather the dispersed of Judah  from the four corners of the earth.

“In that Day” No matter how bad a situation you are going through we know we can get through it as long as we focus on the finish line and not our current situation. The world focuses on the here and now but we are called to place our eyes on Jesus and the future hope that we have. No matter how difficult this life can be we know that Jesus died on the cross for us so that we can spend eternity with God for all who place their faith and hope in Him. We know that no matter what we are going through one day it will end.

1 Peter 1:13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action,[a] and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

If you have lost hope then you are looking in the wrong direction and focusing on the wrong things. You need to place your focus not on the things of this world but on the world to come when Jesus makes all things new.

The Nations will rally to Him and His place of rest will be glorious. The Lord will reach out His hand.

Salvation has always been about God stepping into our world and now we see on the last days Jesus will reach out His hand and collect His people. The verse does not say all people it says only the remnant because unfortunately not everyone who thinks they are a Christian belongs to God. (Psalm 95:11)  God will reclaim His people who He paid for to have back from all over the world.  The Bible used corners symbolically not that the world is a square but it does indicate that no believer will be left behind.

Matthew 24:31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Isaiah 11:13-14 The jealousy of Ephraim shall depart, and those who harass Judah shall be cut off;
Ephraim shall not be jealous of Judah, and Judah shall not harass Ephraim. 14 But they shall swoop down on the shoulder of the Philistines in the west, and together they shall plunder the people of the east. They shall put out their hand against Edom and Moab, and the Ammonites shall obey them.

Feelings of Jealousy, inferiority or superiority will be done away with in the new Kingdom. The division of the people took place since the time of King David (2 Samuel 2:8-11) of the Northern and Southern Kingdoms but God promises a renewal of not just them but everyone worldwide.  The unity that will take place in the new kingdom will be like no other as we gather together from all over the world to worship God. No more racism, no more bigotry no more fighting but all of us focused on God.

Anyone or anything that is hostile to the people of God will be removed.

Revelation 7:9 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands,

Isaiah 11:15-16 And the Lord will utterly destroy[a] the tongue of the Sea of Egypt,
and will wave his hand over the River[b] with his scorching breath,[c and strike it into seven channels, and he will lead people across in sandals.16 And there will be a highway from Assyria
for the remnant that remains of his people, as there was for Israel when they came up from the land of Egypt.

The Lord will destroy Using language from the Exodus Isaiah reiterates that nothing can stand in the way of God and what He is going to accomplish. Our hope is in God who is more powerful than any obstacle we face and He is the one who provided salvation and it is in Him that we place our trust. Our present problems must be evaluated in light of who God is and His promises. We do not lose hope in this world because we know that one day God is going to make all things new.

And there will be a Highway

“The “highway” is one of Isaiah’s favorite images. Those who obey the Lord have a level and smooth road to walk (Isaiah 26:7-8). When God calls His people back to their land, He will prepare the way for them. (Isaiah 40:3-4) and lead them safely (Isaiah 42:16). He will remove obstacles so the people can travel easily. (Isaiah 49:11;57:14; 62:10). God’s highway will be called “The way of Holiness” (Isaiah 35:8)”  Be Comforted, Warren W. Wiersbe, Pg. 50-51)

God has made salvation possible but many will still choose not to accept it even though God has made the way, God has paid the way and God has shown us the way. (John 14:1-6)  Only a remnant will return because many will not place their hope in God. Many people struggle and strain to make sure they are going to Heaven but the way has already been provided through Jesus death and resurrection.(Acts 16:31)  People have been taught that God is here to meet all of our needs in our way but the reality is we have been separated from God by sin and the truth is we needed to be restored to a relationship with God if we are going to spend eternity with Him.  When you have the wrong view of God you have the wrong view of salvation and many churches are even teaching Christianity as something you add to your life and even some Christian missionaries are encouraging Muslims to not leave their faith but only place their faith in Jesus Christ.  Syncretism is when you add Jesus to what you already believe instead of a radical change in thinking and in your life in following Him. Jesus calls us to deny ourselves (Luke 9:23) and place our faith and hope in Him. (Hebrews 12:2)

 

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Isaiah 10:20- 34 Lean On God

The destruction of the people of Judah will be devastating but in the midst of the doom and gloom scenario God gives the people hope with some news about how there will be survivors.  God encourages them to lean on Him and to put their trust in Him no matter how difficult the situation is or how hopeless the situation looks.

We lean on many things in this life to get us through life and especially when life is not going the way we hoped or dreamed it would go. For some its food, alcohol, amusement, (which means not to think) and various other ways we cope with life. Many of us have not learned to truly trust God or as Isaiah says to lean on Him when life gets difficult. There are several ways we need to lean on God and today we will learn some of those ways.

Isaiah 10:20 In that day the remnant of Israel and the survivors of the house of Jacob will no more lean on him who struck them, but will lean on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.

1)   Those Who Lean On God Trust Him

“They will lean on the Lord”

There will be a small group of people who will no longer turn to the ways of the world but will learn to place all of their trust in God. The people in Isaiah day were church goers but they did not look to God to supply their every need but supplemented God with other gods or resources. The ways of the world will always entice us because by them we think we can control our life situations. The things we turn to in life that we think will help us usually begin to control us and this is was exactly what Judah found out when they turned to the Assyrians and then the Assyrians began to control them.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Where you place your trust is what you really believe in because to Lean on means to place your full weight on trusting in them to hold you up.  Many of us do not put our full weight on God because there is something in us that keeps us from truly trusting in Him. This is why for many people they say they put their trust in Jesus Christ and His death on the cross for salvation but they still feel they must do something to earn their salvation. The reason so many have a works mentality when it comes to salvation is because they do not believe that we can just trust the finished work of Jesus Christ.

Putting our trust in Jesus Christ means that we fully lean on what He did for us on the cross without pointing to anything we have done for salvation.

There is an old story of a man who tight roped across the Grand Canyon and the crowd cheered him on. He then asked if they thought he could tight rope with a wheel barrow and they cheered him on and he did it. He then asked them if they thought he could fill the wheel barrow with rocks and go across and they cheered him on and he did it. He then asked if they thought he could put a person in the wheel barrow and make it across and they all cheered. He then asked for a volunteer and no one raised their hand.  Salvation means getting in the wheel barrow and trusting Christ to get you across the great chasm that you cannot get across yourself.

After the Assyrians let them down they learned to trust God completely. Many times it is when the things in life, People, Money, fame etc., let us down that we learn what it means to really trust God.

When you experience heartbrokenness or disappointment it really shows you what you have been leaning on to get through life instead of leaning on God. The brokenness was really God’s grace that lead them back to Himself and away from the things of the world that they have been putting their trust in.

God is a jealous God who wants us to Himself and not to give our attention to other things. The reason God wants us to worship Him is because it is like a marriage where the spouse does not want their lover going to another. God is a jealous God (Exodus 34:14) but it is not jealousy that is selfish but jealousy that is loving and caring and wanting you to Himself.

Exodus 20:4-5 You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,

Do you trust God with your life? It is easy to say but how many truly trust God? Like a Husband and wife who want the relationship with only each other God is a God who desires that we be loyal to Him and not run off to other things. The entire book of Hosea was written that a prophet should marry a woman who was unfaithful to demonstrate how God sees us when we are not faithful to Him. One of the reasons we do not lean on God is because we believe lies about Him or we think He has not come through the way in which we would like Him to.  Just like Adam and Eve in the garden who were taught lies about God which led them to disobey Him so we can believe lies and be led astray.

Isaiah 10:20 clearly says we will lean on Him “In Truth”. One of the reasons we do not lean on God is because we believe lies about Him or how He works. In order to lean on God we have to lean on Him in truth and we find that out by what He has revealed to us through His word what we call The Bible. Trusting God when life does not make sense or when things become confusing means we have to know the truth. When you believe wrong things about God it will cause you not to trust Him and that is why we must turn to His word so that we can know the truth about Him because God is truth.

John 4:24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Many Christians do not know what the Bible says about God and on top of that we forget that the God who created the Universe has made a way for us to approach Him personally and in confidence. (Hebrews 4:16) Hebrews chapter four is talking about entering His rest meaning that we can know that we are at ease with God because of the finished work of Jesus Christ. You will not lean on God if you think that He is constantly mad at you or that you have to act right to get His approval.

Isaiah 10:21-23  A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God. 22 For though your people Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will return. Destruction is decreed, overflowing with righteousness. 23 For the Lord God of hosts will make a full end, as decreed, in the midst of all the earth.

2)   Those Who Lean On God Have Nothing To Fear

To the Mighty God

If you are going to lean on God then you have to trust His ways even when they do not make sense to you.  The people will return to the God who is full of strength and one whose plans get accomplished. Isaiah emphasis again is that this is all part of Gods plan. You cannot lean on a God who you think is incapable of saving you. “Proverbs 3:5 says Trust in the Lord with all of your heart.” In Hebrew the word Heart means with all of your being which includes the mental, physical and emotional parts of your life.

The King of Assyria arrogantly thought God was like all the other gods whose nations he destroyed but God was going to show him that He was the true God.

Isaiah 45:5-7 I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, that people may know, from the rising of the sun  and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness; I make well-being and create calamity; I am the Lord, who does all these things.

You will lean on God when you realize He is the mighty God and all the other things that you put your hope and trust in will fail you.

Isaiah 10:24-2724 Therefore thus says the Lord God of hosts: “O my people, who dwell in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrians when they strike with the rod and lift up their staff against you as the Egyptians did. 25 For in a very little while my fury will come to an end, and my anger will be directed to their destruction. 26 And the Lord of hosts will wield against them a whip, as when he struck Midian at the rock of Oreb. And his staff will be over the sea, and he will lift it as he did in Egypt. 27 And in that day his burden will depart from your shoulder, and his yoke from your neck; and the yoke will be broken because of the fat.”[a]

God reminds them how the people were oppressed by the Egyptians and what God did in and through the bondage to bring deliverance.  Remembering what God has done will help you lean on Him for the future. If God can send plagues on the Egyptians and part the Red Sea and then destroy their enemies then God will see you through what you are going through.

2         Timothy 1:7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

If God did not give us the spirit of fear then where is it from?  God will break the yoke from around us which means that one day all the struggles and pain we deal with will be broken from us. God will remove from Judah the Assyrians and He will remove the strain of sin from us

“Because of the Fatness “can mean the Assyrians have bitten off more than they could chew or that there is nothing too big for God to handle. He handled death and sin and He can handle anything we face.  As Christians we are promised that one day we will be with God because of Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 10: 28-34 He has come to Aiath; he has passed through Migron; at Michmash he stores his baggage; 29 they have crossed over the pass; at Geba they lodge for the night; Ramah trembles; Gibeah of Saul has fled. 30 Cry aloud, O daughter of Gallim!  Give attention, O Laishah! O poor Anathoth! 31 Madmenah is in flight; the inhabitants of Gebim flee for safety.32 This very day he will halt at Nob; he will shake his fist at the mount of the daughter of Zion, the hill of Jerusalem. 33 Behold, the Lord God of hosts will lop the boughs with terrifying power;the great in height will be hewn down,  and the lofty will be brought low. 34 He will cut down the thickets of the forest with an axe, and Lebanon will fall by the Majestic One.

The picture is that the Assyrians are a great forest that God will chop down because of its arrogance in front of the Majestic One. God will bring the judgment to those who bring oppression and out of greed and power destroy others.  We do not know when Gods judgment will come and so we must always be ready.

Hebrews 10:35-39 Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. 37 For, “Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; 38 but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.”39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.

It is easy to throw away our confidence when things do not go our way but soon enough God will return and He will judge the actions of everyone.

Job 13:15 Though he slay me, I will hope in him;[a]  yet I will argue my ways to his face.

Job never got an answer for all he walked through this side of Heaven but one thing that did happen as Job leaned on God was He got to know God better.  Can you trust God and lean on Him even when it feels as though He is destroying you?

Job 42:1-6 Then Job answered the Lord and said:“I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. ‘Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you make it known to me.’ I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,  but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent[a] in dust and ashes.”

Job was closer to God after all he went through and when you lean on God and not your own understanding you will grow in your relationship with God as well.

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Isaiah 10:5-19 Tools in the Hand of God

Destruction of Judah is coming because the people continued to rebel against God and would not repent. God is going to address the arrogance of Assyria who is just the instrument in the hand of God to punish the disobedient people. God is using Assyria to punish His people but that does not mean the Assyrian Government does not bear the brunt of Gods wrath because they are still responsible for their own actions. God is sovereign and He knows the desires of every person and because He knows their hearts He knows what they are going to do and so He uses it for His purposes.

Rod can mean one who holds power like a King (Amos 1:5, 8) a tool used for discipline (Proverbs 13:24) an instrument for punishment (Job 9:34) or the miraculous power of God (Exodus 4:2-4; 7:9-20; 17:9) In this passage of scripture the word ‘rod” is used to mean punishment.

Isaiah 10:5-6 Woe to Assyria, the rod of my anger; the staff in their hands is my fury! Against a godless nation I send him, and against the people of my wrath I command him to take spoil and seize plunder, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets.

1)   The Rod of Discipline against the Disobedient

The Rod of my Anger: Rod in this context is the rod of discipline from a teacher (Proverbs 13:24; 22:15; 26:3)

Many people deny punishment from the hand of God because He uses natural means to accomplish His will. God was using the Assyrian military to discipline His people who would not turn back to Him even after God warned them many times to turn back to Him. The Assyrians were a rod in the hand of God to discipline His children to get them to turn from their wicked ways and back into seeking God. God will use nations and even Satan to accomplish His purposes that go beyond our understanding. Martin Luther coined the phrase “God’s Devil” because even Satan is a tool in the hand of God even though Satan will be punished for all eternity for the evil he does.

Job 1:9-12 Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? 10 Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” 12 And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.

Isaiah’s main point was that what we are walking through has passed through the Sovereign God who loves and cares for us. This is a very difficult concept to grasp because we have been taught that God does things to only bless us and anything bad is not of God but God uses things in our lives for purposes that go beyond our understanding. Isaiah 55:9 says that Gods thoughts and ways are higher than we can understand so we must remember that what does not make sense to us is understandable to God.

We are not given the reason why at the end of the book of Job why God allowed all the pain and suffering to take place but we must trust God through the pain that He is going to work things out for the good.

Romans 8:28  And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,[h] for those who are called according to his purpose.

This verse does not say that all things are good but God is using all things for THE GOOD and even for our good. The problem is we have a different definition of good than God. Trusting God in the midst of pain or when life does not make sense is not easy but we can trust Him because there is nothing out of His control and there is nothing He is not allowing to happen that will ultimately be for the good.

Isaiah is letting the people know that the military attack from Assyria is from God and the people could be encouraged because God was in control of how much they would do but Isaiah also wanted them to realize the need to realize the reason for the pain was because of their disobedience.

Against the godless nation I send him

The word “godless “means to turn away from; or to pervert and pollute and the people turned away from God and they perverted and polluted His ways.  They were twisting scripture to fit their lifestyle instead of matching their lifestyle to obey God’s word. Isaiah is clear that God is sending the army because they are no longer seeking God but only their own selfish desires. The Assyrian army is where Judah placed their hope and trust and now the Assyrian army is going to turn on them and destroy them. The Assyrian army will come and take what they want and treat the people no better than mud on the road. God is allowing Judah to be punished because they looked to the ways of the world instead of looking to Him.

When it comes to suffering there are several reasons that we suffer. Sometimes we suffer because of our own sins, sometimes we suffer because of the sins of others and sometimes we suffer for purposes we will not understand this side of Heaven. Isaiah was letting the people know that they were suffering because of their sins and lack of repentance. The old notion that you only suffer because of sin in your life is not true. Jobs friends’ accused him of having sin in his life and that was the reason for all he was going through and God would rebuke them for saying that about Job.

God will discipline His children but He does so out of love as a father who loves his son.

Hebrews 12:7-11  It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Is God disciplining you? If so you can know that it is because He loves you. If you are walking through something because of the sins of others you can rest assured that God is using it for something good even if you never understand this side of heaven.

Isaiah 10:7-12 But he does not so intend, and his heart does not so think; but it is in his heart to destroy, and to cut off nations not a few; for he says: “Are not my commanders all kings? Is not Calno like Carchemish? Is not Hamath like Arpad? Is not Samaria like Damascus? 10 As my hand has reached to the kingdoms of the idols, whose carved images were greater than those of Jerusalem and Samaria, 11 shall I not do to Jerusalem and her idols as I have done to Samaria and her images?”12 When the Lord has finished all his work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, he[a] will punish the speech[b] of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria and the boastful look in his eyes.

2)   The Rod of Accountability

When God is done, he will punish the King of Assyria

This is the other side of the coin for God because on one side He uses people to discipline and even punish others but then He also holds them accountable for their own individual actions. Although Assyria is being used by God they will still be held accountable for their evil ways. God’s sovereignty and Mans responsibility are throughout the Bible and although it does not make sense to us we cannot play God and try and figure everything out. Just like Jesus being crucified on the cross was prophesied about and God knew exactly how it would happen but the people that went through with it are still responsible for their actions.  God knew every motive and every action that would take place before it ever happened. God is never shocked by the behavior of evil people; in fact He uses it to accomplish His will.

The King of Assyria thought his conquest was because of his strong military but the reality is God was punishing His people for disobeying Him and not listening to His warnings. The King of Assyria got caught up in the destruction and enjoyed destroying the nations and making a name for himself. He took no pity on anyone and became arrogant.  The King of Assyria thought that God was just like all the other gods he was able to overcome but He would soon find out that there was a true God who would hold him accountable.

Hebrews 4:13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Even though God will use other people in your life to grow you and turn you back to Him they will still be held accountable for how they treated you but you will be held accountable how you handle being wronged as well. We do not understand the full purposes of God when things are happening but knowing that God sees and hold others accountable helps us realize no one is getting away with anything.

Isaiah 10:13 -14 For he says: “By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom, for I have understanding; I remove the boundaries of peoples, and plunder their treasures; like a bull I bring down those who sit on thrones. 14 My hand has found like a nest the wealth of the peoples; and as one gathers eggs that have been forsaken, so I have gathered all the earth; and there was none that moved a wing or opened the mouth or chirped.”

3)   The Rod of Punishment

By the strength of my own hand I have done it.

Punishment means divine judgment. The King of Assyria is bragging about his accomplishments and he even compares them to getting eggs when no mother bird is in sight which means “easy Pickens”. The King of Assyria use of the word “I” which shows that he thinks he is the mighty one or even a god. He sees himself as a self-made man and unstoppable. Jesus tells us not to live a life where we get the credit but a life where God does.

John 14:13-14 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me[e] anything in my name, I will do it.

Notice the King of Assyria wants the credit and Jesus tells us He will do things where God gets the credit.

So the question is, “Who is getting the credit in your life”? If it is not God then you may want to repent from your arrogance and the thought that you can be god of your life. We live in a culture where it is about my will and my way and “pulling yourself up by your own boot straps” that we have left God out of what we are doing. The boasting that takes place even among Christian leaders is amazing. No church or ministry has grown because of a certain individual or a certain program but only because God is doing something in the midst of the people. (1 Corinthians 3:6)

Isaiah 10:15 Shall the axe boast over him who hews with it, or the saw magnify itself against him who wields it? As if a rod should wield him who lifts it, or as if a staff should lift him who is not wood!

Should the axe or saw boast?

The reality is that these things are just instruments (tools) in ones hands with no right to brag.  They are lifeless objects that cannot move on their own or do anything of their own free will.  God is the one who holds the power and that is where we need to place our trust. The Assyrians were being used for a purpose but it was their arrogance and treatment of people that God would eventually judge them for.

None of us are anything without God and to think that we are something is the height of pride.

Isaiah 10:16-19 Therefore the Lord God of hosts will send wasting sickness among his stout warriors,
and under his glory a burning will be kindled, like the burning of fire. 17 The light of Israel will become a fire, and his Holy One a flame and it will burn and devour his thorns and briers in one day. 18 The glory of his forest and of his fruitful land the Lord will destroy, both soul and body, and it will be as when a sick man wastes away. 19 The remnant of the trees of his forest will be so few that a child can write them down.

God will send sickness

Sickness and disease is one of those things that can take all of our pride away.  Everything the King of Assyria takes pride in will be wiped out because God will take him away. This is why we do not need to fret when we think that people are getting away with things when they commit evil.  God sees and God will judge them no matter how powerful they think they are they will all give an account to God.

There will be so few left after God is done with the Assyrians that a child could count them. The enemies that think they are a big deal are like wood for a fire to God that is quickly burned up. Fire is always about God’s divine wrath against sin.

The Lord will destroy both body and soul

Jesus gave us this warning as well when dealing with people on earth.

Matthew 10:28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.[a]

The rod of punishment is coming upon those who continue to deny the work of Jesus Christ and God will pay back those who have done evil.  Until that time we have to trust Him as we walk through the difficult times that He is using these things in our lives for good that goes beyond our comprehension.

 

 

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Isaiah 10:1-4 Weep for a Nation

It is easy for us to get to a point where we become calloused for our nation or at least those around us who are sinning. We can become so bitter toward how people are acting that we actually want God to pour out His judgment on them. Isaiah’s reaction was not to get made but he would actually weep for the people because of the sins that they were committing.

Weep: to express deep sorrow for usually by shedding tears

Isaiah 10:1-2 Woe to those who decree iniquitous decrees, and the writers who keep writing oppression,to turn aside the needy from justice and to rob the poor of my people of their right, that widows may be their spoil, and that they may make the fatherless their prey!

1)   Weep for them because of the Sins of the Nation

Woe to those who pass wicked decrees

This was not just poor leadership this was a leadership that was intentionally hurting others for their own gain.  Woe communicates a person’s deep sorrow over the death of an individual or a nation because of the unjust laws that leaders were putting in place for their own benefit. They were abusive to the poor which included anyone that had a disability that kept them from being able to get a wage. The Court systems were rigged in favor of the rich and they would prey on the widows and their vulnerability. The people that the leaders should have been protecting  took advantage of them for their own gain and this is a serious offense to God who will judge them for not caring for the people He put in their care.

Our nation is giving into more and more sins and we have a responsibility to not become angry or indifferent but to be broken hearted for them.  The world is walking in darkness and we are called to be a light but when people know that we are angry at their sin they stay away from us because most people cannot separate the anger over their sin from who they are. Our world teaches that who you are is what you do which is the opposite of what God teaches. Take homosexuality for example. Many will say that it is who they and for the first time we are designated by our sexual behavior rather than as an individual.  Christians, right or wrong, have a reputation for not being loving. We cannot change everyone’s opinion but time spent praying and weeping over our nation will change our demeanor of the people we work and live around and will enable us to have the tougher conversations with them about how the sin they are committing is destroying their lives.

Matthew 23:37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!

Jesus wept over a nation that was killing the very people God sent to them because He looked past what they were doing and saw how they were being deceived by Satan.  What is your attitude toward our nation right now and some of the people you see on television?  What is your view of a relative or coworker who is throwing their life away because of sin?  Our hearts need to be broken for our world and not become so calloused that we no longer are sad when then their sins destroy them.

Isaiah 10:3-4 What will you do on the day of punishment, in the ruin that will come from afar? To whom will you flee for help, and where will you leave your wealth? Nothing remains but to crouch among the prisoners or fall among the slain. For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still.

2)   Weep for them because of the Judgment of God

What will you do on the day of reckoning? Who will you turn to for help? Who will you leave your riches to?

Questions are to make us think and in this instance they are to make people think so that they can repent before it is too late.  Christians use questions to make people think when they are talking to them so that people will evaluate their lives.

“If you were to die today and stand before God and He were to ask you why He should let you into Heaven what would you say?”

A simple question that I heard a man make fun of because he didn’t know we were going to have to pass a test before we get into Heaven. The point of the question is to get the listener to seek the true answer not to get an answer correct so that you can get into Heaven.

How would you answer this question about God letting you into Heaven? Your response will tell what you really believe and then you can look and evaluate it according to God’s word.

“How many people today, if asked why they are sure of their salvation, would answer, “I was baptized,” or “I was confirmed,” or “I go to church,” or I walked forward at the end of a church service,” or “I prayed a prayer with someone,” or “I was raised in a Christian home,” or “I raised my hand in response to a sermon,” or “I take the Lord’s Supper,” or “I did so many good things to help people”?  (How Can I be sure I am a Christian, Donald S. Whitney, Pg. 15)

We may not think that death is around the corner and we may not want to talk about it but the reality is that each one of us is going to stand before God one day and so the ultimate questions that need to be answered is which religion is true and how can one make it to Heaven. One day every person will stand before God to give an account and there is only one way they will be acceptable to God and that is through Jesus Christ.

Acts 16:30-31 Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

The foundation of Christianity is Christ and His work on the cross.  The only way we can be accepted by God is by accepting the work Jesus did for us instead of trying to work to be in God’s favor on our own.

To add anything to the work of Christ is to demean His sacrifice on our behalf.

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

“Faith Alone” we believe that it is not by our works that we gain righteousness but by faith in Jesus Christ. Some religions say that it is not enough that Jesus died on the cross you have to do things to finish His work of redemption. This is simply not true and it goes against what God’s word says.

A day will come when every person will give an account to God (Hebrews 4:13)

Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

If we are accepted not by all of the things that were mentioned then we need to know what the will of the Father is. The will of the Father  is not prophesying, casting out demons or doing mighty works it is believing that what Jesus did was enough.

John 6:28-29 Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”

People will stand before God and tell them all of the things they did but notice In Matthew 7:21-23 there is no mention of the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. The works mentality or at least not being a terrorist seem to make people think that they can get into Heaven on their own works or by being a decent person.  If we are going to say that we are Christ followers then we need to follow the sayings of Jesus and Jesus makes it clear that the work of God is to believe in Jesus.

Are works part of the will of God? Yes but our works flow from the grace that we have been given through Christ on our behalf. Matthew 25 is clear that people served Jesus without even realizing it because it was part of their nature and they will be rewarded at the end of time for things they did not really know they were doing.

Isaiah ask them; “Who will you turn to for help? “

As we have been saying many people look to their works as the thing that will let them into heaven.

Christians do not point to their works because they simply point to the work of Jesus Christ and so they turn to Him.

1 John 2:1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

An advocate stands between the judge and the person being tried.  As Christians we turn simply to Jesus Christ on the day that we stand before God who is the Judge and He will stand in on our behalf blocking us from the wrath of God.

Isaiah then ask them; “Where will you leave your wealth? “

The corruption that was taking place was to make some people wealthier and they were consumed with how much money they were making. We are a nation that is consumed with making money just like the nation of Judah and when our priorities in life become about making money for our own gain then we lose out on what our purpose is for the ability to make money. The blessings God gives us are always to be a blessing to others not just for our own benefit or gain.

Matthew 16:26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?

What is more important to you, your wealth or your relationship with Jesus?  Our treasures will wind up on the junk pile one day and the only thing that will last is our souls.  All our wealth will do nothing when we stand before God.

Isaiah warns them by saying; “For all this his anger has not turned away”

We talked about the wrath of God but the people will experience Gods wrath as He destroys Judah only saving a remnant of people. God’s hand of judgment is to first get people to turn to Him but when they don’t then He will keep the pain on in hopes that they turn to Him.

“If God cannot bring us to repentance through His word, then He must lift His hand and chasten us. If we do not submit to His chastening, then He must stretch out His hand and judge us. God is longsuffering, but we dare not tempt Him by our careless and callous attitude.” (Be Comforted, Warren W. Wiersbe, Pg. 48)  

We need to be careful to not take the discipline of God lightly.  God will warn us but the longer we refuse to listen the more He will increase the pain. We need to be careful to not get in the way of what God is doing in someone’s life by removing pain that He is causing to get their attention. The most important thing in anyone’s life is if they have a saving relationship with Jesus Christ by believing in Him and what He did on the cross for us.

Closing

The questions Isaiah asked we all need to think about. What will you do on the Day of Judgment? Who will you turn to for help when you stand before God? What are you going to do with your riches? Because our nation and many of our friends and loved ones answer these things in the wrong way we need to weep but also tell them the truth.  We need to have answers but we must also make sure that we do not become hard hearted toward the very people God has placed us around to help.

 

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Isaiah 9:8- 21 The Wrath of God

Even though Isaiah is trying to get their attention the people are still not listening  and now he is going to try and convince people to look at the mistakes of their brothers to the north (Israel)  God’s wrath is clear throughout the Bible and His wrath is not just an Old Testament concept but is something that is necessary because of His Holiness and His Justice.   Jesus death on the cross provided a way for God’s wrath to be removed from us but even Jesus Himself said that not everyone has God’s wrath removed from them just because He died for everyone.

John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

Notice that believing in Jesus means you will obey Him. You do not do good works to earn Christ favor you do good works because God pours His life in and through you and therefore you do the works He wants you to do. Religion says that you do good works to earn God’s favor but Christ died to put us in a relationship with God and from that our lives will do the works He desires us to do. Romans chapter eleven says we are grafted into the vine and now the vine, who is Jesus Christ, (John 15:5) flows through you. Never think that Christianity is about living right without first believing and then receiving the power of the Holy Spirit to do so.

The wrath of God was poured out on Jesus at the cross and you can accept it or you can take the wrath yourself by being eternally separated from God.  (Romans 2:5) If you go back to Isaiah chapter six we see that Isaiah was touched and his sin and guilt were removed it had nothing to do with his actions. When we humble ourselves before God and accept His free gift of salvation then we are freed from not only the sin but the guilt that accompanies it.

1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered[a] once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,

We do not have to punish ourselves for our sins because Christ already did that for us. Yes, you will suffer consequences here on earth (Galatians 6:7) but we do not have to punish or try to do good works to make up for our sin because Jesus death on the cross is what makes us right in the eyes of God.

We are going to see why God’s wrath is still against them and why so that we, like the nation of Judah, have an opportunity to learn from it. We must remember that God’s wrath is not like our wrath because our wrath can be off of emotions,  lack of control or even wrongly given because of our limited knowledge. God’s wrath is always perfect because God is perfect and there is no injustice with God.

Many times when people think of Gods wrath they have the wrong view because they think God is like them. Isaiah is going to show them that God’s wrath is going to be poured out against an unrepentant people, a leadership that is leading people away from God and a nation that continues to ignore God.

Read Isaiah 9:8-13 The Lord has sent a word against Jacob, and it will fall on Israel; and all the people will know, Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria, who say in pride and in arrogance of heart: 10 “The bricks have fallen, but we will build with dressed stones; the sycamores have been cut down, but we will put cedars in their place.” 11 But the Lord raises the adversaries of Rezin against him, and stirs up his enemies.12 The Syrians on the east and the Philistines on the west devour Israel with open mouth. For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still. 13 The people did not turn to him who struck them, nor inquire of the Lord of hosts.

1)   Gods wrath against prideful people

The people of Israel (Northern Kingdom, Judah was southern) were warned but they would not listen.

Isaiah was using the Northern Kingdom to show the Southern Kingdom that they did not have to have the same fate as them if they would turn to God. God does not make empty threats to scare us into good behavior His warnings are for us to heed so that we do not experience His judgments.  Judgment is a final sentence that is given out with what we deserve. Discipline is what God does to direct His children in the right direction. Many times we think discipline and judgement are the same thing but they are different because judgment can be an eternal decision where discipline gives the opportunity for change.

The bricks have fallen down but we will rebuild

Instead of looking at the destruction around them as warnings from God they arrogantly said whatever gets destroyed will be rebuilt and we will do a better job when we do rebuild it. They refused to turn to God because they believed themselves to be the rulers of their own destiny and in control of their own circumstances.

Have you ever looked at your circumstances as God trying to get your attention? How many times do we arrogantly plan our days with no thought about God or what He wants us to do?  We should always turn to God in good times and the bad but these people were not going to turn to God because of disaster they were arrogantly telling Him that whatever is destroyed they would make it better. We do the same thing when we do not pause and seek God in the midst of what is going on around us. It may be that the things that are happening in your life are there for you to turn to God, learn to rely on Him more or simply because He is growing an area of your life to be more like Christ.

For all his anger has not turn away and his hand is stretched out still

The initial wrath of God was not met with repentance or humbleness and so God continues to raise His hand against the nation. Outstretched hand: A symbol of Gods power which is ready to act either for good or for punishment. (Exodus 15:12; Zephaniah 2:13) The bible uses the symbol of a hand for God to show the personal involvement of God it does not mean He has actual hands. The people chose not to seek God or to look for assistance from Him because spiritual insensitivity makes us oblivious not only to God but His warnings as well.

1 Peter 5:5-7 Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

Are you the type of person who does not need God?  Do you live your life as if God does not exist?

Isaiah 9:14-17 So the Lord cut off from Israel head and tail, palm branch and reed in one day—
15 the elder and honored man is the head, and the prophet who teaches lies is the tail; 16 for those who guide this people have been leading them astray, and those who are guided by them are swallowed up. 17 Therefore the Lord does not rejoice over their young men, and has no compassion on their fatherless and widows; for everyone is godless and an evildoer, and every mouth speaks folly.[a] For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still.

2)   God’s wrath against false teachers and leaders

The prophet that teaches lies is the tail

The people were being led astray by two sets of leaders, Politicians and Religious Leaders. The Politicians and Religious leaders were more concerned with getting rich rather than what was best for the people.  The  leaders were more concerned with teaching what people wanted to hear rather than telling them the truth.  Jesus warned us about false prophets and it is something we have to be aware of today because not every preacher is called by God but some have called themselves into ministry for their own gain.

Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

Beware or to be aware of because Jesus says these will be people that look like good teachers. Every teaching needs to be scrutinized by the word of God. If they tested what the Apostle Paul said (Acts 17:11) then every pastor should have his message scrutinized to see if it lines up with the word of God.

“for those who guide this people have been leading them astray”

As a leader I have a responsibility to God to point people to the truth.  Many false pastors will continue to raise up false teachings even to the point of denying the work of Jesus Christ.  When anyone tells you that Jesus Christ is not the only way to Heaven (John 14:6) or that He is not God in the flesh (1 John 4:2) then they are a false prophet.

2 Peter 2:1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.

What is being taught in churches is not always the truth. The reason we have tried to be diligent against certain teachings is because of the destruction they do to people. Health Wealth gospel teaches a false gospel by telling you that you can earn Gods favor and His blessings by your faith. Hebrews chapter eleven tells us that people who had faith did not see the things they were promised because God had something better for them. Romans 16:7 and Ephesians 5:11 says to watch out for false teachers but to also avoid them and mark them for others to know.  Colossians 2:8 says that we should not follow the traditions of man and the teachings that can draw us away from Christ. We need to be aware that there are always false teachers leading the masses away from the truth and it is up to us to know the truth and test their teachings with God’s word.

Isaiah 9:18-21 For wickedness burns like a fire; it consumes briers and thorns; it kindles the thickets of the forest, and they roll upward in a column of smoke. 19 Through the wrath of the Lord of hosts the land is scorched, and the people are like fuel for the fire; no one spares another. 20 They slice meat on the right, but are still hungry, and they devour on the left, but are not satisfied; each devours the flesh of his own arm, 21 Manasseh devours Ephraim, and Ephraim devours Manasseh; together they are against Judah. For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still.

3)   God’s Wrath against the Nation

Surely wickedness (Wrongdoing) burns like a fire.

Two fires are burning in the nation the first is the destruction caused to themselves by wickedness. Israel and Judah were a society like ours that wanted to live however they wanted to live but they did not realize that their sinful behavior was hurting themselves and others.  They were turning on each other out of their selfish gain because they had no regard for anyone else but only their own satisfaction.   When God tells us not to do something it is for our good and it is not to rob us of some pleasure we think we deserve.

Romans 6:23  For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The destruction of their nation was  because of the sins they were committing. Sin has consequences and not just for those who are committing them but also for everyone who is associated with them. Isaiah calls the people briers and thorn plants that would quickly be burned up in a fire. (Isaiah 5:6, 7:23-25)  If you remember the people were proudly displaying their sins for all to see even being accused by Isaiah of having parades to sin in public. (Isaiah 5:18)

They eat but are not satisfied

Sin never satisfies us because it is it the exact opposite of what God has given to us to enjoy. If you pay attention you will see that our nation will start asking for more and more sins to be normalized and the reason for that is because the more they give into sins the more they will see that those sins will not give them what they are longing for.

Jesus visited a well where He meets a woman who had five husbands and the one she was with was not her husband. She was trying to find fulfillment with the things of this world and she thought the next relationship was the one that would bring her fulfillment. Jesus then tells her the only place she can find the fulfillment she is looking for is in God.

John 4:13-14  Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.[b] The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Only a relationship with Christ can give you what you are longing for because we were created to be in a loving relationship with God. All the things of this world that you try and get to bring fulfillment will leave you looking for more. This is why the biggest house, the nicest car the new wife, the better job never leave you satisfied. They cannot give you what you need because only God can with a relationship with Him.

By the wrath of the Lord the land will be scorched

The second fire is the wrath of God against the sins they are committing and refuse to repent of. Part of God’s wrath is simply allowing people to live with the consequences of their own decisions and rebelliousness.  The destruction that happens in their own lives by their own doing is one way God pours our His wrath before He pours out His wrath for all eternity.  (Romans 1:18-32)

Closing

You do not have to experience God’s wrath at all because of Jesus Christ.

John 3:16-17 For God so loved the world,[a] that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

God is patient with people and He wants them all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9) but He will also allow you to live with the decisions you make that harm yourself and unfortunately others. Christ died for our sake because we could not meet the requirements of God through works (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Galatians 2:21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness[c] were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.

If any of our own works could make us right with God then Jesus died for nothing.  The grace of God is a very difficult concept for people to accept because even if they believe Jesus died for them they believe they still have to do something in order to earn Gods favor. The only way you can be in a right relationship with God is through His grace that was given through Jesus Christ.  Grace is not grace if you have to do anything to earn Gods favor.  Have you accepted the free gift of salvation through Christ Alone? If not then I would encourage you to ask God to call out to God to be saved from His wrath that is coming upon you through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Romans 10:13  For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

 

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Isaiah 9:1-7 Focus on the Future

One ways for people to keep focused on a difficult task or when they are in a difficult situation is to remember what they are going through will pass.  Isaiah is going to encourage the followers of God to remember their future as they walk through the trials that are going to be caused by others.  God does not promise us that life will be easy in fact He tells us the opposite will be true because sin has infected the world and because of sin people act selfishly and even evil at times.

John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Our peace comes not from what happens to us but the fact that Jesus died and rose again from the dead so that we could live eternally with Him.  God will communicate through Isaiah about a glorious future that we can count on and a future that does not put us in denial about the trials we are facing but a future that puts our trials in perspective.

1)   The Future is Bright

Isaiah 9:1-2 But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.[b 2 [c] The people who walked in darkness  have seen a great light, those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.

Gloom and anguish are two words people are familiar with in this world. Pain and suffering can make it seem like the misery will never end. When you have a gloomy outlook the world seems dark and there seems to be no hope not only in the present but the future as well. Isaiah wants the followers of God to know that no matter how dark the world will become around them there is a bright future ahead.  Isaiah mentions areas of Israel that were the most war torn, pagan and overall the least likely area that would have a bright future. These areas were overrun by the Assyrian army months after Isaiah met with King Ahaz. We have to remember that no matter how dark our individual world or the world in general gets there is always hope in Christ because a glorious future waits for us.

“Walking in Darkness or a land of deep shadows.” The Bible equates darkness with being separated from God. (Matt 25:30;1 Peter 2:9) We cannot forget that people are blind to the ways of God and walking in darkness and therefore we need to have grace and mercy on them and pray for them. Darkness brings fear, uncertainty, danger and it also makes you not see everything correctly. The ultimate darkness is death but even that we do not have to be afraid of.

Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,[a] I will fear no evil,
for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Death is but a shadow to Jesus because He has already died and conquered death. As Christians we need to treat death as a shadow that might look scary but it really isn’t because we do not face death like the rest of the world. (1 Thess. 4:13)

“A Light has shined” If you have ever been in total darkness then you know any light is welcomed even if it is not that bright. Jesus is the light according to Matthew 4:13-16 which quotes this verse as proof that Jesus was God in the flesh. God is light (Psalm 27:1),  God’s word is light (Psalm 119:105) Jesus is the light (John 8:12) and with Christ we are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14-16)  God has us here because we are the ones to help people get out of the dark by letting our light shine. Just like in Isaiah’s day not everyone will listen that Jesus is the way.

John 3:19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.

People run from the light because they do not want to give up their evil deeds. We are called out of darkness to face the truth about ourselves and all of our sins and give our lives over to Jesus who is the one who can save us and put us in a right relationship with God.  No matter what we face on this earth we will experience the light of Christ for eternity

Isaiah 9:3-5 You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you  as with joy at the harvest,  as they are glad when they divide the spoil. For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood  will be burned as fuel for the fire.

2)   The Future is Joyful

“They shall be joyful before you” They is plural for God’s people not a single nation. Where do we rejoice? Before the Lord. Our joy comes when we place our hope and trust in God and not in our leaders, military or financial institutions.  Just like King Ahaz many peoples joy is dependent on things that will let them down. Joy at the Harvest: When the people would have an exceedingly great year they would break out in joy in singing and dancing because they knew that God had blessed them. It was a wild celebrative Joy like when you favorite team wins.  Divide the Spoil: The enemy will be defeated the war clothes will be burned.  Yoke of his burden: when sin and death will no longer be an issue anymore. The yoke was used on animals and people so they could carry more weight. They were not free but enslaved. The rod: used to punish will be taken away.

Are you looking forward to the day when your burdens are gone?  We will work in Heaven but it will return to Gods original design. (Gen 2:15; Matt: 25:20) It will be paradise or also called “The Garden of God .”

John 8:34-36Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave[b] to sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

Our world believes they are free if they are able to give into every desire they have but it only leads them to more bondage.  Jesus is the only one who can really free us from slavery and then we are no longer slaves but sons and daughters of the King.

Galatians 4:4-7 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

Isaiah 9:6-7 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given and the government shall be upon[d] his shoulder, and his name shall be called[e] Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace  there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

3)   The Future is Jesus

Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given The one prophesied about in Isaiah 7:14 is now further described.  Born: the prophecy clearly states that God will come in the flesh. Given: to us because it was for our sake that Jesus came to die on the cross for our sins. We cannot earn our own salvation. The government will be upon His shoulder: He will be the ruler in the future and we will no longer have to worry about corrupt governing officials. Wonderful Counselor: Beyond human understanding with complete knowledge and wisdom. Wonderful also means miraculous meaning that He would show the miracles of God. One of the signs the people should have looked for was the miracles. They saw them but they still did not believe in Him. (John 3:2) Mighty God: A warrior who was also God. Everlasting Father: The Old Testament does not expressly talk about the trinity. Father is a King (1 Samuel 24:12) the one who will rule and everlasting because Jesus was before the world began. Everlasting cannot apply to any human ruler and Jesus can give us eternity with Him. Prince of Peace: Again as ruler but also peace is not meant to show Jesus demeanor it is more a keeper of the peace or one who can make peace happen.  The future will be peace because there will be no more wars, pain, suffering or separation from those we love.

The focus on the future was to give hope to the people in Isaiah’s day that no matter how bad things got a better day is waiting for those who put their trust in God and specifically Jesus. No politician or government will ever bring about the future that we have waiting for us.  This future is God initiated and He will bring it to pass.  The people in Isaiah’s day were going through a very dark period of life and for those who trusted in God it was important that they looked toward the future and not their present circumstances.  Do not allow the things that are taking place in our world detour you from focusing on what God is doing.  His promises are true and one day all the things of the world will be gone. I would encourage you to Focus on the future as you live your daily lives because it is by focusing on the future that it will keep this life in perspective.

 

 

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Isaiah 8:16-22 The Testimony

When the world is set on ignoring God what are we supposed to do as followers of Christ?  Many people complain about what the world and especially America is becoming but we have a responsibility in how we are to live in the midst of a world that is ignoring God. Isaiah knew what it was like to have his message ignored and his warnings to people who kept rejecting God and following after other gods and seeking solutions through political means. God called Isaiah and He is calling us to live in such a way that our very lives point people to Jesus Christ. The way we live is called our Testimony.

Testimony; a statement made by a witness under oath especially in a court or a public declaration of a religious experience

We are all called to have a testimony to not just speak words but to live our lives as a testimony to the truth. Today we will see that Isaiah and his family were called to do just that among people who were ignoring God.

Isaiah 8:16-17 Bind up the testimony; seal the teaching[a] among my disciples. 17 I will wait for the Lord, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him.

1)   The Testimony of God’s Word

“Seal up the testimony “  The act of storing and sealing the scroll so no changes could be made to it.

The first thing that should be a testimony to the world is that the Bible is spoken from our lips and shown through our lives.  The Bible is God’s revelation to us about Himself and His salvation from our sins.  No book in history has been more scrutinized and banned than the Bible and the reason it comes under so much criticism is because if people want to ignore God they have to also ignore the Bible.

God wanted the people to see that the things that Isaiah prophesied about will come true and so God had Isaiah make a legal document that could be verified later. The Bible has never been proven untrue and you have to twist the scriptures or distort its meaning if you want to say that it is untrue. Followers of Christ preserve the Word of God by remembering its promises that God will make all things new in the end. As we trust in the promises of God we will not give into the ways of the world.

Psalm 119:11 I have stored up your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

We need to seal up and store Gods word in us so that people see the testimony of God through us.  We can count on the testimony of God’s word because it has never been wrong and God’s word is more than just a book because it is from God Himself. This is why people can read the Bible and be convicted of sins and even change by surrendering their wills to God through Jesus Christ. The Bible is special and unique because God made it that way. The prophecies in the bible have come true time and time again and the prophecies that are still to come can be counted on to happen as if you are reading tomorrow’s news headlines.

To “wait” means that we are to patiently look for divine intervention We are people of action and we do things even if they are wrong because we do not trust what God can do. When our world seems to be ignoring God we need to just wait on Him to act because what He has promised will come true.

God is hiding His face from the people because of their rejection of Him even though He has reached out to them through His prophet Isaiah.  To hides ones face means to withdraw favor from them.

To Hope: means to have eager expectation. When the rest of the world rejects God the disciples (followers of Christ) are to put their trust in His promises as they patiently wait with the Hope that He will do what He says He will do. You have to decide to be faithful to God when the majority of the world walks away from Him.  Is your life a living testimony of the word of God?  In order for the word of God to speak through your life you need to store Gods word in your heart by reading, memorizing and meditating on it.

Isaiah 8:18 Behold, I and the children whom the Lord has given me are signs and portents in Israel from the Lord of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion.

2)   The Testimony of your Family

“I and the Children are signs” Isaiah was letting them know that their family would be a reminder of who God is and what He expects from His people. Isaiah name means Yahweh is salvation so even his name would be a reminder. Isaiah and his family would live and walk among people and how they lived would tell others that God is the true source of salvation. Our families are to be testimonies to the rest of the world in how we live and where we put our faith and trust.  When we are living like the rest of the world by placing our faith and trust in other things but God then we are not a testimony to them. How we handle disappointment, how we handle getting cut from a team, how we handle a job loss and so forth all are testimonies to where we place our hope and trust.

“Some church parents fearful of the world try to isolate their children from the lost. Those same parents probably hope their children will grow up to be strong adults who then will try to win the world to Jesus. Unfortunately, there is no magic switch a parent can throw to change an older teen’s mindset from avoid lost people at all costs to “draw all people to Christ”. Parents who have reared the family with a bunker mentality probably will get young adults content to live out their lives in that bunker. … How many days or years has it been since you joined with your child to pray by name for a lost friend? …What is a step you can take this week to lead members of your family to have hearts for the lost? (Youth Ministry that Last a Lifetime, Dr. Richard Ross, Pg 104-105)

We have to remember that God left Isaiah and his entire family in the midst of a people who had rejected God to be a testimony to the truth.  Your family is a testimony or a declaration about God that the world cannot ignore because what you make a priority in your life will be seen by others.

Isaiah 8:19-22 And when they say to you, “Inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter,” should not a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living? 20 To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn. 21 They will pass through the land,[b] greatly distressed and hungry. And when they are hungry, they will be enraged and will speak contemptuously against[c] their king and their God, and turn their faces upward. 22 And they will look to the earth, but behold, distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish. And they will be thrust into thick darkness.

3)   The Testimony of where to find the Truth

“Should not a people inquire of their God?” When we seek our answers from God and not the answers the rest of the world has to offer we give testimony to who God is. The world seems to seek everyone and everything else while ignoring God and unfortunately we seem to do the same thing as Christians.

“Should they inquire of the dead among the living?”  It was culturally acceptable to call upon the dead Seeking out mediums or fortune tellers or anyone who gets in contact with the dead is forbidden in scripture. (Leviticus 19:31; 20:6, 27; Deuteronomy 18:9-12)

“Why would anyone want to talk to a dead person’s spirit about the living? It’s illogical for God’s covenant people to seek advice from anyone other than their own covenant God. He knows them, loves them, protects them, and guides them, so why would they go elsewhere? It also does not make much sense to go to the dead to find out about the living. The spirit of a dead person does not become a divine being with supernatural knowledge about the future. (The New American Commentary, Gary V. Smith, Pg 230-231)

Hebrews 4:14-16  Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

1 Timothy 2:5 says there is one mediator between God and man and there is no need to go to anyone else but Him. We have access to God through Jesus Christ and we have been given the ability to approach God directly so why go anywhere else? The people in Isaiah’s day were ignoring God and turning to the dead for answers but it is only going to plunge them into deeper darkness.

“They will look to the earth… thrust into darkness.”  All the answers the world has do not lead to light but only to darkness. Romans 6:23 says the wages of sin is death but so many people do not believe that.

“The person who does not believe that God exists has every reason to be depressed because he has no absolute standard for determining anything in his life; values are relative and events are random. There is not, nor can there be, any purpose for his life, and sooner or later he discovers that. As a result, a logical and consistently thinking unbeliever cannot help but be depressed.” Out of the Blues, Wayne Mack, Pg 34)

It is truly a sad day when a person is following the patterns of the world to only discover it leads them to more darkness.  Life without God leads to destruction of one’s life not just in this life but also the one to come.  People are lead astray by the lies of the world and we need to testify to the truth which is God’s word (John 17:17) and Jesus Himself. (John 14:6).  2 Corinthians 11:14 says that Satan disguises himself as an angel of light which means what seems to be the correct way to lead to light will eventually destroy you. This is why it is important that we let our light shine in the darkness so people can find the way home. (Matthew 5:14-16)

Ephesians 5:11-16 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

“They will speak against their king and their god.” People may hate you simply because you expose them for how they are living. They will blame everyone and everything, the gods they worshiped and even God Himself for how miserable they are. Spiritual darkness is a dangerous place to be because you can lose all hope that is why we are called to be light (Matthew 5:16) and Share the light with them. This is why it is important that we do not follow the ways of the world that lead to darkness because some people do not even know they are on the wrong path.

Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path

Where are people going to turn when they realize they believe a lie? If Christ followers continue to say that it does not matter how you live or what you believe then people will have no hope of finding that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. (John 14:6)

1 Peter 3:15  but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,

We have the responsibility to have ourselves and our families be a testimony to the rest of the world. In order for our lives to be a testimony we have to make sure that we are not looking to the world for answers but only to God Himself through His word and prayer. Where do you go when you do not have the answers, to God and His word or to the ways of the world? How are people going to know the truth unless we share with them and live a life in front of them that shows them that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the LIFE (John 14:6) Your life is giving a testimony either toward God or away from Him.

 

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