Isaiah 29:1-14 When you are going through the Motions Spiritually

If we are honest whether it is showing up at church, reading our bibles or going to Bible Studies can become more of a routine in our lives instead of authentic worship and a personal relationship with God.  Isaiah was dealing with people that had become spiritually insensitive to God Himself even though they were worshiping Him regularly. It is scary to think that you can sing about God and listen to messages about God and not be worshiping God. Even though that is the case for the people Isaiah is dealing with and that is the case for many people who call themselves Christians there is hope because God turns their hearts back to Him. Unfortunately, for many of us it takes difficult moments for us to get our hearts back in tune with God and that is something we can learn from the people of Isaiah’s day.

Isaiah 29:1-3 Ah, Ariel, Ariel, the city where David encamped! Add year to year; let the feasts run their round. Yet I will distress Ariel, and there shall be moaning and lamentation, and she shall be to me like an Ariel.[a] And I will encamp against you all around, and will besiege you with towers
and I will raise siege works against you.

  1. Allow the heat in your life to transform you

Wow to Ariel was a warning to Jerusalem that there was going to be consequences for their actions and the city of David was in jeopardy of receiving wrath from God.  Why was God upset? They were going through the motions in their religious practices and their worship was not personal, and their lifestyles reflected that they had no desire to do the things of God outside of the times they showed up to the temple.  King Hezekiah had purged the temple of all the false idols (2 Chronicles 29) but the people still had some of their pagan thinking and false idols in their lives that they incorporated into their worship of God. Because they were going through the motions of worship without putting their heart into it, God was going to turn up the heat in their life.

“It will be like an Ariel” which is the top of the altar where the fire was placed when the sacrifices were burnt. God is going to turn up the heat in their lives to show them the areas in their lives that they are disobedient in or the ones which they are not trusting Him. Heat reveals what you are made of and what comes out of your mouth shows what is really going on inside of you. (Matthew 15:18)

They were taking advantage of their relationship with God which something that has been called  “Cheap Grace” because we believe in the love, mercy, grace and forgiveness of God and so we go ahead and live our lives the way we want with no regard for God.  In Romans 6 Paul ask the question “should we go on sinning so grace could abound?” because the people were saying if it is by grace then we should sin more so God’s grace would be more.  If we go to a worship service , give our tithe, serve in a ministry but live however we want the rest of the week then that is going through the motions.

Romans 12:1-2 I appeal to you therefore, brothers,[a] by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.[b] Do not be conformed to this world,[c] but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.[d]

Hebrews 12:28-29 says “for our God is a consuming fire.”

How we live our lives every day is an act of worship to God not just showing up and singing songs and saying scripture together as important and commanded by God that those things are. (Hebrews 10:24)

We need to be grateful for the love relationship we have with God through Jesus Christ and not treat God as ungrateful children who have taken advantage of His love, mercy and Grace.

“And I will encamp around you all around” To get them to change God will allow their enemies to come around them and put the pressure on them. God is the one who is saying He is going to allow this to happen and He is going to use their enemy to bring them back into an intimate relationship with Himself.It is strange to think that God can use evil people for the sake of His children, but we see God do this time and time again in scripture. In 2 Corinthians 12:7 even Paul said God sent a Messenger or Satan to keep him humble. Have you ever thought that the people you hate God is using to show you areas in your life that you need to give to Him?

God allowed their place of worship to be destroyed because they gave Him halfhearted worship because God is more concerned about His children’s hearts rather than the place of worship. Is God turning up the heat in your life? What do you think God is trying to show you about your own life or your relationship to Him?

Isaiah 29:4 And you will be brought low; from the earth you shall speak, and from the dust your speech will be bowed down; your voice shall come from the ground like the voice of a ghost, and from the dust your speech shall whisper.

  • Humble yourself

You will be brought low” The people had pride in their military, their wisdom and with the alliances they had made with foreign countries and thought that they could not be defeated. The people of God turned to everyone else but God Himself in their daily lives and only acknowledged God at the Temple.

The people will no longer be arrogant and proud but now their speech will be a whisper as they realize all their plans will not work.

We have too much confidence in our own abilities and we fail to turn to God because our own abilities and wisdom get in the way. The only time we turn to God is when all of our resources and abilities run out and that is exactly what happened to the people in Isaiah’s day.

James 4:10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

To Humble oneself is to make yourself lower. When you humble yourself before God then you are acknowledging that He is God and you are not.

Isaiah 29:5- 8 But the multitude of your foreign foes shall be like small dust, and the multitude of the ruthless like passing chaff. And in an instant, suddenly, you will be visited by the Lord of hosts
with thunder and with earthquake and great noise, with whirlwind and tempest, and the flame of a devouring fire. And the multitude of all the nations that fight against Ariel, all that fight against her and her stronghold and distress her, shall be like a dream, a vision of the night. As when a hungry man dreams, and behold, he is eating, and awakes with his hunger not satisfied, or as when a thirsty man dreams, and behold, he is drinking, and awakes faint, with his thirst not quenched, so shall the multitude of all the nations be that fight against Mount Zion.

  • See What God does to your Enemies

We tend to focus on our enemies instead of what God is doing in our lives and the people He has placed around us we are supposed to tell about Him. “Your many foes will be like fine dust” Although God used their enemies for His purposes it does not mean God is not going to punish the people who acted against His people. God’s enemies are like Chaff which are light and have no value to them. (Psalm 1:4) and in an instant God will be the one to right all the wrongs. God’s enemies are living in a fantasy land if they think that they will defeat Him and God says that they will be like a hungry man who dreams he has eaten only wake up hungry or a thirsty man who dreams he drank to only wake up thirsty.  To show His grace God will destroy their enemies after He is done using them for His purposes. You do not need to ask God about your enemies and when He is going to deal with them, just trust Him through it all that He loves you and is using your enemies to work on you.

Isaiah 29:9-12 Astonish yourselves[b] and be astonished; blind yourselves and be blind!
Be drunk,[c] but not with wine; stagger,[d] but not with strong drink! 10 For the Lord has poured out upon you  a spirit of deep sleep, and has closed your eyes (the prophets), and covered your heads (the seers).11 And the vision of all this has become to you like the words of a book that is sealed. When men give it to one who can read, saying, “Read this,” he says, “I cannot, for it is sealed.” 12 And when they give the book to one who cannot read, saying, “Read this,” he says, “I cannot read.”

  • Remove your spiritual blinders

“Make yourselves Stop The people are called to reevaluate themselves in their relationship with God because they were spiritually blind but did not realize it. The people were shutting their eyes or covering them so they could not see so their spiritual blindness was caused by themselves and they could no longer trust in God.  Because they blinded themselves to the things of God, He allowed them to be put in a deep sleep as part of His judgement on them. To be put in a deep sleep means that they are in a spiritual coma because they refused to listen to God’s Word. The prophet’s eyes are shut, and the seers have their heads covered so now the religious leaders cannot even give guidance to the people. Some refuse to open it and some cannot read it and the nation that was privileged to have the word of God could no longer follow it. Although the people blinded themselves God allowed them to continue in the blindness. Romans 1 is a scary chapter where God allows people to be turned over to more wickedness and blindness. The phrase “God gave them up” is repeated three times in the chapter showing that the more the people ignored the things of God the more blind they became. The people sang the songs and repeated the scriptures but were blind to the things of God and that is because we can become so ingrained in our sin patterns that we do not even see them as sins anymore.

Galatians 6:7-8 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

The Galatian church was being deceived by false prophets but even worse they were deceiving themselves. We mock God when we sin deliberately without caring about what God thinks and God will discipline His children and He will show them the blind spots they have in their lives. (Hebrews 12) We are also called as brothers and sisters in Christ to lovingly show people their sins they may not see as sins as well. (Matthew 18; ) This is why being a part of a church is important because we need other people to sometimes point out the sin in our lives.

Isaiah 29:13-14 And the Lord said: “Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men, 14 therefore, behold, I will again do wonderful things with this people, with wonder upon wonder; and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden.”

  • Check your Heart

“Their hearts are far from me” On the outside their worship looked great but God was looking at the heart. The heart represents the persons entire being, their thoughts, motives, desires and emotions. Our motives can be hidden from others but not from God. Everyone may have looked like they were worshiping God in the temple and maybe even on the outside, but it was not true worship from the heart. Reverential worship is more than just singing songs and proclaiming Gods glory it is an entirety of our lives lived out for His glory. In Matthew 15:8-9 Jesus quoted Isaiah 29:13 to the religious leaders to show them what God really looks for in worship. The religious leaders had all the outward appearance, but Jesus knew their heart.

If your mind, will and emotions could be shown on a screen what would they reveal about you? We all tend to be deceived either by others or by ourselves and we must do a heart check. Like a check engine light on a car we either ignore the warning or we choose not to fix the problem it is indicating we have. You have a check “Your Heart light” which is your mouth. What comes out of your mouth shows what is going on inside of you.

Matthew 15:18-19 But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander

Are you worshiping God with some areas of your life but not with others?

Are you showing up on Sunday but the rest of the week you do not acknowledge Him?

Are you willing to talk to someone about the blind spots in your life?

What warnings has your mouth given you about things that need to be checked?

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Isaiah 28:23-29 Are you Listening?

We are all listening to someone whether it be our friends, our family, or even our own thinking. Unfortunately, even people who love us can steer us in the wrong direction and our own thinking can be our worse enemy when trying to follow what God wants. Isaiah was warning the people to trust in God by not listening to bad politicians and drunk religious leaders and Isaiah is going to continue to encourage them to not listen to the wrong people.

Isaiah 28:23 Give ear, and hear my voice; give attention, and hear my speech.

  1. Decide who you are going to Listen to.

“Listen and hear my voice” Isaiah was trying to get their attention and it would be equivalent to “Listen UP”  We are living in a day of information overload and there are many voices trying to get our attention and it can be overwhelming at times when you get so much information that you do not know what to listen to. I delete many emails about leadership in the church that are good things for ministry, but the reality is I can only listen/ read   so many people and so I have to make a decision who I am going to listen to and read.

We all must decide who we are listening to and of course it seems that in our busy lives God is the last one we listen to.  Isaiah was trying to get the people to not follow the ways of others (28:1-4) the drunk religious leaders. (28:7-13) and to not listen to their politicians who were leading them toward death (28:14-22)  A famous passage from the book of Joshua sums up the decision we must all make because we are all listening to someone

Joshua 24:15  And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

You must make a conscience effort to follow the ways of God because there will be many people, including those in church work, who will lead you astray.

Isaiah 28:24- 26 Does he who plows for sowing plow continually?  Does he continually open and harrow his ground? 25 When he has leveled its surface, does he not scatter dill, sow cumin,
and put in wheat in rows and barley in its proper place,  and emmer[a] as the border? 26 For he is rightly instructed; his God teaches him.

2) Listen to God’s Instructions

“His God instructs him and teaches him the right way” A farmer would be successful if they would listen to God’s wise counsel about how to farm but a farmer who decided to ignore the laws of God and what He established would only find ruin.God has designed us and this world to follow certain patterns that many call nature but the reality God is a God of order and has established how we should live. It is God who gives the farmer the wisdom to live the “Right Way” and If there is a “Right Way” then that means, there is a “Wrong Way”.  Every crop would be planted by what it was but also depending on soil type it was planted in the soil where it would see the best results.  God instructs us in how to live but many decide that God does not know best or that God does not exist at all.

Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death

Every rule God has established is for our good and for what is best for His creation. Not only does God have a plan on how we should live but it also means that everything we are going through has a purpose.  Isaiah then asks a series of questions that give the same answer to show them that just like a farmer God knows what He is doing.  Does He plow continually? Does he keep on breaking the soil? Does he sow randomly? Just like a farmer who knows how to work the soil God must till up our own wrong thinking and habits and break them up so that God’s word can be planted in our hearts. It’s tough to get through at times because we have preconceived ideas and thoughts that have been ingrained in our heads about how things are and how they should be. We must decide if God is worth listening to and then we must make a concerted effort to make the changes necessary. Change is not easy to make in our lives just like farming is not easy when the soil needs to be prepared.

Luke 8:11-15 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away. 14 And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. 15 As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.

This is exactly what takes place with people in church as they forget what they have even listened to so we must make an effort to allow the word of God to work on our heart long after we have heard it. Satan will distract you with the busyness of life and literally rob the word of God from you.

Isaiah 28:27-29  Dill is not threshed with a threshing sledge, nor is a cart wheel rolled over cumin,
but dill is beaten out with a stick, and cumin with a rod. 28 Does one crush grain for bread? No, he does not thresh it forever;[b] when he drives his cart wheel over it with his horses, he does not crush it. 29 This also comes from the Lord of hosts; he is wonderful in counsel and excellent in wisdom.

3) Listen to God’s Advice

“He gives wondrous advice; He gives great wisdom” Isaiah is describing the unique ways that each seed must be treated for it to not be useless and we must remember Gods ways are not on a whim but are carefully planned out and specific. We listen to every ones advice in our culture from sports to  fashion and we have all these talk shows that tell us advice and opinions but it is God who gives us the good advice. In Matthew 5:38-40 We are told to turn the other cheek, but the world tells us that if we do that then people will take advantage of us. We must ask ourselves if we are going to take God’s Advice or the Worlds Advice?  In Proverbs 15:1 WE are told that a soft answer turns away wrath, but the world tells us to not back down or to let people walk all over us. So, we must ask ourselves if we are going to take God’s Advice or the Worlds Advice?

Psalm 32:8-9 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you.

God’s counsel is intimate as He is watching over us, but He does warn us to not be like a stubborn horse or mule who will not stay the course unless they are forced to. God is not just winging it with your life and so we can trust Him but many times we are like stubborn mules who fight Him while He is leading us the way we should go.

Psalm 119:105-106 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. 106 I have sworn an oath and confirmed it, to keep your righteous rules.

The enlightened path is not whatever we want it to be but it Gods way of righteousness which keeps us out of the snares of life.  Hebrews 12 says that sin entangles us and many people ruin their lives by getting entangled in sin because they did not listen to God and His instruction.

Who are you listening to? Is there areas of your life that need to be tilled up so that the word of God can be planted in that area of your life? Are you making time to listen to God on a daily and maybe an hourly basis by reading His word?  Do you believe God watches over you with a careful eye and believe that “He will never leave you nor forsake you”? (Hebrews 13:5)

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Isaiah 28:14-23 Scoffers

There is a group of people who the Bible calls scoffers and to scoff means to show great disrespect with mocking laughter or behavior. All of the warnings of Isaiah about how the people should live is not only being ignored they are also making fun of Isaiah and his message. Jesus told us that the treatment Isaiah received that we will receive as well if we live for Him.

Matthew 5:11-12 Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

This is difficult for us when we want to tell someone what we believe but we get ridiculed for it. With statements like “You are on the wrong side of History” of “you believe in fairy tales; I believe in science”. These statements can silence us because we are told what we believe is outdated and for the uneducated. We will face people who not only ignore what we are trying to tell them but there will be some who will scoff at us as well. The main reason for this is because they want to be the god of their own lives and live how they want without having to submit or surrender their lives to the God who is the creator of all.

Proverbs 21:24 Scoffer” is the name of the arrogant, haughty man    who acts with arrogant pride.

It is pride that keeps people from accepting the truth but a truth we must share no matter how much they make fun of us.

Isaiah 28:14-15 Therefore hear the word of the Lord, you scoffers, who rule this people in Jerusalem! 15 Because you have said, “We have made a covenant with death, and with Sheol we have an agreement, when the overwhelming whip passes through it will not come to us, for we have made lies our refuge, and in falsehood we have taken shelter

1)   Scoffers refuse to be corrected

“We have made lies our refuge and in falsehood we have taken shelter” (Vs 15)

Proverbs 13:1 A wise son hears his father’s instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.

This was not people that rebelled occasionally, scoffers are ingrained with a habit of mocking and ignoring God’s principles.  The problem with scoffers is that they were using their power and influence to lead others with them down the wrong path. Through intimidation and lies they deceived others into following them. They reject what God has provided because they place their hope in deceptive covenant with death.

What they thought would bring hope Isaiah interprets it as bringing death. The people were placing their trust in Egypt for protection just like many people turn to other people or things for salvation instead of turning to Jesus Christ.  What the people in Isaiah’s day were ignoring is the warnings of the destruction to come. People today ignore the warnings of the destruction to come as well and that destruction is their souls separated from God. Many people falsely believe that they are on “Good Terms” with God when the Bible tells us we are separated from Him. They believed that” When the whip passes through it will not come upon us” (15) “I’m good with God” “We all go to Heaven” “We are all God’s Children” are common things you will hear from people.

Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death

Since people are refusing the life that Jesus offers (John 10:10) they are choosing and making a covenant with death. (A legal contract that is binding) Some believe that this goes further than their military agreement with Egypt but also the faith and hope they had put into foreign gods. They were mixing their worship of the true God with religious practices of other religions believing that praying and offering sacrifices to other gods was just as good as praying to God Himself. Scoffers do not want to be corrected so they search out people who tell them what they want to hear and not people who will tell them the truth. 2 Timothy 4:3 says they look for teachers that agree with them because some people are not deceived some people purposely give into the deception so they can live how they want.

Isaiah 28:16-21 therefore thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I am the one who has laid[a] as a foundation in Zion, a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation:‘ Whoever believes will not be in haste.’ 17 And I will make justice the line, and righteousness the plumb line;
and hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, and waters will overwhelm the shelter.”18 Then your covenant with death will be annulled, and your agreement with Sheol will not stand; when the overwhelming scourge passes through, you will be beaten down by it. 19 As often as it passes through it will take you; for morning by morning it will pass through, by day and by night; and it will be sheer terror to understand the message. 20 For the bed is too short to stretch oneself on,
and the covering too narrow to wrap oneself in. 21 For the Lord will rise up as on Mount Perazim;  as in the Valley of Gibeon he will be roused; to do his deed—strange is his deed! and to work his work—alien is his work!

2)   Scoffers reject God’s gift

“I am the one who has laid a foundation”

What God builds is built on a steady foundation that will not crumble or fall, it is a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, and a sure foundation. The architect would be sure that the foundation could handle the weight of the building. Of course we know that the foundation that Christianity is built on is Jesus Christ.  Isaiah 28:16 is quoted three times in the New Testament and each time the foundation refers to Jesus Christ. (Romans 9:30-33; 10:9-13; and 1 Peter 2:6-8)

1 Corinthians 3:11-15 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13 each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

Salvation is free and cannot be earned only accepted (Ephesians 2:8-9) because all of the works we do are nothing if not built on the foundation of Jesus Christ. When people say they do a bunch of good works what they must realize is that if they are not built on the foundation of Jesus Christ then they are going to crumble and fall just like a beautiful building that is built on a faulty foundation.

The reason for this is because what God requires is “A plumb line of Justice and righteousness “and because most people have a wrong view of sin and a wrong view of God they think that they can build a house by their own standards. We cannot meet the standards on our own doing or by any other way than through Jesus Christ. The standard to be in the presence of God is no sin and guilt and Romans 3:10 tells us that no one is righteous and Romans 3:21-22 tells us that we obtain our righteousness not from the law but from accepting Jesus Christ.   2 Corinthians 5:21 says that Jesus took our place because we could not meet the standard of God.Jesus was the only one to walk the earth sinless but became sin for us so we could be made (Not become) righteous. Matthew 5:17 says that Jesus came to fulfill the law something we could not do on our own but people still believe that by their works and their good behavior they can earn it.

 “Your agreement with Sheol will not stand and when the scourge passes through you will be beaten down by it.” (18)

Matthew 7:24-27 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

Both houses looked identical but in the end only one was built on the rock which is Jesus Christ because no other foundation will last when they stand before God because only Jesus life is acceptable to God.

“As often as it passes through, day and night it passes through and it will be sheer terror to understand the message” (19)

The scoffers will understand the message but by this time it will be too late. The Assyrians would not just attack once but they would come through several times destroying people and their land and just like in Luke 16 the story of the rich man and Lazarus the rich man knew his terror would not end .

For the bed is too short to stretch oneself on and the covering too narrow to wrap oneself in”(20)

In a bed you find rest, but Isaiah is telling them the bed they are making will not bring them rest or comfort because what they were looking to for comfort will be a bed they will not find rest in.

For the Lord will rise up… to do His deed… strange is His deed… Alien is His work (21)

This is not something that God wants to do but His Holy and righteous character cannot ignore their rejection of the foundation. John 3:36 says the wrath of God is still on those who do not accept Jesus Christ but the wrath of God was put on Jesus for those who do accept Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 28:22-23 Now therefore do not scoff, lest your bonds be made strong;
for I have heard a decree of destruction from the Lord God of hosts against the whole land.

23 Give ear, and hear my voice;  give attention, and hear my speech.

3)   Scoffers still have time to repent

“Hear my voice.. Hear my speech” (23) Isaiah is pleading with them to not ignore the warnings of God about what is to come. The Scoffers believed that God would not judge them and that God would not use their enemies to punish them.  Again, because of the wrong view of God and the wrong view of our sins people do not think that the wrath of God applies to them.

Romans 2:4-5 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.

As we will see this story ends with King Hezekiah repenting and turning to God and God accepts His heart change but later generations did not and the full wrath fell on Jerusalem in 586 BC God is always willing to accept a willing heart no matter how much they have done on this earth and no matter how close to death they are. The reason why God can accept a person no matter how they have lived and how much time they have on earth is because it is not our life that makes us righteous but only the life Jesus.

John 3:16-18 For God so loved the world,[i] 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. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

 “If someone is scoffing at your loving words of truth, don’t take it personally- they’re scoffing at God. When we get bent out of shape and react as though people are rejecting us, were operating under a bit of a god complex. We aren’t God, so we need not act like people are disrespecting us when they turn their backs on truth. .. On judgment day, people aren’t going to answer to you and me. They will face the Lord. We need to keep that in mind and not personalize disagreement.” (God, Greed and the Prosperity Gospel, Costi W. Hinn, PG 207)

Who do you know that needs to hear the truth that God’s wrath will be poured out one day? Regardless of how we are treated we have to speak the truth in love and warn people of the wrath that is to come.

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Isaiah 28:7-13 False Teachers

God is going to continue His rebuke through his prophet Isaiah, but this time God is turning His attention to the religious leaders and their failure to lead the people in the ways of God. Just because someone has a title does not mean that they are leading you in the right direction and we have to make sure that who we are listening to are really messengers of God so we are not led in the wrong direction.

Acts 17:10-11 The brothers[b] immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

The Teachings of the Apostle Paul and Silas were examined through scripture to make sure what they were saying was true. The word Examine is a judicial investigation but many times we do not take the time to examine or question what we are hearing from people who are considered spiritual teachers.

It was after the people examined the scriptures after listening to Paul and Silas that many of them believed in Christ because they compared the Old Testament prophecies with what Paul and Silas were saying about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  This should be the habit of all of us no matter what talks or even music we are listening to as we might write down a key phrase or saying and look up what is being said. The problem is most people are happy with what they believe so they do not want to find out the truth but as we get closer to the end of time there will be more deception and more false prophets for us to look out for. (Matthew 24:24; 1 Timothy 4:1-2)

2 Timothy 4:3-4  For the time is coming when people will not endure sound[a] teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

With that being said let’s look at some of the warnings that we can learn from Isaiah and what we can look for when seeing false prophets.

Isaiah 28:7-8 These also reel with wine and stagger with strong drink; the priest and the prophet reel with strong drink, they are swallowed by[c] wine, they stagger with strong drink, they reel in vision, they stumble in giving judgment. For all tables are full of filthy vomit, with no space left.

1)   False Teachers minds are confused

“They stagger with strong drink they reel in vision”

There is some debate whether they were really drunk or just confused in their thinking but the main point is that the advice they were giving was clouded and misleading just like drunk people who make poor decisions so were the priest and the prophets who were supposed to be guiding the people. Like a drunken person who thinks they are giving great advice their speech is ridiculous. If they were drinking wine, then that was forbidden for them to do according to Leviticus 10:8-10 which shows that they have given into the ways of the world and have disregarded their duties as priest.

Ezekiel 34:1-6 The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord God: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep. The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them. So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts. My sheep were scattered; they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. My sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with none to search or seek for them.

“For all the tables are full of filthy vomit with no space left” I cannot handle vomit and that is exactly what God calls their teaching and instruction of His people. The job of the shepherds was to feed the sheep and God compares those who are in ministry to shepherds with the responsibility of caring, feeding and protecting the sheep from predators. Jesus said in Matthew 4:4 that man is not to live by bread alone but by the word of God, but God says that their teaching is not only worthless but disgusting and unprofitable. Just like if you showed up for dinner and there was vomit all over the table is the dramatic way that this is being said. Many people are being led astray by false shepherds today who are steering people in the wrong direction and give them what the people want to hear instead of what they need to hear.

“Stagger” Isaiah describes them as those who are unable to carry out their task that they have been assigned. They were not caring for the sheep but they were only caring for themselves and their own needs and only cared about their own popularity

Isaiah 28:9-10 “To whom will he teach knowledge, and to whom will he explain the message?
Those who are weaned from the milk, those taken from the breast? 10 For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little.”

2)   False Teachers reject the simple teaching of God.

“To whom will he teach knowledge, and to whom will he explain his message?” There is some debate as to who is speaking here and if Isaiah is addressing the false Teachers or the False Teachers addressing Isaiah. Since there is no indication then I am leaning toward that Isaiah is continuing to speak. Isaiah addresses them by showing them the simple word of God by using repetition and he points out their knowledge and asks why anyone would want to listen to their message.  Unfortunately, people did listen to them just like people listen to false teachers today.

Isaiah answers his own question by saying that those who are not strong in what they believe are the ones who are listening to them and those are the ones they are leading them astray. For false teachers there is always a deeper level of knowledge rather than the simple truths explained by God in His word. False Prophets will point you away from the simplicity of God’s word and point you toward sensationalism of experiences in order to convince you that you can have a deeper walk with God and this is why the Eastern religions as well as mysticism is being found in the churches today. 

“Historic Gnosticism was the belief that some people retain a secret, higher knowledge of spiritual matters and are, therefore, elite in their understanding and power. … Gnosticism contradicts and undermines the Gospel truth that every man and woman can have Christ to the fullest regardless of race, color, or creed. (Defining Deception, Costi W. Hinn and Anthony G. Wood, PG. 105)

Paul in 1 Corinthians 14:21 quotes this passage from Isaiah showing the people that God does not use unknown tongues to communicate to His people and we can say the same thing about unknown sources or experiences.  False teachers do not like for you to address their teaching and many people even believe that to point out false teaching only causes division in the church. They use the passage in Revelation 12:10 which calls Satan the accuser of the brethren and so they take that to mean that any rebuke or questioning is from the devil. They also use Psalm 105:15 which says do not touch my anointed is used to say that we are to do nothing to those who are called Gods anointed but that verse is referring to physical harm and not questioning their teachings.

1 Timothy 1:3-4 As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship[a] from God that is by faith.

The Gospel is good news because there is bad news. When false teaching comes in it robs from the simplicity of the good news of salvation and people believe that there are certain things, they have to do to be in a right relationship with God other than accepting the free gift of Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 28:11-13 For by people of strange lips and with a foreign tongue the Lord will speak to this people,12  to whom he has said, “This is rest; give rest to the weary; and this is repose”; yet they would not hear. 13 And the word of the Lord will be to them precept upon precept, precept upon precept,  line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little, that they may go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.

3)   False Teachers place burdens on their followers

“This is rest… yet you would not hear” The reality is they have made God into their own image and have not accepted the God who has been revealed in Scripture and because of that they find no rest

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.”

When anyone adds to the work that Jesus Christ has already done then they are adding a burden upon you that will cause you to not find rest. Because we believe we must earn God’s salvation people will add requirements to the gift of Jesus Christ. We are created to do good works, but those good works do not put us in a right relationship with God only Jesus can do that.

Because of their rejection of God, God will now allow them to be invaded by foreigners who will lead them where they do not want to go and many people would suffer because of the leadership of the religious teachers. Many people are still in bondage today by religious leaders because they are blamed for their problems because they do not have enough faith or because they spoke something into existence into their lives. False teachers believe “You declare your own reality” instead of relying on the sovereignty of God. Joel Osteen says, “If you are not receiving the blessings of God you might need to step it up a notch and get the Angels working for you”. When we put faith in our faith, we are putting our hope and our trust in ourselves for our healing and worse, for our salvation. Faith is not a prerequisite for healing (See John 9 and the man born blind) and Jesus did not heal everyone because the ultimate healing He brought was us being in a right relationship with God.

“Be broken, snared and taken” Unfortunately, false teachers cause people harm and brokenness and poor countries are being exploited by false teachers making promises they cannot keep and blame the people for their lack of faith for why they are not healed or wealthy. Can you imagine as a parent praying for a child and being told that they died because you did not have enough faith? This happens all the time and people walk away from God because they have been taught lies about Him.

The people would suffer because the spiritual leaders of their day were looking out for themselves and not teaching the people the truths of God’s word. They were ignoring the elementary teachings of Christ and the fact that those things should have been taught repeatedly so that people would not only follow God but would stay out of the traps of sin. Sin has consequences and when the religious leaders stop calling sin what God calls sin then it traps them into deeper cycles of that sin to the point of brokenness. When False Teachers teach things separate from the word of God then people suffer and many people have stopped seeking after God because of the lies they were taught about God.

One of the best things you can do is to take what anyone is teaching and or singing about and test it with scripture. What makes false teachers so dangerous is that the majority of what they teach is truth mixed in with a lie. I think it is best to end with Jesus own words about false teachers.

Matthew 24:4-5 And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray.

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Isaiah 28:1- 6 Failure

Chapter 28 marks a new section and the way it is written is that Isaiah’s pastoral heart is breaking.  Isaiah, even though being rejected by the people, wept over his nation and did not become embittered by their constant rebellion toward God. It is an attitude that we need to have as we see our nation stray farther and farther from God as we share with them the good news of Jesus Christ but the bad news if they reject Him. It is the heart that Jesus had even while being rejected.

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!

To say “O Jerusalem” twice was a sign of affection. We should be saying “O America, O America” as we see the poor decisions and poor lifestyle choices that people are making. We must make sure our hearts do not become hardened by our disagreements with those around us and we have to remember that people are being led astray by the god of this world so they believe lies about themselves and what happens after they pass from this earth.

You failed is not something anyone wants to hear, and no one wants a big red “F” on their paper. Today we are going to see that the people in Jerusalem were failing and what we should do here in America as we see the same things taking place. “Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it” is attributed to the American philosopher George Santayana. We can learn from the failure of others and as we look at the passages today, we will see we have many things to learn from the people of God who have made mistakes that we need to avoid. We must make sure that we are not just looking at history but that we are looking in the mirror to see how these things apply to us today.

Isaiah 28:1 Ah, the proud crown of the drunkards of Ephraim, and the fading flower of its glorious beauty, which is on the head of the rich valley of those overcome with wine!

1)   Failure to see sin accurately

The people in Judah would see the people in Samaria fall and yet they would think they deserved it while they didn’t even though they had similar sins. They were arrogant not only because they thought that they were God’s chosen people but because they thought that what happened to Samaria would never happen to them. Ephraim was situated on a hill (1 Kings 16:24) which rose over 300 feet above the valleys that surrounded it which gave it a great view to see any opposing army that would come their way. They were prideful in the fact that they relied on their own military and political advice in order to rule their own lives instead of relying on God. How easily they saw the sins of their brothers and agreed with the judgment of God on their lives while ignoring their own sins and missing that God’s judgment was coming.

Matthew 7:3-5 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

Described as “proud garland of drunkards” was a slam about how they viewed themselves.  Crowns were worn by Kings, High Priest, people at weddings, or an honored person and the people were seeing themselves as higher than others who God was punishing. Like a drunk person who brags about what they can do is the idea that Isaiah is getting across and Isaiah is saying they are a drunk person who is wearing the crown thinking it is honorable when in reality they are looked upon and laughed at.

Romans 12:3  For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.

When it comes to our own sins we fail to see our sins as serious as they are and we magnify other people’s sins and make them worse than they really are. “Can you believe so and so did _____” “ I would never do ______” A Christian’s proper response to life is not arrogance but humility.  Luke 9:23 calls us to deny ourselves which is difficult in a nation that teaches us that it is all about our self-interest, and needs and a nation that say “Follow your heart” or “God wants you to be happy” The Bible tells us  “Not to think of Himself more highly than he should”. We are not called to demean ourselves but also to not make ourselves something we are not especially if we think we are better than others.

“Extreme forms of mental illness are always extreme cases of self-absorption. “Professor William K. Kilpatrick

We live in a society just like Isaiah is rebuking who wants to live how they want and still say they love Jesus. Our country is headed toward destruction not because we lack a great military but because the wages of sin is death.

“What hope is there for our affluent, pleasure-loving society that gives lip service to religion and ignores the consequences of sin and the judgment that is sure to come? “ (Be Comforted, Warren W. Wiersbe, pg 86)

To answer Warren Wiersbe question, the Hope is the Good News of Jesus Christ and we are called to be like Isaiah who continually reached out to them in love even though being ignored. We must call sin what God calls sin and we cannot allow our society to pressure us into believing the lies because there are consequences to the sins our society is giving into.

Isaiah 28:2-4 Behold, the Lord has one who is mighty and strong; like a storm of hail, a destroying tempest, like a storm of mighty, overflowing waters, he casts down to the earth with his hand.
The proud crown of the drunkards of Ephraim will be trodden underfoot; and the fading flower of its glorious beauty, which is on the head of the rich valley, will be like a first-ripe fig[a] before the summer: when someone sees it, he swallows it as soon as it is in his hand.

2)   Failure to see the Consequences of our actions

It’s Amazing the amount of damage that is done by our sins. Our families, our neighbors and our world suffer when we think that the things God calls sin does not impact us in anyway. A Hail storm, a destructive storm, and a great flooding rain are how Isaiah described the consequences of sin and the damage is so bad from this that it seems like it is unrepairable.

Galatians 6:1, 7-9 Brothers,[a] if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

Most people who destroy their lives do not pay attention to the word of God, nor the warnings and examples of others. Galatians says “Do not be deceived” so Have you ever thought that some of the patterns of sin in your life that you do not call sin is because you are deceived? To be deceived means to be led astray and taken off course which every follower of Christ must make sure does not happen. We are first deceived in our thinking then we are led astray and that is why you should read and study your bibles and not believe every pastor that is out there. We tend to think that we are different but the Bible tells us clearly that if you walk on a path in sin you will reap the consequences of those sins. You reap what you sow, you reap more than you sow, you reap longer than you sow and none of us are above the consequences of sin.

For Israel the consequence of their sin will be an attack from the Assyrians that will destroy them but for most people who ignore what God calls sin it will be destruction of their lives, their marriage and their careers. The Assyrian army consumed everything in its path leaving it like a hailstorm, a flooded river and severe storms destroyed the place. Isaiah compares what will happen to them like someone who comes and picks a fig off the tree and swallows it because when something was swallowed up it meant destruction.

Our society is going to reap destruction because of the lifestyles they are saying are not sins and many churches are not only buying into the lies they are encouraging them. The Religious leaders of Isaiah’s day were doing the same thing and unfortunately it will be too late when we see the damage done by our choices.

Isaiah 28:5-6 In that day the Lord of hosts will be a crown of glory,[ and a diadem of beauty, to the remnant of his people, and a spirit of justice to him who sits in judgment, and strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate.

3)   Failure to focus on the future

We have been talking about that we should begin with the end in mind and Isaiah is saying the same thing when he says, “In that Day”.  God is the true and glorious crown and Heaven is Heaven because God is there. What makes Heaven great is not the streets of Gold, the buildings or gates or even the fact that our family members will be there it will be God who is the ultimate crown of glory. It is in God that we will marvel at and be our ultimate fulfillment. Yes, God does bless us today but this is not our home we are just passing through and we long for a place that this earth can never fulfill.

Hebrews 13:14 For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.

God is going to bring a “Spirit of Justice” and all the wrongs will be made right so we should focus on His future justice and not worry about those who are getting away with things today. This does not mean that you cannot tell God about the injustice or even complain to Him about it. Psalm 10 and other Psalms are questions that are asked to God in a respectful way but with not understanding His ways.

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.

As Christians we will not give an account for our sins, but we will give an account for how we lived our lives on earth. Did we make God’s work our priority or our own selfish gain? You might want to go and read Matthew 25 about the parable of the talents because that story does not end well for the one who went and lived his own life while ignoring the master. Yes, we have responsibilities on earth but those should always be done with the eternal world in mind.

4)   Failure to Rely on God’s Strength

Strength for those who turn back the battle at the gate. (6) God is our source of strength for the battle and those who do the will of God will be empowered by God to do the work He has for us to do.

Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

The Christian life is not just difficult it is impossible by our own power. The notion that once you give your life to Christ that things will get easier is a lie because there is an enemy that wants you to not live for Christ. We must remember that our Strength comes from God and not by our own will power, motivation or even our desire to accomplish His will.

The children of God were failing to see the sin in their own lives and they did not focus on the future of what waits for all who believe on God.

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Isaiah 27:12-13 Listening for the Trumpet

In the middle of Isaiah trying to correct the people he begins having an end time vision for his people and the world. The end time vision that Isaiah has is one where the final battle takes place and depending on your view of the end times it will determine how you interpret this passage along with the other passages in scripture. Although some of these prophecies are difficult to understand they have been given to us for us to study and watch for what God is going to do when the end of time comes. Many people avoid the difficult teachings because they either believe they are too difficult to understand, or they do not think they are worth the time and effort. Everything has been revealed to us but we should look into the things God has given us and not become lazy because it is difficult to understand or the fact that many Christians do not agree on how it will end. These two verses will show us what will happen when Jesus returns to reign on earth.

Isaiah 27:12-13 In that day from the river Euphrates[a] to the Brook of Egypt the Lord will thresh out the grain, and you will be gleaned one by one, O people of Israel. 13 And in that day a great trumpet will be blown, and those who were lost in the land of Assyria and those who were driven out to the land of Egypt will come and worship the Lord on the holy mountain at Jerusalem.

1)   Trumpets Acknowledge Activity

“In that Day a Great Trumpet shall be sounded” In that day is an indication that Isaiah is talking about future events. The Trumpet was a Rams Horn that was not for making a melody but for a signal by making a distinctive blaring sound. We have horns that go off for many reasons and depending on the reason it could bring you joy, panic or concern. InHockey when the buzzer sounds it’s the end of the period and when there isTornadic activity sirens go off it’s to warn you of danger. So just like different alarms sound for different reasons so the sound of a Rams horn was sounded for various reasons.

Rams Horns were sounded for several reasons.

  1. A Call to Battle (Judges 6:34)
  2. A Call to come to the Temple to worship (Leviticus 25:9; Joel 2:1,15)
  3. Announce the beginning of a feast or new moon celebration (Leviticus 23:23-25; 25:9)
  4. Announce a new King (1 Kings 1:39; 2 Kings 9:13)
  5. To signal the beginning of God’s final battle against evil. (Zechariah 9:14)

In each instance it was to signal something special was happening. This special event that Isaiah is talking about is when God will gather Israelites from all over the world to come to Jerusalem and worship Him. In the Book of Revelation you will find seven trumpets sounded that will be a part of God pouring out His wrath upon the earth for the purpose of people repenting and turning to Him.

2)   The Trumpet will be for God’s People

Although there are many trumpets sounded throughout the Bible this trumpet will be for God’s children calling them to come and worship Him in Jerusalem. From the River Euphrates to the Brook of Egypt (These are the boundaries of the promise Land given to Abraham in Genesis 15:18) God is talking about a Harvest that will focus on the promise land and One by One God will look for those who belong to Him like one who harvest olives.

Ezekiel 20:34-38  I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you are scattered, with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and with wrath poured out. 35 And I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will enter into judgment with you face to face. 36 As I entered into judgment with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will enter into judgment with you, declares the Lord God. 37 I will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant. 38 I will purge out the rebels from among you, and those who transgress against me. I will bring them out of the land where they sojourn, but they shall not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord.

Matthew 13:24-30 He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, 25 but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds[c] among the wheat and went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. 27 And the servants[d] of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, “Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”

At the end of time God will separate out those who belong to Him and those who do not. These passages complement one another in what they are saying about how it will look in the end times. I personally believe that after the Rapture of the Church and during the tribulation people will turn and give their lives to Christ and those who do not will be separated out.

Matthew 24:39-41 “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.

3) The Trumpet will indicate a time of worship.

“They will worship Yahweh on the Holy Mountain” Remember one of the purposes of the trumpet blast is a call to worship and so the call will be made for the time of worship to begin. In Acts 1 Jesus is on the Mount of Olivet and He ascended into the Heavens and the Disciples watched. One day He will return according to Zechariah 14 and this time He will come to rule in what we know as the millennial reign of Christ.

We worship because of all that Jesus has done and so as we meet together we are preparing ourselves for Heaven where will we worship God together forever.

“The Bible has a built-in-hymnal, the book of Psalms, comprised of 150 songs, written over a period of fifteen hundred years.  … There are more than five hundred references to singing in the Bible and more than fifty direct commands to sing. Scripture couldn’t be more clear. The God we worship delights in the sung praises of His people. “ (Doxology and Theology, Matt Boswell, Pg 176)

Singing to God is not something we will do when we get to Heaven it is something we should do now as we grow in our understanding of His grace and mercy that he has given us. He is worthy of our worship and our praise.

4)   The Trumpet we should be prepared for

A distinction must be made between those who belong to what we call the church age and the Jewish Nation. Many people have assigned Christians and even America to passages of scripture that pertain to Israel which is God’s chosen nation to bring the truth about Himself to the world.  If you are Pre Tribulation, meaning that you believe the Christians will be raptured before the great tribulation then you believe this Trumpet will sound and we will be raptured up to Jesus without Jesus coming to the earth.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.

The word “Caught up” is from the Greek (harpazo) which means to snatch, to seize or to take suddenly. (Reference to Jesus being taken up in Acts 1) The difference from this passage and the passage in Isaiah 27 is that the Lord will descend but not touch the earth where in Isaiah Jesus will come and be in Jerusalem. The Trumpetwe will hear will be the one where God will summon those who belong to Him home and the rest will be left to go through the tribulation.

1 Corinthians 15:51-52 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.

It has been said that blinking is the quickest movement in the human body, and this is how quickly the rapture of the church will take place. The reason it is called a mystery is because it was not made known to previous generations according to Ephesians 3:5 (See also Colossians 1:26) 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 calls the trumpet the trumpet of God while those in the book of Revelation are called angelic trumpets. 1 Thessalonians 5:2 says Jesus will come like a thief in the night while people will be saying peace and security. Christians should not be surprised because we are called to be awake and sober and watchful of the events that are taking place. 1 Thessalonians 1:10 says we should actively look for the return of the Lord. The return of Christ to earth will be preceded by signs and wonders but the rapture has no indications or signs. If Jesus will come like a thief in the night then there will be no indications of when that is and that is why I believe in a pre- tribulation rapture.

We prepare for this Trumpet:

  1. By accepting the free gift of Salvation given to us by Jesus Christ.

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.

Do you think your works or good actions qualify you to be in the presence of a Holy God?

  • By Cleansing ourselves as we prepare for His return like a bride prepares for her wedding day

The Bible compares believers to a bride. (Revelation 21:9; Ephesians 5:25-27; John 3:29) and many verses about us being married to God. It is our job to prepare for this day by disciplining ourselves by removing sins from our lives.

Titus 2:11-14 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

How will you be found when Jesus comes again?

  • By telling others about Jesus and getting them prepared for this day.

2 Corinthians 5:20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God

Many people still have not put their trust in Jesus Christ and are relying on their own works to qualify themselves to be in the presence of a Holy God. We must tell them.

  • By doing the work of the Lord

Matthew 25:31-40 “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. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[f] you did it to me.’

One day a trumpet will sound, and Christians will stand face to face with Christ and the question we will have is if we will we be found faithful. Will we regret not warning people we love? We cannot live like the rest of the world, but we must live as if the trumpet will blast at any second. May we be encouraged that all the things we do God sees and may we be encouraged that in a blink of an eye we can be with our Savior.

Posted in End Times, Isaiah | Leave a comment

Isaiah 27:7-11 A Father’s Punishment

Although it is good to look at the future and rejoice that one day the suffering and pain is going to end the people are still wondering why they are experiencing painful situations. Isaiah is going to explain to them why they are going through what they are going through and give them hope that even in the midst of pain and suffering God is using it to accomplish His goals for their lives. God uses pain and punishment for a purpose and His purposes are eternal.

Isaiah 27:7 -11 Has he struck them as he struck those who struck them? Or have they been slain as their slayers were slain? Measure by measure,[a] by exile you contended with them; he removed them with his fierce breath[b] in the day of the east wind. Therefore by this the guilt of Jacob will be atoned for, and this will be the full fruit of the removal of his sin:[c] when he makes all the stones of the altars like chalkstones crushed to pieces, no Asherim or incense altars will remain standing.
10 For the fortified city is solitary, a habitation deserted and forsaken, like the wilderness; there the calf grazes; there it lies down and strips its branches. 11 When its boughs are dry, they are broken; women come and make a fire of them. For this is a people without discernment; therefore he who made them will not have compassion on them; he who formed them will show them no favor.

1)   God’s Punishment is different for His Children

“Was it like the smiting of the ones who smote?” Although a difficult translation to put into our language what was being said was that the discipline of God for His children is different from the discipline, He will give those who do not belong to Him Isaiah is addressing two different groups of people. Those who belong to God and those who have rejected Him entirely. God’s punishment is to make us into something we are supposed to be not to destroy us. When God acts against His enemies it is for the purpose of punishing for everlasting doom, but Gods children can know that God’s discipline is for the purpose of godliness. If you have accepted the gift of Jesus Christ and what He did for us on the cross, then you can know that God is punishing you as a father would punish a 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.

God has you on a path to become more righteous and more holy just like Him (Romans 8:28-29). The Path He has us on is for our good and anything He allows us to go through is out of a loving Fathers heart.

2)   A Father’s Punishment is Fair

“Measure by Measure” When God punishes the punishment fits the crime that was done. He is not an angry out of control God who acts on emotions and therefore punishes people randomly or haphazardly.If God punishes someone because they have rejected Him then they are going to know that it is fair just like the Rich man in Luke 16 did not complain about why he was in the place of torment instead of paradise.  For God’s children He does not punish you unfairly as well but it is a measured response to the situation.

“He has removed them (8) Therefore God will not have compassion for them and show them no favor (11)” Those who do not belong to God get removed from his presence. When speaking of the wrath of God many people have a difficult time with the idea of Hell, but the reality is that is a measured response to the rejection of their creator.

“You can’t force someone to love you. … the same is true in our relationship with God. God can’t force use to love Him. Love, by definition, must be freely given; it cannot be coerced. … But if we continue to turn down His invitations, He eventually leaves us alone to pursue our own sinful desires, as Paul explains in the first chapter of his letter to the Romans. …A loving God must eventually let people go their own way, which for some is away from Him. As C.S. Lewis aptly put it, “In the long run, the answer to all those who object to the doctrine of hell is itself a question: “What are you asking God to do? To wipe out their past sins and, at all costs, to give them a fresh start, smoothing every difficulty and offering every miraculous help? But He has done so, on Calvary. To forgive them? They will not be forgiven. To leave them alone? Alas, I am afraid that that is what He does.”  (Stealing from God, Frank Turek, PG 223)

God has paid it all and yet people will not receive His payment which is their choice but with it comes the consequences of their actions.  God has offered forgiveness and a literal cleansing of all of our sins but if you reject that then you leave God no choice but to give you what you ultimately desire which is for Him to leave you alone and be cast out of His presence. His wrath is compared to the harsh winds that would blow in a dry scorching heat that would destroy crops and the presence of God will destroy those who do not belong to Him and it will remove all the sins and flaws from those who do belong to Him.

3)   God’s Punishment was put on Jesus

“The Sins of Jacob will be forgiven” God will remove those from His presence that refuse to accept His offer but for those who belong to Him He will remove the things that are unclean. Sin is what separates us from God and the only way we can have our sins removed was for God to remove them.

Isaiah 53:4-5 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.

We cannot earn our salvation and we cannot take the punishment we deserve because the price is way too steep for us to be able to pay for it. (See Matthew 18) The debt is too high for us to pay back on our own and that is why we need a redeemer or one who can buy us back. He will take away our sins but most people do not see themselves as sinner’s only mistakers and do not see their sin as offensive to God as it really is.  Most people will say “They are good people” and they are right compared to humanity but not compared to a Holy and perfect God.

Romans 3:21-24  But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

We become justified only through Jesus. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says He made Jesus who knew no sin to take our sin so we can become righteous.  This is the good news of the gospel that our sins have been dealt with and our sins have been punished so we do not have to worry about them. We do not have to worry if our good works are going to outnumber our bad works or if somehow I made the cutoff point to get into Heaven. Christianity is not fair because it is not based on the individual efforts of human beings but only if we accept the work of Jesus Christ and what He did on the cross for us. In other words Jesus took the test and we get to put our name on the paper to receive the passing grade Jesus earned.

4)   God’s Punishment is for Repentance

“This will be the full fruit of the removal of his sin when he makes the altar stones like dust and the Asherah poles are destroyed.” The people’s response to the forgiveness of sins is to not only take down their idols but to destroy them to the point they become dust. God did not want them put in a closet or out of sight where they might be able to call on them again if they really needed them. The people called sin what God called sin and they destroyed them. A life of repentance is a true life of one who belongs to God. Matthew 3:8 says “Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.”

The people made God mad at the beginning of the book of Isaiah because they were worshiping God while adding other religions to their worship. Isaiah warned them but they would not listen and repent of their sins but because of the punishment God the people will turn  to see that there is only one who they can truly worship. A person has truly repented when their actions change not just because they say they are sorry. That does not mean they will not slip back into patterns of behavior they have developed but when they make the necessary changes in their lives that is when true repentance has happened. We are called to be fruit bearers of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) and that only happens for those who abide in Christ. (John 15:5)

Psalm 103:8-13 The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. 10 He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; 12 as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. 13 As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.

For they are not people with understanding (V11) Again Isaiah addresses the other group who are ignoring the warnings of God. Although God is sending punishment to people to get their attention there will be some who will continue to ignore their creator. Those who want to ignore God do so by trying to come up with every feasible way that they can explain away what is happening instead of seeing that it is God who is trying to get their attention.

“Therefore, God will not have compassion for them and show them no favor” Eventually the patience of God is done and those who ignored Him will experience His wrath and they will get the punishment they deserve.

Romans 2:4-8 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking[a] and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.

God is patient but the day of repentance is going to be over with soon and then those who did not trust in Jesus Christ will get the wrath of God.

Posted in Heaven, Hell, Isaiah, Jesus, Pain and Suffering | Leave a comment

Isaiah 27:1-6

There is one who is the ultimate enemy of God and Isaiah is going to tell about him and what God has in store for him. Evil in this world is something that we all deal with but one day we are promised that all evil will cease to exist. Isaiah will now tell the people about the victory that will take place over evil and the future that awaits them with those who have placed their trust in God.

Isaiah 27:1 In that day the Lord with his hard and great and strong sword will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the twisting serpent, and he will slay the dragon that is in the sea.

1)    Victory is certain

“In that day” which is a common theme for Isaiah, refers to God’s final intervention when He says enough is enough and the world as we know it will be ended. The judgment of God will be on the cosmic realm and the demonic powers that have hostility against God will experience His wrath. God will destroy Satan with ease and there will be no fighting back because God’s power is no match for Satan. Some people have bought into the lie of yin and yang where the forces of evil and the forces of good are somehow equal. The Bible teaches us that not only is Satan and his demons not equal with God but not even close to being a challenge to God because God created Angels and these Angels rebelled against Him.

Leviathan Mentioned in Job 3:3; 41:1; Psalm 74:14 and 104:26 has several meaning which could have been the giant Nile crocodiles or could have been taken from the myths about a seven headed monster with the form of a serpent from Canaan and Babylon which was trying to overthrow the created realm. Some say it was almost cartoonish the way that Isaiah was describing the creature to demonstrate the ease that God would destroy it.

Revelation 20:2-3 And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.

This picture of the Satan should be a warning to us that what the Bible has revealed about him is not to be taken lightly. The Hebrew word Satan means to oppose or to act as an adversary or accuser. Until the time that God ultimately destroys Satan we have to be aware what the Bible says about him and by doing so we will have victory not just when the world is over but also in our everyday lives. How we perceive the enemy will determine how we will fight against him.

A)   Satan is a destroyer (John 10:10; 1 Peter 5:8)

Serpent and Dragon are how Satan is described in Isaiah 27:1 , John 10:10 says  Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy and  1 Peter 5:8 says that Satan is a roaring lion seeking people to destroy. We all know people whose lives, business, marriages, friendships and churches that were destroyed because the enemy came in through sin choices that they made. We must see Satan as a destroyer of the things of God

B)   Satan is a deceiver (2 Corinthians 4:4; 11:3; 11:14)

“Twisting Serpent” that deceives by twisting the truth. 2 Corinthians 4:4 says that Satan has blinded the minds of unbelievers. 2 Corinthians 11:3 says that Satan can deceive people just like he did to Adam and Eve. 2 Corinthians 11:14 says that Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. One of Satan’s goals is to enslave people with sin (John 8:33-34; Acts 26:18) and he does that by making you think the things God says no to are God’s way of keeping you from having fun or from being fulfilled when the opposite is actually true.

1 John 3:7-10 Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s[b] seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. 10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

C)   How to have victory over Satan

“We must live with the unshakeable confidence not only that God will win in the end but that He is actually winning even now, day by day. We do not have to wait until Satan is cast into the lake of fire before we can rejoice that our enemy is crushed.” (God’s Devil, Erwin Lutzer, pg 22-23)

1)    Resist his ways (James 4:7)

James 4:7 says to resist the Devil and he will flee from you. Every desire we have  is not a godly desire and so we cannot believe the lie that we should be led by our desires and not the truth.

2)    Don’t Give Satan an opportunity to tempt you (Ephesians 4:27)

Ephesians 4:27 says we should not give the Devil an opportunity through anger to destroy us.

3)    Prepare for Battle (Ephesians 6:10-18)

Ephesians 6:11 says to put on the whole armor of God so we can stand against the Devils schemes. Satan has a plan to destroy you; do you have a plan for him not to? Put on Truth (Belt) which is God’s Word. Fill your mind with it, memorize it. Put on Righteousness (Shoes) and guard where you allow yourself to go. Put on Readiness which comes through peace so that you are always ready for the enemy to attack you. Carry the Shield of Faith to block the lies and temptations that come our way. Put on the Helmet of Salvation so you can protect your mind. (Philippians 4:8) Carry the Sword of the Spirit. The only offensive weapon is God’s word to be used against the lies and deception and also for Holy Living.

Never think that as a Christian you do not have the power over sin or Satan’s lies because you have been given victory through Jesus Christ.  You may struggle because you have created habits in your life that we need to overcome but that does not mean you have to give into them. We are tempted by our own flesh and desires that many of us have created by giving into sin. (James 1:13-14)

Colossians 2:13-15  And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities[a] and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.[b]

As Christians we know that all of our sins have been paid for on the cross but not only did our sins get taken away God also destroyed the enemy because now that Jesus lived a perfect sinless life, died and rose again the enemy is defeated.

Isaiah 27:2-4 In that day, “A pleasant vineyard,[a] sing of it! I, the Lord, am its keeper; every moment I water it. Lest anyone punish it, I keep it night and day; I have no wrath. Would that I had thorns and briers to battle! I would march against them; I would burn them up together.

2)    Victory Leads to Rejoicing

In that day again points to the time in the future. Vineyard is the people of God and God calls on them to sing about the Victory that has taken place. The Bible speaks of three vines; the people of Israel (Isaiah 5:27) Christ and His Church (John 15) and the godless which are known as the vine of the earth (Revelation 14:18) Here God is speaking of His people.

I Yahweh watch over it This is such a personal intimate moment when we will be with God and He will watch over us and take care of us without hesitation. It is going to be the most loving environment there is and one that is unimaginable for us because we live in a fallen world.

I have no wrath There will be no need for God to show His anger against sin because it will be no more. The Briers and the thorns that were part of the curse in the Garden are gone and the enemies of God will no longer exist and therefore the temptations and the struggles will also be gone forever. We cannot fathom how great this will be because of the everyday struggles we have with sin and people. Our task in Heaven will be easy, our relationships with others will be pure and our time with God will be intimate.

Revelation 5:11-14  Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”14 And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.

Isaiah 2:5-6 Or let them lay hold of my protection, let them make peace with me, let them make peace with me.” In days to come[b] Jacob shall take root, Israel shall blossom and put forth shoots and fill the whole world with fruit.

3)   Victory must be accepted

Let them make peace with me As Isaiah is talking about how wonderful this day will be God makes another plea for those, He considers His enemies because we must make peace with God Himself.

James 4:4 You adulterous people![a] Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

We cannot make peace with God by anything we can do but by only accepting what Jesus did for us.

Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

The call God gives to humanity is that we accept what He is offering and only after you have accepted the gift that God has offered through Jesus Christ will you have peace with God and have victory over sin. The Christian life is not about you doing better but about God working in and through you to accomplish His will for your life which is to be more like Jesus Christ.

Galatians 2:20  I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Our victory through our daily lives comes not from our might or our power but by the power of the Spirit of God (Zechariah 4:6)

The victory has been won and Satan is defeated even though we are waiting for that final moment when God will overthrow Satan for good. We can have victory over Satan and sin because of the power of the Holy Spirit. One day because of the victory God has attained with us there will be rejoicing and singing like nothing we can compare to on earth. May we live with the end in mind as we rejoice and sing over the great victory God has achieved for us.

Posted in Isaiah, Old Testament, Satan | Leave a comment

Isaiah 26:19-21 The Resurrection

Have you ever talked to God and wanted Him to answer you? Do you ever wish Jesus or maybe one of His angels would just pop up and explain everything to you? We all would like some answers to the complexity of life’s issues and although we cannot know everything God does give us some answers to the complex issues of life. God is going to answer the people of Judah after they have been calling out to Him. The book of Isaiah takes a turn and verses 19-21 of chapter 26 are written as if God is answering His people directly. What God tells His people is encouragement for all of those who call on His name for salvation. The words and advice we will get today is encouragement for whatever we are walking through in this life. God answers them by telling them about the Resurrection

Isaiah 26:19 Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise. You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy! For your dew is a dew of light, and the earth will give birth to the dead.

1)   The Resurrection gives us comfort

Your Dead shall live, their bodies shall rise. The first thing that God wants to assure them of is that those who pass away before the end of time will be brought back to life.

“Whether as a matter of hope or of fear and dread, man has generally felt that there is a life after death. The early Egyptians reveal this belief in their care of the dead; the Babylonians in their dread of it as a sad and doleful existence. Socrates held that life continues after death; the American Indians look for a future hunting ground. Brahmanism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Mohammedanism all hold that man continues to exist after death. Why this universal belief? Is this fundamental premonition of human nature a lie? No, that the mind cannot rest in the prospect of extinction affords ground for the hope that there is life after death.” (Lectures in Systematic Theology, Henry Clarence Thiessen, PG 380)

Even Atheist realize that we live on forever as they believe that matter will continue to live long after we are gone.  Where does this thought come from? It comes from God.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.

So, man knows that there is more than this life but he will never understand it because God only gives us a glimpse of what is to come. God answers them not by telling them about a victory over their enemy but about how those who are dead will be brought back at the end of time. Could there be any greater comfort than knowing that we will be reunited with our loved ones who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ?

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18  But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord,[a] that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

Sleep in the Bible is a term that is used for the body regarding death (Matthew 27:52; John 11:11-13; 1 Corinthians 11:30; 15:20, 51) Before Christ died people would go into Sheol which had two compartments. Paradise for those who put their trust in God and an unnamed place but is said to have torment. (Luke  16:19-31) In 2 Corinthians 12 Paul calls where we go today is called paradise but he says it is above. We know we will be raised like Christ was raised and 1 Corinthians 15:13 says if there is no resurrection then even Christ was not raised from the dead.

Christianity is based on faith and hope in the person the work and the resurrection of Christ. The People Paul was addressing in 1 Thessalonians 4 were in fear that they missed the rapture because of the persecution they were suffering but Paul reassures them that the suffering they were going through was normal persecution that all Christians might face for their beliefs. The fact that Paul was addressing their fears about missing the rapture indicates that the rapture happens before the tribulation or what is known as “Day of the Lord.” The main concern was about their loved ones who had died and if they would receive their resurrection bodies.

The Earth will give birth Our resurrected bodies will be like the ones we have now but will be different. Resurrection does not mean reconstruction it will be a resurrected body like Jesus had. In 1 Corinthians 15:35-49 Paul compares the resurrection to a seed being buried. The reason the earth will give birth is because it will be new bodies springing up just like a seed that is planted produces a plant that is the same kind but different. 1 Corinthians 15:49 says we will have glorified bodies which means they will be incorruptible imperishable, and powerful so we can carry out the will of God.

Awake and Sing for Joy

1 Corinthians 15:51-52  Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.

Jesus will call them out of the graves and tell them to WAKE UP. This will be the biggest family reunion ever as we get to be reunited with those who have gone on before us.  We will be changed immediately into the glorified bodies that will allow us to be in the presence of God.

When the Bible talks about sleep it is talking about the physical body and not the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 5:8 says to be absent from the Body is to be present with the Lord so there is no waiting period for anyone who passes from this life. What they do wait on is their glorified bodies.  Jesus told the man on the cross who believed in Him Today you will be in Paradise. (Luke 23:43)

Isaiah 26:20-21 Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you;
hide yourselves for a little while until the fury has passed by. 21 For behold, the Lord is coming out from his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity, and the earth will disclose the blood shed on it and will no more cover its slain.

2)   The resurrection motivates us

A)   Through Trials

For a little while until the fury passes When we are going through trials, they seem to never end but considering eternity they only happen for a little while and we are assured that this is all going to end. One of the things we must remember is that our timetable and God’s timetable are not the same.  2 Peter 3:8 says that a day to God is a thousand years and a thousand years a day

James 1:2-4 Count it all joy, my brothers,[b] when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

We can count it all joy because it will end and the fact that God is using trials to make us more like His son.  Your Suffering is not in vain and is not hopeless.

“Enter your rooms” these measures will help them with their physical safety but for us we need to enter our rooms for our spiritual safety. This is another Exodus term as well when the people went into their homes with the blood of the Lambs over their doorpost while the death angel passed over. Some believe that God is promising protection of His people through this time trial, but protection is not always promised to Christians. We need to enter our rooms of private devotion to God so that we can stand against the schemes of the devil and the pressure of the world.

Matthew 6:6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

How much time do you spend in a day away from the distractions and problems of life? Are you building up yourself spiritually by getting away from everything and spending time with God through His word and in prayer?

B)    To Live As If He is coming today

Behold (look) the Lord is coming out of His place. Do we really believe that Jesus can come at any minute? The people Paul addressed in 1 Thessalonians believed it and even Paul in all his writings wrote as if Jesus was going to come before he died.

Mark 13:35-36 Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows,[c] or in the morning— 36 lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. 37 And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.”

If you knew Jesus was coming to live with you next week what would change around your house? We are always called to live as if Jesus is going to come at any time. (Matthew 25)

C)   TO Share what we believe

The Earth will disclose the bloodstain on it.  This is written as if the Earth is going to tattle on everyone who has done evil  but what it really means is that God sees and knows all and nothing is going to escape His judgment. Even though it may not be in our time we can know that God is going to act and all those who are guilty will be punished.

 John 6:40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

People who do not accept Jesus Christ have the wrath of God on them. (John 3:36) They will face judgment from God for how they rejected the gift of Jesus Christ and give an account for how they lived. Everything they did will be remembered and seen to be judged by God. What is interesting is all the Rapture scriptures, which pertain to believers, have nowhere in them about being judged. Roman 8:1 says there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus and we can know that our works done in Christ will be judged but our sins are remembered no more. (Hebrews 8:12)

The Resurrection brings comfort because we know because of Jesus Christ that there is a physical life after death and all who are in Christ will be reunited with Him. The Resurrection should motivate us in that what we are going through will end one day but it should motivate us in what we make a priority and for us to tell others about Jesus Christ being the only way to Heaven. (John 14:6)

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

Isaiah 26:7-18 What to Remember through the Trials of Life

The trials for the people of God will continue and the Trials in this life will continue for us until God makes all things new again. We face many challenges because of the sin in the world. Sometimes it is our sin, sometimes it is the sin of others and sometimes it is just because we know that the world is cursed and not the way it is supposed to be. The people Isaiah was addressing were going through some very difficult and trying times and although they were God’s people it did not exempt them from pain and sorrow. Today we will see what we need to remember as we walk through this life and the troubles and sorrows we tend to all face.

Isaiah 26:7 The path of the righteous is level; you make level the way of the righteous.

1)   Remember God’s Purpose for your life

“The Path of the Righteous is Set” This does not have to do with how people are living their lives but a course that God has set for those who belong to Him. When you believe in Jesus and what He did for you then you are set on a course to be made holy.

Romans 8:28-29And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,[a] for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

This means that no matter what we are going through that God can use it for the ultimate purpose of our lives which is for us to be like Jesus. (When I say to be like Jesus I do not mean reaching a God Status but to have lives put back into a relationship with God and our lives lived Holy and Pure.) When we have been lied to, lied about, abused and mistreated one thing we can say with all confidence is that God is using this in our life for the purpose of making us more like Jesus. This is why Proverbs 3:5-6 says we have to trust Him and He will direct our paths.  God’s main goal for you is to be Holy as He is holy. (1 Peter 1:16)

There are three things that many people get confused about the Christian life when they give their lives to Christ. The first one is Justification: The one-time declaration by God that your sins are forgiven and remembered no more. When we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31) then all our sins are forgiven and done away with. The second one is Sanctification: is the process that we partner with God in as He continues to change us to be more like Jesus. The third step in a Christians life is Glorification: This happens when we leave this earth and we will be like Him. (Philippians 3:21)

Right now we may not understand the purposes of God and the pain and heartache He has allowed to go on in this world but one thing we must remember is that He will use everything for the good of making us to be more holy. While on earth we believe by faith that we have been forgiven for eternity of our sins (Justification) as we continue to work out our salvation (sanctification) until we die or He comes again (Glorification)

The problem arises when we substitute what we think is good for what God thinks is good. Many Christian teachers like to say what is and what is not good but only God can be the determiner of what is good and bad. What I mean is that what looks to us to be bad is really being used by God for good. (Romans 8:28)

Jeremiah 18:1-6 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear[a] my words.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.Then the word of the Lord came to me: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the Lord. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel

The times that if feels as though God is destroying you, you can relax knowing that He is forming you and the fact that you are in His hands should give you peace as you walk through the difficulties of this life. Pain without purpose is miserable but pain knowing it leads you to something better gives you hope. You have the hope that no matter what you are going through God is using for the good.

Isaiah 26:8 In the path of your judgments, O Lord, we wait for you; your name and remembrance are the desire of our soul.

2)   Remember whose name is to be great

“Your name and remembrance are the desires of our soul” Unfortunately many people are about their fame and their name and so when life does not go the way they think then they become bitter at others and at God. This also happens to churches and church leaders who are worried about their name becoming great and what they will be remembered for and so buildings are built, books are written, and ministries are made so that they can have a legacy. It is an easy temptation because of pride for us to think about ourselves and how we will be remembered and just making the world about ourselves. Am I alright with no one remembering my name but the name of Jesus being made great?

Exodus 3:15 God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘The Lord,[a] the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.

We have a responsibility to make the name of Jesus great and we do that as we patiently wait on God even while we are walking through terrible times. Only God can use a terrible disease and a tragedy to lead others to Him therefore how we go through difficulty will show others what we truly believe about God.

Isaiah 26:9-12 My soul yearns for you in the night; my spirit within me earnestly seeks you.
For when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.10 If favor is shown to the wicked, he does not learn righteousness; in the land of uprightness he deals corruptly and does not see the majesty of the Lord. 11 O Lord, your hand is lifted up, but they do not see it. Let them see your zeal for your people, and be ashamed. Let the fire for your adversaries consume them. 12 O Lord, you will ordain peace for us, for you have indeed done for us all our works.

3)   Remember to pursue God

My soul yearns for you in the night. Night is when pain increases, and the questions and doubts are magnified.  Our responsibility is to long for God and not the things of the world like those who do not acknowledge God. The temptation is always to seek out other things or means when it seems that God is not at work or that He has abandoned you in your darkest time. Those who have placed their hope and trust in Jesus Christ should see that the things that are happening are God’s way of getting the world’s attention to draw them back to Him. Unfortunately, we get hung up on the same things the rest of the world is longing for instead of longing for God and so the world does not see a difference in the things we are pursuing. Christianity is about a God who loves us so much that He came to earth and died for us to put us back in a right relationship with Him. It is the ultimate Love story.

There is a correlation in verse 11 between your people and your enemies. The wicked people do not acknowledge that God is at work but Gods people should acknowledge it. We are here to point people to God just like the nation of Israel was supposed to point people to God but when we go after other gods and desire other things than God Himself then we do not show others who God really is.

“You ordain peace for us” It is by the work of God that we have received salvation and because of that we can be at peace. The people realized that they were not the source for their salvation and that salvation is only something God can achieve for us. No matter what we go through in this life there is no bigger question we all must answer as to what happens after we leave this earth. How to be at peace with God is a question that everyone of us must know the truth about before we die. John 3:36 says that those who believe in Jesus Christ have eternal life but those that do not still have God’s wrath on them.

26:13-18 O Lord our God, other lords besides you have ruled over us, but your name alone we bring to remembrance. 14 They are dead, they will not live; they are shades, they will not arise; to that end you have visited them with destruction and wiped out all remembrance of them. 15 But you have increased the nation, O Lord, you have increased the nation; you are glorified; you have enlarged all the borders of the land. 16 O Lord, in distress they sought you; they poured out a whispered prayer when your discipline was upon them. 17 Like a pregnant woman who writhes and cries out in her pangs when she is near to giving birth, so were we because of you, O Lord; we were pregnant, we writhed, but we have given birth to wind. We have accomplished no deliverance in the earth, and the inhabitants of the world have not fallen.

4)   Remember to Confess your sins

Other Lords have ruled over us When going through trials it is easy to think and feel as if God either abandoned you or does not care. When this happens the temptation to turn to other things besides to God becomes stronger. We believe God has let us down so we might as well drink, do drugs, over eat or turn to other things that numb our minds from the pain. We make excuses for our sins when going through difficult times and say things like, “I don’t blame you for cussing” if I was going through what you were going through I would cuss as well. “I don’t blame you for getting drunk you are going through some difficult times. The people have turned to other gods and other leaders for their salvation instead of turning to God and now their leaders are dead and no longer able to govern the affairs of the earth. Some of the people they were putting their hope in not even their names are remembered.

“In distress they sought you Unfortunately, sometimes God has to get people’s attention through pain but even then, some will ignore it. Some of the suffering they went through was pointless because they still did not turn back to God and they did not lead the world to God through their actions. Like a woman who gives birth to the wind there is no reward because how they were living was not pointing others to God. We must continually remember to seek after God and confess the areas where we did not seek after Him or when we did things by the worlds way in order to show the world that there is a God.

We are called to wait with patience as we walk through the dark days and we can remember what He has promised and what He will do when one day all our pain and sorrow are gone. One day it will make sense but until that time we must remember that God has a purpose, that we are to make His name great, to seek after Him and not other things for peace and comfort, and to always confess our sins to Him.

Posted in Isaiah, Old Testament, Pain and Suffering, Peace | Leave a comment