Isaiah now switches back to a prophecy that would be fulfilled before our lifetime but nonetheless shows us how we can trust God through the difficulties of life. Because whatever God says comes true we can trust His promises because He does not break any oath that He has promised. This is encouraging news for us as we struggle with this life because we know the promises that He has given about salvation and the afterlife are true because all of His promises are true.
Isaiah 14:24-27 The Lord of hosts has sworn: “As I have planned, so shall it be,
and as I have purposed, so shall it stand 25 that I will break the Assyrian in my land, and on my mountains trample him underfoot; and his yoke shall depart from them, and his burden from their shoulder.” 26 This is the purpose that is purposed concerning the whole earth, and this is the hand that is stretched out over all the nations.27 For the Lord of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back?
- Trust God’s promises when they go against the worlds wisdom
“The Lord of Host has sworn” Many people in our day will swear promises on either God or their mother’s grave because people are looking for something above their own character. When God makes a promise He just declares it based on who He is because nothing is above God’s own character. God makes promises based on His holiness (Amos 4:2) and because God is Holy we can be assured that His promises will come true.
“As I have planned so shall it be and as I have purposed so shall it stand” The word purpose appears 4 times in this short section showing that God has not only planned but He has a purpose for all that He does. We struggle with this aspect of God especially when we have the idea that God is to do our bidding because we have faith. Trusting God is to trust His promises and but to also trust that His purposes behind what is taking place and that things are not just random. When you do something that is difficult but you realize there is a purpose for it then it makes the task easier to do. The opposite is also true because when you do not understand that there is a purpose behind what you are going through then you want to give up. The King of Assyria thought that he was the one in charge of his own life and his own plans and in his pride made plans but God spoke through the prophet Isaiah to let them know that God is the only one who can plan and promise. We make many plans and promises but the reality is none of us have the ability to really promise because there are so many factors out of our control.
James 4:13-16 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.
Does God get a say in the plans you are making? You may think that this is a silly question but the majority of us live our lives as if God does not exist other than to pray on Sunday. We are Christian Atheist because we believe in God but we do not acknowledge Him for our everyday lives. Many times we will seek God but we will ignore Him if it goes against the practical wisdom of the world. The people were going to be attacked by the Assyrians and the wisdom of the world said to trust the Babylonians to help but God was telling them to only put their trust in Him. What do you do when the wisdom of the world contradicts what God wants you to do? That is not an easy question to answer because if we are honest we all tend to rely on our own resources, our own abilities and our own wisdom when we have to make decisions. We also do not want to look foolish to people so we do things the way the world would because then everyone can at least agree on our logic. Would we have built a boat when the world had never seen rain? Would we have marched around a city day after day waiting for God to bring victory? The wisdom of the world can be a huge detriment to following Christ if you are worried about looking foolish.
“As I have planned so shall it be” We tend to put God into our way of thinking because we forget that He is all knowing and He has already seen everything from beginning to end and has determined this is the way it shall go.
Proverbs 19:21 Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.
When you or I make plans there are many things that are out of our control. Many of us have made plans and for unforeseen circumstances or issues we had to cancel or adjust those plans. God, not only plans but His purpose cannot be changed because nothing is more powerful than Him. God will break the power of the Assyrians and we will find out later in Isaiah how He did it but we can trust His promises because we can trust in His power and His plans.
“This is the purpose that is purposed that concerns the whole earth” God has a purpose for every nation on earth. Just because it does not make sense to us does not mean that it does not make sense to God. Trusting God when life does not make sense is very difficult because God does not act the way we think He should.
Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
This is a good verse to keep in mind when the things in your life make no sense to you at all. It is the times that life is difficult or confusing that we tend to no longer put our trust in God and move to leaning on the promises of the world. In his book “Down but not out” Wayne Mack says, “In other words, do not let your mind dwell on your difficult circumstances, your weakness or your ignorance. Rather, let it dwell on God’s purposes, Gods power, and Gods Wisdom.” (Pg 73-74) The Apostle Paul said now I see in part then I will see in full (1 Corinthians 13:12)
“His hand is stretched out and who will turn it back?” God is personally involved with His creation and He did not set the world in motion and then leave to watch things from afar but He is actively apart of His creation. This is important to remember because when life does not go our way or when we see the enemy coming it is natural for us to forget the promises of God and to think that He has abandoned us. We have been taught lies about suffering and pain because we think if God loved us that He would never allow us to walk through pain but it is in pain that we know we become better athletes so why would we not think it is in pain that God uses it to make us more like Christ?
The Assyrian army will eventually be crushed but while you are waiting you have to trust the promises of God. It is easier to trust in our own wisdom and strength even though both of them are limited instead of trusting in God who has unlimited knowledge and power. So Learn to trust God even when it goes against the worlds wisdom.
Isaiah 14:28-32 In the year that King Ahaz died came this oracle:29 Rejoice not, O Philistia, all of you, that the rod that struck you is broken, for from the serpent’s root will come forth an adder,
and its fruit will be a flying fiery serpent. 30 And the firstborn of the poor will graze, and the needy lie down in safety; but I will kill your root with famine, and your remnant it will slay. 31 Wail, O gate; cry out, O city; melt in fear, O Philistia, all of you! For smoke comes out of the north, and there is no straggler in his ranks. 32 What will one answer the messengers of the nation? “The Lord has founded Zion, and in her the afflicted of his people find refuge.”
2) Trust God’s Promises when your world is falling apart
“For smoke comes out of the north and there are no stragglers” Isaiah had a new king to try and convince not to put his hope in the Philistines against Assyria. The philistines wanted Hezekiah to join in their revolt against the Assyrians but Isaiah told them not to be a part of it. The philistines were rejoicing because the Assyrian King died but Isaiah said that the next king was going to be worse and Isaiah said the King that died was like a snake that gave birth to even worse serpents.
The Assyrian army would burn each city down to the ground and leave no survivors and the people would be seeing smoke from each city in the distance that is getting closer and closer to them. When you see the impending doom it is difficult to trust Gods promises but the people of God are not to put their hope in people or governments but in God. The people in Exodus had the same scenario after God got them out of Egypt.
Exodus 14:10-14 When Pharaoh drew near, the people of Israel lifted up their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they feared greatly. And the people of Israel cried out to the Lord. 11 They said to Moses, “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Is not this what we said to you in Egypt: ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.” 13 And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”
You have only to be silent which is a polite way of telling them to shut their mouths and look to God. How many times do I complain so much about life instead of looking to see what God is up to? God is not shocked by my situation and He already has a plan but I tend to run my mouth and complain instead of trusting the promises of God and therefore I do not enjoy the moment.
Exodus 14:15-18 The Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward. 16 Lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the people of Israel may go through the sea on dry ground. 17 And I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they shall go in after them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, his chariots, and his horsemen. 18 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gotten glory over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.”
We want our situations to be in our control but when that happens we get the glory for what takes place but when God makes the impossible possible then He is the one who gets the glory. If we are honest we are control freaks and that is why we do not trust the promises of God.
“The Poor will graze and the needy lie down in safety (30) and the afflicted will find refuge (32)” Our refuge is found in the promises of God no matter what is happening in our world and our needs are met by God no matter how financially bad our situation looks. Most of us do not have to depend on God for anything here in America because food, clothing, shelter and even health care we have the best of and because of that we can become self-sufficient and not turn to God. We should not be shaken by the events of the world or by any election but to place our faith and trust in Him alone.
“Every generation of leaders is called to acts of faith, to choose a path of utter dependence on God rather than alternatives that initially look more defensible. People are challenged not to do what may seem the most reasonable thing from a human perspective, but do what God instructs them to do. Instead of relying on alliances, money, status and the political influence of others, or any other human support system, they must simply trust in God’s promises to motivate and empower them when things look dark and hopeless.” (The New American Commentary, Isaiah, Gary V. Smith, Pg 326)
Are we willing to do what God wants us to do even when it does not make sense?
Are we willing to do what God wants us to do even when it seems our world is falling apart?
62:1-2; 8 For
God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.
2 He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken. For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. 8 Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.
Trust in the Lord God is frequently expressed through prayer. But sometimes it is better exhibited through wordlessness before the Lord that, by its quiet absence of anxiety, communicates trust in His sovereign control.” (Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, Donald Whitney, Pg. 230)