Isaiah 24 The Judgment of God

If God is Just when will He say, “Enough is Enough?” One of the things that gives us hope is that people will be held accountable for the evil things they have done on this earth even when it seems they are getting away with doing evil. Christianity can be maddening to some people, because through Jesus Christ and His forgiveness, someone can have all the wrath and judgment of God removed from themselves.  Jesus the Passover lamb was about God’s wrath passing over us because of Jesus death on the cross but for those who do not turn to Jesus Christ there is a day that is coming that will be a day like no other when God decides to Judge the earth and all of its inhabitants. Some people say “ Only God can Judge me” which is not true as a Christ follower but the fact that you believe that should change your actions.  Today we will see that Isaiah has a vision of the future that is an end times vision that matches what John saw and wrote about in the book of Revelation and this passage of scripture is referred to as the “Isaiah Apocalypse” because of its end time’s prophecies that are in it.

Isaiah 24:1-3 Behold, the Lord will empty the earth[a] and make it desolate, and he will twist its surface and scatter its inhabitants. And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the slave, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the creditor, so with the debtor.
The earth shall be utterly empty and utterly plundered; for the Lord has spoken this word.

1)   God Judgment is for everyone

“Behold” or “See” means we are called as followers of Christ to be forward lookers and especially to the time we will see God Himself who will judge the earth. It is easy for us to get wrapped up in the everyday struggles and all of the problems and not remember that one day all these things are going to pass away and God is going to empty the earth and judge the people.  As believers we must remember that one day God is going to right the wrongs that are taking place and hold people accountable.For Christians our judgment is different than the rest of the worlds because we will not be judged for our sin but for what we did after we accepted Christ free gift of salvation.

1 Corinthians 3:11-15  For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 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.

Once we have the foundation which is Jesus Christ, we then build on the foundation by doing the things He calls us to do. Wood, hay and stubble are worthless when revealed by fire only gold silver and precious stones will last. Wood, Hay and stubble are things that have no eternal value to them, or the right things done for the wrong reason like the religious leaders in Jesus day who did the right actions but only to be noticed by others. The fire is an analogy that will separate the real from the fake and Hebrews 4:12-13 Says our Thoughts and intentions will be judged. Matthew 12:36 Says our words will be judged and 1 Corinthians 4:3-5 Says our motives will be judged.

We live in a society that plays favorites and we all have seen politicians and actors break the law that do not see any jail time because of who they are or who they know. On this day it will not matter if you are rich or poor, famous or unknown, powerful or weak because God is going to judge everyone no matter who they think they are and He will compare them to His Holiness. When God shows up to judge the earth will shake violently simply because of His presence.

“Christ will untangle the disputes that baffled us on earth. He will bring to light “the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts”(1 Corinthians 4:5) . Justice can only triumph if the participants see injustices addressed and resolved. The judgment seat of Christ will be the place where God will satisfy our cravings to have masks torn away, lies exposed, and reality prevail. The wrongdoers will finally admit the truth, and the victims will be vindicated; forgiveness among believers will be both given and accepted.” (Your Eternal Reward, Erwin W. Lutzer, PG. 65)

Isaiah was warning his people that the judgment of God was not just for their enemies but would be for followers of God as well. It’s easy to think other people need to get God’s judgment and think somehow, we do not deserve it but God will judge all mankind. We believe in the grace of God and that we receive salvation by faith and not by works but we have to be careful about cheapening grace to think that we will not give an account for our lives lived as followers of Christ. Romans 14:12 says each one of us will give an account to God for our lives. How we treat others, how we react when we are treated bad and how we spend our time and money will all be things we stand before God for and although we will be saved from Hell we will not be rewarded in Heaven.  Matthew 25 shows us that those who are not about their masters business do not really belong to Him and will be thrown out.

Isaiah 24:4-6 The earth mourns and withers; the world languishes and withers;  the highest people of the earth languish. The earth lies defiled under its inhabitants; for they have transgressed the laws, violated the statutes, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore a curse devours the earth, and its inhabitants suffer for their guilt; therefore the inhabitants of the earth are scorched, and few men are left.

2)   God’s Judgment because of Sin

They have transgressed the laws, violated the statutes, broken the everlasting covenant. There is no doubt for the reason for the judgment of God and that is sin.  The earth was defiled because of the inhabitant’s peoples sin and so God sends a drought as part of His judgment against them.  How fragile we really are when disasters come and especially when there is no more water to drink. We tend to think we are in control until we no longer have a water supply. The Moral corruption that Isaiah sees is  so bad that the language goes back to the days of Noah.

Genesis 6:11  Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence.

The end times will be just like the time of Noah when God destroyed the human race except Noah and his family, and the physical earth will suffer the consequences of God’s judgment just like it did when God flooded the earth. They were defiling or polluting the land which included murder (Numbers 35:33) worshiping other gods (Jeremiah 3:9) and a twisting of the commands of God (Romans 1). The laws of the Ten Commandments are boundaries God gave to His people (Exodus 20)  but even those without those laws know them because God has written them on everyone’s heart and mind.

Romans 2:14-16 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

We live in a society that does not want the laws of God and they ignore the restrictions God has placed on us and Isaiah saw the day when people will change them out for their own set of laws and standards. When you see videos of people stealing everyone knows those things are wrong because God has designed us to know they are wrong but the more you ignore the things you know are wrong the more hardened your heart comes to the things of God.

Matthew 13:14-15 14 Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says: “‘“You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.” 15 For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed,
lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart
 and turn, and I would heal them.’

We want to be whoever we want to be instead of who God created us to be and we want to marry whoever we want instead of how God designed us to be in relationships. Even Churches are twisting the word of God today in the name of being accepting but what they are doing is ignoring the boundaries that God has established for mankind.  The people in Noah’s day ignored the signs (A Giant Boat) and they ignored the preaching of truth (Noah who preached every day) and they lived their lives as if they were the rulers of their own destiny. The people in Noah’s day did not see it coming and the people at the end of time will not see it coming because they will ignore every warning sign God sends. (See Matthew 24:3-12)

They suffer because of their guilt (Vs 6) The people that suffer the judgment of God do so because they have chosen to ignore God and live their lives as they want by twisting and perverting the way God created us. This is written as a legal punishment as if a rule breaker finally gets caught and the punishment fits the crime  They are scorched” Means they feel the anger of God not necessarily that they are burned up. Millions and billions of lives will be lost during this time as God’s judgment is poured out upon the earth and everyone in it. Christianity is all about having our sins taken away and our guilt removed by the free gift and work of Jesus Christ who took our punishment upon Himself.  Isaiah 6:8 Isaiah says his sin and guilt were removed. Romans 8:1 says there is no condemnation in Christ. Romans 5:1-2 says we have peace with God because of Jesus Christ.

Every person will stand before God and they will either try to prove that they were good enough by their works (Matthew 7:21-22), which will not work, or because they have placed their faith in Jesus Christ who paid their price. Yes, we all will give an account of our lives, but Christians will lose out on Eternal rewards but not their Eternal salvation because that is not based on anything they can do to attain only through placing our faith in Christ.

Isaiah 24:7-17 The wine mourns, the vine languishes, all the merry-hearted sigh. The mirth of the tambourines is stilled, the noise of the jubilant has ceased, the mirth of the lyre is stilled. No more do they drink wine with singing; strong drink is bitter to those who drink it. 10 The wasted city is broken down; every house is shut up so that none can enter.11 There is an outcry in the streets for lack of wine; all joy has grown dark; the gladness of the earth is banished. 12 Desolation is left in the city; the gates are battered into ruins. 13 For thus it shall be in the midst of the earth among the nations, as when an olive tree is beaten,as at the gleaning when the grape harvest is done. 14 They lift up their voices, they sing for joy; over the majesty of the Lord they shout from the west.[b] 15 Therefore in the east[c] give glory to the Lord; in the coastlands of the sea, give glory to the name of the Lord, the God of Israel. 16 From the ends of the earth we hear songs of praise, of glory to the Righteous One.
But I say, “I waste away, I waste away. Woe is me! For the traitors have betrayed, with betrayal the traitors have betrayed.” 17 Terror and the pit and the snare[d] are upon you, O inhabitant of the earth!

3)   God’s Judgment brings Joy and sadness

The wine mourns the vine languishes The parties and the celebrations will end and there will be groaning, silence and gloom. They no longer will have their alcohol to get them through life and what they can get will not be enough to help them forget all the pain they are going through. The Joy of life will literally stop as people, who are still alive, will look upon the destruction with disbelief and try and cope with the pain of the loss of loved ones. Their city is literally without form the destruction is so bad leaving them in a state of confusion. People who live without God live in a state of moral confusion and they watch their lives get destroyed because of the sins they want to hold onto. This will take place because of war or earthquake in this instance because the destruction of their gates (12) is a term for military conquest but it could also be a plague or something else that brings such destruction.

as when an olive tree is beaten at the gleaning  Isaiah now uses a harvesting term to show that the number of people left at this point are very few  because God’s judgment will decimate the world . There will be very few left but those who are will break forth and “They will lift up their voices and sing for joy”(14)   These people will witness the awesome power of God at the end of history and respond in praise and adoration toward Him. Joy and praise is a natural reaction for anyone who focuses on what God has done. The people living in this time will know what God has done and praise Him for it. For the people in Isaiah’s day and for us as well it is a reminder for us to focus on the fact that God is an all-powerful God that can be depended on and who deserves our worship.

But I say Waste away, Waste away Although the people will be rejoicing Isaiah interjects that it is a time of sadness because that day is not here yet. Isaiah realizes what he sees in the future devastates him because of all the destruction and loss of life as he sees terror, the pit and being caught in a snare for those who do not put their hope and trust in God. It is the destiny of others that grips Isaiah and he is saddened that they will not turn to God. Are you burdened for the fate of those who do not accept Jesus Christ? Isaiah calls the ones destroyed traitors or treacherous people which are those who act in a way to only benefit themselves no matter what it does to other people. Even the people who are easy to hate because of their treatment of others Isaiah feels sorry for because of the Judgment that awaits them. The terror and the pit is just saying that there is nowhere to hide when God decides to judge because as they try and flee they will be trapped. The earth will shake and nothing will be able to stand

Revelation 6:12-17  When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, 13 and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. 14 The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. 15 Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave[d] and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, 16 calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”

Isaiah 24:18-22 He who flees at the sound of the terror shall fall into the pit, and he who climbs out of the pit shall be caught in the snare. For the windows of heaven are opened, and the foundations of the earth tremble.19 The earth is utterly broken, the earth is split apart, the earth is violently shaken, 20 The earth staggers like a drunken man; it sways like a hut; its transgression lies heavy upon it, and it falls, and will not rise again. On that day the Lord will punish the host of heaven, in heaven, and the kings of the earth, on the earth. 22 They will be gathered together as prisoners in a pit; they will be shut up in a prison, and after many days they will be punished.

4)   God will judge the evil forces

The Lord will punish the Host of Heaven The Host of Heaven can mean the stars in the Heavens (Jeremiah 33:22) but here it is referring to enemy angelic beings (Daniel 8:9-11)  God takes the evil forces the Kings of the earth and all who were in rebellion against Him and throws them into a pit for a time ridding the world of their evil influence. In a pit was a hole in the ground they were unable to escape from until the final judgment of God. Isaiah saw this as many days but John shows us that this is for 1000 years which many call the Millennial Reign when Christ comes and sits on His throne in Jerusalem and rules the world.

Revelation 20:1-3 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit[a] and a great chain. 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.

One day God will judge the demonic forces in our world that lead people astray but until that time we are to be on our guard making sure we are not being led astray (1 Peter 5:8)

Isaiah 24:23 Then the moon will be confounded and the sun ashamed, for the Lord of hosts reigns on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and his glory will be before his elders.

One day it will be God who will brighten the earth and the sun and the moon will not be needed as the Elders (who represent the church) will be singing and praising God

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Isaiah 23 Doomed

This oracle completes the ten oracles that God has given to different nations and these nations suffered consequences from God because of their sins. In each scenario God was trying to show His people to not trust in certain nations or people but to only place their faith and trust in Him. God is sovereign over all the nations and even in their evil deeds God is using them to fulfill His purposes which is mainly to draw people to Himself. (John 12:32)

Our lives are dependent on God but many times we think that our own success and accomplishments belong to us. Today we will see another couple of cities that will receive their message of doom even though they think they are indestructible. Doom: : to make certain the failure or destruction of (Webster’s Dictionary)The city Tyre represents not only an actual city but also mankind striving against God This section of scripture is written poetically and must be dealt with accordingly but it will show us the things we need to learn to avoid being doomed by God.

Isaiah 23:1-7 The oracle concerning Tyre. Wail, O ships of Tarshish, for Tyre is laid waste, without house or harbor! From the land of Cyprus[a] it is revealed to them. Be still, O inhabitants of the coast; the merchants of Sidon, who cross the sea, have filled you. And on many waters
your revenue was the grain of Shihor, the harvest of the Nile; you were the merchant of the nations. Be ashamed, O Sidon, for the sea has spoken,  the stronghold of the sea, saying:
“I have neither labored nor given birth, I have neither reared young men  nor brought up young women.” When the report comes to Egypt,  they will be in anguish[b] over the report about Tyre.
Cross over to Tarshish; wail, O inhabitants of the coast! Is this your exultant city whose origin is from days of old, whose feet carried her to settle far away?

1)   Doomed because of Wealth and Wisdom

Tyre and Sidon were wealthy cities because Phoenician ships were paid richly to carry Egyptian grain to markets in foreign lands. This was a nation that had everything going for it and lived lavishly simply because of their location. When you buy a house or property they say Location, Location, Location because Location of your house or business can determine how it does financially. This city benefited greatly because they were in the right place at the right time and it was a city that had the nightlife and all the things the world would consider to be exciting so people were drawn to it. They were a pagan nation with a King so bad that Ezekiel compares him to Satan. (Ezekiel 28) and they were known as Baal worshipers and for putting God’s people into slavery (Amos 1:9) The book of Ezekiel gives us a glimpse of the beauty of the city and the expenses it went to be a city that was more wonderous than any other city.

Ezekiel 27:1-4 The word of the Lord came to me: “Now you, son of man, raise a lamentation over Tyre, and say to Tyre, who dwells at the entrances to the sea, merchant of the peoples to many coastlands, thus says the Lord God: “O Tyre, you have said, ‘I am perfect in beauty.’ Your borders are in the heart of the seas; your builders made perfect your beauty.

This would have been a sight to see with every detail of the city being lavishly done and it would be a city that other cities would covet with its wealth and wisdom. The King of Tyre thought himself to be a god because things were so great within the city (Ezekiel 28) and just like many people today think that they are the reason for their own success so Tyre thought that it was because of themselves that they were the way they were.

Luke 12:15-21 And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” 16 And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17 and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

The people in Tyre were living their lives as if the money and the possessions were going to keep coming their way not knowing that doom was right around the corner. The port and the city will be destroyed and ships will no longer be able to come and dock their ships and trade their goods. This will not only affect them but it will affect others as well and cause them pain because their income will now be affected.  Isaiah shows them the pain that will be caused by saying, “The ships would cry”

Relying on their own wealth and wisdom blinded them from seeing or seeking after God. Wealth and wisdom can be dangerous because although they are given by God for us to use for His purposes it can cause us to put our trust in our own resources rather than in Him.

Deuteronomy 8:17-18 Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ 18 You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day.

Their wealth and wisdom were corrupting them without them realizing it and success has a way of making us think we are something more than we are and to forget the one who gave us the abilities and resources. Christians believe that God has given us resources to manage (Matthew 25) and we are not to hoard those resources for just our own pleasure or our own gain.

Isaiah 23:8-14 Who has purposed this against Tyre, the bestower of crowns, whose merchants were princes, whose traders were the honored of the earth?9 The Lord of hosts has purposed it, to defile the pompous pride of all glory,[c] to dishonor all the honored of the earth. 10 Cross over your land like the Nile, O daughter of Tarshish; there is no restraint anymore. 11 He has stretched out his hand over the sea; he has shaken the kingdoms; the Lord has given command concerning Canaan to destroy its strongholds. 12 And he said: “You will no more exult, O oppressed virgin daughter of Sidon; arise, cross over to Cyprus, even there you will have no rest.” 13 Behold the land of the Chaldeans! This is the people that was not;[d] Assyria destined it for wild beasts. They erected their siege towers, they stripped her palaces bare, they made her a ruin. 14 Wail, O ships of Tarshish, for your stronghold is laid waste.

2)   Doomed because of God

Who has purposed this? The Lord of hosts has purposed it. Everyone will try and figure out why the collapse happened but God will make it clear that He is the reason all of this took place.

“Randomness, luck, chance, fate. This is modern man’s answer to the age-old question, “WhY?” Of course, if one dismisses the whole idea of God, as many do, then there is no other alternative. (Trusting God by Jerry Bridges, PG 17)

Psalm 33:10-11 The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples. 11 The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations.

God will bring them low because of their arrogance of what they thought was their own doing and it was a reminder to the people of God that they should only put their hope in Him or meet the same fate. The people who were praised by the world would be rejected by God. Christians we have to evaluate all of life through the sovereign hands of God even when we do not understand His purposes or even when we have no clue why God would allow such a thing to happen.

“Yahweh has stretched out His hand” It is a sign of judgment when God raises His hand and with it doom is going to happen. All the well-fortified cities were destroyed by battering rams and all the hopes of their defenses were destroyed.

Isaiah 14:27 For the Lord of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back?

We need to be careful to not buy into the world’s logic and know that sometimes God is acting in ways we do not understand. We must be careful to not just assign the good things that happen to us or the world as from God but also the things we do not fully understand.

Isaiah 23:15-18 In that day Tyre will be forgotten for seventy years, like the days[e] of one king. At the end of seventy years, it will happen to Tyre as in the song of the prostitute: 16 “Take a harp; go about the city, O forgotten prostitute! Make sweet melody; sing many songs, that you may be remembered.”17 At the end of seventy years, the Lord will visit Tyre, and she will return to her wages and will prostitute herself with all the kingdoms of the world on the face of the earth. 18 Her merchandise and her wages will be holy to the Lord. It will not be stored or hoarded, but her merchandise will supply abundant food and fine clothing for those who dwell before the Lord.

3)   Doomed for the purpose of Repentance

We can see one purpose God used in all of this and it was getting people to turn to Him. For seventy  years it will be in decline which is usually the average span of a king or the life of a man, but then they will come back to life as a trading place, not as successful as they were in the past, but they would eventually be changed to bring glory to God. Instead of hoarding their money they will generously give to the temple of God to support those who are doing the work of God and the City that was known for selfish living will be known for being generous

How can what I do bring glory to God?  Chick- Fil-A has a motto that says, “to glorify God by being faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us” Through corporate profits they have opened long term foster homes throughout the Southern United states which has allowed kids to grow up with parents , the means to go to college, and Truett Cathy insisted on fund matching for their first car. They run summer camps and have given away millions of dollars in scholarships for college and they started a marriage enrichment retreat at Berry College. Business is just a tool the problem is when we become consumers instead of managers of what God has given us and this applies to more than just money because we all have been given gifts to be used for the sake of others as well. God will get your attention and unfortunately, He uses difficult circumstances for people to realize they cannot put their hope into their own wisdom and wealth. God is calling all of us to realize that He is the one who gives the wealth and we are not to look at what we have as if it was our wisdom and ingenuity that gained it.

1 Timothy 6:17-19 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.

Matthew 6:24 says we cannot serve two masters , either God or money and so we need to keep our focus so God does not have to get our attention and  turn our hearts from our material possessions back toward Himself Let us not get consumed by the things we have been given by God to use for His purposes and become wise in our own eyes. (Isaiah 5:21)

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Isaiah 22:15-25 A Peg for God

Everyone places their hope and trust in someone or something whether they realize it or not. For some they place it on themselves for others they place it on other people and for others on their circumstances. Today we are going to talk about two people that other people tend to hang their life on and how we really should only place it on Jesus Christ.  God will call one of the men a peg because he could be trusted by others to hold them up. A peg was usually a hook or nail that was hammered into the center pole of the tent or a wall that many items could be hung on . Many times we hang on to the wrong pegs to get us through life and we have to be careful where we place our trust and hopes because the wrong peg can break and everything that was hanging onto it will be broken.

Isaiah 22:15-25 Thus says the Lord God of hosts, “Come, go to this steward, to Shebna, who is over the household, and say to him: 16 What have you to do here, and whom have you here, that you have cut out here a tomb for yourself, you who cut out a tomb on the height and carve a dwelling for yourself in the rock? 17 Behold, the Lord will hurl you away violently, O you strong man. He will seize firm hold on you 18 and whirl you around and around, and throw you like a ball into a wide land. There you shall die, and there shall be your glorious chariots, you shame of your master’s house. 19 I will thrust you from your office, and you will be pulled down from your station. 20 In that day I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, 21 and I will clothe him with your robe, and will bind your sash on him, and will commit your authority to his hand. And he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. 22 And I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David. He shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open. 23 And I will fasten him like a peg in a secure place, and he will become a throne of honor to his father’s house. 24 And they will hang on him the whole honor of his father’s house, the offspring and issue, every small vessel, from the cups to all the flagons. 25 In that day, declares the Lord of hosts, the peg that was fastened in a secure place will give way, and it will be cut down and fall, and the load that was on it will be cut off, for the Lord has spoken.”

1)   Pegs  are not focused on themselves

“What are you doing here?” Shebna was a chancellor of the kingdom early in Hezekiah’s reign and he thought he was a big deal but he was focused on his wants and his needs and not the needs and concerns of others. There is no ancestry mentioned about him which is unusual for a person of his stature and it shows that the writers of history did not see him as important as he saw himself.  Shebna was having workers cut out an elaborate tomb for himself in a place that would have made his name be known forever because it was located where people of nobility were buried.  While he should have been tending to the needs of the people he was worried about his legacy and having his name next to other people who were important. There was no reason for him to be doing what he was doing because he was not to be buried where he wanted to be buried because he was not that important. When you make yourself more important than you really are you do things that are not only self-seeking but also that do not make sense.

We are not called to make our name great we are called to make the name of Jesus great and to worry about our own glory and fame is the very thing Satan wanted. In Isaiah 14 when we talked about Satan that was the attitude he had about himself. “

Isaiah 14:13-14 You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly  in the far reaches of the north;[c] 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;  I will make myself like the Most High.’

“Glorious Chariots” Shebna strolled around town in a chariot that was made for royalty to draw attention to himself. Everything he did was to make others think that he was important,butGod let him know that he was a disgrace to the one he served because he wanted to make it look like he was as important as the King himself.

“I will drive you out of office” There is no mistake of who is talking here and it is God who identifies Himself as the one who is going to drive him out of office, crumple him up, and throw him into a foreign land. Some say that it is better translated “Overwhelm you” rather than “hurl you” but either way it shows that God is going to destroy him because of his pride and selfishness. Shebna was demoted at some point by Hezekiah to a secretary position (Isaiah 36:3) probably because he was focused on himself instead of the affairs of the people and there is nothing recorded about him after that.

Some of the failures of the people to prepare properly and to be more concerned about what was taking place could have been contributed to him only caring about himself because when leaders focus on themselves the people they serve suffer. The man who thought he would make his name great is only recorded in history as a man who was arrogant and who was later destroyed by God.

Why do we hang our lives on the peg of people that think they are special?  Actors, Athletes and even some pastors think they are special, and many people flock to hang their lives on them. There is a thing called “Celebrity Pastor” and it is people who like their pastor to be the one who has written the books and who does the conferences and who is famous. Each one of us has a role to play and to focus on ourselves and not the people God has called us to care for is a dereliction of duty. This place is not our home and so we do not need to worry about our legacy because this place is not going to matter in the future. Where is your focus? Is it on yourself or on the people God has placed in your life to serve?

2)   Pegs are Placed by God

Because Shebna was not doing his job God now establishes a true spiritual leader for the people. Eliakim which means “God will establish” was the son of Hilkiah which means my portion is Yahweh. Do you see yourself as being placed somewhere by God for others?  Do you see the hand of God taking you (the peg) and nailing you into the wall or tent post so others can hang on you in their time of need? Never underestimate that where you are is exactly where God has placed you for a purpose that is not about you but about others for His glory. (Acts 17:26-27)

3)   Pegs are there to serve

“I will call My Servant” There is not a better title that can be given to a follower of Jesus than to be called by God as “My Servant” It is here that we see the difference between the two men because one was focused on himself and his thoughts and his desires and the other one who had no concern but to be faithful to God by serving others.  One wanted his name to be known forever and one wanted to put others above himself.

1 Corinthians 4:1-2 This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.

In Philippians 2 Jesus modeled for us to be servants and to lay down ourselves for the glory of God.  In a world that is about making each one’s name great God calls us to be servants.

“Robe and Sash” God takes the job away from Shebna and gives it to Eliakim and gives him Priestly attire not to show how special he was but to show what his role was.  “We do not have a place in this world; we have a role in this world” Brent Crowe  God calls us to put on certain clothes to carry out our daily task and the clothes God ask us to put on our spiritual clothes that are different from what the world would say to wear.

Colossians 3:12-14 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

  • Compassionate hearts: We have to care about others and what they are going through.
  • Kindness: The second word used to describe true love in 1 Corinthians 13
  • Humility: seeing others as more important than ourselves.
  • Meekness: willing to suffer injury instead of inflicting it
  • Patient: the first attribute mentioned about Love the willingness to wait and see what God does in a person’s life.
  • Bearing with one another: to take up the other persons burden (Be a peg)
  • Forgiveness: Just like Christ forgave us.
  • Are these the clothes you are putting on every day?

4)   Pegs care about others

“Father of the People” He would be concerned for their welfare, and tenderhearted toward them like a father to a son and because of that Eliakim would have a positive impact on his nation.

“The Key of the house of David” Eliakim would oversee who could and who could not see the King and over the treasury of the Kingdom. In a similar way we hold the Keys to Heaven (Matthew 16:19) when we tell people about Jesus Christ who is the door (John 10:7) Although the Keys to the Kingdom of God has been twisted by cults to say something it really is just the key to Heaven is faith in Jesus Christ for salvation.

5)   Pegs can be counted on to carry the weight of others

“A Peg in a secure place” God made Eliakim to be able to hold many responsibilities and the ability to carry the weight that others put on him. He would be a man who could be counted on and would rule with dignity and honor.

6)   Pegs will eventually break

“The Peg will give way” The story takes an interesting turn just as you are hearing of all the good news and what will happen it quickly shifts to that the peg will be broken off.  As great as Eliakim was he was still only a human being and so a time would come when he would not be able to carry the weight that was put on him.  Unlike Shebna he was not trying to make a name for himself or literally carve out his place in history but he just lived and did what he was supposed to do until God removed him. This is actually a Messianic Promise that there will be one who will come and who can carry the weight of the world.  Our hope is never to be placed on people fully but only on Christ. Although people might rely on us we have to teach them that their ultimate hope is found in Jesus Christ.

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Isaiah 22:1-14 Ignoring God

Does it ever seem to you that people that ignore God do not have any consequences?  It seems that for most people on earth that the way they ignore God has no consequences and in fact their lives even seem to be better in some regards. The Psalmist felt the same way and wrote down what all of us sometimes think.

Psalm 73:1-13 Truly God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped. For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For they have no pangs until death; their bodies are fat and sleek.They are not in trouble as others are; they are not stricken like the rest of mankind. Therefore pride is their necklace; violence covers them as a garment. Their eyes swell out through fatness; their hearts overflow with follies. They scoff and speak with malice; loftily they threaten oppression.They set their mouths against the heavens, and their tongue struts through the earth. 10 Therefore his people turn back to them, and find no fault in them.[a] 11 And they say, “How can God know? Is there knowledge in the Most High?”12 Behold, these are the wicked; always at ease, they increase in riches. 13 All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence.

We may wonder if there are any consequences for those who ignore God  Today we will see that there are consequences for those who ignore God and what happens to people when they mock God by relying on their own power and resources.

Isaiah 22:1-4 The oracle concerning the valley of vision. What do you mean that you have gone up, all of you, to the housetops, you who are full of shoutings, tumultuous city, exultant town? Your slain are not slain with the sword or dead in battle. All your leaders have fled together; without the bow they were captured. All of you who were found were captured, though they had fled far away. Therefore I said: “Look away from me; let me weep bitter tears; do not labor to comfort me concerning the destruction of the daughter of my people.”

1)   Those who ignore God ignore their future destruction

“What do you mean you have gone up?” Isaiah was questioning what they were doing.  The Vision Isaiah had is a vision about Judah and how they will be treated the same as other nations if they continue to ignore God. The people did not believe God would treat them like the other nations and it was an abuse of the grace God had shown them.  God is a loving and Graceful God but He is also a God of Justice and when people continue to ignore Him then His justice will hold people accountable for their actions.  The people are literally partying and on their rooftops. The rooftops were cooler so people would hold functions on them and so this verse shows the people in a party atmosphere when they should have been in a mourning atmosphere. There was so much commotion because either they thought that the victory was theirs because they had successfully finished all their war preparations or because they didn’t care anymore. They had water, food and rebuilt walls and they arrogantly were forgetting God who was the one who could protect them.

Isaiah mourned while the rest of the city partied because he knew their fate if they would not repent. In his vision Isaiah saw leaders being captured and people destroyed. The people could not understand why Isaiah was upset but Isaiah saw that they had no concern for others and on top of that these people thought they were in good standing with God. The people were blind to the destruction that faced them and Isaiah cared more for them then they cared for themselves.

“Daughter of my people” is a very affectionate term showing that Isaiah loved the people who were rebelling against God and an example we must copy in a world that is turning its back on God. We cannot lose our love for people no matter how they act because of the destruction they will face if they do not turn to God.

Isaiah 22:5-8 For the Lord God of hosts has a day of tumult and trampling and confusion in the valley of vision, a battering down of walls and a shouting to the mountains. And Elam bore the quiver with chariots and horsemen, and Kir uncovered the shield. Your choicest valleys were full of chariots, and the horsemen took their stand at the gates. He has taken away the covering of Judah. In that day you looked to the weapons of the House of the Forest,

2)   Those who ignore God lose out on His protection

“He has taken away the covering of Judah” The events that will take place will be directed by God as punishment for their rebelliousness. The prophet compares what was happening in Judah to events expected on the Day of the Lord which is known at the last days. Verse eight says God has removed His hand of protection because they kept looking to their own resources and abilities instead of turning to Him and since they put their hope in themselves, God allowed them to rely on themselves and suffer the consequences.

In the Old Covenant or Mosaic Covenant there was a strong correlation between obedience and God’s protection (Exodus 19-24) so when the people disobeyed God would remove His protection.  In today’s New Covenant through Jesus Christ everything God tells us to do is for our benefit and protection but that does not mean we will not suffer trials and tribulations.  People take Old Covenant concepts and believe that they apply to us today and although this is partially true from the concept of breaking earthly laws and suffering it does not mean you will not suffer because you do everything right. (See John 16:33) We can suffer harm even if we are obedient and the book of James tells us to walk through this with our eyes on God knowing that He is using it somehow. One of the fruits of the Spirit is self-control (Galatians 5:22-23) and when a car is out of control it can cause a lot of damage and the same is true if you have an area of your life that is out of control. When you allow an area of your life to be out of control whether that is eating or drinking alcohol or anything else  there are consequences you will face.  1 Corinthians 6:12 says we should not allow anything to master us yet many people are mastered everyday by food, drugs and alcohol and God will allow us to suffer the consequences of our sins.

Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.

Isaiah sees the future and what He sees is what the people will go through as they ignore God which he describes as Tumult as the people will lose their ability to think clearly and  Treading Down as the enemy forces bring them under their control and Confusion as they will lack direction. If you wonder why our world acts the way it does it is because they are continually ignoring God and so they are not thinking clearly, being destroyed by the enemy and are confused.  

Isaiah 22:9-11 and you saw that the breaches of the city of David were many. You collected the waters of the lower pool, 10 and you counted the houses of Jerusalem, and you broke down the houses to fortify the wall. 11 You made a reservoir between the two walls for the water of the old pool. But you did not look to him who did it, or see him who planned it long ago.

3)   Those who Ignore God rely on themselves for salvation

You did not regard Him who made it” Everything about their lives was about their own ability and effort while not even acknowledging God was the one who created the very things they were relying on. “You looked to the weapons”  You fixed the breaches in the wall You stored up water is God’s way of saying that their focus was on all of their abilities and not even the one who gave them the abilities in the first place.

Isaiah 44:24 Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: “I am the Lord, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself,

We all tend to ignore God while using His resources just like they were focused on self instead of focused on God. There is nothing wrong with the preparations they made but they made them without taking God into consideration. There is nothing wrong with making plans and setting goals but you have to do them with God in mind and also while seeking His direction and guidance.

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

The people focused on their own wisdom instead of the knowledge of God and walking by faith means that we trust God even when it does not make sense

Isaiah 22:12-14 In that day the Lord God of hosts called for weeping and mourning, for baldness and wearing sackcloth; 13 and behold, joy and gladness, killing oxen and slaughtering sheep, eating flesh and drinking wine. “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” 14 The Lord of hosts has revealed himself in my ears: “Surely this iniquity will not be atoned for you until you die,” says the Lord God of hosts.

4)   Those who Ignore God are still called by Him

“The Lord of Host has called”. God was asking them to call out to Him for help by mourning over their sin. Even with all of their rejection of God He was still wanting them to repent and come back to Him.

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

It is humbling recognizing that you cannot handle the events of life and it is humbling realizing that salvation is a free gift that has nothing to do with you or your works. (Ephesians 2:8-9) But instead of turning to God they decided if they are going to die then they might as well make the most of it and party it away. Instead of saving the food because their supply lines were cut off they splurged like gluttons showing just how confused their minds had become. Their behavior made no sense for the situation they faced because they had become overconfident in their own preparations or simply did not care anymore. When they should have been sacrificing for others to help win the battle, they were focused on themselves and satisfying their own appetites and ignoring God in the process.

“But Yahweh has revealed Himself” You cannot blame God if you choose not to accept His call because God makes it known to everyone somehow that He exist and that He longs for a relationship with you.

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

God has given enough to people in order to call out to Him although that does not mean that we can neglect our duty of going and telling others about Him.

5)   Those who Ignore God will not have their sins forgiven

The people at this point would still be able to repent but if they would not recognize their sin and seek God for forgiveness there was no hope for them. Our sins have separated us from God (Romans 5:10; 2 Corinthians 5:18-20; 2 Thessalonians 1:9-10) and the only way we can be back in a right relationship with God is to have them forgiven. The sin that will not be atoned for is the sin that they did not take their eyes off themselves and put them on God. The people thought that it was by their own actions that they could be saved but Isaiah reminds them that all the actions they do until they die will not be enough to pay for their sin. Jesus said that people who do not believe in Him will die in their sins as well because they try and earn salvation by their own works and righteousness.

John 8:24 I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.”

To die in your sins means to take the penalty and consequences of your sins with you when you die. You have to believe in Jesus Christ and that He is God who came to deliver us from the penalty of death which is death and separation from Him. (Romans 6:23)

Mark 3:28-29 “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”

To blasphemy the Holy Spirit means that you ignore his call of turning from sin (John 16:8) and giving your life to Jesus Christ. To ignore the Holy Spirit and to reject the free gift of salvation is the unpardonable sin because it only through believing in Christ that one can be forgiven.

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Isaiah 21:11-17 Waiting for Night to End

We all have experienced things in our lives that are painful beyond our ability to handle them and we wish the pain we are experiencing would just go away. Night in the Bible can be a time of judgement or great difficulty. Sometimes we walk through the night because of our sin and sometimes we walk through the night because of someone else’s sin and sometimes we walk through the night for no known reason.  The people in Isaiah 21 will ask the watchman how much longer they have to endure the night and there will be times in our lives when we will face darkness that seems to never end. We will see some of what we can learn from the prophet Isaiah but also how we should act when we are going through the night and when others are going through the night.

Isaiah 21:11-17  The oracle concerning Dumah. One is calling to me from Seir, “Watchman, what time of the night? Watchman, what time of the night?” 12 The watchman says: “Morning comes, and also the night. If you will inquire, inquire; come back again.” 13 The oracle concerning Arabia. In the thickets in Arabia you will lodge, O caravans of Dedanites. 14 To the thirsty bring water;  meet the fugitive with bread, O inhabitants of the land of Tema. 15 For they have fled from the swords, from the drawn sword, from the bent bow, and from the press of battle. 16 For thus the Lord said to me, “Within a year, according to the years of a hired worker, all the glory of Kedar will come to an end. 17 And the remainder of the archers of the mighty men of the sons of Kedar will be few, for the Lord, the God of Israel, has spoken.”

1)   We all face our own Night

“What is left of the Night? What is left of the Night?” The people are asking, when will this nightmare be over?  The repetition of them asking shows that there is intensity to the situation and an uncertainty if they are going to see the daylight.  This is possibly about the Assyrian invasion of another town or the oppression or lack of freedom because of foreign occupation or They may have been trapped in their city.  We all have had moments of darkness either because of God’s judgment or just because we are walking through difficulty because of the fallen world we live in.  We all suffer because of our own sin or the sins of others and with that sometimes lead to not only long nights but long lives. In John 16:33 Jesus tells us that we will have trouble in this world and 1 Peter 4:12-13 says we should not be surprised by trials but it seems like we are always baffled when hardships come our way.  Sometimes we do not know why we face the nights we face but we know that God uses them for His glory.

John 9:1-3 As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.

Jesus corrected faulty theology which taught that the man was born blind because of the sin in his parents’ life or that he sinned in the womb. This man faced a lifetime of darkness for no reason other than God was going to use it to display His glory when Jesus healed him of blindness. Are you willing to face the Night if God gets the glory through your life?  That is a very difficult question but many people think the reason you go through your own night is because you sinned against God but that is not always the case.  Do we really believe God punishes us whenever we sin? If He did none of us would be here and on top of that Jesus covered all those sins when He died.  Yes, there are consequences for sin like Broken marriages, Broken Churches, addictions, loss of job etc. but we must be careful to think that when someone is going through a dark time that it is their fault or someone else’s fault.

2)   Night will come and go

“Morning shall come but also the night” A watchman would be able to tell when the sun would come up and Morning is a time of relief and the watchman was able to tell them that yes their suffering would one day end.

Psalm 30:5 For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.

The Watchman lets them know that there will be relief but there will be darkness again and as long as we live in this fallen world we will have light and darkness to contend with.

2 Corinthians 1:8-9  For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers,[b] of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.

The Apostle Paul was facing so much that He thought it was going to kill him but it taught him to not rely on himself but on God.

3)   It is acceptable to question God about the Night

“If you will enquire, enquire” They were told to keep coming back and ask about the situation.  God wants us to ask questions because by asking questions we grow deeper into a relationship with our creator.

James 1:5-6 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.

There are things that even if God answered us that we would not understand but make no mistake that He wants us to approach Him and talk to Him but also trust Him. Just like a child to a parent the questioning is not the problem it is the attitude and the slight accusations that come through our questions that are wrong.  Psalms and the book of Habakkuk are full of questions but they are done in a way that is a cry as a child to a father in trying to understand the pain they are walking through. In your questions do not accuse God or question His character but genuinely seek to know the deeper things of life is alright to do especially while going through the night. To ask questions about the night is not a bad thing and the watchman even encouraged them to do so but there was a stipulation and that was to Come back

4)   Our lives are changed because of the Night

“Come Back” Come back in the Old Testament was the usual word for repentance and acknowledging God. Come back is the general call of repentance that God extends to all humanity for salvation.

Revelation 22:17  The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.

Revelation 22:17 calls for Christ to come but also for sinners to come. They people would not heed the advice of the watchman and they would eventually be overrun.  When facing the night we have to go to God because it is only through Him that we can find the comfort that we need. (Luke 14:26)  When we go to God in the midst of the night we also are changed for the better.

Psalm 119:71 It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.

There is an old says that says when Train goes through a long dark tunnel, you do not jump off you trust the conductor. We need to trust God in the dark times of our lives.

5)   We must help those who are going through the Night

“Among the Thickets , you will lodge”  The people were displaced, disheveled and  desperate as they ran from war and thickets, which were low bushes which would not give them any relief from the desert sun.  This was not just a bad situation this was a deadly situation.

Bring Water and Bring Bread The people needed assistance and they were urged to do so. Sometimes we have to get out of our comfort and step into someone’s night and offer them some relief even though it will not take all the pain away.

Matthew 25:34-40 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.’

“Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says  “Two are better than one, and Romans 12:15 says we should weep with those who weep because we should always help others in the midst of the dark nights.

Galatians 6:2  Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

6)   The Night Will End

“For Yahweh has spoken” This will be done by God and the night will end because the rich and the powerful who were causing all these problems will one day be no more. One day God is going to judge the world and for all those who made others walk through the night because of their actions God will hold them accountable.  The Bible tells us that things will get worse before they get better but we know they will get better. We look forward to the day of no more death, pain and tears and our hope is in the one who not only died but also rose again.

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

One day you can be assured because God said it will happen, He will remove the pain and the sorrow and give us a new kingdom.

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

Isaiah 21:1-10 The Enemy

Today Isaiah has a vision of the future that makes him physically sick as God shows Isaiah the future of Babylon. Many times we think we would like to know the future but the reality is that somethings that happen in our world we would rather not know that they are going to take place. God gave this vision not only to Isaiah but to us as well as we can see who is going to be destroyed by the enemy.

Isaiah 21:1-2 The oracle concerning the wilderness of the sea. As whirlwinds in the Negeb sweep on, it comes from the wilderness, from a terrible land. A stern vision is told to me; the traitor betrays, and the destroyer destroys. Go up, O Elam;  lay siege, O Media; all the sighing she has caused I bring to an end.

1)   The Enemy brings Destruction

“Like whirlwinds sweeping through the southland” Storms would come quickly and would be destructive and without warning and that is how Isaiah describes the enemy. The Story in Job gives an idea of what these storms were like and how violent they were.

Job 1:18-19  While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, 19 and behold, a great wind came across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young people, and they are dead, and I alone have escaped to tell you.”

Isaiah compares the military attack to these violent winds that came without warning and would destroy everything. The enemy is not named but we are told he comes from a terrible and feared land and is a betrayer who betrays and a looter who loots. Just like in our day there are world leaders and politicians who only care for themselves and do not care who gets hurt in the process, so Isaiah is describing an enemy who has no concern for others.  He will use his power to promote his purposes and destroy lives along the way. Although this passage is talking about an actual invasion of Babylon we know that there is an enemy who brings destruction to the earth.

1 Peter 5:8  Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

Many of us do not treat our daily lives as if there is an enemy who wants to destroy us. In fact many people fail to realize the impact of the spiritual world on their lives instead of seeing that there is an enemy that hates God and hates you. If you were told there was a pack of dogs roaming the neighborhood that you live in what would change on how you enter or exit your house? Being aware and alert is the only thing we can do to prepare for the enemy that wants our lives destroyed.

21:3-4 Therefore my loins are filled with anguish; pangs have seized me, like the pangs of a woman in labor; I am bowed down so that I cannot hear; I am dismayed so that I cannot see. My heart staggers; horror has appalled me; the twilight I longed for has been turned for me into trembling.

2)   The Enemy brings pain

“I am bewildered and staggered by what I see and hear” We all have experienced pain in this world because of the enemy. There have been Families torn apart, deaths, friendships ruined, people stealing and so forth all have a common connection and that is the enemy. One of the questions that always comes up is, “if there is a God then why is there evil?” We live in a fallen world and because of what we see and what we hear we wonder how God can allow this to happen. One of the difficulties of being a pastor is walking with people when they are in pain like Isaiah is describing about himself because of the destruction in people’s lives. Isaiah got the wind knocked out of him, he literally doubled over in pain, his heart faltered, and fear came over him. Isaiah during this vision is wondering how God is going to use this and that is a common feeling that many who have placed their trust in Jesus feel when the things of life cause them pain. Although this is a difficult question, we do know that God does use everything somehow and for purposes that go beyond our understanding.

God allows suffering to draw us closer to Him, to change something about our character, and sometimes to discipline us because the things we are doing are going against His will. Sometimes Pain is like warning lights on your car which indicate something needs to be fixed and the reality is our entire world is broken. We see the pain in the world, and we realize that this is not the way things are supposed to be.  Evolution has no answer for the presence of evil in fact according to evolution (there is no God) we could not even call something good or evil it is just what it is. Only knowing that there is a God who created us and made us who we are puts the desire in us for us to say that there is something better than the way the world is currently operating. Isaiah saw what was going to take place to those who did not place their trust in God and it literally gave him pain because he knows that there is something better waiting for all of those who put their trust in God.

Isaiah 21:5 They prepare the table, they spread the rugs,[a]  they eat, they drink. Arise, O princes; oil the shield!

3)   You must prepare for the Enemy

“Get up you officers, oil the shields” The eating, drinking and lounging must stop because the enemy is coming was what Isaiah was saying to them because they were living their lives as if there was no enemy.  Oiling the shields was done in preparation for the enemy and it was something that would be done way in advance of the attack. We cannot wait till we face the enemy we must prepare before he comes and attacks us. Get up: It was a call to battle (Jeremiah 6:4-5) it was a preparation for war. How many times do we not take our enemy seriously?  Satan has a plan to destroy your family do you have a plan for him not to.  The people were called to take seriously what was happening around them and we are called to take seriously the battle that we face daily.

Ephesians 6:11-17 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,

Every argument, murder, divorce, church split has a common enemy and that is Satan. Satan’s forces are organized and structured to do the most destructive warfare possible. There are things taking place behind the scenes that we are made aware of through scripture and we must take those warnings seriously.  When Peter tried to get Jesus to not go to the cross who did Jesus address? Satan, because He knew Satan was using Peter to try and keep Jesus from dying for us and fulfilling His mission.  Fighting Satan is not about special prayers but about being prepared with what God has given

Belt of Truth: (Philippians 4:8; Romans 12:2) Is it true? If what you are thinking about or focusing on is not true, then it is not from God. Breastplate of Righteousness: Holy Living (1 Peter 2:11; Romans 13:12-14) Shoes: Gospel of Peace, we are at peace with God because of Christ. Peace with God and peace in any situation because we belong to God.  Shield of Faith: Faith is in God and the flaming darts are doubt “Faith is acting as if God is telling you the truth” Tony Evans Helmet of Salvation: You cannot lose your salvation and you look forward to a final salvation from this world. This is one of Satan’s most successful attacks and it is a head shot. Sword of the Spirit which is the word of God: (Only offensive weapon)

James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Submit and Resist is what we are called to make sure you do not buy into some of these other things that are taking place that make it seem that Satan has power over God’s children. You do not have to give into Satan’s lies and you have the power through God to not to give in but you must prepare for the battle.

4)   You must watch for the Enemy

“Post a look out or a watchman” When a lookout was posted it meant they were on high alert for the enemy could come at anytime and from any location.  How many churches are on high alert for the enemy? If the church stops being a watchman for the world then we will leave the world to be destroyed by the enemy. We must pay attention to what is happening around us so that we can see the enemy coming.  The lookout had a responsibility to make sure that any sign of the enemy would be called out.  People would be doing their daily responsibilities and the lookout would give them time to react before the enemy was upon them. Can you imagine anyone getting mad at the lookout for calling out the enemy? But that is what happens when things are pointed out for people to pay attention to. When the church sees that the enemy will use gay marriage to destroy people, people get mad. When the Church sees that the enemy is killing babies people get mad even though there is an emotional and sometimes physical toll on women. Regardless of their reaction the watchmen on the wall had a responsibility to call out what they saw.

“Day after Day, every night on my post “The Lookout does not get a break from his duties but must be diligent because if the lookout fails people die.  It’s a tiring job to constantly be looking for the enemy and the many ways he can sneak into people’s lives to destroy them.

“Babylon has fallen, all its images of god have faltered” The lookout hears a message that Babylon has fallen, and its gods are worthless. Babylon has been known to represent the world system and throughout the Bible is used as such and we have the responsibility to tell people that the ways of the world are not to be trusted and to not put our hope in them. The people of Isaiah’s day were hoping Babylon would be enough to stop the Assyrians but even they would fall and be destroyed. Isaiah told the King of Judah to not put his hope in Babylon because it will fall and we have the responsibility to tell others that the things of this world will fall as well.

“Crushed like stalks of Grain” Isaiah sees the destruction of people and how they are going to be trampled on by the enemy and God has the same view of what sin does to His creation. We too often overlook sins, but the Bible tells us that sin leads to death. (Romans 6:23) How do you view people who are getting ready to be crushed by the enemy?  Does your heart break for those who are in Hollywood or for our Politicians?  People are being used by the enemy and they will promise them things and then destroy them and if we stop caring then when they are crushed they will have no one else to turn to.

5)   You must verbally warn others about the Enemy

“I tell you what I have heard from the Lord Almighty” Our job is to share the message and Isaiah is begging his people to respond to the warnings of God to not put their trust in the world. The outcome of Judah still lies in their hands. If they trust God they will live but if they put their faith and hope in something else they will be destroyed.

1 Corinthians 15:1-6 Now I would remind you, brothers,[a] of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.

This is the message we need to share because the enemy is leading many people toward destruction.  Our job is to share the message just like the watchman on the wall had the job to let them people know and then what people do with the information shared is on them and they will give an account for it.  Ezekiel 33 gives the warning of the watchman and the consequences if he does not speak or blow the trumpet and it is a warning we all should take seriously.

Question I was asked : How do you decipher between being watchful for false prophets and being a Pharisee? The concern is that we can be hyper critical with everyone just like the Pharisees were as they made themselves seem better than everyone else as they added more rules and regulations than the bible called for. Jesus reserved His rebukes not for the lost and searching but for those who were the religious leaders of His day that were actually leading people away from God. Matthew 7:2 says that the same way we judge we will be judged so how are we to judge? Matthew 7:5 says first take the log out of your own eye so you can then help your brother get the splinter out of his eye. The Bible is clear that there will always be people who distort the message of God and so I will allow Romans 16:17-18 to speak for itself. Romans 16:17-18 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. 18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites,[a] and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.

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Isaiah 20 God’s Servants

Although Egypt would see a day in the future when God would heal them for now they will suffer the consequences of putting their hope in their power and their resources and for not turning to God. God is going to ask Isaiah to do something out of the ordinary to grab the people’s attention.   Isaiah being a servant knew that whatever God wanted him to do. It is not unusual for God to ask His prophets to do things out of the ordinary and God did that to try and get people’s attention. Isaiah continues his plea with the people of Judah to not place their hope in anything or anyone else besides God. As a servant Isaiah’s focus was doing and saying what God told him to do and not just saying what the people wanted to hear. In our society we focus on ourselves and trying to figure out how to get our own needs met but Jesus tells us to focus on being a servant and meeting the needs of others first.

Mark 10:42-45 And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,[d] 44 and whoever would be first among you must be slave[e] of all. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

“Christianity is upside down and backwards” Elder Dan

Many times it is how we are perceived by the world that keeps us from following God fully or at least fully in some situations or around certain people.  What if God ask you to do something that to the rest of the world saw as foolish?  Would you serve God even if what He asked you to do did not make sense?  As we will see today Isaiah was willing to do whatever God asked him to do no matter how foolish he looked, how much people made fun of him or even if it cost him  all of his dignity.

Isaiah 20:1-6 In the year that the commander in chief, who was sent by Sargon the king of Assyria, came to Ashdod and fought against it and captured it— at that time the Lord spoke by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, “Go, and loose the sackcloth from your waist and take off your sandals from your feet,” and he did so, walking naked and barefoot. Then the Lord said, “As my servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot for three years as a sign and a portent against Egypt and Cush,[a] so shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptian captives and the Cushite exiles, both the young and the old, naked and barefoot, with buttocks uncovered, the nakedness of Egypt. Then they shall be dismayed and ashamed because of Cush their hope and of Egypt their boast. And the inhabitants of this coastland will say in that day, ‘Behold, this is what has happened to those in whom we hoped and to whom we fled for help to be delivered from the king of Assyria! And we, how shall we escape?’”

1)   Servants Obey

“Go “is a command demanding immediate action. God asked Isaiah to go and show the people what was going to happen to them if they followed the Egyptians and so Isaiah unclothed himself to show them what the Egyptians were going to do when they were captured by the Assyrians. When a country would invade another country and win the battle, they would strip the prisoners and walk them back to their country to humiliate them and to keep them from escaping as easily.  Think of how difficult this would have been for Isaiah who was a man who was known as being a prophet of God.  Some of the people surely called him crazy or at least misunderstood him and what he was doing.  Whether or not he was totally unclothed or if he appeared in front of certain people and councils to demonstrate God’s message is unsure but more than likely he would not have been fully unclothed and he would not be unclothed for 3 straight years since he would not have been able to worship and he would not have survived the cold. Regardless of the frequency or the length it would have been a difficult assignment and one which would have cause Isaiah to ignore his pride in order to obey God.  One of the reasons we do not practice immediate obedience is because we do not have a servant’s mentality and so we are wise in our own eyes.

Proverbs 3:7 Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and turn away from evil.

To fear the Lord is not a frightening or scared response, although that can happen, it is more of a reverence of who God is that it makes who you think of Him more than yourself. We are always thinking how things effect ourselves, but servants could not regard their needs right away but had to focus on the needs, desires and wishes of their master. Too many times we try and outthink God instead of just being obedient to what He has told us to do.

Most people want God if God is going along with their plans and their wishes. Sometimes we place people and their opinions above the opinion of God.  Will they laugh at me? Will I lose my friends? What will people say behind my back? We ask these questions because our focus is on ourselves instead of God We find our significance as a person in what others think of us instead of what God says about us and therefore we are not faithful servants. Obedience to the things of God truly demonstrates if you are a servant of God because if you allow other things to keep you from the will of God then you are a servant to those things. One of the last things Jesus told His disciples was a “Go” statement which meant He wanted them to have immediate obedience.

Matthew 28:19-20  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[b] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

This command to “Go” has not changed since Jesus left the earth and everyone who calls themselves a follower of Christ is commanded to have immediate obedience to this. It is not our job to save people but God wants to use us in other people’s lives to tell them the truth about Jesus Christ because 2 Corinthians 5:20 says that God is making His appeal through us.

2)   Servants Point people to God

“Sign” A visible representation A street sign might tell us of a crosswalk ahead, or a curve in the road as a visible sign of what to expect in the near future.  Isaiah un-dressed just like a defeated and captured people would dress to warn them of what would happen to the Egyptians and Cush because they did not trust God.  Isaiah is reminding the people that they will look just like him as they are captured and are marched back. Isaiah’s life told a story and his life pointed people to God. Is your life a sign that points people to put their trust in God?

“…the beliefs and practices of most people who call themselves Christians do not look like what we’d expect from people who are actual Disciples of Christ.” (Christians in the age of outrage, Ed Stetzer, pg. 64)

The problem is that many people identify as Christ followers or Christians, but they are Christian in name only but not in their actions. Most people who call themselves Christians do not even know what they believe about Christ and what He did on the cross on our behalf.  Many people who call themselves Christians are putting their hope in things that the world is putting their hope in.

“Nominal Christians are like marathon runners who sign up for the race, got their official number, and bought the fancy running gear- but never went out and did the actual training ahead of time. They can’t run the race because they have not prepared. They haven’t developed habits of faith- like prayer, Bible Study, and worship- that would transform them into true disciples. They are not part of a community that can sustain and inform their world view. They have the T-shirt but not the ability to complete the race. So they run in vain. (Christians in the age of outrage, Ed Stetzer, pg 66)

We must remember that the Christian life is not for us to live but for Christ to live it through us. When we take a list of things and say we are going to be “Better Christians” what happens is we become just like the religious leaders who took the disciplines of the faith and made them into their own accomplishments. The Christian life is impossible for you to live but the good news is God did not expect us to do it by our own power, strength or determination.

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.”

When will you be God’s witnesses? After you have received the Holy Spirit who empowers you because what God asks you to do, He empowers you to do. If you know God is calling you to do something, then you will know He will give you the power and ability to do it. Our part is to always work in conjunction with God by disciplining ourselves in prayer, Bible Study and also being a part of a Bible believing fellowship. God has given us our abilities but we are to be good stewards of them by developing them for His Glory because God has left us here on earth to point others toward Him

Matthew 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that[a] they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

3)   Servants warn of future judgement

Portent against Egypt and Cush”

Portent: pointing to a future event of consequences. Egypt is going to be defeated and although it may seem that Egypt, now along with the alliance of Cush, would be strong enough to beat Assyria Isaiah is telling them that they will be destroyed so do not go with them.  Isaiah message was the opposite of what human wisdom would have been telling them to do.

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

The way of the world can be tempting to follow and can even seem right at times but we are now servants of God, so we listen to what He says even if it does not make sense to us.  1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says we have been bought with a price, so we need to remember that we are servants of God and that all our lives belong to Him and Him alone.  There are consequences when people reject the ways of God and Isaiah as a servant of God was doing all he could to show them their fate if they followed in the path of Egypt and Cush. Egypt would let down all those who put their trust in them just like the things of this world let down those who put their hope in them. All religions offer a way of salvation but they all offer it through doing more good deeds than bad and in the end they lead to destruction because only Jesus is the way to God. (John 14:6)  

Acts4:11-12 This Jesus[a] is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.[b] 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men[c] by which we must be saved.”

The reason churches have used the term saved is because we are saved from something. Most people do not see themselves as having to escape judgment because they see themselves as good people and they think their good deeds will outweigh their bad deeds. (Islam belief)

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

Notice that it says believes and then obeys. Why would I obey someone I do not believe in?  We do not like talking about the punishments of God for rejecting Him, but the reality is that God has placed them in His word as a warning and a plea for us to turn to Him.  Just like the people of Judah had to learn to trust God for salvation and not turn anywhere else so we must tell people that salvation is found in no other religion than through Jesus Christ.  We must warn people, just like Isaiah did, that if they do not put their trust in Jesus Christ then they are held captive by the enemy.

2 Timothy 2:24-26 And the Lord’s servant[e] must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

 “As much as we are to speak boldly for the Lord without compromise, we are to do so with the attitude of meekness, gentleness, and humility. We are never to be harsh, abusive, overbearing, unkind, thoughtless, or pugnacious.” John Macarthur

Pugnacious means to be  quick to argue, quarrel or fight. Our main reason for being this way is so that they come to repentance (change direction) If your motivation is to win an argument instead of win the person then you have the wrong motive.  We are trying to help people who believe a lie to come to their senses and see the truth.

Correcting means that we all cannot be right. Either Jesus is right, or He is wrong but we cannot all be right. We are all called to inform and educate people so they can know the truth.

Escape the snare of the devil: people do not see that they are in bondage to Satan. The people did not see the Egyptians and Cush being carried off as prisoners and people in our day do not see themselves as going to be carried off to destruction. Isaiah 61:1 says that year of the Lord is to not only heal the blind and the lame but to set the captives free. (Jesus quoted this verse in Mark 4 and announced this was being done in their presence) Jesus freed us from our captivity by buying us with His death and resurrection.

What is your view of God?  What is your view of yourself?  Are you being an obedient servant by pointing people to God through your life and through your words?  We have a responsibility to tell others the truth regardless of how we are treated. Have you been set free from the captivity of Satan? Acts 16:31 says, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.

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Isaiah 19:16-25 Divine Intervention

Isaiah was telling the people that Egypt was not going to come through for them and that Egypt was going to be destroyed. This was very sad news that the people were hearing because they were hoping that Egypt was going to come to their rescue and save them from the Assyrians. Isaiah is going to prophecy again about a prophecy that will take place in the future so that the people will have hope. The message of doom for Egypt is not left without a message of Grace because God always leaves room for those who are willing to repent and turn to Him to be saved from the doom that awaits those who reject Him. God is going to act and when God acts, we call this a Divine Intervention. For many of us we look at Divine intervention as something in the positive when things go our way, a miracle happens or when our enemy is destroyed by unexplainable means

Isaiah 19:16-17 In that day the Egyptians will be like women, and tremble with fear before the hand that the Lord of hosts shakes over them. 17 And the land of Judah will become a terror to the Egyptians. Everyone to whom it is mentioned will fear because of the purpose that the Lord of hosts has purposed against them.

1)   Divine Intervention brings Fear

 “In that Day” points to a future time of Divine intervention and it says, “Egypt will be like a woman who is afraid” The Egyptians will realize that when the hand of the Lord is against them that there is nothing they can do but be afraid. The Mighty powerful Egyptians with their military might will be cowards when they realize they are confronted with the God of the Universe.The Hand the Lord Shakes over them is a gesture of dismissal and a sign of catastrophic ruin and it is as if God waved His hand and destruction came upon them. They are useless against Him and they realize that they are not the ones who are in control of their future.

The Land of Judah will become terror to Egypt not because of Judah and her military but because it is identified with God. Fearing God is not a bad thing because it reveals to you that He is the one who is to be praised. We do not spend time talking about the fear of God which in scripture is about having a reverence for God because we have made God into our own image but at the end of time when all the powerful Kings of the world see Jesus they will have fear.

Revelation 6:15-17 Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave[d] and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, 16 calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”

The powerful politicians and rulers in our world today will stand before God shaking and all the power that they thought they had will be nothing compared to God. We have forgotten how great and mighty God is and therefore we worry about the things that are happening in our world instead of focusing on our great and powerful Creator. We worry and say things like, “What happens if so and so gets elected? Or what will we do if our country goes from capitalism to socialism?” A Christian response is that we will do what we have been doing and put our trust in God because He is in control. We need to learn to pray like Daniel who as a teenager was captured and taken to Babylon.

Daniel 2:20-22 Daniel answered and said: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might.21 He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; 22 he reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him.

Is this how you think of God as the one who removes and sets up kings? Our world is in for a rude awakening when God shows up because they will have a fear that leads to terror where we who belong to Him as His children will have a fear that is a reverential awe.

Isaiah 19:18 In that day there will be five cities in the land of Egypt that speak the language of Canaan and swear allegiance to the Lord of hosts. One of these will be called the City of Destruction.[a]

2)   Divine Intervention brings repentance

“They will swear allegiance to the Lord of Host” They will turn from their former life and proclaim the name of Godand they will even learn the Hebrew language as a sign and testimony of their repentance. Proclaiming you are a Christian in our society does not mean much but in some countries, it will cost you your life. For the people of Egypt to claim that God is the true God is not something the Jewish people would see as a possibility.

Romans 10:9-13  because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Salvation belongs to those who call on the name of the Lord and those who confess with their mouth that He is God and was raised from the dead. The people in Isaiah’s day were hearing that God was going to do something among the Egyptians that they thought was impossible because they could not see the Egyptians leaving their gods to worship the true God.

Who are you praying for that it will take a Divine Intervention for them to turn to God? If God did not intervene in all our lives, then we would all still be left to be separated from Him for all eternity. All of us needed a Divine intervention in order to be back in a right relationship with God.  If you had an experience with God and it did not lead to a change in your life, then you did not have an experience with God you just had an experience.

Isaiah 19:19-21  In that day there will be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the Lord at its border. 20 It will be a sign and a witness to the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt. When they cry to the Lord because of oppressors, he will send them a savior and defender, and deliver them. 21 And the Lord will make himself known to the Egyptians, and the Egyptians will know the Lord in that day and worship with sacrifice and offering, and they will make vows to the Lord and perform them.

3)Divine Intervention leads to worship

The altar will be in the middle of Egypt and the altar was for sacrificial worship and A pillar set up would show all that entered where their loyalty was to God. The people who once fell under God’s judgement will be witnesses to the rest of the world.

A)   Worship because of our Salvation

“When they cry out to the Lord” God will defend them; God will take up their cause and deliver them from the situation of harassment and difficulty. They will be delivered from certain doom by a savior

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.

Just like God intervened for the Egyptians He has intervened for us by saving us from His wrath. The beauty of Christianity is it is not about what you can do but what God did for us when He died on the cross on our behalf.

When is the last time you thanked God for your salvation?

B)   Worship because of our Relationship with God

The Egyptians will Know Yahweh Worship happens when you know you are in a relationship with God. It is the difference between knowing about God and having a relationship with Him. Many people do not worship God because they know some things about Him but they do not have a personal relationship with Him.

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

We cannot emphasize enough that the people that Jesus mentions that did great works are the ones who are told to leave His presence. Christianity is about a personal relationship with God that also involves other brothers and sisters in Christ.

Do you desire to pray to God? To Read His Word? If not, why not?

C)   Worship by Serving God

They will make a vow and perform them  Worship is more than just singing or showing up at Church, Worship is when your life changes and reflects the nature and character of God.  We serve God because of all He did for us and our relationship we have with Him.We do not serve God to win His approval or to make it into Heaven, Jesus did all of that for us.

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

Worshiping God is how we think and how we act. If we are going to do the will of God then we have to think correctly and live correctly then we will know and do His will.

Isaiah 19:22-25 And the Lord will strike Egypt, striking and healing, and they will return to the Lord, and he will listen to their pleas for mercy and heal them.23 In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and Assyria will come into Egypt, and Egypt into Assyria, and the Egyptians will worship with the Assyrians.24 In that day Israel will be the third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, 25 whom the Lord of hosts has blessed, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance.”

3)   Divine Intervention brings Healing

“Striking and Healing “This two-fold process is not to destroy a person but to heal them. You should not be the same person you were before God intervened in your life. Isaiah takes this a step further by not only saying Egypt will turn and worship God but Assyria as well, the very ones who were coming to destroy Judah will be worshiping God. This will not take place because of political or engineering feats but because of the Supernatural healing that God can do in the hearts of man.

Proverbs 3:11-12 My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof,12 for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.

God will take you were you are but He will not leave you there. God will inflict pain and consequences for the purpose of leading you  toward healing just like a physical therapist causes pain to lead you to full restoration.

A Blessing in the midst of the Earth You have to remember how shocking this was to them to hear because no one would believe it but when God is involved the impossible is possible.Your life because God is bringing you to be more like Jesus Christ will be a blessing to the world. We hear statements about God’s blessings, but God calls us to be a blessing. Yes, we are blessed, but God blesses us to bless others because it is how God reaches out to the world. Some of us need healing but do not think that while you are healing God cannot use you to bless others. We are all broken people.

James 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working

Healing comes but God uses other people for us to walk along side of and confess our struggles with each other. We need to be healed so we can heal

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Isaiah 19:1-15 Our World is Shaken

The people are in a place where it is easy to panic and not trust God. Now the people are looking to Egypt and Isaiah is going to prophecy to them about what is going to happen with Egypt and why they should not put their trust in Egypt.  Isaiah does not name the Kings during this time so exactly when this took place is unclear but one thing that is clear is that we should not put our hope in the ways of the world.  Isaiah will prophecy about each aspect of Egypt that we tend to put our hope and trust in and show them how foolish it is God is the only solid rock (Isaiah 17:10) but the people keep looking to other things for salvation. We need to learn that there is only one Rock (Solid foundation) and that is found in God and God alone. What will you run to when your world is shaken?  Many of us do not need convincing that our world is shaken but the reality is we still put our hope in other things besides God.

Isaiah 19:1 An oracle concerning Egypt. Behold, the Lord is riding on a swift cloud and comes to Egypt; and the idols of Egypt will tremble at his presence, and the heart of the Egyptians will melt within them.

The Lord rides on a swift cloud,” which means that God is the one who is in control andBehold” or “look” means to draw attention to what is happening. God is not hindered by anything and He quickly arrives wherever He pleases, and no obstacles can stand in His way. God is not like the Egyptian gods who stand still, and Isaiaheven uses a reference to Baalwho is said to ride on the clouds showing that God is the ruler of creation.How easily we are distracted to take our eyes off of God and put it back onto the world. The Israelites were led out of Egypt and saw miracle after miracle but when Moses was gone for too long they too put their eyes back on Egypt

Exodus 32:1-6 When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, “Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” So Aaron said to them, “Take off the rings of gold that are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” So all the people took off the rings of gold that were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden[a] calf. And they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the Lord.” And they rose up early the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings. And the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.

Just like the children of Israel lost their focus and put their trust back into the idols of Egypt so we can look at our world and be convinced that the things of this world is what we need and the problem with this is that these things will not last. Isaiah explains to them what is going to happen to Egypt

1)   The Worlds idols are shaken

“The idols of Egypt tremble” The people Isaiah was trying to convince to put their trust in God were putting their trust in foreign gods.  The idols that the Egyptians put their trust in literally shake at the presence of God. Sometimes we as followers of Christ can look to the same idols the world tells us to put our hope in as we put our hope in the idol of money until an investment goes bad. We put our hope in the idol of health until a bad doctor report comes back.We put our hope in the idol of popularity until someone criticizes us and accuses us of things.  We put our hope in the idol of achievement until we cannot accomplish what we set out to do.We put our hope in the idol of pleasure until those things no longer bring us the satisfaction, they promised they would bring.  Nothing compares to God and although those things are not evil in and of themselves, we tend to put our hope in them instead of God. Whatever Idol you go to for comfort, peace or even direction will be shaken.

1 Corinthians 10:14  Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.

“Idolatry is having any false god- any object, idea, philosophy, habit, occupation, sport, or whatever that has one’s primary concern and loyalty or that to any degree decreases one’s trust in and loyalty to the Lord.” (John MacArthur, 1 Corinthians, Pg 232-233)

“I trust God “ but I have a backup plan or the Bible and its ways are not relevant today.  An idol is anything we turn to when we say that God is not enough. Having the right view of God is important and that is why Isaiah showed them that God is the one who rides on the clouds and that He is the one who is in control.  Do not allow the things the world worships to draw your attention away from God and do not make what you are facing bigger than God.

Isaiah 19:2 And I will stir up Egyptians against Egyptians, and they will fight, each against another  and each against his neighbor, city against city, kingdom against kingdom; and the spirit of the Egyptians within them will be emptied out, and I will confound[a] their counsel; and they will inquire of the idols and the sorcerers, and the mediums and the necromancers; and I will give over the Egyptians
into the hand of a hard master, and a fierce king will rule over them, declares the Lord God of hosts.

2)   The Worlds relationships are shaken

“I will stir up Egyptian against Egyptian” The people that Judah was looking to put their hope in Isaiah tells them that they are going to be going through a civil war. Social bonds are powerful, but we all have been part of situations where we are no longer friends or even family with people because of their actions.  Many books have been written about relationships and how to keep them and the word of God also has a lot to say about relationships. Jesus even warns us that if you are going to follow Him then it might cost you family and friends.

Matthew 10:34-39 Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

In the book No God but One by Nabeel Quereshi he tells a story of a Saudi girl who became a Christian Sara Fatima al-Mutairi would be killed by her own brother

Leaving Islam can cost you everything: family, friends, job, everything you have ever known, and maybe even life itself. Is it really worth sacrificing everything for the truth? The answer is simple: It depends on the value of the truth.” (No God but One, Nabeel Quereshi, PG 294)

Jesus did not make it sound that following Him would be easy and He knew that because some would follow Him it would cost them their families. We have to be careful to not place our hope in our relationships over our hope in God. Following God can cost you relationships in your own family, work, and school. When our hope is in our relationships then we will bow down to people and their desires even if their desires go against God’s desires.

Romans 12:18  If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

Sometimes peace with some people is not always up to you but is the value of having a relationship with Jesus Christ bigger than the value of having a relationship with others?

Isaiah 19:5-10 And the waters of the sea will be dried up, and the river will be dry and parched,
and its canals will become foul, and the branches of Egypt’s Nile will diminish and dry up, reeds and rushes will rot away. There will be bare places by the Nile, on the brink of the Nile, and all that is sown by the Nile will be parched, will be driven away, and will be no more. The fishermen will mourn and lament, all who cast a hook in the Nile; and they will languish who spread nets on the water. The workers in combed flax will be in despair, and the weavers of white cotton. 10 Those who are the pillars of the land will be crushed, and all who work for pay will be grieved.

3)   The Worlds Resources are shaken

“The Nile will be dried up” The Nile was their resource for everything as it would flood making the soil around it rich for growing crops and for fishing. Reeds were used for roofing material and for baskets and Rushes were used for many things like making clothes. The very thing they counted on would not be available to them anymore and the fishermen will mourn, and their economy will dry up because the fish will die and rot.The economic destruction will have an impact on everyone rich and poor alike.We tend to put our hope in our economy and maybe our individual industries, but the reality is none of us know what the future holds.Many people have lost money because of the actions of others who stole or mismanaged money.  The catastrophes that are taking place in our world should demonstrate to us that the things we are planning on for our resources cannot be counted on.

Matthew 6:31-33  Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Isaiah 19:11-15 The princes of Zoan are utterly foolish; the wisest counselors of Pharaoh give stupid counsel. How can you say to Pharaoh, “I am a son of the wise, a son of ancient kings”? 12 Where then are your wise men? Let them tell you that they might know what the Lord of hosts has purposed against Egypt. 13 The princes of Zoan have become fools, and the princes of Memphis are deluded;
those who are the cornerstones of her tribes have made Egypt stagger. 14 The Lord has mingled within her a spirit of confusion, and they will make Egypt stagger in all its deeds, as a drunken man staggers in his vomit. 15 And there will be nothing for Egypt that head or tail, palm branch or reed, may do.

4)   The Worlds Wisdom is shaken

“I will confound their counsel” (3) The people will not be able to grasp what is taking place and they will consult mediums as they do their best to know the future, but it will be for nothing. Egypt, who had plans to be a world power, who wanted national security and peace will see all of it go away.

The Princes have become fools (11) Egypt was famous for its wisdom (1 Kings 4:30 says Solomon wisdom passed Egypt’s wisdom) but now they will be like drunk people stumbling around.

James 3:13-17 Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.

Where Selfishness and Jealousy exist, there will be disorder. Proverbs 9:10 says that the Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom and Matthew 7:24 says anyone who hears these words of mine is like a man who built his house on the rock and not the sand.

The problem with all of these shaken things is that we do not always see them that way. We need God’s perspective to see that our worlds Idols, relationships, resources and wisdom is on unstable ground.  The people of Judah saw Egypt as being a wise, powerful, rich nation but God through Isaiah shows them who Egypt really is.  We have to be careful that we do not put our hope in the world we live in whether it be our Idols, our relationships, our resources or even ours or the worlds wisdom. You first have to decide if God is the God of the universe riding in on a cloud because if you get the concept of God wrong then everything else will look like a better option to you.

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Isaiah 18 Waiting for God to Act

What happens when we focus on God, but He has not taken care of our situation?  Waiting is not something that we are good at and many times we act instead of patiently waiting for God to do what He said He would do. When life is not going the way, you want, and it seems as though you are going to be ruined how are we to wait on God. Chapter 18 of Isaiah gives us some good advice during the story we have been studying about Judah having to learn to put their trust in God instead of Idols and other nations.  They were a nation facing an attack by an Army that was destroying every city in their path and Isaiah was trying to get them to wait on God but it seemed as though God was not acting fast enough and that God was going to let them be destroyed.

Isaiah 18:1-3 Ah, land of whirring wings that is beyond the rivers of Cush,[a] which sends ambassadors by the sea, in vessels of papyrus on the waters! Go, you swift messengers, to a nation tall and smooth, to a people feared near and far, a nation mighty and conquering, whose land the rivers divide. All you inhabitants of the world, you who dwell on the earth, when a signal is raised on the mountains, look! When a trumpet is blown, hear!

1)   While waiting: Look for God’s Activity

Messengers arrived from Cush but there is no information what the message was that they brought. Some think they were a delegation party that was trying to bring peace between Judah and the Assyrians, but no one knows for sure. Many times, when we do not know what is going on and what God is up to is, we grow impatient. We must remember that God is acting while we are sleeping, and the people could see that something was going on even if they did not know what it was. Sometimes we get so focused on the problem at hand that we do not look around to see that God is doing things that may go beyond our understanding.

“Look” when the banner is raised and “Listen” when the trumpet is sounded. Banners raised and trumpets sounded were both things that took place when war began. Forgetting God and focusing on the problem takes away our perspective of what God is doing. There are things that we are to look for while we are waiting. They were watching an army of over 185,000 strong destroy city after city and now they are approaching them. God tells them to “Look” which means to focus on what is going to take place not what is currently happening. We say things like “I cannot believe God allowed this to happen” rather than “I wonder how God is going to use this”  It’s because we have bought into the idea that all pain is bad.

“Nothing good could ever come from pain. Really?  Nothing? Like the birth of a child, or a renewal of a forest after a fire, or the signal that something is badly wrong in my health and needs attended to? No good from pain? What about salvation of mankind? (When Life is Hard, James Macdonald, Pg 28)

There are some horrendous things in this world that God will judge one day but until that day we need to see that the things He allows He uses for purposes in our own lives and in the lives of others that go beyond our understanding. God was using the Assyrians and all their wickedness to get His children to stop worshiping other idols and to learn to put their trust in Him. Tragedy reprioritizes our lives as we focus on the important things and we get rid of the things that are not important. During your waiting on God to act you need to be looking at what He might be up to in your life and in the lives of those around you.

Psalm 119:71 It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.

Isaiah 18:4 For thus the Lord said to me: “I will quietly look from my dwelling like clear heat in sunshine, like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.”

2)   While Waiting: Know that God Sees what is taking place

“I will quietly look from my dwelling” Not only does God see what is happening He is not panicked about it. To place God higher than everything shows that He is superior in every way and that He is never anxious, worried or in a hurry.

1 Peter 6:6-10 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

Some versions say cast your cares or concerns on God because He cares for you. When we do not think God sees our situation, we think He does not care. How does Satan devour you? With anxiety, with cares, with concerns. Putting our faith and trust in God is easy to talk about but when the 185,000 plus army is surrounding your life, anxiety and worry seem to be the things we go to. Remembering that God sees, and He is not panicked will help you but ultimately you must trust His plan.

3)While Waiting: Remember God is with you

“Like Heat and a Cloud of Dew “ Along the same idea but separate is the idea that God is present. Because of the pain and evil in the world people called Deist believe that God set the world in motion but He is uninvolved with all of the details. The idea is that just like you cannot escape the heat and humidity neither will you be able to escape the presence of God.Many times when you are waiting for God to act the first lie you might believe is that He has abandoned you.

Job 23:8-12 Behold, I go forward, but he is not there, and backward, but I do not perceive him;
on the left hand when he is working, I do not behold him; he turns to the right hand, but I do not see him.10 But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.11 My foot has held fast to his steps; I have kept his way and have not turned aside.12 I have not departed from the commandment of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my portion of food.

Job who went through incredible pain and heartbreak physically and emotionally and felt the pain that God was not around gives great advice. “He knows the way I take” Job trusted that God knew the path he was on no matter how painful the path was he was taking. “When He has tried me, I shall come out as Gold” Job Knew there was a reason God was allowing him to walk through this. “I have kept His way and not turned away or departed from His commandments.” What do you turn to when you feel like God has abandoned you? When you walk through dark times in your life the best thing you can do is to read His word and do the things you know He wants you to do. Hebrews 13:5 reminds us that He will never leave us nor forsake us so never believe the lie that God is not with you no matter what you are going through

Isaiah 18:5 -6 For before the harvest, when the blossom is over, and the flower becomes a ripening grape he cuts off the shoots with pruning hooks, and the spreading branches he lops off and clears away. They shall all of them be left to the birds of prey of the mountains and to the beasts of the earth. And the birds of prey will summer on them, and all the beasts of the earth will winter on them.

4)   While Waiting Know that God’s Timing is perfect

In verse 5 God uses a harvesting illustration to show that He acts at the perfect time and God is going to cut the fruit off the branch before it fully develops. Some of what the Assyrians planned will come about, but God will not allow all the plans they had develop.  The enemies will be left for the birds to devour and it is the 185,000 Assyrian troops that God wiped out in one night. Trusting God while you are waiting for Him to act shows the ultimate sign of your faith

Psalm 37:7-13 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land. 10 In just a little while, the wicked will be no more; though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there. 11 But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.12 The wicked plots against the righteous and gnashes his teeth at him,13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he sees that his day is coming.

Isaiah was trying to get the people to trust in God and not worry about what evil people were going to do to them. Nothing you walk through is outside of God’s presence but also God knows the fate of those who have caused the troubles in your life. Many people suffer because of the wickedness of others but our trust is in the Lord who laughs at them and their evil plans.  Do not fret (anxious) because it only leads to evil. (Psalm 37:8) What are you waiting on God for? Being still while you wait on God is difficult but trusting Him and not growing anxious will only happen if you trust His timing.

Isaiah 18:7 At that time tribute will be brought to the Lord of hosts from a people tall and smooth, from a people feared near and far, a nation mighty and conquering, whose land the rivers divide, to Mount Zion, the place of the name of the Lord of hosts.

5)   How you wait will point others to God.

“A gift will be brought to Yahweh of host”  Yahweh of Host is a phrase meaning God is in control. The people that came earlier to try and influence the outcome now come back to worship God.  Isaiah is prophesying what will happen if they will put their trust and confidence in God and not in the other militaries or other gods.  Judah was under pressure to do something, but God was calling on them to wait on Him. How you trust God while waiting for Him to act will demonstrate to others your faith but also show them who God is and God will get the glory for the victories.

2 Chronicles 32:20-23 Then Hezekiah the king and Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, prayed because of this and cried to heaven. 21 And the Lord sent an angel, who cut off all the mighty warriors and commanders and officers in the camp of the king of Assyria. So he returned with shame of face to his own land. And when he came into the house of his god, some of his own sons struck him down there with the sword. 22 So the Lord saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib king of Assyria and from the hand of all his enemies, and he provided for them on every side. 23 And many brought gifts to the Lord to Jerusalem and precious things to Hezekiah king of Judah, so that he was exalted in the sight of all nations from that time onward.

It is not just about what we are going through but also how we are going through them.  Do how you go through difficulties point people to God?  The Cushite’s were humbled by how God acted on behalf of His people to the point they came to worship God.  For God to get the glory you have to walk through things that cannot be explained by your wisdom or abilities.

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