Isaiah 27:1-6

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

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

1)    Victory is certain

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

C)   How to have victory over Satan

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

1)    Resist his ways (James 4:7)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2)    Victory Leads to Rejoicing

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

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

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

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

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

3)   Victory must be accepted

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Isaiah 26:19-21 The Resurrection

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

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

1)   The Resurrection gives us comfort

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Awake and Sing for Joy

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

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

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

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

2)   The resurrection motivates us

A)   Through Trials

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

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

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

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

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

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

B)    To Live As If He is coming today

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

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

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

C)   TO Share what we believe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1)   Remember God’s Purpose for your life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2)   Remember whose name is to be great

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

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

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

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

3)   Remember to pursue God

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

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

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

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

4)   Remember to Confess your sins

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

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

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

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

Isaiah 26:1-6 Peace in the Trials of Life

After Isaiah was finished with his end time vision God wants to encourage His people in the here and now as they await that final time when God will restore all things. The people were walking through some dark days and the enemy was surrounding them and so God wants to encourage them through the difficulty that they will face. God wanted them to know that no matter what they walk through that they could be at peace. If there is one thing that our world longs for it is peace but the problem is that people look for the wrong kind of peace instead of lasting eternal peace. The peace that God promises us here on earth is not the peace that many want because they want a peace that means there are no problems whatsoever. We will see the kind of peace that God offers as well as how we can have peace while going through the trials of life. We all face trials in life and so we must learn that it is not peace because of not trials but the peace God offers is during the trials.

Isaiah 26:1-2 In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: “We have a strong city;
he sets up salvation as walls and bulwarks. Open the gates,  that the righteous nation that keeps faith may enter in.

1)   Peace with God

“We have a strong city that the faithful will see” You need topicture the people singing and praising God as they walk into this new city. Like a sports team that just won a big game and all the fans are singing their chant is the idea that Isaiah is portraying. They are called to sing praise to God not because they are not experiencing heartbreak or pain but because of the promise of their future.  In Isaiah 24:10 there is a wasted city but here we have a strong city that cannot be conquered and that is the city that we focus on because it is the one in which those who have peace with God will live. It is a city that one day we will enter because we are made righteous through our faith in Christ.

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

 If I rented a house and it was destroyed by a Hurricane it does not affect me as much because I am not the owner of the house I am just inconvenienced. This world is not our home and we are assured of a new home through Jesus Christ. We can have peace because of our faith and we must remember that our faith is not in ourselves or in our faith but in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

John 14:1-4 “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. And you know the way to where I am going.”

Notice Jesus begins with not allowing their hearts to be troubled and He tells them how by believing in Him and that He is preparing a place that goes beyond all our worldly troubles.  Peace comes knowing our future is secure.  One of the things that many people do not know for sure is where they will go when they die because other religions of the world are based on works there is not guarantee that they will do enough to overcome their sins. Christians do not have that worry because our salvation is not based on our works but the work of Jesus Christ and what He did on the cross and when He rose again.

1 John 5:13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.

Romans 8:38-39 tells us that nothing can separate us from the love of God because it is not our works that puts us back in a right relationship with God. We can have peace no matter what this world throws at us because the peace we have is not of this world.

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

What things did Jesus say to them that He said they can have peace? Jesus told them about the Holy Spirit who would come to guide and comfort them. Jesus told them that it will be difficult for a little while but then Joy for eternity. Jesus told them that when they pray they pray in Jesus name because He is the only one who can go to the Father because there is no other mediator between God and man. The peace Jesus offers is first peace with God which is the ultimate peace we need. Do you have peace knowing that when you die that you will live eternally with God?

Isaiah 26:3-6 You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock. For he has humbled the inhabitants of the height, the lofty city. He lays it low, lays it low to the ground, casts it to the dust.
The foot tramples it, the feet of the poor, the steps of the needy.”

2)   Peace through God

A)   By Focusing on God

“Whose mind is stayed on you” When you are not a peace what is your mind focused on? Our minds are supposed to stay on God.Our society has accepted the notion that worry is just part of our everyday lives but if we really were to focus on who God is and His promises then we could get to a point in our lives where we do not worry. (Some scoff at that notion) Galatians 5:22 says that one of the fruits of the Spirit is Peace which means one of the things we should see coming out or producing in our lives is peace.  As the Holy Spirit works through your life you will have peace it is not something that you can generate by your own doing other than focusing on the one who gives it and who Himself is peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

“You keep him in perfect peace” If you are not at peace you need to refocus on God and ask Him to fill you with peace. As Christians who have the Holy Spirit living in them, people should notice one of the things when they come up to us is that they see Peace.

Philippians 4:6-7 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-9 is based on Isaiah 26:3 and we are asked to not be anxious about anything. That includes everything because when God says do not be anxious, He means do not be anxious. There are two factors for people to have perfect peace and that is a mind that is focused and committed to God and a person who trust God. Notice Philippians 4:7 says peace of God will stand guard. The word that we say guard is a garrison or a group of troops standing guard. Peace protects us from the enemy. When we do not have peace, we are allowing the enemy to infiltrate us and get the better of us.

B)   By Trusting God

“He has humbled the inhabitants” We can trust God because of what He is going to do. God cannot lie so we can trust that He will do what He says He is going to do. You must remember that God was saying that they could have peace even though some of them will be taken captive. We are trusting that one day we will die and that when we stand before God Jesus is going to step up and say that He took our sins on our behalf and made us righteous, yet we have a difficult time trusting God for the everyday things. There is no bigger trust than our salvation and if He is our rock for that then He can be our rock no matter what we are facing in this life.

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.

We can trust Him because He is the solid rock a symbol of durability and permanence. Can you trust God when you are walking through adversity?  Can you trust God when you do not understand His ways? Can you trust God when it seems that He has gone silent and forgot about you? Can you trust God when you see no evidence of His power?

“The wonderful implication of this is that peace is not dependent on us. It does not matter what kind of personality we were born with or what kind of parents we dad. “My peace I give to you,” Jesus promised His disciples in John 14:27. This is not the peace of a sanguine personality or a happy home or an easy life. This is God’s peace, the peace that surpasses all comprehension. Jesus Christ can give this peace to us regardless of our natural disposition or personality, regardless of our upbringing, and regardless of our present circumstances.” (Down but not out, Wayne Mack, PG. 41

God can give you peace in every situation you face but first you must focus on Him and not your circumstances and you must trust Him no matter what you go through in this life. God wants us to experience a peace that the world cannot offer and that is the peace that comes from knowing Christ.

Posted in Fear, Isaiah, Old Testament, Peace, Prophecy | Leave a comment

Isaiah 25 Rejoice

The Prophecy of Isaiah continues as the people move past the judgment of God against all the sin that was taking place to what the world will be like when Jesus comes to earth to reign. The prophecy goes from Judgment to rejoicing. The song “Joy to the World” is a song sung at Christmas time, but it was not a song about Jesus first coming but about when He returns. When Jesus returns there will be a time of rejoicing and the book of Isaiah will give us several reasons why we will rejoice.  

Isaiah 25:1-5 O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you; I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure. For you have made the city a heap, the fortified city a ruin; the foreigners’ palace is a city no more; it will never be rebuilt. Therefore strong peoples will glorify you; cities of ruthless nations will fear you. For you have been a stronghold to the poor, a stronghold to the needy in his distress,  a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat, for the breath of the ruthless is like a storm against a wall,  like heat in a dry place. You subdue the noise of the foreigners; as heat by the shade of a cloud, so the song of the ruthless is put down.

1)   Rejoice because He is their God

“You are my God” This is personal loyalty and affection for those who acknowledge they are in a covenant relationship with God. A covenant relationship with God is a binding agreement that is promised by God Himself who cannot lie.

Psalm 118:28 You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you.

The relationship with God has always been personal going back to the Garden of Eden with Adam and Even until today. It is the relationship that Jesus Christ died for so that we can have a personal relationship with God which was broken by our sin. Most people do not see their relationship with God as personal and intimate but more like a boss or CEO who is just overlooking our lives instead of being intimately involved in our lives. One of the reasons we receive the Holy Spirit or God the Spirit is because it shows the intimate nature of God into our lives. (John 16:13)

Do you have a personal relationship with God or do you see Him as a distant task master checking in on your life from time to time? We can rejoice that because of Jesus Christ and His death on the cross we can have a personal relationship with God.

2)   Rejoice because of what He has done

“A wonderful thing” To be a wonderful thing is had to be out of the ordinary or going above and beyond what human power could do. This was usually reserved for miracles or divine acts of salvation. A wonderful thing is something that was unthinkable and something you cannot believe happened. It was what God did for the people when they left Egypt that not only were they set free but the Egyptians gave them money and possessions to help them go. (Exodus 12:35-36)

Exodus 15:11 Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?

The people are thanking God for his salvation after He brought them through the terrible times on earth just like the people in the book of Exodus rejoiced for God bringing them out of Egypt. When is the last time you thanked God for the wondrous things He has done? Christianity is difficult to accept for some people because it is too wondrous to imagine that it could be true. Some people have a difficult time believing that Jesus took all their sins away but that is what He did for us. When we see God, we will understand fully what Jesus did for us and how big of sinners we really were and we will rejoice over His grace, His mercy and His salvation that we could not earn on our own. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

3)   Rejoice because He is Sovereign

“Plans from Long ago”

We may not understand God’s ways, but we can rest in the fact that nothing catches Him off guard. God saw every day before the first day was made and although we do not like all that takes place God has seen it and has allowed it for reasons that go beyond our understanding. I have plans but many times my plans get interrupted or canceled but with God He knows all and therefore He is never learning and never in a panic about what is taking place because He already knew it would happen. God carries out these plans with faithfulness and reliability and we know that God can and will accomplish His will and because of that we can be assured that no matter what we are going through that He is in control.

“We can trust God. He does sovereignly intervene in the hearts of people so that they make decisions and carry out actions that accomplish His purpose for our lives. Yet God does this in such a way that these people make their decisions and carry out their plans by their own free and voluntary choices. “ (Trusting God, Jerry Bridges, Pg 47-48)

“You have been a stronghold for the helpless” One day we will look back and see that everything that God did was out of love and we will see fully what God was up to and we will not have any questions for Him. We will see the times He helped us and protected us even when we did not know it. When this day comes, we will not ask why certain things took place,  but we will fully understand all the reasons why God allowed them.

1 Corinthians 13:12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

“The song of the ruthless will be brought low” Though the enemy tried to destroy us God was there protecting us. Those who tried to harm us were not able to because God is the one who is in control and those who tried it was like rain against the wall that just rolled off. God will handle those in our lives and He will hold them accountable for their actions but until then know that even when it does not seem so that He is protecting us.

Isaiah 25:6 On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.

4)   Rejoice because of the Heavenly Banquet

This is a celebration that will make all other celebrations pale in comparison. This is not only a feast it is a personal banquet put on by God Himself. You are not asked to bring anything because everything will be provided and people from all nations and tribes will be present A rich food is the terminology that was used for what they were the best parts of the sacrifice (Leviticus 3:3; 4:8-9) that were to be offered to God and now God permits His people to eat them. The best of wine will be provided and great care will go into the preparation to make sure everything is at its best. (Strained clear shows the care gone into the banquet)

Revelation 19:7-9 Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready;it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”—for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said[a] to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”

Isaiah 25:7-9 And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth,
for the Lord has spoken. It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”

5)   Rejoice because Death is Defeated

“He shall swallow up death forever” Death is the covering that covers all people because we are all affected by death. No matter how long one lives they know that eventually they must face the reality of death.

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

Death entered the world when Adam and Eve sinned, and we all have dealt with the sadness and grief that goes with it. Covering was a mourning garment worn to show people that you were experiencing grief and in despair. This is the passage that the Apostle Paul quoted in 1 Corinthians 15

1 Corinthians 15:54-55 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”55 “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”

It is interesting that the term “swallow up” is used and not just removed. To remove means that it can be replaced but to swallow up means that it will exist no more and never replaced. If death is removed then sin is removed as well and neither death or sin will be present in the New World when Christ takes His throne forever.

“Wipe away tears from all faces” Isaiah again points to the compassion of God and like a loving father who wipes away the tears of his child so will God wipe away our tears and heal our hearts. God knows all your grief and heartache that sin has brought upon the earth and He will not allow it to endure any longer. Psalm 56:8 says that God keeps track of all your tossing’s and keeps your tears in a bottle which means God sees all that you are going through. Our tears are not futile but are seen and acknowledged by God

Revelation 21:4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

“This is our God and we have waited for Him” Some versions say trusted instead of waited but they both are the same thing that they people who are saved are those who put their trust in Him. It’s a hopeful act of waiting despite however long it takes that God is the one who saves. Yes, for now, we wait for God to do what He promised but we rejoice knowing that everything we experience that brings pain and heartache will be gone in the new world

Isaiah 25:10-12 For the hand of the Lord will rest on this mountain, and Moab shall be trampled down in his place, as straw is trampled down in a dunghill.[a] 11 And he will spread out his hands in the midst of it as a swimmer spreads his hands out to swim, but the Lord will lay low his pompous pride together with the skill[b] of his hands. 12 And the high fortifications of his walls he will bring down, lay low, and cast to the ground, to the dust.

6)   Rejoice because we will be at rest

“The hand of the Lord will rest” Rest is associated with a safe and peaceful lifestyle (2 Samuel 7:1) This rest is not for everyone but only those who have responded to the truth that Jesus died for their sins.

“he will bring low their arrogance “

Matthew 22:2-10 The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, and sent his servants[a] to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.”’ But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ 10 And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests.

The people were too preoccupied with their own lives to care about the things of the King and with the Skill of their hands they thought they were good enough on their own and did not need Him for salvation. When we pray your Kingdom Come from Matthew 6 we have to realize when Jesus Kingdom does come not all will be able to attend. Therefore, it says in Psalm 95:7-8 that if today you hear His voice do not harden your hearts because tomorrow is not promised. But for us to who have denied ourselves (Luke 9:23) and surrendered our lives to Him and believe that He died on our behalf so that we can be in a right relationship with God we will forever rejoice because we will be in the presence of our creator.

Psalm 16:11 You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Can you say “My God” because you have a personal relationship with Him through Jesus Christ? Can you rejoice that He has saved you by His works and not your own? Can you praise Him that no matter what you are going through He is still sovereign?

One day we will join God around the Heavenly Banquet which is the ultimate wedding reception One day death will be completely wiped out and one day we will be at rest with our Creator.

Posted in End Times, Isaiah, Prophecy | Leave a comment

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