Chapter 28 marks a new section and the way it is written is that Isaiah’s pastoral heart is breaking. Isaiah, even though being rejected by the people, wept over his nation and did not become embittered by their constant rebellion toward God. It is an attitude that we need to have as we see our nation stray farther and farther from God as we share with them the good news of Jesus Christ but the bad news if they reject Him. It is the heart that Jesus had even while being rejected.
Matthew 23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!
To say “O Jerusalem” twice was a sign of affection. We should be saying “O America, O America” as we see the poor decisions and poor lifestyle choices that people are making. We must make sure our hearts do not become hardened by our disagreements with those around us and we have to remember that people are being led astray by the god of this world so they believe lies about themselves and what happens after they pass from this earth.
You failed is not something anyone wants to hear, and no one wants a big red “F” on their paper. Today we are going to see that the people in Jerusalem were failing and what we should do here in America as we see the same things taking place. “Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it” is attributed to the American philosopher George Santayana. We can learn from the failure of others and as we look at the passages today, we will see we have many things to learn from the people of God who have made mistakes that we need to avoid. We must make sure that we are not just looking at history but that we are looking in the mirror to see how these things apply to us today.
Isaiah 28:1 Ah, the proud crown of the drunkards of Ephraim, and the fading flower of its glorious beauty, which is on the head of the rich valley of those overcome with wine!
1) Failure to see sin accurately
The people in Judah would see the people in Samaria fall and yet they would think they deserved it while they didn’t even though they had similar sins. They were arrogant not only because they thought that they were God’s chosen people but because they thought that what happened to Samaria would never happen to them. Ephraim was situated on a hill (1 Kings 16:24) which rose over 300 feet above the valleys that surrounded it which gave it a great view to see any opposing army that would come their way. They were prideful in the fact that they relied on their own military and political advice in order to rule their own lives instead of relying on God. How easily they saw the sins of their brothers and agreed with the judgment of God on their lives while ignoring their own sins and missing that God’s judgment was coming.
Matthew 7:3-5 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
Described as “proud garland of drunkards” was a slam about how they viewed themselves. Crowns were worn by Kings, High Priest, people at weddings, or an honored person and the people were seeing themselves as higher than others who God was punishing. Like a drunk person who brags about what they can do is the idea that Isaiah is getting across and Isaiah is saying they are a drunk person who is wearing the crown thinking it is honorable when in reality they are looked upon and laughed at.
Romans 12:3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.
When it comes to our own sins we fail to see our sins as serious as they are and we magnify other people’s sins and make them worse than they really are. “Can you believe so and so did _____” “ I would never do ______” A Christian’s proper response to life is not arrogance but humility. Luke 9:23 calls us to deny ourselves which is difficult in a nation that teaches us that it is all about our self-interest, and needs and a nation that say “Follow your heart” or “God wants you to be happy” The Bible tells us “Not to think of Himself more highly than he should”. We are not called to demean ourselves but also to not make ourselves something we are not especially if we think we are better than others.
“Extreme forms of mental illness are always extreme cases of self-absorption. “Professor William K. Kilpatrick
We live in a society just like Isaiah is rebuking who wants to live how they want and still say they love Jesus. Our country is headed toward destruction not because we lack a great military but because the wages of sin is death.
“What hope is there for our affluent, pleasure-loving society that gives lip service to religion and ignores the consequences of sin and the judgment that is sure to come? “ (Be Comforted, Warren W. Wiersbe, pg 86)
To answer Warren Wiersbe question, the Hope is the Good News of Jesus Christ and we are called to be like Isaiah who continually reached out to them in love even though being ignored. We must call sin what God calls sin and we cannot allow our society to pressure us into believing the lies because there are consequences to the sins our society is giving into.
28:2-4 Behold, the Lord has one who is mighty and
strong; like a storm of hail, a destroying tempest, like a storm of mighty,
overflowing waters, he casts down to the earth with his hand.
3 The proud crown of the drunkards of Ephraim will be trodden underfoot; 4 and the fading flower of its glorious beauty, which is on the head of the rich valley, will be like a first-ripe fig[a] before the summer: when someone sees it, he swallows it as soon as it is in his hand.
2) Failure to see the Consequences of our actions
It’s Amazing the amount of damage that is done by our sins. Our families, our neighbors and our world suffer when we think that the things God calls sin does not impact us in anyway. A Hail storm, a destructive storm, and a great flooding rain are how Isaiah described the consequences of sin and the damage is so bad from this that it seems like it is unrepairable.
Galatians 6:1, 7-9 Brothers,[a] if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
Most people who destroy their lives do not pay attention to the word of God, nor the warnings and examples of others. Galatians says “Do not be deceived” so Have you ever thought that some of the patterns of sin in your life that you do not call sin is because you are deceived? To be deceived means to be led astray and taken off course which every follower of Christ must make sure does not happen. We are first deceived in our thinking then we are led astray and that is why you should read and study your bibles and not believe every pastor that is out there. We tend to think that we are different but the Bible tells us clearly that if you walk on a path in sin you will reap the consequences of those sins. You reap what you sow, you reap more than you sow, you reap longer than you sow and none of us are above the consequences of sin.
For Israel the consequence of their sin will be an attack from the Assyrians that will destroy them but for most people who ignore what God calls sin it will be destruction of their lives, their marriage and their careers. The Assyrian army consumed everything in its path leaving it like a hailstorm, a flooded river and severe storms destroyed the place. Isaiah compares what will happen to them like someone who comes and picks a fig off the tree and swallows it because when something was swallowed up it meant destruction.
Our society is going to reap destruction because of the lifestyles they are saying are not sins and many churches are not only buying into the lies they are encouraging them. The Religious leaders of Isaiah’s day were doing the same thing and unfortunately it will be too late when we see the damage done by our choices.
Isaiah 28:5-6 In that day the Lord of hosts will be a crown of glory,[ and a diadem of beauty, to the remnant of his people, 6 and a spirit of justice to him who sits in judgment, and strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate.
3) Failure to focus on the future
We have been talking about that we should begin with the end in mind and Isaiah is saying the same thing when he says, “In that Day”. God is the true and glorious crown and Heaven is Heaven because God is there. What makes Heaven great is not the streets of Gold, the buildings or gates or even the fact that our family members will be there it will be God who is the ultimate crown of glory. It is in God that we will marvel at and be our ultimate fulfillment. Yes, God does bless us today but this is not our home we are just passing through and we long for a place that this earth can never fulfill.
Hebrews 13:14 For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.
God is going to bring a “Spirit of Justice” and all the wrongs will be made right so we should focus on His future justice and not worry about those who are getting away with things today. This does not mean that you cannot tell God about the injustice or even complain to Him about it. Psalm 10 and other Psalms are questions that are asked to God in a respectful way but with not understanding His ways.
Hebrews 4:13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
As Christians we will not give an account for our sins, but we will give an account for how we lived our lives on earth. Did we make God’s work our priority or our own selfish gain? You might want to go and read Matthew 25 about the parable of the talents because that story does not end well for the one who went and lived his own life while ignoring the master. Yes, we have responsibilities on earth but those should always be done with the eternal world in mind.
4) Failure to Rely on God’s Strength
Strength for those who turn back the battle at the gate. (6) God is our source of strength for the battle and those who do the will of God will be empowered by God to do the work He has for us to do.
Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
The Christian life is not just difficult it is impossible by our own power. The notion that once you give your life to Christ that things will get easier is a lie because there is an enemy that wants you to not live for Christ. We must remember that our Strength comes from God and not by our own will power, motivation or even our desire to accomplish His will.
The children of God were failing to see the sin in their own lives and they did not focus on the future of what waits for all who believe on God.