Isaiah 21:1-10 The Enemy

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

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

1)   The Enemy brings Destruction

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

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

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

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

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

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

2)   The Enemy brings pain

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

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

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

3)   You must prepare for the Enemy

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

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

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

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

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

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

4)   You must watch for the Enemy

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

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

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

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

5)   You must verbally warn others about the Enemy

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

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

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

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

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Isaiah 20 God’s Servants

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

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

“Christianity is upside down and backwards” Elder Dan

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

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

1)   Servants Obey

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

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

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

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

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

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

2)   Servants Point people to God

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3)   Servants warn of future judgement

Portent against Egypt and Cush”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Isaiah 19:16-25 Divine Intervention

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

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

1)   Divine Intervention brings Fear

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2)   Divine Intervention brings repentance

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

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

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

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

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

3)Divine Intervention leads to worship

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

A)   Worship because of our Salvation

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

Ephesians 2:8-9  For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

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

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

B)   Worship because of our Relationship with God

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

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

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

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

C)   Worship by Serving God

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

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

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

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

3)   Divine Intervention brings Healing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Isaiah 19:1-15 Our World is Shaken

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

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

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

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

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

1)   The Worlds idols are shaken

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

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

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

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

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

2)   The Worlds relationships are shaken

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3)   The Worlds Resources are shaken

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

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

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

4)   The Worlds Wisdom is shaken

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

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

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

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

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

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Isaiah 18 Waiting for God to Act

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

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

1)   While waiting: Look for God’s Activity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3)While Waiting: Remember God is with you

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5)   How you wait will point others to God.

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

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

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

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Isaiah 17 Forgetting God

The people were going to be attacked by the Assyrians who were going through and destroying cities in the distance which the people could see. The people of God had a choice to make if they would trust God or rely on other nations for their salvation. The people of God were also seeking deliverance from other gods that they had incorporated into their worship. Although we may not worship wooden idols, we all tend to go to other gods instead of God Himself. We go to the god of entertainment, the god of making more money, the god of pleasure, the god of alcohol, and the god of drugs. Your god is anything you turn to when life is not going the way you want in order to seek deliverance. Isaiah wanted them to seek God for their deliverance but told them that their ability to ask for deliverance had a time limit. Salvation is offered but it must be received.

Where do your thoughts go when your life takes a turn for the worse? Do you think about God or do you worry about what you are facing? Forgetting God is a serious problem and sometimes it is not the giant problems in life that cause us to forget God it’s the small ones.  Small problems that we think we can fix by our own wisdom and our own abilities are just as easily to draw our attention away from God as the big problems that we have no solutions for.  King Ahaz was doing just that when he was trying to figure out a solution to the problem of the Assyrian army and Isaiah was trying to get him to not trust in other nations, to not pray to other gods and to not trust his own wisdom. Today we will look at what happens and what we can do when we forget God.

Isaiah 17:1-6 An oracle concerning Damascus. Behold, Damascus will cease to be a city and will become a heap of ruins. The cities of Aroer are deserted; they will be for flocks, which will lie down, and none will make them afraid. The fortress will disappear from Ephraim, and the kingdom from Damascus; and the remnant of Syria will be like the glory of the children of Israel, declares the Lord of hosts. And in that day the glory of Jacob will be brought low, and the fat of his flesh will grow lean. And it shall be as when the reaper gathers standing grain and his arm harvests the ears, and as when one gleans the ears of grain in the Valley of Rephaim. Gleanings will be left in it, as when an olive tree is beaten—two or three berries in the top of the highest bough, four or five on the branches of a fruit tree, declares the Lord God of Israel.

1)When you forget God, you put your hope in other things.

“In that day” is an announcement of judgment. God is announcing His judgement on Damascus and Ephraim which were the Northern cities of Israel. Damascus was a key city along major trade routes that flourished because of the money that flowed through it and God is saying that it will be turned into a heap pile. The King of Syria was trying to get Israel and Judah to join a coalition to fight against the Assyrians and the king of Judah, King Ahaz, was fighting the temptation to do what man wanted instead of what God wanted. God spoke to Ahaz through Isaiah earlier in Isaiah 7:4.

Isaiah 7:4 And say to him, ‘Be careful, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your heart be faint because of these two smoldering stumps of firebrands, at the fierce anger of Rezin and Syria and the son of Remaliah.

The advice to King Ahaz from Isaiah is important for us to not forget God. Trusting God to save us in all our situations is not easy and will go against the wisdom of the world.  

  • When you forget God, you begin to fear and 2 Timothy 1:7 says that God did not give us the Spirit of Fear.
  • When you forget God, you begin to become noisy and start talking about things that may never happen. Psalm 46:10 says be still and know that I am God
  • When you forget God, you are not careful and make mistakes.  When people panic they make their situation worse.
  • When you forget God, you give up. “Their hearts become faint” meaning they were losing hope to continue.  Philippians 3:13-15 tells us to press on through difficulty.

In vs 1-3 Isaiah tells what is going to happen Damascus, Ephraim and Syria. These nations and all their glory are going to disappear. In vs 4-6 God also tells them that the amount of people that will be left will be like after harvesting olive trees where they would pick as many as they could, shake the tree to get as many as they could, and then there would be just a few left. (The Picture is very depressing that Isaiah is painting) There will be  hardly any people left and he says that sheep, which are easily frightened, will not have anyone around to startle them. Isaiah goes on to describe them as the people who were fat but will now be malnourished because of famine.

We cannot forget God and put our hope in our government or our financial resources. If you do not think your hope is in your government (Military) then what is your reaction when your party is not getting elected or getting the things you think should be passed? We should be involved in our political process, but my hope is not in a president or a senator or a congress person. Isaiah calls God “The Yahweh of Host” The Yahweh of Host is a phrase meaning everything is under God’s control and that is where we should place all our hope.

Isaiah 2:22 Stop regarding man in whose nostrils is breath, for of what account is he?

God created oxygen He wins. Too many times we turn to people and their wisdom and their ideas instead of turning to God. Before you seek the counsel of men seek God. Seeking counsel is good but go to God and His word first.

Isaiah 17:7- 8 In that day man will look to his Maker, and his eyes will look on the Holy One of Israel. He will not look to the altars, the work of his hands, and he will not look on what his own fingers have made, either the Asherim or the altars of incense.

2)Even though forgotten, God will be remembered

“In that day man will look to his Maker”

The tragedy will force the few people left to really reflect on where they placed their hope and cause them to turn back to God. Where we spend our time, our money and our focus all get reevaluated when you face a tragedy. Tragedies tend to put our eyes back on what is important and that is what the few people that are left will do. All the gods they worshipped, all the material wealth they gained and even their own abilities will be disregarded to focus on God.

Hebrews 12:1-2  Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

This is what the people who were left did they put their focus where it belonged. When we forget God, our focus gets placed on other things. Things are not always bad but when they become our focus, we lose sight of God.

Isaiah 17:10-11 For you have forgotten the God of your salvation and have not remembered the Rock of your refuge; therefore, though you plant pleasant plants and sow the vine-branch of a stranger, 11 though you make them grow[a] on the day that you plant them, and make them blossom in the morning that you sow, yet the harvest will flee away[  in a day of grief and incurable pain.

3)Forgetting God is personal to Him

“You” in this verse is feminine which consistently demonstrates the relationship that God has with His children as a Husband to His Bride.  We are referred to as the Bride of Christ in Revelation 19 and in Ephesians 5 Paul talks about the church and compares it to Husbands and Wives.  In Revelation 2 he calls out the church for forsaking their first love and In John 14 Jesus compares His return to a wedding ceremony. We tend to impersonalize God and make it as though our sins do not grieve Him but God tells us that is exactly what our sins do to Him.

Ephesians 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

“All sin is painful to God, but sin in His children breaks His heart. When His children refuse to change the ways of the old life for the ways of the new, God grieves. The Holy Spirit of God weeps, as it were, when he sees Christians lying instead of speaking the truth, becoming un-righteously rather than righteously angry, stealing instead of sharing, and speaking corrupt instead of uplifting and gracious words. Whatever violates the will of God and the holiness of the heart will grieve the third Person of the Trinity.” (John Macarthur, Ephesians, Pg 189)

How do we grieve God? “Pleasant plants” is accepting things that look pleasant to the eye but are forbidden by God and “The Branches of a Stranger” are plants that were imported from foreign countries. The picture Isaiah is painting is that they believed a lie that these things could bring fulfillment, but these were the things that they turned to instead of turning to God.

Genesis 3:6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise,[b] she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.

The reason that the Bible warns us to not be lured by the things of the world is because they look good but, in the end, they lead to destruction. The prophet says although you do all you can to protect these plants and to make sure they do not destroy you they cause grief and pain. The picture was a garden that they planted and protected but the fruit it produced was only pain and grief. The Lifestyles we choose will produce fruit and although it may look good on the outside eventually, they will be shown for what they are. Anyone who has suffered with an addiction or has seen a loved one suffer with an addiction understands how the lure of the world can cause you to be in great pain and grief. What seems to be no big deal and not harmful is a vineyard we are growing that will produce pain and grief.

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

“For you have forgotten the God of your salvation” God wants us to cling to Him and come to Him when the waves of life come crashing around us. When we forget God, we try and cling to everything and anything but those things cannot save us.

Psalm 71:3 Be to me a rock of refuge, to which I may continually come; you have given the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.

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

God is our Rock and so is His word but what are you building your life on? We tend to build our lives on sand, but those things will not stand up when the storms of life come. We must learn to trust in God and build our lives on Him and His word because it is the only thing that will stand.

Isaiah 17:12-14 Ah, the thunder of many peoples; they thunder like the thundering of the sea!
Ah, the roar of nations; they roar like the roaring of mighty waters! 13 The nations roar like the roaring of many waters, but he will rebuke them, and they will flee far away, chased like chaff on the mountains before the wind and whirling dust before the storm. 14 At evening time, behold, terror! Before morning, they are no more! This is the portion of those who loot us, and the lot of those who plunder us.

4)   Forgetting God places our focus on the problem

Thunder is not meteorological it is the noise that the army is going to make as a bunch of people will approach them so loudly it strikes fear into them. It will be like the roar of a mighty ocean which is so loud you cannot hear one another. But no matter what the noise is or the circumstance are we are called to keep our focus on God.

Isaiah 41:10 fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

“I will rebuke them and they will flee far away” “Before morning they were no more” Have you ever worried about something that never came to pass? God does not sleep and yet at evening, when people were sleeping, God was acting.  Isaiah says they will blow away like dust in the wind.  We are going to jump ahead and see the end of the story because I think it shows us how worthless our focusing on problems is when we have God.

Isaiah 37:36-37 And the angel of the Lord went out and struck down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians. And when people arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies. 37 Then Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and returned home and lived at Nineveh.

The people woke up or got up and went out and saw 185,000 soldiers’ dead. How different would their day have gone when they heard the loud army like thunder or a roaring ocean if they could see what God sees? The pleading of the prophet Isaiah was so that people did not have to learn the hard way that if they just remember God then they would be at peace.  Whatever you are facing in this world God is telling you to focus on Him because worrying will not help the situation and you can trust that He sees and He is acting.

Posted in Isaiah, Old Testament | Leave a comment

Isaiah 15 and 16 The Way of Deliverance

God now gives a vision to Isaiah about Moab and the impending destruction they will face. The Moabites were descendants of Lot (Gen 19:37) and even though they were not enemies the Moabites and Israel were hostile toward each other.  The Moabites will need to be delivered from destruction and Isaiah not only sees what they are going to face but he tells them how they can seek deliverance. The main theme in chapters fifteen and sixteen is that deliverance is found in God and God alone.  The deliverance that the Moabites needed many in our world need as well and so as we study the Moabites we will see how we and the world we live in falls into the same traps as they did as they seek other gods to deliver them instead of seeking God.

Isaiah 15:1-9 An oracle concerning Moab. Because Ar of Moab is laid waste in a night, Moab is undone; because Kir of Moab is laid waste in a night,  Moab is undone. He has gone up to the temple,[a] and to Dibon, to the high places[b] to weep; over Nebo and over Medeba Moab wails.
On every head is baldness; every beard is shorn; in the streets they wear sackcloth; on the housetops and in the squares everyone wails and melts in tears.Heshbon and Elealeh cry out;
their voice is heard as far as Jahaz; therefore the armed men of Moab cry aloud; his soul trembles.
My heart cries out for Moab; her fugitives flee to Zoar, to Eglath-shelishiyah. For at the ascent of Luhith they go up weeping on the road to Horonaim they raise a cry of destruction;the waters of Nimrim are a desolation; the grass is withered, the vegetation fails, the greenery is no more.
Therefore the abundance they have gained and what they have laid up they carry away over the Brook of the Willows. For a cry has gone around the land of Moab; her wailing reaches to Eglaim; her wailing reaches to Beer-elim.
For the waters of Dibon[c] are full of blood; for I will bring upon Dibon even more, a lion for those of Moab who escape, for the remnant of the land.Footnotes:

They sought Deliverance from other gods

The place they went to find deliverance was to their god Chemosh (Chemosh, was the god of the Moabites Num. 21:29; Jer. 48:7, 13, 46). These were religious people who prayed earnestly for divine intervention but they were praying to gods who do not exist.  Of course this did not lead to them being delivered but only to wailing because the very thing that you think will bring relief does not bring you the relief that it promises. Wailing, having shaved heads and beards, wearing sackcloth and wailing loudly were all signs of great distress and remorse. The entire nation will be crying out and Isaiah said their cries will be so loud that they would reach up to 20 miles away.

Acts 4:11-12 This Jesus[a] is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.[b] 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men[c] by which we must be saved.”

They were looking for deliverance from other gods but the true God was letting them know that deliverance would only come through Him. God has made a way for us to be delivered from our sin and guilt but that way is not through any other god or by human works but only through Jesus Christ.

The abundance they have gained will be carried off (7) It is amazing the amount of money, time and energy we put in stuff that one day it will all disappear. The god of stuff is one of the things we all tend to turn to for deliverance whether it be new clothes, a new house, a new car, new technology and for some people even a new spouse. The amount of storage rental facilities we have proves that we have more stuff than we can even keep in our houses.

American Consumerism (Taken from A Practical Guide to Culture, Stonestreet and Kunkle PG. 224-225)

  • The average American home contains 300,000 items.
  • The average American home has tripled in size over the past 50 years
  • On average American women have 30 outfits that was 9 in 1930
  • On average, American family spends $1,700 a year on clothes and disposes of 65 pounds of clothes a year.
  • There are more televisions sets than people in the average American home (go ahead count)
  • America has more shopping malls than High Schools.
  • Americans spend 1.2 Trillion dollars a year on non-essential goods like jewelry, alcohol, candy, recreational vehicles, gambling and more.
  • Americans report more symptoms of depression and anxiety than over the past 50 years
  • Antidepressants have increased 400% in the past two decades.

The God of stuff does not bring deliverance and one day those who put their hope in it will watch it all be carried away.

Matthew 6:19-20 Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust[a] destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.

What gods are you turning to for deliverance besides turning to Jesus Christ?

Isaiah was burdened for their Deliverance

My heart cries out for Moab” Have we become so engrossed in our own world that we have lost compassion for what the rest of the world is going through?  Remember this was not a country that was friendly to Israel but yet Isaiah was still burdened for them because he received a vision from God that showed the destruction they were going to go through. God has told us in His word the destiny of those who do not accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and I wonder if we care about their destiny?

Romans 9:1-5  I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit— that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers,[a] my kinsmen according to the flesh. They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

Paul was so burdened about the destiny of others that he wished he could take their place in hell. We cannot ignore the concept of Hell because the Bible is clear anyone who does not place their faith and hope in Jesus Christ will spend eternity away from Him. (Matthew 13:42,50; 25:46; Mark 9:43; 2 Peter 2:4; 2 Thessalonians 1:9; Revelation 20:13-14; 21:8)

“In a Night the cities will fall” Isaiah was shown how quickly this would happen and it would be as if they did not see it coming.  Just like today peoplesuddenly and un-expectantly step into eternity thinking that they had more time on this earth. Devastated, silenced and ruined is how Isaiah describes their fate. The devastation will be so bad that the rivers will be filled with blood and no one will escape because a lion will come and attack anyone who remains in the land.

Ezekiel 18:23 Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?

To not warn someone about what is coming is not loving it is cruel but our society has made it where they do not want to hear the truth and encourages everyone to keep their beliefs to themselves.  We must speak the truth regardless because God has made it clear that deliverance is only found in Jesus Christ and all those who do not place their faith in Him will be cut off from God for all eternity.

Isaiah would warn them about the attack but they would not listen because they thought that their gods would save them.

Isaiah 16:1-14Send the lamb to the ruler of the land, from Sela, by way of the desert, to the mount of the daughter of Zion. Like fleeing birds,  like a scattered nest,so are the daughters of Moabat the fords of the Arnon. “Give counsel; grant justice; make your shade like night  at the height of noon; shelter the outcasts;  do not reveal the fugitive; let the outcasts of Moab sojourn among you; be a shelter to them[a] from the destroyer. When the oppressor is no more, and destruction has ceased, and he who tramples underfoot has vanished from the land, then a throne will be established in steadfast love, and on it will sit in faithfulness in the tent of David one who judges and seeks justice and is swift to do righteousness.”We have heard of the pride of Moab— how proud he is!—of his arrogance, his pride, and his insolence; in his idle boasting he is not right.Therefore let Moab wail for Moab, let everyone wail. Mourn, utterly stricken, for the raisin cakes of Kir-hareseth. For the fields of Heshbon languish, and the vine of Sibmah; the lords of the nations have struck down its branches, which reached to Jazer and strayed to the desert; its shoots spread abroad and passed over the sea.Therefore I weep with the weeping of Jazer for the vine of Sibmah; I drench you with my tears,O Heshbon and Elealeh; for over your summer fruit and your harvest the shout has ceased. 10 And joy and gladness are taken away from the fruitful field, and in the vineyards no songs are sung, no cheers are raised; no treader treads out wine in the presses; I have put an end to the shouting. 11 Therefore my inner parts moan like a lyre for Moab, and my inmost self for Kir-hareseth. 12 And when Moab presents himself, when he wearies himself on the high place, when he comes to his sanctuary to pray, he will not prevail.13 This is the word that the Lord spoke concerning Moab in the past. 14 But now the Lord has spoken, saying, “In three years, like the years of a hired worker, the glory of Moab will be brought into contempt, in spite of all his great multitude, and those who remain will be very few and feeble.”

Isaiah shared the way of deliverance

Sending a lamb was a gift or an act of submission. One day Isaiah promises them that the oppressor will be completely removed

The throne will be established with steadfast love One who seeks Justice and and is swift to do righteousness, (5)

Isaiah now goes back to predicting a king that is above every king , Jesus Christ.  But it is Moab’s pride that keeps them from going the way of salvation (6)  Isaiah reminds them again that their gods cannot save them (12) They did not choose the path to deliverance but put their hope in another nation and did not follow the way of God.  All roads do not lead to God so either Jesus is the way (John 14:6) or He is not the way.

1 Timothy 2:1-7 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man[a] Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

Who are you praying for to come to know Jesus Christ as their deliverer?  Who are you praying to come to the knowledge of truth? Are we so busy we cannot even pray for those who do not know Jesus ?

Deliverance has a time Limit

“In Three Years” God had set a time when the opportunity for deliverance will no longer be available.They were given 3 years to repent and change and seek the true God by turning from all their false gods.

The Prophet Jeremiah talks about the destruction of the Moabites  in Jeremiah chapter 48

Jeremiah 48:42 Moab shall be destroyed and be no longer a people,  because he magnified himself against the Lord.

People tend to think they have all the time to turn to God and stop living for themselves. The desire to be the god of our own lives is so powerful that even if we know that we should submit to God we think we can do it later.

2 Peter 3:3-4;9-10 They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation. 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. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies[b] will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed

The Moabites destruction was swift as if they did not see it coming because they believed that what they were doing would bring them deliverance. Their pride destroyed them because it was their pride in their own ways and their own thinking that led them to turn away from God and trust in other things for deliverance.  God’s heart breaks for people who are lost without Him and our hearts should be broken as well.  God has warned people about the future and He has given us the responsibility to share with them about what is going to happen if they do not put their trust in Jesus.  People are seeking deliverance in other things and we need to be heartbroken for them but also have the courage to share with them even if we and our message are rejected because our message is simple because we just have to point them to Jesus.

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Posted in Isaiah, Jesus, Old Testament, salvation | Leave a comment

Isaiah 14:24-32 Trusting God’s Promises

Isaiah now switches back to a prophecy that would be fulfilled before our lifetime but nonetheless shows us how we can trust God through the difficulties of life. Because whatever God says comes true we can trust His promises because He does not break any oath that He has promised. This is encouraging news for us as we struggle with this life because we know the promises that He has given about salvation and the afterlife are true because all of His promises are true.

Isaiah 14:24-27 The Lord of hosts has sworn: “As I have planned, so shall it be,
and as I have purposed, so shall it stand 25 that I will break the Assyrian in my land, and on my mountains trample him underfoot; and his yoke shall depart from them, and his burden from their shoulder.” 26 This is the purpose that is purposed concerning the whole earth, and this is the hand that is stretched out  over all the nations.27 For the Lord of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back?

  1. Trust God’s promises when they go against the worlds wisdom

“The Lord of Host has sworn” Many people in our day will swear promises on either God or their mother’s grave because people are looking for something above their own character. When God makes a promise He just declares it based on who He is because nothing is above God’s own character. God makes promises based on His holiness (Amos 4:2) and because God is Holy we can be assured that His promises will come true.

“As I have planned so shall it be and as I have purposed so shall it stand” The word purpose appears 4 times in this short section showing that God has not only planned but He has a purpose for all that He does.  We struggle with this aspect of God especially when we have the idea that God is to do our bidding because we have faith. Trusting God is to trust His promises and but to also trust that His purposes behind what is taking place and that things are not just random. When you do something that is difficult but you realize there is a purpose for it then it makes the task easier to do. The opposite is also true because when you do not understand that there is a purpose behind what you are going through then you want to give up. The King of Assyria thought that he was the one in charge of his own life and his own plans and in his  pride made plans but God spoke through the prophet Isaiah to let them know that God is the only one who can plan and promise. We make many plans and promises but the reality is none of us have the ability to really promise because there are so many factors out of our control.

James 4:13-16 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.

Does God get a say in the plans you are making? You may think that this is a silly question but the majority of us live our lives as if God does not exist other than to pray on Sunday. We are Christian Atheist because we believe in God but we do not acknowledge Him for our everyday lives. Many times we will seek God but we will ignore Him if it goes against the practical wisdom of the world. The people were going to be attacked by the Assyrians and the wisdom of the world said to trust the Babylonians to help but God was telling them to only put their trust in Him. What do you do when the wisdom of the world contradicts what God wants you to do? That is not an easy question to answer because if we are honest we all tend to rely on our own resources, our own abilities and our own wisdom when we have to make decisions. We also do not want to look foolish to people so we do things the way the world would because then everyone can at least agree on our logic. Would we have built a boat when the world had never seen rain? Would we have marched around a city day after day waiting for God to bring victory? The wisdom of the world can be a huge detriment to following Christ if you are worried about looking foolish.

“As I have planned so shall it be” We tend to put God into our way of thinking because we forget that He is all knowing and He has already seen everything from beginning to end and has determined this is the way it shall go.

Proverbs 19:21 Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.

When you or I make plans there are many things that are out of our control. Many of us have made plans and for unforeseen circumstances or issues we had to cancel or adjust those plans. God, not only plans but His purpose cannot be changed because nothing is more powerful than Him. God will break the power of the Assyrians and we will find out later in Isaiah how He did it but we can trust His promises because we can trust in His power and His plans.

“This is the purpose that is purposed that concerns the whole earth” God has a purpose for every nation on earth. Just because it does not make sense to us does not mean that it does not make sense to God.  Trusting God when life does not make sense is very difficult because God does not act the way we think He should.

Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.

This is a good verse to keep in mind when the things in your life make no sense to you at all. It is the times that life is difficult or confusing that we tend to no longer put our trust in God and move to leaning on the promises of the world. In his book “Down but not out” Wayne Mack says, “In other words, do not let your mind dwell on your difficult circumstances, your weakness or your ignorance. Rather, let it dwell on God’s purposes, Gods power, and Gods Wisdom.” (Pg 73-74)  The Apostle Paul said now I see in part then I will see in full (1 Corinthians 13:12)

“His hand is stretched out and who will turn it back?” God is personally involved with His creation and He did not set the world in motion and then leave to watch things from afar but He is actively apart of His creation. This is important to remember because when life does not go our way or when we see the enemy coming it is natural for us to forget the promises of God and to think that He has abandoned us. We have been taught lies about suffering and pain because we think if God loved us that He would never allow us to walk through pain but it is in pain that we know we become better athletes so why would we not think it is in pain that God uses it to make us more like Christ?

The Assyrian army will eventually be crushed but while you are waiting you have to trust the promises of God.  It is easier to trust in our own wisdom and strength even though both of them are limited instead of trusting in God who has unlimited knowledge and power.  So Learn to trust God even when it goes against the worlds wisdom.

Isaiah 14:28-32  In the year that King Ahaz died came this oracle:29 Rejoice not, O Philistia, all of you, that the rod that struck you is broken, for from the serpent’s root will come forth an adder,
and its fruit will be a flying fiery serpent. 30 And the firstborn of the poor will graze, and the needy lie down in safety; but I will kill your root with famine, and your remnant it will slay. 31 Wail, O gate; cry out, O city;  melt in fear, O Philistia, all of you! For smoke comes out of the north, and there is no straggler in his ranks. 32 What will one answer the messengers of the nation? “The Lord has founded Zion, and in her the afflicted of his people find refuge.”

2) Trust God’s Promises when your world is falling apart

“For smoke comes out of the north and there are no stragglers” Isaiah had a new king to try and convince not to put his hope in the Philistines against Assyria. The philistines wanted Hezekiah to join in their revolt against the Assyrians but Isaiah told them not to be a part of it. The philistines were rejoicing because the Assyrian King died but Isaiah said that the next king was going to be worse and Isaiah said the King that died was like a snake that gave birth to even worse serpents.

The Assyrian army would burn each city down to the ground and leave no survivors and the people would be seeing smoke from each city in the distance that is getting closer and closer to them. When you see the impending doom it is difficult to trust Gods promises but the people of God are not to put their hope in people or governments but in God. The people in Exodus had the same scenario after God got them out of Egypt.

Exodus 14:10-14 When Pharaoh drew near, the people of Israel lifted up their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they feared greatly. And the people of Israel cried out to the Lord. 11 They said to Moses, “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Is not this what we said to you in Egypt: ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.” 13 And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”

You have only to be silent which is a polite way of telling them to shut their mouths and look to God. How many times do I complain so much about life instead of looking to see what God is up to? God is not shocked by my situation and He already has a plan but I tend to run my mouth and complain instead of trusting the promises of God and therefore I do not enjoy the moment.

Exodus 14:15-18  The Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward. 16 Lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the people of Israel may go through the sea on dry ground. 17 And I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they shall go in after them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, his chariots, and his horsemen. 18 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gotten glory over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.”

We want our situations to be in our control but when that happens we get the glory for what takes place but when God makes the impossible possible then He is the one who gets the glory. If we are honest we are control freaks and that is why we do not trust the promises of God.

“The Poor will graze and the needy lie down in safety (30) and the afflicted will find refuge (32)” Our refuge is found in the promises of God no matter what is happening in our world and our needs are met by God no matter how financially bad our situation looks.  Most of us do not have to depend on God for anything here in America because food, clothing, shelter and even health care we have the best of and because of that we can become self-sufficient and not turn to God. We should not be shaken by the events of the world or by any election but to place our faith and trust in Him alone.

“Every generation of leaders is called to acts of faith, to choose a path of utter dependence on God rather than alternatives that initially look more defensible. People are challenged not to do what may seem the most reasonable thing from a human perspective, but do what God instructs them to do. Instead of relying on alliances, money, status and the political influence of others, or any other human support system, they must simply trust in God’s promises to motivate and empower them when things look dark and hopeless.” (The New American Commentary, Isaiah, Gary V. Smith, Pg 326)

Are we willing to do what God wants us to do even when it does not make sense?

Are we willing to do what God wants us to do even when it seems our world is falling apart?

Psalm 62:1-2; 8 For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.
He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken. For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.

Trust in the Lord God is frequently expressed through prayer. But sometimes it is better exhibited through wordlessness before the Lord that, by its quiet absence of anxiety, communicates trust in His sovereign control.” (Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, Donald Whitney, Pg. 230)

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Isaiah 14:12- 23 Cast Down

Today we are going to see not only what happened to the King of Babylon but also to anyone who sets themselves up to be gods of their own lives. Some people do all they can to explain away the universe as being a natural phenomenon to avoid the question about God but the reality is everything you accept about the world we live in and what happens after we die is by faith.  You might know how the world works but to say how we came into being and why things work the way they do and what happens after we die is by faith.

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.

People suppress the truth about God because they want to make themselves their own moral authority so they can live as they see fit rather than being told how they should live.  We will see today that it is not only the King of Babylon or even Satan that does these things but many people who suppress the truth of God in order to fulfill and live by their own desires.

Isaiah 14:12 “How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low!

  1. Cast Down From Heaven

How you have fallen from Heaven. “O Day Star or Shining one”

This is why many believe this is about Satan because of being cast down from Heaven but also because shining one likens him to a heavenly body. The Kings used to think of themselves as gods so to be cast down from the earth implies a loss of power, status and influence. Morning star was more than likely Venus but then it quickly disappears as the Sun appears. Death is a great equalizer because no matter who you are and what your status is on earth there will be a day when your life on earth will end.

Like a star that is shining in the morning so it will quickly fade away when the Sun rises so our lives are here for just a short time and then gone. You would think that since eternity is forever that we would give more thought about the life to come rather than this life but we are constantly consumed with this world which will one day be gone.  Like a tree that has been cut completely down to the ground with no chance of coming back to life the King of Babylon was destroyed. This passage of Scripture is linked with others in the New Testament that talk about Satan.

Luke 10:17-18 The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” 18 And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.

Although we are not clear the entire meaning of this verse we know one thing for sure is that Satan will be defeated. Some believe that Jesus saw the defeat of Satan as the preachers were preaching His word others believe that Jesus was talking about when He was in Heaven and saw Satan cast down to the earth because of his disobedience and others because Jesus is God and all knowing that He already sees the future of Satan.  

When we do ministry we must not forget the spiritual battle but also the final outcome of what Jesus has already seen what would happen. We should also find encouragement in our mission that what is taking place as we fulfill our call of God is that Satan is being defeated.

Revelation 12:7-10 Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. 10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers[b] has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.

Some believe that Satan is allowed to go into Heaven and accuse the followers of God until the end of time. (See the book of Job) I believe at the end of time that Satan will be thrown out of Heaven and the tribulation will start and then he will eventually be cast into Hell. Those who think they are the ruler of their own destiny will be cast down into the pit as well. All roads do not lead to Heaven it is only through Jesus Christ (John 14:6) and those who do not put their hope and faith in Jesus Christ will be cast down for all eternity. Matthew 23 and 25 are clear that Jesus said people will be cast out that do not come to God through Jesus Christ.

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.’

2) Cast Down because of Pride

“You said in your heart” Pride is the indicator that Satan wanted to overthrow God and set himself up to rule. He went from seeing himself as one of the stars as to being one who was over them.  This will also be the description of the Anti- Christ who will set himself up over God.

2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers,[a] not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness[b] is revealed, the son of destruction,[c] who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.

The one thing that every human being must deal with as they want to be the ruler and controller of their own actions and beliefs is that they want to be god of their own lives. Does the word of God dictate how you live your life or do you ignore or reword scriptures into your own making? If so that is pride.  When we are shown in scripture what God says and we choose to believe and act differently than we are living as if we are the rulers of our own lives.

The king of Babylon tried to rule the world by taking God’s place and we do the same thing in our own lives when we make our own decisions, live by our own beliefs and focus on our own priorities. Genesis 3:5 the promise from Satan was the “You will be like God” and this temptation is still happening today and Christianity is being twisted so that we are the rulers of our own lives and because of our pride we are buying into this lie.  Satan is a great deceiver and manipulator and we have to be careful to not give into his schemes.

2 Corinthians 11:4, 13-15 For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.  For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.

Preachers and Teachers are promoting a Christianity that is not Christian because they are promoting a Christianity that is about God meeting our needs, our wants, and our desires. They say by faith you can manipulate God to do your bidding instead of dying to self. (Luke 9:23) Pride will be the downfall to many church going people just like it was the downfall for many people in Isaiah’s day who wanted to worship God on their own terms. It was because of pride that the King of Babylon was cast down and many will be cast down because they are not willing to accept the free gift of salvation through Christ.

Isaiah 14:15-19 But you are brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit.16 Those who see you will stare at you and ponder over you: ‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms,17 who made the world like a desert and overthrew its cities, who did not let his prisoners go home?’18 All the kings of the nations lie in glory, each in his own tomb;[d] 19 but you are cast out, away from your grave,  like a loathed branch, clothed with the slain, those pierced by the sword, who go down to the stones of the pit, like a dead body trampled underfoot.

3) Cast Down into the Deepest parts of Hell

“Nevertheless to Sheol you will be brought down.”As if being cast in Hell was not enough the promise is that it will be in the deepest parts of Hell the furthest distance from Heaven. He will be powerless in Hell. The one who made the nations shake is now no longer to exert any power over anyone. If there is one misunderstanding of Satan it is that he is the ruler of Hell. Other religions always have a ruler over the dark regions but Christianity does not teach any such concept.  They will stare and ponder the fate of the King of Babylon who was the one who would not allow prisoners to go home is now the one imprisoned. The King of Babylon will not even get a proper burial because even his family will be disgusted by his actions. Leaving people unburied was a way to disgrace them (Jeremiah 22:19; 36:30) The one who was feared in life will be nothing when he is cast down into the pit.

“A loathed branch” Jesus was the honored branch in Isaiah 11:1 and now the King of Babylon is the opposite of everything that Jesus is. We must remember at the end of time it will be the Anti- Christ not Anti-God because people will say God but they will struggle with the name Jesus.

Isaiah 14:20-23 You will not be joined with them in burial, because you have destroyed your land, you have slain your people. “May the offspring of evildoers nevermore be named! 21 Prepare slaughter for his sons because of the guilt of their fathers, lest they rise and possess the earth, and fill the face of the world with cities.”22 “I will rise up against them,” declares the Lord of hosts, “and will cut off from Babylon name and remnant, descendants and posterity,” declares the Lord. 23 “And I will make it a possession of the hedgehog,[e] and pools of water, and I will sweep it with the broom of destruction,” declares the Lord of hosts.

4) Cast Down and remembered no more

“May the offspring of evildoers be remembered no more”With all the King of Babylon did to make his name great it will be wiped out and remembered no more. To wipe out the name of a King all of the Kings Children and family would be wiped out as well so that there could never be a time where they make a claim that they deserve the throne. The promise for those who follow Satan (knowingly or not) is that they will be wiped out as well because we either are children of God or Children of Satan.

John 8: 42-44 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. 43 Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

In 689 BC. the city of Babylon was destroyed, burned and then flooded fulfilling this prophecy but now we wait for Satan to be totally wiped out. The followers of Satan will not even be remembered (never more be named)  Names are important and names have meaning and our part of our identity.  The Bible Recognizes names and there is a place where names are really important and that is the book of Life.

Revelation 20:11-15 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Notice the only ones who have to give account for their works are those who did not accept Jesus Christ.We are alive in Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:22; Ephesians 2:5; 1 Peter 3:18) and we will only be judged if we accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and our names are in the book of Life.

Pride will keep you out of Heaven just like it did the King of Babylon. Not everyone will go to Heaven but many will be cast down because they did not accept the free gift of salvation from Jesus Christ. This is the opposite of what the world says but we cannot ignore what the Bible teaches to make Christianity more popular. We either stand before God for all that we have done or we stand before God because we trusted in what Christ has done.

Posted in Heaven, Hell, Isaiah, Old Testament, salvation, Satan | Leave a comment

saiah 14:9-11 A Peak Behind the Curtain

The King of Babylon is just like the city of Babylon that represented an actual city but also a belief system.  The King of Babylon was an evil dictator but these verses also show the works of Satan as well. Today we will see the outcome of the King of Babylon and what is really important in life because everyone has to answer the question as to what happens after we die. There are many thoughts and opinions but it is something we cannot get wrong because eternity is on the line.

Isaiah 14:9-11 Sheol beneath is stirred up to meet you when you come; it rouses the shades to greet you, all who were leaders of the earth; it raises from their thrones all who were kings of the nations. 10 All of them will answer and say to you: ‘You too have become as weak as we! You have become like us!’ 11 Your pomp is brought down to Sheol, the sound of your harps; maggots are laid as a bed beneath you, and worms are your covers.

  1. Death is an equalizer

Sheol is a Hebrew term that refers to life after death meaning a place below or a realm where the departed gather.(Genesis 15:15;49:33; Ezekiel 26:20; Job 26:5-6) The New Testament was written in Greek and the term is called Hades which has the same meaning as Sheol.  The King of Babylon was a ruthless ruler who invaded and took whatever he wanted and built his power and wealth and although he was not a man who was to be crossed he still met the same fate that all humans face and that is death.

 “In his dying words, the French infidel Voltaire said to his doctor, “I will give you half of what I am worth if you will give me six-months life.” So desperate where his cries when his time was gone that the nurse who attended him said, “For all the wealth in Europe I would not see another infidel die.”

An infidel is someone who does not believe in a religion other than themselves and the nurse said all the money in the world would not be enough to stand by the side of a person without Christ and watch them die. We might put people up on pedal stools or they may be powerful in this life but the reality is death does not care how much money you make or how famous you are.

2) Death does not always mean Rest In Peace

If you attend a funeral or see condolences on social media you will see people say Rest in Peace of rest easy because many believe that once we die that all the pain and suffering is over. The bible gives us a peak of what the after life is like with this peak behind the curtain we see what God has to say about the eternal future of individuals who die.

Sheol beneath is Stirred up

It is important that Isaiah says that Sheol beneath is stirred up because Hebrew Rabbi’s taught that Sheol had two compartments one for the righteous and one for the unrighteous.  When the King of Babylon arrives it causes an unaccustomed disturbance and it’s a picture that the spirits of the great kings of the past that have died before have come to see this soul that was so great earth but they  only find out that the King of Babylon was nothing.  Some of these Kings may have even been killed by this King but humanly no matter how great someone is on this earth they are nothing in the sight of God.

This passage of scripture also shows that the person does not lose their identity which shows the importance of every human being who is created in the image of God because their image will live for eternity.  Some believe Hell to be a cruel invention of God but the Bible is clear that Hell was not created for humanity but for Satan and his rebellious angels.

Matthew 25:41 Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

People that go to Hell go there by their own choice and because they have suppressed the truth of what they knew about God and decided to live their life as if they were god. (Romans 1) At the end of this life it will not matter how much money and or power you had on this earth because you will be going to the grave and you will live eternally knowing where you are and why you are there.

“You have been made weak like us” No matter what achievements the King of Babylon thinks he made they are worthless where he went. Jesus tells a similar story about a rich and a poor man.

Luke 16:19-31 There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side.[f] The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 24 And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ 27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”

No matter what your position in this life it does not compare to your position in the life to come and once you have exited this life your position in the next is permanent.  With this peak behind the curtain we see that The Rich man was fully conscious, he had memory of his family, he was speaking and was in pain. He also did not complain about where he was because he knew what he was experiencing was fair punishment but he also knew he did not want his brothers to be there with him. The Rich man became interested in telling others about Jesus after death so maybe we should be interested in telling people about Jesus while we are still alive.

In the parable Jesus says  neither will they be convinced if someone rises from the dead was Jesus way of saying His death and resurrection for our sins would be a sign to the world and a sign that everyone must give an answer for. (Matthew 12:39) This is why every religion has something to say about Jesus Christ but what we say and believe about Him matters.

There is a difference between Sheol and Hell and people who die without Christ go to Sheol until the final judgment day to await their punishment at the end of time.

2 Peter 2:9  then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials,[d] and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment

When people died they would go to Sheol either to Torment or Paradise now people only go to Sheol the place of torment. For Christians it is not the same experience as those who died without Christ because Christ died and rose again defeating sin and death those who died in faith are now able to go straight to Heaven to be with Christ. (Philippians 1:21-24) Paradise (Luke 23:43) and Torment  are no longer  side by side as they were before Christ died and provided the way back into the presence of God.

2 Corinthians 5:6-8 So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

Christians who die before us are in heaven with the Lord because all of their sins have been forgiven.

This is why there is no such thing as purgatory which is a teaching that you are not good enough to go to Heaven right away but must go and have your sins purged.

Hebrews 10:17-18 then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”18 Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.

No more offering or sacrifice has to be made in order for you to be declared clean before God. It is not by your works or added works that get you into Heaven but the work of Jesus Christ who died and rose again on our behalf. Hebrews 1:3 says Jesus is the one who made purification for our sins and Hebrews 9:26 Jesus put away sins by Himself. Jesus does not need us to add anything to what He has already done.

Your Pomp has been brought down to Sheol worms are your blankets

All the great parades he had to  display himself as something great mean nothing and now he is laid with the worms like everyone else. The bible teaches that none of your greatest achievements are worth the cost of your soul. (Matthew 16:26) To reiterate that nothing is as important as eternity Jesus gives a dramatic illustration

Mark 9:47-48 And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, 48 ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.

No matter what this world has to offer it does not compare to Heaven but too many times we get focused on this world without regard for the next. If Satan can keep us distracted and busy enough then our thoughts will not be on what is really important and Jesus says that you need to cut those things out of your life even if it cost you physically right now because it will be worth it for eternity. No one knows the day or the hour in which they will leave this earth and many times we think it is down the road but are you prepared to stand before God today?

Proverbs 27:1 Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.

Many people have moved away from having viewings which is just a way for people to see the body of the loved one when in the past they would send the body back to the house of the person for people to gather around. It was a time of reflection of what is really important and how quickly this life will pass away. All the business deals we made, all the plaques on the wall, all the names on the buildings and all the accolades one can gain mean nothing once death hits us.

3) Death Is not all bad news

It is difficult to talk about these topics without mentioning the hope we have in Christ. Death is sad and seeing loved ones die is heartbreaking and painful but there is a hope that we have that goes beyond what we can see. We said that the Bible gives us a sneak peek about eternity and with that we can know that there is more than this life has to offer.

Revelation 14:13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”

“Donald Grey Barnhouse, on the way home from the funeral of his first wife, was trying to think of some way of comforting his children. Just then a huge moving van passed by their car and its shadow swept over them. Instantly, Barnhouse aske, Children, would you rather be run over by a truck or by its shadow? The children replied, Of course we’d prefer the shadow! To which Barnhouse replied, Two thousand years ago the truck of death ran over the Lord Jesus…. now only the shadow of death can run over us.” (One minute after you die, Erwin Lutzer, Pg 75)

Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,[a]I will fear no evil,
for you are with me; your rod and your staff,  they comfort me.

Because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ death is not something we have to fear and we no longer have to wonder if we will be acceptable to God because it was Jesus who made us acceptable to God by His sacrifice. Although this life is not easy we have a home that we look forward to that will be greater than anything we can imagine.

Romans 8:18  For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us

Nothing will compare to what is waiting for us. This includes all the pain and suffering that we have experienced in this world will be nothing compared to the joy we will have as we will spend eternity with God.

God gave us the scriptures about the afterlife and about Heaven for a reason; He did it to encourage us that our focus should not be on the things of this world but on the world to come. As we take a sneak peek behind the curtain we see that death is a great equalizer but it also means that death is not restful for everyone. Although the subject is difficult we realize that God has provided a way through Jesus Christ for us to not have to worry about death because He has already defeated death. Have you been ignoring death and what it means if you died today? Have you been ignoring Christ thinking you have more time to get things right? Are you so focused on this life that you are not worried about the life to come?

Acts 16:31  And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

Believe in Jesus and that the work He did makes you right with God and not by your own works (Ephesians 2:8-9). You are believing that one day you will stand before God and you have been declared clean not because you did more good than bad but that Jesus took your sins upon Himself and paid the penalty for them which is death. (Romans 6:23) Romans 5:1 says we are declared righteous not because of us but because of the work of Christ. Will you do good works? Of course but you will do them out of gratitude not to earn your way to God. s

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