Isaiah 5:20-21 Who’s the Boss?

On a job site someone has to be in charge and the boss is the one who determines what will be accomplished, what will be a priority and if the job is up to standards. Our culture is at a crossroads with how we are going to decide on what is and what is not acceptable and we have to know what we believe because there are consequences for what we decide because it will affect our entire world. Our culture wants everyone to be the boss of their own lives but is that even possible? If everyone is the boss then who determines right and wrong? This is the dilemma we find ourselves in when no one wants anyone else to tell them what to do.

Isaiah 5:20-21 Woe to those who call evil good  and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! 21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight!

1)   The Boss Determines What is Acceptable

Woe to those who call Good Evil and Evil good. The things they were doing and participating in were no longer called sins.  Not only were they no longer calling things sins they were also not allowing anyone else point out that the way they were living was wrong. A sin is anything that you do that goes against the nature and character of God. So God, being the creator and sustainer of human life, gets to determine what is acceptable behavior for His creation.

If you buy a car it will come with instructions as to the best way to maintain the car for operating efficiency. If you follow the guidelines the car will last longer and run better but if you ignore them and ignore the warning signs the car gives you then you will find yourself broke down on the side of the road. Our society is finding themselves broken down because they have not only ignored God but they have ignored the warning signs in our society that shows the lifestyles they are living are not working. We ignore the warning signs by saying things like, “It is no longer a sin it is a lifestyle choice or how I was born.”

“Moral standards were destroyed by new definitions of sin (Amos 5:7), people using God’s vocabulary but not His dictionary. Like today’s “double speak”, this kind of language made it easy to deceive people and avoid a guilty conscience.” (Be Comforted, Warren W. Wiersbe PG34)

The more you reject God the more you will justify your behavior. Some people go by the motto “whatever makes you happy” as a standard for their life. The problem is that happiness is not always achievable so therefore they are following a pattern for life that is unattainable. God the creator of the universe gave us things to enjoy in their context but if I abuse them or use them for my own pleasure without discipline then it will destroy me. What is right and what is wrong is determined by the nature and character of God. If God is in charge, and He is even if we don’t think so, then what He says is right and is actually best for us. One of the ways we know what God thinks is by reading His revealed will in the Bible.

If you do not believe in God, as the people were doing in the verse prior, then what is your standard for right and wrong?  Evolution has no explanation for evil and in fact there is no evil if there is no God.

Is right and wrong to be determined by majority rule? If majority rule is the answer then Hitler should not have been condemned for killing millions of Jews. If we want to keep from becoming people who make up our own standard of right and wrong then we have to be in God’s word and learn what His will is.

“To most Christians, the Bible is like a software license. Nobody actually reads it. They just scroll to the bottom and click “I agree” (A New Kind of Apologist, Sean Mcdowell, Pg 70)

The problem with living as God as the boss is that not only will it be difficult to live by Gods standard but we will also be hated for doing so. Every issue we face in our country is a moral issue from what your identity is, who you can marry, and if abortion is murder. Morals are being put in place but only Christians are accused of pushing their morals on other people. We all have morals it’s just who determines those morals determines the outcome of them. If you believe everyone decides for themselves what their morals should be then you have to realize that people will not be able to function together because ones set of morals will cross over into another person’s morals. The Avengers movie promoted population control for the good of the Universe by the character Thanos.  Bill Nye the science guy says abortions are good because we need population control and Bill Nye also advocates penalizing families who have too many children. So for Bill Nye his morals say have less children and someone else says their morals say to have more children so who gets to decide?

Some believe science should determine what we do because for many they think that the health of the planet trumps the rights of human beings. But can science tell us everything?

 “Science might be able to tell you if an action may hurt someone- like if giving a man cyanide will kill him- but science can’t tell you whether or not you ought to hurt someone.” (Stealing from God, Frank Turek, Pg 100)

Our society has made science their god unless it disagrees with them like the issue of how many genders there are. Science says there are two genders but science gets ignored on that issue. This was the exact confusion that was taking place in Isaiah’s day because people were trying to justify how they wanted to live. We live in a world that was once called evil is now considered good because people want to be the boss of their own lives.

2)   The Boss Evaluates Your Actions

Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes.  Can you imagine an employee telling you that this is the way they wanted to do it even though you told them how to do a job?  The first one has to do with the deterioration of morality and the second one is that I am the only one who can judge my actions. “No one is going to tell me how to live”.  People because of their own made up moral code, will judge themselves by that moral code. This is why people can have a sin area in their life yet continue to be mad at someone for a different sin in their life. People say “I believe God is like” or I like to think God would do this or that” instead of seeing what His revealed will is we live our lives based on what we think.

“When individuals think of themselves as their own source for creating moral truth, it’s only natural for them to feel no one has the right to judge whatever they choose to believe or do. Acceptance of them included acceptance of their moral truth.” (The Beauty of Intolerance, Josh and Sean McDowell, Pg 22)

Acceptance of their morals or lifestyle is acceptance of them. Tolerance used to mean putting up with someone’s lifestyle choices even though you disagreed with them but now tolerance means accepting their lifestyles choices as equal and valid ideas and behavior. Values in our society are getting shaped by the culture rather than by scripture. Even some who say the Bible is their source of moral truth do not believe that the Bible is the source of truth for everyone.  The Bible is seen as a religious book or guide and to some an outdated manuscript. The Bible is about Gods relationship with humanity and how He created and overcame the sin that has destroyed His creation. It is the story of how humanity is separated from Him and how He has made a way for them to be back in a right relationship with Him. People are not seeking after God because they have believed the lie from the beginning that they could be a god or the rulers of their own destiny and behavior.

Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Fear is not being scared of God as is frightened but it is a Holy Reverence for who God is and what He has said. Holy fear is acknowledging that God is perfect and without sin and because He is the boss then He knows best.

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

Because people are wise in their own eyes they are no longer thinking about God and how He designed them to live. The problem is that many people who call themselves Christians are no longer thinking about God as well. We say we believe in God but then we make decisions by our own wisdom or the wisdom of the world which some even goes contrary to His revealed will for our lives. The world is not thinking about God because Christ followers are not thinking about God in our daily lives. “We are called to be in the world but not of it but it seem that many Christians are trying to fit into the world and as they do so they are not showing people the lies they believe. The word Church means “The called out ones” and our lives are to be lived to be a light that shows other people they are living in darkness. (Matthew 5:14)

“As for being compromised, the church will have to understand that the key is being ‘counter” to a post –Christians culture, not a copy of it, or else we will have nothing to offer the world that it does not already have.” (Meet Generation Z James Emery White, PG. 74)

If we do not live as if God is the boss then how will the world know the difference and where will they turn when they realize they believe a lie? If we are living as if we can gain access to God through works instead of by faith then how will the world see the difference?  If we are living as if all roads lead to Heaven then who will tell them the truth that Jesus is the only way (John 14:6)? Have you begun to call things good that God calls evil? Have you become the determining factor for what you believe or does God get to be the boss of your life? Jesus cannot be your savior if you have not submitted to Him to be the Lord of your life.

2 Corinthians 5:14-15 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

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Isaiah 5:18-20 Testing God

Isaiah has begun his warnings about what they were doing and the consequences that would follow. The seeking of wealth and pleasure would not satisfy them and Isaiah warned them that they would eventually be broke and alone because of the things they were pursuing besides God. Many wealthy people have found that the money they sought for happiness has led them to be alienated from people. When we seek after the things of the world instead of God then we will find that the things of this world were for us to enjoy but not to bring us the ultimate satisfaction which can only come from God.

Isaiah will continue his warnings and a warning is just that it is to show you that there is possible danger ahead if you are not careful. Instead of listening to the warning the people instead begin to mock and put God to the test. The People in Isaiah’s day were testing God and we will see how they were pushing their limits with God which would eventually bring severe consequences and God’s judgment.

Isaiah 5:18-20 Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of falsehood, who draw sin as with cart ropes, who say: “Let him be quick, let him speed his work that we may see it; let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw near, and let it come, that we may know it!”  Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!

1)   Testing God with Sin

“Draw sin along with ropes “was an expression because the people were attaching themselves to sin and they were not worried about the consequences of it. The idea that Isaiah was portraying was the idea of dragging Idols by ropes along the road in parades for the entire community to see. Their sins were no longer hidden and private. The people were deceived and did not realize the burden of the weight of sin that was on their lives and the long term affects it would have on their lives. We live in similar times where the things that used to be taboo to talk about are not bragged about and even encouraged to participate in.

Hebrews 12:1 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,

Isaiah already warned the people about the weight of Wealth and pleasure which were not bad things or even sins when kept in proper perspective but are things that can distract them from the priority of seeking the Kingdom of God first. (Matthew 6:33)  The second part of Hebrews 12:1 is talking about sin that like a vine will attach itself to you and cling to you and eventually choke you out and destroy you. Sin is fun for a time but the reality is the sins that you think you control will eventually cling to you and be difficult for you to break away from. What was worse is the people did not care anymore and attached themselves willingly not caring about the end result of their decision but only living for today. They could no longer see that their sin was destroying themselves and their sins were going to bring judgment from God. When you do not care what God thinks about your actions and especially the sins in your life then you are testing Him and will eventually face the consequences of your rebellion.

2)   Testing God with Mocking

“Let Him speed His work so we may see it “is how bold they became toward God even telling Him to show Himself so that they could believe in Him. The attitude was that if God existed let Him show Himself because if He doesn’t then there is no one to tell us that what we are doing is wrong.  One of the consequences of sin is it distorts our view of God and reality. Studies have shown that the more people give into sexual sin the more their brains become warped by the behavior they are engaging in.

If there is no God then there is no right and wrong and if there is no right and wrong then there is no one who can tell us that anything we do is wrong or is unacceptable behavior. Atheists have a dilemma on their hands because they have no grounds to call anything evil and in fact evil does not exist if there is no God.

2 Peter 3:3-4 knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. 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 verse in 2 Peter is parallel to the verse in Isaiah 5 because the people were following their own sinful desires instead of trusting in the ways of God. God who is our creator and knows what is best for us has established rules not to harm us but for our own good. When we go outside of those guidelines because we do not trust Him then we find ourselves in destructive patterns of this world. Although many people will say that they want to live life with no regrets the reality is that many people have regrets because of the things they have done that go outside of the will of God.

People have always begun to Mock God because He did not show Himself the way that they thought He should. God made Himself known through Nature, (Psalm 19:1; Romans 1:19-23), through our own Conscience (Romans 2:14-16), through Jesus (Hebrews 1:1-2) and through the Bible (John 20:30-31). It is not that God has not made Himself known it is because they suppress the truth (Romans 1) so that they can live their own lives. The major sin we tend to commit is wanting to be god of our own lives. We do not want anyone telling us how to live or what is best for us. God loves us and He has made Himself known and He has also made known how we best function as His creation but many people continue to deny the ways of God.

Anytime you deny the presence of God or the law of God you mock Him even those who say they believe in Him. Do you trust the ways of God? Do you believe He exist and that He loves you? Do you believe because of that love He knows what is best for His creation? Many studies are coming out that show that people living for themselves and doing whatever they want has led them toward unhappier lives and even toward depression.

Christianity is not just about having a better life on this earth  although the ways of God if followed by non-believers in Christ will still benefit them. We are not just about our best life now but about eternity. We all will leave this earth no matter the morals and religious practices we have chosen to follow. Death has entered our world (Romans 5:12) and because of that Jesus Christ had to die for our sins in order for us to be reconciled to God. (Romans 5:10) It is as we accept the free gift of salvation which is not by our works of righteousness or trying to be good but by what Jesus did for us on the cross (Ephesians2:8-9) that we can be reconciled to God. (John 3:16-17) Jesus is the only way to God (John 14:6) and if He is not the way or only one of the ways as some say then Jesus was a liar. Do you believe Jesus is a good teacher but not the only way to Heaven? Then He was not a good teacher because He claimed to be the only way to God. Although you may think you are a good person you do not have what it takes to get to heaven because all of us have sinned (Romans 3:23) and therefore we are separated from God because He is Holy and without flaw. The only way we can be back in a right relationship with God is through Jesus Christ. Acts 16:31 says to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. You believe that He took your sins and paid for them so that you will not have to and that through His death you are put back in a right relationship with God. You do not earn your salvation by anything you can do you just accept it by faith in the historical person name Jesus who was God in the flesh.

 

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Isaiah 5:8-17 Warning: Wealth and Pleasure

Isaiah told the people that God has done all He could do to have them produce good fruit in their lives. When we are talking about the fruit that God is looking for it is the fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23. The fruit that was being produced in the people’s lives was sour grapes so although it looked good from afar it was really worthless because you could not eat it or make wine from it. Many people look good from the outside but God sees our hearts (1 Samuel 16:7) and He knows who we really are even though we may fool others.

Many people are claiming that they are having Spiritual experiences in churches and around the world but if you have an encounter with the Spirit of God and it does not lead you to conviction of sin (John 16:8-11) and to have the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) then you did not encounter the Spirit of God. Unfortunately many people are deceived by other spirits that are not from God and that is why 1 John 4:1 tells us to test the Spirits because not every spirit we encounter is God. 2 Corinthians 13:5 says we should examine ourselves to see if we are really Christians because a time will come when God will check the fruit of our lives and declare us worthy or worthless and at that point it will be too late.

Although Isaiah knew that the way they were living was wrong it did not cause him to have anger toward the people but it caused him to be heartbroken for his nation and the lives they were living and the lies they believed. Isaiah will begin to give them warnings and call out the sins that they no longer see as sins and tell them the truth about their lives because he loves them. We have the responsibility to tell people the way they are living is wrong but we have to do it in love (Ephesians 4:15).

The warning Isaiah gave to his people is a warning to us because the things that they were dealing with are the very things we are dealing with in America. The warnings or woes are the rotten fruit that they were producing even though they thought their lives were producing good results. We need to learn from the very things Isaiah was warning them about so that we do not become deceived and fall into the same lies that they gave themselves over to.

Isaiah 5:8-10 Woe to those who join house to house, who add field to field, until there is no more room, and you are made to dwell alone in the midst of the land. The Lord of hosts has sworn in my hearing: “Surely many houses shall be desolate, large and beautiful houses, without inhabitant. 10 For ten acres[a] of vineyard shall yield but one bath, and a homer of seed shall yield but an ephah.”[b]

1)   Warning of Wealth

“Woe to you who add house to house and field to field. “The people were doing all they could to add to their wealth without taking others into consideration. Technically the land could not be bought and sold because it was promised to different tribes of Israel (Numbers 27:7-11; 1 Kings 21) so they were ignoring God by ignoring the different designations that He gave to the Children of Israel. The land belonged to the Lord just like the things of this earth (Psalm 24) but they were buying up all the land and homes around them so they could create large houses and farm lands that would literally leave them away from others. Isaiah’s warning is that these things will be taken away from them and the area they once were in would become desolate and grazed on by sheep.

The problem is that wealth can lead you away from Christ because you become more consumed with it than you do with Him.

1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

If you are wondering if you have a love of money then you just need to evaluate how much do you think about money compared to thinking about Jesus. You also have a love of money when you will sin to attain it so if you have ever lied or cheated to get more money then you have a love of money. You have a love of money when you trust in it more than you trust in God.

The people in Isaiah’s day were bribing judges so they could steal land for their own gain because they thought that the more they had the more content they would be. Money, just like anything else you seek in this world, cannot bring you the happiness and contentment you seek. Worse than money not fulfilling you is that money can actually lead you to a greater doom by thinking the things of this world are all there is to this life.

Mark 8:36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?

The people in Isaiah’s day were consumed with money and possessions and it had led them away from their devotion to God. Our wealth and blessings from God are not to be hoarded for our own benefit but used to be a blessing to others and for the Kingdom of God. When the money God has blessed us with consumes us and we only see how we can benefit ourselves with it then we have lost focus on what is really important.

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

Any smart investor wants to get the most out of their investment by investing in what will benefit them the most. Both Jesus and Paul tell us that whatever investment we make here on earth will be an investment made for all eternity in Heaven.(Matthew 6:20 ) The Apostle Paul is not saying to get rid of your wealth and live a life of poverty but he is warning them to make sure they do not forget that money cannot bring fulfillment and it can lead you away from Jesus who is the only one who can fill you (Matthew 5:6). Studies have shown that an increase in one’s wealth has not meant an increase in happiness and yet we all tend to believe the lie that if we had a little more money our problems would go away. God is getting ready to remove the wealth from the rich to show them that their trust and contentment should be in Him and not the things of this world. If God were to remove your wealth would you still be content in Him? If not, why not?

Isaiah 5:11-12 Woe to those who rise early in the morning, that they may run after strong drink, who tarry late into the evening as wine inflames them! 12 They have lyre and harp, tambourine and flute and wine at their feasts, but they do not regard the deeds of the Lord, or see the work of his hands.

2)   Warning of Pleasure

“They do not regard the deeds of the Lord or see the work of His hands” The people in Isaiah’s day were seeking their own pleasure instead of seeking the will of God. They were consumed not only with wealth but with satisfying every desire they had.

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.

Jesus was telling the disciples that God knows all of our needs but that we should not be like the rest of the world who makes those things a priority. Our first thought should not be our pleasure or even our needs but the things of God.

“When the passion for pleasure has become uppermost in a person’s life, passion for God and his truth and his ways are squeezed out.” J.N.  Oswalt

The people Isaiah is addressing are people that looked forward to their own happiness. We live in a world of technology that we watch shows when we want not when the network tells us to watch them. We say statements like “ Follow your heart” or “Whatever makes you happy” but Jeremiah 17:9 says the heart is deceitful and Jesus was obedient until death not until He was not happy. (Philippians 2:8) We live in a society that does not want to do anything that goes against their personal happiness or pleasure.

Somewhere along the way, we ceased to be a culture where kids aspire to be adults, and we became a culture where adults aspire to be kids, or at least adolescents forever.” (A practical Guide to Culture, Stonestreet and Kunkle, Pg. 133

People who are consumed with their own pleasure do not make the things of God a priority. Isaiah accuses them of drunkenness and seeking pleasure and our society can be accused of the same things. We have to be carful that we do not believe the lie that we deserve to be happy when God calls us to be Holy. One of the ways we are being programmed for our own desires is through technology. Although technology is not bad in and of itself there are some definite things that can cause us to lose sight of The Kingdom of God and make the world about our kingdom.

Isaiah 5:13-17 Therefore my people go into exile for lack of knowledge;[ their honored men go hungry,[b] and their multitude is parched with thirst. 14 Therefore Sheol has enlarged its appetite and opened its mouth beyond measure, and the nobility of Jerusalem[c] and her multitude will go down, her revelers and he who exults in her.15 Man is humbled, and each one is brought low, and the eyes of the haughty[d] are brought low. 16 But the Lord of hosts is exalted[e] in justice, and the Holy God shows himself holy in righteousness. 17 Then shall the lambs graze as in their pasture, and nomads shall eat among the ruins of the rich

3)   Consequences of ignoring the Warnings

A) Spiritual Hunger

Honored men go hungry, multitude is parched with thirst.

John 6:35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.

Hollywood is the greatest example that Money, fame and stuff will not bring you happiness. Our souls long for to know God and Jesus claims in this verse He is God in the flesh.

B) Spiritual and Physical Death

Sheol has enlarged its appetite

Death is the great equalizer for all of humanity. No matter your wealth, popularity or position we will all eventually leave this earth and Isaiah makes death sound like a hungry monster who is never satisfied.

What happens after we die is a question we all need to answer.

Proverbs 16:25 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death

Not only will we all face death physically but there is death in this world as well. Death of a career, death of a marriage and death of relationships all happen because of our pursuit of other things for our own desires and pleasures. When we try and attain the things only Christ can satisfy through the world they only lead us to more hurt and pain.  Hebrews 11:25 tells us that sin is fun for a season but seasons end and so does the enjoyment or the satisfaction the thing outside of God you are looking to bring fulfillment to your life.

Jeremiah 2:13 13 for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.

The world may laugh at you for a time but when they are empty and broken they will at least know where to find the answer to eternal and spiritual life. The problem is we as Christians buy into the lie that the things of this world will satisfy us and we do not show the world that there is more to this life then what exist today.

God will humble them by removing the things that they desire over Him but Gods ultimate goal is not to harm but it is to make us Holy and sometimes the removal of the things we have made idols in our lives is what needs to happen. The things of this world will Pass away (2 peter 3:10) and God wants us to be in a right relationship with Him through Jesus Christ so we can enjoy Him in Heaven forever. (John 3:16-17)

DO you think wealth and Pleasure are going to bring you the satisfaction you think they will? Are you tired of trying things the world’s way?  The life Jesus offers is more than the physical things of this world it is the spiritual that only He can fill in you.  Matthew 5:6 says “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for Righteousness for they will be filled.” If you are trying to fill your life with everything besides the free offer of salvation through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9) then you will find out that you will be chasing after things that will never satisfy your soul.

 

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Isaiah 5:1-7 What’s Being Produced?

What is supposed to happen after a person becomes a Christ Follower? What changes should we see in our lives?  Many people say they are Christians but their lives do not reflect what Jesus taught. A Christian’s life is supposed to produce a harvest that God would be proud of because it would be a harvest that would produce His character traits. Today we are going to see what happens when God inspects the harvest. Isaiah is going to show them that many of them are not following God even though they say they are and Isaiah is going to show them the consequences of what is being produced in their lives.

Produce: to bear or bring forward as a natural product. When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior we are put on a path toward being made perfect. God works in and through us to change us.

Philippians 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

As Christ followers there should be a change in us that begins to show through our lives over time. This is what Isaiah is going to teach them today.

Read Isaiah 5:1-7 Let me sing for my beloved my love song concerning his vineyard:
My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. He dug it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines; he built a watchtower in the midst of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it; and he looked for it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes.And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem
and men of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard. What more was there to do for my vineyard that I have not done in it? When I looked for it to yield grapes, why did it yield wild grapes? And now I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard. I will remove its hedge, and it shall be devoured;[a]I will break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down.I will make it a waste; it shall not be pruned or hoed, and briers and thorns shall grow up; I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are his pleasant planting; and he looked for justice, but behold, bloodshed;[b] for righteousness, but behold, an outcry![c]

1)   The Work has been done for you to produce a good fruit

Isaiah begins his talk as a love song but then he changes the tune to show them that they way they are living is not what God wants out of their lives. Isaiah shows them that God has done all the work when He dug, cleared, built and made for the vineyard to produce. The thing that has always separated Christianity from all other religions is the work that was done by God as opposed to the work that should be done by man. Christianity relies on the finished work of Christ and not our works of righteousness. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Isaiah invites them to see if God should get the blame for what their lives produced. This is not a court setting anymore where they stand accused but Isaiah is asking them to do a self-evaluation to see how far they have drifted from God.

2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!

We as humans tend to blame everything on someone or something else when things do not go our way. We say things like, ”You made me mad” or “I would not have had to lie if you would not have asked me” to cover up our mistake and place the blame on someone else.  People will even blame God but Isaiah wants them to evaluate who is really at fault for the lack of Godly character that is in their lives.

“What more was there to be done? “(vs4)

2 Peter 1:3-4 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to[c] his own glory and excellence,[d] by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

God did all the work for us to produce a good harvest and there is no more He can do because Jesus Christ has already come to earth, lived a perfect and sinless life and died on the cross for our sins. If we are not growing in our relationship with Christ then we are either not a Christian or we have allowed things to come into our lives that are hurting our growth. You can make excuses but  when you stand before God there will be no excuse because God has done everything for salvation and for you to know Him.

2)   God patiently waits for the produce

“He looked (waited) for it to produce grapes”

A grape harvest would take about two years to start seeing results after everything had been done. The farmer would be patient with their crop but eventually they would need to see results. God is patient but there will eventually be a day when He will see what the results are because if His spirit is within you then eventually He who began the work will see it produce results.

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

 “He looked for it to yield grapes but it produced wild grapes”

Make no mistake you are producing something in your life but the problem with the harvest that Isaiah is describing is that it was very similar to the real thing. From a distance you would have thought that this vineyard was producing what the owner would have intended for it to produce but when you came up close you would see that it did not produce anything good at all. The grapes that were produced were bitter and not able to be used to make wine and you could not eat them so they were just worthless.

We need to examine our lives and see what we are producing. When talking about false prophets Jesus tells us what to look for and I think this applies to all of us as well. Remember, the wild grapes looked like the real thing and many false prophets and people who think they are Christians think they are producing good fruit.

Matthew 7:15-20 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.

This verse is after Matthew 7:1 which says we are not to Judge a person’s motives but we are to judge people by their outward actions. The purpose of a watchtower in the vineyard was so you could see if animals or thieves were coming in and destroying the crops. As Christians we should have watchtowers in our lives to make sure things are not creeping into our lives that will ruin the fruit we should be producing.  Fruit in this verse means more than just a few actions but it is a totality of who you are just like a harvest produces either good or bad fruit.

John 15:1-2 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

God prunes you for two reasons. Either because you just produced fruit and He is working on you to produce more fruit or because you have disease (sin) that needs to be cut out of your life so it does not kill the entire tree. We do not produce fruit by our own works of actions they are produced because of the Holy Spirit that is working in and through us. If you are trying to produce fruit out of your own works or effort you will not be producing the fruit of God because that can only happen as God works in and through you.

3)   The Consequences of not producing good fruit

“Now I will tell you what I will do”

Jesus is the vine and we are the branches but if a branch is not producing fruit then there is a problem and it eventually gets removed. The wall and hedge kept people and animals out from destroying the vines and Isaiah tells them that God is going to remove the safety that He has established for them. God will also no longer prune them or work with them to remove the disease from their lives. The passage of scripture gives the idea that God literally walks away to leave them to their own destruction. It seems harsh for us to think about the consequences of not producing fruit but when God has done everything to produce fruit, because He did all the work,  then we are the ones who are to blame.

John 15:6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.

The warnings of not producing fruit should make all of us look at our lives and inspect what is happening in our lives. We need to also look at the fruit that God expects to find and see if our lives are matching up to it and if not then we need to allow God to work on our lives so that this kind of fruit is being produced.

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

4)   How to produce Good Fruit

John 15:3-5 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

We must first realize that the Christian life is not for us to live it is for Christ to live through us. Our responsibility is to abide which means to obey the rules but more than that it means to spend time with Jesus. We tend to act like the ones we spend time with and if we are spending time with Jesus then our lives will show it.

Philippians 2:12-13 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Two mistakes that are made is that people think it is by their own effort they produce the fruit that God expects or they think they have to do nothing. This is exactly what Isaiah was saying to them because God had done all the work for there to be good fruit produced and yet sour grapes were the final result they were not fulfilling their part in the process.

Ephesians 4:20-24 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self,[f] which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Some of us have allowed things in our lives because we do not see ourselves the way God sees us. We are declared clean by God not because of our actions but because of the actions of Christ. (Colossians 3) The word Saint really means Christian. You do not earn sainthood and you do not have to do 3 miracles to attain it you just have to accept the free gift of Jesus Christ. When prodigal son (Luke 15) came home the dad put the Robe, the Ring and shoes on his feet because the father dressed him in the status he was, a son, and not the status he thought he was, a servant. Seeing ourselves properly will always help with bearing fruit because we have to know what Christ has done on our behalf and accept it so we can be declared clean. Because of our new status we love because we were loved by Christ

We forgive because we were forgiven by Christ and we walk in Holiness because Christ has made us Holy.  We put on the things of God because of what He has already done, what He is doing and what He will do. (Saved, Being Saved and will be saved; Justified, Sanctified, Glorified)

One day we will give an account for our lives when God looks at our lives what will He find? God has done the work and He is patiently waiting but one day He will come back and walk away from the vineyard that produces worthless fruit. Many people think they are Christians and that they are producing fruit that God will accept when in reality what they are producing are sour grapes. Our lives are to bear fruit for the benefit of others and the fruit we produce is the fruit of the Spirit.

 

 

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Isaiah 4:2-6 Heaven

Isaiah seems to pause in his rebukes and warnings to encourage those who are living for God and for those who are being taken advantage of by the rich and powerful. He might even be trying to get people who are in sin to see that there is a bigger picture and that there is something after this life we are currently living in. Today we are going to talk about Heaven as Isaiah encourages us to stay focused on what really matters and what is waiting for us. Heaven is something that many people talk about but many people do not know what it is about and how they can even get their. Isaiah is going to answer those questions today as he calls us to remember that earth is not our final destination.

Isaiah 4:2-6  In that day the branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and honor of the survivors of Israel. And he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy, everyone who has been recorded for life in Jerusalem, when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning.[a] Then the Lord will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, and smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory there will be a canopy. There will be a booth for shade by day from the heat, and for a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain.

1)   Heaven is our Home

It is comforting to know that earth is not Heaven but something better is waiting for us who put our faith and trust in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This world is full of heartache and troubles and we are promised one day that those things will be gone. Isaiah has been trying to get them to see outside of themselves and now he is trying to get them to see outside of this world. Because we live in this world it is easy to get focused on it as if it is going to bring fulfillment to our lives and people do all they can to have a life they dreamed of while they are finding out that the things of this world will not satisfy them.

 “In that day” always points to the end of time when God intervenes by stopping a world that has become corrupted.

There will be a day when the pain is gone, the tears will be wiped away and all that was distorted by sin will be made right again. This is why Jesus, who was God in the flesh, came and died for our sins and rose again defeating death so that we can be guaranteed to be with Him in Heaven.

“The branch of the Lord” is the promise of the Messiah (Jeremiah 23:5; 33:15; Zechariah 3:8; 6:12)

Isaiah is letting them know that there will be a glorious and beautiful place that we will be able to go to because of the promised Messiah and Jesus made the same promise to His followers.

John 14:1-6 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God;[a] believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?[b] And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.”[c] Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

If you have ever been to a hotel you know that your stay there is usually short and so you do not redecorate or hang your personal pictures on the wall. It would be crazy if you brought in an interior decorator to your hotel room and had them redo the entire room for you. Not only would that be a waste of money it would more than likely be frowned upon by the hotel because it would not be to their standards. For many people that are living on earth they are redecorating the hotel room because our stay on earth is short compared to eternity yet we spend so much time and energy trying to make a place a home that is not meant to be our home.

In John 14 Jesus is using marriage terminology that Jesus because the groom would leave to go prepare the house and when he returned he would take his bride with him. The bride did not know when the groom would return but she knew that at some point she would be living to go and live somewhere else. Jesus was reassuring His disciples that He not only would go and prepare a place for them but He would come and take them with Him. It was such intimate language that Jesus was using which is what separates Christianity from almost  all other religions because no other religion has a personal God like that of Christianity.

 

1 Corinthians 2:9 But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”—

You cannot even imagine how great Heaven is going to be the Bible tells us but because we cannot see it we focus more about what is in front of us instead of what awaits us.

 

“Then the Lord will createGod is going to do something new and amazing that it will be beyond description.

Revelation 21:1-2  Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

We are told a little bit about Heaven so we do not get focused on this world and all the things that will one day be gone. The People in Isaiah’s day and throughout History have always been focused on the wrong world and we have to be reminded that the things of this world will one day no longer exist.

In Matthew chapter four Jesus was tempted by Satan to have all the Kingdoms of this world and it is a temptation that Satan still offers us today. Just like Jesus we have to realize that the kingdoms of this world do not compare to the kingdom of God.

Isaiah then says “He who is left” which is terminology that not everyone will be in Heaven. It is a popular notion to believe that everyone goes to Heaven but that is not what the Bible teaches. If you do not believe the Bible or Jesus that is one thing but for those who call themselves Christians or Christ followers Jesus did not leave room for us to make that error.

How can we know for sure we are going to make it to Heaven?

2)   Heaven is guaranteed for those who trust in Christ

 

Recorded for Life” is a statement meaning there was a registry of those who belonged to the city.

Jesus talked about this registry and the book that our names are written in which proves we belong in Heaven.

Luke 10:20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

The Apostle John goes on to tell us more about the vision that God gave him about Heaven and who would be and who would not be allowed into it.

Revelation 20:12, 15 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. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

The books (plural) are all the things good and bad that people have done that they think will earn them a place in Heaven. Many people think that they are not bad people and that if they did anything wrong then they can make up for it by doing more good things that bad. Revelation 20 clearly tells us that the people that thought that were cast into the lake of fire.

Revelation 13:8 calls it the Lambs book of life because the only way your name could be entered into the registry is by accepting the finished work of what Jesus Christ did on the cross because Hebrews 12:14 says that without Holiness no one will see the Lord. The problem man has with God is his sin and because of sin we are separated from God and the only way we can gain righteousness (being in a right standing with God)  is not based on our actions but the actions of Jesus Christ and His work on the cross.

Just like we believe in the past work of Christ they looked forward to a day that they would be made righteous by the Messiah that was to come. Verse 4 says that “God will wash” which is part of a ceremonial cleaning meaning totally pure.  Will “be called holy” because it is something they are declared not something they have earned or were able to achieve on their own. Wash away the filth is a term used for vomit. (The way God sees our sins). Again, to be as clear as I can be, you cannot earn your salvation it has to be something you receive as you believe in Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 2:8-9; Acts 16:31)

The good news if you notice who is being cleansed it is the daughters of Zion the ones who were mentioned last chapter that were all about themselves and treated people poorly. Gods redemptive (bought back) plan applies to everyone not just the people we think deserve His grace. If we teach the cross of Christ correctly it is offensive because that means the worst of the worst can get in through faith yet the people we declare good will not if they do not accept Jesus Christ. We cannot earn our holiness in order to stand before God it is something He has to do to us and that is why He came to die on the cross. We do not see how separated our sins have made us from God but when we do see God face to face we will realize it is only through His work that we can be cleansed.

3)   Heaven is about God’s Presence

“a Cloud by Day and a fire by night” Although there will be no more night the reference is how God was with them as He led them out of Egypt and through the desert. What is going to make Heaven so wonderful is not all the stuff but the presence of God. The reason we have to be pure and Holy is because God Himself will be with us and if we are unholy then we could not stand to be in the presence of God.

Revelation 21:3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place[a] of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people,[b] and God himself will be with them as their God

The word Canopy in Isaiah is used either as a marriage chamber or just a protection by God but it shows the intimacy of God to those who put their hope and trust in Christ. People think it is unfair that God will not allow everyone in but the people who are not going to Heaven do not want to be in the presence of God anyway so He is just giving them what they want. Shelter from the heat and storm God will protect us in such a way that we will no longer face the trials and troubles of this world.

Revelation 21:4-5 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

This entire passage that Isaiah is telling them in Chapter 4 is the opposite of all the things that he talked about in Chapter 3.The Promise was given to the people who were faithful in an unfaithful world as encouragement that one day God will make all things new and He will reverse what they are experiencing now.

 

“What is certain is what God will do. What is uncertain is what the people will do. Will they choose to accept God’s purification so they can be holy and dwell in God’s presence, or will they arrogantly continue in their sinful ways?” (The New American Commentary, Isaiah, Pg 159)

There is no room in Heaven for those who proudly think that they deserve to be there because of their works of righteousness. Acts 16:31 says Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. Do You believe that Jesus death on the cross paid for your sins and His resurrection secured a day when you will rise and meet Him again. Are you discouraged by the things in the world or the things in your personal world? Take faith in knowing that God is going to make all things new for those who put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Heaven is our home to try and focus too much time here does not make sense.

 

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Isaiah 3:13-4:1 Looking through the Camera of Life

Isaiah was a prophet of God sent to warn the people that their actions were going to lead to their downfall and judgment from God.  They were not taking care of the poor, their courts were filled with injustice and they mixed in various religions with the true worship of God. The people were relying on their government leaders, their wealth, and their military and even other gods instead of putting all of their trust and hope in God. Isaiah began warning them that God was going to take these things away from them if they did not change their behavior

The warning of leadership and the warning of what sin will do to the nation have already been said and now we are going to see the judgment that God will bring on those who are in leadership and those who have made the entire world about themselves.

With the technology on our phones today we are able to take pictures of ourselves and others with incredible clarity. The phone comes with a button that can turn the camera around so that as you hold the phone the camera is on you and not what is around you. In our world we have many people who have the camera phone setting in such a way that they camera is always on themselves. We only see the world by how it affects us and we have no concern about anyone else.

The people in Isaiah’s day were self-consumed and it was at the cost of those around them. Isaiah is going to call the selfish people out and show them that God is going to judge them harshly for their self-focus and their neglect of those around them.

View: The Act of seeing or examining

We all have a view of the world and so the question we have to ask ourselves are we seeing the world through the lens of self or are we looking through a panoramic view that shows us what others are going through around us.

Isaiah 3:13-15 The Lord has taken his place to contend; he stands to judge peoples.14 The Lord will enter into judgment with the elders and princes of his people: “It is you who have devoured[a] the vineyard, the spoil of the poor is in your houses. 15 What do you mean by crushing my people, by grinding the face of the poor?” declares the Lord God of hosts.

1)   Panoramic: Our view of Others

“The Lord has taken His place to contend with the elders and princes”

The first people we see are the ones who were responsible for maintaining true justice. They were the ones who were supposed to defend the poor and defenseless people against those who were wealthier and who had more resources to cause the poor and defenseless harm either physically or financially.

God, through Isaiah, ask them “What do you mean by crushing my people” or How can you do this to my people? We are not to have an “every man for himself” mindset but we are to be concerned for those who God has placed in our lives. One of the beliefs that Christians have is that no matter who the person is they are created in the image of God.

Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

Every human being has value simply because they are made in the image of God no matter their physical appearance or their financial status. When we devalue humans, from the baby in the womb (Abortion) to those who are at the end of their life here on earth (Euthanasia), or those with disabilities or disease, we are devaluing someone made in the image of God.

The Leaders in Isaiah’s day were looking down on the poor and using them for their own gain and their own purposes. “Grinding the face of the poor” Although they were leaders in government positions we have to be careful that we are not users and abusers of people for our own gain. There will be times when you can abuse the power you have over others for your own gain and that is something we are not to do as Christ followers. We can all be guilty of viewing people for how they can be a benefit to us rather than how we can be a benefit to them.  You will hear the statement, “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” which is a statement of I will do for you if you can do for me but we are not called by God to just do things for people who can do things for us we are called to go to those who can do nothing for us and serve them as well. We need to change our consumer, what’s in it if for me, mindset and begin by saying how can I serve my family, my coworkers, my boss, my community and my church even if they have nothing to offer me.

When is the last time you served someone who had nothing they could do for you? Stop saying you will serve your spouse when they change but serve them because they are made in the image of God. Stop saying I will serve my coworkers or boss when they treat me better and begin to be faithful to God by serving them even if they never change. When we see people as being image bearers of God  then we will serve them.

 

Matthew 25:34-40  Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[a] you did it to me.’

After Jesus commends those who did those things He then says the same thing to those who are cast into Hell because they did not do those things. Both cases Jesus lets them know that what they did for those who were the least it was done as if it was done to Him directly. In Matthew 7 people will stand before God and say they cast out demons, did miracles and prophesied in Jesus name but Jesus will say depart from me because they did not know Him. The things Jesus talks about in Matthew 25 are just common everyday needs and not big undertakings.  You don’t have to do big things for God just serve those who God has placed in your path.

Start off every conversation with a person and say to yourself “You are made in the image of God and I love you” because God will hold us accountable for our treatment of people and by realizing God loves them it will change our view of them. The good deeds you produce naturally  are from the fruit of the spirit inside of you not the root of your salvation. Those who did good deeds did not even remember doing them because Christ had transformed their lives. We do not do good actions and deeds to earn Gods favor we do them because He has already made us favorable through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 3:16-4:1 16 The Lord said: Because the daughters of Zion are haughty and walk with outstretched necks, glancing wantonly with their eyes, mincing along as they go, tinkling with their feet,17 therefore the Lord will strike with a scab the heads of the daughters of Zion, and the Lord will lay bare their secret parts.18 In that day the Lord will take away the finery of the anklets, the headbands, and the crescents; 19 the pendants, the bracelets, and the scarves; 20 the headdresses, the armlets, the sashes, the perfume boxes, and the amulets; 21 the signet rings and nose rings; 22 the festal robes, the mantles, the cloaks, and the handbags; 23 the mirrors, the linen garments, the turbans, and the veils.24 Instead of perfume there will be rottenness; and instead of a belt, a rope; and instead of well-set hair, baldness; and instead of a rich robe, a skirt of sackcloth; and branding instead of beauty. 25 Your men shall fall by the sword and your mighty men in battle. 26 And her gates shall lament and mourn; empty, she shall sit on the ground.And seven women shall take hold of one man in that day, saying, “We will eat our own bread and wear our own clothes, only let us be called by your name; take away our reproach.”

 

2)   Selfie: Our view of ourselves

The women thought they were superior, and they were only thinking about themselves and how they looked. Isaiah goes into detail how they were dressed but the main problem was that they were the Woman of Zion and so they were taking away from their focus on God and placing their entire thought on themselves.

In Isaiah 3:18 it says their ankle clasp restricted their movement so they could only take tiny steps when they walked. How ironic the things that we think are important and will bring meaning to our lives will only hold us back. How many people go in debt thinking that a house or car or even changing their appearance will bring them happiness only to realize that instead of happiness they are only being restricted in their life?

Isaiah list 21 items they had all in an attempt to show that they were beautiful and that they were important. Isaiah is warning them that everything that they think makes them beautiful God is going to take it away from them. Does your identity rely on what accessories you wear? Does your identity rely on what car you drive? House you live in? What if all of those things are taken away? Would knowing who your are in Christ be enough?

These women that Isaiah mentions will be carted off as slaves and humiliated and the ones who are left will be begging for a husband to restore their dignity. The ones that will be carted off will have a brand scared into their faces showing that they are slaves. The beauty they long to have will be scared and the things they thought made them feel superior will be taken away.  When you get tricked into putting your hope, joy and peace into things of this world you will be let down but when your hope is in God then you will never be let down.

 

Proverbs 31:30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

When we focus on ourselves it will cause us to demand our rights but not the rights of others. When we are focused on ourselves we demand our way at the expense of others not getting what they want. When we are focused on ourselves we take away from pointing people to Jesus because we have made it all about us. Our society is about exalting ourselves where God wants us to exalt Him by lowering ourselves.

 

Matthew 23:11-12 The greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

We are not to think less of ourselves we are just called to think of ourselves less. Self -demeaning is not what the Bible is talking about it is about viewing others as more important and placing their needs above your own. We are created in the image of God as well and when we try and make ourselves into something so that world thinks we are important than we are denying what God created you to be. We all have things we wish were different about our bodies, our hair, strength etc. but the reality is those things do not define us our relationship with God does. We need to empty our lives of thinking about ourselves and focus more on God and others.

 

Philippians 2:5-8 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,[a] who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,[b] but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,[c] being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

When every sentence out of your mouth begins with “I” or “Me” you just might be full of yourself.

 

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Isaiah 3:8- 12 Sin will destroy a nation

Isaiah tells them the nation is getting ready to fall and the reason is because of the sins they are continuing to do. I cannot repeat myself enough that these are church people who are tithing, worshiping God but whose lives are not honoring to God by how they are treating their fellow man.

Not only are they living lives unpleasing to God their worship has also mixed in other religious practices and other gods that go against how God commanded them to worship.

Sin is anything that goes against the nature and character of God. Our society wants to define right and wrong based on our own standards but it is God who establishes what is and what is not a right and wrong based on His Character and Holiness. Our society does not like the word sin and so we call things mistakes or bad habits instead of calling them what God calls them which is sin. Although we like to define what is and what is not a sin in our own life we know what is a sin when someone does it against us. If someone steals from us we say it is wrong but if they say they were stealing because they were hungry then they may say it is not a sin. The reason we cannot leave it up to us individually or even as a nation is because our standards of right and wrong change depending on the situation. With God was right and what is wrong are consistent for all of eternity.

One of the proofs that there is a God or Creator of the Universe is because we know lying, stealing, killing and cheating are wrong. How could a world that came from evolution have so many people who believe that murder is wrong? Because we are made in God’s image He implanted in us His moral code although many times we ignore it. If it is really left up to the individual or to a nation what is right and wrong then people like Hitler would not be wrong. They are wrong because right and wrong are based on God and God alone not on the individual, the nation or the time period we live in.

God establishes what is right and what is a sin and we do not get to pick and choose, but pick and choose is exactly what was happening in Isaiah’s day and pick and choose what is a sin is happening in our world as well.

Isaiah 3:8 For Jerusalem has stumbled, and Judah has fallen, because their speech and their deeds are against the Lord, defying his glorious presence.[d]

1)   Sin is destructive

“Jerusalem has stumbled and Judah has fallen”

Most people will not see how destructive a sin is until it is too late. The problems we have in every area of life are because of sin which ultimately is because of selfishness or living for self instead of living for God. Stumble is a term used to describe someone who was so badly wounded that they began to fall down from their injuries. If you picture some of the old movies when someone gets shot and they slowly die because of their wounds. The Bible is clear what the consequences of sin are.

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

Sin is destructive but because we do not always experience its destruction right away we tend to keep on sinning thinking that sin does not affect us. Adam and Eve were told the same lie when they were told you will not die by the serpent, a lie many of us are told when we give into the temptations of sin. The first consequence of sin of course is our separation from God which we all suffered when Adam and Eve sinned but we also suffer consequences of sin by the destruction it causes in our lives and the lives of our loved ones. The way Isaiah wrote it was as if it already took place even though it would take place in the future. God can see the final outcome of our sins and actions and what many people think is God trying to keep them from fun is really God trying to keep them from destruction.

Christians are called to confront sin, (Matthew 18) Restore people from sin (Galatians 6) and even turn them over to Satan in hopes of their soul being saved(1 Corinthians 5). We are not to take sin lightly because it took Jesus dying for our sins in order for us to be in a right relationship with God.

“Defying His Glorious Presence”

God who had revealed Himself to His people was purposely being ignored and they were worshiping Him how they wanted and they were calling sins not by Gods standard but their own. Sin goes against God and so when we sin, even if we think we are not hurting anyone, is really against God.

1 Peter 1:14-15 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

We have a tendency to put God on our human level instead of seeing God as Holy and perfect something we probably cannot fully understand this side of Heaven. We ignore that God has revealed His Glorious presence in His word (The Bible) and shows us the standard by which we should live.  We do not see God for who He is but when we do we will have the same reaction that  Isaiah did in chapter six when Isaiah cries out in fear because He sees God as He is in a vision God gives him. Holy, Holy, Holy is how God is described but Isaiah also saw himself the way God sees him which is an unclean man. As Children of God we should not be openly refusing to obey God and what He has clearly said in His word even when the world tries to change God’s standard of Holiness.

Isaiah 3:9 -12 For the look on their faces bears witness against them; they proclaim their sin like Sodom; they do not hide it. Woe to them! For they have brought evil on themselves. 10 Tell the righteous that it shall be well with them, for they shall eat the fruit of their deeds. 11 Woe to the wicked! It shall be ill with him, for what his hands have dealt out shall be done to him. 12 My people—infants are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, your guides mislead you and they have swallowed up[e] the course of your paths.

2)   Sin will become commonplace

“They do not hide it”

Their sin was done in public for all to see and so Isaiah compares them to Sodom which is one of the cities God destroyed for their sins (Gen 18-19)

Jeremiah 6:15 Were they ashamed when they committed abomination? No, they were not at all ashamed; they did not know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; at the time that I punish them, they shall be overthrown,” says the Lord.

They have forgotten how to blush meaning their sin is no longer is an embarrassment to them. You can sin to a point that you are no longer embarrassed by what you are doing. There are many sins in our nation that a decade ago would have been an embarrassment to people but now they are done publicly as if they are normal behavior. The people will bring punishment on themselves because they have allowed these sins to continue and they will be punished because of the consequences of the sins and also when they stand before God.

“Woe to the wicked for what they have dealt out will be paid back to them “

One of the things we are guaranteed in this life is that God sees all that is going on. So many times life seems unfair and it seems that the wicked are prospering and getting away with their treatment of others. Many in our society see people in politics and wonder why they are not in jail but whether or not they are held accountable for their wrongs on earth they will give an account before God.

Hebrews 4:13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Just like in Isaiah day there were innocent people being hurt by the sins of others but we can rest knowing that God saw it and no one is getting away with anything. This does not mean there is not grace because anyone who surrenders to Jesus Christ will receive full forgiveness of their sins no matter how bad they are. The women who were ruling were evil women like Jezebel in the North (1 Kings 18) and Athaliah in the south (2 Kings 11). Isaiah wanted the people to know that God will pay them back for all the evil they had done.

“Your guides have misled you and swallowed up your paths.”

Isaiah felt sorry for them because he said “My People” because those who should have known the way and have confused the path or made the path unknowable. We are seeing this in our churches when so called Christian leaders are not teaching what God has commanded but are confusing people so they do not even know where to go for the truth. Just because someone has the title pastor does not mean they are leading you the right way. The Apostle Paul addressed a man in the book of Acts and accused him of leading people away from God.

 

Acts 13:8-10  But Elymas the magician (for that is the meaning of his name) opposed them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him 10 and said, “You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord?

(Jesus warned us about false teachers and prophets in Matthew 7:15; 24:11; 24:24

You may like the preacher or teacher but you still have to check to make sure they are not leading you down a path that is not of God especially when they longer call sin what God calls sin.

3)   We must avoid sin

(vs10) Tell the righteous it will be well with them.

It must have been discouraging for those who were trying to live for God to suffer consequences because of the sins of others. God wanted the righteous to know that they will be rewarded for how they lived in this life in the life to come. It is easy when it seems that everyone is getting away with stealing to steal and it is easy when it seems that everyone is cheating to cheat, but God calls us to a different standard and that is to not give into the sins of the world.

Some of the rewards we are promised are found in Matthew 5:12 which says we will be rewarded if we are persecuted for living Christ. Matthew 5:46 which says we will be rewarded for loving the unlovely and Matthew 6 tells us we will be rewarded for giving, praying and fasting in private.

Hebrews 6:10  For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do.

One day we will stand before God and everything we did that no one even knows about is seen by Him whether good or bad. Our sins will be forgiven but what we take into eternity will be the things God rewards us for sacrificing here on earth.

Matthew 7:13-14 Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy[a] that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

We need to lead people to the truth by staying on the path of righteousness and showing them that they are believing a lie because many false teachers are making it difficult for people to see which way leads them to God. People need to hear and see the truth because many people are on the path to destruction and they do not even know it. Many people are so engrossed in their sins they cannot see that it is destroying them and the country they live in.

We have to be here for people to not just tell them the truth but to walk with them as they overcome the hurt and pain that sin has caused. Our nation will be destroyed because of sin but we are called to be the ones who live in this world showing people the truth. May our lives be lived in such a way that people know who they can go to when they realize they are living a lie.

 

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Isaiah 3:1-7 The Absence of Leadership

Leadership is something we are all supposed to do in this world but in today’s passage we will see what happens to a nation when people fail to lead. To lead just means to guide on a way especially by going in advance. People are looking for leaders and sometimes people follow the wrong people simply because they believe any direction, even if wrong, is better than no direction. Isaiah is going to tell them that God is going to remove their leaders from them which will create a leadership void and then chaos in their country.

Isaiah 3:1-4 For behold, the Lord God of hosts is taking away from Jerusalem and from Judah
support and supply,[a] all support of bread, and all support of water;the mighty man and the soldier, the judge and the prophet, the diviner and the elder,the captain of fifty and the man of rank, the counselor and the skillful magician and the expert in charms. And I will make boys their princes,
and infants[b] shall rule over them.

1)   Good Leaders were taken away

The people relied and had confidence in their leadership to the point they no longer turned to God for their needs. We have to be careful whether as a nation or as a church when we put more hope in our leaders than we do in our God. God is going to take away their leaders no matter if they are good or bad so that they are directionless and that will leave them longing for water and the food which they have depended on the government to supply for them.  God is in control of this and the leaders will be killed or taken away in war which is what invading nations would do to thwart any attempt at a rebellion.

God is going to replace these leaders with children meaning people who will act foolishly in their leadership. The Leaders that will take their place will be immature, unwise, strong willed, irresponsible and only thinking of themselves.  Gods Point in doing this is to show them how their trust in governing officials is futile when they should have had their hope in Him.

In America we tend to place our hope and trust on who is in office rather than placing our hope and trust in Him alone. We should never fear who is in office because our ultimate hope is in God but I listen to many Christians who get upset by the elections because they have placed their trust in an elected official instead of God.

Isaiah 3:5 And the people will oppress one another, everyone his fellow and everyone his neighbor;
the youth will be insolent to the elder, and the despised to the honorable.

2)   Good Leaders were mocked

Not only will there be a leadership void but those who are leaders will not be respected by the younger generation and will the younger generation will ridicule them. Anarchy will take place and people will turn on each other because with lack of leadership and structure chaos always follows.

We are beginning to see this in our country where there is no more respect for those in authority and no respect for the elderly. Our leaders are being bashed on television shows, the radio and social media and people have lost all respect for those who are in positions of authority.

As Christians we have to be careful that we do not act like the world and demean and belittle those who are in positions of authority. We can disagree with a leaders stance on an issue but we should never disrespect the person and demean them.

1 Peter 2:13-17  Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution,[b] whether it be to the emperor[c] as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 16 Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants[d] of God. 17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

Our trust should be in God but our respect should be given to those in authority. We give honor of the position not of the actions they may have been a part of or the way they believe. We can disagree with them politically but we should talk about them as fellow human beings made in the image of God.

Christians should not follow the pattern of the world with how we talk about politicians, teachers, coaches and bosses.

1 Peter 1:14-16 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

Isaiah 3:6-7 For a man will take hold of his brother in the house of his father, saying: “You have a cloak; you shall be our leader, and this heap of ruins shall be under your rule”; in that day he will speak out, saying: “I will not be a healer;[c] in my house there is neither bread nor cloak; you shall not make me  leader of the people.”

3)    Good Leaders would not lead

Because of the leadership void people will be looking for someone to bring about structure to help them cope with the mess that their nation has become. Isaiah says that leadership will be determined by whoever has a coat meaning that anyone that seems to have any leadership will be sought after to do something. Some will be asked to be leaders simply by their appearance because they have a coat. But even those who could lead will not because they do not think they can fix all the destruction that has taken place. Isaiah calls it a heap of ruins because it will be so bad that it will look like a garbage dump. Not only will it be difficult to fix the mess but they did not want to lead because they will be criticized and ignored. But when leaders do not lead innocent people get hurt because “People oppress one another”

“This can even happen today, for when godly people fail to step into positions of leadership, then people with poor leadership or questionable moral qualifications get appointed or elected to positions of responsibility.” (The New American Commentary, Gary V. Smith, Pg 147)

We are not called as Christians to shrink back from making an impact on our world no matter how bad our world becomes. There will be a cost to leading but the world cannot afford for us not to lead with the values and truth that we have in Jesus Christ. If we do not lead then innocent people will suffer and God has left us on the earth to be there when people’s worlds get turned upside down. Nehemiah has had books written about him, other than the one in the Bible, because of his leadership when the walls were torn down. Leading when it is a mess is not easy and you will have people who come against you but the reality is we are called to lead.

4)   Good Leaders Bring Healing

“I will not be a healer” “I cannot bind wounds” “I have no remedy” are the terms that are used by those who did not want to lead. The reason they said that is because leaders bring healing. We live in a broken world that is looking for answers. Because of the treatment of leaders many people refuse to step into a role that will bring criticism and suffering but because they avoid criticism they also keep from bringing solutions to people’s problems. As Christians we are called to step out of our comfort zone and sacrifice for the sake of others. We are called to lead and to bring healing to a world that is a mess and the only way we can do that is to get involved. In politics we need leaders who will bring remedies. In Business we need leaders who will bring Healing. In Churches we need leaders who will bind up wounds. In our Homes we need leaders who will bring healing and train our children to be leaders.

Unfortunately like in Isaiah’s day people will see the mess and think that there is nothing they can do about it and therefore sit back and do nothing. God has us here for a reason and we can complain about the mess or we can lead and do something about it.

“Leadership is about people who choose to make a difference. It often is not flamboyant, and it usually doesn’t involve spellbinding speeches or dramatic actions. If you make the place where you live, work, study, and worship better, then you are a leader. (Spiritual Leadership, Henry and Richard Blackaby)

Don’t make being a leader more difficult than it needs to because the main thing in being a spiritual leader is being obedient to the call of God on your life by submitting your heart soul and mind to Him. (Matthew 22:37)

“Why did God place me in this city? Why did I choose a house in this neighborhood? What did God know this area needed when He led me here? Wherever you live, you can better your community and glorify God in doing so. “(God in the Market Place, Henry and Richard Blackaby, Pg. 226)

If we want to impact the world we just need to live our lives for Him.  God in His sovereignty placed you where you are for a reason. It may look like a mistake to you but God orchestrated your life to make an impact on those you are around.  The advice God gave His children when they were in captivity still applies to us today.

Jeremiah 29:5-7 Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.

We have to maintain an outward focus as a church and as Christians because we do not exist for ourselves. Live your life to Glorify God and pray for your neighborhood, your city and your country.  How much change would happen if Christians prayed for their rulers as much as they complained about them?

1 Timothy 2:1-4 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.

What is one thing you can change this week to be a better leader where God has placed you?

If people are following you where would they end up?

 

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Isaiah 2:9-22 The Fate of the Proud

Pride is one of those things that we all have even if we do not admit it. We can tell we are proud people when we get mad when things do not go our way or if we get upset when someone points out a flaw in our life. Pride is what keeps people from coming to God realizing that we cannot save ourselves and we must humbly ask God for salvation through Jesus Christ. (Acts 16:31)

Even as Christ followers we must humble ourselves before God as we submit to His ways. Pride says I do not need to deny myself (Luke 9:23) and that the way I follow God is up to me and not up to Him.

Proud: having or showing a high or excessively high opinion of oneself or one’s importance:

The problem with man is that we think we know better than God and this is why we do not humble ourselves and call sin what God calls sin. It was the people in Isaiah’s day that said they could worship God however they wanted as long as they were worshiping Him even though they were mixing in other religions into their worship. It is our pride that keeps us from doing the commands of God when He ask us to forgive or surrender an area of our lives. Sin is more than not doing things its ignoring the things that God has told you to do. Isaiah is warning them what is going to happen to them if they do not humble themselves and it is a warning we all should be aware of.

 Isaiah 2:9- So man is humbled, and each one is brought low-do  not forgive them!

 1) The Proud Will Be Humbled

The people thought they were on good terms with God but instead of “Walking in the light of the Lord” which simply means to obey His commands they picked and chose what they wanted to obey. To say things like “this is how I want to worship God” is arrogant and prideful instead of meeting God on His terms. When Jesus says He is the only way to God (John 14:6) it is arrogant to say that you can get to God however you want. Either Jesus is the way or He is a liar. Either Jesus is the way and all other religions are wrong or another religion is the way and Christianity is wrong. You cannot make up how you want to get to God and Jesus made it clear that He is the only way.

We also cannot determine how we choose to worship God or the things we seek out to discover Gods will for our lives.  Bethel Church in California is practicing something very similar to tarot cards which they call destiny cards. They say that it is not unbiblical and they even use the Apostle Paul as an example when he was sharing his faith on Mars Hill. (Acts 17) The problem with these things is they are forbidden by God. (Luke 19:31) God is a relational God and we are to go to Him and Him alone as He communicates to us through His word (The Bible) and through His Spirit which He gives us. God told us to have faith in Him but we have faith in other things and ourselves because our pride wants to determine what we actually do and because we want to be in control we want to know the future. We have to be careful that in our pride we are not allowing things into our lives that the Bible and even other Christians are warning us about. We need to humble ourselves under God and see if there is something we need to change.

The nation and especially King Uzziah were very arrogant with their accomplishments but Isaiah is warning them that a day is coming when forgiveness will no longer be possible. They thought their actions did not deserve punishment but Isaiah is showing them they do. They did not realize how proud and arrogant they had become by their own accomplishments and they no longer relied on God.

James 4:6-10 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

You do not have to be humbled by God because you can humble yourself by reading His word and submitting to what He says.

Isaiah 2:10-21 Enter into the rock and hide in the dust from before the terror of the Lord, and from the splendor of his majesty.11 The haughty looks of man shall be brought low, and the lofty pride of men shall be humbled, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day. 12 For the Lord of hosts has a day against all that is proud and lofty, against all that is lifted up—and it shall be brought low; 13 against all the cedars of Lebanon, lofty and lifted up; and against all the oaks of Bashan; 14 against all the lofty mountains, and against all the uplifted hills; 15 against every high tower, and against every fortified wall;16 against all the ships of Tarshish, and against all the beautiful craft. 17 And the haughtiness of man shall be humbled, and the lofty pride of men shall be brought low, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day. 18 And the idols shall utterly pass away. 19 And people shall enter the caves of the rocks and the holes of the ground,[a]from before the terror of the Lord, and from the splendor of his majesty, when he rises to terrify the earth.20 In that day mankind will cast away their idols of silver and their idols of gold, which they made for themselves to worship, to the moles and to the bats,21 to enter the caverns of the rocks and the clefts of the cliffs, from before the terror of the Lord, and from the splendor of his majesty, when he rises to terrify the earth.

2) The Proud Will Hide from Jesus

Verse tens says they will “Enter into the rock and hide”. Verse nineteen says,” And the people will enter caves and holes in the ground” and verse twenty one says “Enter the caverns of the rocks and the clefts of the cliffs”.  When Jesus shows up those with Pride will run away and Hide because of His majesty and Glory.

I would say most of us look forward to Jesus return especially when we are having a bad day or simply because we know this is not our home. Prideful people do not look forward to Jesus return because they want to be God of their own lives.  The book of Revelation shows a similar picture when the prideful will do the very things that Isaiah is talking about his people doing.

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?”

God’s splendor will be on display and those who are prideful will try and hide while others will humble themselves before God and acknowledge Him.  Of course no one can escape God yet they will make a futile attempt to pray to the mountain to fall on them.  A day I look forward to many people will dread because they chose not to humble themselves before God through Jesus Christ.

 

Philippians 2:5-8 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,[a] who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,[b] but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,[c] being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

If Jesus humbled and accepted the will of God for His life then we as followers of His should do the same. We must change our mindset that we are in charge of our own lives because we cannot even control when we will pass from this life to the next.

3) The Proud Will See The Worthlessness of their Idols

They worshiped their structures and their military along with other things they looked to instead of looking to God. An Idol is anything you seek out instead of turning to God. Many times we think of how crazy it is for people to worship images they have made but some people turn to food, alcohol or drugs as their god to get through the day. Some people worship fame or fortune thinking that those things can bring them happiness and fulfillment. God will destroy all the things that people put their hope and trust in and they will see the worthlessness of them all when Jesus shows up again.

High Towers, Fortified walls, and ships were all the things the nation put their hope in and they will be destroyed. The things Isaiah mentions represent strength, beauty, independence and self-sufficiency from God and the things they put their hope in they will throw them to moles and bats.

Philippians 3:8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.

The Apostle Paul said everything was garbage compared to a relationship with Christ. Many people talk about Jesus for what He can do for you like giving you peace and prosperity but Paul talked about Jesus relationally. When you turn to Jesus for the stuff then you miss out on why He died for our sins and rose again from the dead. Jesus came to earth so that we could be back in a right relationship with God the way it was in the Garden of Eden before sin entered the world. Yes there will still be sin on the earth but a day is promised that we will one day be back in a right relationship with God for all of eternity or at least those who put their hope and trust in Christ.

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

4) The Proud see man as the ultimate authority.

We make ourselves gods by making ourselves the center of the universe. We make ourselves god when we give ourselves center stage and by glorifying our importance. We make ourselves gods when we measure everything by how it affects us. Even if we do not make ourselves the final authority we have a tendency to care more about what people think than what God thinks. We put our trust in people more than seeking out God and how He wants us to live.

“I don’t want anybody telling me how to think is really the motto in Western education today.” Ravi Zacharias

Humanism is the separation from the supernatural therefore leaving God out of everything. We may not agree with that but we all tend to separate God into a religious section of our lives by excluding Him from our social or business life. We are proud people and we do not want to look foolish so we trust in the ways of man more than the ways of God but one day we will see how worthless the idols that we worshiped and put our trust in really are when we see God face to face.

Every one of the listeners of Isaiah’s day had to make a decision, “am I going to listen to man or to God” and each one of us has to make that same decision.

Philippians 2:9-11 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

We can humble ourselves now before the Lord (James 4:10) or we will be humbled before the Lord. We will always see others as needing humbling more than ourselves but we must remember we all tend to be proud and rely on our own wisdom or the wisdom of man rather than the ways of God. God is calling us to not put our trust in the things of this world but in Him. (Relational) What things are you turning to instead of turning to Him? (Idols) Whose wisdom are you relying on to make decisions?

How meaningless our concerns of life will be when we see His Glory and Majesty.

 Both Man and Idols will be a bust because only in God can I place my trust.

So I humble myself and take a knee for He is the one who deserves the Glory.

 

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Isaiah 2:1-8 Begin with the end in Mind

Whenever you are trying to accomplish something in life whether it is getting a degree, losing weight or starting a business people always tell you to have a picture of what the end result will be. It is having the end in mind that keeps you focused on why you are doing what you are doing in the first place. All the things you are giving up for a time along with the pain and struggles of achieving anything can only be met when you know that there is an end in mind. God, throughout scripture, continually reminds us of what the end will be and Isaiah reminds the people that a day is coming when Christ will judge the world. We all have a final destination in this world and that means that all people have to make a decision as to who they should live for as well as what should be a priority in this life. If we are to live as Christ followers in a fallen world then we have to keep the end in mind. The Prophet Isaiah was calling on people to heed this call and they did not pay attention. Let’s not be like the people in Isaiah’s day and ignore the warnings from God.

Isaiah 2:1- 4 The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it, and many peoples shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.

1)   The End will include all nations

God will one day transform the world by His presence and it will include people from all walks of life. One of the things that separates the God of Christianity from all other gods is that God is relational. From the beginning of Genesis to all of eternity God reveals Himself as personally involved in the life of His creation. If you study other religions you will see that the Eastern religions do not have you ending with a personal relationship with God and even Islam does not believe you will be with Allah.

The fact that other nations would be with God for all eternity was a shocking statement to the people as they thought that they had a special relationship with God that no one else would enjoy.

Our focus should always be for the entire world and not just the little section we live in. Americans tend to think “Americany” meaning that the rest of the world is seen by our world view. We need to have a global mindset that God is doing things worldwide to reach people and bring them into a relationship with Himself. (John 3:16) Jesus words must be kept in front of us as His disciples that we should care for every nation and our concern should be for all people no matter what color they are or language they speak.

Matthew 28:19-20  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] 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.”

Isaiah is showing them that in the future that these nations, that they thought would be separated from God, would actually be the ones who are listening to His commands and worshiping Him. Isaiah goes on to tell them that one day even the people they  have been to war with will one day put away their weapons and live at peace with each other at the throne of God. This does not mean that everyone is saved because only those who give their lives to Christ can be saved. (Acts 16:31)

Revelation 5:9 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation,

Isaiah 2:5 O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord

2)   The End should change our behavior

If you want to get in shape physically you have to make changes in your diet and exercise. If you want to get a degree you have to change your study habits and priorities because whatever your end goal is it will require actions you need to do and some that you need to stop doing. God is showing us the end and what our priorities should be so we do not waste our lives on unimportant things.

“My Today determines My Tomorrow” Dr. Jay Strack.

Everyone has a world view and a Christian’s world view tells us how we got here, what our purpose is and where we are going after we die. Because we know we will see God when we die we live in a way that is pleasing to Him. To walk “in the light of the Lord” meant that you would obey His commands. Do you live each day as if it matters to the Lord? If not you may be living a life that you will regret one day as you stand before God and realize how many things were not important to Him.

I am speaking mainly to people who are Christ followers because those who are not the wrath of God remains on them and they will be separated from Him forever. (John 3:36) For those who do not know the Lord their destiny is separation from God but for those of us who live for the Lord there will be rewards for the things we have done while on earth.

1 Corinthians 3:12-15 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13 each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

The Foundation is Christ and there is no other way we can stand before God by our own good works. (Ephesians 2:8-9) As people that have been made right with God through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ we are going to be judged on what we did after we have been given a new life. God is a gracious and loving Father and He not only gives us eternal life that we do not deserve but He is also going to give us rewards for the things we did for His Glory. These rewards will be with us for all eternity but the only things that will last are the things that pass through God’s flames of judgement. To make sure we are clear this is not about salvation but about what God will reward us with when we sacrifice things in this life.

What will God judge?  Our thoughts will be judged (Hebrews 4:12-13) our words will be judged (Matthew 12:36; Luke 12:2) and our motives will be judged (1 Corinthians 4:3-5)

What will God reward? Matthew 6 says that we will be rewarded for praying and fasting. Matthew 19 says that we will be paid back one hundred times for the things we gave up on earth. Matthew 25 talks about how Christ will reward us for what we have done. Everything we do is made acceptable through Christ but He will still reward us for the things done in the body. (2 Corinthians 5:10)

Isaiah 2:6- For you have rejected your people, the house of Jacob, because they are full of things from the east and of fortune-tellers like the Philistines, and they strike hands with the children of foreigners. Their land is filled with silver and gold, and there is no end to their treasures; their land is filled with horses, and there is no end to their chariots. Their land is filled with idols; they bow down to the work of their hands, to what their own fingers have made.

3)   The End will not be as some had hoped

Isaiah began by promising the people the good things that will happen at the end but then he turned to show them that they are not living in a way to say they believe this to be true. Isaiah says, “You have rejected your people” Why would God reject people that are making sacrifices to Him and worshiping Him at the Temple? Their worship was a combination of how God told them to worship along with the pagan practices from other religions. (2:6) They focused on and depended on their wealth instead of focusing and depending on God (2:7) They relied on the security of a Large Army instead of trusting in God (2:7) They Worshiped Idols instead of God alone (2:8)

The mixing in of other religious practices into their worship was corrupting their worship but the same thing is happening in American churches.

“Over the past 20 years we have seen the nation’s theological views slowly become less aligned with the Bible. Americans still revere the Bible and like to think of themselves as Bible-believing people, but the evidence suggests otherwise. Christians have increasingly been adopting spiritual views that come from Islam, Wicca, secular humanism, the eastern religions and other sources. Because we remain a largely Bible-illiterate society, few are alarmed or even aware of the slide toward syncretism – a belief system that blindly combines beliefs from many different faith perspectives.” (George Barna from Barna.com)

Just like the people in Isaiah’s day we are seeing more and more American Christians allow other religions to become a part of what they believe and part of their worship. Because they do not know Gods word their worship is corrupted and worthless.

Deuteronomy 18:10-12 There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering,[a] anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer 11 or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, 12 for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. And because of these abominations the Lord your God is driving them out before you.

Wanting to know the future is tempting but the reality is if we knew the future we would not rely on God. God is a relational God and He wants His children to walk and talk with Him daily. When we try and figure things out on our own we are telling God that we do not trust Him with our future. What God finds acceptable in a Christians life can only be pleasing to God when we walk by faith. (Hebrews 11:6) Our need to be god of our lives and in control of our circumstances tempts us to look to other things to control our environment and future.

They were focused on their wealth.  Because of their wealth and the blessings of God they no longer looked to God for their provisions.  In America there is a tendency for even Christians to worry more about the things of this world rather than trusting God with our daily needs. We need to make sure we depend on the Giver and not the gifts that we think we can obtain without God.

Deuteronomy 8:10-14 When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. 11 Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. 12 Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, 13 and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, 14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

The word Idol means nothing or worthless. In America we bow down to many worthless things like Sports, Cars, and Houses that can become Idols when we think by them we will have an abundant life. The Abundant Life (John 10:10) is not found in those things because they will not last but we spend a lot of time, energy and we sacrifice ourselves for them. You may not see them as an idol because you only concept of idol is something you worship but if you cannot give up the gifts of God then it has become an idol in your life. Mark 10 tells of a rich young man who would not part with his wealth because he thought that was the thing that would give him life. When asked to give it up and follow Jesus he simply walked away sad. His idol was his wealth and he did everything he could to keep it. Most of the things we make idols are perishable things yet we continue to bow down to them and worship them thinking they will bring us significance.

Matthew 16:26  For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?

Every generation has difficulty fully trusting in God for every area of their lives but God is calling us to put our hope and trust in Him not just for salvation but our daily needs as well. We can trust in God because He already knows the end and we can trust Him to work in and through our lives to accomplish things that go beyond our understanding. Live with the end in mind and let it change your life and your priorities. What have you made an idol that you worship more than God? Do you believe God is going to reward you for the things you have done on the earth? When you put your trust and hope in Him you will see that the things of this world will one day be gone but the things we do for Him and for His glory will last forever.

 

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