Isaiah 33:14-16 Sinners Challenged

The people of God were only walking through the motions with their religious festivals and worship and it had no impact on their lives the rest of the week. In Isaiah 33:13 God wants those who are far off to hear about what He has done for His people and how God is in control of all the circumstances in their lives and God does this is so that they can know Him and have a relationship with Him. God wants us to learn to trust Him in our daily lives simply so that others will know that He is God by how we live. The people will see that when God acts, He is not someone to be taken lightly and it will strike fear into God’s enemies and into His people. There is a part of God that many do not like to talk about, but it is part of who He is because when God acts in Anger it is for a purpose to stop evil and to get the attention of His children.

Isaiah 33:14 The sinners in Zion are afraid; trembling has seized the godless: “Who among us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who among us can dwell with everlasting burnings?”

  1. The Fear we should have

“Sinners have become terrified in Zion, Trembling has seized the godless”, because of God’s actions toward sin. One of the things we are taught is that there is no reason to fear God but to fear God as a child of God means we have a reverential awe of who He is. Although God is loving and kind, He still is God and He is not to be taken lightly. Sin is simply missing the Mark and the godless are those who defame the name of God by ignoring the standards that God has set. When we ignore Gods laws, we are ignoring God because God’s laws come from who God is.

The people are terrified and frozen as they recognize Gods wrath. The wrath of God is not something that we talk about and even the famous sermon by Jonathan Edwards “Sinners in the hands of an angry God” has been rewritten by Brian Zahnd who wrote “sinners in the hands of a loving God” because he could no longer look at God as a God of wrath. Because of our wrong view of God, we have the wrong view of sin and so we do not conduct our lives in the manner that we should.

 Hebrews 12:29 says that God is a consuming fire and 1 Timothy 6:16 says He is an unapproachable light because we need to know that not everyone will be able to step into the presence of God. God showed Himself as fire when He spoke to Moses (Exodus 3:2) and He appeared as a pillar of fire as He led the children through the desert. (Exodus 13:21-22) The seraphim covered their faces in Isaiah 6 as did Moses in Exodus 3. Paul went blind on the road to Damascus when confronted with the Lord (Acts 9) and the Apostle John fell over as if dead when he saw the Lord (Revelation 1:17) Our view of God is not what it should be and therefore our view of sin is not what it should be and we will not fully understand this on this side of Heaven but one day we will see God face to face and fully understand the wrath and power of God. (1 Corinthians 13:12)

Romans 2: 4-5 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.

The people in Isaiah’s day were ignoring the warnings of the prophet Isaiah because they still went to the temple to worship and because they  were known as the people of God they thought their status as God’s chosen protected them from God’s wrath.

The people when realizing the power of God ask the right question which was “Who among us can be in the presence of God?” It is arrogant of us to think that we can just be in the presence of God by our own terms and that our lives are good enough without having to be Holy. Hebrews 12:14says that without Holiness no one will see the Lord and the only way we can be Holy is to be made Holy through Jesus Christ.  Is God love? Yes, and in His love, He gave us a way to escape His wrath and to become holy and acceptable to be in His presence.

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

In Isaiah’s day people were finally starting to understand what it meant to live in the presence of a Holy God and because of that they realized that to be in a relationship with God meant that their daily lifestyles would change. Isaiah now shows them what they should be seeing in their lives as a result of their relationship with God because if they had a relationship with God then it should begin to show in the life that they lived. (Galatians 5:22-23)

Isaiah 33:15 He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly, who despises the gain of oppressions, who shakes his hands, lest they hold a bribe, who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed and shuts his eyes from looking on evil,

  • The Fruit we should produce

Some believe that in Psalm 15 and 24 that the Priest would ask these questions to make sure people would be worthy to enter the Temple. It was more instructional than keeping people out, but it was a reminder that the presence of God was not to be taken lightly.

Psalm 15:1-5 O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill?

He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart;
who does not slander with his tongue  and does no evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend; in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the
Lord; who swears to his own hurt and does not change; who does not put out his money at interest and does not take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved.

What if we started off worship with some questions to be pondered about our lives before we worshiped God? Did you do what was right this week? Did you speak the truth this week? Did you slander anyone this week? Did you hurt a friend this week? Did you have dishonest gain financially this week? We know we cannot attain this Holiness on our own it has to be done to us from God, but we should begin to desire the things that God desires if we truly have a relationship with Him. The entire story of Christianity that Christ died on our behalf so that we can be made Holy.

2 Corinthians 5:21  For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Because we have been made into something we were not, and we could not achieve then we should work on becoming what we have already been made into. Outward results show true inward change because as Jesus said “A good tree will produce Good fruit. (Luke 6:43-45) Verse 15 shows what kind of person can be in the presence of God and these are also things that should be developing in our lives.

  1. Walks in Righteousness

Every part of your life is characterized by the righteousness you have received from Christ. To walk in Righteousness means the paths you walk down in your daily life. It is how we conduct our lives in our daily activities not just when we attend church services or Christian events. Therefore, we are called to not forsake the gathering of believers so that we may encourage and rebuke each other when our lives are not lived righteously. Matthew 18 not only gives instruction on how to address someone in sin but also says we should treat them as an unbeliever if they do not change. 2 Thessalonians 3: 14-15 says not to associate with believers who are not living for the standards of Christ not as an enemy but so they will be ashamed.

Ephesians 4:17-24 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 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.

  • Speaks Truth

There is no distortion of truth with this person because they are straightforward with what they are saying and what they mean. In Matthew 5:37 Jesus said we should just say Yes or No and not have any confusion in our speech.

Ephesians 4:25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.

  • Does not get involved with shady business practices

Gain that takes advantage of others and bribery are not part of who this person is. They would shake hands so tightly that it would show others there was nothing passing secretly between them to show honesty in their transactions. Christians should be known for their honest dealings with their business where there is no under the table deals taking place.

  • Does not look or listen to evil

“Stops his ears and shuts his eyes. “This person wants nothing to do with evil whatsoever and will not participate even in discussions of those who are engaged in evil discussions.

The sinners who are being confronted by Isaiah are God’s people and they are in tune to what Isaiah is now saying because they see God at work and they are terrified. We all should have a healthy respect for God for who He is and what He wants us to do and God wants us to know that there is a benefit for sinners who change their ways.

Isaiah 33:16 he will dwell on the heights; his place of defense will be the fortresses of rocks; his bread will be given him; his water will be sure.

  • The Rewards we will receive

Living a righteous life is rewarded not only in the life to come but in this life by keeping the enemy from destroying one’s life.

  1. Protection from the Enemy

“His refuge will be a rocky refuge” The idea is that the city was in a place that made it difficult if not impossible for the enemy to attack and destroy. When we live the way, God asks us to live then we are assured that the enemy will not destroy our lives. 1 Peter 5:8 says Satan is a roaring Lion looking for someone to devour or destroy.Romans 6:23 says the wages of sin is death and Ephesians 6:11 says the devil is scheming to destroy you. There is a cost to our lives, the life of our nation and the world for the sins that are committed. Marriages have been ruined, jobs have been lost, and people destroyed because of the sin they have allowed in their lives. By living a righteous life, you will be protected from the devil’s schemes. This does not mean life will not be difficult, but it does mean that you will not be destroying your own life by sin patterns that can destroy you.

  • Your Needs Met

God will graciously supply all the needs which is what the bread and water symbolized. When our wants rule us and we do not live by just what we need we rely on our own ways and tend to bend the rules and cheat to get what we want.

James 4:2  You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask.

When God set up standards for us to follow it was produced from who He is but also for our benefit.

We will always be tempted by the worlds way but Gods way leads to His glory and by living a righteous life others will see our behavior and look to God. (1 Peter 2:12)

 Psalm 24 which this and Psalm 15 were the verses that Isaiah’s message came from.

Psalm 24:1-5 The earth is the Lord‘s and the fullness thereof,[a] the world and those who dwell therein, for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers. Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob.[b]

Posted in Isaiah, Old Testament | Leave a comment

Isaiah 33:7- 13 Failure

Failure is part of the world we live in because everything around us fails us at some point. The Bible teaches we live in a fallen world and so just like we learn in science class things tend to fall apart as they get older not get stronger or evolve into something better. Our cars, our computers and our houses will fail us because all these things are part of our fallen world. The problem is that we are shocked when things fail us even though we should expect things to not last forever. Things failing us are part of our lives and Isaiah is going to tell them several things that are going to fail as they face the Assyrian army and they will realize that only God is the one who will never fail.

 Isaiah 33:7-8 Behold, their heroes cry in the streets; the envoys of peace weep bitterly. The highways lie waste, the traveler ceases. Covenants are broken; cities[b] are despised; here is no regard for man.

  1. The Failure of being Brave

“The Brave men have cried out in the streets.

We live in a world of prideful people who do not want to admit that they are weak and scared. We live with the motto “Never Let them see you sweat” or “Fake it till you make it” or as a friend of mines mom used to say to her “Put your make up on and you’ll be fine” But what happens when all your bravery is gone, and you realize life is more than you can handle on your own? The brave men who should have been the ones to show resolve are breaking down and crying in the streets along with the messengers because the diplomacy they thought they had secured has now been broken. All human avenues of relief were tried to detour the Assyrian army and have failed and now the streets were empty, and doom was certain. One of the reasons our bravery fails is because we are relying on our own strength and resolve instead of relying on God.

Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

Our bravery does not come from our abilities but from the fact that no matter where we go or what we do God is with us. We can be brave even in the face of death simply because we know that “even as we walk through the valley of death” He is with us. (Psalm 23) There are times to be brave but if we think we can be brave by our own power and without God then we will fail. If you are relying on your own bravery instead of relying on God, then you might reach a point where all your bravery fails you.

Psalm 129:18 My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word!

  • The Failure of Promises

He has despised the covenant, the cities and has no regard for people.

When treaties were made, they were made by swearing an oath to God or at least to the gods they worshiped. When the terms were broken the Assyrian King was making light of those promises to the gods and especially to Yahweh who the people of God would have made their promise to. The King had no concern for God or for the people but only what he could gain for the moment. Like many people today who make promises they find ways of justifying getting out of the promises if the promise they made is no longer beneficial for them. Jesus addressed this problem because people were making promises and yet they were coming up with a system to get out of the promise they made.

Matthew 5:33-37 Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ 34 But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil

We should be people that keep our promises but even with the best of intentions we do not control every aspect of life and so we fail to keep promises that we thought we could keep. People with the best of intentions can still fail us some intentionally and some unintentionally but none the less we can suffer consequences because of oaths that have been broken.

Isaiah 33:9 The land mourns and languishes; Lebanon is confounded and withers away; Sharon is like a desert, and Bashan and Carmel shake off their leaves.

  • The Failure of the Land

The Land mourns and is weak

When armies would invade, they would eat whatever was available and cut trees for firewood and would remove any obstacles that were in their way so the army could advance its position.

 The Assyrian military would not care for the land they were conquering, and they would destroy as much as they could to make it difficult for the surviving inhabitants. In the Hebrew mindset the fate of the people and the land are tied together with the thought being as people suffer so does the land. Isaiah says the conditions are like a desert and like winter where everything is stripped bare. The land would suffer because of the sins of the people and this is exactly what the Apostle Paul says our world is experiencing because of sin.

Romans 8:22-24 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?

Groan is the noise a person makes who is in a dreadful situation who is experiencing much pain or even close to death. Paul says the earth groans as we groan through this life waiting for God to make all things new again. (2 Peter 3:13)

Isaiah 33:10-13 Now I will arise,” says the Lord, “now I will lift myself up; now I will be exalted. 11 You conceive chaff; you give birth to stubble; your breath is a fire that will consume you. 12 And the peoples will be as if burned to lime, like thorns cut down, that are burned in the fire.” 13 Hear, you who are far off, what I have done; and you who are near, acknowledge my might.

  • The Failure will End

“Now I will arise”  One day God will say enough, and everyone will see very clearly that God is the one who is acting. The word “Now” is not an immediate intervention but shows a point in time that God will act. There was no indication to Isaiah or his audience that God was getting ready to act so they would have to accept this by faith because the situation did not seem that God was going to intervene on their behalf. The people could only put their hope in the fact that God was going to act even if He did not act the way or in the timing they were hoping for. God’s timetable is not always our timetable, but you can rest knowing that God will one day act and when He does it will be an awesome act that only He could accomplish. When God acts, He will not allow those who have been ignoring Him to continue but they will feel His wrath.

 “I will exalt myself” and “I will lift myself up” There will be universal acknowledgement of God’s authority on full display. God will defend His own name and there will be no doubt this is from God and people near and far are going to know that this was an act of God and no one else is going to get the credit besides God.

“You will be pregnant with Chaff” The Assyrian Army was a powerful military taking whatever it wanted, and they were feared by everyone except God who viewed them as Chaff. Chaff is worthless and has no value whatsoever and during harvest the farmers would toss it up in the air to have the wind blow it away. God is letting them know that all they have accomplished is garbage even though the Assyrians believed they had accomplished world dominance. Their breath is fire that will consume themselves means that what they have been doing will come back and be done to them. “Burnings of Lime” was the way to destroy and turn limestone into powder meaning only small particles remain. So all this is means is thatGod’s Anger will burn against them reducing them to nothing.

One day God is going to act but what can we do now as we wait on God? 1 Timothy gives us an answer to what we are to do while we wait on God as we see our world and the people around us failing.

1 Timothy 6:11-16 But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before[d] Pontius Pilate made the good confession, 14 to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.

At the proper time God is going to reveal Himself and when He does the entire world will know. What can we do during this time when the failure of bravery, the failure of Promises and the failure of the Land? Pursue Righteousness godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, and gentleness.

Posted in Isaiah | Leave a comment

Isaiah 33:1-6 A Cry for Help

Have you ever done all that you could do only to find out that all your wisdom and resources are not going to save you? The cry for Help is a very humbling because you cannot save yourself on your own and it is one of the reasons many people stay in bad situations. God is a God who will not allow you to continue in your sin, but He is also a God who will hear you when you cry out to Him. We will see today we need to cry out to God for help

Isaiah 33:1 Ah, you destroyer, who yourself have not been destroyed, you traitor, whom none has betrayed! When you have ceased to destroy, you will be destroyed; and when you have finished betraying, they will betray you.

  1. The Cry for help because of Evil

The theme of chapter 33 is simple: God is going to overthrow the threatening world power of the Assyrians who are threatening His children. Destroyer/ traitor/ betrayer are all words that describe what is taking place by the Assyrians as they had no mercy on those who they attacked. King Hezekiah tried to buy off the Assyrians, but the King of Assyria broke off the treaty and invaded Judah. We may not understand what it is like to be invaded by another country but we all can relate to having promises made and then broken by people whose only goal is to hurt us.

“When you have finished destroying” This does not mean that they will eventually be satisfied by what they have conquered because the Assyrians would never be satisfied with conquering. The same thing was said of Alexander the Great who was said because he had no more countries to conquer. What this does mean is that at a certain time God is going to say enough is enough to the Assyrians and God is going to stop them.

In our world it seems as though evil wins and for a time God does allow them to continue but one day God is going to destroy the destroyers.  Christians should not act like the rest of the world when it seems that people get away with doing evil but we should learn to cry out to God who will one day put a stop to all the evil in the world.

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.

God has purposes for allowing evil people to seemingly win but one thing we can be sure of is that God is not going to allow people who do not repent from their actions not be held accountable for their sins.

When you are wronged you can have peace knowing that God sees all and will judge them according to what they have done. God was using the Assyrians to punish His people who were mixing their worship of God with other religions and were living their lives by not relying on God but on their own resources. God allowed the evil Assyrians to get the attention of His people so that they would cry out to Him.

  •  

1 Peter 4:12-17 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory[b] and of God rests upon you. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?

We suffer sometimes for our own sins, but we also suffer because of the sins of others. Suffering is used by God to reveal things about you either because of sin in your life or to grow you into a deeper knowledge and relationship with God. 1 Peter says that both those who sin and those who live for Christ will suffer but it is better to suffer for living for Christ. There are people that suffered other than Isaiah for the sins of others yet even when others hurt you God uses it to reveal things in your life that you need to change.

“Suffering doesn’t so much change your heart as expose what has been in your heart all along. Difficulty has an amazing ability to reveal what is inside us. Trials reveal your true thoughts and desires, when you have been looking for life, where you have sought meaning, and where you have looked to give you hope. Suffering will always expose the true nature of your relationship and communion to God. (Suffering, Paul David Tripp, Pg 34-35)

Revelation 21 tells us that one day we will no longer have suffering but until then we need to cry out to God for help because of the evil that is in our midst. WE need to be a people who continually cry out to God with the things we see in our world that are evil knowing He is the one who will “destroy the destroyer” and make sure the “betrayer is betrayed”.

Isaiah 33:2 O Lord, be gracious to us; we wait for you. Be our arm every morning, our salvation in the time of trouble.

  • The Cry for Help for Strength

“Be our strength every morning” The morning is when the enemy would normally attack and so they knew they needed God’s Help every morning. 1 Peter 5:8 says that Satan is like a roaring lion, yet we do not live our lives as if there is an enemy who is out to destroy us every day. We should cry out to God every morning knowing our enemy is out to destroy us. God does not promise to take away our pain and suffering but He does promise to strengthen us through it. Philippians 4:13.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength; Isaiah 40:29.  He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak; Psalm 119:28.  My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word; Ephesians 6:10.  Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.

Have you ever said “ I can’t do this”? Then you are exactly where you are supposed to be as a child of God. We are to totally rely on Him for strength in every situation we face.  This goes against our prideful American mentality, but we should be calling out to God every morning for the strength to do what He has called us to do.

In John 16 Jesus is preparing His disciples for the difficulties that are going to come their way. He encourages them that even through the most difficult parts of life that He is sending His Holy Spirit to them to strengthen and guide them.

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

It is not my strength but His strength. It is not my power but His power. We need to start off every morning and not so much asking for our circumstances to change but for God to give us the power and the strength to walk through them.

  • The Cry for Help for Salvation

“Yahweh be gracious to us” Why is crying out to God our last resort instead of our first response? In their desperate circumstances they finally cried out to God for salvation. Grace is the unmerited intervention of God that only He could provide. This is how salvation from sin is supposed to work but so many people are just like the people in Isaiah’s day that think they can buy or defend their own salvation efforts. What many people do not realize is that the enemy is not something we can conquer on our own but only through the Grace of God.

“We wait for you” This is the most difficult part because waiting on God means that we must wait on His timing and His plan. Sometimes what God does make no sense to us but as we wait for Him we can trust that He knows best.

“Our Salvation in time of trouble”  The people expect complete deliverance because they know that there is no one else that can save them.

Acts 4:12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men[c] by which we must be saved.”

Isaiah 33:3-4 At the tumultuous noise peoples flee; when you lift yourself up, nations are scattered, and your spoil is gathered as the caterpillar gathers; as locusts leap, it is leapt upon.

The People Flee

God will move and it will cause confusion among the enemy that will cause the people to go into a panic and run away. Thunder is associated with the voice of God (1 Samuel 2:10; 7:10; Job 37:4-5; 40:9; Psalm 18:13) and like a swarm of locust that devours the entire harvest so will all the things stolen by the Assyrian army be taken from them after they are defeated. Everything the enemy has stolen from God’s people will be taken back and one day we can rest assured that one day God will make everything right again.

33:5-6 The Lord is exalted, for he dwells on high; he will fill Zion with justice and righteousness,
and he will be the stability of your times, abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge;  the fear of the Lord is Zion’s[a] treasure.

  • The Cry for Help brings Glory to God

“Yahweh is exalted “He dwells on high” and the sovereignty of God is will be on full display. When we cry for help to God others will see that God is the one who is our helper and it will take away any credit, we can give ourselves and have people focus their attention on God.

He demonstrates Justice and Righteousness: God will be the one who will take care of all the wrongs that have been done. This is difficult for me as I want to handle things myself and pay back those who have hurt me or my family.

Romans 12:17-19 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it[i] to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”

When we allow ourselves to be wronged and wait on God to make it right then He will get the credit and do a much better job than we ever could. He demonstrates Security or stability which refers to His faithfulness. When we seek stability from the world, we will always be disappointed but when we rely on God no matter what we are going through we can rest knowing that His faithfulness and not my circumstances is what I am relying on.

“A Store house of Salvation, wisdom and knowledge.” God not only has the ability for salvation but also He is the one we should seek for wisdom and knowledge. God will give them a new world view that will change forever how they see things. No matter what you are going through and even though it may look as if God is not involved do not give up because God is going to act.  From the human perspective it looked out of control and helpless but from the divine perspective God was fulfilling His purposes.

“The Fear of the Lord is Zions treasure” The people will show reverence to God in every area of their lives by how they worship and how they live.

A cry for help is really trusting in God rather than trusting in your own resources. God’s children had to learn to trust Him in all circumstances even when the situation looked impossible and we need to do the same.  The things of this world will let you down, but you can still call on God even when you rejected Him at first and tried to do it your own way. Even though we dishonor God by not turning to Him first He still accepts our cry for help.

Posted in Isaiah | Leave a comment

Isaiah 32:9-20 Spiritually Complacent

Our day in and day out activities can cause us to get spiritually complacent as we have meetings, appointments, responsibilities, and troubles. Like the people Isaiah was dealing with we can allow our own wisdom and strategies to forget the spiritual side of life as we make decisions and we will put our trust in men and horses instead of God. The seen things in our life tend to take our focus more than the unseen things of life and because of that we grow cold spiritually.  Today we are going to see those who are spiritually complacent, and the advice Isaiah gave them to become spiritually renewed.

Isaiah 32:9-14 Rise up, you women who are at ease, hear my voice; you complacent daughters, give ear to my speech. 10 In little more than a year you will shudder, you complacent women; for the grape harvest fails, the fruit harvest will not come. 11 Tremble, you women who are at ease, shudder, you complacent ones; strip, and make yourselves bare, and tie sackcloth around your waist. 12 Beat your breasts for the pleasant fields, for the fruitful vine, 13 for the soil of my people growing up in thorns and briers, yes, for all the joyous houses in the exultant city. 14 For the palace is forsaken, the populous city deserted; the hill and the watchtower will become dens forever, a joy of wild donkeys,  a pasture of flocks;

Complacent: marked by self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies

  1. Choose who you are going to listen to.

Stand Up or Rise Up and Listen to me , Pay Attention (9)

They needed to take urgent action but instead they were complacent and confident in what they believed because they were listening to the wrong people. They were paying attention to what others were saying more than what God was saying and it was causing them to grow cold spiritually. Because people in our lives are visible, we tend to listen to them rather than listen to God but by doing that we do not see the dangers of ignoring God.

Galatians 6:7 says whatever one reaps he will sow but many times we think that our sin habits have no consequences, but they are really going to reap a harvest that we do not want to experience. Isaiah was pleading with the people and now he addresses a group of women who are being led astray by the king’s advisors. These women thought they could continue to live the way they were living because people told them their lifestyle was not going against God. Isaiah called those advising the King scoundrels and fools and so not only is the King being led astray so are many of the people.

In Matthew 7:15 Jesus tells us to be aware of false prophets because there are many teachers in churches who are not calling sin what God calls sin and many people are going to be destroyed by their lies.  A bad situation was being made to look good and as though the plan they had would work but Isaiah is trying to warn them that the lies they believe are going to lead to their destruction.

2 Timothy 4:3-4 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound[a] teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

Isaiah calls them “Overconfident Daughters” because they were sincerely wrong about the choices they were making. People do not mean to throw their lives away and sometimes the paths they are led down they really believe they are for their own good. Isaiah has already laid out to them several times the devastation that is coming because of the rebelliousness of God’s people but the women decided to listen to false counsel instead.  Even though these women were not listening that did not keep Isaiah from trying to convince them.

Galatians 6:1  Brothers,[a] if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.

How do you address other Christians living an obvious life of sin? Do you ignore it and say it is none of your business? Are you mean to them? Talk about them but not too them? The book of Galatians says the word “caught” which means not only they have been found out they are also caught meaning like a snare and need help being released.  James 1:14 says that we are lured into sin because it draws you out and then hooks you taking you were you do not want to go. Make no mistake Satan is using people, some being pastors, to lure people into sin which will destroy their lives.

  • Take the Consequences of Sin Seriously

Shudder and Tremble (11)

The judgment that was coming was going to be devastating but because they were complacent, they did not realize the pain and sorrow they would experience. Isaiah describes the pain by saying “The Ground of my people will grow thorns and briers “(13) and “The Palace will be deserted, and the city abandoned” (14)

Romans 6:23 says, “the wages of sin is death” and sin has caused us to die spiritually but it also can cause us to die in other areas of our lives. Marriages, job opportunities, family have all been destroyed because of sin. The problem with sin is that it never satisfies as Jeremiah 2:13 says sin is like a broken cistern that cannot hold water. People think that sin will give them what they long for but it will never satisfy what only God can fill. It is as we continue to seek other things instead of going to God that we will destroy our lives.

  • Humble Yourself before God

Strip yourselves bare (11)

Some say this is a call to humble yourselves while others say this is what invading militaries do to their captives because they would strip them of their clothes and march them back to their own city. If you take both meanings, then you can say you can humble yourself or you will be humbled.

James 4:7-10 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.

People who are so set in their ways will not respond to warnings regarding the unseen and they will live their life as if there are no consequences to ignoring God. People do not want to hear about Hell, which is the ultimate consequence of ignoring God and so they surround themselves with people who do not discuss it or who teach a false theology about it.

1 Corinthians 1:18-21  For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach[b] to save those who believe.

Isaiah 32: 15-20 until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is deemed a forest. 16 Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness abide in the fruitful field. 17 And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust[a] forever. 18 My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places. 19 And it will hail when the forest falls down, and the city will be utterly laid low. 20 Happy are you who sow beside all waters, who let the feet of the ox and the donkey range free.

  • Be filled with God’s Spirit

Until the Spirit is Poured out

Acts 2:38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

In Acts 10 they were baptized after they received the Holy Spirit because the Holy spirit comes into anyone who receives the gift of Jesus Christ.

Although Isaiah knows that many of the people will suffer and the land will be devastated, he also shows what will happen afterwards when God restores all things. The people were trusting in their own works, but it is the Spirit of God that gives life and security and puts us back in a right relationship with God. The only way we can change is by humbling ourselves before God and having Him put His spirit in us.

Romans 5:3-5 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Ezekiel 36:27 says God will put His spirit in us to help us obey His rules because it is not something we can do by our own strength. Some say when the Apostle Paul wrote the book of Galatians that he had Isaiah 32 and Isaiah 57 as a reference.

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.

The fruit of the spirit is what the Spirit produces in us because the Spirit of God is placed in us. We want to control so much of our lives that we even try and control God and yet it is because of His love for us that He reaches out to us even when we are in our sin. (Romans 5:8) John 7:37-39 says God’s Spirit is like a constant flowing river and righteousness will be the effect it has on us.

What is the Holy Spirit?

  1. The Holy Spirit is a Person (Matthew 28:19; John 14:14; 2 Corinthians 13:4)
  2. The Holy Spirit is God (Acts5:3-4)
  3. The Holy Spirit is Eternal and Holy (John 14:16;
  4. The Holy Spirit prays for us (Romans 8:27)
  5. The Holy Spirit has emotions (Ephesians 4:30)
  6. The Holy Spirit gives gifts (1 Corinthians 12:11)

Then justice and Righteousness and the result is peace (16-17)

True peace happens when we are at peace with God not because our lives are perfect.

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

God will be the one who will take your life of complacency and turn it into a fruitful productive and the result will be peace which is a peace that God gives and so it goes beyond all understanding.

So, what do we do if we find ourselves Spiritually complacent? Listen to Gods word, take sin seriously, humble yourself before God and cry out to Him that His spirit will strengthen and guide you.

Posted in Isaiah, Old Testament, The Holy Spirit | Leave a comment

Isaiah 32:1- 8 Wise vs Foolish Leaders

Leadership is something we all know when it is good or bad but many of us do not know that God has called us all to be wise leaders in whatever situation of life, He has placed us in. We think being a leader means holding a position of power, being the boss or the head of a company, but leadership is about influence and how we influence those God has placed around us.

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. And, if ever this world needed leaders, it is now.” (Spiritual Leadership, Henry and Richard Blackaby)

With that definition we are all called to be leaders and we need to know what it means to lead and in this passage of scripture Isaiah is going to contrast the leaders of his day with a leader that is to come who of course will be the perfect leader because He is God in the flesh, Jesus Christ. But we all can learn about Him and we can make sure that the leadership model we follow is the Jesus Himself.

Isaiah 32:1 Behold, a king will reign in righteousness, and princes will rule in justice.

  1. Wise Leaders are Righteous and Just

Behold or Indeed is drawing their attention away from their current situation and looking forward to a King who will reign, not as the worldly kings have reigned, but one that will reign like no other. There is some confusion if this is about Jesus and His reign or another king like Hezekiah or Josiah who although imperfectly, reigned with justice but I believe it is talking about Jesus Himself.  A king was called to reign with Justice and Righteousness but that is not what the people are experiencing and so Isaiah is looking forward to a day when all that rule will do so with righteousness and Justice.

To be “Righteous” means acting with a Divine moral code and to be “Just” means applying the Divine moral code in decision making. Righteous and acting Justly go together because as one thinks and rules correctly the decisions will result in the correct actions.  A wise leader knows that the things they consider right and wrong do not come from their own thinking but from God who has established right and wrong.

“Society longs for statesmen, but it generally receives politicians. Statesmen are leaders who uphold what is right regardless of the effect on their popularity.” (Spiritual Leadership, Henry and Richard Blackaby Pg 11 )

Proverbs 10:9 Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.

Christians should be found blameless in how they lead, In how we treat people, how we handle money, and how we broker deals should all be done with the mindset that you can hold up your business practices to God with a clean conscience. It is easy to be swayed to do something wrong either by peer pressure or financial gain, but a wise leader does not look at their physical or financial position as a mark as to why they do what they do. Righteous leaders always live with God in mind wanting to always bring Him Glory in how they live and work.

1 Corinthians 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Are you known as being a leader who leads by a divine moral code?

Can you say you do all that you do for the glory of God?

Isaiah 32:2 Each will be like a hiding place from the wind, a shelter from the storm, like streams of water in a dry place, like the shade of a great rock in a weary land.

  • Wise leaders protect and provide for their people.

Refuge from wind and rain. Wind and Rain are foes and a good leader will be a shelter for people to run to for protection. One thing we all can provide is a safe place for the people in our lives to come and find shelter from the storms of life. A caring leader will do what they can to make sure that the people can be protected from the elements of life.

Flowing streams and shade is how a good leader is described in a world that is leaving people dry and thirsty. A good leader will realize that the people need to be not only protected from the elements but nourished so they can continue in this life that can leave them dry and we do this by meeting their needs. In Mark 1:40-42 Jesus touched the leper then healed him simply because he had not been touched for a long time. Jesus knew the Leper needed to be healed but Jesus also knew that the leper went a long time without any physical contact from anyone. In John 8:1-11 Jesus protected the woman caught in adultery when the religious leaders were trying to stone her by pointing out their own faults showing them they did not have the right to destroy her because they were no better than she was. In Matthew 21: 12-17 Jesus cleansed the temple of the religious leaders who were exploiting the people and then He healed the blind and the lame. Leaders step up when there is injustice and they use their power to protect the weak and those who are being taken advantage of. It is easy to avoid the problems (wind and rain) but there are times we are called to protect and provide for our people by shielding them from the storms of life as much as we can.

Isaiah 32:3 -4 Then the eyes of those who see will not be closed, and the ears of those who hear will give attention. The heart of the hasty will understand and know, and the tongue of the stammers will hasten to speak distinctly.

  • Wise Leaders lead people to spiritual renewal

Matthew 13:15 For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes  and hear with their ears
and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’

The spiritual renewal in the people that follow the wise leader will be evident in what they see, hear, understand and speak because the wise leader will help the people to be in tune to what God is saying.

The reckless Mind or rash mind are those who always have something to say but their speech does not have any substance. The Stammer’s are those who could not communicate spiritual truth effectively but now they can because God will work powerfully in their lives.

“Spiritual leaders do not use their people to achieve their ends; their people are the end.” (Spiritual Leadership” (Spiritual Leadership, Henry and Richard Blackaby Pg. 122)

Our goal is that everyone God has placed in our lives comes to a saving knowledge of Christ and as Christians we are to have a bigger purpose for the people God has placed in our lives than to just live in harmony with them. God has called us to help people become spiritually renewed by telling them about Jesus Christ and how He is the only way back into a relationship with God. Pray for those God has placed in your life that your impact may be more than being a good leader, friend, or family member but that God may use you to bring about spiritual renewal in their lives.

Isaiah 32:5 The fool will no more be called noble, nor the scoundrel said to be honorable.

  • Foolish Leaders seek their own gain

The foolish leader will be exposed for what he really is and that is one who only cares about fooling and manipulating the people for his own selfish gain. A foolish leader comes across as having the appearance of caring but will be finally seen for who they are and that is selfish and crafty people who plan things for their own benefit. In Isaiah 56:11 Isaiah says that these people are like dogs with an appetite that can never be filled because they are never satisfied with what they have or what they can attain.

Luke 22:25-26 And he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. 26 But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves.

Isaiah 32:6 -7 For the fool speaks folly, and his heart is busy with iniquity, to practice ungodliness,
to utter error concerning the Lord, to leave the craving of the hungry unsatisfied, and to deprive the thirsty of drink. As for the scoundrel—his devices are evil; he plans wicked schemes to ruin the poor with lying words, even when the plea of the needy is right.

  • Foolish Leaders Reject the ways of God.

These leaders were rejecting the instruction of God thinking that it would benefit them but it was really going to destroy them.  They were scheming and breaking the law for their own benefit.

Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

It is easy to criticize the people in Isaiah’s day for not listening to God but how many times do we ignore what God has already said for our own gain? When you are making decisions do you seek God’s word first? Do you Utter error concerning Yahweh by distorting the revelation of God and by spreading lies and misconceived ideas about God? Not only is the foolish leader ignoring the needs of those he is leading, he exploits them to use them for his own benefit and gain by twisting God’s word.  Even when the needy point out where he is wrong, he continues to exploit them for his own gain. In Isaiah 28:7-10 the prophets did not teach what God was saying and in Isaiah 28:14-15 they made alliances with foreign nations rather than seeking God. They truly did not care about the pain they were causing others if they benefited from what they were doing.

Isaiah 32:8 But he who is noble plans noble things, and on noble things he stands.

  • Wise Leaders are Generous

Noble: someone who is generous and large hearted. A wise Leader will plan on how to be more generous which is the opposite of the Foolish leaders who crafted plans to benefit themselves. A wise leader ask, “How can I figure out a way to give more of my time and money to good causes instead of just spending my time and money on myself? What gets planned gets done and Wise leaders know they are there for the benefit of others not others for the benefit of themselves.

2 Corinthians 9:6-7 The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully[a] will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

Proverbs 29:2 When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan.

Our nation and our world need more wise leaders and as easy as it is to criticize how people in leadership positions are doing, we need to look at how we are leading in the areas God has placed us. Are you leading as a wise leader who cares about the wellbeing of others and the truth about who God is or only about your own selfish desires? We all have influence in our homes, work, neighborhoods and we need to be the ones who plan to be more generous with our time, money and other resources and be the wise leaders God has called us to be.

Posted in Isaiah, Leadership | Leave a comment

Isaiah 31 Focus on the Unseen

The things in our lives can consume our minds and cause us to focus on them instead of focusing on God. This is exactly what the people of God were going through as they were told to put their trust in God while watching an army approach them that could destroy them. Many times, we make what is seen, bigger than God and so we must make sure that we focus on God and who He is rather than on the circumstances we are facing.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self[d] is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

Isaiah wanted to get their attention and remind them of who God is and to focus more on the eternal and the unseen things instead of making the things we can see bigger than God.

Isaiah 31:1-4 Woe[a] to those who go down to Egypt for help and rely on horses, who trust in chariots because they are many and in horsemen because they are very strong but do not look to the Holy One of Israel or consult the Lord! And yet he is wise and brings disaster; he does not call back his words but will arise against the house of the evildoers and against the helpers of those who work iniquity. The Egyptians are man, and not God, and their horses are flesh, and not spirit. When the Lord stretches out his hand, the helper will stumble, and he who is helped will fall, and they will all perish together. For thus the Lord said to me, “As a lion or a young lion growls over his prey, and when a band of shepherds is called out against him he is not terrified by their shouting or daunted at their noise, so the Lord of hosts will come down to fight[b] on Mount Zion and on its hill.

  1. God is Wise

“He also is wise” The people who were making the decisions for the country thought that they were wise and so Isaiah reminds them that God is wise, and He is the one who should be sought for advice. In the past a priest or prophet would seek God to see if this were a war they should get involved with. (1 Samuel 23; 2 Samuel 5; 1 Kings 22) The people should have known that it always lead to failure when the people of God did not seek God. (Joshua 9:14; 1 Chronicles 10:13-14)

Many times we rely on our own wisdom or the wisdom of the world rather than turning to God. Their wisdom was going to bring disaster upon their nation because they were going down to Egypt and relying on the military might of Egypt to save them. This is the fifth warning that Isaiah is giving them trying to get them to stop putting their faith in worldly wisdom and turn to God.

Egypt was known for their fighting chariots, but the chariots would not have worked in the mountainous areas of Judah. They were willing to sacrifice a lot of time and money bargaining with Egypt for help, but they were not willing to spend time pleading with God about their situation in prayer. They were also ignoring the scriptures that talked about not relying on a foreign power (Deuteronomy 17:16; Psalm 20:7; Proverbs 21:31)

We spend so much time and money trying to do things by our own wisdom and power instead of going to God and taking the time and effort to seek His wisdom.  We lose sleep, we become stressed and anxious because we do not go to God

Philippians 4:5-6 Let your reasonableness[a] be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

He does not go back on what He says” Have you ever decided on something and then you realized that you made the wrong decision? God is not that way because whatever decision He makes it is the correct. When we seek God, we can know that God will guide us to the right decision because He does not make mistakes.

2) God will punish Evil

“Rise up against the house of the wicked, and the allies of evildoers.” Sometimes it feels in our world that those who commit evil do not get punished but God will rise and act. God’s punishment was not just for the Assyrians because He was also going to punish those who helped them which included those in Judah.

“Egyptians are men, not God, their horses are flesh, not spirit” No one can stand up to God although they may arrogantly think they can and God compares Himself as a lion growling over his prey.God is now compared to a lion that cannot be chased away by the shepherds because He is not scared by them

God is viewed as a roaring lion (Jeremiah 49:19 50:49; Hosea 5:14; 11:10; 13:7; Amos 1:2; 3:8) The picture is still that God is coming to fight His enemies and destroy them.

Yahweh of Host or Lord of Armies WE forget that in the unseen there are a Host of angels at God’s disposal.

2 kings 6:15-17 When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” 16 He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17 Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

We must be careful that we do not become infatuated with angels and we especially should not pray or worship angels but remember they are at God’s disposal for His purposes. God is the one who has command over all of them even though they themselves are great and mighty creatures. Our prayers should always be directed to God directly and not to the creations He created. Ephesians 6:10-20 reminds us that we are in a spiritual battle with the unseen every day and we need to prepare for it.

Isaiah 31:5 Like birds hovering, so the Lord of hosts will protect Jerusalem; he will protect and deliver it; he will spare and rescue it.”

3) God is my protector

The protection of God is compared to birds that fly over bringing a shield to anything that tries to come in and harm their young chicks. The language is feminine and so it shows the motherly care of God and how He will compassionately save His people. We pray to God as Father because that is how Jesus taught us to pray (Matthew 6:9)  so do not get wrapped up in the movement that says God is woman because God is Spirit (John 4:24) and both male and female are created in His image. When they heard the word “Passover” they would immediately think of the Passover where God’s protection protected them from the death angel that God sent to Egypt. The Passover would also remind themthat they are seeking help in the wrong place by reminding them of what God did in the past to Egypt and how they should not return to them for help. (Exodus 12)

Hebrews 13:6 So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can  man do to me?”

Isaiah 31:6-7 Turn to him from whom people[c] have deeply revolted, O children of Israel. For in that day everyone shall cast away his idols of silver and his idols of gold, which your hands have sinfully made for you.

4) God is a Forgiver

“Return to the One you have rebelled against” Isaiah is saying God is wise, He will punish evil and He will protect you so you should turn back to Him and ask for forgiveness. This was an urgency to repent because time was running out. Remember this is their fifth warning about the judgment to come and yet God is still asking them to repent from their rebelliousness.Repent is just turning around or returning to God.  

“They had deeply or greatly revolted” We all have deeply or greatly revolted against God by our sin but many people do not see it that way. They do not see themselves as the prodigal son who has rebelled against his father by wishing he were dead, taking his inheritance and squandering it all.

They were rejecting God as their Father and as their King. We have to remember these were people that were still worshiping God and doing the festivals, but they had mixed in other religions and ran to other idols for things they should have been going to God for.

“For on that day you will Reject the Gold idols your hands have made” Our Idols will always seem ridiculous when we compare them to God and who He is. Idols will always leave you empty just as the prophet Jeremiah (2:13) said that they committed two sins in that they left God and went to things that could not satisfy. Our idols always leave us longing for more and that is why whatever you fill your life with besides God will leave you wanting more. Yes, it will satisfy for a time but in the end it will leave you dry just like a well that does not hold water.

Silver and Gold Idols: Notice these are expensive, fine crafted idols.  Not only are our idols worthless and do not do what they promise they also cost us a lot of money. Our idols can bankrupt us because we believe the lie that we have been told that our wholeness comes from the things in this world.

Isaiah 31:8-9 “And the Assyrian shall fall by a sword, not of man; and a sword, not of man, shall devour him; and he shall flee from the sword, and his young men shall be put to forced labor.
His rock shall pass away in terror,  and his officers desert the standard in panic, “declares the Lord, whose fire is in Zion, and whose furnace is in Jerusalem.

5) God is a Deliverer

“Assyria will fall but not by man” The next area where God is not seen is in how He fights for His Children. What God is going to do will not be able to be done by human hands and only God will be able to get the credit. God is going to not only deliver them from their enemies, but God is going to deliver them from their idols and all their sins. The Assyrians will be psychologically shattered losing their nerve to function let alone to fight and will turn and head home.

Psalm 33:17-19 The war horse is a false hope for salvation, and by its great might it cannot rescue.

18 Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love,
19 that he may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine.

Are you trusting God for your deliverance or your own abilities? When God does not come through the way we want or in the timely manner we want we tend to rely on our own wisdom and power to deliver ourselves, but we must seek His wisdom and His deliverance.

Posted in Isaiah | Leave a comment

Isaiah 30:27-33 The Anger of God

Many people only have a one-sided view of God that He is loving, kind, patient and merciful. Although all of that is true the Bible is clear that God also has wrath because of His holiness, righteousness and justice. God is who He is and we cannot just take the parts of God we like without taking the ones we might be offended by or even try to ignore. God has let us know who He is and because of His holiness His hatred of sin will eventually bring His wrath. God never changes and so the God of the Old Testament is the same as the God of the New Testament. Many people have been taught or believe that the God of the Old Testament was wrath and anger, but the God of the New Testament is mercy, grace and love.

Those who do not want there to be a God have a problem with the Anger of God and have even taken all the passages in the Bible and lined them up and called God a “Moral Monster”. Paul Copan wrote a book called “Is God a Moral Monster?” and so people have taken his title and agreed with some of his premises. Just as it is not good to focus on just one aspect of God and leave the others out, so it is dangerous to leave out a characteristic of God that He has revealed to us.

Isaiah 30:27-28 Behold, the name of the Lord comes from afar, burning with his anger, and in thick rising smoke;[d] his lips are full of fury, and his tongue is like a devouring fire; 28 his breath is like an overflowing stream that reaches up to the neck; to sift the nations with the sieve of destruction, and to place on the jaws of the peoples a bridle that leads astray.

  1. God’s Anger for His Children

His Anger burning” In our terminology if we said someone is “hot” we would know that means they are angry at us or about a situation. We are called on to “Look” to see or behold this attribute of God and not ignore it as some in our culture try to do. We like the attributes of God when His mercy, grace and love apply to us, but we may not like when God applies His mercy, grace and love to our enemies. The Anger of God in this case is good because His anger is coming to take vengeance against the Assyrians for what they have done to His People. Hosea 13:8 calls God’s anger like a bear robbed of her cubs and God is protecting His children from the Assyrians who are hurting them.

 “His lips are full of fury and His tongue like a consuming fire. Smoke and fire were symbols God used as He led the Children of Israel through the desert. (Exodus 13:21; 19:18) and God is also described as a consuming fire (Deuteronomy 4:24; 9:3; Isaiah 33:14; Lamentations 2:3; Hebrews 12:29). Just like a fire will consume everything in its path so God will destroy the Assyrians for how they treated His people.

“His breath is like an overflowing stream.” It will be like a flooding river that comes up to their neck and God will sift out those who are against Him. “To sift the nations with a sieve of destruction.” To sift out was a farming term meaning to remove all the worthless things from the good and to put them in a pile to be burned or to be blown away by the wind. “TO put a bridle on their jaws and lead them astray” God will literally take them where they do not want to go like animals who must be led astray. These were not terms that were to be taken lightly as God was going to show His wrath.  

“ We cannot serve Him “acceptably” unless there is due “reverence” for His awful Majesty and “godly fear” of His righteous anger, and these are best promoted by frequently calling to mind that “our God is a consuming fire.” (Knowing God, J.I. Packer, Pg. 157)

To dismiss a part of God that He has revealed Himself to be is careless and dangerous because it means we are worshiping a God of our making instead of how God has revealed Himself. We respect God because of who He is and He is described as  awesome. Awe is an archaic word which meant to bring terror.

Isaiah 30:29 You shall have a song as in the night when a holy feast is kept, and gladness of heart, as when one sets out to the sound of the flute to go to the mountain of the Lord, to the Rock of Israel.

2) God’s Anger Leads to Joy

“Your singing will be like a night of a festival.” How can God’s Anger lead to Joy? We like when people get what they deserve when they are doing wrong. If a person is passing everyone by driving on the median and they get pulled over by law enforcement there is a part of us that is joyful because we know they are getting what they deserve. The people of God will be rejoicing over what God has done to protect them and bring justice to those who have been doing wrong. Another attribute ofGod is that He is described in the Bible as a Judge. A judge who knows all and has perfect discernment but brings the correct verdict and the proper punishment to every situation.

Genesis 18:25 Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” (See also; Genesis 18:25; Psalms 75:7; 82:8; Hebrews 4:13; 12:23)

Because there is a God there are morals or things we call right and wrong. Atheist cannot have a moral code because they only dance to their own DNA and therefore who can fault them for how they act? God will hold everyone accountable because He has put in everyone of us the ability to know right and wrong.

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.

God’s anger against His enemies will lead to us singing and rejoicing. Think about all the people who have done evil by murdering, stealing, ruining people lives and yet there was no justice on earth. God is going to hold them accountable and God will judge all people according to their works (Matthew 16:27; 25:14-30; 1 Corinthians 3:10-15; Revelation 12:11-15) A Christian will not be judged by his works but rewarded for the works they did built on the foundation of Christ.

 A Non- Christian will be judged by the works they did because they refused to accept the gift of salvation offered by Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 2:8-9) Does that bring joy and hope to your life knowing that no one is getting away with anything?

Matthew 25:21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.[e] You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’

“To the Rock of Israel” God is now called a rock which means He is a source of strength and protection. They will go up to the Rock of Israel which shows the personal side of our relationship with God.When all is said and done the thing that makes Heaven great is being in the presence of God and the joy we will receive by being with our creator forever. Our joy will come when God makes all things right and we will call out to Him day and night for the victory He attained on our behalf.

Isaiah 30:30-33 And the Lord will cause his majestic voice to be heard and the descending blow of his arm to be seen, in furious anger and a flame of devouring fire, with a cloudburst and storm and hailstones. 31 The Assyrians will be terror-stricken at the voice of the Lord, when he strikes with his rod. 32 And every stroke of the appointed staff that the Lord lays on them will be to the sound of tambourines and lyres. Battling with brandished arm, he will fight with them. 33 For a burning place[e] has long been prepared; indeed, for the king it is made ready, its pyre made deep and wide, with fire and wood in abundance; the breath of the Lord, like a stream of sulfur, kindles it.

3) God’s Anger leads to punishment

Because God is God His anger is not like our anger which can be uncontrolled or even unfair. God is a God of mercy longing to show mercy to all those who humble themselves to Him but if they do not then people will leave God no choice but to punish them for their actions. God’s voice is compared to fire, lightning, thunder and hail and a voice that will bring terror and destruction. God’s voice is a Majestic Voice which means a voice that is awe inspiring. With His voice He created and with His voice He will destroy because it is the voice of God that is powerful. “Every staff the Lord brings down will be to the sound of a tambourine.” God will destroy the Assyrians to the beat of music.

Topheth has been ready for the King for a long time.” Topheth is the place where people sacrificed their children to Moloch (2 Kings 16:3; 21:6; Jeremiah 7:31-32 19:6-14). It was turned into a garbage dump by King Josiah (2 Kings 23:10) and called Gehenna which is the New Testament word for Hell.  They would also burn the bodies of their enemies. We know an angel strikes down 185,000 of the Assyrian army in one night and we are not told anything about what they did with all the bodies but more than likely they burned them. The King of Assyrians body would not have a royal funeral, but his body would be thrown into a garbage dump and be burned. Hell is a real place in the Bible and although we may not think certain people should be there, we also will say that other people deserve to be there.

Because we do not understand the Holiness of God, we do not understand why everyone cannot just go to Heaven. Hell is described as a place where the fire never goes out (Mark 9:43) and where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 25:30) We know God is love (1 John 4:8) but He is also just (Deuteronomy 32:4) and because we have all fallen short of the glory of God (Romans3:10) and the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), we all deserve to go to Hell. The ability that we have through Jesus Christ to go to Heaven is what is unfair. In Luke 16 is the story of the Rich man and Lazarus and the Rich man was in the place of torment and his only thought was for his brothers not to come where he is and not once does he say it was not unfair for him to be there. Habakkuk 1:13 says that Gods eyes are pure and 1 John 1:5 says there is no darkness in God, and therefore we cannot be in His presence if we have sin in our lives.

“The idea is hard for us humans to take because we do not have the kind of revulsion from sin, evil and wickedness that God has- or that we indeed should have. Even the best of us flirt with sin. We smile and sink at it. We too often forget that one single sin equates to death.” (The 10 Most common objections to Christianity, Alex McFarland, PG. 168)

 We do not understand the concept of Hell because we do not see sin the way that God sees sin. God hated sin so much that He did something about it and that is by dying on the cross for our sins. We remove the anger of God from our lives when we accept the gift of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross on our behalf. (John 3:36)

Posted in Hell, Isaiah, Old Testament | Leave a comment

Isaiah 30:18- 26 The Mercy of God

Because of the people’s rebelliousness they are missing out on God’s blessings for their lives. The people lived in a covenant relationship with God and if they followed His ways, they and their land would be blessed, but if they rebelled then God would bring punishment upon them as a loving Father to get them to repent. God is bringing punishment to His people for their disobedience but He wants to show them His mercy. With all the warnings that Isaiah is giving to hopefully get the people to repent Isaiah now turns to show the advantages of following God.

Isaiah 30:18 Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.

  1. God is a God of Mercy

“The Lord is waiting to show mercy” Just like every other attribute of God, mercy is who He is. Just like I am a father, husband, son, Pastor and so forth God is Love, Just, Grace, Mercy and so forth. You cannot separate God from who He is just like you cannot separate all those different attributes from me. The word Mercy appears more in the Old Testament than in the new and I say that because many people have bought the lie that God has changed from the Old Testament to the New Testament but that is not the case.  God was not one way in the Old Testament and another way in the New God has never changed. (Malachi 3:6)

“Mercy: to stoop in kindness to an inferior, to have pity upon and to be actively compassionate.” (The Attributes of God, A.W. Tozer, Pg 79)

God wants to show them mercy, but He also wants them to turn from their sinful ways so He will continue to try and get their attention until they turn back to Him.

Exodus 34:6-7 The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands,[a] forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.”

God wants to show compassion which is a deep bond of love and deep affection that He has for His people by meeting all their needs, but they were seeking help from other countries, other gods  and ignoring God’s instruction through His prophet Isaiah.

For the Lord is a Just God” God is just meaning that how He acts is fair and unbiased. When we are seeking justice, we are seeking fairness for the situation we are in because we believed we have been wronged. God does not act haphazardly but is deliberate in all that He does based on His Justice. The fact that we believe in a right and wrong are attributes of God that we as His creation received from Him. We all believe in a right and wrong and that is because we were created to know that. (Romans 2)

“All who wait patiently on Him are happy” Many times, we think if we can make a few decisions or if people would change or our circumstances will change, we would be happy. It is only when God intervenes will we be truly happy because only God can accomplish the ultimate change in our circumstances. Most of the time it isdelayed gratification is the problem not that what God has is best for us. We want what we want when we want it but relying on God means relying on His timing.

See also Lamentations 3:22-23  

Isaiah 30:19-21 For a people shall dwell in Zion, in Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you. 20 And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. 21 And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.

2) Humbleness Leads to Mercy

“The sound of your cry, as soon as He hears it, He will answer you. God hears their cries because they cry out to Him in despair knowing that there is nothing, they can do on their own to change their situation. We tend to not cry out to God until we have exhausted all of our resources when He should be the first one, we go to every time.

Exodus 2:23-25 During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. 24 And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25 God saw the people of Israel—and God knew.

God pitied them because of their situation, and it is His mercy that moved Him to act.  In Mark 6:34 Jesus was moved with compassion because the people were helpless and in need of a caring shepherd to lead them. It is one thing to have compassion it is another thing to act because of the compassion. Many people feel compassion for people or things but that does not mean they will get involved with the situation. God acts compassionately toward His children which means He is personally involved in their lives.

It is the mercy of God that gives us hope in a hopeless situation and it is a very humbling act to receive the mercy of God but one we must all ask for. WE too often rely on our own salvation and our own wisdom rather than calling out to our God who wants to help us in our time of need. God will not pour out His blessings on the rebellious children until they cried out to Him. I think we do not call on God because He does not do it the way we want it done or in our timing we would like it done in.

“The Lord will give you adversity” (vs20) because that is the way to spiritual renewal. We want God to move in our lives without adversity, we want spiritual renewal with no pain.  Bread and Water which was the equivalent of prison food but enough to sustain you is how God describes the adversity in our lives. It also demonstrates that in our rebelliousness that God is going to make sure that all our needs are met.

“But your teacher will no longer hide” If you can imagine a parent peaking around the corner waiting for the result of a stubborn child who refused help on a project only later to call on the parent for help, then that is the idea God is giving here. They would not listen to God, so God decided to let them learn from their poor decisions, but He was close enough to them to come to their rescue when they called out to Him.

“And your ears will hear a word from behind you, saying, this is the way.” Just like a child who is ready to listen after their own stubbornness has caused frustration, pain and loss of time and energy so God is ready to talk to His children when they get to the point of listening. After the people have exhausted their abilities then God will come behind them and instruct them in the way to go. The idea of coming behind is the idea of a shepherd. Shepherds lead from the back as well as the front (2 Samuel 7:8) A shepherd would do that to make sure that any stragglers, injured or just slow would all make it where they needed to go. This is a comforting fact of God since I am a slow, rebellious sheep who needs constant care and knowing that God cares enough to stay with me till I get to where I need to go.

“When you turn to the right and to the left” We all tend to get off track and yet God says that He will prompt you to stay on the straight path as you start turning to the left or the right. Jesus promised us the same thing with the Holy Spirit.

Luke 16:13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

We must be careful when interpreting our circumstances because your circumstances are not always an indication that you are not being led by the spirit.  Paul was in prison and all the disciples, but John were martyred. Sometimes people look at what is happening physically to them and think that they are missing out on being led by the spirit. Yes, some people suffer because they are ignoring God, but some people suffer because they are in the will of God. Some people were suffering because of the disobedience of Religious leaders and politicians and many in Judah would walk through terrible things because of the disobedience of others.

Isaiah 30:22 Then you will defile your carved idols overlaid with silver and your gold-plated metal images. You will scatter them as unclean things. You will say to them, “Be gone!

3) God’s Mercy Leads to Sanctification

“You will defile your idols and throw them away” Sanctification is simply the process in which we participate with God toward being Holy like Him until we reach Heaven. We all face pressure to turn to the things of the world rather than to God and those daily battles to do what is right when we want to do wrong is part of our sanctification process. We have idols we turn to instead of turning to God and we must throw them out along with the unclean things we have allowed into our lives. When we experience the mercy of God then we will see the things we turned to as they really are which are filthy and gross. The things we were drawn to will now disgust us because we have developed our relationship with our Holy God. They will not only be disgusted by them but now they will get rid of them and grind them up so that they are no longer able to be sought after again. When we truly grasp the Mercy of God then we will want to get rid of the things in our lives that He hates because we will grow to hate what He hates.

“Don’t think for a minute that when you repented and came back from the swine pen to the Father’s house that mercy then began to operate. No, mercy had been operating all the time.” (The Attributes of God, A.W. Tozer, Pg 85)

Psalm 103:13 As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.

Proverbs 9:10 says that Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. To fear God is to have a reverence for who He is and His will. When we learn of the Mercy of God it should bring us into a reverence of God who does not owe us anything. We tend to not destroy our idols but only put them away in case we might need them again. We must be careful to not test God and His Grace and Mercy because God is also a loving God who disciplines His children. (Hebrews 12:9-11)

Romans 2:4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?

Isaiah 30:23-26 And he will give rain for the seed with which you sow the ground, and bread, the produce of the ground, which will be rich and plenteous. In that day your livestock will graze in large pastures, 24 and the oxen and the donkeys that work the ground will eat seasoned fodder, which has been winnowed with shovel and fork. 25 And on every lofty mountain and every high hill there will be brooks running with water, in the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall. 26 Moreover, the light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day when the Lord binds up the brokenness of his people, and heals the wounds inflicted by his blow.

4) God’s Mercy is also a Future Promise

“In that Day” This section is a future promise of the New Earth that some believe will be part of the thousand-year reign of Christ. Just because we do not seem to be experiencing God’s mercy does not mean He is not demonstrating it and it surely does not mean He will not demonstrate it later. One day all the things that have caused us grief, pain and sorrow will be gone and the earth will flourish with cattle, water, and food. There will be no shortage of water or sunlight to make things grow and the earth will operate the way it should.

“When the towers fall” God’s enemies will be destroyed, and the worldly system will be gone forever and We will enjoy the mercy of God.

The lord bandages His people’s injuries from the wounds He inflicted. Even in his discipline of us it is done out of His mercy to keep us from destroying our lives. The teacher will also be the healer who will bring everything back into His original design.

Posted in Isaiah, Mercy | Leave a comment

Isaiah 30:8-17 Rebellious Children

The people are choosing to rebel against God and to not listen to Him and God wants Isaiah to reveal to them what will happen if they continue to rebel. Rebellious simply means to be in  opposition to one in authority. The reason people rebel against God is because they want to be the rulers of their own lives. Many rebel against God not outwardly where others can notice but through not surrendering different areas of their lives to Him. We will see how not to become a rebellious Child toward God.

Isaiah 30:8-9 And now, go, write it before them on a tablet and inscribe it in a book, that it may be for the time to come as a witness forever.[a] For they are a rebellious people, lying children,
children unwilling to hear the instruction of the Lord;

  1.  Rebellious Children ignore Instruction

“Write it on a tablet and inscribe it on a scroll” The verbal message has been ignored but now Isaiah is going to write it out in front of them so they can see clearly what Gods instructions are. Isaiah wrote a sign and carried it around with a short message but then also wrote it out so that the word of God would be shown to be true when the prophecy came true. Employers are encouraged to write out their expectations to make sure they are clear for their employees so there is no misunderstanding and God is making sure that the people will clearly know His will. By rebelling against the instruction of God it showed the relationship they had with God because they not only rebelled against the instruction of God, they were also untruthful or deceptive because they said one thing but then did another. In other words, they said they would do what they were supposed to but only said it but they never had any intention of actually doing it.

1 Corinthians 10:11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.

We need to make sure we learn from the mistakes of those who were before us so that we do not do what they have done. Many people ignore what they know God wants them to do so it is not about having the information it is about obedience. The question you need to ask yourself is, what areas of your life are you ignoring the clear instructions of God? You may obey God in many areas of your life but if we really examine our lives, we will see that there are some areas where we are being rebellious.

 Isaiah 30:10-11 who say to the seers, “Do not see,” and to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us what is right; speak to us smooth things, prophesy illusions, 11 leave the way, turn aside from the path, let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.”

2)  Rebellious Children hear only what they want to hear

“Do not prophesy the truth to us” When you are a rebellious Child you only hear what you want to hear and ignore the rest. The people were not saying these things out loud, but God was revealing their heart to them through the prophet Isaiah.  You can imagine the shock on their face when Isaiah was revealing their hearts to them and exposing the lies, they thought no one else knew about.

“Do not prophecy the truth to us” (10) can be interpreted to say “Right things” They did not want moral correction because they wanted to live their lives as they saw fit. If you are a parent you understand what they were doing because you have children that will hear only what they wanted to hear. So, if a mom says, “If you eat your broccoli you can have ice cream.” The Child only hears Ice cream. The Children of God focused on the promises of God but not the warnings of God. Many people in the church today want all the benefits of being a child of God without the obedience, discipline and responsibility of being a child of God. Because we focus only on messages of God’s grace, mercy and love we tend to forget that God is Holy and with that He calls us to Holiness.

“Tell us flattering things” or “Smooth things” (vs10) They were saying, don’t challenge us with things that are unpleasant only tell us what we want to hear.Some of the things of God are not things we want to hear but they are things we need to hear.  Don’t tell us our lives are not living up to God’s standard just tell us how much He loves us and about His mercy and grace.

“Leave the way, turn away from the path” (11)  The prophet Isaiah was trying to block them from going in the wrong direction, but they were so rebellious they just wanted him out of their way. The difficultly of pointing out the full counsel of God (Acts 20:27) is that many people do not want to hear certain things because it would mean a change in their lifestyle.

Isaiah 30:12-15 Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel, “Because you despise this word
and trust in oppression and perverseness and rely on them, 13 therefore this iniquity shall be to you like a breach in a high wall, bulging out and about to collapse, whose breaking comes suddenly, in an instant; 14 and its breaking is like that of a potter’s vessel that is smashed so ruthlessly that among its fragments not a shard is found with which to take fire from the hearth, or to dip up water out of the cistern.” 15 For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning[b] and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” But you were unwilling,

3) Rebellious Children suffer consequences

Decisions have consequences and all of us must live with the choices we make no matter what the consequences. The Holy One of Israel” was a term Isaiah uses 25 times in the book and it shows who God is, the standard of what He expects His children to live up to and His hatred for sin. In Mark 10:18 Jesus said no one is good but God. Our standard of good must be God not each other or even our own standards.

“Like a breach in a high wall” (13) Although the wall may stand for a while it will eventually collapse and when it does the brokenness will be so bad that you cannot use the broken pieces for anything. Broken lives are a consequence when people reject the things of God and live against His will. Moral failure leads to broken lives and broken relationships and they seem to crumble quickly although the warnings of the failure can be seen by the cracks that have existed for a long time.  The things that God tells us not to do are not to be a restricting but from a loving God who knows what is best for His children.  If they turned to God, they would have found rest but instead they were working their plan to overcome their problems on their own.  They were literally wearing themselves out by rebelling against God.

To Rest in God means to be calm and have patient reliance on God’s provisions. Instead of worrying they could have been calm as they trusted in God to provide. Instead of wearing themselves out trying to do things on their own they could have rested knowing God was going to take care of everything. This applies to our salvation as well because many people want to frantically work to earn their way God instead of accepting the gift of salvation that is found in Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Quiet: Untroubled by external events

Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

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

The promise of God fighting for you is not for His rebellious Children but only His obedient Children. For Rebellious Children you are called to repent (turn from the path you are on) and begin obeying God.

Isaiah 30:16-17  and you said, “No! We will flee upon horses”; therefore you shall flee away; and, “We will ride upon swift steeds”; therefore your pursuers shall be swift. 17 A thousand shall flee at the threat of one; at the threat of five you shall flee, till you are left like a flagstaff on the top of a mountain, like a signal on a hill.

4) Rebellious Children continue their own path

“You say NO” or “You were not willing” They wanted to rely on their own schemes while ignoring God and put themselves in a panic. They thought the horses they had received from Egypt would be fast enough to escape to Egypt before the war started but God warns them that they would be overrun by the Assyrian army. Rebellion toward God would lead to them being destroyed.

Psalm 20:7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.

Trusting in God is difficult but as His children we are called to not go down our own path but to follow Him and trust Him. God gave His children a promise in Leviticus 26:8 for those who were obedient.

Leviticus 26:8 Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall chase ten thousand, and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.

Because of their rebellion every one of their enemies would make a thousand of them to flee to the point that the only thing left is a flagpole standing where the city used to be.

“Isaiah’s sermon sets a challenge that many believers will face sometime in their lifetime: Should they calmly trust God’s strength and deliverance in a time of difficulty against insurmountable odds, or should they do everything humanly possible to bring victory through their own (along with others’) strength? God’s way offers life; and other choice will bring failure and death.” (The New American Commentary, Gary V. Smith, PG 517)

Posted in Isaiah | Leave a comment

Isaiah 30:1-7 Ignoring the Will of God.

Will: To follow one’s desire or choice.  We all have a decision to make in our lives if we are going to follow the will of God or our own will because it is one thing to know the will of God, but it is another to trust Him by following it. The people Isaiah was addressing were in a difficult spot and the outcome was not looking good for them and it would be easy to see why they acted the way they did. They could submit to the Assyrians through a peace treaty and see how they treat them, wage war and face certain death or make an alliance with another Nation and hope they can defeat the Assyrians.

To Submit to God’s will means we must wait and trust Him with the outcome even though we may not see any humanly possible solution. Although this happened thousands of years ago, we can find ourselves in similar circumstances as we look to the world and it’s resources instead of looking to God.

Isaiah 30:1-7 “Ah, stubborn children,” declares the Lord, “who carry out a plan, but not mine, and who make an alliance,[a] but not of my Spirit, that they may add sin to sin; who set out to go down to Egypt, without asking for my direction, to take refuge in the protection of Pharaoh and to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt! Therefore shall the protection of Pharaoh turn to your shame, and the shelter in the shadow of Egypt to your humiliation. For though his officials are at Zoan and his envoys reach Hanes, everyone comes to shame through a people that cannot profit them, that brings neither help nor profit, but shame and disgrace.” An oracle on the beasts of the Negeb. Through a land of trouble and anguish, from where come the lioness and the lion, the adder and the flying fiery serpent, they carry their riches on the backs of donkeys,  and their treasures on the humps of camels, to a people that cannot profit them. Egypt’s help is worthless and empty; therefore I have called her “Rahab who sits still.”

  1. Their Plans Went Against God’s Will

“They carry out a plan but not mine” We carry out plans everyday sometimes without even thinking about if they are part of the will of God. Just think about how many times you have made decisions without consulting God. There is nothing wrong with making plans and there was nothing wrong with King making a treaty with another nation but in this instance, it went against the will of God. Without even talking to God about it they decided they were going to go down to Egypt and see if they would help them with the Assyrians. The reason that the plans went against the will of God is that the people were placing their protection under the Pharaoh of Egypt which was forbidden by God. In Deuteronomy 17:16 the Kings were forbidden from seeking help from Egypt and were told to never send people that way again.  For 40 Years Isaiah has been telling the Rulers, and leaders to place their trust in God but they were ignoring Isaiah and they were ignoring God in order to do what they desired to do.

We can justify our actions even when they clearly go against the word of God because we want our will to be done and not Gods. Isaiah is rebuking the leadership by their defiance in ignoring the clear teachings that God has placed on His people through His written word. The plans we make must be in line with the will of God and we must first seek His written word (Bible) and see if what we are doing goes against His will.  When we make or execute plans with no thought to the will of God that is when we say” MY will be done” not “Your will be done”

“They make an alliance, but not of my Spirit” As Christians we were given the Spirit of God to guide and strengthen us to do the will of God.  1 Corinthians 2:10-11 says that it is the Spirit of God that knows the will of God and that is why we must be guided by God’s spirit and not anything else. The Holy Spirit is not a force it is God Himself who comes and lives in His Children to teach them and guide them in His ways.

Galatians 5:16-18 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

  • God’s will is for you to find refuge in Him.

“They go down to Egypt to seek shelter and protection” They were literally running back to Egypt which should have alarmed people who knew what God’s word said.  Isaiah saw the animals weighed down with goods to buy Egypt’s help and the dangerous territory they would have to cross and Isaiah saw it as a reverse Exodus. We all tend to run back to the very things that God has freed us from because we are comfortable with those things even though they go against His will. When life gets too much for you to handle by your own strength, where do you run to? This answer will show you where you are putting your trust and whose will you are following.

Many people turn to many things in this world for their comfort and for coping with the problems they are facing. (Food, alcohol, drugs, entertainment, etc.) Unfortunately, these things we run to instead of running to God lead to us being humiliated and ashamed because they will eventually ruin us physically and/ or financially. Addictions begin as coping mechanisms that lead many people to ruin their lives when the coping mechanism begins to control them. Your Egypt will always let you downor in other words what you turn to besides God will always let you down. God brought His people out of Egypt and He does not want them to look back but that is what they always seem to do. God has also brought us out of bondage from sin, but we tend to always look back at the very things God saved us from and we hope they will bring the comfort we desire.

“They are of no benefit; they are no help; they are good for nothing but shame and disgrace.” (5)

Rahab Sits Still: Egypt is all promise but no action. Judah erred by being determined to arrange for their own survival and by not seeking God.God cares about all you are going through, and we must remember that God is a God of relationships whose desire is for you to involve Him in everything you are doing. It is easy for us to look at the people of Judah and judge them for not following the will of God but how many times do we allow the pressures of this world to drive us to go and seek other things for relief besides running to God?

1 Peter 5:6-7 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

I think the reason we do not like doing the will of God is because it is humbling. It is humbling waiting on God and for His ways to be shown true especially when the rest of the world is telling you to go another direction.

  • How can we know God’s Will?
  • Look to what God has already revealed

As mentioned earlier Deuteronomy 17:16 already told them what to do and so they could have known not to go to Egypt and work any deals with them. You do not have to pray about if you should lie, steal, kill or slander people because God has made that clear to us. So anything that God has made clear to us we can start there and do those things until we get answers for specific things we are looking for His will for.

Matthew 22:37-39 Love God and Love Others

Colossians 1:10 Live a Life worthy of the Lord

1 Timothy 2:3-4 Gods will that all men be saved.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 says it is God’s will to rejoice in all circumstance

1 Peter 2:15 says we are to do good works

1 Thessalonians 4:13 says it is Gods will that you are free from sin

1 Peter 3:17 says that sometimes it is God’s will that you suffer for doing good.

  • Ask Yourself: “Is this something God would desire to happen?”

Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world,[a] but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect

Psalm 37:4 says delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. The reason you must delight yourself first in the Lord is that He will make His desires (will) your desires (will). This verse is not saying that God will make all your desires come to fruition it is saying that as you spend time with God you will want to do His will. As we fill our minds with the word of God then we will be better able to know what His will is for the areas in our lives that are not written in the Bible. Because we know God loves us and because we are seeking His will and not our own then we can trust that He is going to guide us through the power of the Holy Spirit. So, if you are seeking the will of God and not breaking any commandments of God, then you can trust Him to guide you in the way you should go.

  • Seek Godly Counsel

Proverbs 15:22 Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.

If the people you talk to are in God’s word and know God’s word, then talk to them but listen to what they say about the direction you are seeking. You must be careful because even some well-meaning Christians have not given Godly advice because they were not listening to God. Also be careful to not go to people just to get the answer you want, go to them to listen in order to follow the will of God. 1 Corinthians 14:33 says that God is not a God of confusion so when in doubt, pray it out. God is our loving Father and He will direct you to do His will. Jesus said it best in Mark 14:36 “ Not my will but yours be done” and in  Matthew 6 Jesus taught us to pray “Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven”

Whose will or desires are you following?  Are you turning to other things besides turning to God?  God’s desire is that you turn to Him for everything in life and that you rely on Him. There will be times when it will be difficult to trust God especially when those around you are giving advice that is opposite of what God is asking you to do and you will have to decide whose will you are going to follow.

Posted in Finding God's Will, Isaiah | Leave a comment