Tonight we are going to pick back up in the Book of Isaiah. This is actually our 19th lesson from this Book. Instead of preaching from Isaiah every night, I have spread these lessons out on purpose. Personally, I have learned a lot from this Book.
We are getting close to the end of these 66 chapters found in Isaiah. Tonight, we will look at these four chapters. Homer Halley has titled these four† chapters as SINS OF ISAIAHíS DAY, and he gives the following summary:
Profaning the Sabbath; Gluttony of Israelís leaders; prevalence of Idolatry, with its vile practices; punctilious in fasting, yet practicing flagrant injustice; all to be surely avenged.
Isaiah 56:1 Thus
says the LORD: "Keep justice, and do righteousness, For My salvation is
about to come, And My righteousness to be revealed.† 2 Blessed is the man who
does this, And the son of man who lays hold on it; Who keeps from
defiling the Sabbath, And keeps his hand from doing any evil."† 3 Do not let the son of the
foreigner Who has joined himself to the LORD Speak, saying, "The LORD has
utterly separated me from His people"; Nor let the eunuch say, "Here
I am, a dry tree."† 4 For
thus says the LORD: "To the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths, And choose what
pleases Me, And hold fast My covenant,† 5
Even to them I will give in My house And within My walls a place and a name
Better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name
That shall not be cut off.†
Isaiah starts out with encouraging words to the Jews, eunuchs, and Gentiles. The simple truth is that if they will keep the covenant, which included keeping the Sabbath, they will get to taste the righteousness of God. He warns them to not let the eunuchs or the Gentiles speak negatively about Godís ability to help them. The best the news is that all who are willing to keep Godís covenant, will be given a place in His house and will be given an everlasting name. According to Isaiah 62:2, this would be a new name.
When were Jews, eunuchs, and Gentiles given a new name and what is known as the house of God? It was in the N.T. Paul calls the church the house of God (1 Tim. 3:15). Those found in the house of God were called by a new name, Christian:
Acts 11:26 †And the disciples were first called Christians
While the remnant of
Jews, eunuchs, and Gentiles that were keeping Godís covenant under the law of
Moses would certainly be blessed by Him, I can also see our verses pointing to
the †blessing that all would have as they
obeyed the new covenant created by Jesus.
Isaiah 56:6 "
Also the sons of the foreigner Who join themselves to the LORD, to serve Him,
And to love the name of the LORD, to be His servants -- Everyone who keeps from
defiling the Sabbath, And holds fast My covenant --† 7 Even them I will bring to My
holy mountain, And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt
offerings and their sacrifices Will be accepted on My altar; For My
house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations."† 8 The Lord GOD, who gathers the
outcasts of Israel, says, "Yet I will gather to him Others besides
those who are gathered to him."
Before I go any further,
I want to mention that there are different opinions on whether or not this
chapter points to the time of the Messiah or just talks about the near future
of the Jews. Personally, I can see both, but there are only a few references in
these verses we have looked at so far that would indicate them pointing to the
time of Christ. We already looked at some of them such as every obedient person
to God receiving an everlasting name and being in the house of God. Then in
verse 8, it talks about others be gathered to him, which could be talking about
how the Gentiles would be gathered together with Jews as one under the new
covenant. This verese may have been what Jesus was talking about in:
"And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must
bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one
Verse 7 does not help us
a lot either because it refers to the house of prayer, which Jesus said was the
temple when He running out the money changers. Yet, the verse also says it
would be called a house of prayer for all nations, which again would include more
than just the Jews.
In my opinion, while it
is interesting to figure out whether this chapter is a dual prophecy and which parts
point to the time of the Mesiah and the near future of the Jews, we can still
learn from these verses that if we remain faithful to God, we be blessed by
God. No doubt, no one can deny that all nations received their greatest
blessing in the first century when Christ died for us all.
Isaiah changes his topic
from one of hope to rebuke.
Isaiah 56:9 All you
beasts of the field, come to devour, All you beasts in the forest.† 10 His watchmen are blind,
They are all ignorant; They are all dumb dogs, They cannot bark;
Sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.†
11 Yes, they are greedy dogs Which never have
enough. And they are shepherds Who cannot understand; They all look to
their own way, Every one for his own gain, From his own territory.† 12 "Come," one says, "I
will bring wine, And we will fill ourselves with intoxicating drink; Tomorrow
will be as today, And much more abundant."
Here Isaiah speaks of the
destruction of Jerusalem and he invites their enemies to come take them over
because the watchmen and the shepherds, which is referring to the leaders of
the Jews are not leading according to Godís Word, they are doing their own
thing and feeding their own desires. Since they are not guiding and protecting
the people with accordance to Godís Word they are ready to be plucked up
because God will not protect the rebellious. We see more of this in the next
chapter as well. One thing leaders in the church can learn from this is how
important it is that they remain watchful over the flock in accordance to Godís
Word. If they do not, that flock can become vulnerable and lose its blessing
and protection from God.
Isaiah 57:1 The
righteous perishes, And no man takes it to heart; Merciful men are taken
away, While no one considers That the righteous is taken away from evil.† 2 He shall enter into peace; They
shall rest in their beds, Each one walking in his uprightness.
The Jews had become so
corrupt that it did not bother them when those who were still faithful to God
were put to death, but words of comfort are given for the righteous that will
be killed. They would not have to suffer the great persecution and captivity
from the Babylonians and they would enter a state peace and rest. Though the
O.T. does not speak that much about the afterlife, †Isaiah makes it clear that the righteous dead
will be in a much better place just like we are promised as Christians.
I have heard people say,
I am glad so and so is not alive to see this happen. Though some may miss out
on lifeís events, we must never forget that death is simply the beginning of
eternity off this earth.
Isaiah 57:3 "
But come here, You sons of the sorceress, You offspring of the adulterer and
the harlot!† 4 Whom do you
ridicule? Against whom do you make a wide mouth And stick out the
tongue? Are you not children of transgression, Offspring of
falsehood,† 5 Inflaming
yourselves with gods under every green tree, Slaying the children in the
valleys, Under the clefts of the rocks?† 6
Among the smooth stones of the stream Is your portion; They,
they, are your lot! Even to them you have poured a drink offering, You
have offered a grain offering. Should I receive comfort in these?† 7 "On a lofty and high
mountain You have set your bed; EVEN there you went up To offer sacrifice.† 8 Also behind the doors and their
posts You have set up your remembrance; For you have uncovered yourself to
those other than Me, And have gone up to them; You have enlarged your bed
And made a covenant with them; You have loved their bed, Where you saw their
nudity.† 9 You went to the
king with ointment, And increased your perfumes; You sent your messengers far
off, And even descended to Sheol.†
10 You are wearied in the length of your way; Yet you
did not say, 'There is no hope.' You have found the life of your hand;
Therefore you were not grieved.
This is describing how many of the Jews have turned from God and took up the practice of following many different false gods and other practices such as sorcery. They had become so comfortable with their wicked ways and idolatry that they could not see that they had no hope in these false things that were contrary to Godís way. Many are† like this today. They feel so comfortable with their worldly practices that they cannot see clearly that the world does not offer them hope, but gloom and doom in the afterlife.
Isaiah 57:11 "
And of whom have you been afraid, or feared, That you have lied And not
remembered Me, Nor taken it to your heart? Is it not because I have held
My peace from of old That you do not fear Me?†
12 I will declare your righteousness And your works, For they
will not profit you.† 13 When
you cry out, Let your collection of idols deliver you. But the wind will
carry them all away, A breath will take them. But he who puts his trust
in Me shall possess the land, And shall inherit My holy mountain."
Here we see a comparison between
God and the false gods that the Jews had embraced. God has the power and the
ability to deliver them from their enemies, but these false gods they have
embraced do not because, they are worthless gods made up by the mind of man. Many
people are going to have their eyes open when they die because, they are going
to realize that they should have lived their lives for God instead of like the
world. How sad it is that it takes death for some people to realize that truth
when it is too late for them.
Isaiah 57:14 And one
shall say, "Heap it up! Heap it up! Prepare the way, Take the stumbling
block out of the way of My people."†
15 For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits
eternity, whose name is Holy: "I dwell in the high and holy place,
With him who has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit
of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones.† 16 For I will not contend forever,
Nor will I always be angry; For the spirit would fail before Me, And the souls which
I have made.† 17 For the
iniquity of his covetousness I was angry and struck him; I hid and was angry,
And he went on backsliding in the way of his heart.† 18 I have seen his ways, and will
heal him; I will also lead him, And restore comforts to him And to his
mourners.† 19 "I create
the fruit of the lips: Peace, peace to him who is far off and to him
who is near," Says the LORD, "And I will heal him."† 20 But the wicked are like
the troubled sea, When it cannot rest, Whose waters cast up mire and dirt.† 21 "There is no
peace," Says my God, "for the wicked."
Here we have a word of comfort to the remnant that are faithful to God. Isaiah reminds them of God and that He is an eternal being that is heaven and in them. He tells them that God will not stay angry at them or allow them to remain under oppression by their enemies because He will be merciful to them. He will heal His people. Verse 19 talks about the peace that God gives, but we all know that the greatest peace that have been given to mankind came through Jesus. Paul quotes verse 19 in Ephesians 2:17 in association with Jesus.
The principle of these verses should be encouraging to us because it shows the mercy of God. Yes, He does punish the wicked, but He is also merciful and is willing to forgive us and bless us when turn back to Him.
As pointed out in verses 20-21, those who refuse to turn back to God and persists on living a sinful life are like a restless sea, which can never rest or peace. This reminds me of what John records in:
"And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no
rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives
the mark of his name."
Our nation could learn a
great lesson from this chapter, which is if you continue down the path of the
wicked, you will be brought low, but if you repent and turn back to God, you
will be established and be a great example to the rest of the world.
Letís move on† to chapter 58.
Isaiah 58:1 "Cry
aloud, spare not; Lift up your voice like a trumpet; Tell My people their
transgression, And the house of Jacob their sins.† 2 Yet they seek Me daily, And
delight to know My ways, As a nation that did righteousness, And did not
forsake the ordinance of their God. They ask of Me the ordinances of justice;
They take delight in approaching God.† 3
'Why have we fasted,' they say, 'and You have not seen? Why have
we afflicted our souls, and You take no notice?' "In fact, in the day of
your fast you find pleasure, And exploit all your laborers.† 4 Indeed you fast for strife and
debate, And to strike with the fist of wickedness. You will not fast as you
do this day, To make your voice heard on high.† 5 Is it a fast that I have chosen,
A day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head like a bulrush,
And to spread out sackcloth and ashes? Would you call this a fast, And an
acceptable day to the LORD?
God wants Isaiah to speak
out to His people. He was not to hold back or sugar coat the truth about their
sinful ways. This is just the opposite of what people want done today. They
want preachers to be quiet about sin and not rebuke anyone, but that certainly
is not Godís way. Though this rebuke was directed to the Jews of that time, we
could use the same rebuke to those who call themselves Christians today who are
only a Christian in name.
At first, verse 2 may
look like a compliment to His people, but the reality is that this is describing
what they thought they were doing. From their perspective, they felt like they
were being very religious and honoring God, but the truth of the matter was
that they were not. Everything they did was with the wrong attitude. Isaiah
says it best in:
Isaiah 29:13 Therefore
the LORD said: "Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths And
honor Me with their lips, But have removed their hearts far from Me, And their
fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men,
In verses 3 Ė 5 we learn
that the Jews were fasting a lot. The only fast that God commanded was during the
day of atonement (Lev. 16:29-31). The Jews were fasting for whatever reason
moved them and then wonder why God has not noticed them. This was a practice that
continued to be a problem for the Jews in the first century as well in which
Jesus warned His disciples about in Mt. 6:16. They were doing fasts for
themselves and for show to others to get their praise and their pity. Man has a
tendency to talk the talk but not walk the walk. There are many today that are
just like these rebellious Jews.
Isaiah 58:6 " Is
this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, To
undo the heavy burdens, To let the oppressed go free, And that you break every
yoke?† 7 Is it not to
share your bread with the hungry, And that you bring to your house the poor who
are cast out; When you see the naked, that you cover him, And not hide yourself
from your own flesh?† 8 Then
your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth
speedily, And your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the LORD
shall be your rear guard.† 9
Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; You shall cry, and He will say,
'Here I am.' "If you take away the yoke from your midst, The
pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,† 10 If you extend your soul
to the hungry And satisfy the afflicted soul, Then your light shall dawn in the
darkness, And your darkness shall be as the noonday.† 11 The LORD will guide you
continually, And satisfy your soul in drought, And strengthen your bones; You
shall be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water, whose waters do not
fail.† 12 Those from among you
Shall build the old waste places; You shall raise up the foundations of many
generations; And you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, The Restorer
of Streets to Dwell In.
Isaiah already answered
the Jewís question of why God was paying attention to their fasts and now tells
them what kind of fast God does want that will get His attention. Of course,
the fasting in verse 6 is used metaphorically to describe how God wants them to
serve others that are in need. When they do this it will cause them to be a
shinning light, and God will be with them and continue to bless them. This same
principle is taught in the N.T. as well because we are to serve others that are
in need and allow them to see Christ in us.
Isaiah 58:13 "
If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, From doing your pleasure on
My holy day, And call the Sabbath a delight, The holy day of the LORD
honorable, And shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, Nor finding your own
pleasure, Nor speaking your own words,†
14 Then you shall delight yourself in the LORD; And I will
cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, And feed you with the
heritage of Jacob your father. The mouth of the LORD has spoken."
Once again, Isaiah is
teaching His people to take Godís commands seriously. If the people will honor
the Sabbath and consider it a delight instead of trying to do their own things
and speak their own words, then they will be pleasing to God and be blessed by
Him. While this message was specifically to these Jews, we can certainly make
application to ourselves in that we need to honor God every day by keeping His
commandments. When it comes to the Lordís day, which is today, we should
delight in it and not speak our own words or do our own thing, but observe the
day as God would want us to according to His word in the N.T.
Our last chapter for
tonight is chapter 59. This chapter will show that sin separates us from God and
that God is the only solution to our sin problem.
Isaiah 59:1 Behold,
the LORD's hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That
it cannot hear.† 2 But your
iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face
from you, So that He will not hear.† 3
For your hands are defiled with blood, And your fingers with iniquity; Your
lips have spoken lies, Your tongue has muttered perversity.† 4 No one calls for justice, Nor
does any plead for truth. They trust in empty words and speak lies; They
conceive evil and bring forth iniquity.† 5
They hatch vipers' eggs and weave the spider's web; He who eats of their eggs
dies, And from that which is crushed a viper breaks out.† 6 Their webs will not become
garments, Nor will they cover themselves with their works; Their works are works
of iniquity, And the act of violence is in their hands.† 7 Their feet run to evil, And they
make haste to shed innocent blood; Their thoughts are thoughts of
iniquity; Wasting and destruction are in their paths.† 8 The way of peace they have not
known, And there is no justice in their ways; They have made themselves
crooked paths; Whoever takes that way shall not know peace.
God has never been the problem. He has always had the power to save, but man will allow sin to separate him from God. We always have a choice to either sin or choose the righteous path. As Isaiah has pointed out over and over again, his people were drowning in sin and God is pictured as hiding His face and not hearing their pleas. All these different sins are mentioned that they were guilty of. While this is referring to the sins of the Jews during that time, these same words could be used to describe the behavior of the Jews in the first century who were opposed to Jesus and His disciples.
The message of these verses are clear and apply to us today as well. If we chose the pathway of sin, our sin will separate us from God and we shall not know peace.
Therefore justice is far from us, Nor does righteousness overtake us; We look
for light, but there is darkness! For brightness, but we walk in
blackness!† 10 We grope for
the wall like the blind, And we grope as if we had no eyes; We stumble
at noonday as at twilight; We are as dead men in desolate
places.† 11 We all growl like
bears, And moan sadly like doves; We look for justice, but there is none;
For salvation, but it is far from us.†
12 For our transgressions are multiplied before You, And our
sins testify against us; For our transgressions are with us, And as
for our iniquities, we know them:† 13
In transgressing and lying against the LORD, And departing from our God,
Speaking oppression and revolt, Conceiving and uttering from the heart words of
falsehood.† 14 Justice is
turned back, And righteousness stands afar off; For truth is fallen in the
street, And equity cannot enter.† 15
So truth fails, And he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.
This describes the result
of Judahís sins. These Jews had become so corrupt that there was no help for
them. They were so far removed from the truth that they were walking around
like blind people that have to feel around to find their way. Justice was not
being served, but the false way was growing by leaps and bounds. If anyone
among them did stray away from the evil way toward truth, they would become
prey. I cannot help be see our nation starting look just like the Jewish nation
during this time. There is a major battle going on right now between holding on
to Godís standard for His people and the new standard that the world wants.
More and more, those that are taking a stand for truth are becoming prey for
the evil ones of this world.
Isaiah 59:15 †Then the LORD saw it, and it displeased
Him That there was no justice.† 16
He saw that there was no man, And wondered that there was no
intercessor; Therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him; And His own
righteousness, it sustained Him.† 17
For He put on righteousness as a breastplate, And a helmet of salvation on His
head; He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, And was clad with zeal as
a cloak.† 18 According to their
deeds, accordingly He will repay, Fury to His adversaries, Recompense to
His enemies; The coastlands He will fully repay.† 19 So shall they fear The name of
the LORD from the west, And His glory from the rising of the sun; When the
enemy comes in like a flood, The Spirit of the LORD will lift up a standard
against him.† 20 " The
Redeemer will come to Zion, And to those who turn from transgression in
Jacob," Says the LORD.† 21
"As for Me," says the LORD, "this is My covenant with
them: My Spirit who is upon you, and My words which I have put in your
mouth, shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your
descendants, nor from the mouth of your descendants' descendants," says
the LORD, "from this time and forevermore."
This last section shows how man by himself is hopeless lost without intervention by God. While God would intervene for His people and have them freed so they could rebuild the temple and their city, ultimately this last section points to Jesus and how He would end up being our intercessor and our redeemer. Paul makes it clear that Jesus is our redeemer as he quotes verse 20 in Rom. 11:26-27. Paul also uses this thought of putting on righteousness as a breastplate to describe what Christians are to do in Eph. 6. Finally, verse 21 talks about the covenant God would have with His people, which is referring to the new covenant that Jeremiah prophesied of in Jeremiah 31:31-34.
We should consider ourselves blessed because without God and His mercy and grace, we would all be lost. There would be no hope for us because of our sins, but glory be to God that He provided a redeemer to reconcile us back to Him. Thanks to Jesus, our intercessor and mediator, we have been given the power over sin so that it can no longer separate us from God as long as we continue walking in the light. So, let us never cease to rejoice and thank God for intervening for us and making salvation possible for us. Let us never take this great salvation that God has provided for us for granted. Let us learn from the mistakes that the Jews in †O.T. made and stay true to Godís Word and count it a delight to live for Him every day of our lives.