THE BOOK OF ISAIAH

The Lord will be exalted in that Day

SCC Isaiah 2 2/17/13

 

WORLD PEACE WILL CHARACTERIZE GODíS FUTURE RULE IN JERUSALEM 2:1-5

††††††††††† Immediately after the stinging indictment against the nations sinful practices is the promise and hope of restoration. God holds out hope for His people.

2:1: It is uncertain why Isaiah's messages are described as; 1. Vision. 2. He saw, 1:1; 2:1; 13:1; 26:11; 33:17; 48:6; 57:8. This is the mystery of revelation. It comes in different ways to different biblical authors (visions, dreams, theophanies, words, etc.). The message is what he saw concerning the future of Judah and Jerusalem.

2:2: ĎThe last daysí denotes a time of fulfillment of God's purposes. Most likely that time is the 1000-year reign of Christ. ĎThe mountain of the Lordís Templeí depicts the mount where it was built. Here God rules (as the chief place) and the temple mount is repeated often (11:9; 25:6-7; 27:13; 30:29; 56:7; 57:13; 65:11, 25; 66:20). Notice the metaphorical language used to describe the chief place of Godís revelation to Abraham's descendants; 1. "The chief of the mountains" the place of true revelation, 2. "Raised above the hills" a symbol of preeminence and exclusiveness. 3. "All the nations will stream to it," denotes an ever-flowing stream of water, like an artesian well people will flow in. This has always been Godís goal. The message is that God will protect His covenant nation even with their spiritual adultery and even though they would be taken captive.

2:3: Here it is metaphorical of the unending flow of people to the Lord. In this reign people everywhere will realize that Godís revelation is foundational to their lives. People will want to be taught and live accordingly. It metaphorically denoted a lifestyle of faith that obeyed and walked in God's teachings. This metaphor for lifestyle, faithful living, became the first title of the NT church, "The Way". That is, from Zion; from Jerusalem.

2:4: "He will judge. . .render decisions" describe the reasoningís and decisions of a wise ruler. The Lord's presence and teachings will cause the nations to abandon their attacks on God's people. "Swords into plowshares" is an idiom for peace. Implements of war will be turned into implements of agriculture. Peace will come because of Godís presence in Jerusalem.

2:5: To Ďwalk in the light of the Lordí is to walk in His revelation to them. The Ďhouse of Jacobí refers to Jacobís descendents and in view of the future revelation they have received; it must make a difference in how they presently live. Keep your eye on Jerusalem since that is the place from where God will ultimate set up His rule on the earth. Let that impact the way you live today.

 

IN THE MEANTIME ISRAELíS FAITH IS BEING COMPROMISED BY SIN 2:6-11

††††††††††† In spite of this glorious future, they had become just like the pagans around them. Life in the land, the necessity to work and live, tempted them to turn to the influences around them. Expedient and temporal in focus, they lost sight of the purpose, plan, and future God was preparing for them.

2:6-9: These verses describe why the Lord abandoned His own covenant people:

††† 1. They are filled with influence from the east, v. 6. They are full of superstitions practicing that of the Ďeastí peoples possibly Assyrian or Syrian. It seems to refer to religious influences from the east (i.e., Syria, Assyria, Babylon), which corrupted Israel's faith.

††† 2. They are soothsayers like the Philistines, v. 6. That the Philistines were involved in sorcery is evident from 1 Samuel 6:2; 2 Kgs 1:2.

††† 3. They strike bargains with the children of foreigners v. 6 with commercial transactions, a political alliance or a friendship, an affirmation of the customs of foreigners. Obviously in context the unique faith of Israel is being compromised!

††† 4. They are wealthy and militarily strong (and trust in these things), v. 7 (notice the three-fold repetition of "filled," in vv. 7 and 8). Humans who have resources tend to trust in them.

††† 5. They are idolatrous, v. 8 (cf. 17:8; 37:19; 40:19; 44:17). Trusting in material wealth and military strength possibly mistakenly crediting their worship of idols as the cause.

††† 6. They treat the common people with disdain v. 9. Their disregard for one another is despicable. This self-confidence only prepares them to be humiliated. This sinful condition only makes judgment a necessity. ĎBut do not forgive themí may be an exclamation from Isaiah, himself.

What can the nations learn from people like this?!

††† 2:10-11: These two verses describe the Lordís advice to these covenant violators.

††† 1. Enter the rock (i.e., this relates to vv. 19-21, cf. Rev. 6:15-17).

††† 2. Hide in the dust they are to hide from (v. 10b); the terror of the Lord, cf. vv. 19,21 and the splendor of His majesty (cf. vv. 11c, 19,21; II Thess. 1:9). Ultimately only one Person will be exalted; the Lord alone v 11 and 17. When He judges people will seek to escape by hiding in caves. Some will never submit even in clear demonstration of Godís judgment Rev 16:9; 11, 21.

The result will be:

††† 1. The proud look of men will be abased (opposite of v. 9).

††† 2. The loftiness of man will be humbled (opposite of v. 9, cf. 13:11; 23:9; II Cor. 10:5).

3. The Lord alone will be exalted in that day. This looks ahead eventually to the cataclysmic judgment of the entire world as he Ďshakes the earthí v 19. (Meteor over Russia this week)

NB: Make no mistake, the blatant disregard for God and rampant and ratcheted rise of sinfulness is under the watchful eye of God just as it was during Israelís day. They will be smashed by Assyria and then Babylon and in the end through the rampage of the Antichrist it will be followed by Godís judgment of the nations when Christ returns!

 

THE WORLD WILL HAVE ITS DAY OF RECKONING WITH GOD 2:12-22

††††††††††† There is coming a day when God will reverse the trend and turn all things on their heads. What seems right now will be wrong then. What seems important now will not be important then. How things work now will not work then.

2:12-16: God has a day in store, a scheduled time of reckoning for sinners. It is the ĎLord of Hosts or Almightyí revealing His strength and might. Nothing will be able to stand in His way. You will not get away with it:

††† 1. Against everyone who is proud and lofty, v. 12.

††† 2. Against all that is lifted up, v. 12. Proud people will be humbled.

††† 3. Against all the cedars of Lebanon that are lofty and lifted up, v. 13.

††† 4. Against all the oaks of Bashan (who are also lofty and lifted up), v. 13. Here is imagery of the pride of nations in their wealth and economic strength.

††† 5. Against all the lofty mountains, v. 14.

††† 6. Against all the hills that are lifted up, v. 14. Here is possible imagery of trusting in the woods and hills associated with idolatry. Their gods will be of no help then.

††† 7. Against every high tower, v. 15

††† 8. Against every fortified wall, v. 15. Here is possible imagery of military strength of nations that will be of no use against Godís power.

††† 9. Against all the ships of Tarshish, v. 16. He will demolish mans trade efforts typified by these merchant ships.

10. Against all beautiful craft, v. 16. No matter how huge or dressed out they not survive.

2:17: So here is a summation of all human pride in its economics, politics, religious rituals, military might, and self worship! Everything that seemed to man in his arrogance to be permanent and secure will be swept away.

2:18: Idolatry and self-worship will cease completely because this worship is "emptiness". The Lord alone will be exalted when He demolishes Judahís idols when Babylon comes but in the end all of mans idols will be swept away in one sweeping judgment of God.

2:19-21: So when the Lordís vengeance comes, people will try to escape, terrified of Godís shaking the earthóthe rumbling hooves and feet of the enemy on their heels sent by God. Carrying their idols of silver and gold they will cast them aside to rodents and bats so they can escape faster. The irony is that the things highly valued will be cast away to detestable creatures people despise.

††††††††††† Possibly the idols themselves, needing the protection of borrowing and flying rodents and animals to protect themselves from Godís revenge upon them by digging holes or escaping to the caves as well. The entire imagery displaying the utter inability of anything and everything man counts as significant proving to be completely useless. Think of the fame, the fortune, the reputation, the power, the friendships, the prestige, the recognition, and the philandering man places ultimate value upon proving once and for all to have always been a sham. What utter humiliation for anyone who has ever placed value in these.!!!!!

2:22: So here is the call: Stop trusting in man for anything! Stop paying him homage! Stop placing value in the pride and arrogance of manís pursuits! Stop it! He is nothing but a vaporóhere and gone. Snuffed out quickly. It is utter nonsense to take your cue from him. In view of Gods coming judgment Judah must turn away from the influence of her neighbors once and for all or there is no hope. For us, we must turn from the world and pursue the righteous life knowing we have a day of reckoning with the one who gives us life.

 

So What:

1. No matter what is happening, all events in history, yesterday, today, and tomorrow are moving at a clip consistent with Godís plan. History is His Story. That story is written with individuals and nation sin mind. All of it will culminate in Jerusalem and then the New Jerusalem no matter what man has to say about that.

 

2. We cannot afford to live even one day in our sinfulness. This must be an urgent matter for the people of God. The New Testament makes it clear that we are to walk in a manner worthy of our callingóthat every sin can easily weight us down. Every sin in your life is a compromise with God. When and if you get over it, you will have lost something because of it. God is watching. Donít think that because he has delayed his coming that you are free to compromise your life.

 

3. No human being will escape reckoning with his or her maker. Believers will do so at the judgment seat of Christ, unbelievers at the Great White Throne judgment. In both cases that reckoning will be according to our deeds. In light of this, isnít it about time you turned the corner in your life? God will not be mocked by your life choices. While he is patient, that patience will cease. So what kind of people are we to be, Peter says, in light of this reality: ĎBut the day of the Lord will come like a thief in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness looking for an hastening the coming of the Day of God on account of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning and the elements will melt with intense heat but according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.í 2 Peter 3:10-13