A Message for Time and Eternity: Isaiah 24 – 27
The messages of the prophets were generally a mixture of judgment and hope. In chapters 24 – 27, Isaiah continues with such a paradigm as he sets forth a tale of two cities. There is the City of Exaltation, characterized by pride and injustices. Isaiah uses language and images found in earlier chapters (Isaiah 4 – 23), with a similar result. The City of Exaltation is doomed for destruction. It will be replaced by a New City, the City of Jerusalem.
The New City prophesied by Isaiah was visualized by John in the Revelation. “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Rev. 21:2).
In the New Jerusalem, the Lord reigns as King over all the nations. There is no more death or suffering. This too, John visualized. “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Rev. 21:3-4).
The Balance Between Judgment and Mercy
The message of hope is just as important as the message of judgment. While the justice of God must be satisfied, while discipline must come to an immoral nation, be that nation Israel, Assyria, Babylon, Edom, Moab, or Ammon, individuals need hope, that if they seek after God, He can be found. If a person wants to be fundamentally and forever different, they can be.
Do you want to be different? Is there a desire in your heart to change? Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired of sinful behavior that hurts other people, and brings no joy to your heart? There is hope for you. Perhaps your time has now come when it can be said, “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:13).
It the desire of your heart is to be fundamentally and forever different, if the desire of your heart is to find God in all of His splendor, beauty, and holiness, if the longing of your soul to know Christ as Lord and Savior, then begin your search in this very moment, and do not rest, day or night, until you have found Him whom your soul longs for.
Search for God with all your heart in the Scriptures. There are sixty-six books in the Bible. Commit to studying each book of the Bible, each chapter, each verse, and each word, with a single goal: to find God. In your study, do not lose faith in the promise: “You shall find ME.”
Search for God in earnest prayer. Be honest with God. Talk to Him reverently, but with holy boldness. You have a royal invitation to do this. “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16). What can we expect to find through prayer before the throne of grace? We can expect to obtain mercy. We can expect to find help in time of need. We can expect to find GOD, for we have His promise, “You shall find ME”.
Search for God in the Power of the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who illuminates the hearts and minds of individuals. Jesus said that “when He, the Spirit of truth is come, He will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13). It is possible to sincerely seek after God, but not in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Some seek after God philosophically, meaningthey depend on their innate intelligence to know God. When the question is asked, “Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?”, the answer is, “No. God cannot be truly known philosophically.”
Some seek after God in the flesh, meaning they give themselves to sensuality. However, those who are in the flesh cannot please the Lord, and they will never close with Christ intimately.
Some seek after God through religion. Rules and regulations are scrupulously observed in an effort to find God and to please Him. Martin Luther came to attack Medieval ascetic practices in general, and monasticism in particular, after he understood that much of the theology that undergirded these practices challenged the evangelical understanding of salvation. A soul is saved by faith alone, in Christ alone. A soul is sanctified by seeking after God in the spirit. God is Spirit and those who truly worship Him must do so in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).
The Rise and Fall of Jerusalem: Isaiah 28 – 39
Returning to address the citizens of Jerusalem, Isaiah accuses the leaders of looking to Egypt for military help instead of relying on the Lord to protect His people. Gone were the days when the people could say, “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God” (Psalms 20:7). Isaiah calls upon the people to repent, and turn back to God to save them.
Political and military alliances cannot save any nation in a covenant relation with the Lord. Only the Lord can deliver and protect His people. That principle was true for Israel, and it is true for the Church, which is the spiritual Israel of God. “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1 Peter 2:9). Only the Lord can protect the Church.
In recent years, some religious Denominational leaders have sought a political alliance with government in America only to lose freedom of worship, freedom of assembly, and freedom to preach the Bible. The government is encroaching on what the Church of the living Christ can do. Rather than resist, there is a temptation to capitulate in the name of public safety, political correction, and a misguided view of social justice.
The time may come when the true Church, the remnant according to the election of grace will find they have to worship quietly and in secret, much like the early Christians did. The time will come when the modern-day Church will learn afresh that only Jesus can protect His people, and He will, provided they trust in Him.
Prophecy Fulfilled: Isaiah 36 – 38
As Isaiah had predicted, during the reign of Hezekiah. When the destruction of Jerusalem seemed imminent at the hands of the Assyrians, Hezekiah prayed to the Lord, and Jerusalem was saved in a miraculous and wonderful way.
Pride Before the Fall: Isaiah 39
Following the Lord’s deliverance of His people, Hezekiah ruined the moment by greeting a delegation from Babylon, and showing them the wealth of the Temple, and the splendor of the buildings in Jerusalem. His objective was to enter into a political alliance for protection. Such is the nature of men and women, that no matter what God does, they almost immediately forget His goodness, they begin to worry, and they begin to scheme of how to protect and help themselves.
When Isaiah heard what Hezekiah had done, the prophet confronted the king. Isaiah predicted that the day would come when Babylon would betray Israel. Babylon would grow in power and wealth, and one day conquer Jerusalem. From 2 Kings 24 – 25, history records that Isaiah was not wrong in his prediction. Within a hundred years, Babylon came to Israel, destroyed many of the cities, and carried people into slavery. From a human perspective, it did not have to happen. God’s people had been warned. Grace had provided time to repent. But the human heart is stubborn, the decisions of individuals are selfish and foolsh, and one generation lived in luxuary and peace at the expense of the next generation.
In America, history is repeating itself, because nations learn nothing from history. God has warned, and is stilling warning the nation, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. But people are not listening. Women are killing their unborn babies. Men are putting away their wives. There is injustice in the courts. There are rules for the rich and powerful, and other rules for the common person. The nation is in debt trillions of dollars, with no end in sight. The nations security is placed in technology and military might, which can be disarmed in less than a minute with an electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) weapon.
For the Church, there is no need to despair about current events, or the future, for the principle of Romans 8:28 is always present. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”