Isaiah: The LORD’s Reprisal.

12 When the Lord has finished all his work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, he will punish the speech of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria and the boastful look in his eyes. 13 For he says: “By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom, for I have understanding; I remove the boundaries of peoples, and plunder their treasures; like a bull I bring down those who sit on thrones. 14         My hand has found like a nest the wealth of the peoples; and as one gathers eggs that have been forsaken, so I have gathered all the earth; and there was none that moved a wing or opened the mouth or chirped.” 15        Shall the axe boast over him who hews with it, or the saw magnify itself against him who wields it? As if a rod should wield him who lifts it, or as if a staff should lift him who is not wood! 16 Therefore the Lord God of hosts will send wasting sickness among his stout warriors, and under his glory a burning will be kindled, like the burning of fire. 17 The light of Israel will become a fire, and his Holy One a flame, and it will burn and devour his thorns and briers in one day. 18 The glory of his forest and of his fruitful land the Lord will destroy, both soul and body, and it will be as when a sick man wastes away. 19 The remnant of the trees of his forest will be so few that a child can write them down.”

Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” The writer of this proverb set forth the fundamental principle that self-exaltation, arrogance and conceit precedes one’s destruction, collapse and breaking. Additionally, a haughty spirit, or an exalted view of oneself, comes before personal stumbling and calamity.

The principle set forth in Proverbs 16:18 is personified and exemplified in Isaiah 10:12-19. The Nation of Assyria was a powerful nation who attacked and conquered the Northern Kingdom of Israel in 722 B.C. However, instead of recognizing that they were God’s instrument of judgment, they became filled with pride and arrogance.

Isaiah 10:12-19 is God’s oracle that whatever power a nation may possess, it is the LORD who is the source of that power. He not only gives power to a nation, but He also removes power, according to His sovereign purpose and plan. When a nation fails, or forgets, to acknowledge or remember this truth, God will humble that nation.

Consider what Daniel the Prophet prayed in Daniel 2:20-23. 20 Daniel answered and said: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. 21 He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; 22 he reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him. 23 To you, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, for you have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we asked of you, for you have made known to us the king’s matter.”

Observe what King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon wrote in light of his own humiliation by God. 34 At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; 35all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?” (Daniel 4:34-35)

Several of the United States’ founding documents, such as the Mayflower Compact, colonial constitutions and even The Declaration of Independence, acknowledge their existence by and the providence of Almighty God. Sadly, those important truths have been all but forgotten today by the majority of American, and the world’s, citizens.

Again, recalling the words of King Nebuchadnezzar, “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble.”

Let us never forget this humbling truth.

 Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

  

      

 

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Isaiah: The LORD’s Instruments.

5 “Woe to Assyria, the rod of my anger; the staff in their hands is my fury! Against a godless nation I send him, and against the people of my wrath I command him, to take spoil and seize plunder, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets. But he does not so intend, and his heart does not so think; but it is in his heart to destroy, and to cut off nations not a few; for he says: “Are not my commanders all kings? Is not Calno like Carchemish? Is not Hamath like Arpad? Is not Samaria like Damascus? 10 As my hand has reached to the kingdoms of the idols, whose carved images were greater than those of Jerusalem and Samaria, 11 shall I not do to Jerusalem and her idols as I have done to Samaria and her images?” (Isaiah 10:5-11)

There are occasions within the Scriptures in which the LORD uses the ungodly, individuals and nations, to accomplish His will. For example, the LORD used the evil of Joseph’s ten older brothers who sold him into slavery to eventually, some 20 years later, save many lives (Genesis 50:20). The LORD used the betrayal of Judas (Psalm 41:9; 6:64; 13:1-11; 18-20; 23-30) to fulfill Scripture and accomplish salvation through the substitutionary atonement by Jesus Christ. The LORD also used the Kingdom of Babylon to bring His righteous judgment upon the Nation of Judah (2 Chronicles 36:17-21; Daniel 1; Habakkuk 1-3), and thereafter the Nation of Persia against the Kingdom of Babylon (2 Chronicles 36:22-23; Isaiah 45:1-7).

Therefore, it should not take the student of Scripture by surprise that repeatedly the Prophet Isaiah has spoken of God using ungodly nations to punish the ungodliness of the northern kingdom of Israel in the 8th century B.C.  Isaiah 10:5-11, immediately following the prophet’s poem in Isaiah 9:8-10:4, describes the Nation of Assyria.

5 “Woe to Assyria, the rod of my anger; the staff in their hands is my fury!” The Hebrew word for “woe” can mean “aha,” “alas,” or even “come.” The Assyrians were also known as the people of Asshur. They were located in the northern portion of present day Iraq.

Assyria was a powerful nation in the 8th century B.C. The LORD referred to them as the “rod of my anger.” Rod means a scepter or staff used for smiting. Anger is literally defined as snorting breathing. It symbolizes God’s wrath. Using synonymous parallelism, the LORD also calls them “the staff in their hand is my fury.” The rod or tribes in their possession is the LORD’s anger and indignation.

6 “Against a godless nation I send him, and against the people of my wrath I command him, to take spoil and seize plunder, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets.” Isaiah 10:6 clearly indicates that Assyria is God’s instrument to bring about his righteous judgment against Israel.

But he does not so intend, and his heart does not so think; but it is in his heart to destroy, and to cut off nations not a few; for he says: “Are not my commanders all kings? Is not Calno like Carchemish? Is not Hamath like Arpad? Is not Samaria like Damascus?” Isaiah 10:7-9 reveals that human ruler have their own reasons for doing what they do. They may not even recognize the LORD who is using them as His instruments. However, they end up doing exactly what the LORD purposed them to do (Ezekiel 38:10).

10 “As my hand has reached to the kingdoms of the idols, whose carved images were greater than those of Jerusalem and Samaria, 11 shall I not do to Jerusalem and her idols as I have done to Samaria and her images?” Isaiah 10:10-11 explains that the judgment God brought upon 8th century B.C. Israel He will eventually bring upon 7th century B.C. Judah.

Dr. John Walvoord explains that, “God had commissioned Assyria to chasten Israel as the rod of His anger and the club of His wrath. Because Israel was godless and had angered God with her sin, Assyria would plunder her cities and ruthlessly trample her people. God often uses unlikely instruments to accomplish His purposes in the world (cf. His using Babylon against Judah, which puzzled Habakkuk, Hab. 1:6–17). Isaiah was not claiming that Assyria was godly or that the empire even knew that God was using it to do His bidding. In His sovereignty He directed Assyria to be His tool for vengeance.”

What was true in the 8th century B.C. remains true in the 21st century A.D. The LORD may use the ungodly, and ungodliness, to accomplish His purposes and to do His bidding. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” All things may not necessarily be good, but God causes all things, both good and bad, to work together for good and for His purpose. This promise of good is directed to those who love God, which are those who are the called.

Let us thank God for the good He causes through all things.

Soli deo Gloria!   

 

Isaiah: The LORD is Angry and His Hand is Stretched out Still. Part 4.

Isaiah 9:8-10:4 is a poem by the Prophet Isaiah warning God’s people of the great calamities which the LORD was about to send because of their sin. Israel’s response was to ignore the LORD’s disciplining grace.

Therefore, Isaiah poetically indicated that the LORD would bring about the downfall of His rebellious people. The poem is structured into four stanzas: 9:8-12; 9:13-17; 9:18-21; and 10:1-4. The poem’s theme is refrained four times (9:12; 9:17; 9:21; 10:4). It is “For all His anger has not turned away, and His hand is stretched out still.”

Today, we examine Isaiah 10:1-4 which says, “Woe to those who decree iniquitous decrees, and the writers who keep writing oppression, to turn aside the needy from justice and to rob the poor of my people of their right, that widows may be their spoil, and that they may make the fatherless their prey! What will you do on the day of punishment, in the ruin that will come from afar? To whom will you flee for help, and where will you leave your wealth? Nothing remains but to crouch among the prisoners or fall among the slain. For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still.”

Galatians 6:7-8 says, Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”

The principle of retribution is an important biblical doctrine. People reap what they sow. Or in other words, what goes around comes around. Such is the truth which Isaiah the prophet heralds in Isaiah 10:1-4.

Injustice by Israel’s leaders upon their own people was prevalent in the 8th century B.C. Isaiah 10:1-2 says, “Woe to those who decree iniquitous decrees, and the writers who keep writing oppression, to turn aside the needy from justice and to rob the poor of my people of their right, that widows may be their spoil, and that they may make the fatherless their prey!”

God would bring appropriate judgment upon Israel and its leaders. Those who profited from injustice upon their fellow countrymen would now suffer injustice from foreigners. There would be no help for them. God’s justice would not be denied. “What will you do on the day of punishment, in the ruin that will come from afar? To whom will you flee for help, and where will you leave your wealth? Nothing remains but to crouch among the prisoners or fall among the slain.”

Dr. John Walvoord explains that, “The corrupt leaders in Israel were perverting the cause of justice and righteousness, in contrast with the Messiah’s justice and righteousness (9:6–7). So Isaiah pronounced woe (see comments on 3:9) on those people. The readers should have realized that this woe would befall them if they followed their leaders’ wicked ways. Israel’s leaders were guilty of six things: They were (a) making unjust laws and (b) issuing oppressive decrees. These actions were repulsive because the Israelites were supposed to care for each other as members of God’s people redeemed from Egyptian slavery by their God. Also they were (c) depriving the poor (dal, “feeble, weak, helpless”) of their rights, (d) taking away justice, (e) hurting widows, and (f) robbing the fatherless. These actions, which involved taking advantage of people who could not defend their rights, violated God’s Law (Ex. 22:22; 23:6; Deut. 15:7–8; 24:17–18; cf. Isa. 1:17). Because of this behavior, the nation would go into captivity (10:3–4). In disaster … from afar (i.e., from Assyria) no one would help them, as they had refused to help those in need. In anger God’s judgment would fall (see comments on 9:12).”

Do you see injustice? Is there anything you can do in order to combat injustice when, and where, you encounter it? Ask the Lord for wisdom in to discern what you can do to help those who have been wronged.

Soli deo Gloria!

Isaiah: The LORD is Angry and His Hand is Stretched out Still. Part 3.

Isaiah 9:8-10:4 is a poem by the Prophet Isaiah warning God’s people of the great calamities which the LORD was about to send because of their sin. Israel’s response was to ignore the LORD’s disciplining grace.

Therefore, Isaiah poetically indicated that the LORD would bring about the downfall of His rebellious people. The poem is structured into four stanzas: 9:8-12; 9:13-17; 9:18-21; and 10:1-4. The poem’s theme is refrained four times (9:12; 9:17; 9:21; 10:4). It is “For all His anger has not turned away, and His hand is stretched out still.”

Today, we examine Isaiah 9:18-21 which says, 18 For wickedness burns like a fire; it consumes briers and thorns; it kindles the thickets of the forest, and they roll upward in a column of smoke. 19 Through the wrath of the Lord of hosts the land is scorched, and the people are like fuel for the fire; no one spares another. 20 They slice meat on the right, but are still hungry, and they devour on the left, but are not satisfied; each devours the flesh of his own arm, 21 Manasseh devours Ephraim, and Ephraim devours Manasseh; together they are against Judah. For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still.”  

The consequences of man’s wickedness are not only from without but also from within. The wickedness of Israel in the 8th century B.C. is likened by the Prophet Isaiah to a fire. Isaiah 9:18 says, “18 For wickedness burns like a fire; it consumes briers and thorns; it kindles the thickets of the forest, and they roll upward in a column of smoke.”  Within the nation, Israel’s own wickedness burns like a fire. It consumes everything.

Additionally, the Lord’s wrath is also compared to a fire. Not only was Israel consumed by its own wickedness, but also by the wrath of God against their wickedness. Isaiah 9:19 says, “19 Through the wrath of the Lord of hosts the land is scorched, and the people are like fuel for the fire.”

However, rather than repent the people of Israel turn on each other. Isaiah 9:19b-21a says, “no one spares another. 20 They slice meat on the right, but are still hungry, and they devour on the left, but are not satisfied; each devours the flesh of his own arm, 21 Manasseh devours Ephraim, and Ephraim devours Manasseh; together they are against Judah. For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still.”  

Dr. John Walvoord writes that, “The people’s wickedness (cf. v. 17) is pictured as burning them up like a huge fire with a large column of smoke. The judgment would come not only from God (v. 11) and from enemies of the nation (v. 12), but also from within. The nation would destroy itself by its own wicked deeds. People would oppose each other (v. 19), devour each other (v. 20), and even entire tribes will be in conflict (v. 21).”

Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “Pride, narcissism, and greed destroy the fiber of society, especially the covenant relationship between the tribes. Before the revelation of this oracle, Manasseh fought Ephraim (Judges 12:1-4), and together they battled Judah during the war with Israel and Syria. Sin is self-destructive: as a fire, it consumes the land; as a person, it eats its own arm. Even this, though, does not exhaust God’s wrath against sin.”  

In what ways is this oracle being fulfilled within nations today? God’s people must continue to be faithful to preach repentance and forgiveness in Jesus Christ. Why? “For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still.”

Soli deo Gloria!

 

The Belgic Confession: LORD’S DAY 26, 2020.

On each Lord’s Day this year, we will reproduce devotional articles taken from The Belgic Confession. The Belgic Confession, written in 1561, owes its origin to the need for a clear and comprehensive statement of Reformed Theology during the time of the Spanish inquisition in the Lowlands. Guido de Brès, its primary author, was pleading for understanding and toleration from King Philip II of Spain who was determined to root out all Protestant factions in his jurisdiction. Hence, this confession takes pains to point out the continuity of Reformed Theology with that of the ancient Christian creeds.

The oldest of the doctrinal standards of the Christian Reformed Church and the Reformed Church in America is the Confession of Faith, popularly known as the Belgic Confession, following the seventeenth-century Latin designation “Confessio Belgica.” “Belgica” referred to the whole of the Netherlands, both north and south, which today is divided into the Netherlands and Belgium. The confession’s chief author was Guido de Brès, a preacher of the Reformed churches of the Netherlands, who died a martyr to the faith in the year 1567.

During the sixteenth century the churches in this country were exposed to terrible persecution by the Roman Catholic government. To protest against this cruel oppression, and to prove to the persecutors that the adherents of the Reformed faith were not rebels, as was laid to their charge, but law-abiding citizens who professed the true Christian doctrine according to the Holy Scriptures, de Brès prepared this confession in the year 1561. In the following year a copy was sent to King Philip II, together with an address in which the petitioners declared that they were ready to obey the government in all lawful things, but that they would “offer their backs to stripes, their tongues to knives, their mouths to gags, and their whole bodies to the fire,” rather than deny the truth expressed in this confession.

Along with The Heidelberg Catechism and the Canons of Dort, The Belgic Confession comprise what is collectively referred to as the Thee Forms of Unity. Article #30-31 of the Belgic Confession is as follows.

Article #30: The Government of the Church.

We believe that this true church ought to be governed according to the spiritual order that our Lord has taught us in his Word.

There should be ministers or pastors to preach the Word of God and administer the sacraments. There should also be elders and deacons, along with the pastors, to make up the council of the church.

By this means true religion is preserved; true doctrine is able to take its course; and evil people are corrected spiritually and held in check, so that also the poor and all the afflicted may be helped and comforted
according to their need.

By this means everything will be done well and in good order in the church, when such persons are elected who are faithful and are chosen according to the rule that Paul gave to Timothy.76

761 Tim. 3

Article #31: The Officers of the Church.

We believe that ministers of the Word of God, elders, and deacons ought to be chosen to their offices by a legitimate election of the church, with prayer in the name of the Lord, and in good order, as the Word of God teaches.

So all must be careful not to push themselves forward improperly, but must wait for God’s call, so that they may be assured of their calling and be certain that they are chosen by the Lord.

As for the ministers of the Word, they all have the same power and authority, no matter where they may be, since they are all servants of Jesus Christ, the only universal bishop, and the only head of the church.

Moreover, to keep God’s holy order from being violated or despised, we say that everyone ought, as much as possible, to hold the ministers of the Word and elders of the church in special esteem, because of the work they do, and be at peace with them, without grumbling, quarreling, or fighting.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

Isaiah: The LORD is Angry and His Hand is Stretched out Still. Part 2.

Isaiah 9:8-10:4 is a poem by the Prophet Isaiah warning God’s people of the great calamities which the LORD was about to send because of their sin. Israel’s response was to ignore the LORD’s disciplining grace.

Therefore, Isaiah poetically indicated that the LORD would bring about the downfall of His rebellious people. The poem is structured into four stanzas: 9:8-12; 9:13-17; 9:18-21; and 10:1-4. The poem’s theme is refrained four times (9:12; 9:17; 9:21; 10:4). It is “For all His anger has not turned away, and His hand is stretched out still.”

Today, we examine Isaiah 9:13-17 which says, 13 The people did not turn to him who struck them, nor inquire of the Lord of hosts. 14 So the Lord cut off from Israel head and tail, palm branch and reed in one day— 15 the elder and honored man is the head, and the prophet who teaches lies is the tail; 16  for those who guide this people have been leading them astray, and those who are guided by them are swallowed up. 17 Therefore the Lord does not rejoice over their young men, and has no compassion on their fatherless and widows; for everyone is godless and an evildoer, and every mouth speaks folly. For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still.”

The Scriptures do not shy away from the truth that God is not only the source of blessing but also the ultimate source of trials. Triumphs and trials both come from the LORD: either directly or indirectly.

There are times that trials are God’s means to test His children’s spiritual endurance (James 1:1-8; I Peter 1:1-9). These difficulties are from the providential hand and purpose of God. Consider the following biblical texts.

Exodus 4:10–14 – “10 But Moses said to the Lord, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” 11 Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.” 13 But he said, “Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.” 14 Then the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses and he said, “Is there not Aaron, your brother, the Levite? I know that he can speak well. Behold, he is coming out to meet you, and when he sees you, he will be glad in his heart.”

Ecclesiastes 7:13–14 – 13 Consider the work of God: who can make straight what he has made crooked? 14 In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him.”

Isaiah 45:1–7 – “Thus says the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have grasped, to subdue nations before him and to loose the belts of kings, to open doors before him that gates may not be closed: “I will go before you and level the exalted places, I will break in pieces the doors of bronze and cut through the bars of iron, I will give you the treasures of darkness and the hoards in secret places, that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, who call you by your name. For the sake of my servant Jacob, and Israel my chosen, I call you by your name, I name you, though you do not know me. I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness; I make well-being and create calamity; I am the Lord, who does all these things”.

Lamentations 3:37–38 – “37 Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? 38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come?”

The LORD provided Israel with ample warning concerning their need, and His command, that they repent of their sin and return to the LORD their God. This they refused to do.

Isaiah 9:13 says, 13 The people did not turn to him who struck them, nor inquire of the Lord of hosts.”  The biblical text does not refute the idea that God’s providential and sovereign will and judgment was behind Syria’s and Philistia’s invasion of the northern kingdom of Israel. It would be the same for the southern kingdom of Judah in 605 B.C. (2 Chronicles 36).

Therefore, Isaiah 9:14-15 says, “14 So the Lord cut off from Israel head and tail, palm branch and reed in one day— 15 the elder and honored man is the head, and the prophet who teaches lies is the tail.” From top to bottom, from the elders of the land to the prophets who spoke lies to the people, God judged the entire nation. The symbol of head and tail represents the civil and religious leadership of Israel.

However, God’s judgment is not just reserved for the civil and religious leaders. Isaiah 9:16-17 says, “16 for those who guide this people have been leading them astray, and those who are guided by them are swallowed up. 17 Therefore the Lord does not rejoice over their young men, and has no compassion on their fatherless and widows; for everyone is godless and an evildoer, and every mouth speaks folly. For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still.”

Not even the most helpless in Israel’s society were exempt from the LORD’s wrath. Not even the most helpless members of society will escape God’s judgment.

Once again, what was true for Israel centuries ago is true for nations today. God calls everyone to repent of their sin and turn to Him by faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Why? It is because “For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still.”

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Isaiah: The LORD is Angry and His Hand is Stretched out Still.

Isaiah 9:8-10:4 is a poem by the Prophet Isaiah warning God’s people of the great calamities which the LORD was sending because of their sin. Israel’s response was to ignore the LORD’s disciplining wrath and grace.

Therefore, Isaiah poetically indicated that the LORD would bring about the downfall of His rebellious people. The poem is structured into four stanzas: 9:8-12; 9:13-17; 9:18-21; and 10:1-4. The poem’s theme is refrained four times (9:12; 9:17; 9:21; 10:4). It is “For all His anger has not turned away, and His hand is stretched out still.”

Today we examine Isaiah 9:8-12 which says, The Lord has sent a word against Jacob, and it will fall on Israel; and all the people will know, Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria, who say in pride and in arrogance of heart: 10 “The bricks have fallen, but we will build with dressed stones; the sycamores have been cut down, but we will put cedars in their place.” 11 But the Lord raises the adversaries of Rezin against him, and stirs up his enemies. 12 The Syrians on the east and the Philistines on the west devour Israel with open mouth. For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still.”

Through His prophets, the LORD warned the northern kingdom of Israel that His judgment was coming upon them because of their sin. The LORD has sent His word. His oracle was an impending woe upon the people of Jacob. It was a judgment that would come. It was to be a judgment that the people would eventually understand, but too late.

What was the people’s response? 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “ if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” However, Israel did not humble itself as a nation. Israel did not pray and seek God’s face. Israel did not turn from its wicked ways. Therefore, God did not forgive their sin and subsequently heal their land.

Rather, Israel’s response was arrogance. To the LORD’s destructive judgment upon the land and their cities, the people responded that they would rebuild bigger and better cities. They believed they would, and could, overcome the judgment of God. How foolish.

God would bring destruction upon Israel through the military might of the Syrians and the Philistines. God would use these evil nations to bring upon Israel His righteous judgment. God would purpose evil to exist and use it for His glory. See Habakkuk.

Why would God chose to do this? Isaiah 9:12 provides the answer. “For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still.” The One, true God who delivered Israel from Egypt was now extended to strike His own people.

What was true of Israel is true for nations today. God hates sin and will bring judgment down upon unrepentant sin. He does so upon not only individuals but also nations. May we individually, and nationally, repent and return to the God of our salvation.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

  

 

Isaiah: The Son’s Rule.

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil. For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.” (Isaiah 9:2-7)

Dr. R. C. Sproul states that, Isaiah 9:6–7 describes this coming king. He would possess unparalleled wisdom, being the “Wonderful Counselor” who would not need advisers or counselors to help guide him. His reign would also be so marked by peace that he would be the “Prince of Peace.” Other kings are known for war, and while this coming king would be a mighty warrior, his rule would establish and maintain permanent peace between God and the king’s loyal subjects. And this king would be more than a mere man. He would be “Mighty God, Everlasting Father”—that is, the Creator Himself incarnate.”

The Messianic prophecy of the incarnate Son of God continues in Isaiah 9:7. Regarding this One who is identified as Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace, Isaiah goes on to say that, “Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.”

The characteristics of the Messiah’s rule and reign are highlighted in Isaiah 9:7. Let’s look at each one in detail.

“Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end.” The word increase means greatness and abundance. The greatness and abundance of the Son’s rule and dominion (government) and of complete safety (peace) will be eternal.  

On the throne of David and over his kingdom.” The Son’s rule and dominion will be centralized on the throne of Israel. This is personified as the throne and kingdom of David ((1 Kings 8:25; Psalm 2:6; 132:11; Jeremiah 3:17, 18; Ezekiel 34:23–26; Luke 1:32, 33; Acts 2:30). The virgin’s Son will be the rightful heir to David’s throne and will inherit the promises of the Davidic Covenant (2 Samuel 7:12–16; cf. Psalm 89:1–37Matthew 1:1).

 “To establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore.” The purpose and character of the Son’s rule and dominion will be to form and sustain His eternal kingdom with righteous judgment.

The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.” The passion and strong desire of Yahweh, who commands a vast host of angels, will accomplish this feat.

 Dr. John Walvoord explains, “The Messiah, seated on David’s throne (Luke 1:32–33), will have an eternal rule of peace and justice. His rule will have no end; it will go on forever (cf. Dan. 7:14, 27; Micah 4:7; Luke 1:33; Rev. 11:15). Following the kingdom on earth, He will rule for eternity. He will maintain righteousness (cf. Jer. 23:5), as His rule will conform to God’s holy character and demands.”

One author writes that, “In this fallen world, people long for peace between family members, between coworkers, and between neighbors. Lasting peace is possible, however, only through submission to the Prince of Peace, Christ Jesus. When we bow to Him in faith, we are put at peace with our Creator, and we are called to announce His reign so that others may know His peace. Let us seek to tell others about the Prince of Peace this day.

Soli deo Gloria!

Isaiah: Four Names.

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil. For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.” (Isaiah 9:2-7)

Today, we continue to examine Isaiah 9:6 which says, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Four descriptive and compound titles, or names, are given to the Son. Each describe His inner character.

Wonderful Counselor. In an absolute sense, this name means that the Son will be an outstanding and amazing source of wisdom and counsel.

Mighty God. In an absolute sense, this name means that the Son is also the one, true God of the universe who created it and sustains it, is powerful and strong.

Everlasting Father. In an absolute sense, this means that the Son is the head of His covenant people and will be eternally.

Prince of Peace. In an absolute sense, the Son is the commander and ruler of safeness, soundness and welfare for His people.

Dr. John MacArthur writes, “Wonderful Counselor. In contrast to Ahaz, this King will implement supernatural wisdom in discharging his office (cf. 2 Sam. 16:231 Kings 3:28). Mighty God. As a powerful warrior, the Messiah will accomplish the military exploits mentioned in Isa. 9:3–5 (cf. 10:21Deut. 10:17Neh. 9:32). Everlasting Father. The Messiah will be a Father to his people eternally. As Davidic King, he will compassionately care for and discipline them (Isa. 40:11; 63:16; 64:8Ps. 68:5–6; 103:13Prov. 3:12). Prince of Peace. The government of Immanuel will procure and perpetuate peace among the nations of the world (Isa. 2:4; 11:6–9Mic. 4:3).”

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

  

 

 

Isaiah: A Child is Born; A Son is Given.

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil. For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.” (Isaiah 9:2-7)

Today, we examine Isaiah 9:6 which says, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Dr. Don Carson explains that, “The mounting relief and joy in vs 1–5 as the trappings of war are abolished prepare us to meet the deliverer; but instead of some latter-day Gideon (cf. v 4), it is the child (6) already foretold as Immanuel in 7:14; 8:8.”

For to us” within the immediate context this statement refers to Israel. In the ultimate context it refers to all who are children of God by grace alone, through faith alone, in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone. This promise is exclusively for those who are in covenant relationship with God.

“A child” specifically refers to a man child. A boy. This is the child prophesied in Isaiah 7:14.

“Is born.” The grammar here in the Hebrew is most interesting because this verb phrase is in the perfect tense. That means it refers to a past completed action which has continuing results. This seems logical to the 21st century believer because the prophecy of Isaiah 9:6 is rooted in an 8th century B.C. historical context. However, this was a prophecy yet future by approximately 700 years for those believers. The perfect tense indicates the assurance of this prophecy coming to pass as if it already has. This grammatical style is known as the prophetic perfect.

“To us a son is given.” To covenant believers God gives a son. Once again, the phrase “is given” is in the perfect tense. The same sense applies a previously noted.

“And the government shall be upon his shoulder” refers to the Son’s right to rule and have dominion over His people and all of creation. Dr. John Walvoord writes that, “He will rule over God’s people (cf. Micah 5:2) and the world (Zechariah 14:9). The government will be on His shoulders figuratively refers to the kingly robe to be worn by the Messiah. As King, He will be responsible to govern the nation. In Isaiah’s day Judah’s leaders were incompetent in governing the people. But the Messiah will govern properly.”

Dr. John MacArthur explains that, “These terms elaborate further on Immanuel, the child to be born to the virgin (7:14). The virgin’s child will also be the royal Son of David, with rights to the Davidic throne (9:7; cf. Matt. 1:21Luke 1:31–33; 2:7, 11).In fulfillment of this verse and Psalm 2:9, the Son will rule the nations of the world (Rev. 2:27; 19:15).”

Four descriptive and compound titles, or names, are given to the Son. Each describe His inner character. We will examine each name when next we meet.

Soli deo Gloria!