Isaiah - Lesson 2

Problem of Servanthood

In this lesson, you delve into the profound topic of servanthood in the Book of Isaiah, gaining a deep understanding of its historical, literary, and theological context. You will begin to comprehend the societal norms of ancient Israel and the significance of servanthood within that society. The lesson takes you on a journey through the language and stylistic elements employed in Isaiah, emphasizing the role of servanthood as a central theme. Alongside this, you'll also explore the multifaceted theological interpretations of servanthood and how they correlate with other Biblical themes. The knowledge gained through this lesson not only contributes to a broader understanding of Isaiah but also underscores the importance of servanthood in modern biblical interpretation and theological studies. The lesson ends by addressing the personal and spiritual implications of understanding servanthood, equipping you with insights that can potentially influence your faith journey.

Lesson 2
Watching Now
Problem of Servanthood

I. Introduction and Purpose

A. Overview of the Lesson

B. Importance of Understanding Servanthood in Isaiah

II. Contextual Analysis of Servanthood in Isaiah

A. Historical Context

1. Israelite Society and Culture

2. Role of Servanthood in Ancient Israel

B. Literary Context

1. Language and Style

2. Symbolism and Metaphors

III. Theological Implications of Servanthood

A. Theological Interpretations of Servanthood

B. Servanthood as a Central Theme in Isaiah

C. Relation to Other Biblical Themes

IV. Application and Significance

A. Role of Servanthood in Modern Interpretation of Isaiah

B. Impact on Theological Studies

C. Personal and Spiritual Implications

  • Through the in-depth study of Isaiah, you'll gain understanding of its purpose, authorship, key themes, structure, and its significant contributions to the Old Testament, shaping your comprehension of prophetic literature.
  • In studying this lesson, you gain an understanding of the concept of servanthood in the Book of Isaiah, exploring its societal, literary, theological, and personal implications.
  • In the lesson, you explore Isaiah's divine vision, understand his servanthood in a biblical and cultural context, and reflect on its contemporary relevance and implications for today's believers.
  • By exploring trust as the basis of servanthood in this lesson, you gain a deeper understanding of biblical teachings, the role of Isaiah, and the practical implications for modern Christian life.
  • You will gain knowledge and insight into the significance of trusting Yahweh, the invisible God, in difficult times and the consequences of relying on human conspiracies and seeking guidance from mediums. By choosing to trust God and follow His light, you will find hope, experience His strength, wisdom, and peace.
  • This lesson, spanning chapters 13 to 35, delves into various aspects such as oracles against the nations, God's rule of history, Judah's situation, and the repercussions of placing trust in the nations.
  • In this lesson, you learn about trusting in God even in the midst of chaos and to not rely on worldly powers. By waiting expectantly and trusting in God's sovereignty, you can find peace and security amidst a turbulent world.
  • The lesson offers deep insights into trust from a biblical perspective, drawing on case studies from Isaiah and giving you practical applications for contemporary Christianity.
  • Through this lesson, you will gain insight into the message of trust in Yahweh presented in Isaiah chapters 13 through 35, emphasizing the contrast between human power and God's sovereignty and discussing the ultimate victory of God in eschatological literature.
  • This lesson highlights the theological impact of the exile and the questions it raises about God's promises and His power. It explores the issue of trust and warns against relying on worldly solutions, using the example of seeking help from Egypt. Isaiah challenges the people to wait for the Lord and defines trust as confident expectation.
  • In this lesson, the consequences of trusting in worldly powers like Egypt and Assyria are emphasized, highlighting their limitations compared to God's power. The lesson stresses the need for repentance, rest, and trust in God for salvation and strength. It calls for addressing the present condition of the people and the land rather than being complacent. The promise of the pouring out of the Holy Spirit is mentioned, which will lead to transformation and the establishment of peace.
  • This lesson introduces Hezekiah, son of Ahaz, and his dire dilemma on whom to trust—God or humanity—in a situation rife with political and personal peril. By examining Hezekiah's predicament, you will grapple with the notion that trust is the foundation of servanthood to God. The concepts of power, authority, and faith are analyzed through the lens of Hezekiah's interactions with Sennacherib, the king of Assyria. Ultimately, this lesson presents a thought-provoking exploration of trust in divine power versus human power, faith in the midst of desperation, and the implications of such trust for leadership and servanthood.
  • You will delve into the unique prophetic style of Isaiah, understanding his future-oriented prophecies, and the challenges brought by the exiles. You will explore predictive prophecy and how God's transcendence enables accurate predictions. Further, you'll examine the book of Isaiah's authorship, its implications, and the context of Assyrian-Babylonian transition.
  • In this lesson, you will learn about the themes of grace, servitude, and the promise of God's deliverance in chapters 40 to 55. You will understand the meaning behind the denunciation of idols and God's sovereignty, in addition to the assurance that even amidst fear, God is present and will aid His people.
  • This lesson analyzes the role of a witness, God's omnipotence and His role as the sole deity, His promise of deliverance and transformation, and the continuity of faith across generations through His spirit. The key message of this lesson is that God is the Creator and Savior, the only true God, and our role as His witnesses is to testify to His reality and His power in our lives and in the world around us.
  • In this lesson, you grasp the profound concept of God's grace, witnessing how He reclaims His chosen despite their sins. You delve into the biblical view of cause and effect, discovering God's principles at work. Moreover, you gain insights into the suffering servant, embodying true Israel, fulfilling what Israel couldn't. This figure vividly portrays divine calling, struggle, and unwavering trust in God. The lesson ends by revealing the promised restoration of Israel, instilling hope in God's unwavering promises.
  • Through this lesson, you will gain knowledge and insight into the concept of grace, the anticipation of God's saving work, the revelation of His victory, and the transformative power of Jesus' servant hood.
  • Through this lesson, you'll explore the significant role of justice, righteousness, and servanthood in the Book of Isaiah, showcasing the transformative power of God's grace in redeeming and restoring His people.
  • In this lesson, you journey through spiritual growth, witnessing human virtues and flaws, Israel's struggles, and divine grace. The Divine Warrior transforms God's people into beacons, illuminating God's glory. Finally, the Warrior, as the Messiah, brings comfort, freedom, and beauty amid sorrow.
  • This lesson provides a detailed exploration of the struggles of God's people, their plea for God's intervention, and their accusation towards God for their hardships. It calls upon you to reflect on the human condition and our inherent need for divine intervention. Lastly, the lesson underscores the importance of a relationship with God, not merely seeking righteousness but seeking Him and His presence in one's life.

Diving into this course by Dr. John Oswalt, you will find yourself immersed in the study of the Book of Isaiah, particularly focusing on its purpose, authorship, major themes, structure, historical context, author, and time of writing. The major themes like redemption, restoration, and the holiness of God will be unraveled, along with an examination of the book's literary style and chapter breakdown. Additionally, you will gain insights into the concept of servanthood within the context of ancient Israel, exploring its historical, literary, and theological perspectives. Isaiah's vision and his divine calling to servanthood will be thoroughly discussed, revealing the challenges he faced in his role and the contemporary relevance of his servanthood. You will delve into the relationship between trust and servanthood, with trust being a prerequisite to becoming a servant, as demonstrated by Isaiah. The class culminates in providing you with the knowledge of the transformative potential of trust, its importance in the biblical narrative, and its role as a cornerstone for faith and community development. Lastly, you will understand the message of trust in Yahweh presented in Isaiah, learn about the contrast between trusting in human power and glory versus living by faith, and gain an understanding of the importance of trust and the dangers of relying on worldly solutions.

Recommended Books

The Holy One of Israel: Studies in the Book of Isaiah

The Holy One of Israel: Studies in the Book of Isaiah

Growing out of the work that the author did in preparing two major commentaries on Isaiah, these essays range from comprehensive to specific, and from popular to scholarly....

The Holy One of Israel: Studies in the Book of Isaiah

Dr. John Oswalt
Problem of Servanthood
Lesson Transcript


We're continuing our study of Isaiah, and we're ready now to focus on the details of the book. So let's begin with chapters one through five that I called The Problem of Servant Hood. One of the things that we see in this section is a structural law of interchange. Interchange is when you have one idea, then another. Then back to the first, back to the second. Going back and forth, back and forth. And that's what you see in chapters 1 to 5 interchange. It's an interchange between judgment and hope. And that interchange in many ways is going to flow through the entire book. Clearly in these circumstances. The pressure from a area coming south, the fearfulness of the people, they're saying to their profits, Is there hope? Is there hope? And the prophets are saying, Oh, yes, there's a lot of hope. Isaiah in particular says, Yes, there's hope, but it's not the kind of hope you think. They thought that the hope was to escape judgment. And what Isaiah is telling them is, for this generation, the only hope is through judgment. Hmm. Hope lies on the other side of judgment. And that interchange judgment and hope inhabits this whole segment of five chapters. It's especially evident right at the outset in chapter one. Hope you have your Bible there. Let's look at it. The very first verse, the vision concerning Judah and Jerusalem that Isaiah, son of Amos, saw during the reigns of Uzair, Jotham Ahaz and Hezekiah Kings of Judah. Now that verse is very important in ancient literature. You begin a piece with what we can call a Collison. That is, it is a piece that identifies who the author is, to whom it was written and when it was written. That call often is intended to shape our understanding of the authorship of the book.


Now you will find people saying, No, no, it's just for a section of the book, but being put here at the head and nothing changing it anywhere else, says the final editor of the book wants us to believe that this is the work of Isaiah, son of Mars, written to these people during this time. We can't overlook that. If in fact that's not true, then someone wants us to think it's true. And then we've got a big problem. So this is the one who wrote this. Now notice how we begin here. May you. Heavens, listen, Earth for the Lord has spoken. That takes us back to Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy calls on heaven and earth to witness what Moses is saying in a covenantal relationship. The witnesses to this covenant are heaven and earth. And so Isaiah is picking up on that. And these people who presumably knew their Bible would have heard that heaven and earth are obedient. Heaven and earth follow God's commands. They can do nothing else. But what about these people? And notice again, and I have to say to you, for me, every word in the Bible is important. They're not here by accident. The Holy Spirit guided these people to use the words that were the right words for the situation. The Lord has spoken. Yahweh, the I am the Creator. I reared children. Hmm. Hmm. Isn't that a fascinating beginning? Not I am the creator of the Earth and these things are my subjects. And No, no, I'm the father. I'm the father who reared children. That family relationship that runs right through the Bible. Here it is. And what have they done? They have rebelled against me. Hmm. Hebrew has three common words for sin. There is the one that is translated sin.


And it means to miss a target. You may miss it intentionally. I don't want that target. I think I'll have another one. Or you may miss it unintentionally. It's the most general word. Then there's a second word that we have no contemporary English translation for the King James word is iniquity. We don't have an English word for that today. It's not entirely clear what its origins are, but the most recent thinking is it speaks of the objective reality of what we have done. All of us who are married understand this. You can't say, Oh, honey, I didn't mean that. Maybe you didn't, but it's out there. It's something that is going to have to be dealt with. You can't ignore it. And the third word is this one. Rebellion. Transgression. That's the good Latin term to go over. Yes, I know where the fences are and I'm over them. Thank you very much. That concept of sin, intentional, determined, willful, is going to show up throughout this book. Look at the very last verse in the book. Chapter 66, verse 24, They will go out and look on the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me. Hmm. Hmm. Hmm. Hmm. Oh, we don't like that. We don't like that at all. We want a grandfather who says, Oh, honey, that's all right. Never mind. We don't want reality that says if you defy the ways in which you were made, you will kill yourselves. No, no. I want to be able to jump off a tall building and halfway down, say, Hmm, That sidewalk is coming up a little faster than I like. Let's just forget we did this, huh? No. No. I reared children with all of the care and the love and the support that that implies.


And they have said no. The ax knows its master, the donkey, its owners manger. But Israel does not know. My people do not understand the new living Oswal version would say these people are dumber than a jackass. Animals are smart enough to know where life is and where death is. But my people are not that smart. And then a word that will show up again and again and in English. Whoa. Usually has an element of judgment in it. Whoa. To you. But the Hebrew is really a word of regret. The best English translation would be the archaic. Alas. Alas, for this information, the people whose guilt is great, a brood of evil doers, children given to corruption. They have forsaken Yahweh and spurned. Here's the first occurrence the Holy one of Israel, and turned their backs on him. Oh my. Oh, my. Here is reality. Here is glorious, loving, true reality. And we've said, I don't think I'll have any of that. Thank you very much. I'll go my own way. I'll do my own thing. So so is this situation that's emerging here? Is it is it going to produce a sort of an arbitrary wrath of God? You can't do that to me. Look, look at the illustration that follows. Why should you be beaten anymore? Why do you persist in rebellion? Your whole head is injured. Your whole heart afflicted from the sole of your foot to the top of your head. There's no sadness, only wounds and welts and open sores, not cleansed or bandaged or soothed with olive oil. It's a picture of health, isn't it? If you live in appropriate ways, your body will be healthy. If you live in inappropriate ways, your body will suffer. Again, Isaiah is trying to put this in the the most clear and obvious terms.


Here's a family. The children have rebelled. What are the results? Tragedy. Here's a body. A body that has lived in ways that are inappropriate. What's the result? Illness. Sickness. So he goes on in verses seven, eight, nine. He has a picture here in verse nine of a lean to in a cucumber field in Israel. You didn't build villages out in the arable land of the valley. You built them on the edge of the hill. And then the arable land was all divided up into small bits of fields. And when harvest came, you couldn't go back and forth between your field and the village. You build a lean to out there in the harvest field and you lived out there. And then the rains came and. And God says, That's what you look like. My dear, beloved people, you look like an abandoned lean to in a harvest field. And finally verse nine, he says, Unless the Lord Almighty had left us some survivors, we would have become like Sodom. We would have been like Gomorrah. So here's the situation. Rebellious children abandoned, broken, ill, tragic. That's this Israel. So how do we solve the problem? How do we restore this relationship? Well, there's a wrong answer. And the right answer and the wrong answer is given to us in verse ten through 15. Hypocritical religion. I have challenged seminary students now for 40 years. I guess to use these next verses as a call to worship some Sunday. I don't think they ever have. I haven't heard of anybody being run out of the service before the first hymn here, the Word of the Lord, you rulers of Sodom. Listen to the instruction of our God, you people of Gomorrah. Wouldn't that go over well? The multitude of your sacrifices? What are they to me? Says the Lord.


I have more than enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fattened animals. I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. When you come to appear before me, who ask this of you, this trampling of my records, who ask you to come in here on a Sunday morning? Stop bringing meaningless offerings? Your incense is detestable to me and so forth. Verse 15 When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes from you. I'm not listening. Paganism believes that the gods are part of this world and you can manipulate the world and manipulate the gods. But Yahweh is not part of this world. You can fiddle with this world all you want and you won't change them at all. Cultic religion is intended to be symbolic of heart condition, and if the heart condition is not right, then the religion is sickening to God. He hates it. Oh, oh, Oh, no, no, no. I don't want to give my heart to God. I'll give a little bit of my money. I'll give a little bit of my time, but I won't give my heart to God. Oh, no, that's too expensive. And God says, That's all I want. So if hypocritical, religion is not the right solution to this problem, what is? Wash. Make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight. Stop doing wrong. Learn to do right. Seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless. Plead the case of the widow. Come. Let us settle this matter, says the Lord. Though your sins are like Scarlet, they'll be as white as snow. Though their red is crimson, they'll be like wool. If you're willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land.


But if you resist and rebel, you will be eaten by the sword. Same Hebrew word of both verses. Take your choice. Eat the good things of the land or be eaten by the sword. Hmm. Change your behavior. Now we don't have the mechanism of how our sins can become as white as snow, but it's very clear that there's going to have to be an internal change that is reflected in external behavior. When you talk about Old Testament religion, that's where it is a heart change that is manifested in how you treat other people. It's as simple as that. Hmm. Wash and be clean. There's the solution. So we've had the problem versus one denied. We've had a wrong solution in 10 to 15. Now the true solution in 16 to 20. But now we come back in verse 21, see how the faithful city has become a prostitute. She was once full of justice. Righteousness used to dwell in her, now murderers. So here's the interchange again. Yes, this is what could be. But this is what is. The faithless city, the prostitute where justice used to live. But now murderers. Your rulers are rebels. But is that the way it has to be? Look at verse 26. I will restore your leaders as in days of old. Your rulers is at the beginning. Afterward, you'll be called the City of Righteousness. The faithful city Zion will be delivered with justice. Her penitent one's with righteousness, but rebels and sinners will both be broken. Those who forsake the Lord will perish. Yes, the faithless city can become the faithful city. But once again, we come back to the president. And this is so typical of Isaiah when he makes promises about the glorious future. And we say, Oh, good, good, he says, but this is what you are now.


Oh, we're going to have to deal with this in order for that to become the case. And so you have in the last three verses of the chapter a very grim picture. You will be ashamed because of the sacred oaks in which you have delighted you will be disgraced because of the gardens that you have chosen. You will be like an oak with fading leaves, like a garden without water. The mighty man will become tender. His work a spark. Both will burn together with no one to quench the fire. Oh, my, oh, my. Now keep your finger there and turn back with me to chapter 61 of. Did you see those references to Oaks here? Sacred oaks in which you delighted Like an oak with fading leaves. Now. Let's not fight over OX whether that's an appropriate word for that kind of tree in Israel. But what I want you to look at is this one verse three. To provide for those who grieve in Zion to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy, instead of mourning a garment of praise, instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. That's where we're headed. Now sacred oaks in which you've delighted. You'll be disgraced by them. You'll be like an oak with fading leaves. Like a garden without water. Oh. This Israel. Corrupt. Rebellious. Broken. Bleeding. Will somehow become that Israel, the Israel of joy, the Israel of peace, the Israel of righteousness. The Israel of gladness. Huh? How? How can this Israel so far from being servants? They're rebels. How can they ever become the servants of the living God? So Chapter one.


I've spent a long time on this chapter intentionally. We won't spend this much time on the following chapters. Chapter one just lays out this interchange. What is what could be, What is What could be. What is. What will be. So with that picture primarily negative in chapter one, we come to chapter two and we have another call often here. This call, often most people agree, is for chapters two through 511. That's for the book two. One is for these chapters. And you begin with. Hope. Hope. In the last days, the mountain of the Lord's Temple will be established as the highest of the mountains. It will be exalted above the hills. All the nations will stream to it. Isn't this wonderful? After the way Chapter one ended? Many people will come and say, Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He'll teach us his ways. We may walk in his paths. The Torah. I like to use Torah. The word here in the in ideas lore. Not a wrong word, but unfortunately, law in English today has come to have a negative connotation. It's that which limits us, which shuts us in a. My wife Karen, has a P.T. cruiser little black car. The speedometer says it'll go 120. I don't think so. I think the rubber band will fly off before it gets going that fast. But we can't find out. Why not? The law. The Hebrew word is Tora! Tora! Means instructions. Hmm. Thank you, God, for the manual. Thank you. But now we can use this wonderful human machine the way it was designed to be used. Now, all of the potential that you placed in it can be opened for us.


And so come let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways so that we may walk in his paths. The Torah will go out from Zion, the Word of the Lord, from Jerusalem, so forth. Mm hmm. There's where we're headed. What is this life about? What is this nation about? What is this? People with its glorious promises all about? It's about the nations coming to the house, the temple of the Lord there to learn his ways so that they may walk in them. That's what it's about. That's where we're headed. And I'll have reason to come back to this again and again throughout the book. We're sort of setting the stage. We're painting the picture. This is what it's about. This is what it's for. Now, it's fascinating that this very same passage appears in the book of Micah. Micah was a contemporary of Isaiah. Isaiah was apparently working up in Jerusalem and Micah was down in the villages in the hill country to the south. Who who was original was Isaiah original? Was Mike original? I don't think it truly matters. I think what matters is that the Holy Spirit said to both of them, I want you to use this passage in this period of time, in this period when Jerusalem is threatened, when it appears as though the whole thing is going under. I want you to plant this in the minds of the people. This is the goal. This is where we're headed. This is why you exist. But then, like crossing a rough railroad track, suddenly we're six. You, Lord, have abandoned your people. The descendants of Jacob. They are full of superstitions from the east.


They practice practiced divination like the Philistines and embrace pagan customs. Oh, my. What follows in chapter two. All the way over through chapter four. Verse one is a picture of a nation that is enamored with greatness and glory, their glory. A nation that is impressed by big men. A nation that is impressed by wealth and armaments. A nation that is ultimately arrogant. Look at verse 11. The eyes of the arrogance will be humbled and human pride brought low. The Lord alone will be exalted in that day. Verse 17. The arrogance of man will be brought low and human pride humbled. The Lord alone will be exalted in that day. I spoke of the judgment hope complex. The exaltation humiliation complex is another one. Over and over again. Isaiah says if humans attempt to exalt themselves, the result will be humiliation. Yes. Yes. We see it in our own day. If I am the most significant thing in the universe, then the universe is meaningless. As this chapter says, stop trusting in mere humans who have a breath in their nostrils. I'm one breath from nothing, one heartbeat from nothing. If humanity is the measure of all things, then in fact all things are meaningless. Make ourselves ultimate, and we succeed in making ourselves nothing. That's what he's saying. And he says it in a variety of ways here. Look at verse nine. Of chapter two. So people will be brought low and everyone humbled. Do not forgive them. Mm hmm. And then verse 19. People will flee to caves in the rocks, to holes in the ground from the fearful presence of the Lord and the splendor of His Majesty when he rises to shake the earth. In that day, people will throw away to the malls and bats their idols of silver and idols of gold, which they made to worship.


They will flee to the caverns in the rocks, to the overhanging crags, from the fearful presence of the Lord and the splendor of His Majesty. Humanity. Nothing. God. And the amazing thing is he lifts us to join him as the princes and princesses of eternity. Hmm. Make ourselves everything. And we make ourselves nothing. Make him everything. And he makes us everything along with him. What a good God. Now, one of the things that Isaiah likes to do is to present a concept very colorfully, very concretely, but then to illustrate it with some more and more specific graphic illustrations. That's what he does in chapter three here now. Look at verse four of chapter three, I will make mere youths their officials. Children will rule over them. People will oppress each other, man against man, neighbor against neighbor. The young will rise up against the old nobody again, against the honor, the nobility against the honor. A man will seize one of his brothers in his father's house and say, You have a cloak, you be our leader. Take charge of this heap of ruins. But in that day he'll cry out. I have no remedy. I have no food or clothing in my house. Don't make me the leader of the people. Human exaltation. Human humiliation. He goes on verse 12 uses Oppress my people, women rule over them. My people, your guides lead you astray. They turn you from the past. And then in the end of the chapter, he gives the most graphic illustration of all. Now many interpreters. I'm looking here at verse 16. Many interpreters will say, this is an attack on the women of Jerusalem. It may be, but the way in which Isaiah uses women and woman daughter throughout the book suggests to me that this is more symbolic of the city as a whole, of the people, as a whole.


This is what they're like. This is what they're doing. And it is. Talk about graphic. This is graphic. The Lord says the women of Zion are hottie walking along with outstretched necks, flirting with their eyes, strutting along with swaying hips with ornaments jingling on their ankles. Therefore, the Lord will bring saws on the heads of the women of Zion. The Lord will make their scalps bald in that day. The Lord will snatch away their finery. The bangles and headbands, the crescent necklaces, the earrings, the bracelets, the veils, the headdresses, the anklets, the sashes, the perfume bottles, the charms, the rings, the nose rings, the vine rings, the capes and cloaks the persons, the mirrors, the looming arms, jars and shawls. Tell us how you feel about this, Isaiah. All the ways in which we humans glorify ourselves, make ourselves look good, make ourselves look important, permanent. Instead of fragrance, there will be a stench instead of a sash of rope, instead of well-dressed hair, baldness instead of fine clothing, sackcloth and so forth. When we exalt ourselves against God, we condemn ourselves to humiliation. And so verse four. Chapter four. Verse one. In that day seven, women will take hold of one man and say, We'll eat our own food and provide our own clothes. Only let us be called by your name. Take away our disgrace in that culture. A woman had to be attached to a man, if not a husband, then her father. Here. Isaiah foresees a day when there are so few men left alive that seven women will say, Let us carry your name. Let us be attached to you. We'll take care of ourselves. Utter disgrace. Utter shame. Notice. Verse one of chapter four began with. In that day.


Now look at verse two. Here's the railroad tracks again. Wow. In that day, the branch of the Lord will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of the survivors in Israel. Those who are left in Zion who remain in Jerusalem will be called Holy. All who are recorded among the living in Jerusalem. The Lord will wash away the filth of the women of Zion. He will cleanse the blood stains from Jerusalem by a spirit, aura, wind of judgment, and a wind or spirit of fire. Then the Lord will create over all of Mt. Zion, over those who assembled there a cloud of smoke by day, a glow of flaming fire by night over everything. The glory will be a canopy. It will be a shelter and a shade from the heat of day and a refuge and a hiding place. From the storm and the rain. To which we say, Huh? In the light of what we've just seen. In the light of this picture of disgrace and shame and humiliation. Clean, wholly washed. Protected. Cared for. You see what I mean by interchange? This Israel humiliated in their attempt to absolve themselves and that Israel clean, wholly protected. Alive. Beautiful, glorious. Hmm. Yes. Yes. Now, notice this. We began in chapter two with the mission. A light to the nations. All the nations will come to the mountain of the house of the Lord. Now in chapter four, the condition. I think that's purposeful. What kind of a condition will be necessary for the people of God if they are to carry out the mission of God? The condition is not primary. The mission is primary. I think that's very interesting. Is your life? Is my life.


Are they such that people are drawn to your way? That's the issue. I'm saved. I'm on my way to heaven. Hope the rest of you people get there to. Hmm. No, You cannot carry out that mission unless God has done his work in your life. But the mission is why he does the work. Now you say, Can you prove that? No, I cannot. But I'm just fascinating, fascinated at the order of the structural relationships here. But. But. We've got another interchange. Chapter five. Now Judah is a land of vineyards. Israel, to the north is a land of grain and of grazing. But Judah. No. My my dad went with me to Israel when he was in his eighties. He was an Ohio farmer. And one day we were riding along in the bus and he was sitting next to the window looking out. Just shaking his head. I said, Daddy, what's the matter? He said, Why would anybody fight for a rock pile like this? Judah is pretty rocky territory, but you can grow vines there, and that's what it's about. And Isaiah is a master communicator. He's talking to these Judean farmers, and he says, I will sing for the one I love, a song about his vineyard. And their ears perk up. Oh, we know about vineyards. My loved one had a vineyard on a fertile hillside. He dug it up and cleared of stones. He planted it with the choices vines. He built a watchtower in it. Cut out a wine press as well. Then he looked for a crop of good grapes. But it yielded only bad fruit. Hmm. Your first crop of grapes takes three years. Your first year, you're clearing the ground, the first year you're getting the rocks off it.


Building a wall. Building a watchtower. So you can keep all the animals both natural and human out of their second year. You buy the very best vines you can possibly buy. Plant them out carefully as you can stake them up. The third year. You go out to reap your first crop? Mm hmm. Look at those luscious clumps there. Look at those globes just bursting with flavor. It's bitter. What's an accident? They're all bitter. What shall my beloved do with his vineyard? And you can see those Judean vintners standing, waving their arms. Tear it down, burn it up. Call in the animals. And then that long, bony, prophetic finger. You are the vineyard of the Lord. Oops. Oops. I reared children. And they have rebelled against. I planted a vineyard and all it produces is bitter grapes. What shall I do with my vineyard? When I looked for good grapes. Why did it yield only bad? Now, I'll tell you what I'm going to do to my vineyard. The Vineyard of the Lord of Hosts is the nation of Israel. The people of Judah are the ones he delighted in. He looked for justice, but saw bloodshed. Now there's there's a Hebrew wordplay in these two sentences. The two words sound alike. He looked for justice, but saw bloodshed for righteousness, but heard cries of distress. Hmm. So what are these? Bitter grapes? That exist in the land. He lists four here. And each of them actually five sorry, each of them is headed by that word we talked about before. Alas. Alas, he's not merely saying, Well, God's going to get you for this. He's saying, I grieve because this is who you are. I grieve because what's going to happen to you being this way? Alas, for you who add house to house.


Number one. Greed. Greed. The 10th commandment. We use the word covert. But it's probably better to say those who are greedy for your neighbor's house, those who are greedy for your neighbor's wife, those who are greedy for your neighbor's BMW. That's the living ghost. What version of greed I want. I want, I want. There's one place where Christians agree with Buddhists. What is the problem in the world? Unbridled human desire. Now the Buddhist thinks, wrongly, that therefore, let's get rid of desire, let's just kill it and be done with it and become nothing. That's not my idea of heaven. The Christian says no desire can be cleansed. It can be harnessed. It can be used for God's glory. But here it is, greed. I want arrogance. I want to be everything. Greed. I want to have everything. And then I'll be happy. Verse 11 Woe to those who rise early in the morning to run after their drinks. Self-indulgence. Oh, America. America. Now, it's interesting that all the way through here we have a recurrence of cause and effect. So here, verse 13. Therefore, my people will go into exile for lack of understanding. Oh, my goodness. You don't understand that greed and self-indulgence are not what life is about, what life was meant to be. Therefore, death expands its jaws, opening wide its mouth into it will descend the nobles and the masses. With all their brawlers and revelers. So here's a word from back from chapter two. People will be brought low and everyone humbled. The eyes of the arrogant, humbled, but the Lord of heaven's armies. Now, the Navy here says, Lord Almighty, that's not a bad translation. But it misses, in my view, the flavor. The King James said, Lord of hosts.


Well, what hosts? The hosts of heaven. So the new living translation says the Lord of Heaven's armies. And that can get a little cumbersome sometimes, but boy, it gets the point across. The Lord of Heaven's armies will be exalted by his justice. And the Holy God will be proven holy by his righteous acts. I want to stop there for a moment because this is terribly important. A very famous book of the early part of the 20th century was called The Idea of the Holy. Written by a man named Rudolf Otto. Otto says this idea of holiness as moral excellence is an overlay on the basic idea. The basic idea is just, ah, fascination, mystery. And this idea of moral excellence is a is an unfortunate overlay. So? So he says in his book, I'm not going to use this word holy anymore because it's got this unfortunate overlay. I'm going to create a word numinous. The only holy being in the universe is morally excellent. Moral excellence is not an overlay on holy. Moral excellence is finally at the very bottom. What that all and fascination and mystery all points to. Look at this verse. The Lord of Heaven's armies will be exalted by his justice. And the Holy God will be proven holy by his righteousness. Wow. That's a very, very forthright statement. How do you know that this Yahweh is truly other? Because his righteousness is unlike anybody else's anything else's. It's as though Isaiah is saying, Show me a righteous idol. Show me a righteous God. Small g. Not going to find one. But you're going to find it anyway. So this is a very significant verse when talking about the concept of holiness. So greed, self-indulgence, verse 18 Woe to those who draw sin along with cords of deceit and wickedness as with cart ropes.


Woe to those who say Let God hurry up, let him hasten his work. So we may see it. The Plan of the Holy one of Israel. Let it approach, let it come into view so that we may know it. Wow. Greed, self-indulgence, sin for its own sake. Show me what's wrong so I can do it. Go on. Verse 20. Alas, for those who call evil good and good evil, do you see that the progression here, the downward progression? Not merely show us sin so we can do it, but show us sin so we can call it good. Verse 21. Alas, for those who are wise in their own eyes, clever in their own side. And then I think it's very interesting he comes back to self-indulgence. Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine, champions, at mixing drink, who acquit the guilty for a bribe and deny justice to the innocent. The whole thing devolves again. On to self-indulgence. I just want to feel good. At all costs. Bitter, bitter grapes. And so in the rest of chapter five, he tells us verse 25. Therefore, the Lord's anger burns against his people. Verse 26, he lifts up a banner. Here's another theme that runs through the book not as frequently as wholly one of Israel or Glory and Glorious, but a banner, a flag. And we miss it sometimes because different translations are used. But about eight times throughout the book, God's running up a flag. In this case, he's calling the distant nations to come, calling the animals in to devour the vineyard. Now, again, I hope you see here this is not an arbitrary God who says, you can't do that to me or I'm going to get you know, this is cause and effect.


You live for greed. You live for self-indulgence. You live to do what is wrong. You call what is wrong. Good. You make yourself wise in your own eyes, and in the end you live to indulge yourself and forget what's right. Therefore. Therefore. To go back to my earlier illustration. You jump off a tall building, you will stop suddenly at the bottom and it will hurt. What shall my beloved do with this vineyard? So we come then to the end of this problem. Here's this. Israel. Rebellious. Sinful, arrogant. Self-indulgent, greedy. But here's that Israel. The one to which all the nations come to learn your ways, way to learn how to walk in his way. And again, that's a glorious biblical metaphor. What does God what he wants to go on an eternity long walk with us. How are we going to turn this Israel into that Israel? And in one sense, that's what the whole rest of the book is about.