Isaiah - Lesson 9

God is the Sovereign Actor in History

From this lesson, you will gain knowledge and insight into the message of trust in Yahweh presented in Isaiah chapters 13 through 35. You will understand the contrast between trusting in human power and glory versus living by faith. The lesson highlights the themes of singing, cities, mountains, and the earth, and the significance of these themes in conveying the message. You will also learn about the eschatological nature of these chapters, discussing the end of all things and emphasizing God's sovereignty and active involvement in history.

Lesson 9
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God is the Sovereign Actor in History

I. Introduction to Sovereignty of God

A. Understanding the concept of Sovereignty

B. Biblical references to God's Sovereignty

II. Historical Instances of God's Sovereignty

A. Old Testament demonstrations

1. The Exodus narrative

2. Babylonian captivity

B. New Testament demonstrations

1. Life and teachings of Jesus

2. Apostolic era

III. Implications of God's Sovereignty for Believers

A. In personal life and faith

1. Trust and faith during trials

2. Understanding God's plan

B. In the context of the church

1. Church leadership

2. Evangelism and missions

  • 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
God is the Sovereign Actor in History
Lesson Transcript


We're continuing our study of what I have called lessons in trust that Isaiah chapters 13 through 35. We looked in the previous lectures at the Oracles messages. Against the nation's. In the context of the book. And what we're looking at, the issue is don't trust the nations. Now, you might be saying, I didn't see the word trust in there very much, and it isn't, but it's in the context it has had trusted the nations instead of God. He had trusted Assyria in particular. But Assyria represents all of human power and human glory, human achievement. And so it's in that context that the oracles against the Nations are here at this point in the book, you have oracles against the nations in Ezekiel in the middle of the book between the fall of Jerusalem and the restoration of Jerusalem in Jeremiah. You have them in the Hebrew at the end of the book or in the Greek version in the middle. So where you put these messages against the nation depends heavily on what you're trying to communicate. And I'm confident that here Isaiah is saying, look, trust Yahweh, not human glory and power and wealth and wisdom. Trust your way. Now then, in chapters 24 to 27, we take a more wide angle view again in 20, in 13 to 23. It was a narrow view. Babylon, Assyria, Felicio, Moab, etc. Now it's the earth. I've said a couple of times that if we only looked at 13 to 23, we might conclude that the nations are the real actors on the stage of history and Yahweh is just reacting to them. I think here in these chapters, Isaiah is correcting that misconception. Oh no, no, no. It's Yahweh who is the great actor on the stage of history, and it's the nations, whether they know it or not, who are reacting against him.


In these chapters. 24, 25, 26, 27. We see a number of themes that tie the chapters together. One of those themes is song and singing. Seven times that idea appears and there's a contrast between songs of despair over the destruction that comes and songs of joy over the great blessing that Yahweh brings. Another theme that is repeated through the four chapters is city or Cities. And again, there's a contrast between the ruthless city of man and the glorious city of God. Another theme that appears is mountains. The mountain of the house of the Lord as opposed to mountains upon which the nations try to arrayed themselves. Another is Earth. Now, I need to point out to you something that is a translation issue. The Hebrew word, Eretz. All of a sudden they are in good old English air. T.S. Arts. Can be translated. Land referring to a country or a region. And it can also be translated. Earth. And you will find if you look at different translations that different translators are going to say, well, no, he's talking about the land, the land of Judah or the land of Israel or the land of this general area. And somebody else is. No, no, no, no. He's talking about the earth. He's talking about the world. And so if you see that happening, that's what's going on. The translators are making judgments about, well, what is the intent here? So in this case, I think with this wide angle view, we're not talking about the land. We're talking about the earth and the earth that stands over against God, but is, in fact, in his control all the way through top to bottom in these chapters. Then we see this, if you will, the issue highlighted again.


Is it your way or is it the nations? And we'll see here a very famous passage directly related to the issue of trust. I mentioned to you in the last lecture that there are some who would argue that Chapter 24 really is the conclusion of 13 to 23, sort of the wrap up, because here in chapter 24, we have the destruction of the nations, the destruction of the earth. But again, as I said to you, I think what we have is a transitional chapter. Because when you look at these themes that I mentioned, singing. City. Mountain. Trees. Earth. 24 is closely tied to 25 to 27. And we'll talk about that one more point that I need to make. There are those who call these chapters the little apocalypse. And sometimes if you're studying the Book of Isaiah, you will see that phrase appearing. What is meant by that? And I need to give you perhaps a little more information than you want. But what are we talking about when we say apocalypse? Well. Actually, it comes from the Bible. It is the Greek name for the last book in the New Testament, The Apocalypse. And what that means in Greek is the revelation, a revelation of some secret ways in which God is going to work to bring about the end of the earth. This kind of literature, apocalyptic literature, grew up during the years between the closing of the Old Testament revelation and the opening of the New Testament revelation. We used to call it the inter test of mental period. But now for political correctness, we speak of the second Temple period. But this is the period between the Testaments and it's during that time in Judaism that a lot of apocalyptic literature, a lot of this kind of literature.


It's characterized by a kind of coding color coding or number coding, other kinds of things. And the idea here is this is secret knowledge, special knowledge for elite people, people who are really in on these codes. And as a result of that, they've got special knowledge about how things are going to work out in the end. Now, we may sometimes look at the Book of Revelation and say, My goodness, how complicated, how strange, how actually compared to some of the Jewish apocalypses. Revelation is rather calm. So it's that idea that whenever you run into literature that's looking to the future and seems to have a special understanding of the future and is revealing that, Oh, that's apocalyptic. Well, no. Here's another term. Sorry to weigh you down with terms, but eschatology, the study of the end. Now, there is a significant difference between eschatological literature and apocalyptic literature. Apocalyptic literature is very pessimistic. The world is going to hell in a handbag and there's not much you can do about it. Just get ready and be ready. And after history has failed, then God will break in and straighten everything out. Eschatology does not believe that eschatology may well see things getting worse. But God is involved in that process and God will accomplish his salvation in history. That's eschatology. Eschatology is talking about the end. But you don't have all these colors and numbers and and weird kinds of things. It's simply a rather straightforward this is the way it's going to play out. This is the way God is going to rule in history. Not beyond history, but in history to accomplish his purposes in that regard. I would argue that, in fact, you don't have apocalyptic literature in the Old Testament. You have eschatological literature.


And I would see these chapters as fitting into that. There's no sense in which God is just sort of watching while the world goes to hell and waiting till it finally ruins itself. And then he's going to step in. No, no, no, no. This is God at work in the middle of the historical process to accomplish his purposes. Indeed, indeed. Things may get worse and worse, but that's not because God is absent. It's because God is using these kinds of things to achieve his own good purposes. So I would argue, no, this is not a little apocalypse. This is eschatological literature. Yes. Talking about the end of all things. But there's a sense in which it is saying, hey, don't trust the nations. God has it all in his hand. And in the end of the play and the end of the story, he wins. So. Not little apocalypse, but the title, which I have suggested to you before, and the title I want to give you again is God Sovereign Actor on the stage of History. That's what chapters 24, 25, 26 and 27 are all about. Now, there's a kind of, I mentioned before, a contrast that runs through these chapters. In one sense, you can say that 24 and 25 are. Destruction. And 26 and 27 are redemption. Now, that's not absolute, but I think you can see a changing of focus, a changing of emphasis as you go through these chapters. So we begin with chapter 24, and we see the picture of the whole Earth under God's judgment. Chapter 24 is focusing on the destruction of Earth. You see it in graphic, graphic terms. See, the Lord is going to lay waste to the earth and devastated. He will ruin its face, scatter its inhabitants.


It will be the same for priest as for people, for the master, as for his servant. For the mistress. As for her servant. For seller. As for buyer. For borrowers. For lender. For a debtor. As for a creditor. The earth will be completely laid waste and totally plundered. The Lord has spoken his word. So you see it in various ways. There in those first six verses. And notice particularly then verse five as the reason for this destruction. The earth is defiled by its people. They have disobeyed. The Tara. I think it's small tea here. I don't think. I don't think it's the biblical Tara. I think it is God's general instruction in creation for how people ought to live. They have violated its Torah, they have disobeyed, etc.. They have violated the statues. They have broken the everlasting covenant that is, we as creatures have said, no, we will not be guided by the Creator. We will not conform to the creator's purposes. We will do what we want to do. We will not accept the wisdom of the creator. And Isaiah says, then the whole earth is going to be destroyed. And I want to say to you again what I've said several times already. We should not think of an arbitrary tyrant saying, You can't do that. I made things this way and you're going to do it my way or you're going to get smashed. No, we need to think of the creator who says, Oh, children, children. I didn't make you to live that way. I didn't make you to find your fulfillment in those ways. If you try to live in those ways, you'll hurt yourselves. Too often as we read the Old Testament and see these powerful words of judgment, we have that wrong impression.


And then people say, Well, the Old Testament, God is a God of wrath. Hmm. That's not the point that's being made. The point is being made. Your creator made you to live in certain ways, live in those ways, and you will be blessed. Don't live in those ways. It's kind of hurt. I love the little story of the little boy who's in the hospital with a broken leg because he jumped off the garage roof with his Superman towel tied around his neck. And his father says, What were you thinking? And the little boy says, Well, before I jumped, I thought, this is going to be fun. But after I jumped, I thought, this is going to hurt. Yes. Yes. Live in defiance of God's ways. And it's going to hurt. So. After that introduction, there inverses one through six. We then have a description of Earth City under judgment. The new wine dries up, the vine withers. All the merry makers groan. The joyful Tim rules are stilled. The noise of the revelers has stopped. The joyful harp is silent. No longer do they drink wine with a song. The beer is bitter to its drinkers. The ruined city lies desolate. The entrance to every house is barred In the streets they cry out for wine. All joy turns to gloom. All joyful sounds are banished from the earth. The city is left in ruins. Hmm. Hmm. That's Isaiah. The graphic illustration of the point that he's just made in more abstract terms. The Earth is going to be ruined. What's that going to look like? It's going to look like a city that is covered in gloom. No singing, no laughing, no alcoholic conviviality. Just darkness and silence. So verse 13. So it will be on the earth and among the nations as when an olive tree is beaten or as when gleanings are left after the grape harvest.


Just a little odd, withered grape here and there, an olive left hanging that somebody missed. That's all. It's going to be left of the earth. Then a funny thing happens. Look at verse 14. They raise their voices. They shout for joy from the West. They acclaim the Lord's Majesty. Therefore, in the East, give glory to the Lord, exalt the name of the Lord, the God of Israel in the islands of the sea, from the ends of the earth, we hear singing Glory to the righteous one. What? Where did that come from? It's almost as though a curtain is pulled back. And you see the angelic host. Hmm. The singing of Earth city is stilled. All the joy is gone. Oh, but look, look. They're in eternity. In glory is the angelic host. Now, I don't know that that's exactly what Isaiah intended here, but it's certainly a ripping of the veil. And you see a sudden dramatic difference in singing. No song. The alcoholic song. Finished. No beer, no wine available. But there's another song. But then look what happens next. In the middle of verse 16. But I said I waste away. I waste away. Woe is me. Alas, for me, the treacherous betray with treachery, the treacherous, betrayed terror and pit and snare await you people of the earth. Whoever flees it, the sound of terror will fall into a pit. Whoever climbs out of the pit will be caught in a snare. Hmm. Again, I think this is typical of Isaiah. Isaiah can say to us, Oh, here's the hope, here's the beauty, here's the joy, here's what lies ahead of us. If we'll live in this way. If we'll live for him. Oh. Oh. But what are we looking at now? What are we facing now? Don't use future hope.


As a drug to try to deny the reality of where we're living today. It seems to me this is an extremely wise approach. On the one hand, don't be living in despair because our present situation is a mess. Keep before you the glory that is to come. The glory that even now behind the curtain is going on. But don't use that to drug yourself against this situation in which you and I are called to live in, which you and I are called to bring the resources of the Holy Spirit that's available to us now through Jesus into this situation, and do what we can in the power of God to address the situation. Seems to me that's what Isaiah is doing here. Yes. Yes, I hear the song. I see the hope. I glory in it. But oh, my. How can I forget what the actual situation is right now in which we're living? If you will, a. Binary vision where you don't allow this picture to plunge you into hopeless despair. Because you got the other picture, but you don't allow the other picture to blind you to the realities of the present situation in which we're called to live and to which we're called to bring all the resources of heaven that he has given us. So the picture closes. And again, it is powerful poetry. Middle of verse 18, the floodgates of heaven are opened. The foundations of the earth shake. The earth is broken up, the earth is split asunder. The Earth is violently shaken. The earth reels like a drunkard. It sways like a hot in the wind. So heavy upon it is the guilt of its rebellion. There's our word again. You remember? That's where we started in chapter one.


I have reared children, but they have rebelled against me. It's where the book is going to end. They went out and saw the bodies of those who rebelled against him. Here it is so heavy upon. It is the guilt of its rebellion that it falls never to rise again. Hmm. Hmm. Then in verses 21, 22 and 23, we see. The sovereignty of God. In that day. Here it is again. Isaiah likes that phrase at a certain time out there, not just generally speaking, at a certain time, the Lord will punish the powers and the heavens above and the kings on the earth, below the gods and the kings will all come under judgment. They'll be herded together like prisoners, bound in a dungeon. They'll be shut up in a prison. Punished. After many days, the moon will be dismayed, The sun ashamed. We're talking about the moon goddess and the sun God. Because your way of heavens armies will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before its elders with great glory. Here again is one of our theme words running through the book. So this picture of. Is the destruction of Earth. It. No, no, no, no. The glory of God is it. And that destruction is because of who He is, because of His almighty power, because of his endless reign. That. Takes us right into chapter 25. And this is another reason why I believe that while Chapter 24 is transitional, it sums up the judgment upon the nations. It's also directly connected with 25, 26 and 27. Yahweh, You are My God. And again, I keep saying I love this. I love that. I love the connection between the end of 24 and the beginning of 25. The end of 24.


Here is God your way. The I am displayed in all His sovereign glory. Oh, my goodness. 25 one. Yahweh, You are My God. Hmm. Hmm. Hmm. Hmm. I've said to students over the years, if you want one absolutely unique theological concept in the Bible, it is the linkage of transcendence and personhood. No place else. No place else. Who is your way? He's the one who is absolutely other than the cosmos. Now, have philosophers played with that idea at various points? Yes, they have. They haven't been able to hang on to it, but they've played with it. They thought about it. Have theologians thought about deity being in some sense personal? Yes. Now the gods, The gods are forces with personal masks on. They're not full or persons. But no place else. Has the absolutely other. Been inextricably linked with personhood. Aristotle would say that's not possible. To be transcendent is to be absolutely untouchable, unacceptable by anything else. Persons are, by their very definition, affected by everything else. And so Aristotle would say, You can't do that. You can't put transcendence and personhood together. And Isaiah says, I know. But he is. And that's what I see here from that view of God's transcendent kingship. Yahweh, You are My God. I will exalt you and praise your name for In Perfect Faithfulness. Now the word behind that is truth. The Bible does not teach us the idea of objective truth things which are so whether I like it or not. What it does teach is that the creator is absolutely true. He is absolutely reliable. Well, if the sole creator of the universe is absolutely reliable, then it's reasonable. That stuff he has created is absolutely reliable. True. So I want to hasten and say, though, the Bible does not explicitly teach objective truth.


Objective truth is a necessary implication from what the Bible does teach. So why is the concept of objective truth limited to the West? That book. And why is it disappearing before us? Like smoke on the wind. Because we're throwing this book away. In perfect faithfulness. Perfect truth. Perfect dependability. Perfect reliability. You have done wonderful things. Things planned Long ago. You made the city a heap of rubble, the fortified town of ruin, the foreigners stronghold, the city no more. It'll never be rebuilt. Therefore, strong people's will honor you. Cities of ruthless nations will revere you. You've been a refuge for the poor. Hmm. Again, what an interesting statement. Why does the transcendent one care about the poor? He's got bigger fish to fry. He's a person. He's a person. The psalmist says he pities us as a father. Pity his children. Forgive the King James language there. Yes. He's he's transcendent and he's a person. He holds all things in his hand and he cares about all things. Hmm. Forgive me. I get carried away there. A shelter from the storm. A shade from the heat for the breath of the ruthless is like a storm driving against a wall like the heat of the desert. You silence the uproar of foreigners as heat is reduced by the shadow of a cloud. There's similar imagery to what we saw in Chapter 18, where the nations are raging and roaring. And God says, I'll just sit back and be like the heat of the sun. Like the dew in the morning. So here, as heat is reduced by the shadow of a cloud. That's all God has to do. So this picture of God who is enthroned in the heavens, who has all the forces of nature at his fingertips.


This God is my God. This God is the one who is faithful. This God is the one who cares for the poor and the broken. Now look at verse six. On this mountain. That's language back from verse 23 of chapter 24. The Lord Almighty will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem. Now, here in 25, six on this mountain, the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples. A banquet. Of rich food. Excuse me? A banquet of aged wine, The best of meats, The finest of wines. Earth said he couldn't produce any wine. God can. On this mountain. You ready for this? He will destroy the shroud that enfold all peoples. Did you get it? A feast of rich food for all peoples. He will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples. The sheet that covers all nations. He will swallow up death forever. Oh, glory to God. Glory to God. All peoples. Wait a minute. Chapter 24. He was going to destroy the whole earth. And now. He's going to tear away the death shroud from all people. Yes. Yes. I've said it before, I'll say it again. Destruction is never God's intended Last word. Now, this is one of the reasons why this section has been called a little apocalyptic, because it clearly talks about. Resurrection. Oh, my goodness. Nobody understood resurrection. Nobody believed in resurrection. In the seven hundreds B.C.. Who says? That's what Isaiah says. The sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces. He will remove his people's disgrace from all the earth. The Lord has spoken. In that day. Now, here it comes. They will say, Surely this is our God. We trusted in him and he saved us. This is our way.


We trusted in him. Let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation. Lessons in trust. When God indeed brings about his judgment of the Earth, when God indeed brings about his victory over death, then we'll say, Yes, we made the right decision to trust him and not the nations. He. Since we trusted him has saved us. Now look at the rest of this chapter. Pretty terrifying. The hand of the Lord will rest on this mountain, but Moab will be trampled in their land as straw is trampled down in the manure. They will stretch out their hands in it. The manure pile. As swimmers stretch out their hands to swim, God will bring down their. Pride. Have we talked about that before? Despite the cleverness of their hands, he will bring down their high fortified walls, Lay them low. He'll bring them down to the ground. To the very dust. Oh, my. Wait a minute. Wait a minute, Isaiah. You just talked about God offering his resurrection power to all people. And now this. Yes. Yes. Destruction is never his intended last word, but it may be his last word. If you and I insist on exalting ourselves, if you and I insist on trusting ourselves and the rest of humanity. We have not chosen a banquet. We've chosen a manure pile. And there it is. There it is. Once again, this is this is. So is the panic. Oh, the glory of the promise of the resurrection. Yes. If you will allow yourself to take the lowest place at his feet in trust. But if you sis insist on living in the high fortified city of your pride and your accomplishments. Then destruction will be God's last word. So that's chapters 24 and 25, as I've suggested.


They, in a sense, lay over against. What now is going to come. We've been talking about the fortified ruthless city and the results. And once again, God's doesn't intend that the story will end with the destruction of the fortified city. But it may. Now, then, in chapters 26 and 27, the. Picture changes a bit. We have another song. Chapter 26, verse one. In that day, this song will be sung in the Land of Judah. Your song again. We have a strong city. God makes salvation its walls and ramparts. Open the gates that the righteous nation may enter. The nation that keeps faith. The nation that is true, True to its promises. True to its commitments. True to its God. And then verses three and four, which are among the most famous verses in the book. You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever. For the Lord, the Lord Himself is the rock eternal. Hmm. Yes. There it is. We're talking about lessons in trust here. Trust in the Lord, and you won't need to be afraid of the ruthless fortified city. But. You will have a city whose walls are salvation. Trust in the Lord forever. For the Lord, the Lord Himself is the rock eternal. Then He goes on to talk about. Once again humbling the city that is dwell on high. And then he talks about verse seven, The path of the righteous. God calls us to come for eternity. Long walk with Him. But then there's an interesting. Reflection that follows. He says in the middle of verse nine, When your judgments come upon the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness. But when grace is shown to the wicked, they don't learn righteousness.


Even in a land of uprightness, they go on doing evil and don't regard the majesty of the Lord. Hmm. Hmm. The problem of grace. If my life. It's beautiful and serene and full of accomplishments. Who needs God. Isaiah is saying that Grace is truly effective. After judgment. Hmm. Hmm. Hope for these people is through judgment. It's on the other side of judgment. And how often that is true. It is through the crises in our lives that we are forced to say, Oh, God, I need you. So, he says. You're going to have to accomplish deliverance in the world. We can't. And you're going to have to accomplish it in your way. Verse 12, Lord, you establish peace for us All that we have accomplished, you have done for us. Yes, yes. Our accomplishments haven't been our own. They're they've been a gift to you. And so down to verse 18, we were with child. We writhed in labor, but we gave birth to wind. We have not brought salvation to the earth. The people of the world have not come to life. Oh, God. If there is to be salvation. It's going to have to be as a result of your work, your work of judgment. And then Grace. And then the chapter concludes with once again, this dialog between the Prophet and God. He said. We haven't brought salvation as a nation. We've not done what you called Abraham to do. We haven't been a blessing to the world. But your dead will live your way. Their bodies will rise. Let those who dwell in the dust wake up and shout for joy. Your do is like the dew of the morning. The earth will give birth to her dead. Yes. God, we haven't done it.


We haven't produced this new life that you have said you would bring to the world. We have done it. If it's going to happen, you're going to have to do it. But we believe you will do it. We believe you will raise this dead body of a nation. We believe you will resurrect us in some way so that we can fulfill your purposes in the earth. And then God speaks in verse 20. Go. My people. Enter your rooms. Shut the doors behind you. Hide yourselves for a little while till his wrath has passed. I think that's a message to Isaiah and his disciples. When I preach, they don't repent. When I speak, they don't turn back to you. In fact, they seem to become more and more calloused. We we haven't brought deliverance to this nation. And you sort of hear God saying, well, that's what I said in chapter six, isn't it? But I believe you're going to I believe somehow you're going to resurrect us and use us. And God says, Go to your rooms. Rest. Have faith. Trust. See the Lord is coming out of his dwelling to punish the people of the Earth for their sins. The Earth will disclose the blood shed on it. The Earth will conceal it. Slain no longer. Yes. Evil is going to be punished. Righteousness is going to be rewarded. You can believe it. Trust me. Then we move on to chapter 27 and in chapter 27. We begin with a reference to the pagan. I don't like to say creation narrative. Only the Bible speaks of creation. Bringing about something brand new that never existed before. That's creation. Let's call them origin narratives and then those origin narratives, and they are remarkably similar across the whole ancient Near East.


In the beginning was chaos. Chaotic, watery matter. And in some cultures. That watery, chaotic matter is feminine. In others, it's masculine. But in both cases. The order is brought about by sexual relations between the chaos Monsters. Of course, the world exists because of sex. That's obvious, isn't it? And yet this book says, Oh, no, no, no. God is not sexed. He doesn't make things through sexuality. Sexuality is a characteristic of creation, not the creator. What a strange idea. You would think it had been revealed if you didn't know better. Okay. Now, that's a common understanding across the world. I mean, the Hebrew people knew what the Canaanites believed. So God uses that figure of speech. Not that Isaiah believed it was so. But look what he says in that day. This is 27 one. The Lord will punish with his sword, his fierce, great and powerful sword. Leviathan, the gliding serpent, Leviathan, the coiling serpent. He will slay the monster of the sea. In the pagan origin accounts. The chaos Monsters having created the gods. Discover. The gods are noisy. I can. I think of the typical family. Well, you turn that thing off. Now the gods, the children of the monsters have become too noisy. So the monsters decide to destroy their children. And the children are not too happy with that idea. So they select one of their number who is a mighty man. And it depends on which culture you're talking about, what this Gods name is, whether he is Marduk in Babylon or Horus in Egypt, or Bale in Kanan or Hercules in Greece. Same guy. So he destroys the chaos monsters and brings the order of the world into existence. What's God doing here? God says, Oh, the world is living in horrible disorder, not the disorder of noise.


But the disorder of sin. And that God, Yahweh is going to destroy the disorder of sin and bring about the order of righteousness. So I say again, that's not to say that Isaiah believed that was the way reality was, but he's using language that his hearers are familiar with in a different way. Suppose I were to say, Oh, my God, that man is our real Hercules. My goodness. Oswald believes in Greek myth. No, he doesn't. He's utilizing that language to make another point. That's what's going on here. Isaiah does not believe in the ancient creation myth, but he's using that language to say God, the one God. Is going in salvation, not in making the world, but in salvation is going to destroy the disorder of evil. And he's going to bring about the order of righteousness. Okay. That said. Now, here's the vineyard again. Remember Chapter five. My beloved had a vineyard, and all that vineyard produced was bitter grapes. So I'm going to destroy it. What now? Sing your song again. Sing about a fruitful vineyard. I, the Lord, watch over it. I water it continually. I guard it day and night so that no one may harm it. I'm not angry. If only there were briers and thorns confronting me, I'd march against them in battle. I'd set them all on fire, or else let them come to me for refuge. Let them make peace with me. Yes, Let them make peace with me. In the days to come, Jacob will take root. Israel will bud and blossom and fill the world with fruit. Hmm. Yes. Here's the hope. The high fortified city is brought down and God has created the city of salvation with high walls and open gates that any may come and go.


Now, the vineyard that only produced bitter grapes will be the vineyard that God loves and enjoys protecting. Verse seven Has the Lord struck her as he struck down those who struck her? You think that you have suffered? You have. But I'm telling you, those who made you suffer are going to suffer worse. They're not going to get away with it. A Syria was my tool. The ax in my hand. But does the ax tell the hand what to do? No, no. And the ax, which thinks it can destroy and kill any way it chooses, is itself subject to the rule of the hand. That's what he's saying here. Verse nine. Again, a very significant verse by this then will Jacob's guilt be atoned for? And this will be the full fruit of the removal of his sin when he makes all the altar stones to be like limestone, crushed to pieces, no ash ripples or incense, altars will be left standing. Yes. Repentance will bear fruit. Now, this is again, this is not a whole doctrine of salvation in this one verse. Ultimately, our sin will not be atoned for because we've been obedient. Our sin will be atoned for by the blood of Christ. But. If we are indeed to receive the blood of Christ, then we've got to turn away from our sinful idolatrous ways. And he's saying that's going to happen. That's going to happen and that will make possible then the full atonement for their sins. So. Who is the sovereign actor on this stage of history. It is indeed. It is indeed your way. The one who brings the high fortified, ruthless city to the ground in despair. The one who stills their ruthless songs and the one who gives songs to his people, as the psalmist says, Songs in the night.


There is so much in these chapters. I mean, it's like it's overwhelming how much information and encouragement there is. But could you reflect on 2612, all the we've accomplished you have done for us? I mean, that's a completely different world view than the world. The world says, I did this, do it my own way. And we look at successes in our own lives. You look at successes in your lives, in your life. But it's the law that is done. Exactly. I mean, that's a different way to look at reality. Absolutely. Absolutely. It is. Once again, it's the awareness. I'm not ultimate. The the simplicity of it is idolatry is simply to say I am God. And I can do whatever I need to and I will achieve and I will dominate. And that, in my judgment, is where the. Climbing suicide rate is. Oh, I can't. I have failed. I'm not worth anything. I've not achieved anything. They think I'm ugly. No, no. He is the one who is at work in my life. And when I realize that and I realize that he, like as a father, pity his children that he makes a place for my failures as well as my accomplishments. Oh, my. That's hope. That's Joy. But yes. Yes. Profound statement. Everything I've done, you've done. How amazing, how amazing that you would choose to use such a flawed instrument. Oh, my goodness. Yeah. And yet when we think that we have done it like a successful mega pastor. Yes, we think that we have done it. Yes. Is it is it no surprise that then. No. So many fall. Precisely. Precisely. And that in some ways, as he says, that's the danger of grace when he's really good to us and allows us to accomplish great things, we say, Oh, look at me, you four cuts is good enough, too, if you tried harder.


Yeah. Yeah. And it's when it's when we fail and we say, Oh, God, I can't make it without you. Yeah.