Isaiah - Lesson 18

Character of Servanthood is Righteousness

In this lesson, you explore the deep interconnectedness of servanthood, justice, righteousness, and grace in the latter chapters of Isaiah. You learn that righteousness, expressed in right behavior, is a crucial character of servanthood and a reflection of God's order. You discover that forgiveness is not the end goal, but a means to becoming more like Christ, with God's grace enabling the attainment of justice and righteousness. Lastly, you understand that God's ultimate goal is drawing all nations to him and by his grace having justice and righteousness lived out through his followers. 

Lesson 18
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Character of Servanthood is Righteousness

I. Introduction to Servanthood and Righteousness

A. Definition of Servanthood

B. Definition of Righteousness

II. Theological Background of Servanthood and Righteousness in Isaiah

A. Historical Context of Isaiah

B. Servanthood and Righteousness in Isaiah's Teachings

1. Old Testament Perspective

2. New Testament Perspective

III. Practical Application of Servanthood and Righteousness

A. The Role of a Servant in the Modern World

B. Living Righteously in Contemporary Society

IV. Conclusion: The Importance of Servanthood and Righteousness

A. Implication for Personal Growth

B. Impact on the Community

  • 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



Character of Servanthood is Righteousness

Lesson Transcript


At the end of the last lecture, I mentioned that it seems as though the Book of Isaiah ought to end at chapter 55. The people are. Potentially back in the land. They are potentially restored to God. They've been forgiven. They've been redeemed. That's the end of the story, isn't it? But no, it's not the end of the story. And what we see in chapters 56 to 66 is. The character of servant hood. We've talked about trust as the basis for servant to grace, as the motive and the means of servant hood. What is the character of servant hood? And the character is righteousness. It's fascinating that in the book as a whole, in chapters. One through 39, especially in seven through 39. The Trust segment, Justice and righteousness are paired again and again. They occur several times together. Throughout that section. It's clear that God's expectation of His people is that they will manifest his justice. And remember what I've said about justice, the order of God for life, that they will manifest this and that they will manifest that right behavior that is expressive of creation order, but they don't do it. Then in chapters 4255, Justice and Righteousness only appear about three times together. Righteousness appears about five or six times, but it's always God's righteousness. So the issue is, have we in fact said those things can be set aside, God's righteousness in delivering his people God's justice, in forgiving them. That's it. No, because guess what? Justice and righteousness reappear in 56 to 66. But what's happening now is justice and righteousness are the result of grace. They couldn't do it. They therefore reaped the results of that in destruction and punishment and discipline. And God and His Grace forgave them and restored them.


So justice and righteousness don't matter. Aha. Yes, they do matter. But now the good news is God is going to enable His people to live these kinds of lives through the grace, the same grace by which they were forgiven. That's the good news. And I dare say to you, that's what the New Testament is saying. The great misfortune today in much of evangelical theology in North America is we have come to believe that forgiveness is the end of the story. Because of the cross. I am forgiven. I am restored to God's favor. And I can just sit down now at the bus stop and wait for the bus to come and take me home. No, no, no. Forgiveness is a means. It is a means to the end of Christ likeness. What God has wanted to do ever since Genesis three is to come home. He's been scheming to find a way to come home to the human heart. You see it in the book of Ephesians. We are the temple of the living God. Remember living God from Hezekiah? And so we see here. In these chapters, 56 to 66 this issue. What about the character of the servant? Is it of really little importance or is it of great importance? And furthermore. The character of the servant is essential to the completion of the mission of the servant. Remember all the way back in chapter two to. The nations will come flooding to the mountain of the house of the Lord to learn his Torah, to learn the instruction manual, to learn how to live, how to walk. And that's where the book is going to end. But it also is where this segment begins. If you've got your Bible there, look at it.


Chapter 56, verse one. A wonderful topic sentence for everything it's going to follow. This is what the Lord says. Maintain justice. Do what is right. Oh, brother. Here we go again. With God's impossible demands upon my life. Because my salvation is close at hand and my righteousness will soon be revealed. Aha. Aha. He will enable us to live his life. He will enable us to replicate his character and his nature. Good news. Good news. I say that's really where things begin. But now look what comes next. Blessed is the one who does this. The person who holds it fast, who keeps the Sabbath without desecrating it, keeps their hands from doing any evil. Let no foreigner who is bound to the Lord say the Lord will surely exclude me from His people. Let no eunuch complain. I'm only a dry tree, for this is what the Lord says to the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose what pleases me and hold fast to my covenant To them I will give within my temple and its walls a memorial and the name better than sons and daughters. I will give them an everlasting name that will endure forever. And foreigners who bind themselves to the Lord, to minister to Him, to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it, who hold fast to my covenant. These I will bring to my Holy Mountain. Have we heard that before? And give them joy. In my house of prayer, their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar. For my house will be called the House of Prayer for All Nations. Jesus knew his Isaiah didn't. It's supposed to be a house of prayer. And you made it a den of robbers.


The sovereign lord, declares he who gathers the exiles of Israel, I will gather still others to them, beside those already gathered. Hmm. Hmm. Hmm. Hmm. Keep justice. Do righteousness. Why? So that eunuchs and foreigners can find the Lord. Now, remember, this is really shocking. In Deuteronomy, a eunuch is prohibited from the house of God forever. If you're a mole bite or an ammonite, if you have that heritage, you are excluded from the house of God for ten succeeding generations. What about that fella named David? He had more by blood in his veins. What's going on anyway? Well, you know, that's the Old Testament. It just contradicts itself all over the place. No, it doesn't. In the beginning, working with these ex Egyptian slaves who can't read and write, who had no philosophy courses. How are you going to explain to them? You got to do it God's way. God made people to be whole. People who are not whole. No way. God chose people. People who would then respond to him. People who won't respond to him. No chance and consequences follow. These are object lessons. God is trying to make a point about spiritual reality using physical reality here. Then Isaiah is saying, okay, hopefully we've gotten beyond the object lessons. Hopefully we know the issue is not are your genitals still intact? The issue is, is your soul still intact? Is your heart whole for God? If it is, I don't care what your body looks like. Foreigner. Well, you're not one of the chosen people of God. And God says, Who cares about that? Why did I choose you? I choose I chose you in order to plant my character in you. I don't care what your birth rate was. What I care about is who you are in your life, in behavior.


So that's where this thing begins. Why? I'm confident it's because these people were back in the land and now he's he's looking out into the future to when the people are restored and they're saying, ha ha. We are the people who went into exile and kept the faith. And here we are back because of God's gracious provision. We're the chosen people. And you people are nothing. Believing that birthright is salvation. Oh, how many of us who were raised in Christian homes are in danger of that? Well, God owes me. My mother took me to church when I was in the womb, and I've been back ever since. I matter. God says, Yes, you do. But what really matters, my child, is who you have become in my grace and in my power. Who are you? And that's the theme that is going to run through these chapters. It doesn't matter how we behave. There's my name on the church membership roll. Or maybe even worse. It doesn't matter how I behave because I accepted Jesus when I was seven years old. So. I'm in. Too bad for you. You're out. That's the theme that is going to be explored throughout these chapters. And the goal? The goal is. The nations flooding to the house of God. Turn to chapter 66. Verse 18. And I because of what they've planned and done. I'm about to come and gather the people of all nations and languages, and they shall come and see my glory. I will set assign among them. I'll send some of those who survived to the nations, to Tarshish, to the Libyans, to the Libyans famous as archers, to Tubo in Greece, to the distant lands that have not heard of my fame or seen my glory.


They will proclaim my glory among the nations. And they the nations will bring all your people from all the nations to my holy mountain in Jerusalem as an offering to the Lord on horses, in chariots and wagons and on mules and camels, as the Lord, they will bring them, as the Israelites bring their grain offerings to the Temple of the Lord in ceremonially clean vessels. And I'll select some of them. Gentiles. To be priests and Levites as the Lord, as the new Heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me, declares the Lord. So will your name and descendants endure from one new moon to another, from one Sabbath to another, all mankind will come and bow down before me, says Lord, and they will go and look on the dead bodies of those who rebelled. That's so Isaiah, isn't it? Oh, praise God. There's good news. Unless it's bad news. And the question is. What do you choose? Can you quote me? God's intended last word is never destruction. But it may be his last word. Depending on your choice. And Isaiah is not going to let us forget that. Well, now, that's interesting. We begin this segment. With this idea of the temple is a house of prayer for all nations, and we end it. We have. All the nations are going to come flooding to the house of God to see his glory. Hmm. That's interesting. Then. Look at Isaiah chapter 60. Arise shine for your light has come and the glory of the Lord rises upon you see. Darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the people. But the Lord rises upon you. And His glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light and kings to the brightness of your dawn.


Hmm. On the two ends. And here. Hmm. Hmm. Now let's go back and let's look at chapter 56. Verse nine. We've seen. The foreigners and the eunuchs coming to the House of Prayer. That's what God wants. Now, look at this. Come all you beasts of the field come and devour all you beasts of the forest. Israel's watchmen are blind. They all lack knowledge. They're all mute dogs. They can't bark. They lie around and dream. They love to sleep. Their dogs with mighty appetites who never have enough. There are shepherds who lack understanding. They all turn to their own way. They seek their own gain. Come. Each one cries. Let me get wine. Let's drink our fill of beer tomorrow Be like today or even better, The righteous perish and no one takes it to heart. Oh, my goodness. This is kind of like chapter one through five, where we have very sudden railroad crossings where we suddenly. Crash from one side to the other side. All right, now go with me to chapter. 63. And verse six seven. Excuse me. I will tell of the kindnesses we talked about that were tested, the kindnesses of the Lord, the deeds for which he is to be praised, according to all the Lord has done for us. Yes, the many good things He's done for Israel, according to his compassion and many kindnesses, he said, Surely they're my people, children who will be true to me. And so he became their savior in all their distress. He too, was distressed. The angel of his presence saved them in his love and mercy. He redeemed them. He lifted them up and carried them all the days of all. Yet they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit. So he turned and became their enemy.


And he himself fought against them. Hmm. What's happening here anyway? One more question. Chapter 61, verse one. The spirit of the sovereign Lord is on me because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives, release from darkness, for the prisoners to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor and the day of vengeance to our God to comfort all who mourn, 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 oak of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. What's going on in chapters 56 is what is called chasm. And you can see in the PowerPoint slide a brief design of that. It's a triangle. A, b, c, b, a. So the beginning and the end of the structure are saying the same thing. The intermediate parts of the structure are saying the same thing. And finally you come to a climax. That's what we've got here in chapters 56 to 59. As we look at the next PowerPoint slide. This is a lot of information here. TMI, perhaps, but I want you to see how these ideas work out. We begin with a a Is all of the nations coming to the Lord, The foreigners are approved for their righteousness. That's 50 612, eight and 66, 18 to 24. A. We begin and we end at the same place. Then what comes next? The B level. UN righteous Israel. Israel, not reflecting the justice and the righteousness of God. Not reflecting his character.


Then see is peace to the contrite. We'll look at these particular verses as we go along. But a. What's the goal? Foreigners coming to the Lord be Israel is not living a righteous life. See peace to the contrite. And then what I'm calling B to we go back to unrighteous Israel. And then. De. This is chapter 59. 15 B to 21 and 63. 1 to 6. The Divine Warrior. And again, we're going to look at how these two pair how they're parallel to each other. Hmm. Israel is unrighteous. They're living in darkness. There's no truth in them. What's to be done? I looked and I found no one else, so I did it for myself. The warrior comes with a sword to attack Israel's enemies. Well, who are their enemies now? If we're right in thinking that this refers to people who have returned from exile, there aren't any. They're part of the Persian Empire. And the Persian Empire has enforced a peace. Who's this warrior and what enemy is he attacking? He's attacking the enemy of sin in the believer's life. And what comes next. Part E. Arise, shine. The light is come and all the nations are going to flood to your light. That's chapter 60. And then chapter 61 four through Chapter 62, paralleling each other. And finally, we come to the climax. What letter did I use? Letter F. Chapter 61. One, two, three. The Messiah. Who was that warrior? He was the one anointed with the spirit to preach deliverance to captives. Site to the blind. So what's the point of a chasm in some ways? And through the years, I've had students say, you know, really? Really the book on an end at Chapter 61 verses one, two, three, the climax is the revelation of the Messiah.


The Spirit anointed one who is anointed to preach good news. But then we start down the ladder again the other way. What's the point of a chasm? The point of a chasm is not to let the climax. Obscure the goal. Is the climax, the revelation of the Messiah. Oh, yes. But what is the point of the climax? The salvation of the world. That's what's going on. You say, Boy, that's pretty complicated. Yes, it is. Yes, it is. But I think I think there's no question, especially when you see the parallelism of the divine warriors. I think. It's inescapable when you see that and then recognize what's going on here. So what's the goal? The goal is the salvation of the world. What's preventing that? The unrighteousness of the Witnesses. What can solve that? The Divine Warrior breaking into the lives of the witnesses and giving them light in place of darkness. And what will be the result? The result will be. The world will see his light. Okay. With that said, let's go back. And now look. Let's start up the ladder and let's look at chapters 56 and following. We've already talked about the way in which the chapter opens. Keep justice. Do righteousness. Behavior. There it is. Oh, wow. All right. We've got to somehow live God's life for him. And this is all up to us. And it's our work. No, no, no, no, no. Because my salvation is close at hand, and my righteousness will soon be revealed. Oh, yes. I'll say I'll say this several times before we're through with this this lecture in the next two. This living is a living that must be empowered by God. It is impossible otherwise. Your righteousness. My righteousness is filthy rags. It's simply an expression of arrogance.


I'm a better person than you are. And if you try a little harder, you could be as good as I am. That's not righteousness. That's devilish genius. This behavior and notice what happens now. What foreigner is accepted, What unique is accepted? The one who accepts the covenant, the one who binds themselves to the Lord, the one who lives out the character and the life of God. Oh, no, no. It's us who have the birthright. It's us who have the Sunday school pins as we used to wear them. It's our suit. No, it isn't. It's those who, by God's grace, live the life of God. That's the challenge. So there it is. That's the goal. That's what I'm after. People in whom I can abide. Don't care what their last name is, don't care whether their body has been mutilated or not. The question is, am I alive in them as evidenced in their behavior? So what about what about the Israelites? Remember the Watchmen in chapter 52? Who are standing on the walls of the besieged city. Looking at the mountain pass. Waiting to see if the Lord has conquered. What about these watchmen? They're blind. They're like a whole pack of dogs lying around half asleep in the sun. They can't bark. They wouldn't if they could. The Righteous Parish. This is 57 one. And no one takes it to heart. The devout are taken away and no one understands. They don't understand that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil. That's an interesting point. When people die young. Is it possible that God is sparing them? From something that could happen to them later in their lives that would destroy them. The righteous are taken away to be spared from evil.


Those who walk up rightly. Those who walk up rightly. Enter into peace, they find rest as they lie in death. But you and and through this whole section, boy, God is going to be in people's faces. You Come here, you children of a sorceress, you offspring of adulterers and prostitutes. God, we are pure bred Israelites. Remember. 500 years later. We are children of Abraham and we don't know where you've come from. Jesus. Mm hmm. No. You are children of a sorceress. You are an offspring of adulterers and prostitutes. Who are you mocking? At whom do you sneer and stick out your tongue? Are you not a breed of rebels? The offspring of liars. You burn with lust among the oaks and under every spreading tree. You sacrifice your children in the ravines and under the overhanging crags. The idols among the smooth stones of the ravines are your portion. Indeed. There. Your lot? Yes. To them, you've poured out drink offerings and offered grain offerings. In view of all this, should I relent in view of all this? Should I change my mind? Now, this poses an interesting question from all that we can tell. When the Jordanians came back from exile, they were saying, okay, no more idols. The idols got us exiled to Babylon. We've learned that we're not going to. So if Isaiah is speaking out into the future to these people who have returned from exile. What's this idle language all about? I think there are two options. One option is he's saying you're so proud of your anti idolatrous stuff. But let me tell you in your hearts, you are still as idolatrous as your parents or your grandparents ever were. That's one possibility. The other one, I think. Is at least equally likely.


And that is. No, they did not become anti idolatrous immediately. It took a while after they were back to really, really absorb these lessons. And when you look at the history of the return, I think that makes sense. They started the temple. Probably in 538. And two years later they quit. It wasn't going to be as big as Solomon's. It wasn't going to be as glorious as Solomon's. And anyway, what is God done for me lately? They had to wait. 16 years. Before Hagai and Zachariah were finally able to get through to the bowl, the leader and Joshua, the high priest, and say, Look, you want to know why your lives are a mess? Because you're taking care of your houses and not my house. And finally in 520, they started it again and finally finished it in 516. Interestingly, exactly 70 years after it had been destroyed. And then. Another. Almost 60 years later, you have Nehemiah and Ezra. And the picture there is not terribly encouraging. So I suspect and I'm sort of 5050, I think either possibility may be correct that he's saying you're really idolaters in your hearts, even though maybe you're not actually worshiping little statues. Or. You're still worshiping idols. After all you've gone through. After all that's happened to you. I think either one's a possibility. But. But do you see what he's saying? You people think your birthright as the people of Israel, as the chosen people of God, gives you a pass. To live any way you like. Hmm. And so he goes through that 57th chapter. Verse 12. I will expose your righteousness and your works and they will not benefit you when you cry out for help. Let your collection of idols save you.


The wind will carry them all off. A mere breath will blow them away. But whoever takes refuge in me will inherit the land and possess my holy mountain. Attitude Check. Attitude, check. So that's B and in a later lecture we'll look at B prime as it occurs over in chapters 63 and 64. But now look. 5714. Here comes part C. It will be said, build up, build up, prepare the road. Here it is again. Highway. Prepare the highway. Remove the obstacles out of the way of my people. For this is what the high and exalted one says high and lifted up. This is the third occurrence of that phrase. This is what the high and lifted up, one says. He, who lives forever, whose name is holy. I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, to revive the heart of the contrite. I will and I will not accuse forever, nor will I always be angry. For then they would faint away because of me, the very people I created. I was enraged by their sinful greed. I punished them, hid my face in anger. Yet they kept on in their willful ways. I've seen their ways. But I will heal them. I will guide and restore comfort to Israel's mourners. Creating praise on their lips. Peace. Peace. Shalom. Shalom. Holiness. Holiness. To the far. And then here says the Lord, I will heal them. Here's Isaiah again all over. But the wicked are like the tossing C which cannot rest, whose waves cast up mire and mud. There is no shalom says my God, for the wicked. Yeah. If you'll be contrite, if you come down off your proud self-righteousness.


And admit, Lord, I can't live your life. In myself. I'm helpless. I'm broken. I'll heal you. I'll hear you in a minute. It's what I've wanted to do all along. But. But. Don't think. Don't think that you can continue in your wicked and the term there is the idea of godless. It's it's a fascinating word. When you see wickedness in your Bible. That's the thought that's behind it. It's living as if there were no God. Now. It's not the fool who says there is no God, but it's just living as if there's no God. You can't live as if there is no God. And have shalom. Not going to happen. As I say, that's just desire all over the place. He gave he gives wonderful, wonderful promises. But then he drags us back into the present and says, But face the reality where you're living right now. If that good stuff is going to happen, they're going to have to be some changes, aren't there? So a. Foreigners who are approved for their righteousness be Israel unable to live in righteousness. See? Good news for the contrite. Good news for the lowly. Who turn in faith to God for his life to be reproduced in them. But now we come back to what I'm calling be to. Chapter 58. Shouted aloud. Don't hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion. And to the descendants of Jacob. Their sins. Yet that my people. The descendants of Jacob. Rebels. Chapter one. For day after day. They seek me out. They seem eager to know my ways. As if they were a nation that does what is right. And has not forsaken the commands of God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them.


I'm an owl by by nature. I would go to bed about midnight and get up about nine. But I discovered a long time ago I can't do that if I am to have a regular devotional life. It has to be at the beginning of the day. So I got to drag myself out of the bed. More importantly, I've got to get myself into the bed early in the evening relatively for me. So I can get up. But sometimes I think about these versus. Day after day, they seek me out. They seem eager to know my ways. Hmm. Am I really eager to meet him? Am I really there to know him face to face? Or am I just fulfilling a habit? Am I just practicing a discipline? That verse, that verse gets to me. You act like you want to know me. But you don't really. Mm hmm. Why have we fasted, they say, And you haven't seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves? And you haven't noticed that? Great. Come on. God. I've been doing all this stuff and you have not produced. I've said it before, I want to say it again. That slot machine theology. God, I've been chunked in quarters into you for days and days and days and pull in the handle and nothing happens. It's about time we get all lemons here. And you produce. On the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, in striking one another with wicked fists. You can't fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. Is this the kind of fast I've chosen a day for people to humble themselves? Is it only for bowing one's head like a reed, for lying in sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast a day acceptable to the Lord? Mm hmm.


Why am I fasting? I'm doing it for me. Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen to loose the chains of injustice, to untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke. Is it not to share your food with the hungry, to provide the poor wanderer with shelter? When you see the naked to clothe them, not to turn them away. Turn away your own flesh and blood. Hmm. You want to stop doing something? Stop exploiting your workers. You want to stop doing something? Stop stuffing your face and use that food to feed other folks. Hmm. Again. It's clear, isn't it? The question is, am I fasting for love of God? Am I fasting in order to run mine myself how desperately I need him? Or am I fasting to manipulate him? That's the difference between biblical religion and paganism. Paganism goes through rituals in order to make the God give what the worshiper wants. Biblical religion. We go through rituals. In order to give God what he wants. Why do I go to church? Why do you go to church? Why do I give money? Two causes. Why do you. And then beautiful verses follow here in chapter 58. Then your light will break forth like the dawn. Your healing will quickly appear. Your righteousness will go before you and the glory of the Lord will be your rearguard. Then you will call in. The Lord will answer your cry for help. But He'll say. Hey. Go, Amy. Here I am. If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, if you spend yourself in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, here it is your light.


Will arise in the darkness. Your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always again. Beautiful, beautiful stuff. But I want you to hear that. What's your light? Your light is your God enabled behavior. Your light is your sacrificial giving for love that God enables. Please hear me. Please hear me. You and I cannot live. Genuinely righteous lives unless God enables us to do that. Anything else is just human arrogance, Pharisee ism. And I'm confident this is why Jesus strongest words are for Pharisees. He didn't have much to say about the sad disease. I think they were the liberals of Jesus day, and he doesn't have much to say about them. They're just not in the in the game. But the Pharisees, these are people who are doing all the right things. For all the wrong reasons. Mm hmm. And I think Jesus is is heartbroken and therefore mad at what's going on in their lives. So. So please hear me. If I talk about the necessity for righteous living. Don't. Don't hear me saying yes. And you got to do that. And you got to try harder. No. What I'm saying to myself as to you is I need to give a fuller sacrifice of myself so that God has more access to my life. To produce himself in me and in you. Verse 14, then you will find your joy in the Lord and I'll cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land, to feast on the inheritance of your father. Jacob, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken. You will be my people. You will be my children when my life is being reproduced in you. Well, then we come to chapter 59. The first 15 and a half verses are some of the darkest verses in the Bible.


Surely the arm. Have we heard that before? Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save. Yeah, it was strong enough, long enough to save them from Babylon. It was strong enough, long enough to save them from the condemnation of their sin. Is it strong enough? Is it long enough to enable them to live his life? But your iniquities have separated you from the Lord. Your sins have hidden his face from you so he cannot hear. For your hands are stained with blood, your fingers with guilt. Your lips have spoken falsely. Your tongue mutters wicked things. No one calls for justice. No one pleads a case with integrity. They rely on empty arguments. They utter lies. My goodness. That sounds like 2022 law courts. They conceive trouble and give birth to evil. They hatch the eggs of vipers and spin a spider's web. Whoever eats their eggs will die. When one is broken and adder is hatched, there are cobwebs are useless for clothing. They can't cover themselves with what they make. Their deeds are evil deeds. Acts of violence are in their hands. Their feet rush into sin. They are swift to shed innocent blood. They pursue evil schemes. Acts of violence mark their ways. The way of shalom. They do not know. There is no mish pot in their paths. They have turned them into crooked roads. No one who walks along them will know. Shalom. So what? Justice is far from us, and righteousness does not reach us. We wait. Wait for light. But all is darkness for brightness. But we walk in deep shadows like the blind. We grow up along the wall feeling our way like people without eyes. At midday, we stumble as if it were twilight Among the strong.


We're like the dead. We all growl like bears. We moan mournfully like doves. We wait for pot. But there is none. For deliverance, but it is far away. For our offenses are many in your sight and our sins testify against us. Our offenses are ever with us. We acknowledge our iniquities, rebellion and treachery against the Lord. Burning. Turning our backs on our God. Inciting revolt and oppression. Uttering lies. Our hearts have conceived so much pot. Justice is driven back. And righteousness stands at a distance. Truth has stumbled in the streets. Honesty cannot enter. Truth is nowhere to be found. And whoever shuns evil becomes a prey. Shall we have the benediction and go home? Oh, my goodness. And I'm fascinated. Did you hear the pronouns? We us, our. Again and again. You see this in the Bible. The righteous people, the truly righteous people, the Isaiah's, the Ezra's. The hezekiah's. It's not. Well, they've got a big problem. But we are. We have done this. We are like this. We behave in these ways. That sense of community. So what in the world are we going to do? Well, we're going to stop here and begin the next lecture.