Last week as we
studied chapter 1, we saw the charges that God brought against Judah because they had broken their
covenant with God. Despite the judgment they deserved, God extended his hand of mercy and grace to them if they would repent.
He gave them hope!
Chapters 2-4 begin
and close with a Messianic prophecy - giving another sign of hope to the people. But sandwiched in between are the warnings
of coming judgment for the sins of the people. Let’s see the contrast of walking in the light of the Lord and walking
in the darkness of sin.
Isaiah opens chapter
two with a sign of hope - the future
reign of Jesus.
A temple and A teacher:
There will be a
day beyond this present time of sin and suffering for Judah, when Judah and Jerusalem will be
restored. In the last days, Jesus will reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The Lord’s temple will be established
as the center of worship for the whole world and people will stream to it. Many people, Gentiles as well as Jews will worship
there. There will be two important blessings:
1. The Word of the Lord: “he will teach us His ways…”
God will be their teacher and the scriptures will be the
text. They would learn to walk in his paths. (Verse 3)
2. The Peace of God: “He will judge…” Not
just between people, but the nations and the disputes will be settled. Weapons will be turned to tools. (Verse 4)
There was no evidence
of peace at this time in Judah. They were
surrounded by their enemies. So this prophecy gives them great encouragement.
What is God’s invitation to them? What should be their
response? Verse 5 states it clearly…“Let us walk in the light of
the LORD.” As one writer says, “Walking in the light means cultivating ways and means of honesty before God and
others, with the assurance that provision is made for the challenge of sin.”
How we need to respond
to this invitation to walk in the light and not in darkness, searching the scriptures so that we know how to live. Letting
the hope of Jesus’ reign purify us before his return! What will be your response to this sign of promise? To this invitation?
In the meantime,
God is going to prepare his people. The days that are portrayed here refer not only to the pending judgment of Israel and Judah,
but also to the period of great tribulation before the return of Christ. God will send his judgment on the nations to purify
his people. They are walking in the darkness of sin. Romans 10:1 expresses God’s heart is to save his people. The rest
of chapter 2 and 3 shows us why and how God will judge his people because they are walking
in darkness of sin and not the light of the Lord.
1. Why God will judge his people: Isaiah 2:6-22
Trusting in four things other than God.
· Other gods: vs 3
· Treasures (material wealth): vs 7
· Military equipment: vs 7
· Themselves: vs 12
Isaiah identify as the devastating sin of his people? The pride of man. They thought
they could rule themselves and the world without God. They are self-sufficient. Pride sets a man in opposition to God. Proud
men will seem to prosper for a time, but God will bring them low. Four times Isaiah states that man will be brought low (Verses
9, 11, 12 and 17). Three times in these verses, it is stated that the Lord alone will be exalted (Verses 11,12, and 17).
There will be no escape from the judgment of God. Men will
run and hide as God rises to shake the earth (verse 21)! As he humbles his people there will be great fear, yet they will
see the splendor of his majesty. It is the same word in the Hebrew for the sin of pride and the majesty of God. It means loftiness.
God is worthy to be lifted up. What about man? His very breath depends on God. Verse 22 wraps it up…”Stop trusting
in man…Of what account is he?” - when compared to a holy and sovereign God?
power and self-sufficiency and ignored God.
of man will lead to God’s judgment. They are walking in the darkness of sin.
2. How will God judge his people: 3:1- 4:1
Verse 1 - The Lord, the Lord Almighty will take away both supply and support. He will
take away anything that is false support.
Verses 1-3: He takes away food and water (famine is judgment), heroes and warriors
(military strength gone), judge and prophet (civil and spiritual leadership gone), soothsayers and elders (wise counselors
gone, no matter the source of wisdom) and any leader (captain, counselor, skilled craftsman or clever enchanter).
Their entire support system will be gone!
Isaiah 3:8 says what it will be like in Judah.
“Jerusalem staggers and Judah
is falling; their words and deeds are against the Lord, defying God’s glorious presence.”
Their will be oppression and no respect for authority, as the young rise up against
the old (vs 5) and women above men (vs12).
No one will take leadership (vs7) – the leaders will have no answers and will
be consumed with their own needs.
Their very lack of shame will testify against them (vs 9).
They have brought disaster upon themselves. God is holding them accountable!
Look at verse
10 – In the midst of all this warning of judgment, he says I have a message for the righteous – Tell them “it
will be well with them, for they will enjoy the fruit of their deeds.”
He then turns
back to state two contributing factors to the downfall of Judah. Verses 12 -14: weak leaders (lead astray, turn from the path, plunder
the poor, oppress his people) and verses 16- 26: vain women (haughty and sexy
- immodest, dressed in excess in all their finery). All that these vain women trusted in would be taken away – they
would be contract diseases, experience shame and widowhood (through war). This is really a warning to us as well. When we
look at the New Testament parallel (I Peter 3:1-4) to this teaching, we see Peter
challenging the women of his time not to seek after or rely on what they wear, their outward adornment, but a quiet and gentle
spirit before God and man. That is what will honor God. Our beauty can be more than skin-deep, it should be reflected by our
heart attitudes toward others. God calls us to be godly women – modest and moderate in our dress to bring glory to his
name, reflecting his beauty through our character, not walking in the darkness of sin, but in the light of the Lord –displaying
strip Judah of all their false supports
to reveal himself as God and God alone. I believe God does the same in our lives through relationships, through trials and
even through the blessings of our lives. His aim is to make us God-sufficient, not
self-sufficient. His aim is to be our support above all else. He longs for us to know His grace is sufficient!
this section of prophecy with another Messianic promise.(4:2-6). God has said it how it is and how it will be if there is
no repentance. Judgment is inevitable. But in His grace, He doesn’t end the prophecy without hope. He gives them a sign
of promise – the Branch of the Lord. He says to His children…Look beyond this time of judgment and purification
to this sign of hope. There would be a branch which would spring up from the lineage of David – the promised Messiah,
our King Jesus! Salvation belongs to the Lord! He will be beautiful and glorious!
If you want to know what real beauty is, wait to you see Jesus face to face! But wait – you don’t have to wait
till Jesus comes again. Look at Him now and be transformed! The veil has been
removed from your heart when you turn to the Lord. II Corinthians 3 18 says…
“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory are being transformed into his likeness with ever
increasing glory…” through the ministry of the new covenant, Jesus has provided the provision for our sin. We
now walk in His light – Jesus is the light of our life!
(vs 3) - survivors of Jerusalem will experience two blessings:
Holiness - washed and cleansed by a purifying fire
God’s glorious presence - represented by the cloud and pillar of
fire just as in the wilderness. His presence will protect them - he will be a shelter, a shade, a refuge and a hiding place
from the storm and rain.
And so it is with
us today. God’s holy presence lives within us, if we know him as Savior and Lord. He is making us holy – a people
set apart for him – to display his splendor. We need to let God search our hearts. We need to search the scriptures
to learn of His ways so that we walk in His light. He is our shelter from the storms of life, when we trust in him and not
other means of support, even ourselves. He is a God of justice and mercy, longing and able to preserve a people for himself!
Our keepsake truth: Isaiah 2:5
“Come, O house
of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the LORD.”
Under Jacob, the
kingdom was united, not divided. So let us walk together, united in one spirit, as we walk in his light. As we walk in His
light, we will have fellowship with each other. We won’t be waking alone!