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Isaiah Insights #3

Warren E. Berkley – wberkley.podbean.com

Telescope & Microscope

Isa. 2

 

In the book of Isaiah, in the section beginning with chapter two, over through the next few chapters – there is something for readers to be aware of and careful about.

The text shifts from (Isaiah’s) present to future, back and forth. Sometimes Isaiah is talking about the present sins of the people during the reigns of the kings identified in verse one of chapter one. In other places, the prophet speaks of the immediate future punishment coming, or the distant future coming of Christ.

One way to think of this is – Microscope and Telescope. This study device is not unique to me, or originated by me. It is helpful.

By Microscope I mean, Isaiah is enabled by God to look right at the people in his time and see in detail their sins. This happens in chapter one.

By Telescope I mean, think of it as God giving the prophet a Telescope to see the immediate future judgments against the people. But also, to see the distant blessings that would come to pass through Jesus Christ.

In Isaiah 2:1-4, I believe Isaiah is using the Telescope – to see “the house of the Lord” that would be established “as the highest of the mountains” for people of all nations. People would be taught and invited to walk in the paths and live by the word of the Lord. There would be peace for these people. This is about Christ and His kingdom, the church.

Once Isaiah uses the Telescope and issues this statement of what God let him see, he says to his contempories: “Let us walk in the light of the Lord.”

At verse 6, he takes up the microscope to report what he observes as the errors of the present: evil compromises with foreigners, covetousness, idolatry, “the lofty pride of men.”  Using the Telescope again, he reports there would be, as a result of these evils, “a day,” of God’s response to their sin. God would express Himself “against” them.

So the prophet said, “Stop regarding man, in whose nostrils is breath, for of what account is he?” (Isa. 2:22). This is where we plugin self-examination.

Isaiah Insights #2

Warren E. Berkley – wberkley.podbean.com

Vain Worship, Isa. 1:12-18

 

In Isaiah chapter one, verses 12-16, God’s disappointment with His people in Judah and Jerusalem is spelled out in some detail, as it concerned their vain worship. While nurturing their crooked hearts and engaged in injustice and rebellion, yet – they continued to go through the motions of worship. Perhaps they were thinking their worship routine would in someway have a redemptive result, even though they continued in their sin?

God wouldn’t have it. He said, through the prophet, “bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination to me.” The prophet spoke for God, “Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates; they have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them.” And notice: even when they prayed (no repentance), God said, “I will hide my eyes from you, even though you make many prayers, I will not listen.”

Worship acts or rituals, when not accompanied by a sincere heart devoted to God, serve no purpose in the sight of God. Such acts may appear to men to be pious and admirable. God isn’t fooled. And the notion that such acts have a redemptive purpose is just wrong.

Jesus spoke of worshipping the Father in spirit and in truth (Jno. 4:24). But we can make this point in a larger context. Any form of “obedience” to God or attempt to worship is vain, when not accompanied by genuine motive.

So, back to our text in Isaiah 1, the prophet told these people: “Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause. Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord; though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow,” (Isa. 1:16-18). This is where we pause, for self-examination.

Isaiah Insights #1

Warren E. Berkley – wberkley.podbean.com

Rebellious Children, Isa. 1:2

God’s people in Judah and Jerusalem are “on trial.” God is the Judge as well as the offended party, with His servant Isaiah announcing the case against the people. This was during the reigns of kings Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. The offended party is the Heavenly Father, disappointed in His children.

Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth; for the Lord has spoken: “Children have I reared and brought up, but they have rebelled against me.”

The first step into this passage is emotional, especially for parents. And most especially for parents who have known this disappointment.

There is that natural affection of mothers and fathers for their children. This prompts desire, effort, work and hope. This is why parents become engaged with instruction, influence, wise discipline, warmth and all good provision for their children. Inside all this work there is hope, that the children will be responsive and sensible. That they will grow up to be mature and useful adults, that the hope of the parents might be realized and satisfying. The children, faithful servants of God. God gloried by their lives.

Yet, in spite of all effort and prayer otherwise, since children have free will, disappointment is a very real possibility. There is no heartache like it; no stress that compares, when parents realize their children have chosen a destructive path in life.

This resembles how God felt about His people in Judah and Jerusalem in the time of Isaiah and these kings.

Now, God was and is the perfect parent, the Father in heaven. He formed a nation from the offspring of His servant, Abraham. He brought them out of bondage. He gave them law and leaders and guidance and promises.

Their response? They rebelled against their Father. Isaiah’s duty was to convey to these wayward children, the deep disappointment of their Father.

Pause here for self-examination. Am I pleasing my Father? Is He disappointed in how I’ve turned out? The way out of rebellion is repentance.

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