Shall we turn in our Bibles to Isaiah, chapter twenty nine, as we continue going through the word of God. Ariel means “the lion of God”, it is a reference to the city of Jerusalem, and the twenty ninth chapter begins with a woe, a warning.
Woe to Ariel, to Ariel, the city where David dwelt! [There were, was David’s palace, his headquarters.] add ye year to year; let them kill sacrifices. [The place where people would come year by year for the feast, for the offering of sacrifices unto the Lord.] And yet [The Lord said] I will distress Ariel, and there shall be heaviness and sorrow: and it shall be unto me as Ariel. And I will camp against thee round about, and I will lay siege against thee with a mount, and I will raise forts against thee. And thou shall be brought down, and shall speak out of the ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the dust, and thy voice shall be, as one of that hath a familiar spirit, out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust (29:1-4).
So God speaks about His coming against Jerusalem. The reason of course being, that they have turned from God. The prophecy is of the future, of people that have turned their back upon their God. It, it from the time of Hezekiah, who was now reigning, there was a surface revival. It didn’t really go deep enough. It was just something on the surface. At the death of Hezekiah, the nation of Judah, plunged to its deepest depths of depravity, from which it never fully recovered. So it was a down hill direction from this time on, as God, having been forsaken of the people, has now forsaken the people.
As Jeremiah will say, “Israel, or the people of God, have committed two evils. They have, number one, forsaken the Fountain of living waters, and they have hewn out cisterns that could hold no water.” They have forsaken the Living God, life, and they had tried to substitute faith in the living God with philosophies, with other chief interests in life that became their gods. As the result, God Himself turned against them.
He said to King Asa, “The Lord is with you, while you will be with Him, and if you seek Him, He will be found of you. But if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.” This is always true. If you seek God, you’ll find God. If you forsake God, you will be forsaken of God. As it’s the same truth that we were emphasizing this morning, and that is, you are in a position of either waiting upon God, trusting in God, or you are in that other position of God waiting on you until you hit bottom, until you cry out for help.
So God speaks of the woe that is going to come upon Jerusalem, as God will camp against them, will lay a siege against them, and they will be brought down and speak out of the ground, and speaking incoherently. Like a person who is possessed of an evil spirit.
Then, in verse five there’s a dramatic change, as God speaks of the way that He is going to destroy their enemies.
Moreover the multitude of thy strangers [or enemies] shall be like small dust, and the multitude of the terrible ones shall be as the chaff that passes away: yea, it shall be at an instant suddenly (29:5).
So God is going to come against those who come against Jerusalem. This prophecy I believe, actually moves on into the time of the end. To the time really, of the Antichrist, as God speaks about how He is going to destroy those that have come against Jerusalem. Instant destruction.
Thou shall be visited of the Lord of hosts with thunder, [He’s talking now about the enemies of Jerusalem.] with an earthquake, and a great noise, with a storm and a tempest, and the flame of devouring fire. And the multitude of all the nations that fight against Ariel, even all that fight against her and her fortifications that distress her, shall be as a dream of the night vision. It will be like a hungry man who is dreaming, and in his dream he’s eating, but when he wakes up, he’s still hungry; or he’s thirsty, and he dreams that he’s taking a drink of water, but when he wakes up, he’s still thirsty; so shall it be for those that come against Jerusalem, he is faint, his soul hath appetite: and so shall the multitude of all nations be that fight against mount Zion (29:6-8).
Now God speaks of the effect of, of the, of this vision, as Isaiah declares it to the people. They’re wondering, as he talks about God’s destruction of their enemies, and God’s defending of them, they are wondering. He says…
Stay yourselves, and wonder; cry ye out, and cry: they are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink. For the Lord hath poured upon you the spirit of a deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, and the seers has he covered. And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed (29:9-11),
So he speaks of the condition of the people. He tells them what God is going to do. They stand there, not really understanding, standing in awe, and they, they sort of, staggering in a sense, the promises of God. Those that stagger, but not with wine. You remember in the fourth chapter of Romans, as Paul is talking about being justified by faith, apart from works, and he gives Abraham as the example, who believed God, and God accounted his faith for righteousness. Then he goes on to tell us concerning the faith of Abraham, and he tells us that, “Who against hope, believed in hope, and he did not consider his own age, being about a hundred years old, nor yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb. And he staggered not at the promises of God, through unbelief.”
The Bible tells us that, “God has given to us exceeding rich and precious promises. That by these we may be mighty partakers of the inheritance.” But there are a lot of times when we find ourselves staggering at the promises of God. Sort of like the servant of the king in Elisha’s day, when the king of Samaria was distressed because of the sore famine, as the result of the Syrian army having besieged the city. It had come to the point where they were beginning to cannibalize. They were desperate. The king in his twisted logic, was blaming the prophet of God for all of their problems. So he sent his servant down to the house of Elisha to, to take him as a prisoner, to bring him to the king, that he might put Elisha to death.
Now Elisha was a fellow who had very keen insight into the realm of the Spirit. Great spiritual discernment. Ha, ha! And as he was sitting there with his friends, he suddenly, probably got sort of a look in his eye that his friends recognized. “Well wonder what’s going on?”, and he got that look, and he says, “Look what that son of a murderer is planning to do now! He’s sending a guy down here to get me!” He said, “When he knocks on the door, open the door, and pin him with the door. For behold, the footsteps of his master is right behind him.” So there was a knock on the door, and Elisha’s friends open it, and pin the guy against the door. Here came the king riding up with his prime minister. He said, “I’ve finally caught up with you! You’ve troubled Israel long enough!” Elisha said, “Let’s get this straight. You’re the one that’s troubled Israel. You’re the one who has led them into idolatry, you’re the one who has turned them away from God. That’s their problem! But don’t worry, tomorrow in the gate of Samaria, they’ll be selling a bushel of corn, and a bushel of fine flour for sixty five cents.” This prime minister, on whom the king leaned said, “If God would open the windows of heaven, could such a thing be?” He was staggering at the promises of God.
Now the reason why we stagger at the promises of God, is because of a lack of faith. Because we cannot in our minds, figure out how God can do it. The guy couldn’t figure out how God could do that. “How, how would it be possible that they could be selling a, a bushel of fine flour for sixty five cents! A, a jawbone of a donkey is selling for sixty five pieces of silver so people can cook up some soup. But a bushel, ah come on! What’s God gonna do open the windows of heaven and dump flour down on us? Who you trying to kid?” So Elisha said, “Well man, you’ll see it, but you won’t eat it!” “God is gonna do it whether you believe it or not, but you won’t partake of it. Your unbelief will keep you from partaking of the blessing and the goodness of God.
That’s always a tragedy. God is gonna do His work, believe it or not! But many times, your unbelief will cost you the privilege and the opportunity of partaking in that work of God. So these people, hearing the promise of Isaiah staggered! They staggered at the promises of God! “Could such a thing be? How could that ever be?” They were aware of the Assyrian power that they were facing. They had heard of the fall of Samaria to Assyria, and they were fearful. They were trying to figure out every possible way to deliver themselves from the hands of the Assyrians. They realized that it was almost hopeless. So here the promise of God that He’s gonna really wipe out their enemies, and they’re staggering. So he said, “The Lord has poured out on you the spirit of, of deep sleep.” That is, a spiritual lethargy, where you cannot comprehend the things of the Spirit.
Now the Bible tells us that, “the natural man does not understand the things of the Spirit, and neither can he know them, for they are spiritually discerned”. There are many people who are spiritual dunces. I mean they can talk to you about the economic situation, and how terrible it is, and they can give you their solution to all our problems that we have here in the United States, and if they were only in the position of the President, they could have things rolling again, you know. They have all kinds of wisdom, and they know all about the coming super bowl, and why which team will be in it, and who will win. They’ve got things all analyzed, and hyped up. But you get into the realm of spiritual issues and they’re, “Duh?”, nothing there! They have no comprehension. They cannot see, and, and God spoke of the condition of the people, “Having eyes to see, they cannot see. Ears to hear, they cannot hear.” It’s just a, a dullness to the things of the Spirit.
So here the people are with this spirit of deep sleep in spiritual matters. “God has closed your eyes, and even those of the prophets, your rulers, and the seers, He has covered.” The people are going around in this false hope, in this blindness. They cannot see what’s going on.
I wonder today if we really are, are seeing what’s really happening in the moral degeneration of our generation. Can we perceive what, what has really happened to our nation? Or, can uh, you know, I think that we’re really going down the tubes fast, but I think people are sleeping! I, I don’t see an alarm, I don’t see a deep concern. I don’t see people really gathering together and saying, “Let’s have more prayer! Let’s gather together during the week, let’s get praying you know, and really get serious about these things!”
The time has come when the people of God need to get desperate before God, because we are living in very desperate times! Do you, do you realize that here in Orange County, already in the past five days, we’ve have four homicides in the first five days of the new year? When are we gonna realize that, “Hey! We’re in trouble! We’ve got some serious social problems that we’re facing!” There’s a tremendous deterioration from a spiritual standpoint, and a moral standpoint. We’re going down the tubes fast!
The Santa Ana city schools, board is, is considering now, the putting of these sex clinics into the public schools. Dispersing condoms, and so forth in our public schools here in Santa Ana. Planned Parenthood of America is behind the scenes pushing for this. It’s just about to be adopted by the, the school board here in Santa Ana. Are we concerned? Do we care? Now it has been proven statistically that wherever Planned Parenthood has gone with their sex education, that pregnancies increase. Yet they’re giving that whole you know, big spiel of, “the kids need to be educated”, you know, “and by our education we won’t have these little girls getting pregnant anymore. Because we’ll teach them how to have sex, but safely, so they won’t get pregnant.” I mean, rather than teaching the kids purity, morality, save yourself until you’re married, be pure, they say, “Well we’ll teach them how to have sex, but that, how that they can have safe sex, so they won’t get pregnant.”
But it’s not working! They’re teaching them how to have sex, but the kids are ignoring the safety factors! Pregnancy has gone up forty percent everywhere that the Planned Parenthood has put in their sex education clinics. Now they’re wanting to do it in Santa Ana. We say, “My that’s terrible, I think that’s a rotten shame! Where are we gonna eat tonight? Shall we go to Reuben’s?” I mean, we just shrug it off, it doesn’t, it doesn’t, there seems to be this, this lethargy. A deep sleep, while, while this moral evil just seems to like fog, come in and engulf us. We’re concerned about who’s gonna win the world series, or the super bowl.
The vision of God has become like a, a book that is sealed. The word of God is, is something that they just don’t understand.
They hand it to a man who is learned, and they say, Read this to me, I pray you: and he said, I can’t read that, that’s sealed (29:12).
It’s an interesting thing that across America day, today in, in so many of the pulpits, and I would venture to say the majority of the pulpits, the ministers treat the Bible as though it was a sealed book. You ask them, “Do you ever teach on the book of Revelation?” “Oh no, no. Nobody understands that book. That’s a sealed book!” It’s a sealed book? Then why do they call it the “unsealed”, the apocalypse, the unveiling? Rather than being sealed, just the opposite, it’s an unveiling! It’s taking the veil off. It’s not putting the veil over! There’s only one part of the book of Revelation that was sealed, and that was when the seven thunders uttered their, their thunders, and John started to write, and He said, “Seal that up. That’s not to be revealed.” But that’s the only part of the book that’s sealed. Yet they won’t venture to touch the book. So you hand it to the learned, you say, “Read this.”, said, “Oh I can’t read that, that’s a sealed book!” They say, “You shouldn’t try to read the Bible! You’re not a scholar! Only the scholars can understand the Bible.” This blindness. “So the book is delivered to him who is not learned, and they say, ‘Read this to me’, say, ‘Well, I, I haven’t studied it man, I don’t know it, I can’t read it’.”
Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips they do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men (29:13):
It isn’t a genuine fear of God. They’re taught, “Well you should fear God”, so they fold their hands, and close their eyes when they pray. But it isn’t a true reverence of God from their heart. So he, he speaks of these people. These are the people who are in the temple worshiping. “They draw near with their lips.” Now this is where we are in danger. We’re in the house of God, worshiping God tonight, and, and through our singing, we were drawing near with our lips, but where is our heart? That’s the important issue. They were drawing near with their lips, but their heart was far from Him.
Therefore [Because of this] God said, I will proceed to do a marvelous work among the people, a work that will cause them to wonder: for the wisdom of the wise men shall perish, and the understanding of the prudent shall be hid. Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the Lord, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us (29:14-15)?
In the seventy third Psalm, Asaph the psalmist speaks of those who turned against God and blasphemed God. He said, “They say, How doth God know? Is there wisdom in the Most High?” This is what Isaiah is quoting them as saying here. They, they think that they are hiding from God. They think that they are getting by with their evil. They, they think that God really doesn’t see, or God really doesn’t know. They do not realize as Paul said, “In Him we live, and we move, and we have our being.” I cannot escape the presence of God.
In a couple of weeks we’ll be in chapter thirty three, and we’ll be looking at that passage of scripture in chapter thirty three of Isaiah, where he talks about when God destroyed the Assyrians, as He promised to do. When He destroyed the Assyrian army He said, “The sinner, fear gripped the hearts of the sinners in Zion.” They were terrified! For they saw what the power of God could do to the enemies of God. They said, “Who amongst us can dwell in the midst of this devouring fire?” They saw God like a devouring fire. They saw it destroy and devour the Assyrian army, and they said, “Whoa man! Who amongst us can dwell in this, this kind of holiness and purity, this devouring fire of God?”
They came to the realization that God as a fire, is everywhere. You can’t escape Him. It wasn’t, “Who of us can run from this devouring fire?” You can’t run from it! You are in the fire. The question is, “What is it doing to you?” So, this awareness of the presence of God. I need to have it. That consciousness of God’s presence. These people thought that they were doing things that God didn’t see, God didn’t know. They are saying, “Who can see us, and who knows?”
But surely [He said] your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter’s clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He hath no understanding (29:16)?
God’s gonna turn things upside down, and, and so the logic of man is turned upside down. Like a piece of clay on a potter’s wheel. The pot that has been formed by the potter. As it sits there in its finished state, can it say, “Well I just evolved! He didn’t make me! I just exist!” That’s inert. We laugh. We know that the pot doesn’t form itself, even though it is of inert material, is not alive. It’s not complex. But we can see in the creation, the fact of a creator. That’s logical. Our minds can buy that logic, and that reason. How can you have a building without builders? How can you have a watch without a watchmaker?
But what has happened is that through the years, from early childhood, our children are being taught an illogical premise, that you can have creation without a creator. That’s illogical. That there is no real design behind the human body. It is all the result of accidental circumstances over billions of years, matter acting upon matter. There is no real design to your eye. It’s just a marvelous, marvelous series of accidents by which you can see. No real design. Now that’s illogical!
But it is as if, when your child is first playing with blocks, and you’re teaching him to count with blocks, and to add with blocks, and you start teaching your child, “Two plus two equals five. I’ve got two here, I’ve got two here, one, two, three, four. One, two, three, five. Two plus two equals five.” But you see if you continue to teach that to him, all the time, “two plus two equals five”, and when he starts to school, and from kindergarten on through school, he is taught, “two plus two equals five”, it’s an illogical premise, but he will come to believe that two plus two equals five. But he will be destroyed from ever able to do math, or understand math. You’ve destroyed the base for mathematics. So he’ll believe a fallacy, because he’s been taught the fallacy. But he’ll never be able to logically do math problems.
Now in the same token, you teach a child that he is the product of accidents, that you can have, and the basic foundation is, “You can have a design without a designer”. There’s no understanding with a creator. There’s no, there’s no real mind, intelligence behind life. That all of these life forms do not manifest intelligence. But they are all the product of accidents.
Now if you’ve continued to teach the child that, and in his science classes he’s taught that “these things all came about as the matter worked on matter, and the mutations took place and so forth. It’s evolved into this complex form, that appears to have a design, but there’s no understanding with a creator. He didn’t really make you. You just exist by this series of accidents.” The child will come to believe that he is the product of an accident, but he will never be able to logically deal with the issues of life. Because his whole basis for logic is gone. The basis for logic is, “there is a designer behind every design”. So they believe that fallacy and thus they’re destroyed from ever being able to logically, and that’s why so many illogical things are being done today! You say, “How in the world can they do that? What’s the matter with them, where is their brain!” Well, their whole capacity to think logically, and rationally has been destroyed because of the logical base being destroyed.
So Isaiah’s speaking about that here. “The piece of clay saying, He didn’t make me! The thing that is framed says of him that has framed it, He doesn’t have any understanding!” It’s illogical, and man has turned to that kind of illogic and calls it, “science”. It’s bunkum!
Now the prophet as he so often does, at this point, goes out into the future, and he goes out into that glorious new age that is coming. Now people talk about the “new age” today, but this isn’t it. Ha, ha! I’m rather glad this isn’t it, cause I’d hoped for a lot better. The Bible promises me a lot better! The glorious day of the Lord when He shall reign, and righteousness shall cover the earth as the waters do cover the seas.
So is it not yet a very little while, [In God’s timing, a day is as a thousand years, a thousand years is a day, that’s what Peter tells us as he tells us to wait for the coming of the Lord, “Have patience”, a very little while.] and Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field, the fruitful field shall be esteemed as a forest? And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, [The deaf ears will be opened.] the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness. And the meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel (29:17-19).
When Jesus was ministering, and John the Baptist who had been the forerunner, had said to his disciples, “There’s the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”, and Herod put John in prison, and Jesus wasn’t doing what John expected Him to do. He wasn’t coming and knocking Herod off the throne, and getting rid of the Roman appointed powers, and John was getting impatient there in prison, and so He sent some of His disciples to say, “Hey are you the one we’re looking for, or should we start looking for someone else? Let’s get the show on the road!” So in the same hour, there were many who came to Jesus, deaf, He touched, and they were able to hear. Blind, they were able to see. Lame, they were able to walk. After about an hour or so, Jesus said to John’s disciples, “Go back and tell John what you saw. The deaf are hearing, the blind are seeing, the lame are walking, and unto the poor, the gospel is being preached.” He was referring to this day of the Lord, prophesied in Isaiah.
Now that was only a foreshadowing. When Jesus Christ comes to establish His reign, and His kingdom upon the earth, there will be righteousness throughout the earth, as the earth is restored to God’s original intent. There will be no physical infirmities, no sicknesses, no suffering, no pain, no debilitating diseases, no blindness. Now, “the terrible one”, is the Antichrist, verse twenty.
For the terrible one is brought to nought, [nothing] and the scorner [the false prophet] is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off (29:20):
Gonna be a righteous reign. “He shall reign in righteousness and in judgment, and in justice, and the iniquity will be cut off.”
That make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turns aside the just for a thing of nothing. Therefore thus saith the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob, Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face now wax pale. But when he seeth his children, the work of mine hands, in the midst of him, they shall sanctify my name, and sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall fear the God of Israel. They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine (29:21-24).
So, that day when people will turn to God, will understand, and they’ll see the work of God on the earth.
Now in chapter thirty he deals with the rebellion of the people, to the word of God. The Assyrians have now conquered the northern kingdom of Israel. The Assyrians are now on their way to attack Jerusalem. They have already taken many of the fenced cities of Judah. This military juggernaut is on its way to Jerusalem. The prophet Isaiah is telling Hezekiah, “Just trust in the Lord and the Lord will deliver you from the Assyrians. Put your faith and your trust in God. He will deliver you.” He is telling the leaders of the people, “Trust in God!”
But they’re not satisfied with that. They feel that they must get help from Egypt. So they are sending emissaries down to Egypt with donkeys and camels, that are loaded down with rewards, treasury of Israel, or Judah, to pay for the Egyptians to send a military force, to help them defend themselves against the Assyrians.
In their sending to Egypt for help, and in their relying upon Egypt for help, they are denying their faith in God’s ability to help them. Their going to Egypt, is in a direct, it is direct disobedience to the command of God. Thus, God looks upon it as rebellion against Him. Thus, He begins declaring…
Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, that take counsel, [“You’ve gotten together in your counsels, the cabinet meetings, and you’ve decided that this is diplomacy and this is the wisest strategy to defend ourselves against the Assyrians.”] but the counsel is not of God; [In fact, it is against God.] and you seek to cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, [“You’re seeking to cover the bases with the Egyptians, and with this alliance with Egypt, but you’re not really seeking my help, and the help of my spirit.”] you’re actually adding sin upon sin: Those that go down into Egypt, and have not sought my advice; they seek to strengthen themselves with the strength of Pharaoh, and they trust in the shadow of Egypt! [Egypt’s help will only be as a shadow, there’ll be no substance to the help that Egypt can give.] Therefore [Because of this] shall the strength of the Pharaoh be your shame, [“The Pharaoh’s gonna let you down. Egypt won’t help you.”, in reality, Egypt, the forces of Egypt were destroyed by the Assyrians.] and the trust in the shadow of Egypt will only lead to your confusion. For his princes were at Zoan, and his ambassadors came to Hanes (30:1-4).
Zoan was in the area of the delta, the Nile delta, and Hanes was about a hundred miles up river from the present day, Cairo. Here is where they met with the ambassadors. Those ambassadors from Israel met with the ambassadors of Egypt.
And they were all ashamed of the people that could not profit them, nor be a help nor profit, but a shame, and a reproach. The burden of the beasts of the south: into the land of trouble and anguish, [In other words, you pass through the Negev desert, the land of trouble and anguish.] where there are lions, and vipers, and fiery flying serpents, and you carried away the riches upon the shoulders of the young donkeys, and the treasures upon the camels, to a people that shall not profit them (30:5-6).
“Using your money to gain the help of the arm of flesh is a waste of your money! Trust in God, put your confidence in God!”
For [He said] the Egyptians shall help in vain, and to no purpose: [There won’t be any help from Egypt.] therefore have I cried concerning this, Their strength is to sit still. [Now this probably means that the Egyptians strength will come to nothing.] Now go, and write it before them in a table, [Now this is what the Lord is telling Isaiah, “Now write this down on a tablet.”] make note of it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever (30:7-8):
“Write, write these words down Isaiah”, and he did because we’re reading them here. Ha, ha! But the Lord instructed him to do that, “So that when the help of Egypt fell through, when all of this money was spent in vain, and when the real crisis comes, and Egypt is not there to help them, then these people will know that they rebelled against me, and that I told them not to do it. The record will be there so that they can see their folly in trusting in man, rather than trusting in God. So write it before them in a tablet, note it in a book, that it might be there in time to come for ever and ever.” “Write that”…
This is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord: Which say to the seers, [Or the prophets] Don’t see; and they say to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits (30:9-10):
Now there are many people today that are sort of speaking in the name of the Lord, smooth things. Deceitful things. “How you can be a better you. It is all in the attitude that you take towards things friends! We need to take a more positive attitude towards life! And you can conquer, you can conquer over your fears!”, and, and all of these “smooth things”, and people say, “Yeah! Yeah! Preacher brother! I want to hear it!!”
The Bible said, “In the last days they will have itching ears, they will not endure sound doctrine. They won’t really like Bible studies.” Now this proves that you’re not among that crowd. You’re here to study the word of God. But there are a lot of people that, they can’t handle just the teaching of the word of God. They want to be entertained. They have itching ears, and they want to hear things that are, you know, “Everything’s gonna be alright!” So they’re saying to the prophets, “Don’t prophesy to us the truth! Tell us deceitful things. Lie to us! Make us feel good!” So he said…
Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, [Actually this is what they’re saying to him, “Get out of the way! Turn out of the path!”] and cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us. [“We don’t need God! We can do it ourselves!”] Wherefore [Because of this] thus saith the Holy One of Israel, Because you despise this word, and you trust in oppression and perverseness, and you put your confidence in that: Therefore this iniquity shall be to you as a breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high wall, whose breaking cometh suddenly at an instant (30:11-13).
In other words, “Because you’re trusting in this man, the things gonna, it’s like a high wall that begins to bow out. It has a crack in it, and it begins to bow out. The thing, once it starts to tumble, just boom! You know, it’s like a dam that has a crack in it, and all of this pressure is built up behind the dam, and as the water begins to come over, or begins to come through, the more that it comes through, the more the thing erodes until finally the whole thing just collapses, and you have this flood that comes over you and there’s no defense. You’re just, you’re totally overwhelmed.” So God said, “Such shall it be, because they don’t want me, they don’t want the truth. They don’t want my word. And they want to trust in, in these vain things.” And so…
He shall break it the breaking will come suddenly in an instant, and he shall break it as the breaking of a potter’s vessel that is broken in pieces (29:14);
Now have you ever taken a clay pot and thrown it down on the cement, and, watch how the thing just pops in so many pieces? It has a pop to it. So when we were kids we used to get these clay vases, clay pots that they planted stuff in, and we loved to hear them pop. We, pow! You know, pow! Till, our mother caught us. But they have an interesting pop to them when they hit the concrete, and just shatter in so many pieces. In fact, the Lord said, “They’re just gonna shatter in so many pieces.”
and God will not spare: so that there will not be found in the bursting of it a sherd that is big enough really to take the fire from the hearth, or to take water out of the pit (29:14).
It’ll just be broken so bad, there won’t even be a piece big enough that you can pick up some of the coals out of the fire on it. Or you could dip water out of the well with it, or out of the spring.
For thus saith the Lord God Holy One of Israel; [Here is the secret now] In returning [That is, returning to God] and rest you will be saved; [The idea of returning is a repenting, “Your salvation won’t lie in Egypt, your salvation will lie in returning to God, and resting in God, that’s where your salvation will come.”] and in quietness and in confidence that will be your strength (29:15):
That quietness of spirit as you trust in God, that confidence in God that He will take care of it. The quietness comes from confidence. As you have committed it to God, and you have confidence in God, it gives you a quietness within your spirit. That’s your strength. Oh how I have seen Christians with fantastic strength, who are going through experiences that would crush some of the strongest people, and yet I see them going through with such strength, and you marvel at their strength! Why? Because they have confidence in God, and the purposes of God. There is that, just that quietness and that assurance, because of their confidence in God. Oh how strong they are!
But you said, No; [“Not us, we won’t return to God!”] what we will do is fly [And the first word translated “flee” here, is, “we will fly”] upon horses; [That is, “we’ll get on our horses, we’ll get the Calvary unit and we’ll charge out the enemies.”] therefore shall you flee: [“You’re gonna try to fly against your enemies, but you’re gonna end up fleeing from your enemies!”] We will ride upon the swift; but those that pursue you will be swift (29:16).
A reversal of what God said would be, in Deuteronomy God said that, “Because they were His people, and trusted in Him, ten of them, well, one of them would chase a thousand, and one of them would chase ten thousand”. He told of the strength that He would give to them, because of their trusting in Him. Now they did not trust in God, the reverse is gonna take place.
One thousand of you shall flee at the rebuke of one; and at the rebuke of five you will flee: till you be left as a beacon on the top of a mountain, and as a signal on a hill. [“Until you’re just alone, solitary, you’re gonna be forsaken and flee.”] And therefore will the Lord wait (29:17-18),
“Okay you said no to God? Alright, God will just wait then for you. You won’t wait upon God to help? Then God will just wait until you get into such desperate conditions, that you’ll be forced to call upon God.
Now it’s a bad place to be when God is waiting on you. I always like it when the ball is in His court. I always like it when I have done what God said I should do, and it’s, I always like to say, “Well Lord, it’s your move now.” I, I’m in a bad shape when, when God’s saying, “Okay it’s your move, waiting.” You know, I, that’s not a good place to be, where God is waiting on you. Especially in the case here. For He’s waiting for them to get so desperate that there’s no place to go, there’s no hope. There’s only one thing left, and that’s God.
Every earthly crutch has broken. Every scheme has failed, the Egyptians don’t show up, the city is now surrounded, the food supplies are getting low. People are beginning to fight over food within the city. The strong are beginning to rip off food from the weak. Tyranny, and anarchy is taking place. “This is desperate! We’ve gotta do something! What can we do? Nothing! There’s nothing we can do, we’ve done it all! We better pray.” When you get desperate enough, you will pray. God said, “Okay I’ll just wait till you cry out to me. I’ll just wait for you to call.” So, “Therefore will the Lord wait”…
that he might be gracious unto you (29:18),
He isn’t waiting to, to smite you, or to destroy you or to chide you and say, “Well, it’s about time!”, you know. But He’s waiting so that when you do call, He can be gracious unto you.
and therefore will he be exalted, in order that he might have mercy upon you (29:28):
Now judgment, mercy, grace. These three are brought into play here.
for the Lord is a God of judgment (29:18):
Judgment is getting what you deserve. Having rebelled against God, having turned against God, they deserved to be defeated by their enemies. They deserved to be wiped out. That would be justice. But mercy is not getting what you deserve. Now judgment, justice is calling for judgment. Justice is calling for a punishment that is commensurate with the crime. Mercy is forgiving without punishing. But that isn’t just. So you say to God, “That isn’t fair!”
Now we’re saying that all the time about our judges here in the area. Well, not all the time, a lot of times we’re saying, “That’s not fair, because they’ve meted out sentences that aren’t fair.” They send a person to jail for a year because he stood in front of an abortion clinic praying. I mean, terrible crime! “Get that person off the street, he’s a danger to our society!” Somebody else rapes someone, and they give them probation. We say, “That’s not justice!”, and it isn’t. Because it isn’t commensurate with the, with the crime. But on the other hand, and that’s, that’s the thing that we complain about most often is the laxity of the court. I, I’m shocked that this guy could try and kill this little girl, cut off her hands and everything else, and then be released in a few years. That shocks me! That’s not justice. But such is the system.
Now you see justice, and our sense of justice calls for a punishment that is commensurate with the crime. But God, though He is a just God, is also a merciful God. But that is difficult. How can you be merciful and be just? In reality, you can’t. Justice and mercy are two different things. Mercy isn’t just! It’s not getting what you deserve. For God to be merciful, He has to retreat into the fact, “I’m God, I can do what I please”. So that’s what He does, He is exalted into that state of, “I’m the sovereign God, and I will have mercy upon whom I will have mercy. I’m God, I make the rules”. Say, “Well that’s still not fair, even though God does it”, well He has a just base for doing it. He sent His Son to take the sin, and to take the guilt, and to die in your stead. So someone says, “Justice! God that’s not fair you know that you forgive them, and you give them a glorious place in heaven!” He just points to the cross and says, “It’s taken care of, it’s covered.” So there is that just basis, so that a just God can justly forgive your sins, on the basis of Jesus Christ.
Grace, that’s another subject. That’s getting what you don’t deserve. You don’t deserve the blessings of God, you don’t deserve eternity in heaven with Him. You don’t deserve eternal life. That’s God’s grace. Giving you what you don’t deserve because of His tremendous love for you.
Here, the people they don’t deserve it, they’ve been rebelling against God, they’re seeking the help of man, that help has failed, the Egyptians are destroyed, they don’t come through, and now they are in trouble. Now the whole thing is falling to pieces and they say, “O God help!”, and God is so gracious, He comes down, and He shows His grace, He wipes out the Assyrians, and He gives them great victories over their enemies, and establishes them in power, and strength, under the reign of Hezekiah. Grace.
So the Lord is waiting for them to realize that all of their schemes are of no avail, they need God. When they finally turn to God, then He shows His grace upon them.
For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem: and thou shalt weep no more: [This is because of the, well, didn’t hit the end of that did I?] blessed are all they that wait for him (29:18- 19).
Don’t let God wait on you, you be waiting upon God. Tis better to wait upon God, than to have God waiting upon you! “For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem: thou shalt weep no more:”…
and he will be very gracious unto you at the voice of your cry (29:19);
The moment you cry out to God, He’ll be very gracious to you, if you’ll just turn to God, in returning and resting you’ll be safe. Just cry out to God, and…
when he hears it, he will answer you (29:19).
He will be gracious to you! He will forgive you all of your sins. Just cry out to Him.
And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, [This is what He allows as you’re rebelling against Him, and trying to go against Him, you come into real adversities, the waters of affliction.] yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but your eyes shall see thy teachers: And your ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when you turn to the left (29:20-21).
You just turn your life over to God, and God will begin to guide you and direct you. God will say, “Hey this is the way, walk in it.” The voice of God leading and guiding your life. When you turn to the right, you turn to the left, God will say, “No, no, no, this is the way. Walk in it.”
And you shall defile also the covering of thy graven images (29:22),
Now at this time there will be a true spiritual revival. When Hezekiah took over he destroyed all of the public worship items, but people still had them in their homes. But when God shows Himself strong to deliver them from the Assyrians, then they also will take those graven images…
of silver, and those molten images of gold: and they shall cast them away as a menstruous cloth; and thou shalt say unto it, Get out of here. And then shall he give the rain of thy seed, that you will sow the ground withal; and the bread will increase of the earth, and it shall be fat and plenteous: in that day shall thy cattle feed in large pastures (29:22-23).
In other words, God, this is the grace of God. Now they’ve cried out to God, and God has delivered them. But now He is showing His grace. They respond to that. They get rid of their idols, and their images. God begins to bless them. They begin to get the rains again, and their seed is blessed, and their cattle are now pasturing in large pastures.
The oxen likewise and the young donkeys that ear the ground shall eat clean provender, [Those that are used to just trying to you know eat the stubble, and the grass of a drought condition, will now have grain in the cribs to eat.] which hath been winnowed with the shovel and with the fan. [Good grain even for the donkeys, plenty for all!] And there shall be upon every high mountain, and upon every high hill, rivers and streams of waters in the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall. [“When God gives you victory it’s gonna be a restoration of the land, of rain, and rivers and streams.”] And moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that the Lord binds up the breach of his people, and heals the stroke of their wounds. [God is just going to bless, and, and remove the smog, and the, and the impurities of the air, so there will be the brightness of the moon once again, and of the sun.] Behold, the name of the Lord cometh from far, burning with his anger, and the burden thereof is heavy: his lips are full of indignation (29:24-27),
Now we go into the tribulation period. “Indignation”, again remember is the Old Testament word for tribulation, and the prophecy now goes out to the future. “Behold the name of the Lord comes from far, burning with His anger, and the burden thereof is heavy: his lips are full of indignation”…
and his tongue as a devouring fire: [We’ll get to that more in a couple of weeks, chapter thirty three.] And his breath, as an overflowing stream, shall reach to the midst of the neck, to sift the nations with the sieve of vanity: and there shall be a bridle in the jaws of the people, causing them to err. But you shall have a song, as in the night when a holy solemnity is kept; and gladness of heart, as when one goes with a flute to come to the mountain of the Lord, to the mighty One of Israel (29:27-29).
There will be great tribulation against the enemies of God upon the earth, “but you will be rejoicing with a gladness of heart, as one who is going in to worship God, coming in to meet with God.” As we will be gathered together with the Lord in the heavenly scene. The rejoicing and the worship that is there!
And the Lord shall cause his glorious voice to be heard, and he shall show the lightning down of his arm, with the indignation of his anger, and with a flame of a devouring fire, and with a scattering, and a storm, and the hailstones. For through the voice of the Lord shall the Assyrian be beaten down, which smote with a rod. [The Assyrian smote with a rod, but he’ll be beaten down with the voice of the Lord.] And in every place where the grounded staff shall pass, which the Lord shall lay upon him, it shall be with tabrets and harps: and in the battles of shaking will he fight with it. For Tophet is ordained of old (29:30-33);
Now Tophet is the old testament equivalent of the new testament Gehenna. The Old Testament speaks of Sheol, translated, hell, the abode of the dead. The new testament Greek word is Hades, it is the equivalent of Sheol, hell, or the abode of the dead. In the old testament all who died went into Sheol, the grave, or the place of the dead. In the new testament, the sinners who die, go into Hades. The believers who die, go to be with the Lord. For, “to be absent from this body, is to be present with the Lord.” Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life, he that liveth, and believeth in me, shall never die”. But we are changed. This corruption puts on incorruption, and this mortal puts on immortality.
Now hell is the abode of the unrighteous dead. Sort of a holding tank, as they are awaiting their day of judgment. But their day of judgment will come, “and they will stand before God and be judged out of the things that are written in the books, and those whose names are not found written in the book of life, will be sent into Gehenna. This is the second death.” Now Gehenna is the equivalent here of Tophet. Tophet literally means “the place of burning”.
Now Jesus warned about Gehenna. He said, “Concerning Gehenna, where the fire is not quenched, neither doth the worm die”. He warns about being sent to Gehenna. We are told that when Jesus comes back to the earth to judge the earth, He gathers together the nations for judgment, and to those on the left, He says, “Depart from me ye workers of iniquity into Gehenna, that was prepared for Satan and his angels”. Tophet or Gehenna was not prepared for people, but those people who have chosen to rebel with Satan, will find Gehenna their abiding place, with Satan.
Now when Jesus comes back again, Satan will be bound and put into the abusso, a third place. At the end of the thousand years of Christ’s reign upon the earth, Satan will be released out of the abusso for a short time, and then will be cast into Gehenna, Tophet. The place that God prepared for him. Now here, it is interesting…
For Tophet is ordained of old; [In other words it’s been existing from old] yea, for the king it is prepared (30:33);
That is, Satan who is the god of this world, it was prepared for him, and Jesus confirms that. He said, “Depart ye into the lake that is burning with fire”, which is a translation of the Greek word Gehenna, “which was prepared for Satan and his angels”. So “this burning fire is ordained of old, yes, for the king it is prepared”.
and he [The Lord] hath made it deep and large: and the pile thereof is fire and much wood; and the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it (30:33).
Interesting description! We’ll be looking at God as a consuming fire in a couple of weeks when we get to chapter thirty three. I think you’ll find it quite interesting. We’ll take a little more look at it at that time.
Now may the Lord be with you and bless you, and cause you to be enriched in your understanding of Him. As you walk in fellowship with Him this week, may your heart be in tuned with His. May your eyes be opened by the Spirit of God, that those things that concern God will become a concern to you. May you really commit the issues of your life to Him. May you have that quietness that comes from confidence in God, that He is going to work, and take care of those things that concern you. May you just cast all your cares upon Him, because He does care for you, and He is concerned about you. So may it be a blessed week growing in your knowledge of Him. Experiencing His love, and His closeness.
Edited & Highlighted from “The Word For Today” Transcription, Pastor Chuck Smith, Tape #7255