In the fifty third chapter, we have this most remarkable prophecy concerning Jesus Christ, God’s anointed servant. But we are told by prophecy, that He would be despised and rejected of men. He would be a man of sorrows, He would be acquainted with grief, He would be smitten, and He would be wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities, that He would be numbered with the transgressors in His death, and that He would make intercession for the transgressors.
So it speaks about the Messiah being rejected, the Messiah being cut off. Rejected by the nation of Israel. We know how completely this was fulfilled. When Jesus came, He was rejected by the nation, He made His triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Sunday, but before the week was over, He was hanging on the cross, numbered with the transgressors, and with the rich in His death, as He was there making intercession for the transgressors saying, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do.”
Now as Pilate had Jesus on trial, and he knew that a miscarriage of justice was being perpetrated, he had said to them, “I find no fault in this man, see ye to it.” That should’ve ended the trial. Pilate saying the man is innocent, the trial should be over. But the people be, continued their clamor for His crucifixion. Until Pilate finally asked for a basin of water, and in their sight, he washed his hands, and he said, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. See ye to it, know that I’m innocent!” They cried out, “His blood be upon us, and on our children.”
Here Israel, as a nation, was rejecting God’s Messiah, the promised Messiah. As they rejected God’s Messiah, God rejected them. Jesus, when He made His triumphant entry into Jerusalem, as He was there on the mount of Olives overlooking the city, He began to weep. He said, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem! Thou that stonest the prophets, and all that God has said to you! If you’d only known the things that belong to your peace in this, thy day, but they are hid from your eyes! The days are gonna come when they’re gonna encircle this city, they’re gonna level it to the ground, they’re gonna dash your children in the streets!” He predicted the destruction, and the being carried away captive.
When the disciples were talking to Jesus about the, the great temple, the huge stone, He said, “I tell you not one of these stones is gonna be left standing on another.” Their rejection of God’s Messiah, created God’s rejection of them. The nation was cast out, dispersed into the whole world, they became a curse, and a byword, they became persecuted where they went. For almost two millenniums, the Jews have been scattered throughout the world.
Now the fifty fourth chapter of Isaiah, has to do, when God once again takes Israel back as His bride. Israel that has been barren for so many years. Israel that has been forsaken by God is going to again, be accepted and received by God, and come into a marvelous glory, when Jesus, the Messiah returns, and establishes His kingdom. Jerusalem once again becomes the center of the earth, and the rejoicing of the world. So this fifty fourth chapter deals with God returning again His favour, His blessings on Israel, the wife that was set aside, but is now received back again.
The prophet Hosea was commanded by God to marry this woman who, shortly after their marriage, a child or so, she left him. She went out and became a prostitute. Slept with every man that came along. This life of sin brought her into a broken shameful condition, actually, she became just a slave, body ruined. God spoke to Hosea, He said, “Now go down and purchase her, buy her out of that slavery, and take her again, and clean her up, and may she become your bride again, your wife again.” So Hosea, following the directions of the Lord went down and purchased her from her slavery, took her again as his wife, adorned her, restored her. Then the word of the Lord came and said, “So Israel, who has turned from me, who has worshiped other gods, gone a whoring away from me, yet I will take her again, and she shall be mine.”
The day is coming when God is going to restore Israel to its place of God’s bride, or God’s wife. Isaiah fifty four has to do with that day. Israel has been barren for many, many centuries, but the Lord says…
Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and shrill aloud, cry out this with joyful sound, you that did not travail with child: [They had been fruitless for so many years.] for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord (54:1).
Get ready Israel! God is going to bless you!
Enlarge the place of your tent, let them stretch forth the curtains of your habitations: spare not, lengthen the cords of the tents, and strengthen [get stronger] stakes (54:2);
In other words, “You’re gonna have to enlarge your, your place of dwelling.”
Now the interesting thing today is that there is pressure by the world to narrow the tent of Israel. Since the 1967 war, and Israel’s taking of the West Bank, and the Golan Heights, and the Sinai Peninsula, there’s been tremendous pressure for them to narrow the borders of their tent. This is going to be probably the next major confrontation and issue in the Middle East, as the UN, and as we’re, we are right now seeking to get the Arab states together, in order that we might have some kind of a peace conference in which Israel will give up territory for recognition from the Arab states, and for peaceful existence among them. It’s gonna come by giving back part of the West Bank, giving back the Gaza Strip, and of course Syria is pushing for the Golan.
But I don’t think Israel will do that. But this is, this is the big pressure right now, “Narrow the border of your tents.” Probably the end result of, of these peace conferences will be Israel compromising and giving up some of the territories for the Palestinians to establish their state, with conditions that they not create a military power and so forth. But those things are to be worked out. But there will be a narrowing of the borders of Israel.
But in the future, the borders of Israel will go all the way from the Nile River, to the Euphrates River. That is the promise of God. That’s the territory that God promised to them. They’ve never really had, or occupied all of the territory that God has promised to them. So this will be the time, the beginning of the Millennial reign of the Messiah! When, they will enlarge their tents from the Nile River to the Euphrates, stretching out the curtains of the tent, lengthening the cords, strengthening the stakes.
For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and your descendants shall inherit the nations, [The word “Gentiles” there is, Gentiles, or “nations”, “they will inherit the nations.”] and they will make the desolate cities to be inhabited. [It will become more or less, the center of the world during the kingdom age!] Fear not; [The Lord said] for you will not be ashamed: [No longer will they bear the shame of their sins, but they will be restored, God’s people, recognized as such.] neither be confounded; for you will [be, you will,] not be put to shame: for you will forget the shame of your youth, and you’ll not remember the reproach of [my] thy widowhood any more (54:3-4).
Israel has really been divorced by God in a sense, set aside by God. They set aside God’s plan, and so God has set them aside. Paul testified concerning Israel that, “blindness has happened to Israel in part, until the fullness of the Gentiles is come in”. But then he goes on to declare that, “All Israel shall be saved, for there will come the deliverer out of Zion to turn the hearts of the children to the faith of their fathers.” So they have borne the reproach, the shame of their ignominious deed against the Messiah. They were set aside by God, but God is gonna take them back again. He said…
Thy Maker is thy husband; the Lord of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called (54:5).
So that glorious kingdom age, Israel again restored. Again there dwelling in the land, enlarging the borders. Their Redeemer, Jesus Christ, the Holy One of Israel, known as “The God of the Whole Earth”, for Jesus shall reign over the whole earth.
For the Lord has called thee as a woman that has been forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when you were refused, saith thy God (54:6).
Like a young wife that has been rejected by her husband, set aside by him, forsaken, and the Lord said…
For a small moment I have forsaken thee; but with great mercies I will gather thee (54:7).
Now, “a small moment”, ha, ha! It’s been two thousand years! But, with God, a day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years is as a day. When you consider two thousand years with eternity, and it’s all a matter of degrees. Two thousand years compared with eternity is absolutely nothing! It’s just a breath! It’s just a moment! So, “For a moment I have forsaken you”, but as He receives them back, “with great mercies I will gather thee.”
In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer (54:8).
So again, the contrast between the moment of being forsaken. But, the everlasting eternal kindness and mercy that God will show to them.
For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: [So God goes back to Noah, and it’s like the flood of Noah’s time.] for [The Lord said] as I swore that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be angry with thee, nor rebuke thee (54:9).
So God made a covenant after the earth was destroyed with a flood. He said, “I will no longer, I will never again destroy the earth with a flood.” He made this covenant, He set the rainbow in the sky as a sign of the covenant not to destroy the earth. But God said, “I’m gonna make a covenant with you, even as I made with Noah. But my covenant with you is that I will not be angry with you, or rebuke you again.” The, the marriage now will be sealed, it will be permanent.
For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness will not depart from you, neither will the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee (54:10).
Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my word will never pass away.” There’ll come a time when the mountains are removed, but God’s promises and God’s covenant will never be removed again.
Now really, as the church of Jesus Christ, we also come into this covenant. In the kingdom age, we also will be a part of this whole covenant relationship, because the church is the bride of Christ. We are children of Abraham through faith, because Abraham was the father of those that believed in God, and trust in God. Not just of a physical seed, but of a spiritual seed of those who would believe and trust in God. So as God is speaking here of the promises, and the covenant, and the everlasting blessings, they apply to the church, as well as to restored Israel.
O thou afflicted, tossed with the tempest, [The Jews, look at their history, how they’ve been afflicted, how they’ve been tossed in the tempest! We think of the inquisition. We think of the holocaust in Germany of more recent time. “Thou afflicted, tossed in the tempest”…
and not comforted, behold, I will lay your stones with fair colours, and your foundations with sapphires (54:11).
The Lord here begins to describe the new Jerusalem. The city of God. This in a way parallels the description of the new Jerusalem in Revelation, chapter twenty one. Around verse sixteen or so, there is the description there of the new Jerusalem. The colorful stones that will make up the walls, the giant pearls that will make up the gates. So God declares that, “I will lay your stones with fair colours”, multicolors, “your foundations will be of sapphires.” They’re the second stone listed in Revelation of the foundation.
I will make your [And the word] windows [there is a uh, the translators really don’t know how to translate that Hebrew word. Some of them have translated it “towers”, or “bulwarks”, on the wall.] I will make those of agates, and your gates of carbuncles, and your borders of pleasant stones. [The beautiful, colorful city that is made out of precious gems.] And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children (54:12-13).
One of the descriptions of the kingdom age, describes how the children will be able to play safely in the streets. I think of what a contrast that is with this present development of our degraded society. I think of how many little innocent children in Los Angeles, and in Orange County are victims of drive-by shootings. Little, innocent victims. They happen to just be in the neighborhood when these gangs come through, and just start shooting, and the child cannot play safely in the street.
I was reading in the paper just a couple of weeks ago of a warning to parents. Some fellow was trying to abduct a little girl here in Costa Mesa. We have so many perverted, twisted minds! People with perverted, twisted minds, roaming around, that when your child goes out, you have to keep a watchful eye on them. You’re never really totally comfortable just sending them out to play unless there is a protected area. Because you don’t know who might be there seeking to prey upon your child. But here, in the kingdom age, your children will be taught of the Lord.
It’s interesting that that is something we refuse our children now in the public schools. We’ve come to the place where they can’t be taught of the Lord. It’s against the law to teach them of the Lord, and the teachings of the Lord are illegal in the public schools.
To me it is an ironic twist that Russia is actually seeking to develop curriculum which will inculcate into the public schools, the teachings of morality from the Bible. Because they realize that they’re atheistic stance has brought their nation to this present condition of desolation. In some of the public schools already in Russia, they’re inviting the ministers to come in and teach the children the Bible.
But in free America, it’s not allowed. Here, we think of Russia as the atheistic nation, devoid of freedom. When, in reality, our legislative system, and our judicial system has so removed our freedom, that they have greater religious liberty in Russia today in the public schools, than we do in the United States!
Now that’s some kind of an indictment against us! If they’re seeking to put God out of their nation, which they did, and suffered the consequences, and now realize how foolish they were, and are seeking to reverse it, do we think, are we so foolish to think that we can just shove God aside from our society, and prosper? Can we forsake God and still continue as a prosperous nation? We’re just fooling ourselves! If you think that we can just try to legislate God out of our public life, and really survive, our freedoms are eroding drastically! Taxes are going up drastically! This corrupt government is costing us more and more all the time, we can hardly afford it! Look what we’re having in the state of California, twelve billion dollars! New taxes! Been a raise now, taxes again. I can remember when we only paid three percent sales tax in the state of California. They’re gonna raise it again. We need more money to operate a corrupt government. Ha, ha! A government that has said, “You cannot have God in your society. You cannot pray in the baccalaureate services. You can’t have baccalaureate services for high school graduates any more. You can have no mention of God. To enforce these kind of laws we need more money.” To take away your liberties costs you! Oh Lord hasten your day when you shall reign in righteousness, in true justice, and in truth! The Lord promises in that day…
In righteousness shall you be established: and you will be far from oppression; for you will not fear: and from terror; for it will not come near you. [No more crying. No fear of oppression. No terror, because it won’t come near us.] Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by me: and whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake (54:14-15).
Now in their history, God gathered the Babylonians against them, and used the Babylonians as His instrument of punishment. This was the thing that was so hard for Habakkuk to handle. As God told him He was going to use the Babylonians as His instruments to bring judgment against the people. Because they had turned their backs upon God. Habakkuk had a difficult time handling this fact that God would use a wicked nation such as Babylon, to punish His people. But God is saying that, though they may gather against Israel, He will not be the one who will be prodding the gathering. It will not be of God. God will not be raising up an enemy as an instrument of judgment. For the Lord said…
Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and brings forth the instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy. [So the, the blacksmith who was forging these instruments of war, to destroy man, but the Lord said…] No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; and every tongue that shall rise up against you in judgment you will condemn. For this is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and the Lord said their righteousness is of me (54:16-17).
Glorious! Servant of the Lord, let me tell you something, no weapon that is formed against you will prosper. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord. Every one who rises up to condemn you will be put down. “Your righteousness”, the Lord said, “is of me.” Our righteousness is not of our own works, it’s not of our own efforts. Our righteousness is of Christ through faith. The righteousness of Christ through faith, is that which has been imputed to us. So I am righteous in the sight of God. Not by my goodness, not by my devotion, but by my faith and trust in Jesus Christ, God accounts me righteous.
As we go into chapter fifty five, we are continuing in this glorious kingdom age!
Ho, every one that thirsteth, come to the waters, he that has no money; come, buy, eat; yea, come, and buy wine and milk without money and without price (55:1).
It is interesting that God seems to hate commercialism that exploits man. God is going to bring judgment against the commercial system in Revelation eighteen. Entering into the kingdom age, “Come, help yourself! Every one that thirsteth come to the waters.” Sort of reminds us there of Jesus on the temple mount on the last day, the great day of the feast, John chapter seven, when He cried, “If any man thirsts, let him come unto me and drink.” “O everyone that thirsteth, come to the waters! You don’t have to have any money. Come, buy and eat. Buy the wine and the milk without money, and without any price!” “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, and it shall bring forth abundantly!” Then the Lord said…
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfies not (55:2)?
How true this is of man today! We are spending our money so often for things that do not, and cannot really satisfy. There is that illusion that, “If I just had that new car, I would be completely satisfied.” Then I get that new car, I go into debt, I have huge payments, and every time the payment comes due, I’m sweating it. Soon, I get a scratch on that great paint job, and you know the tires begin to get bald, and it’s not as exciting, it’s not as glamorous, and somehow the thrill isn’t there. And, I’m looking for something else. “For that which satisfies not.” We get temporary satisfaction many times, but never permanent.
I was at this retreat with these fellows, and I was sharing with them how that years ago I got into boating. Water skiing was just coming in. They were just developing water skiing. They were, used to have aquaplanes, but somebody invented some skis. So it was just the, the sport it was just coming in. So, my brother and I we went together, and we bought us a little twenty five foot, I mean a little twelve foot boat, with a twenty five horsepower Johnson engine so we could learn to ski.
We went up to Bass lake, and at that higher elevation that little engine had a real problem getting the skier out of the water. We had to get one guy clear out on the end of the hull, up in front, just getting his weight up there so it’d get the nose down so you could pull the guy up. We learned how to get out of the water on that vacation. Because you had to really go in the water, and hang in there, bout’ pull your arms out of the sockets for quite a ways, to finally get up. So we really learned the art of getting up out of the water with that boat! But it was fun, once you got up! Boy we could sail around, and we skied around, and we learned to ski that summer at Bass lake.
But after the summer was over, and of course then we could ski in Back bay. We used to go skiing in Back bay, and we used to ski over here at Bolsa Chica, and up in the back waters. You watch for a tide above three feet, and you could go all over the Back bay and all. We used to ski there, and it was a great summer of skiing.
But at the end of the summer we thought, “You know, this little twelve foot hull isn’t you know, we need something bigger!” So we went out and bought us a fourteen foot Javelin hull. Well designed, beautiful hull! We spent the winter fiber glassing, painting, getting it all ready. “Man this is it! Look at that neat hull now!”, you know. We got it all upholstered, it was sharp! “Boy if we just had that, we would be totally satisfied. All we need it that Javelin hull!” So we started out the next summer with the Javelin hull.
But you know that little twenty five horse engine just wasn’t enough for a Javelin hull. So we went out and got us a Mark 55A. Man, we were really, you know it didn’t take a strain to get the skier out of the water now! This was really great! “Man this is all a person could ever want!” It satisfied us very much for a month or so, but they came out with that Mark 75, and wow what that would do to our boat! “If we could just get hold of a 75!” So we traded in the 55 for a 75, and, now man, we could do forty five miles an hour! We really had it made you know! “Man this is just so great! This is total satisfaction!”
Then we started looking at inboards. “We need more power, more than you can get in an outboard engine.”, and on, and on, and on it goes! You spend your money for that which satisfies not!
The only true lasting satisfaction comes from a true, meaningful relationship with God, which is free to you. It cost God a tremendous price. But it’s free to you through Jesus Christ. So the question, “Why do you spend your money for that which doesn’t satisfy? You labor for the things that don’t satisfy!”
hearken [The Lord said] diligently unto me, eat that which is good, let your soul delight itself in fatness (55:2).
God wants the best for you, His child. He wants you to be totally satisfied, and He alone can bring that total satisfaction! The Lord said…
Incline your ear, and come unto me: and your soul will live (55:3);
“Ho every one that thirsteth, come unto the waters!” Jesus said, “Let him that is athirst come!” The Lord says, “Come unto me, and you shall live!”
and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David (55:3).
God made the covenant that there would be of the seed of David, one that would reign upon the throne for ever. The sure mercies that God promised to David, and when Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, comes to reign over the earth, the promise and the covenant that God made with David shall be fulfilled. We will have the joy and the glory of living under that reign of Jesus Christ in the perfect, restored world! The Lord said…
Behold, I’ve given him for a witness to the people (55:4),
As John writes concerning Jesus Christ, he calls Him, “The true and the faithful witness.” God has sent Him to be a witness. A witness of what? A witness of what God is. “God, who at different times in history, through different ways, spake unto our fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His own dear Son, whom He has made heir of all things, who is the express image of God.” The witness of God, the express image of God, the true and faithful witness of God, to the extent that He could say to the disciples, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.” The witness of God. “I’ve given Him for a witness to the people”…
and a leader and a commander (55:4).
King of kings, Lord of lords, reigning over the earth as God promised to Him. “Ask of me, and I will give you the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.”
Behold, [The Lord says] thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because the Lord thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he hath glorified thee (55:5).
So again, the nations recognizing Jesus Christ as Lord. Coming to Him, the Holy One of Israel, because God is glorified. Now…
Seek ye the Lord [He said] while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near (55:6).
That’s to us tonight. Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon God while He is near! The Bible in another place says much the same thing. It says, “Lest the evil days shall come upon thee when He shall say, I have no pleasure in them.” The Bible tells us that, “Now is the day of salvation.” Seek the Lord while He may be found.
There will come a time even as in the days of Noah, when Noah went into the ark, and God shut the door, which ended the opportunity of salvation for man. When God shut the door, it was over. Those that were outside perished. The Lord said, “As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be at the coming of the Son of man.” God said in the days of Noah, “My spirit will not always strive with man.” There will come a time when God will no longer offer His salvation, the forgiveness of sins. So, “Call upon the Lord while He is near, while He may be found.”
And let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: let him return unto the Lord, for he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon (55:7).
This is what the gospel is all about! Calling upon the Lord, while He may be found. Calling upon Him while He is near, seeking the Lord, turning from your wickedness, turning your life over to Jesus Christ. The wonderful thing is, He will abundantly pardon! The blood of Jesus Christ God’s Son will cleanse a man from all sin! It doesn’t matter what the past may hold. The blood of Jesus Christ will cleanse from all sin. The Lord will have mercy, our God will abundantly pardon! For the Lord said…
My thoughts are not your thoughts (55:8),
When God revealed His mercy to David, David was one day sitting in his palace, in the luxury, and the comfort of this beautiful palace that he had built in Jerusalem. He looked over, and he saw the tent, the tabernacle, the dwelling place of God in the midst of his people. David said, “You know, that’s not right. Here I am in this beautiful, palatial palace, and God’s in a tent! I need to build a beautiful place for the ark of the covenant, for God’s dwelling place! I’ll build a fabulous temple that it might house the ark of the covenant, where men can come to worship God!”
His close friend, the prophet Nathan came, and he said, “Nathan look over there at the tent, God’s ark of the covenant there, and God dwelling in the tent, and look! I’m in this beautiful palace! I decided I’m going to build a beautiful, beautiful place for God to dwell in the midst of His people!” Nathan said, “Ah David that sounds great! Do all that is in your heart!”
Nathan went home, and he couldn’t sleep that night. The Lord was speaking to him. He said, “Nathan you really blew it today. You encouraged David to build a house for me. But I can’t have David building a house for me! He’s a man of war, his hands are bloody. He’s killed a lot of people, and that’s inconsistent with my nature, that of destroying, killing. So he can’t build a house for me. Because you are the one that blew it, you’re the one that’s gonna have to tell him he can’t build me a house. But, I’ll tell you what, it’s gonna strike David hard, and it’s gonna be tough news to break, so I’ll give you some good news to give to him. You tell David I will build him a house, and from his descendants, the Messiah will come.”
So Nathan came back the next morning and said, “David I’ve got some bad news, and some good news. Bad news first, you can’t build a house for God. God’s rejected the idea. But the good news is that God is gonna build you a house, and from your seed, the Messiah is gonna come!” David was absolutely wiped out and astounded! He went in before the Lord, and he said, “Ah Lord! I was a nobody! I was just a little shepherd, over in the fields of Bethlehem! One of those little kids following after the sheep, and you made me the shepherd over your people! You made me the king! You’ve blessed me so much, but now you tell me that you’re gonna build me a house, and…”, he said, “Lord is this the way of man?” You know, no! It’s not the way of man! David was just saying, “Lord this is just too much!” God is saying, “My thoughts are not your thoughts.”
my ways are not your ways (55:8).
It’s not the way of man to bless and prosper those that are guilty. That’s not the way of man! The way of mercy and grace is not the way of man, and David recognized it. He said, “Lord is this the way of man? What can I say!” He was just so overwhelmed with God’s promise, and God’s grace that he was speechless! So, God said, “My ways are not your ways, my thoughts are not your thoughts.”
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts (55:9).
In other words there’s an infinity between man and God. The finite man and the infinite God is so vast. We measure the earth in feet, and in miles, but we measure the heavens in light years. The distance that a ray of light travels in one year at a hundred and eighty six thousand miles a second. So we talk of our galaxy being a hundred thousand light years long. That is, if you started at one end of the milky way galaxy, and jumped on a ray of light, it would take you a hundred thousand years to get to the other end! But that’s just our own galaxy.
Out beyond our galaxy there are other galaxies millions of light years away. Now we’re discovering, in the latest, there are somewhere around fifteen, and seventeen billion light years away! That’s how much higher God’s thoughts are than your thoughts, and His ways, than your ways.
So how can finite man really understand or comprehend the infinite God? As we pointed out this morning, this is our real problem. I do not understand why God does certain things. Why God allows certain things, because I am looking at things from the present, temporal benefits. Where God is always coming from the eternal, and is dealing in the things of eternity. I deal in things of time, my lifetime.
God deals in things of eternity. Thus, as God is dealing with His eternal plan in my life, many times I see difficulty. I find it a real problem to understand why I would have to go through this painful experience, why I would have to suffer these things. But God is working out eternal purposes, and it’s far more important. My eternal welfare is far more important than my temporal welfare and the same with you.
How long you gonna be on this planet? A hundred years? God forbid! Ha, ha! I have no desire to be on this planet for a hundred years in this corrupted body, which is becoming more corrupt every day! Ha, ha! How long you gonna be in eternity? Eternally, that’s how long! How foolish it is that man puts more emphasis in this life span that we have, and the temporal things that are passing away. We seem to put our values and our interests in these things, and we neglect the things of eternity.
But God never neglects the things of eternity. He’s always thinking with eternity in view, and that’s why God’s ways are not your ways, and His thoughts are not your thoughts! That’s why we have difficulty understanding them. Because I don’t usually think in those eternal things. But we need to learn to.
We need to learn as the apostle Paul, not to look at the things which we can see, they are temporal. But look at those things which you can’t see, for they’re eternal. We need, with apostle Paul, to realize that these present sufferings are not worthy to be compared with the glory that’s going to be revealed! We need, with Paul, to look upon afflictions as, “these light afflictions which are just for a moment, which are working an exceeding eternal weight of glory”, the light afflictions bringing this eternal glory.
When we start having our thoughts like God thoughts, when we begin to see the eternal plan, then we begin to rest in God, and in His wisdom, and in His love, and we begin to commit our ways unto the Lord. “So Lord, you do what you know best, what is best for me, from an eternal standpoint Lord. I commit myself, I submit myself to your working in my life, as you work out your eternal plan!” Then He went on to say…
For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returns not thither, but it waters the earth, and makes it bring forth and bud, that it might give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater (55:10):
So the Lord takes a very familiar picture that we’re all so aware of, the rain and the snow, coming down from heaven, and the blessings. Doesn’t return thither, it falls to the earth. It falls on the dry, parched. But what happens when the rain falls on that dry, barren, parched ground? In that ground there is all kinds of life that springs forth when the rain falls upon it. Soon, it is not barren ground, but it’s a lush green. The seeds that were there in the soil come forth, they spring forth. The beautiful flowers, fields of flowers, as the result of the rains and the snow.
God said, “So is my word”. It falls upon this parched ground, but the word of God, as it falls and as it comes into my life, it brings forth such glorious fruit! Such beauty! Such life, newness of life! Those potentials that are there, that God created in each of us, that lie barren and undeveloped. Through the word of God coming into your life, these things begin to spring forth! The beauty, the glory, it’s all there. But without the rain, it remains just dusty, parched and dry.
I look at lives that have such potential, and yet they’re just dry, like a desert. The word of God has not come into their lives, the word of God is not penetrated. People with such tremendous potential for beauty and for life, and for the wonder of life, without the word of God remain just a dry, hard soil. God said, “As the rain and the snow comes out of heaven, waters the ground, in order that it might give seed to the sower.” Bring forth the wheat and all. First of all it’s used for seed, so you can have your next crops, but also, bread to the eater.
So [The Lord said] shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, it will prosper in the thing in which I have sent it (55:11).
The glorious, glorious power of the word of God! It’s like rain, bringing refreshment and life to you. Producing hidden potentials. “So is my word, it will accomplish the purpose for which I have sent it.”
Now why did God give us the first epistle from John? The word of God, his first epistle, what was the purpose of God giving the first epistle of John? John said, “These things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.” The first purpose for which the little epistle of John was written, is that you might have fullness of joy. God wants you to know fullness of joy.
Now the world pursues happiness, and happiness is a temporal experience of euphoria that is directly related to your circumstances. “I’m happy! Things are going great!” But happiness is not a permanent kind of a thing. Whereas joy is a attitude of heart that is independent of circumstances. You can be in horrible circumstances, and still have the joy of the Lord filling your heart. You’re not very happy, but you can still have the joy of the Lord filling your soul. But happiness is so transient, it’s so temporal.
You say, “Chuck I’m really in a bind, I need ten thousand dollars tomorrow, or they’re gonna foreclose on my house! And, they’ve all, they’re gonna take away my car, they’re gonna shut off the gas!” So I might write you out a check for ten thousand dollars, and you go out of here happy as a lark you know. “Alright! Alright!”, you know. But then you go to cash the check tomorrow, and you’re gonna be sad! As the tow truck takes your car away. Because happiness is related to the outward circumstances, but joy is independent of the outward circumstances.
God wants you to have joy, not just joy, the fullness of joy! It’s interesting to me that over and over, Jesus made reference to the fullness of joy, as He related it to abiding in Him. He related it to your prayer life. Now Paul, I mean, John relates it to fellowship with God. “These things we write unto you that you may have fellowship with us, and truly our fellowship is with the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. And, these things we write unto you that your joy may be full.”
Chapter two, he said, “My little children, these things write I unto you that you sin not.” The second purpose for the little epistle of John is to keep you from sin. To bring you freedom and power over sin. Then finally, in the fifth chapter, verse thirteen he said, “These things have I written unto you that believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.” He wrote this little epistle to give you assurance of your salvation, that you might know that you have eternal life.
So what’s gonna happen to you as you read first John? You’re gonna start experiencing a fullness of joy that you’ve never known before. You’re gonna start experiencing power over sin, and you’re gonna have glorious assurance of your salvation, because that’s why it was written! God says here, “So shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth, it will not return to me void, it will accomplish that which I please, it will prosper in the thing whereunto I have sent it.” If God sent us that epistle to do those things, then God’s word is not gonna return void. It’s gonna accomplish those things in your life.
That’s why the word of God is so important! That’s why it’s important to read the word of God, that’s why we go through the Bible! That’s why we teach the Bible! Because God’s word is not gonna return void. What I say is gonna return void, and can return void. It can be, you know, worthless! A lot of times people ask me to speculate on something. Where they’re you know, you really don’t have a scriptural basis, say, “Well what do you think about that?” Well, what I think is worthless. It’s what does God say, and what God has said will produce fruit, it’ll bring life, it’ll bring color, it’ll bring glory into your life!
So you need to get into the word, and you need the word to get into you. Just let it come down like rain upon your life. Get immersed, soaked in the word of God. Oh the power, the blessings! Gospel of John, why was it written? “Many other things did Jesus which were not written, but these were written that you may believe that He is the Son of God, and by believing have life in His name.”
That’s why the gospel of John is one of the best things to encourage a person who is you know, curious about the Lord and the Bible and all. They will read the gospel of John. Why? Because God’s word will not return void. The purpose for which God gave the apostle of John is that people might believe that Jesus is the Christ, and by believing, have life in His name. More people I believe, have been converted by the reading the gospel of John than any other book in the Bible. They’re scared by the Revelation, but they’re saved by the gospel of John.
The word of God, it’s power to bring forth life, and all of the potentials that are in you, brought forth and blossomed under this glorious rain that comes down from God. His word, just coming into our lives. So the Lord prophesies…
For you will go out with joy, [This glorious day, “you will go out with joy”] you will be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills will break forth before you in singing, and all of the trees of the field shall clap their hands (55:12).
Glorious, glorious day! Day of the Lord, going forth in joy, led forth in peace! The whole nature back in harmony with God. The curse removed, for in the next verse…
Instead of the thorn there will come up a fir tree (55:13),
No more cactus with thorns. They say that thorns are undeveloped blossoms. I don’t know, I’ve heard that, I’ve read that. I don’t know if that’s the latest. You know, science changes and the Bible doesn’t say that the thorn is an undeveloped blossom, but science at one time said that. It, it, I, I don’t know. It’s very possible. But, if that be so, if that be so, I can understand the scripture that said, “The desert will blossom like a rose. Think of if every thorn on the cacti in the desert developed out into a blossom! How exquisitely beautiful the desert will be! The curse will be removed! “Instead of a thorn, a fir tree.”
instead of the brier, the beautiful myrtle tree: and it shall be to the Lord for a name, and for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off (55:13).
This renewed earth in all of its beauty and glory. God’s sign, even as the rainbow was His sign, so now, the earth in all of its glory and beauty. The sign of God, His covenant with His people! Oh how much we have to look forward to in the future, in the glorious reign of our God, and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!
Father we thank You for Your word! Help us Lord to just soak it in tonight. To receive it just like coming down from heaven, watering Lord those dry places in our lives, that it might spring forth into life and beauty, and fruit. Lord we look at this world around us, a world without God, and without hope. We see Lord the frustrations of man. The hopeless dilemma of trying to live a life apart from You. Lord there are some here tonight that are living in that same desperate condition, without God, and without hope in this world. So Lord help them to call upon You while there is opportunity, while You may be found, while You are near. Thank You Lord for coming near to us tonight. Thank You for being close by. Thank You Lord for being available. May we avail ourselves the opportunity the fellowship of love, of communion. Tonight, through the week, may we walk in the joy and the peace, and in the glory of our Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Edited & Highlighted from “The Word For Today” Transcription, Pastor Chuck Smith, Tape #7268