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Salvation in Isaiah 30

Please read Isaiah 30 v 1 – 18

Our text this evening is verse 18 of Isaiah 30

And therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him.

This text is a glorious and a challenging verse set in a chapter that is mainly a rebuke to God’s people. And in a few moments we will look at the Lord’s message to Judah and to us in the words of v18.

But first we must say that the function of prophets like Isaiah in the Bible was to speak God’s word to God’s people. Prophets were fearless men who were willing to stand for the word that they believed God had given them. They were ready to do what God wanted them to do – no matter how hard the task, no matter how great the danger, and no matter what the content was of the prophetic words that they were to deliver to the high and low in the land of Israel.

God spoke to them supernaturally – directly to them. In Isaiah’s day only a few books of the Old Testament had been written and were in the sacred scriptures. But in those scriptures a formula was given to the people of God as to how to recognise a true prophet – someone to whom God had REALLY spoken; and a false prophet – someone who was either making up what he said as he went along, or was deluded into thinking that God had spoken to him.

The formula is in Deuteronomy 18 v 18 –

18 I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. 19 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him. 20 But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. 21 And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? 22 When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.

Isaiah was a true prophet who prophesied for 50 years to the people of the southern Kingdom of Judah.

In Chapter 29 of his prophesy Isaiah had warned Hezekiah the king and his people that they should not try to leave God out of their decision making processes.

15 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?

To do so was as futile as a piece of pottery turning round to the potter operating the wheel and saying, “You didn’t make me – I made myself! You don’t understand.” V 16.

Men and women today do exactly the same thing when they falsely imagine that God cannot see what they are doing or how they are living their lives. They choose to deny His existence so that they can do in secret and in public just whatever they like without restraint! They are underhanded in the planning and carry out their schemes acting in the dark. Judah was doing this nationally in God’s sight – and so He, the sovereign Lord sent His servant Isaiah to tell them that He knew what they were up to – and sought to warn them from it.

Chapter 30 therefore is just such a warning.

Against what was Isaiah warning them?

The year is 701 BC. For the second time Sennacherib, King of Assyria invaded Judah. He had become hungry for more tributes from Judah, which had started in 713 BC. We do not have time to refer to the details but they are in 2 Kings 18 and 19 and 2 Chronicles 29 – 31. The Assyrian army of 185,000 soldiers besieged Jerusalem – but the Lord God sent his angel and destroyed all of them! Such is the power of the Creator God who has His own people’s interest in His heart.

However, in the weeks leading up to this mighty deliverance there were politicians in king Hezekiah’s court, who were pressing the King to send messengers to Egypt to request of Pharaoh some help against the onward march of the Assyrian army. That is clear from the text here – v 6 – 7, which describes the journey of the emissaries.

1. THEY preferred to seek the assistance of the idolatrous nation Egypt when faced with the attacking Assyrians.

Instead of trusting the Lord God they believed that they should ally themselves with those who worshipped false gods and were utterly superstitious, worshiping demons.

Isaiah’s task was to turn the leaders from this course, which is the content of the first 17 verses of this chapter 30.

Judah in seeking help from heathens, were themselves acting like heathens – like atheists – as if God did not exist and as if God could be left out the picture and as if God had no authority over them. How unwise Judah was.

And how like the majority of people today in Britain – people prefer to depend on their own resources. We have not had a National Day of prayer for over half a century – our leaders do not see the value of it! Indeed there is little or no consultation by our leaders with Church leaders to find out what God thinks. There is a separation of the secular and the spiritual and no interface between them. No one asks for God’s view on issues in society. And it struck me last evening as I watched the Festival of Remembrance from the royal Albert Hall how much longer will there be any Religious significance in the Act of Remembrance in days to come?

A man in this neighbourhood was asked if he had any children and would they like to come to Sunday school – his reply – yes I have children – and they will not be coming – we are not interested! Proverbs 28 v 9 says this –

9 He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.

2. THEY REFUSED TO HEAR PREACHING in Isaiah’s preaching from the Lord.

When Isaiah spoke, as God’s mouthpiece, faithfully saying what God thought, they wanted to hear what was comfortable to their hearts.

V 10 Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits:

Just as the man on the estate said the people of Judah say, “Don’t speak right things to us – things of uprightness and truth – we don’t want to hear!”

My friends why did Judah and many people today say this?

Because the truth and speaking of righteousness condemns their wicked ways! We condemn no one – but when we speak the truth, as it is in the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, then automatically it condemns those who hear – therefore they do not wish to hear and be condemned, not by us, but by the Lord God and His message! Don’t be surprised my friends when men and women reject the Gospel and reject the Saviour. They are merely involved in self-preservation not wishing to be stirred up and feel condemned by their sinful ways. Sadly for them this self-preservation only last while they live here on earth. There is no self-preservation at the Judgment seat of Christ!

The sad thing was that the Lord God offered these people of Judah a wonderful thing – look at verse 15

For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength:

What a glorious promise – you will be saved if you return to me. You will have quietness from your enemies and confidence for your whole future. But now notice the last four words of verse 15 –

and ye would not.

We can never blame God for His lack of care for us!

Now to our text.

And therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him.

The first thing that this text tells us is

1. God is a God of Grace – revealed in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Do you and I really understand what grace is?

Grace is the free, unmerited and undeserved favour of God to sinners. It is God showing His goodness to a people who only deserve judgement and condemnation. There is no sinner on earth who comes looking for grace from God; rather it is God in His grace, who comes looking for the sinner!

God’s character is a gracious character which hates sin yet at the same time loves the guilty sinner. This grace has planned salvation – from the foundation of the world – and this grace provides salvation through the atoning sacrificial death of the Lord Jesus Christ. God’s salvation of sinners is not God’s response to anything in us. It is not something that we deserve or merit. None of us have any right to salvation. The whole glory of grace is that though we deserve nothing but hell and banishment out of the sight of God for ever, yet of His own love and mercy he has granted us this salvation.

Our text says that the Lord will wait in order to be gracious unto you. What a phrase this is!

Notice that with regards to the human race fallen in Adam, God WAITED in history – there was the promise of Genesis 3 v 15 –16 that predicted that a saviour would come. This was fulfilled at the incarnation, crucifixion and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. God waited for centuries to unravel His plan of Grace.

My friends – God waited to be gracious to me! For years I heard of Him and His grace – I learned about Him – thought about Him – but never received His grace – I lived my own life – I did it my way! But He waited until that might in March 1968 to reveal His wonderful grace to me.

He waited for some of you – at the right time in your lives he saved you. You had friends and family around you longing for your salvation – but God waited to be gracious to you – for His own purposes.

And God yet waits for others to be gracious to them.

Salvation is by grace alone. Hear how the Hymn writer puts it – Gospel Hymns 517 – Grace how exceeding sweet to those …

God waits to be gracious to his people in conversion; see how the Lord God has done various acts of grace before conversion such as

* Our election in Christ,
* The provision of a Saviour for us in the covenant,
* The redemption of them by him,
* The adoption of them into his family.

In conversion there is an open exhibition and display of the grace of God; the Mighty God in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ came down to inhabit a body and then to suffer in that body on the cross bearing away our sins and rebellions!

And then we see much grace is then shown in applying pardoning grace, a justifying righteousness, and salvation by Christ to us.

There is a fixed time for all this and, until that time comes, the Lord waits to be gracious; this is his longsuffering towards his elect, which results in their salvation.

And therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you,

Has the Lord been gracious to you yet my friend by revealing Himself to you?

2. God is a God of Mercy – obtained in the Lord Jesus Christ.

and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you:

If grace is getting what we do not deserve, then mercy is NOT getting what we do deserve.

What is it that guilty sinners deserve? We deserve everlasting punishment and estrangement from Almighty God in outer darkness where there is weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth!

We deserve that eternal suffering that unrepentant sinners suffer in hell, in the new bodies provided at the general resurrection. They will be bodies that will feel pain, sorrow, regret, torment, heat, thirst and bitterness. All unbelievers are facing this terrible punishment.

And the only way that such eternal damnation can be avoided is through the creator God showing MERCY – and not giving such sinners what they richly deserve. Rebellion deserves punishment. Unless we have mercy – we are sunk!

Our text says that God will be exalted in this showing of mercy. What does the Prophet mean?

Surely there is a prediction of HOW God will show His mercy. “he will exalt”, or “lift up”; that is, God will exalt, lift up his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ; so he was lifted up on the cross, that his people might be drawn after him, and saved by him.

Lifted up was He to die
It is finished was His cry,
Now in heaven exalted High –
HALLELUJAH! WHAT A SAVIOUR!

And he has also exalted him at his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance unto Israel and forgiveness of sins; and he is now lifted up as the serpent on the pole in the ministry of the word, that whosoever believes in him should have everlasting life; so that these exaltations, or lifting up, are in order to have mercy.

The glory of God is displayed in showing mercy to his people; they are influenced to glorify God for his mercy, both in things temporal and spiritual.

Once again mercy is an expression of God’s gracious character.

Psalm 103 v 8 The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.

Do you know that God has been merciful to you yet? In other words are you a Christian? Has God removed your sins and placed them on Jesus His Son yet and accounted them to Him?

3. God is a God of Judgment – therefore we must seek the Lord Jesus Christ.

for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him.

Justice is also a characteristic of the Lord God – and rightly so. He may not allow any into His perfect heaven who are still rebel sinners – that would not be just! It is as consistent with His Divine character to punish wickedness as it is to show mercy to the penitent, and grace to the undeserving.

What an amazing person the Lord God is. Gracious loving kindness and mercy, as well as the fire of judgement, reflect the very foundation of His throne and rule.

So as we close notice this vital phrase

blessed are all they that wait for him.

Instead of taking matters into their own hands those that wait for Him allow Jehovah God to act on the grounds of His infinite righteousness and justice.

Waiting for God does not mean doing nothing. It does not mean lying in a heap of misery bemoaning and bewailing our unconverted state. It does not mean an indolent statement – “If I am not saved it is because God has chosen not to save me – so I will do as I please!”

On the contrary – waiting for God is action! Consider a verse later in Isaiah to see what is meant –

40 v 31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

You my friend, if you are not saved tonight, must earnestly seek the Lord and turn from your sins – because God commands you to do so – Seek the Lord while He may be found call upon Him while he is near. Repent and believe the Gospel! Summon your strength – run away from sin and run towards the Lord God – kneel at the foot of His cross and believe that He died for you! And He sees you coming – He waits for you in grace to show you mercy. But He gives you the desire to come – and then is ever ready to bless you with Himself.

May you hear Him call you soon – even today! He is so ready to be gracious.


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