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Salvation in Isaiah 30 (2)

Chapter 30 of Isaiah’s prophecy is a chapter that is mainly a rebuke to God’s people. It was because Judah was seeking help from Egypt. They were in trouble. The Assyrians were massed against them at Jerusalem and their king was making huge demands upon them.

Isaiah was warning the people of Judah, on God’s behalf – to trust Him!

The rebellious people were looking in the wrong direction verses 1 – 17. Yet God gives them a glorious promise in the 18th verse – a promise of redemption through the Lord Jesus Christ.

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.

From verse 19 onwards Isaiah continues to tell his people that if they would only listen to God then the promise of wonderful things would be realised – when they obeyed the Lord. What does the Lord God promise these people of Judah?

1. Blessings of security.

A secure dwelling place in Zion – Jerusalem. This promise would be a comfort enough to the people of Judah who could dwell in peace and safety under God’s protection. But for us who are not Jews – is a there a promise for us? Why yes there is! For so often in scripture Jerusalem or Zion speaks of the safe and blessed society of the Church, God’s elect both from Old and New Testament times. We can hear these promises for ourselves this evening. We do not have to stray off or even run away to Egypt – we can be safe in Zion – it is a wonderful picture. These verses tells us that in Zion, in the church, there will be no more weeping and tears –

thou shalt weep no more;

We are told that God will hear our prayers –

He will be very gracious unto thee, at the voice of thy cry;

In the event of the Assyrian threat, when King Hezekiah DID cry to the Lord, He answered with that remarkable deliverance event.

When he shall hear it, he will answer thee;

Verse 20 And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers:

Even though hard times will come to the Church, yet the promise is that pastors and teachers will have a voice and speak God’s word powerfully. They will speak and teach and guide God’s people in God’s ways as the next verse shows –

21 And thine 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 ye turn to the left.

Did you ever have a teacher who would stand over you, looking over your shoulder to see if what you were writing was correct? Did you sometimes hear a teacher’s voice behind you prompting you with right things and the answers to your questions? How many times have we parents stood behind or near our children as they have struggled to achieve a new skill from walking to riding a bicycle, gently encouraging with kind loving words longing for them to be successful?

So often we are presented with a God who thunders out His commands and orders – announcing His law – warning us with sanctions if we fail – a kind of Serjeant Major type of teaching and instruction. Here Isaiah suggests a gentle and kind instruction from Almighty God.

You will hear just a quiet voice – a whisper – a gentle encouragement –

21 And thine 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 ye turn to the left.

God speaks as the teacher behind us; or the shepherd who follows the straying sheep to call them back to follow Him; He speaks as the One like a traveller following us at a distance – we come to crossroads – we are not sure of our way, which is the right road to turn down – and he calls to us directing us down the right pathway – not with a whip – but with winsome words. Such is our great and mighty saviour – what a blessing to be guided in His ways.

Furthermore these teachers will teach the people how to deal with idolatry – that is to get rid of it – utterly!

22 Ye shall defile also the covering of thy graven images of silver, and the ornament of thy molten images of gold: thou shalt cast them away as a menstruous cloth; thou shalt say unto it, Get thee hence.

Earlier this year an image of Saddam Hussein was publicly pulled down and smashed in Baghdad. His dictatorship had demanded of his people worship of him and his regime – when released they were ready to destroy the image. In Jerusalem images made of solid silver, covered with rich and costly garments; images covered and decorated with plates of silver; should not only be pulled down and defaced, says God through Isaiah, but defiled, to show their contempt and abhorrence of them. Are we prepared to do that to some of the things which we hold dear?

These are some of the Security blessings promised to Judah.

2. Material Blessings Promised. Verses 23 – 25.

Rain, corn for bread, good grass for the flocks, general fruitfulness and agricultural prosperity – all promised in these verses – IF they will turn back to Jehovah their God.

3. Spiritual Blessings Promised. Verse 26.

26 Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that the LORD bindeth up the breach of his people, and healeth the stroke of their wound.

An amazing degree of light and glory is promised to God’s people. And there is a prediction here of the coming of the Messiah – the saviour – the light of the world – when the Lord will heal His people of their sins and the wounds that cause them. Binding a breach sounds like the application of a bandage; healing the stroke of their wound sounds like rescue from a sore trial and battle. All this was achieved for the people of God at the cross where Jesus dealt with sin and its removal, and He restored the ravages of sin-damaged lives by His glorious saving work.

4. The Destruction of the Assyrians promised.

The last few verses of this chapter describe the demise of the enemy, 185,000 Assyrians, destroyed by God’s word and His mighty outstretched arm! There is a list of similes describing the lord God –

V 27 – 28 – He is like an angry man

V 30 – he is as a storm of tempest, lightning, hail and fire.

We may wonder about this place called Tophet in the last verse –

33 For Tophet is ordained of old; yea, for the king it is prepared; he hath made it deep and large: the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath of the LORD, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it.

Tophet is the name for the place outside of Jerusalem where the Assyrian army was destroyed by God. It was a valley also known by the name the Valley of Hinnom. In later times it was used as the city refuse dump. It was here that children were offered in sacrifice to Molech and drums were banged ceaselessly to drown the cries of dying infants. The Valley of Hinnom became called Gehenna with which we are more familiar. But it was a place of such filth, horror and disgust that it became the apt name for hell! The place reserved for the torment of wicked men and women.

With all of these wonderful promises you would think that Judah and the people of Jerusalem would abandon their plans to seek help from Egypt against the Assyrians. All we have is Isaiah’s words of warning. In the event God intervened anyway.

So now we need to apply this to ourselves. What is there to learn from Judah and God’s dealings with them?

1. God also warns us!

As he warned his people, in their day of trouble, which the Lord God in His sovereignty had sent, it was ever to call them to seek Him. Call upon the Lord in the day of trouble – AND DO NOT LOOK ANYWHERE ELSE!

We too are warned in the day of trouble. Well, you might say, what trouble am I in? I am not in any trouble. I do all that is necessary to keep the law – I am careful in my dealings with others – I keep as far as I can God’s laws. What is the trouble with that?

2. What is our trouble?

Our trouble is this – it is sin and its consequences. For no matter how much we keep God’s law, if we have ever broken one of God’s laws, we are in trouble. And we are subject to God’s judgement. We deserve to pay a penalty – to be punished. The Assyria of God’s wrath and judgement encamps at the gates of our souls besieging us so that we fear to die and face God and His presence. My friends this is serious – we are condemned to die because of our sins!

3. Where do we look?

We tend to look to Egypt! So what is Egypt in this sense?

Egypt is man’s attempts to escape the wrath of God and his judgements – it is man’s own efforts to avoid the inevitable consequences of sin and rebellion. The trouble with Egypt is that it cannot help! There is no might or strength – no rescue from the attacking hordes of guilty thoughts. If you are not a believer tonight then there is nowhere else for you to go. You can deceive yourself and pretend that everything is alright – that you are not as bad as you think you are –- that is Egyptology!

There is none righteous no not one

You can try to be as good as you can be and try to keep God’s commandments and earn some credit with the judge – and thereby avoid His anger and wrath – but this does not work either – this is Egyptology!

All our righteousness are as filthy rags.

You can try by attending church and reading your Bible and looking smart on the outside and saying all the right things – but God sees right into your heart and looking within yourself never is a pretty sight!

Looking to Egypt never works my friends.

4. Where SHOULD we look?

To no one else but the Lord Jesus Christ. Not to the men of Egypt with armies and banners – but to the man of sorrows who died on a cross with humble obedience to His father’s will.

God calls us to look!

Isaiah 45 v 21 Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. 22 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.

The Lord Jesus Christ invites us and commands us to look to Him. As Moses lifted up the serpent – so must Christ be lifted up so that we may look to Him! Why do so many people look to Egypt, to selfrighteousness; to self assertion; to false confidence in themselves – when all the time they are weak and defenceless and subject to the most horrific eternity unless they trust the Lord Jesus Christ.

O my friend – turn your eyes upon Jesus! How do you do that? Look into His word, The Bible. Begin to study the life of the perfect man Jesus Christ. Note that this perfect man is the judge of all men and that one day you will be judged, compared to Him. How will you get on in that judgement day? Can you say you will match up to Christ?

None can do that – unless there has been a change of heart and a transformation of soul – to make you acceptable. And that acceptability, that comes through conversion to Christ, being born again by the Spirit of God, only comes when repentance – turning from all sin, is a reality in your soul. Is this true of you my friend?

We started with promises this evening – promises to Judah from Isaiah.

But here is a promise with which to close tonight – from Psalm 50 v 15

And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.

Let me plead with you my friend to call upon the Lord Jesus Christ in your day of trouble – this day when you are still a sinner and under God’s wrath – and He promises that when you call, He will deliver you! Will you call on Him?

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