Salvation in Isaiah 32
We have had several sermons about the warnings to the people of Judah, her threatened punishment by the Lord God through the Assyrians, and then His miraculous deliverance of the Jews and the city of Jerusalem from the massive army.
The prophet Isaiah now turns to the New Order to Come. He is focussing on
The Coming reign of the Righteous King.
In his prophetic style Isaiah addresses a coming day in the future when a government shall exist that is characterised by
1. Righteousness 2. Judgement 3. Understanding and Knowledge 4. Peace and Quietness 5. Eternal Assurance
We have noticed before as we have looked into Isaiah’s prophetic words that his basic theme harmonizes with the meaning of the prophet’s name – “Jehovah is Salvation”. Or put another way the name can mean, “Salvation is of Jehovah the Lord God”.
Much of Isaiah’s message is in the context of punishment under the righteous hand of Almighty God – yet interspersed there are revelations of God’s tender mercy and sovereign grace.
Next to the Book of Psalms Isaiah contains more Messianic prophecies than any other book in the Old Testament.
Isaiah sets before the Church, all believers, a wonderful hope for the future – a certainty of things to come. These things are commonly centred on what Isaiah calls in Chapter 66 v 22 “the new heavens and the new earth,” where all who love the Lord God, and who have been saved by His grace, will worship Him and serve Him for ever.
The list that we made a moment ago are the Blessings of the kingdom of God. But are they reserved only for the future? For heaven? For the new heavens and the new earth?
Could there not be a possibility that somehow we could experience these blessings here and now?
The answer to that question is this – that even though all around us in the global community there is UNRIGHTEOUSNESS, INJUSTICE, IGNORANCE AND LACK OF UNDERSTANDING, WARS AND TUMULT, and A PEOPLE WITH NO HOPE OF ETERNAL LIFE – all the opposites, you will notice, of our list – yet there is a sense that the Church of Jesus Christ, and individual members of the Church, CAN experience a measure if not a fullness of these blessings in their souls. Righteousness accounted to us by the Lord can be known. Justice and fairness can be a characteristic of the redeemed people of God as they live together as a Christian community. Peace and quietness of soul and mind can also be known and felt by those whose trust is in the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. Understanding and a discernment of the times in the light of God’s revelation of Himself in His word, and the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ in His own prophecies can keep the church on its guard in days of danger, in a state of readiness. And the deep peace and satisfaction of knowing that all our sins are forgiven and that we have a place reserved for us in heaven, in that kingdom, for ever and ever, is very precious to possess, enabling true believers to cope with a scary world around us.
How do we know that Isaiah is speaking about the Messiah, Jesus the King in this chapter?
Could he not have been referring to one of Judah’s own Kings?
1 Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment.
Maybe Isaiah was writing in the days of King Ahaz and referring to good King Hezekiah.
Or perhaps another godly King, Josiah, is the king reigning in righteousness.
Or could Isaiah be thinking of an ideal situation, no matter what the King’s name was, which would follow the defeat of the Assyrians and take from Judah the sore anxiety of the siege?
But surely we tonight can see only one interpretation of Isaiah’s message – that the Messianic hope which was realized in the Lord Jesus Christ fully fits the description in this passage. The rule of the coming Messiah, anticipated by Isaiah, fits the first verse
Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment.
Some would ask “Who are the princes?”
Princes are not necessarily of royal parentage, but they are of noble birth and royal dignity. So could not the princes here be CHRISTIANS? Are believers in the Lord Jesus Christ not called “a royal priesthood” in 1 Peter 2 v 9? Are we not said to be related to the King as brethren?
Hebrews 2 v 11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.
Are we not described as those who reign – Paul in Romans 5 v 17 says this
they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.
This could easily be what verse 1 means here.
Verse 2 And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.
What a glorious picture Isaiah paints with words in this second verse. He describes a MAN with a unique function – with 4 aspects –
1. He shall be as a hiding place from the wind.
Have you ever been out on a windy day with someone larger than you? Have you ever felt the temptation to walk behind that person so that you are sheltered from the driving force of a head wind? I am sure many children have done this when out with their larger parents. The wind that Isaiah has in mind is the wind of adversity and destruction. Bad things that happen are often called “ill winds.” When faced by ill winds a sheltering place is always welcome.
2. He shall be as a covert from the tempest.
Covert is not a word often used today. It is something like a bush or a hedge where animals or birds may hide from danger, either from other animals or man. Isaiah uses it in the same way – but a place of safety for man who needs protection from the rain and hailstorms of God’s judgements that sweep the nations. We may remember this description of God’s fury in Chapter 29 v 6
Thou shalt be visited of the LORD of hosts with thunder, and with earthquake, and great noise, with storm and tempest, and the flame of devouring fire.
3. as rivers of water in a dry place,
The wealth and value of streams and rivers of water in a semi arid land like Judah are best appreciated by those who live in such lands. With our rainfall and flowing streams we have little concept of the worth of a stream in a dry place.
4. as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.
In these lands the sun can get very hot – so any place of shade is welcome for the traveller who becomes weary of travelling. The weary land for us, the saints of God, is this world in which we live. We become weary of our sins and the sins of others. Aren’t you weary of the news? Isn’t it easy to give the news a miss once in a while seeing there is so much to weary us?
How good to know that there is a man who can be all these things. Isaiah says that this man would be a protection for Judah. But here it is in the Bible for us to apply for us.
But as we identify this man who is a King let’s go even further back in time and think about the ark, constructed to preserve Noah and his family and the animals, insects and birds. The Lord God was determined to punish humanity for its great wickedness. A day was set for the flood and them the warnings to all mankind were issued through the preaching of Noah.
2 Peter 2 v 5 And God spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;
The people ignored Noah. But Noah was not the man who would be neither the hiding place from the wind nor the covert from the tempest. It was the ark itself that sheltered him and his family – the ark symbolises the only means of salvation from the judgement of God. The ark had only one door. Jesus said “I am the door – by me if any man enter in he shall be saved.” The ark was entered by faith and the ark took the full force of the storm of God’s devastating judgement.
So this man, this ark, this hiding place and shelter can be no one else but the Messiah the Lord Jesus Christ.
Oh my friend tonight – are you hiding in the Lord Jesus Christ? Is He your hiding place? Is He your covert? Are you sheltering beneath His shadow, the shadow of a mighty rock within a weary land? Unless you are you have no choice one day but to feel the full force of the mighty judgment of God coming fully upon you. Those people who were warned but died in the flood bore the full weight of their wickedness on themselves and they became human fossils! Only those who entered by faith into the ark prepared for salvation were saved. Will you be saved from God’s wrath and judgement? It is real you know! You may think that there is nothing to fear – but this was exactly what the people in Noah’s day said. We will take our chances – after all we can swim! How foolish not to listen to God through Noah! How foolish if we do not listen to the Lord Jesus Christ today through His word. He has given us all ample warning that we must flee from the wrath to come.
But is it a matter of your choice alone? Verse 15 shows us otherwise – the first part of the verse speaks of
God’s spirit being poured out upon us from on high.
This is a picture of God’s Holiness coming to drench us – He is to be poured out upon us.
Elsewhere in the Old Testament God is said to pour out other things.
Isaiah 29 v 10 For the LORD hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered.
Isaiah 42 v 25 Therefore he hath poured upon him the fury of his anger,
But by contrast here Isaiah says that the Lord pours out His Spirit, the very person who is needed to make any difference in any one’s life. This happened when the Church was fully born at Pentecost – when the Lord Jesus Christ came by His Spirit to fill His servants first to preach and teach in Jerusalem and then to set the whole world on fire with the Gospel.
So Isaiah has declared that a King shall reign in righteousness and that the Holy Spirit will bring spiritual blessings. Jesus is a rock in weary land, a shelter in the time of storm.
But moving on we see Isaiah declaring that those people who receive the blessing of the Sprit shall live in peace, quietness and confidence.
17 And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.
Righteousness is conformity to a standard – man’s conformity to God’s standard of holiness. When righteousness prevails, when men adhere and conform to God’s laws then there can be nothing but real peace. Where there is war there will always be sin. Where God’s laws are broken there is never peace.
If you have no peace in your soul my friend tonight then ask yourself if there is any righteous obedience to God and His law in that soul.
Quietness and confidence or assurance will reign and last forever where righteousness flourishes. This is true at the personal level, the church level, the community level and the national level.
The promises of Messiah’s kingdom are not only for the hereafter where righteousness will last for all eternity.
But the promises of Messiah’s Kingdom are for us today as well – do you remember verse 15 in chapter 30?
30 v 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: and ye would not.
Salvation comes through returning, another term for repentance. Repentance is needed now – it cannot be delayed until the end of time. Quietness and confidence shall be the strength of every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.
And how did this glorious Messiah, this God man, achieve this righteousness quietness and confidence for His people?
He did it by coming in a body into this wicked world; enduring the ignorance and hostility of many of his own people; submitting Himself as a substitute on behalf of His people to bear the wrath and anger of God in Himself; and becoming sin for them.
He, the righteous sinless Messiah, died for guilty unrighteous sinners – so that they may have true and lasting peace through the forgiveness of their sins and the atonement made at the cross.
Do you have peace in your soul my friend? Do you have quietness of Spirit? Do you have confidence for the future?
Go to Jesus Christ as you are – with all your sins – apply to Him for the blessings of His Kingdom – ask Him to help you understand it – to take it in – what His cross means – to open your eyes to the impact of Calvary.
And may you know the peace, quietness and confidence that so many people crave today, through faith in the Son of God, the Messiah, the only saviour of sinners.
Do you know that you are a sinner? Sinners Jesus will receive – so go to Him – own up – and ask Him to save you – tonight!