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Salvation in Isaiah 33 (2)

A few weeks ago we reflected on the first 16 verses of this 33rd chapter of Isaiah’s prophecy.

We saw that Isaiah, speaking on God’s behalf, denounced the Assyrians and their arrogant general Sennacherib; then he prays that the Lord will deliver his people, the people of Jerusalem. God answers in verse 3 – 4 God will act; verse 5 – 6 the confidence that Isaiah had in God’s ability to deliver. Verses 7 – 9 record the broken promises made by Sennacherib – he was a nasty piece of work, agreeing to defer invasion, all the time intending to come to Jerusalem no matter how much the people paid to buy him off.

In verse 10 Almighty Jehovah God says, “Enough is enough!” I will stir myself! He speaks to the Assyrians in verses 11 – 12 “You have had it!” Foreigners (v 13) are to take note of what God is about to do. The doubters amongst God’s people are to turn from their unbelief – v 14; and in verse 15 there is the description of the righteous man or woman who need have no fear of the devouring fire of God’s judgement that was coming – people who are righteous in walk, words, finances, uncorruptible, not susceptible to murderous plans, and one who shuts the eyes to sins that are likely to entice the heart. These characteristics pointed us to the Lord Jesus Christ, the one who brings salvation to sinners like us and who, by His perfect life, lived that life for us – and imputes His righteousness to us!

So we take up the chapter tonight at verse 16 – read to end. Isaiah 33 v 16

These verses are about the

Promise of salvation from the Lord.

Isaiah is able to promise the people 2 things in verse 17

17 Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off.

They would see their King Hezekiah dressed again in his regal robes after the threat of invasion had gone.

And secondly they would see the territories of land belonging to Judah beyond and around Jerusalem, which they had not seen for years on account of the siege and their being holed up in Jerusalem. This would be the result of God’s work on their behalf.

This would have been very good news for the people – if they could believe it! That was the problem. They had become used to the siege and become used to seeing their king in sackcloth and ashes, the traditional dress of those in mourning – in this case mourning for the desperate situation of thousands of Assyrians at the gates.

But this is only the primary promise here in the prophecy. There is more for us the people of this day and age, who are reading the words of Isaiah’s prophecy, to learn and be thrilled by – if we too will only believe it!

17 Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off.

There are some people who will see the King in His beauty! Who is this King? Are these people to see a reincarnation of King Hezekiah who has been dead for 2,700 years? Not at all.

This is a direct reference and prophecy about the Lord Jesus Christ – the King of Kings!

Let us think about this wonderful person for a few moments. He is called

THE King — a precious title which belongs to our Lord Jesus Christ as his exclusive prerogative, the only person who can be given that title.

Once He was crowned with the crown of thorns, but now He wears the diadem of universal monarchy. There are other kings in the world, but theirs is only a temporary title to precedence among the sons of men for a limited time – their life span. He is the real King — the King of kings — the King that reigns for ever and for ever. He is King, because He is God. Jehovah reigns. The maker, creator and sustainer of the earth must be her King.

This King is the One in whose hands are the deep places of the earth, and the strength of the hills; he is the One by whom all things exist and all things consist; he must of necessity reign. The government shall be upon his shoulders. His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God.

From the very fact that he is the Son of God, the express image of his Father’s glory, he must be King.

Because he condescended to veil himself, to cover Himself in our flesh, he derives a second title to the kingdom — he is King now by his merits.

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth. He was made for a little while lower than the angels for the suffering of death; but now, seeing he has been obedient even unto death, even the death of the cross, he has obtained a more excellent name than the angels, and he is crowned with glory and honour. He is Head over all things now. In him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.

He is King at this time by virtue of the conquests he has made, having spoiled the principalities and powers of darkness. In this world he fought the battle, and so bravely did he fight it out that he could say, “It is finished.” He made an end of sin; he made reconciliation for iniquity; he trampled death and hell beneath his feet, and now he is King by force of arms. He entered into the strong man’s house, wrestled with him, and vanquished him, for he is stronger than he; he hath led captivity captive, and he hath ascended upon high — King of kings and Lord of lords.

He reigns supremely, moreover, in some of our hearts. We have yielded to the sway of his love. We rejoice to crown him. We never feel happier than when our hearts and tongues are singing: —

“Bring forth the royal diadem

And crown him Lord of all.”

Is this your experience this evening my friend? Do you recognise this King as someone that you know? Have you seen by faith this glorious King? That is what it means to be a Christian. Jesus said John 6 v 40

And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

Seeing is believing, some say. The Christian says the opposite – believing is seeing! When you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ you see Him in your minds eye, for who He is. No more is he the insignificant religious leader who lived 2000 years ago – but you see Him as the King!

17 Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty:

This is not merely a present promise – but a future one too.

17 Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty:

Means that one day we will be given new eyes to see Him in His beauty – in heaven. The sight will overwhelm us! That day will come when all men will see Him in His beauty.

But will we be glad to see Him? Will our hearts rejoice to be faced with the King and judge of the whole universe?

There will be other people there to see the King on the last day. It will not merely be those who have been bought with His precious blood – saved sinners. The guilty and unrepentant will be there seeing the King too!

Judas will be there – but he will not think of betraying Him. Pilate will be there – but he will not even consider questioning Him, much less washing his hands of Him and condemning Him! There will be Jews there, Pharisees and scribes – but they will not be able to cry “Crucify Him, Crucify Him. There will be Romans there – but they will not think of hauling Him away to the cross.

His enemies in that day will lick the dust! Like as in a whirlwind they shall be as chaff.

My friend – if you are still an unsaved sinner on that day when the King comes to judge the world – then you will certainly see Him – but you will not want to see Him. You will be afraid of this King – because He will be your judge – whom you rejected here on earth. You will see Him in all His regal splendour dressed with all the insignia of His royal power. Lightning will flash through the universe – the roar of His thunder shall awake the dead. For you there will be an irresistible summons to appear before His throne. You will see Him – but He also will see you – His searching gaze will pick you out and you will not be able to hide in His majestic presence.

What will you say to this King the Lord Jesus Christ whom you will see in His beauty?

You will have no defence – no excuse – no mitigating circumstances – no one to blame but yourself.

He will point you back to the times when you heard the Gospel. He will say, “Why did you not listen to my servants who told you of eternal life and your need to avoid eternal death in hell? I sent these men to you – to plead with your soul. To talk to you and announce to you my terms. Repent and believe. Turn from your sins – seek pardon and forgiveness from me. Then believe in what I did at Calvary – that I died for sinners, in their place – to make satisfaction for their crimes.”

Why did you not listen?

Are you listening now my friend? HOW would you like to see the King in His beauty? As your King and as one of His loyal believing subjects?

Or as your judge, as one of those who will be pronounced guilty for all eternity and allocated a place in hell to suffer for ever?

Which will it be, my friend? This King is MY king – is He yours?

What did the people of Jerusalem make of Isaiah’s promise of salvation? Did they believe?

V 18 records that they thought that peace and prosperity in their city depended on 3 things.

18 Thine heart shall meditate terror. Where is the scribe? where is the receiver? where is he that counted the towers?

The scribe represents political security – is politics the answer to the city’s problem?

The receiver is another term for the Chancellor of the Exchequer – is economics the answer to the city’s problem?

The counter of towers refers to the Military Commander – is military might able to deal with the matter?

As we know in Jerusalem’s case, a city under siege, none of these three, not even a combination of them, were enough to overcome Sennacherib and the Assyrian army.

They had tried politics – it had failed when talks broke down.

They tried to buy them off with money – but Sennacherib took the money and still maintained the siege.

They tried armed resistance – but they were hopelessly outnumbered and the army was weak.

Yet Isaiah promises in verse 20

Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities: thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken.

What? This city quiet, free to observe the feasts? With the Lord resident in the middle in a Tabernacle, a tent, a dwelling place – permanently amongst His people?

Yes – but not here on earth. This is a picture of heaven as Hebrews 12 describes –

22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, 23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.

Where the Lord Jesus is there is safety – as verse 22 says

For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us.

He will save us!

Are you included in the us this evening my friend? God has promised to save His people – all of them. This incident and prophecy in Isaiah points us to the One who saves – the Lord – Jesus Christ – the King! He will save you. But there has to be a change in you.

If a man or a woman, a boy or a girl is to have a future, forgiveness must be a conclusion of the past.

The Lord God has judged – and we are guilty as charged – of sin that condemns us.

The Lord God has given us His law and we are without excuse. We are all by nature law breakers.

But in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ the same Lord God is the King. It is in the nature and office of a sovereign to issue a pardon. This King has two hands – a left hand of justice – but a right hand of mercy.

He offers pardon and mercy to sinners who do not deserve either. Why then is anyone here reluctant to go to this King, and kneel before Him, to ask for mercy and pardon and find sweet forgiveness at His hand.

When at last this is your experience, you will have 2 things.

You will have no fear of seeing the King, regal, resplendent, on His throne in glory – for judgement will have been turned away from you.

You will have the joy of anticipation – of seeing the King in His beauty amongst all His worshipping people – for salvation will be yours to enjoy for all eternity.

Turn to this King – trust Him – love Him – and look forward to meeting Him in person one day!

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