What does proper marital love look like?
Thus says the Lord:
“Where is your mother’s certificate of divorce,
with which I sent her away?
Or which of my creditors is it
to whom I have sold you?
Behold, for your iniquities you were sold,
and for your transgressions your mother was sent away.
2 Why, when I came, was there no man;
why, when I called, was there no one to answer?
Is my hand shortened, that it cannot redeem?
Or have I no power to deliver?
Behold, by my rebuke I dry up the sea,
I make the rivers a desert;
their fish stink for lack of water
and die of thirst.
3 I clothe the heavens with blackness
and make sackcloth their covering.”
4 The Lord God has given me
the tongue of those who are taught,
that I may know how to sustain with a word
him who is weary.
Morning by morning he awakens;
he awakens my ear
to hear as those who are taught.
5 The Lord God has opened my ear,
and I was not rebellious;
I turned not backward.
6 I gave my back to those who strike,
and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard;
I hid not my face
from disgrace and spitting.
7 But the Lord God helps me;
therefore I have not been disgraced;
therefore I have set my face like a flint,
and I know that I shall not be put to shame.
8 He who vindicates me is near.
Who will contend with me?
Let us stand up together.
Who is my adversary?
Let him come near to me.
9 Behold, the Lord God helps me;
who will declare me guilty?
Behold, all of them will wear out like a garment;
the moth will eat them up.
10 Who among you fears the Lord
and obeys the voice of his servant?
Let him who walks in darkness
and has no light
trust in the name of the Lord
and rely on his God.
11 Behold, all you who kindle a fire,
who equip yourselves with burning torches!
Walk by the light of your fire,
and by the torches that you have kindled!
This you have from my hand:
you shall lie down in torment.
In our meditations on the Story of God, we arrive today at the second half of the second section of the Old Testament Scriptures, known as the Prophets. The Former Prophets continued the narrative storyline from the entrance into the Promised Land to the exile from the Land. The Latter Prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the Twelve) basically provide God the Holy Spirit’s commentary on what God did during that part of the narrative, combined with prophecies about what God would continue to do.
Structure of Isaiah
- Opening message about present sin and future hope (1:1-6:13)
- The Book of Immanuel (7:1-12:6)
- Messages about the nations (13:1-23:18)
- Apocalyptic vision of the triumph of Yahweh over evil (24:1-27:13)
- Warnings of judgment and the glory of Yahweh’s power (28:1-35:10)
- A narrative about deliverance from the Assyrians (36:1-39:8)
- Comfort from the incomparable glory of Yahweh (40:1-48:22)
- The ministry of the Servant of the Lord and restoration (49:1-55:13)
- The future deliverance of God’s people and judgment of the wicked (56:1-66:24)
Important ideas in Isaiah
- A presentation of both salvation and judgment; God will bring judgment on sinners, but through the judgment that would fall on the Messiah, sinners who trust in him will be saved; Isaiah has been called “the evangelical prophet”
- God makes himself known as “the Holy One of Israel” (26x) and the “Sovereign Lord or Yahweh Adonai” (7:7; 25:8; 28:16; 30:15; 40:10; 49:22; 52:4; 61:1; 65:13)
- Many prophecies about the Messiah and his saving work (7:14; 9:1-7; 11:1-16; 35:1-10; 63:1-6), including the “Servant Songs” (42:1-9; 49:1-13; 50:4-11; 52:13-53:12; 61:1-3)
- The use of figurative language to express important concepts (fire, holy mountain, highway)
- The foolishness of idolatry (2:19-21; 19:1; 44:6-20; 46:1-7; 57:1-13)
- In his sovereignty the Lord uses creation and history, including the sinful actions of people, for his own glory (10:5-19; 36:1-37:38; 44:24-45:13)
- The mission of God to save his people from all nations (19:23-25; 42:6; 45:22; 49:6; 52:15; 60:3; 65:1)
I. The greatness of God is known in his holiness (6:1-13)
A. A vision of God’s majesty (6:1-7)
1.Yahweh is sovereign (seated on a throne), holy or set apart by being Creator and Sustainer of all things and set apart from sin, glorious, powerful (the Lord of armies), and worshiped.
2.In contrast, Isaiah knows his sinfulness and senses his desperate condition before the Holy Lord. Note well that he knows this as he sees the greatness of the Lord.
3.The only hope for Isaiah or anyone else is an atoning sacrifice that can take away guilt. Here, this happens through a live coal from the altar. Later (Is 53:6-12), Isaiah will prophesy that it happens through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ.
Point: The only way to be right with God is through Christ and his saving work.
B.The response to the Lord’s majestic greatness (6:8-13)
1.Isaiah gladly received a commission to serve the Lord, although this put him upon the path of hardship, rejection, and disappointment. His hope was that one day the Lord would save a remnant. See Romans 9-11.
2.As the Apostle John makes clear (and the Apostles are always right in their interpretation), this was a vision of the Son of God (Jn 12:37-41). Jesus came and did many miraculous signs. Yet the people could not believe in him (cf. Jn 1:11-12). No one can believe and be saved apart from the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit. Until the Spirit causes us to be born again, we have blind eyes and deadened hearts. God is so great that they only way that sinful people can know him is by the saving action of effective grace. The great miracle that everyone needs is the new birth.
Point: People need God to change their hearts.
II. The greatness of God is known in his incomparability (40:1-31)
A.His incomparable grace in providing the way of salvation (40:1-8)
1.The Lord decides to provide salvation for a sinful people. He announces comfort and blessing in a startling place—the wilderness. This is a prophecy of sending John the Baptist to prepare the way for the Lord Jesus (Luke 3:1-18; John 1:19-34).
2.The message comes with certainty (40:6-8). The word of the incomparable God stands forever.
Point: The fulfillment of prophecy displays the reality of God’s word. Isaiah spoke exact words about Jesus Christ 700 years before he came and fulfilled them.
B.His incomparable actions in the world (40:9-14)
1.He cares for his people in the world. He acts like a good shepherd, watching over his flock with tender kindness. He is near to his people. This was fulfilled when Jesus came as the good shepherd (Jn 10).
2.He acts with wisdom to save his people out from the people groups of the world (cf. Rm 11:1-36) by a way that seems foolish to the world (1 Cor 1:18-2:5). Yet the mind of the glorious Creator was able to conceive this way of wisdom and knowledge.
C.His incomparable glory in contrast to the nations (40:15-31)
1.The Lord is immense (40:15-20).
2.The Lord is sovereign (40:21-24).
3.The Lord is powerful and able to supply power (40:25-31).
Point: True faith values the glory of the Lord supremely.
III. The greatness of God is known in the work of his Servant (50:4-11)
A.The Servant, the Christ, was sent by God the Father to do his will.
1.He received his mission and message from the Father (cf. Jn 5:19-30).
2.He obeyed the Father, though it necessitated great suffering on his part. Notice the details about his suffering at the hands of sinners that are fulfilled in the Gospels.
3.He relied on the Father for vindication (cf. Jn 5:31-47).
B.There are two possible responses to the Servant, Jesus Christ.
1.The way of faith: trust in the Lord regardless of the circumstances. The way of faith can seem very dark and unsure. Faith does not have an explanation for everything. Often faith must depend on God’s word without tangible reasons why it makes sense or how it will work out.
2.The way of pride: trust in human ability and its certain outcome. Pride arrogantly proclaims that something is the way and is able to spout out reasons for its actions. This proud confidence can be very appealing. Look how many followed it when they rejected Jesus and condemned him to death. But the way of pride ends in eternal punishment.
Point: You can make choices, but you can’t choose the consequences of your choices. God makes those choices.
Apply: Which kind of person are you? Will you trust God in the darkness in a mocking world? Or will you take pride in human wisdom that lights fires for itself?
Ideas to transform our lives:
- People need God to change their hearts
- The only way to be right with God is through Christ and his saving work
- The fulfillment of prophecy displays the reality of God’s word
- True faith values the glory of the Lord supremely
- You can make choices, but you can’t choose the consequences of your choices
Pastor Dave Frampton
The faithful and spiritually profitable labors of Dave Frampton are featured here at CMC. As a Bible teacher he excels. Teacher and student alike will profit much from his labor in God’s Word. Visit Newtown Square Baptist Church.