The only way for Peace
1 Hear this, O house of Jacob,
who are called by the name of Israel,
and who came from the waters of Judah,
who swear by the name of the LORD
and confess the God of Israel,
but not in truth or right.
2 For they call themselves after the holy city,
and stay themselves on the God of Israel;
the LORD of hosts is his name.
3 “The former things I declared of old;
they went out from my mouth, and I announced them;
then suddenly I did them, and they came to pass.
4 Because I know that you are obstinate,
and your neck is an iron sinew
and your forehead brass,
5 I declared them to you from of old,
before they came to pass I announced them to you,
lest you should say, ‘My idol did them,
my carved image and my metal image commanded them.’
(Isaiah 48:1-5, ESV)
6 “You have heard; now see all this;
and will you not declare it?
From this time forth I announce to you new things,
hidden things that you have not known.
7 They are created now, not long ago;
before today you have never heard of them,
lest you should say, ‘Behold, I knew them.’
8 You have never heard, you have never known,
from of old your ear has not been opened.
For I knew that you would surely deal treacherously,
and that from before birth you were called a rebel.
9 “For my name’s sake I defer my anger;
for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you,
that I may not cut you off.
10 Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;
I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.
11 For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it,
for how should my name be profaned?
My glory I will not give to another.
(Isaiah 48:6-11, ESV)
12 “Listen to me, O Jacob,
and Israel, whom I called!
I am he; I am the first,
and I am the last.
13 My hand laid the foundation of the earth,
and my right hand spread out the heavens;
when I call to them,
they stand forth together.
14 “Assemble, all of you, and listen!
Who among them has declared these things?
The LORD loves him;
he shall perform his purpose on Babylon,
and his arm shall be against the Chaldeans.
15 I, even I, have spoken and called him;
I have brought him, and he will prosper in his way.
16 Draw near to me, hear this:
from the beginning I have not spoken in secret,
from the time it came to be I have been there.”
And now the Lord GOD has sent me, and his Spirit.
(Isaiah 48:12-16, ESV)
17 Thus says the LORD,
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“I am the LORD your God,
who teaches you to profit,
who leads you in the way you should go.
18 Oh that you had paid attention to my commandments!
Then your peace would have been like a river,
and your righteousness like the waves of the sea;
19 your offspring would have been like the sand,
and your descendants like its grains;
their name would never be cut off
or destroyed from before me.”
20 Go out from Babylon, flee from Chaldea,
declare this with a shout of joy, proclaim it,
send it out to the end of the earth;
say, “The LORD has redeemed his servant Jacob!”
21 They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts;
he made water flow for them from the rock;
he split the rock and the water gushed out.
22 “There is no peace,” says the LORD, “for the wicked.”
(Isaiah 48:17-22, ESV)
• These close out what has been stated since chapter 40
• Idols are worthless
• Our beliefs are worthless if placed in the wrong thing
• Instead, learn from God
• Trust in Him who has revealed Himself…the only One worthy of all glory
• The only way for Peace
– We have seen how God has revealed Himself as the only true God and Lord of all
– Even though the people should experience the repercussions for their sins, God won’t let this be the last word
– We understand something rather profound
– God is a God of peace for us if we take Him seriously
– If they had listened, and obeyed, it would have went well with them
– Instead, the people continued to sin against God
– They continued to rely on themselves
– It did not lead to goodness…righteousness…blessing…or salvation, but refinement through affliction
• The only way for Peace (2)
– In our pluralistic society we often encounter these things
– Many people will take from one belief and then from another until they have a system of belief that suits them
– Such as Methodist Buddhist
– This is a common occurrence especially in the West
– Instead of submitting to what the Scriptures tell us about God, ourselves, and morality they end up trusting as much in their own thoughts
– God will not be mocked
– Only One can provide us peace and righteousness, and that is God
– He provides the way for us to understanding and all good things
• The only way for Peace (3)
– There is warning for each of us when it come to peace
– There is no peace, no rest, for the wicked
– Though the wicked seek rest/peace they will not find it
– Wickedness is contrary to God who provides peace
– Is God necessary for righteousness and goodness?
– The answer is yes
– Can good goodness itself exist without God?
– Without God we would have no concept of what good means
– Goodness would be arbitrary and subjective
– If goodness is this way then there is no “good” because what someone considers good would be countered by someone who claims goodness is something else
• The only way for Peace (4)
– A good example is the Nazis
– They believed it was good to exterminate people
– If God exists then we have a secure foundation for goodness since God is goodness itself
– Those who do good things and ignore God end up praising the creature rather than the Creator
– Their good deeds become like filthy rags
– They believe they are good enough without God
– This shows our sinful condition
– Thankfully, as this passage so points out, God does redeem
– He provides us with the truth
• The only way for Peace (5)
– We glory in this God knowing that His redemption and all His works are done for his glory
– It means that we are for His glory and can embrace and cherish this God who redeems us
– It means we can understand His great love and know He provides us righteousness and peace
– As we close out this section of Isaiah, let us take heed
– Throughout chapters 40-48 Isaiah has warned the people…listen…remember…listen…take heed…listen…hear
– Let us consider all that God has declared, showing Himself to be the only God
– Let us cling to the true God who has revealed Himself to us through the work of His hands and this particular redemption
– If we do not, we will only find devastation...and delusion
– We will find righteousness, wisdom, knowledge, power
– Our wickedness will fade and we will find peace
•The Gospel of Christ
–Where we began
–What went wrong
–How it is fixed
–Where it at leads