Sunday, June 27, 2010

Isaiah 10:5-12:6 -- The Root of Jesse

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Opening thought:  If you have a garden, you know something about pulling up weeds. I was explaining to Luke and Rachel the other day about weeds. I told them that they have roots, roots that will grow a new weed in only another day or two if you don’t take them out of the soil and throw them away. On the other hand, you don’t want to accidentally uproot your vegetables. If you do, they will die. No root, no fruit.

Today we are going to talk about a Root, a Shoot from a stump, a Man that Isaiah says fulfills the promises and sets aright the things of this world. This root cannot be uprooted. This root is a righteous one.

Pray and Read:  Isaiah 10:5-12:6

Contextual Notes: Isaiah 10:1-4 belongs with Isaiah 9 and gives the basis for northern Israel’s judgment. That judgment was fulfilled during the early years of Hezekiah’s reign (2 Kings 18:9-12). Then Assyria turned its attention to Judah (10:11). Beginning in 10:5, God declares Assyria’s judgment because Assyria destroyed rather than disciplining Israel (10:5-19). A remnant remains which God will preserve (10:20-34). The flow of the passage now gives us the primary message of these chapters. 

The Holy One of Israel, the Messiah, will one day come and the kingdom of God will replace the kingdoms of men. That Root of Jesse, empowered by the Holy Spirit, will judge in righteousness and bring peace even to nature (11:1-9). All nations will submit to the Lord and Israel will return to their homeland (11:10-16). In that day Israel will praise the Lord for their salvation and make him known to all the world (12:1-6).

One of the blessings of preaching through a book of the Bible is that we have the benefit of locking in on the context of a passage of Scripture, so that it does not somehow stand alone, but we have the understanding of what goes before and after that passage. Today’s section is a great example. Isaiah shows us the great vision of the Man whom he calls the Root of Jesse. We can gain insight because Isaiah has used this image before at 4:2.

Key Truth: Isaiah wrote Isaiah 10:5-12:6 to show Israel that restoration of themselves, the nations, and the planet will come at the return of Christ.

Key Application: Today I want to show you what God’s Word says about living a holy life in light of coming judgment and salvation.

Sermon Points:
  1. The Root of Jesse is our Sovereign Judge (Isaiah 10:5-34)
  2. The Root of Jesse is our Righteous King (Isaiah 11:1-9)
  3. The Root of Jesse is our Glorious Rest (Isaiah 11:10-16)
  4. The Root of Jesse is our Salvation Song (Isaiah 12:1-6)
Exposition:   Note well,

a.   10:5: God’s sovereignty enables him to use even Israel’s enemies to accomplish his purposes. Isaiah calls on Judah to see God’s hand in the painful experience with Assyria they are about to encounter.
b.   APPLICATION: Some of us find ourselves in a painful time right now. We have received a diagnosis or a report card or have a relationship not doing well. Look for God’s hand in this circumstance and praise him through it. He is there, and he is there for your good, not your harm.
c.   10:7: While God is using the Assyrian army as discipline, Assyria’s motive is rooted in godless arrogance, pride, and greed. God will punish the king of Assyria (10:12). It is intent that makes a difference. God is not as concerned about outward actions as he is about motives. He will judge both actions and motivations.
d.   10:17: In a single day – the destruction of Judah’s enemy, Isaiah said, would happen in a single day. And it did (2 Chronicles 32:20-21: 20 King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz cried out in prayer to heaven about this. 21 And the LORD sent an angel, who annihilated all the fighting men and the leaders and officers in the camp of the Assyrian king. So he withdrew to his own land in disgrace. And when he went into the temple of his god, some of his sons cut him down with the sword. Isaiah 37:36 – 36 Then the angel of the LORD went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning—there were all the dead bodies!). The historian Herodotus wrote that a disease came into the Assyrian army through mice and fleas (10:16), killing 186,000 men.
e.   But there is more to this single day. Isaiah uses the term in 9:14; 10:17; 47:9 to refer to the destruction of wickedness in a single day. Revelation 18:8 picks up Isaiah’s idea in describing the judgment on the woman Babylon, “Therefore in one day her plagues will overtake her: death, mourning and famine. She will be consumed by fire, for mighty is the Lord God who judges her.”
f.    In the book of Esther, the evil Haman sent dispatches throughout Persia to liquidate the Jews ‘in a single day’ (Esther 3:13), but this is the book of the Great Reversal, and instead, Haman was hanged on the gallows he erected for Mordechai. Zechariah writes of the Coming Great Reversal. God says, “I will remove the sin of this land in a single day” (Zechariah 3:9).
g.   Just as the Assyrian Army was gathered to destroy Jerusalem and all the enemies of Judah were destroyed in a single day, so one day at Calvary, the hordes of hell gathered to destroy the Holy One of Israel, but in a Great Reversal, Christ Jesus destroyed them through his own death in a single day. In a single day, he overthrew death and hell and made a way where there was no way, bringing life and hope and restoration to everyone who would receive him.
h.   10:20: The results of discipline: Those who survive the invasion will ‘truly rely on the Lord.’ Suffering purges those who will not believe and deepens the faith of those who do.
i.    APPLICATION: Are you surrounded and hounded by enemies? We serve a Sovereign Judge. Have you been betrayed or cheated on? We serve a Sovereign Judge. Do you face mistreatment and prejudice? The Root of Jesse is our Sovereign Judge. Have you been falsely accused and harassed? The Root of Jesse is our Sovereign Judge. Do you sit here today without the personal assurance of salvation in Christ? The Root of Jesse is our Sovereign Judge. He will judge fairly and perfectly, and if you are without Christ, you will be judged with a sentence that lasts forever in hell. The Root of Jesse is Sovereign because he has all power and authority to do whatever he chooses. He is our Judge because he sits enthroned over the universe. One day the Root of Jesse will take up your case. What will the Sovereign Judge rule? Will he rule against you because of your wickedness, or will he rule in your favor because of He Himself was your Savior who defeated your enemies in a single day?
a.   11:1: The stump of Jesse – Jesse was the father of David (1 Samuel 16:1; Ruth 4:22). With the title, Branch (4:2; 6:13), identifies the person here as the Messiah, the descendant of David destined to rule the earth. The word here for ‘shoot’ is netzer, the same word from which we get the word, Nazarene (Matt. 2:23).
b.   11:2 The Spirit of the Lord – (1 Sam 10:6; Luke 3:21-22). This man filled with the Spirit will have wisdom and understanding (Gen. 41:39; Exod. 31:2-3; 1 Kings 3:12; Eccl. 2:26), abundant counsel and power (Judges 15:14: Dan 5:14), and knowledge and the fear of the Lord (Psalm 111:10). It will produce a righteousness and justice, the same word pair found in 1:27; 5:7, 16; 9:7, all referring to the Messiah.
c.   11:3-5 – Messiah will judge with a pure motive in contrast to 10:7-11 and 6:9-10. As God, Messiah knows perfectly, so he can judge with perfect righteousness. His decisions, so unlike human government that takes note of a person’s wealth and social standing, instead will be in favor of the poor of the earth. He will enforce that judgment absolutely with the rod of his mouth (Psalm 2:9: You will rule them with an iron rod; Rev. 12:5; 19:15).
d.   APPLICATION:  Jesus is coming back. He will rule on his father David’s throne at Jerusalem. Some view this as the millennial reign of Christ on earth. Some view this as eternity when Christ will reign forever, but the similarities are so close, the important thing is that the Root of Jesse will one day reign in righteousness. He will right every wrong. He will correct every injustice. He will rule with absolute purity. Our frail governments will cede their authority to the king of kings. That should give you great hope. He is your king, if you have a personal relationship with him. He ever lives to make intercession for you. He is your righteous king, and he loves you and favors you.
a.   11:10 – A banner for the nations: Here it is a standard or a flag, raised with the intent of rallying people around it. The term ‘peoples’ indicates the Gentile nations. Isaiah sees a messianic age in which all the nations will have a knowledge of Christ. Our God is a missionary God!
b.   11:11 – “a second time:” Many find this phrase significant. Some of the Jews returning to the Holy Land after the Babylonian Captivity, partially fulfilling the OT predictions of a regathering. In 70AD the Jews were scattered among the nations a second time, as the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and expelled all the Jews from Judea. This second diaspora was more severe than the first, and Jews settled in every nation of the earth but their own. Some take this “second time” to mean a second regathering in the end times, perhaps beginning in 1948.
c.   ILLUSTRATION: The author of Hebrews teaches us in chapter 4 that hearing Christ and believing in Him will give us Rest, just the opposite of what Judah wanted to do (Isa. 6:9-10).
d.   APPLICATION:  Are you resting in him? Do you find your rest in Christ Jesus? Being a Christian does not mean you work harder to be good. It means you rest better in Him and allow His Life to be lived through you. That rest is for all the nations. Our God is a missionary God! Therefore our lives must be missionary lives. We must pray, go, and give until all have heard the good news of Jesus Christ. What are you doing to be part of Christ’s commission to go to the nations? Are you raising the banner of Christ at your work? Are you raising the banner with your friends? Are you raising the banner with your family? Are you making Christ known in your circle of influence?
a.   12:2 – Isaiah plays on the significance of his own name, which means, “God is my salvation.”
b.   The call to put away fear is followed by a call to praise (12:4ff) for the wells of salvation.
c.   Jesus told us to go to the nations (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; 9:15).  After this Isaiah will turn to the nations until chapter 27, pronouncing judgment on all them.
d.   This thanksgiving hymn brings to an end this section of Isaiah, just as in chapter 5. And just as the end of the Torah.
e.   APPLICATION:  When Jesus becomes Lord of your life, he places a song of praise there. Your heart overflows, thanking him for what he has done for you. Christ is our song. He is beautiful, our sweet, sweet song. Do you have that song in your heart? Perhaps you do not because you do not know him as your Savior. Let me invite you now to respond to Him, giving your life to him and making the Root of Jesse your Salvation. He will make your heart sing. Perhaps you are in Christ, but you have forgotten that glorious song. You have drifted. Sin has clouded the sheet music. You no longer sing the song of salvation as you once did. Today is the day to renew your walk with Christ. Let the Root of Jesse restore the Joy of your salvation (Psa. 51).
Invitation: Come to him today, won’t you?