Sunday, August 29, 2010

Isaiah 32-33 - The King of Righteousness

Messiah at the Last Judgment
Opening thought:  Have you ever seen one of those bumper stickers on the back of a car that says, “Peace”?  If I understand it correctly, that bumper sticker is wishing for world peace, that is, no more war. That is an admirable goal. Oh that we would see an end to war, peace among nations, and everyone fed and safe.

That ambitious goal is usually based on the agreement and cooperation of human beings. Unfortunately for all of us, human beings are marred and scarred by sin, and they are unable to hold it all together when it comes to peace. Greed or lust for power or personal ambition enters geopolitical and personal relationships and tanks the hope of peace every time.

Isaiah had that same ambition, but he saw a different path to peace. In his visions, he saw a King who would bring world peace among nations and peace in people’s hearts, an inner peace that saves completely and eternally.

Isaiah has many famous chapters. One of them is Isaiah 9 which we often read at Christmas. It tells us that the Messiah will be a ruler, that the “government will be upon his shoulders” (9:6), and that he is the Prince of Peace (9:6). Chapters 32 and 33 today give us a vision of what that ideal government will look like under a Messianic king. He will correct injustices, judge sinners, and establish righteousness which will bear fruit as peace (32:17).

Pray and Read:  Isaiah 32-33

Contextual Notes: Isaiah’s vision now moves beyond his time and God’s rebellious people to see a king who will reign in righteousness (32:1). Picking up themes from earlier prophecies in the book, Isaiah portrays this King as one who does away with life’s unfairnesses (32:2-8). His judgments will shake the complacent (32:9-14), and he will pour out God’s Spirit, bringing personal and international peace (32:15-20).

After destroying the destroyer, our enemy the devil (33:1-4), the exalted Lord Himself will be the foundation of a better time (33:5-12). The Messiah’s coming will terrify sinners but be a refuge for the righteous (33:13-16). Jerusalem will become the capital of the Messiah’s kingdom, supplying and satisfying all the earth (33:17-24).

Key Truth: Isaiah wrote Isaiah 32-33 to prepare Israel for the coming King of Righteousness, the Messiah, who will rise from the dead, pour out the Holy Spirit, and be a refuge for them.
Key Application: Today I want to show you what God’s Word says about the Coming King.

Sermon Points:
1.   A King will Reign in righteousness (Isaiah 32:1-8)
2.   A King will pour out the Spirit of righteousness (Isaiah 32:9-20)
3.   A King will Arise in righteousness (Isaiah 33:1-12)
4.   A King will be a Refuge of righteousness (Isaiah 33:13-24)

Exposition:   Note well,

a.   32:1 – A king will reign in righteousness and with justice. The pairing of these two words throughout Isaiah have always been used in the context of describing the Messiah (1:27; 5:7, 16; 9:7; 11:4; 16:5; 26:7-9).
b.   32:2-8 – He will do away with life’s unfairness.
c.   32:3 – They will see at last. Direct reference to 6:9; see also 29:18; 35:3-6; 2 Corinthians 3:15-18.
d.   APPLICATION: There is coming a day when the Lord is going to right the wrongs in this world. He sees the employee that gets away with stealing and then gets promoted. He sees the children who are beaten and molested every day. He hears the cries of the victims of cancer and genetic diseases.  He hears the cry of the blood coming from the ground from aborted children. He sees the corruption in our government. He hears the cries for help from victims of human trafficking. He hears the pleadings of the persecuted church. He knows about the broken treaties and the blood on the land. He will right every wrong one day.
a.   32:9-14 – His judgments shake complacency. Note similarities between 32:1-20 and 3:1-4:6. Complacency is replaced by mourning and humility (32:11-12; 3:17-4:1). Pride is brought low, i.e., the high parts of the city and the forests (32:14, 19; 10:12, 17-19). The people had in complacency had not bothered to consult the Spirit (30:1), but humility opens the way for the pouring out of the Holy Spirit (32:15), and he cleanses and transforms (4:4; Genesis 2:7; Ezekiel 37:1-14; Acts 2:1-4; 2 Corinthians 5:5, 17) everything (32:15) bringing fruits of justice, peace, quietness, and confidence (32:16-19; Galatians 5:22-23). [1]
b.   APPLICATION: This is the picture of revival. When there is no revival and repentance in the hearts of his people, there is complacency and carnality, pride and prejudice. No one thinks they need the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Churches are self-run, or personality-driven, or deacon-possessed, not Holy Spirit-led. When the pride of person gives way to the humility of repentance, and the Holy Spirit is poured out in revival of hearts and minds, cleansing, transforming lives, setting things right and bringing peace with God and reconciliation with others. We need revival in our own lives, in our church, in our community, and in our nation. Oh that the Lord would pour out a spirit of repentance on us so that He may pour out his Holy Spirit upon us in revival.
c.   32:15-18 – Shalom. The Hebrew word for peace is found over 200 times in the OT. In the narrative books, like Joshua, Kings, and Chronicles, it usually is used to describe simply an absence of hostility or strife. In the Psalms and the Prophets the meaning goes beyond that. It expresses a basic and vital biblical idea of not just a condition without war, but goes further to suggest wholeness and harmony, something that is complete and sound, prosperous and healthy, and fulfilled. Two of every three times shalom is found, it indicates a total fulfillment that comes when personas experience God’s presence. In 32:15-16, Isaiah portrays that inner peace and material prosperity that will mark the joyful fulfillment of all man’s hopes and dreams for world peace under the Messiah’s rule. He will be our Prince of Peace (9:6).
d.   32:15-17 – Peace and righteousness: Peace is possible only where there is righteousness and righteousness only where the Holy Spirit transform’s mankind.
e.   APPLICATION: The presence of a Judeo-Christian worldview establishes the environment where people can go to sleep in peace at night, where personal liberty can flourish alongside personal responsibility in governments, where businesses can make money and be compassionate, where healthcare can be caring and profitable, where education can enliven the gifts and talents the Lord has placed in children and young adults, where research and development can innovate and create new and better products and medicines and approaches in various disciplines, where morality is honored and manners are present, where crime and taxes are low, where children outside the womb find themselves well cared for and babies in the womb are protected and celebrated. Every people which has rejected the righteousness to which the Bible points has seen an increase in immorality and crime, a decrease in personal liberty, and increase in social welfare, then socialism, then totalitarianism. Our nation is in desperate need of the reviving work of Jesus Christ in the hearts of our people. We have drifted so that we are now the fourth largest mission field in the world. Are you talking to people about your faith?
a.   33:1-6 – Another Woe! (29:1, 15; 30:1). This one is against the destroyer and traitor. The Babylonians were described in this way (21:2), but the reference to deliverance (31:3) and as traitors (33:8) may refer to the Assyrians (2 Kings18:17; 19:35). But there is another destroyer and betrayer. He is our common enemy, the devil. He will be destroyed in the end-time. Isaiah is looking far beyond his own time. The inhabitants of Judah are called to pray, asking for grace (32:2). Their prayer exalts God as sovereign (33:3-5; Matthew 6:9-10). His protection includes wisdom, knowledge, and fear of the Lord (Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 1:7; Ecclesiastes 2:26; James 1:5; Exodus 1:20-21; Job 1:1-3). These are more precious than riches, because riches cannot buy them (33:6).
b.   33:7-12 – The need for salvation is acutely felt because of the devastation of the land. Even strong men weep. Now the Lord intervenes. There are several key words in 33:10 that refer directly to the Messiah Yeshua, Jesus Christ. “Arise” refers to the resurrection. “Being exalted” refers to His Ascension. “Being lifted up” refers directly to the cross. Only through this Man’s ability is useless (33:11; Psalm 1:4).
c.   ILLUSTRATION: His sovereignty is like a fire (33:12-13) as in Israel’s past and future (Judges 6:20-22; 1 Kings 18:36-39; 2 Kings 1:10; see also James & John’s familiarity Luke 9:54).
d.   APPLICATION: We live in a land that is being devastated by sin as we run headlong into it. When even the strong men, the important people weep for salvation, we will see the Lord intervene. He will come like a fire and cleanse us and save us from ourselves. Oh Lord, do it in our day. Like Moses we cry, “Arise, O Lord, let your enemies be scattered.”
a.   33:14-16 – Refuge (33:16) for the Righteous Remnant: The OT has a basic concept of the remnant. God’s judgment will purge sinners, but a faithful, righteous remnant will survive and remain. The Hebrew term sa’ar is used by the prophets as a technical term to designate a remnant of converted/believing Israelites who receive the blessings of the OT covenants (33:6). Joel 2:32 and Ezekiel 6:8-9 describe the eschatological / end-time remnant. This remnant has a present meaning as well. No matter how far Israel wanders or how hard God’s judgment is, the Lord will preserve a faithful few (1 Kings 19:18; Malachi 3:16-18). The Apostle Paul shows that salvation has always been by faith and that physical descent from Abraham was no automatic guarantee of God’s favor (Romans 9:8). He wrote that God’s OT promises still stand (Romans 11:26), for a remnant of the Jews will be preserved and in a future day “all Israel will be saved, as it is written.”
b.   33:17-24: The Mighty One – He is the Judiciary (our judge), the legislative power (our lawgiver) and the executive (our king who will save us) (33:22). Not only that, he is the healer of his people, both physical (33:23-24) and spiritual (33:24b). He is greater than any king of Israel (2 Kings 5:7-8; 2 Chronicles 7:14). But Jesus fulfilled that role as the King of Righteousness. He forgives sin and heals (Mark 2:9-12; 3:7-10; John 1:29; 8:1-11)
Invitation: Do you need healing and forgiveness of your sins? Do you know that King of Righteousness? Today is the day to bow the knee to Him. One day everyone will, but it will be too late at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Won’t you choose to serve him now?
Africa Bible Commentary, 832-3.
Larry Richards, Bible Readers Companion, 427.
F.F. Bruce, ed. International Bible Commentary, 742-3.

[1] ABC, 832.