Everett Baptist Church
March 12, 2023 AM Service
- Bible Trivia
- This Is My Father’s World
- When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
- Leaning on the Everlasting Arms
- IntroductionThere was a little girl who was home alone and ill. She called her mother at work and told her, “Momma, I need you and I need you really bad.” This mother asked to get off work and frantically rushed down to the corner drug store to bring home some medicine. She notices it was beginning to rain, but she thought she would just “run in and out” to get the medicine for her sick little girl. When she came back to her car, she noticed something quite different. You guessed it…she had locked her keys in the car. She ran inside to get help from the employees but none of them seemed to know what to do and finally gave her a clothes hanger and said, “good luck!” She ran back to her car, frantically trying to get the door open. The more she tried, the harder it rained and suddenly, it came down what we call, “an old fashion gully-washer”.Out of desperation, she cried out “Lord, I need your help and I need you right now!” Suddenly, an old pickup pulled right next to her. She looked up and saw this man approaching her. He was dirty, had a bandanna on top of his head with scars and tattoos all over his body. This guy was one which you wouldn’t want to come across, especially alone. Without thinking she approached this man and said, “Sir, could you possibly help me. My daughter is sick at home, and I have to get this medicine to her as soon as possible and I have locked my keys in the car.”Within a minute or two, this man successfully unlocked her car. Out of joy, she grabbed this man, giving him a huge hug, and said, “you’re such a nice man.” The man pushed her away and said, “no, ma’am, I am not! You see, I have just escaped from prison, and I steal cars for a living!” Without any hesitation, this woman looked up toward heaven and said, “Thanks, God, for sending a professional!”Who: IsaiahWhat: Prophesying the word of the LORD to the nation of JudahWhere: In JudahWhen: 8th century BC (some might argue for a later date, i.e., 6th century)Why: The people of Judah had made it a habit to leave the LORD for other false gods, worshiping idols and making sacrifices, even their own children.CONTRITE: filled with a sense of guilt and the desire for atonement; penitent:CORRUPT: debased in character; depraved; perverted; wicked; evil:The corruption started with the leadership (Isa 56:9-12)The corruption continued through widespread idol worship (Isa 57:1-13)Even in the midst of all of this, the LORD, rather than seeking vengeance, sought those who were far from Him as well as those who were near. He sought them to both comfort and correct in order that healing might come to them through His power.Isaiah 57:14-21Charge of the ContriteAll verbs are imperatives (commands)Isa 57:14 “14 And it shall be said, “Build up, build up, prepare the way, remove every obstruction from my people’s way.””
Isaiah 40:3 ESV3 A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Mark 1:2–3 ESV2 As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, “Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way, 3 the voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,’ ”beginsHow does one prepare the way? One needs first to see the immediate context of the passage. Just before this verse, there was a scathing passage concerning the rampant idol worship found within Judah. To prepare the way, they needed to acknowledge their folly, rid themselves of the stumbling blocks (so to speak), seek after God’s face.The same applies to us today. We must put aside all that is not of God and for God and to God and seek Him wholly.Comfort for the ContriteThis passage begins without identifying the LORD by name, but, rather, it identifies the LORD by by His characteristics. Further, the identification method draws from other passages of Scripture.Isa 57:15-16 “15 For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite. 16 For I will not contend forever, nor will I always be angry; for the spirit would grow faint before me, and the breath of life that I made.” Isaiah 6:1 ESV1 In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Isaiah 52:13 ESV13 Behold, my servant shall act wisely; he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted. Psalm 138:6 ESV6 For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly, but the haughty he knows from afar.Note the contrast of His dwelling, not only high and lifted up, but also with those who are lowly and contrite.God is both transcendent and immanent: transcendent in that He is entirely above us and beyond us, and immanent in that He is intimately present with us.Not only is God both transcendent and immanent, He is also eternal. Further, His very name is Holy: He is the very embodiment of what it means to be holy.We who come to worship Him dare to come before a holy, just, righteous, and mighty God, making requests of lesser or greater importance. We are, in comparison to Him, nothing, for without Him, we are, indeed, nothing.Why does He dwell with those of lowly and contrite spirit? TO REVIVE THEM! To give them newness of life.Note in v16 that He will not always be wrathful, for if He were to do so, nothing would survive it.Correction of the CorruptGod offered correction to the corrupt people, just as any parent would to a disobedient child.Isa 57:17 “17 Because of the iniquity of his unjust gain I was angry, I struck him; I hid my face and was angry, but he went on backsliding in the way of his own heart.” Isaiah 56:11 ESV11 The dogs have a mighty appetite; they never have enough. But they are shepherds who have no understanding; they have all turned to their own way, each to his own gain, one and all. Jeremiah 6:13 ESV13 “For from the least to the greatest of them, everyone is greedy for unjust gain; and from prophet to priest, everyone deals falsely.As we can see from these other verses, the iniquity o their unjust gain was fed by there greed and pride.God offered opportunity to repent both by striking them and by removing His presence from them.Concern for the CorruptIn stark contrast to the previous verse, God demonstrates His love and concern for His creation.Isa 57:18-19 “18 I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will lead him and restore comfort to him and his mourners, 19 creating the fruit of the lips. Peace, peace, to the far and to the near,” says the Lord, “and I will heal him.” Romans 5:8 ESV8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.God knows our ways, desires, limitations, temptations, inclinations, our history, and our future. In spite of all of this, He still desires that we accept His offer of salvation and deliverance. 2 Peter 3:9 ESV9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.Peace is what He offers. Not only peace, but exceptional peace. Notice the doubling of the word. Many times in Hebrew when there is a doubled word like this, there is an emphatic nature intended.Who should receive this peace? All who repent, regardless of them being near or far. Isaiah 2:3 ESV3 and many peoples shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. Acts 2:39 ESV39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” Ephesians 2:13 ESV13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. Ephesians 2:17 ESV17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near.What does the LORD promise he will do? He will heal them!Condemnation of the CorruptIsa 57:20-21 “20 But the wicked are like the tossing sea; for it cannot be quiet, and its waters toss up mire and dirt. 21 There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.””In verse 20, we run into a problem, though: there are those who desire only to be wicked and to be so habitually.This brings to mind a passage in James where there is one who is tossed about by the waves of the sea. James 1:5–6 ESV5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.Jude mentions some like those corrupt in Isaiah 57:20. Jude 12–13 ESV12 These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; 13 wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.The chapter concludes with God pronouncing an utter lack of peace for those who remain in their wicked ways.ConclusionWhat is the answer to the wickedness? How is one delivered from such a trap?Jesus is the only answer.He says in Matthew 5:3 Matthew 5:3 ESV3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.One must become lowly and poor in spirit. One must become contrite and desire deliverance and atonement.Just like that mother with the keys locked in her car cried out at last for help from the LORD, we too must cry out. She may, from the perspective of the story told, appear to be neared to God than the man who helped her, but even that man is not too far for salvation and deliverance.We must answer the charge of the contrite in verse 14. We must prepare the way of the LORD, and clear any obstacles or obstructions that might get in the way of us or others.
- My Jesus, I Love Thee
- Bible Trivia
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