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Leviticus 6:1-7 (Cont.)

God's Plea Bargain - Part II

1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying, 2 If a soul sin, and commit a trespass against the LORD, and lie unto his neighbor in that which was delivered him to keep, or in fellowship, or in a thing taken away by violence, or hath deceived his neighbor; 3 Or have found that which was lost, and lieth concerning it, and sweareth falsely; in any of all these that a man doeth, sinning therein: 4 Then it shall be, because he hath sinned, and is guilty, that he shall restore that which he took violently away, or the thing which he hath deceitfully gotten, or that which was delivered him to keep, or the lost thing which he found, 5 Or all that about which he hath sworn falsely; he shall even restore it in the principal, and shall add the fifth part more thereto, and give it unto him to whom it appertaineth, in the day of his trespass offering. 6 And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the LORD, a ram without blemish out of the flock, with thy estimation, for a trespass offering, unto the priest: 7 And the priest shall make an atonement for him before the LORD: and it shall be forgiven him for any thing of all that he hath done in trespassing therein.

The first sin that is presented in this section of the trespass-offering is breach of trust. In ancient times there were no bankers. Traveling could be very dangerous and one would certainly not carry all of his wealth with him on the journey. A man who needed to travel would leave his money and/or his estate in the care of a friend. Upon his return, it was not uncommon to find that his friend no longer had his property or that his friend was claiming certain items to be his own.

Similarly, a person might loan property or money to a friend and then have trouble collecting what was owed. The friend might lie and say that the item was lost or that it wasn't very good and had broken while being used. He might even claim that he had already returned the item or the money and that the lender must have forgotten about it or lost the item.

This type of dispute is very common even today. Having an inner city ministry, the most frequent request that I receive is to lend someone money, and they will surely pay it back on payday. However, that has never happened, and I have learned not to lend money to anyone, because it causes a bitter resentment to know that they have lied and cheated me. Instead, I freely give that which I can afford and I expect nothing in return. It is much easier to live with myself when I never have any expectations of anyone but God.

The second sin in this passage of scripture is the sin of broken fellowship. This most likely refers to business partnerships in which one partner cheats the other or in which one friend posts a security for the other who subsequently betrays his trust and causes him to lose his deposit. Parents who have co-signed a note for one of their children will understand the risk and the disappointment involved, if the child does not pay back the loan.

The third instance is that of something taken by violence. It is a robbery or outright theft that may or may not involve physical force.

The fourth is that of deceiving a neighbor. The Hebrew word implies some sort of oppression, and some translators call it extortion and it certainly needs no explanation to anyone with even the simplest sense of what is right or wrong.

The fifth sin is the finding of a lost item that does not belong to you and not returning it to its rightful owner. The person might lie and say that it was his or might swear that he had not found the item. It always makes a good news story when someone finds a large amount of cash and makes an effort to find the rightful owner and return the money. However, I also know of an instance where a man found several thousand dollars in a grocery store and gave the money to the store manager who then secretly kept the money for himself. That manager in that case is guilty of the sin described in our passage.

Any of these types of sin against the property of other people were punished by heavy penalties (See Exodus 22); but, when and if the guilty party came forward and confessed, he was granted mercy. He could repay his debt along with only a twenty percent penalty and then make a trespass offering of a ram to the priest who would make atonement for him.

We are fortunate to have a God whose laws grant mercy to those who will repent. We are even more fortunate that He has given us His only begotten Son who was made sin for us. Jesus is our trespass-offering. Now, let us repent of our sins, make restitution for those things we have stolen, confess our sins and enjoy the goodness of His grace.

Before The Throne:

God's grace is so wonderful! Have you found His forgiveness? Ask God to help you forgive those who have taken advantage of you by betraying your trust or stealing from you in some way that has angered or really hurt you. Pray for them to find faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and to have the peace of knowing that their sins are forgiven. Ask the Lord to help you love your enemies.

For Further Study:

(v.2) ** commit: Lev 5:15, 19; Num 5:6-8; Psa 51:4; ** lie: Lev 19:11; Gen 26:7; Joh 8:44; Act 5:4; Eph 4:25; Col 3:9; Rev 22:15; ** in that: Exo 22:7-10; ** in fellowship: Isa 21:2; 24:16; 33:1; Hab 1:13; ** deceived: Pro 24:28; 26:19; Isa 59:13-15; Jer 9:5; Amo 8:5; Mic 6:10-12;

(v.3) ** have found: Exo 23:4; Deu 22:1-3; ** sweareth: Lev 19:12; Exo 22:9-11; Pro 30:9; Jer 5:2; 7:9; Zec 5:4; Mal 3:5;

(v.4) ** because: Lev 4:13-15; 5:3-4; ** which he: Gen 21:25; Job 20:19; 24:2; Isa 59:6; Eze 18:7, 12, 18; Amo 3:10; Mic 2:2; Zep 1:9;

(v.5) ** restore: Lev 5:16; Exo 22:1, 4, 7, 22:9; Num 5:7-8; 1Sa 12:3; 2Sa 12:6; Pro 6:30-31; Isa 58:6, 9; Luk 19:8; ** of his trespass offering: Mat 5:23-24;

(v.6) ** a ram: Lev 5:15, 18; Isa 53:10-11;

(v.7) ** make: Lev 4:20, 26, 31; 5:10, 13, 15-16, 18; Exo 34:7; Eze 18:21-23, 26, 27; Eze 33:14-16, 19; Mic 7:18; 1Jo 1:7, 9; 2:1-2; ** it shall be: Isa 1:18; Mat 12:31; 1Co 6:9-11;

Isaiah 2:18-22

A Return to the Earth

18 And the idols he shall utterly abolish. 19 And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth. 20 In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made [each one] for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats; 21 To go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth. 22 Cease ye from man, whose breath [is] in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?"

Today, people tend to think of idolatry as a thing of the past, but it is still very prevalent. There are people in the United States who worship trees, "Mother Earth" and crystals. A typical household in India might have dozens or even hundreds of man made figures, which are worshipped as gods. Buddhism is a good example of a modern religion centered on an idol. The truth is that idolatry is just as prevalent today as it was over 2500 years ago.

The eighteenth verse of Isaiah's second chapter consists of only three words in the Hebrew text. "Idols utterly abolish." As though breathed in disgust for them, Isaiah dismisses them as not being worth the time and effort to mention. God shall utterly and totally abolish them; they are as nothing and are capable of nothing. Your crystals can do nothing; they have no healing or magical powers. And, hugging a tree will not change your life or give you any comfort.

Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, saying, "As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol [is] nothing in the world, and that [there is] none other God but one." (1 Corinthians 8:4) The power of idols is nothing, and rests only in the corrupted imagination of mankind.

When the day of the Lord comes, people will be hiding in caves and in the clefts of rocks. Compare verse 19 with the following:

"And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb." (Revelation 6:15-16)
The idols that they worshipped will be powerless to help them. Many will be casting aside their idols out of fear and shame, but it will be too late. Their idols will be left for the moles and the bats. This is a disgusting picture for idol worshippers. Both bats and moles are blind and live in the dark, damp places. They are both ugly, revolting little creatures. The caves in Israel are inhabited by thousands of bats, and the smell from their droppings is disgusting. This is who will inherit the idols of proud men.

The LORD will come and His glory will shake the earth. Even the wealthy, the kings, and dignitaries will seek refuge in the cold, dark smelly caves. Their lavish confident lifestyles will be traded for cold, dark terror.

Therefore, Isaiah ends this section of the prophecy with the command, "Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted." We are called to stop placing our trust in men, in their creations, in their inventions, and in their ideas or philosophies. There is breath in their nostrils. It was placed there by God and, without Him, man is nothing.

"Put not your trust in princes, [nor] in the son of man, in whom [there is] no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish." (Psalms 146:3-4) When a man dies, he becomes dust again. How appropriate it is to picture him running to the caves and disappearing into the earth from which he came!

No man will be able to help us in that day. Our only hope will be in our relationship with Jesus Christ. If He knows us and has our name written in His book of life, we shall be saved. It is, therefore, so important that we experience the saving grace of our LORD and receive Him as our Lord and Savior. Submit yourself to Him and trust Him to supply all of your needs. When He returns, it will not matter what you know... but whom you know.

Before The Throne:

Ask the Lord to strengthen your faith and to help you trust in Him for your food, shelter, clothing, health, safety and salvation. Commit yourself to serving Him and He will provide all of these other things. Pray for the ones whom you know that are caught up in idolatry, witchcraft, the occult and other false religions. Pray that God would reveal the truth to them and would allow you to minister to them. Praise Him for your salvation and for all of His wonderful blessings.

For Further Study:

(v.18) ** the idols. Is 27:9; Eze 36:25; 37:23; Ho 14:8; Zep 1:3; Zec 13:2;

(v.19) ** And they. Is 10,21; 1Sa 13:6; 14:11; Jer 16:16; Ho 10:8; Mic 7:17; Lu 23:30; Heb 11:38; Re 6:15; 9:6; ** for fear. 2Th 1:9; * when he. Is 30:32; Ps 7:6; 18:6-15; 76:7-9; 114:5-7; Mic 1:3,4; Na 1:3-6; Hab 3:3-14; Hag 2:6,21,22; Heb 12:26; 2Pe 3:10-13; Re 6:12-14; 11:13,19; 16:18; 20:11;

(v.20) ** cast. Is 30:22; 31:7; 46:1; Ho 14:8; Php 3:7,8; ** his idols of silver. Is 46:6;

(v.21) ** go. Ex 33:22; Job 30:6; So 2:14;

(v.22) ** Cease. Ps 62:9; 146:3; Jer 17:5; ** whose. Ge 2:7; 7:22; Job 27:3; ** for wherein. Job 7:15-21;

Isaiah 2:12-17

Exalting the Savior

12 For the day of the LORD of hosts [shall be] upon every [one that is] proud and lofty, and upon every [one that is] lifted up; and he shall be brought low: 13 And upon all the cedars of Lebanon, [that are] high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan, 14 And upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills [that are] lifted up, 15 And upon every high tower, and upon every fenced wall, 16 And upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures. 17 And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.

Pride is the most dangerous emotion that mankind has had to deal. It is the ultimate expression of self-centeredness, making men feel like they can accomplish anything that they set their minds to do. Proud men do not feel like they need God. But, God's word warns us against pride. "Pride [goeth] before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. Better [it is to be] of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud." (Proverbs 16:18-19)

Isaiah said that the day of the LORD of hosts will come upon everyone that is proud and lofty. The day in which the power and the majesty of the LORD of hosts will sweep the earth like a storm, will affect everyone and everything. Every proud person will be brought down and made to see that, compared to God, he or she is nothing. Every thing that is lifted up and everything in which man has placed his trust will be brought low and destroyed.

The entire creation has been under the curse since the fall of Adam, and men have continued since then to corrupt it even more. They have taken the things that God has created and have held them in higher esteem than God Himself. So, God will demonstrate to the world that these "things" are not so great, and Isaiah begins to list some of them in these verses.

"Mount Lebanon bounded Palestine on the north. It was formerly much celebrated for its large and lofty cedars. These cedars were from thirty-five to forty feet in girth, and very high. They were magnificent trees, and were valuable for ceiling: statues, or roofs, that required durable, and beautiful timber. The roof of the temple of Diana of Ephesus, according to Pliny, was of cedar, and no small part of the temple of Solomon was of this wood." (Albert Barnes) The people valued the beauty of these trees and prided themselves in the structures that they had made from them.

Bashan was the area just south of Damascus and east of the Jordan. The trees of Bashan were large oak trees valued for their timbers and often worshipped by the heathen.

Some scholars have interpreted the trees as a symbolical representation of the princes and rulers of the area, but that is an unnecessary stretch of the imagination. These highly valued articles were used to bolster the pride of men.

The surrounding mountains were natural barriers of protection from outside attack, while the rocks and caves of the mountains served as a place of refuge in such times of trouble. However, there would be no place of refuge for the people of Israel in the day of the LORD, because there was no place that He could not reach.

Every high tower and fenced wall would also be brought down. The high tower served as a sort of fortress. Some of these towers were thought by the people to be impenetrable. They were not only a source of pride, but were also something in which the people had placed their trust. God would penetrate their defenses and bring them down.

It is uncertain where the city of Tarshish was located. Scholars have speculated on locations ranging from India to Greenland. However, it appears that the ships from that port traveled great distances and were heavily relied on for trade and travel. There is a question about the meaning of the "pleasant pictures" of verse 16. Scholars no believe that it should be rendered, "pleasant ships," which fits well with the rest of the verse. Both the commercial vessels and the pleasure boats, which were a symbol of pride and self-reliance, would suffer destruction at God's hands.

Isaiah finishes this section of the chapter by repeating that the pride of men will be brought down and only God will be exalted in that day. As we said before, this will be ultimately fulfilled at the return of Jesus, but it should not deter us from exalting Him today. Jesus is the LORD of hosts. "Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name." (Philippians 2:9) While we, His church, wait for the day of the LORD of hosts, we must recognize Him as our Savior and worship His name above every other name. We should allow nothing in God's creation to distract us from serving Him and proclaiming His gospel to the world.

Before The Throne:

What things are the sources of pride in your life? Your home? Your work? Your car? Your ministry? Your children? Confess them to God and ask Him to help you keep those things in their proper perspective. Ask Him to help you order your priorities... God first, then family, and church third. Everything else should be dedicated to serving them in that order. What things have you relied upon for your day to day survival? Acknowledge that those things are only gifts from God. Pray to Him, asking for His day to day support, protection and blessings. Always pray for the opportunity to tell someone about Jesus and to exalt His name.

For Further Study:

(v.12) ** the day. Is 13:6,9; Jer 46:10; Eze 13:5; Am 5:18; Mal 4:5; 1Co 5:5; 1Th 5:2; ** upon. Is 23:9; Pr 6:16,17; 16:5; Da 4:37; 5:20-24; Mt 23:12; Lu 14:11; Jas 4:6;

(v.13) Is 10:33,34; 14:8; 37:24; Eze 31:3-12; Am 2:5; Zec 11:1,2;

(v.14) Is 30:25; 40:4; Ps 68:16; 110:5,6; 2Co 10:5;

(v.16) ** the ships. Is 23:1; 1Ki 10:22; 22:48,49; Ps 47:7; Re 18:17-19; ** pleasant pictures. Nu 33:52; Re 18:11;

(v.17) ** the loftiness. Is 13:11; Jer 48:29,30; Eze 28:2-7;

Isaiah 2:10-11

Hiding in the Dust

10 Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty. 11 The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day."

Turning his attention back to the people of Israel who had refused to repent, Isaiah issued a different kind of invitation. "Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust," he shouted.

These proud people had been blessed with enormous prosperity. They were proud of their accomplishments, proud of their wealth, proud of their immorality and proud of their religiosity. They had no fear of God left in their society. They saw no need for Him.

An article in a recent newspaper caught my attention. The headline said, "U.S. immorality fuels terrorism of radical Muslims, Experts say." Have we not hit the bottom of the miry pit when even a bunch of heathen murderers can justify their crimes by pointing to our immorality? Let's face the facts. The pilgrims came here on the Mayflower to establish a nation that would glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. That same nation is now one of the most immoral nations in the world. We are proud of our immorality, proud of our wealth, proud of our accomplishments, and even proud of our charity.

"Enter into the rock and hide thee in the dust!" Do we really believe that God had no power to stop the 9/11 disaster or that He was not in control of our history? People were forced to run from their fancy office towers and literally hide in the dust, but that was nothing compared to what Isaiah was predicting and neither was the recent tsunami that left hundreds of thousands dead and millions homeless in Asia. These were just foretastes of the day of the LORD.

America will never return to her status as "One Nation Under God" unless her people are told the truth that it is not the wrath of the radical Muslims that we need to fear. "And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him." (Luke 12:4-5)

Isaiah's statement that, "The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down," was no longer a plea for humility. It was a declaration saying that proud men will not have a choice in the matter. "That no flesh should glory in his presence." (1 Corinthians 1:29) When men are driven out of the comfort and luxury of their homes to run in fear for their lives, when they are driven to hide in the rocks and the dust of destruction, and when the power and wrath of God make the recent tsunami look like a ripple in a pond, men will be humbled. They will have nothing left to be proud about.

The glory of the Lord will be seen sweeping across the earth, so magnificent and awesome that only He shall be exalted. While sinners try to do the impossible and hide from God, the saints will be singing:

"And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous [are] thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true [are] thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for [thou] only [art] holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest." (Revelation 15:3-4)

Before The Throne:

We fight a serious spiritual battle every moment of every day, trying to keep immoral thoughts from our minds, immoral actions out of our society, and the glory of God as our focus. The battle must always begin with prayer. Ask God to help you bring every thought under His control. Ask His Holy Spirit to sweep across this nation and make it the example of holiness and righteousness for the rest of the world to follow. Ask Him to show you how you can do your part to restore morality and a fear of God to our society. Pray for Him to show mercy to our nation.

For Further Study:

(v.10) ** Enter. Is 19-21; 10:3; 42:22; Jud 6:1,2; Job 30:5,6; Ho 10:8; Lu 23:30; Re 6:15,16; ** for fear. Is 6:3-5; Job 31:23; 37:22-24; Ps 90:11; Jer 10:7,10; Lu 12:5; Re 15:3,4;

(v.11) ** lofty. Is 5:15,16; 13:11; 24:21; Job 40:10-12; Ps 18:27; Jer 50:31,32; Mal 4:1; Lu 18:14; 1Pe 5:5; ** and the Lord. Is 5:16; 12:4; Jer 9:24; 1Co 1:29-31; 2Co 10:17; ** in that day. Is 4:1; 11:10,11; 12:1,4; 24:21; 25:9; 26:1; 27:1,2,12,13; 28:5; 29:18; 30:23; 52:6; Jer 30:7,8; Eze 38:14,19; 39:11,22; Ho 2:16,18,21; Joe 3:18; Am 9:11; Ob 1:8; Mic 4:6; 5:10; 7:11,12; Zep 3:11,16; Zec 9:16;

Isaiah 2:5-9

Walk In the Light

5 O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the LORD. 6 Therefore thou hast forsaken thy people the house of Jacob, because they be replenished from the east, and are soothsayers like the Philistines, and they please themselves in the children of strangers. 7 Their land also is full of silver and gold, neither is there any end of their treasures; their land is also full of horses, neither is there any end of their chariots: 8 Their land also is full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made: 9 And the mean man boweth down, and the great man humbleth himself: therefore forgive them not.

In light of the fact that people from all nations of the world were going to flow up to Mount Zion to be taught the word of God and to learn how to walk in His ways, Isaiah now turns back to his own people and says, "Come ye, and let us walk in the light of the LORD." In light of the fact that the nations would lay aside their weapons of war and no longer resort to violence as a means to solve their problems, Isaiah reminded the house of Jacob that they, as God's chosen people, were not learning the way of peace. Israel is referred to as the house of Jacob to remind them that they were his descendants and heirs to the promises that God made to him and to his forefathers before him.

Isaiah invites his people to walk in the light, in the revelation and knowledge of salvation that was promised to them through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The Gentiles would receive the promise, but God's people to whom it was given were going to miss it.

As though in the same breath, Isaiah turned to God and said, "That is why you have forsaken them! They are replenished from the east."

The people of Israel had abandoned their relationship with God and had taken up the wizardry of eastern philosophies and religion. They had become soothsayers and had entertained the ideologies of foreigners. Their wealth had become their god and they worshipped things that they themselves had made.

Anything that man creates, whether it be idols, machines, works of art, philosophies or wealth, can become the focus of his worship, if he is not careful. Who cannot remember having done something or made something of which he was proud? Such things can become our idols very easily. Music composers and artists, who have thrown themselves so completely into their work that they never think of God, have replaced Him with their own creations. Likewise, businessmen who are workaholics are worshipping the works of their own hands. Even our ministries can get in the way of our relationship with God when they no longer allow us the time to pray and study and to be close to Him.

God never really forsakes His people. Instead, His people turn away from Him and lose the blessings that came with the relationship. Therefore, the mean man, the ordinary man, will be made to bow down; and the great man, or the wealthy man, will be forced to humble himself in the presence of God.

Isaiah said, "Forgive them not!" It is not clear whether he is speaking to the Lord or to the church as the angel speaks concerning Babylon in Revelation 18:6. "Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double. How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her." (Revelation 18:6-8) There is no forgiveness for idolaters who do not repent and come to Jesus Christ for their salvation.

Therefore, this message is good for every one of God's people to remember. "If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." (1 John 1:6-7)

Before The Throne:

Begin your prayer time with confession of your sins and be forgiven. Ask God to help you lay aside everything with which you seem to be obsessed and that could interfere in your relationship with Him. Then, pray for those around you who are not walking in the light. Pray for the workaholic whom you know and for all of those who are obsessed with things and not with God. Pray for the greedy, the wealthy, the wise and the ordinary man who does not know Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. Pray for the light to shine in their hearts. Ask God to make you a light unto them and thank Him for the opportunity.

For Further Study:

(v.5) ** come ye. Is 50:10,11; 60:1,19; Ps 89:15; Lu 1:79; Joh 12:35,36; Ro 13:12-14; Eph 5:8; 1Th 5:5,6; 1Jo 1:7; Re 21:23,24 ;

(v.6) ** Therefore. De 31:16,17; 2Ch 15:2; 24:20; La 5:20; Ro 11:1,2,20; ** from the east. Nu 23:7; ** and are. Is 8:19; 47:12,13; Ex 22:18; Le 19:31; 20:6; De 18:10-14; 1Ch 10:13; ** and they. Ex 34:16; Nu 25:1,2; De 21:11-13; 1Ki 11:1,2; Ne 13:23; Ps 106:35; Jer 10:2;

(v.7) ** land. De 17:16,17; 1Ki 10:21-27; 2Ch 9:20-25; Jer 5:27,28; Jas 5:1-3; Re 18:3,11-17; ** their land is. Is 30:16; 31:1; De 17:16; 1Ki 4:26; 10:26; Ps 20:7; Ho 14:3:

(v.8 ) ** is full. Is 57:5; 2Ch 27:2; 28:2-4,23-25; 33:3-7; Jer 2:28; 11:13; Eze 16:23-25; Ho 12:11; Ac 17:16; ** worship. Is 37:19; 44:15-20; De 4:28; Ps 115:4-8; Ho 8:6; 13:2; 14:3; Re 9:20;

(v.9) ** the mean. Is 5:15; Ps 49:2; Jer 5:4,5; Ro 3:23; Re 6:15-17; ** humbleth. Is 57:9; Col 2:18,23; ** therefore. Is 27:11; Jos 24:19; Jer 18:23; Mr 3:29;

Isaiah 2:4

The Promise of Peace

4 And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

What will be the end result of this massive flow of people into the kingdom of God?

They will learn His laws and His ways and they will understand that His gospel is a gospel of peace. They will learn, "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." (Matthew 5:44) Every Christian has heard or read that verse, but God's promise is that we will actually begin to practice it, not only as individuals but as nations.

Yahweh will be the judge among the nations. They will trust Him to settle all disputes, and He will do this as the Son of God and through His church. "Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead." (Acts 17:31)

And, as members of the body of Christ, we will be involved in the justice process. "Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?" (1 Corinthians 6:2)

This responsibility begins right now. We are to rebuke many people by calling them to repent of their sins and to turn to Jesus Christ as their Savior. We are to say, "Let us go up to the mountain of the LORD," and, as individual hearts are changed, the eventuality is for nations to be changed.

"Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this." (Isaiah 9:7)

There will no longer be any use for the instruments of war. The people will no longer learn about war. Fighting and violence as a way of solving disputes will be something completely foreign to the way we think.

"Say among the heathen that the LORD reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people righteously. Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof. Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice Before the LORD: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth." (Psalms 96:10-13)

We have the most wonderful message ever given to mankind. "The LORD reigneth!" With that comes the promise of eternal life, the promise of justice for all, the promise of a personal inner peace and the promise of world peace. It will not be completed until the Lord Jesus returns, but He is coming sooner than we think.

Spread the word!

Before The Throne:

Do you have that inner peace right now? Have you learned to turn all problems and disputes over to the Lord and trust Him for the solution? Pray about that. Ask Him to rid you of all hatred, of all feelings of anger, of your prejudices, and of any vindictiveness that hides itself within your heart. Ask God to give you the gift of righteous judgment. Pray that He will help you spread a gospel of peace. Ask Him to cause the nations to begin, even now, laying down their weapons and to bring peace to the earth.

For Further Study:

(v.4) ** And he. Is 11:3,4; 1Sa 2:10; Ps 82:8; 96:13; 110:6; Joh 16:8-11; Ac 17:31; Re 19:11; ** and they. Is 9:7; 11:6-9; Ps 46:9; Ho 2:18; Joe 3:10; Mic 4:3; Zec 9:10; ** neither. Is 60:17,18; Ps 72:3-7;

Isaiah 2:3

Exciting News

3 And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

As the kingdom of Yahweh is lifted up and exalted above all other nations and governments, all nations flow to it (v.2). Many peoples of the earth, i.e. the Gentiles, will go to the kingdom of God (v.3). When we compare Hebrews 12:22-23, it is evident that Isaiah is speaking about the church of Jesus Christ.

"But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, (23) To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect."

The passage implies that the people come to the church in order to learn the ways of God. They want to learn to walk in His ways. These are people whose hearts have been changed and are seeking to live a holy and righteous lifestyle. The church, which is called "Zion" and "Jerusalem," is the hub from which the law and the word of God originate. The gospel of Jesus Christ is being sent forth from there.

Furthermore, the priests are no longer the teachers of the word. God Himself will teach His people the word, for He is the One who invited them to come, He is the One who changed their hearts so that they would desire to come, and He is the only source of truth.

Jesus made the promise that, "...the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (John 14:26)

People in the church, such as myself, your pastor, Sunday School teacher, etc., will declare the word of God and try to explain it to you, but only the Holy Spirit can give you a clear knowledge and understanding of it. He works through our words and efforts to teach you the truth.

It should be further noted that the people are excited about the doctrine that is being taught in the church of Christ. They invite others to join them, saying, "Come ye, and let us go..." Isaiah's prophecy was pointing his people to the good news that would be coming from the mountain of the LORD. It was exciting news that would draw people from all over the world into the church.

Do you feel that excitement today? Are you calling your friends and acquaintances to say, "Come on up to the house of the LORD. He has good news for you?" God has promised us through Isaiah's prophesy that many will come... not everyone, but many. However, you are the key. If you have the desire to walk in His ways and if He is teaching you His doctrines, you should be excited.

"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." (Matthew 28:19-20)

Before The Throne:

Praise God for allowing you to see this important time in the history of His church and to be a part of it. Ask God to renew your heart daily with the excitement of His gospel. Ask Him to be your personal instructor as you study His word each day. Pray that you will have the boldness and the fervor to tell others and that many will come.

For Further Study:

(v.3) ** Come ye. Jer 31:6; 50:4,5; Zec 8:20-23; ** he will teach. Is 54:13; De 6:1; Ps 25:8,9,12-14; Jer 31:33-34; Mt 7:24; Lu 11:28; Joh 6:45; 7:17; 6:13-14; Ac 10:33; 1Co 2:10-13; Eph 1:17; Jas 1:25; 1Jo 2:20,27; Rev 2:11 ** for out. Is 51:4,5; Ps 110:2; Lu 24:47; Ac 1:8; 13:46-48; Ro 10:18:

Isaiah 2:1-2

The Upward Flow

1 The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. 2 And it shall come to pass in the last days, [that] the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.

The second chapter of Isaiah begins a new prophecy, which continues through the fourth chapter. The title is similar to the main title in Chapter 1, the primary difference being that this is the "word" that Isaiah saw instead of the "vision" of the first chapter. Some commentators have tried to make distinctions between God's words and Isaiah's words. John D. W. Watts even speculates that the book was originally presented as a play and he divides the dialogue between various speakers, heralds, the earth and the heavenly hosts. The fact is, however, that the entire book is the word of God. We do not know how Isaiah "saw" the word, but we know that it was not his own word. Every word of God is pure, and the messenger is totally irrelevant.

The second distinction between the two parts of the prophecy is the time of the writing. There is no clue to tell us when this second part was written but, since the title in 1:1 is the title of the whole book, this was probably written in the early part of Isaiah's ministry during the reign of Uzziah or Jotham.

The prophecy is clearly speaking of the "last days," or the day of the Messiah, and the second verse speaks about the establishment of Yahweh's house. God's house would be established forever. According to Edward J. Young, this should be interpreted as a condition that would already exist at the time of the Messiah and not as a "future passive" verb. I have always thought of God's house as having been established in eternity past. Ignorant mankind has simply failed to recognize it.

To the people of Isaiah's time, "the mountain of the LORD's house" would have meant, "mount Moriah," where the temple was built. It would be exalted above all other mountains, sacred in its function, and superior even to Mount Sinai where the law was given. The presence and power of God would once again be established there and God would be "exalted," worshipped and desired in a way that had never been done before on the earth.

The word "mountain" is often used in prophecy to signify a kingdom or government. The temple was a mere shadow of things to come. It represented the kingdom of God, which would be ushered in by the Messiah who would enforce justice, righteousness and peace. The kingdom of God will be exalted above all other governments. Jesus Christ is Lord of lords and King of kings and He has been given all power and authority over heaven and earth.

"...and all nations shall flow unto it." What a great picture this gives of the force of the gospel of Jesus Christ! The nations flow toward Him like water running uphill. The people of every nationality and race will be drawn upward toward the house of God. They will defeat the force of gravity; they will defeat the power of sin, which tends to pull them down; and they will be drawn upward by the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the power of God unto salvation.

The Hebrew word from which we have translated "flow" originally meant, "to sparkle," or "to give light." A running brook or stream will sparkle as the light reflects off of it and, thus, the word came to mean, "to flow." However, Jesus is the light of the world and He expected His followers to reflect that light. What a perfect choice of words Isaiah used when He said, "...and all nations shall flow unto it." They will flow upward toward the exalted kingdom, they will sparkle with the light of Jesus Christ, and there will be no more darkness in this world.

Which way does your river flow? Are you being pulled downward into the darkness of sin, unable to resist the natural force of temptation; or are you being pulled upward by the supernatural force of His word toward the kingdom of Jesus Christ, reflecting the sparkle and brilliance of His light?

"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 5:16)

Before The Throne:

Take some time to meditate on the glory of the kingdom of God. Focus on it as your future home and think about getting there to hear the word's, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant." What will it take to be able to hear those words from your Lord? Pray that Jesus Christ will shine His light through you. Ask Him to help you resist the temptations of self-centered living and to clearly show you the way to a Christ-centered life. Ask Him to help you join the stream of people who are truly upwardly mobile. Praise Him for lighting the way.

For Further Study:

(v.1) ** saw. Is 1:1; 13:1; Am 1:1; Mic 1:1; 6:9; Hab 1:1;

(v.2) ** And it shall. Mic 4:1-3; ** in the last. Ge 49:1; Nu 24:14; Job 19:25; Jer 23:20; 30:24; 48:47; 49:39; Eze 38:16; Da 2:28; 10:14; Ac 2:17; 2Ti 3:1; Heb 1:2; 2Pe 3:3; ** the mountain. Is 30:29; Ps 68:15,16; Da 2:35,45; Zec 8:3; Re 20:4; 21:10-27; ** and all. Is 11:10; 27:13; 49:6; 60:11,12; Ps 2:8; 22:27; 72:8,17-19; 86:9; Jer 3:17; Mal 3:12; Re 11:15;

Leviticus 6:1-7

God's Plea Bargain - Part I

1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying, 2 If a soul sin, and commit a trespass against the LORD, and lie unto his neighbor in that which was delivered him to keep, or in fellowship, or in a thing taken away by violence, or hath deceived his neighbor; 3 Or have found that which was lost, and lieth concerning it, and sweareth falsely; in any of all these that a man doeth, sinning therein: 4 Then it shall be, because he hath sinned, and is guilty, that he shall restore that which he took violently away, or the thing which he hath deceitfully gotten, or that which was delivered him to keep, or the lost thing which he found, 5 Or all that about which he hath sworn falsely; he shall even restore it in the principal, and shall add the fifth part more thereto, and give it unto him to whom it appertaineth, in the day of his trespass offering. 6 And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the LORD, a ram without blemish out of the flock, with thy estimation, for a trespass offering, unto the priest: 7 And the priest shall make an atonement for him before the LORD: and it shall be forgiven him for any thing of all that he hath done in trespassing therein.

These verses should be included in the previous chapter, because they continue to deal with the trespass offering. The offenses included here are those offenses that are committed against the rights of other persons, whereas the previous offering dealt with offenses against God.

At the same time, we have to realize that all offenses are against God. Jesus said, "Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." (Matthew 25:40) If only we could remember that before we acted to harm someone, the world would be such a better place to live.

King David was a murderer and an adulterer, yet he was God's beloved son, because he understood how his sins against others had affected his relationship with God. He wrote, "Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest." (Psalms 51:4) It is on this premise that this section of scripture begins.

When a man violates another man's rights to his property, he trespasses against the LORD. It is said that Thomas Jefferson had originally written in the Declaration of Independence that our God given rights included "Life, liberty, and the ownership of property." The passage of scripture that we are studying, among others, secures the right to own property.

There is one other thing that must be taken into consideration before we continue. There is a radical difference between this passage and other passages, which deal with the same right to own property. For example, compare it with, "If a man shall deliver unto his neighbor money or stuff to keep, and it be stolen out of the man's house; if the thief be found, let him pay double. If the thief be not found, then the master of the house shall be brought unto the judges, to see whether he have put his hand unto his neighbor's goods. For all manner of trespass, whether it be for ox, for ass, for sheep, for raiment, or for any manner of lost thing, which another challengeth to be his, the cause of both parties shall come before the judges; and whom the judges shall condemn, he shall pay double unto his neighbor." (Exodus 22:7-9)

You will see that the Exodus passage appears to enforce a much stricter penalty for the same or very similar offenses. It is important for us to recognize the difference between the two. In Exodus 22, the law is dealing with cases that were resolved through the judicial system. The accused was found guilty and sentenced to pay double that which he had taken from his neighbor.

In our passage, however, the guilty party is not brought before a judge but recognizes that what he has done was wrong, confesses his sin, makes restitution for it, pays an additional twenty percent and then offers a trespass offering to the LORD. In Exodus 22, the offender felt no guilt and even denied his guilt, while in Leviticus 6:1-8 the guilty party suffers remorse and voluntarily confesses and repents of his sin. Therefore, he is only required to pay an extra twenty percent. This was more like an ancient form of our modern plea agreement, except it provided a greater degree of equity.

The lesson to be learned here is that God cannot be fooled and is much more merciful toward those of us who will admit our sins and repent. "If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us." (1 John 1:10) God's law takes this into consideration and he is faithful to forgive us of all sins when we are faithful enough to confess.

In Young's Literal Translation, it says, "Fools mock at a guilt-offering, And among the upright--a pleasing thing." (Proverbs 14:9 YLT) Only a fool would think that he can hide his sins from our omniscient God, but a wise and righteous person will confess and make his trespass-offering. For Christians, Christ has made the ultimate offering, but the confession and repentance is left for us to do.

(To be continued)

Before The Throne:

Be quick to confess your sins and to ask for forgiveness. We live in a world where a person has very few property rights left. Government has been used to take property from one person and to give it to others. Ask the Lord to help you find ways to re-establish the right of ownership, the pursuit of happiness, in the city or area where you live. Ask Him to bring equitable justice back to our society.

For Further Study:

(v.2) ** commit: Lev 5:15, 19; Num 5:6-8; Psa 51:4; ** lie: Lev 19:11; Gen 26:7; Joh 8:44; Act 5:4; Eph 4:25; Col 3:9; Rev 22:15; ** in that: Exo 22:7-10; ** in fellowship: Isa 21:2; 24:16; 33:1; Hab 1:13; ** deceived: Pro 24:28; 26:19; Isa 59:13-15; Jer 9:5; Amo 8:5; Mic 6:10-12;

(v.3) ** have found: Exo 23:4; Deu 22:1-3; ** sweareth: Lev 19:12; Exo 22:9-11; Pro 30:9; Jer 5:2; 7:9; Zec 5:4; Mal 3:5;

(v.4) ** because: Lev 4:13-15; 5:3-4; ** which he: Gen 21:25; Job 20:19; 24:2; Isa 59:6; Eze 18:7, 12, 18; Amo 3:10; Mic 2:2; Zep 1:9;

(v.5) ** restore: Lev 5:16; Exo 22:1, 4, 7, 22:9; Num 5:7-8; 1Sa 12:3; 2Sa 12:6; Pro 6:30-31; Isa 58:6, 9; Luk 19:8; ** of his trespass offering: Mat 5:23-24;

(v.6) ** a ram: Lev 5:15, 18; Isa 53:10-11;

(v.7) ** make: Lev 4:20, 26, 31; 5:10, 13, 15-16, 18; Exo 34:7; Eze 18:21-23, 26, 27; Eze 33:14-16, 19; Mic 7:18; 1Jo 1:7, 9; 2:1-2; ** it shall be: Isa 1:18; Mat 12:31; 1Co 6:9-11;

Isaiah 1:27-31

The Promise of Redemption

27 Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness. 28 And the destruction of the transgressors and of the sinners [shall be] together, and they that forsake the LORD shall be consumed. 29 For they shall be ashamed of the oaks which ye have desired, and ye shall be confounded for the gardens that ye have chosen. 30 For ye shall be as an oak whose leaf fadeth, and as a garden that hath no water. 31 And the strong shall be as tow, and the maker of it as a spark, and they shall both burn together, and none shall quench [them].

"Zion" is the name of the hill where the temple was built in Jerusalem. It later was used to represent Jerusalem and then all of the people of Israel. When God turned His hand from punishing them to saving them, their redemption could not be complete without purification. Thus, justice had to be done. The people of Zion had to pay for their sins, and that was the reason for the destruction of their society and their captivity.

The "converts," those who repented of their sins and returned to Jerusalem had to be redeemed with righteousness. But, how could they become righteous? Throughout their entire history, they had demonstrated their inability to live righteously. Man's best efforts to be righteous could never come close to meeting God's expectations. Only God could make them truly righteous.

Again, we must look at the verse from both the viewpoint of the people of Israel and from the ultimate intention of God. The people would have understood this as a promise from God to bring them back from their captivity, if they repented and changed their ways. Although it means, "to buy back for a price," the word "redeem" was frequently used in a more general sense throughout the Old Testament to mean, "deliver, rescue, or save." It would have had that meaning in this passage for Isaiah's people.

However, we know that justice was not fully accomplished by the captivity of Israel, because mere captivity was not and never will be the penalty for sin. "For the wages of sin is death!" Furthermore, they could not be redeemed with their own righteousness, because they would fall far short of God's expectations. Therefore, the full price would one day have to be paid for their redemption, and only the Son of God could do that.

The converts who would be redeemed in "righteousness" would be delivered by the righteousness that is in Christ Jesus. There is no other righteousness that can please God. Therefore, anyone who repents must receive His righteousness by faith or they have not been redeemed and do not please Him.

The righteous must be kept pure by removing the wicked from their presence. "Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." (Matthew 25:41)

Isaiah said that these would be ashamed of the oaks, the trees and other idols that they had worshipped. To be "confounded" also means, "to be ashamed." (v.29) They would be ashamed of their gardens where they worshipped idols and of their groves where they worshipped trees. They would be like the trees whose leaves dry up and fall to the ground or like a garden where there is no water for the plants.

"Let the sinners be consumed out of the earth, and let the wicked be no more. Bless thou the LORD, O my soul. Praise ye the LORD." (Psalms 104:35)

Finally, the strong and the proud would be like "tow," which is the coarse or broken part of flax, or hemp. It burns very quickly. His maker, literally "his work," will be the spark that causes him to burn and they will burn together in an unquenchable fire. Compare this to the Antichrist and his followers:

"And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: [Even him], whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders." (2 Thessalonians 2:8-9)

"And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone... And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet [are], and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever... And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." (Revelation 19:20; 20:10, 15)

Before The Throne:

Praise God for your redemption. Praise Him for being willing to pay the only price that could set you free from your captivity to sin and destruction. Jesus paid it all! Won't you commit yourself to be more deliberate about warning others of the coming storm? If you love them, and Jesus said we are to love even our enemies, you must warn them and tell them how to be redeemed. We have a promise that cannot be broken. Pray that God will make you into a productive carrier of His promise. Ask Him to make you a bearer of good tidings.

For Further Study:

(v.27) ** redeemed. Is 5:16; 45:21-25; Ro 3:24-26; 11:26,27; 2Co 5:21; Eph 1:7,8; Tit 2:14; 1Pe 1:18,19; ** her converts. 1Co 1:30;

(v.28) ** the destruction. Job 31:3; Ps 1:6; 5:6; 37:38; 73:27; 92:9; 104:35; 125:5; Pr 29:1; Lu 12:45,46; 1Th 5:3; 2Th 1:8,9; 2Pe 3:7; Re 21:8; ** they that. Is 30:13; 50:11; 65:11; 1Sa 12:25; 1Ki 9:6-9; 1Ch 28:9; Zep 1:4-6;

(v.29) ** ashamed. Is 30:22; 31:7; 45:16; Eze 16:63; 36:31; Ho 14:3,8; Ro 6:21; ** the oaks. Is 57:5; **marg: Eze 6:13; Ho 4:13; ** the gardens. Is 65:3; 66:17; Jer 2:20; 3:6;

(v.30) ** ye shall be. Is 5:6; Jer 17:5,6; Eze 17:9,10,24; Mt 21:19; ** garden. 58:11; Jer 31:12; Eze 31:4-18;

(v.31) ** the strong. Eze 32:21; ** as tow. Is 27:4; 43:17; 50:11; Jud 15:14; Re 6:14-17; ** and they. Is 34:9,10; 66:24; Eze 20:47,48; Mal 4:1; Mt 3:10; Mr 9:43-49; Re 14:10,11; 19:20; 20:10;

Isaiah 1:24-26

Under God's Hand

24 Therefore saith the Lord, the LORD of hosts, the mighty One of Israel, Ah, I will ease me of mine adversaries, and avenge me of mine enemies: 25 And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin: 26 And I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellors as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called, The city of righteousness, the faithful city.

"Therefore" refers us to what had previously been stated in this chapter, which is the reason for what is about to be said. Because of the problem of sin that pervaded His people, God was going to offer the following solution. He would not allow His bride, Jerusalem, to continue to act like a harlot. Indeed, what husband would accept such a betrayal?

"Therefore saith the Lord." Nowhere else in Isaiah are so many of God's names used in such a small space. The three names of God serve to reinforce the authority and the certainty of the judgement that is about to be pronounced. "Adon" is the first name and it means, "Lord and Master." Perhaps it is synonymous with "Lord of Lords." This is the authority of God. He is Lord over all the Lords and King over all Kings. What He says stands as irreversible law.

"LORD of hosts." Yahweh is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; the God who told Moses to lead the people out of Egypt. He is the God who determines the existence of all things and rules over the armies of heaven.

"Mighty One of Israel." God is the source of all strength. There is no power unless He gives it and there is no force that can resist Him.

This God whom Israel no longer knew nor considered (v.3) was going to ease Himself of the burden of sin that the people had placed on Him. He was wearied by their sin (v.14), because He is a righteous God who cannot tolerate sin. This should not make Him seem weak in our eyes. It is just that sin is the antithesis of God's essence. We must remember that Jesus bore the sins of the whole world when He went to the cross, which demonstrated His strength; but He died for those sins because the Father would not tolerate us as long as we were carrying the unpunished guilt for them.

God's adversaries were clearly His own people, Israel and He would avenge their crimes against Him. It was part of His covenant with them. "And it shall come to pass, that as the LORD rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the LORD will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to nought; and ye shall be plucked from off the land whither thou goest to possess it." (Deuteronomy 28:63)

However, the same Fatherly hand that was laid upon them in punishment would be turned to help them by purging the impurities out of them like refining silver. "Tin" represents an alloy, probably a mixture of silver and lead. There would be no impure things among God's people.

God would restore righteous leaders to their nation and the city of Jerusalem would again be called the righteous city and the faithful city.

John the Baptist prophesied much the same message about Jesus, "Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." (Matthew 3:12) Perhaps that is why the Pharisees asked him whether he was Isaiah the prophet.(John 1:21,23)

The New Testament church will be the final fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy. "And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband... And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life. (Revelation 21:2, 27) The impurities will have been purged and Jerusalem will once again be the bride of Jesus Christ, righteous, faithful and sanctified from the very presence of sin.

That is why it is so important for you and I to "seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness." Only the righteous will be allowed in.

Before The Throne:

Pray for the purity of the church. Jesus said that we would not be able to weed out the tares until he returns, but we can pray that He will keep them from coming in. Pray for His righteousness to become a part of your nature. Seek His guidance in everything that you do. Ask Him to purge the impurities from your mind, your heart, your speech and your actions. Pray that you would never again have to burden Him with your sins. Thank Him for His mercy and grace.

For Further Study:

(v.24) ** the mighty. Is 30:29; 49:26; 60:16; Jer 50:34; Re 18:8; ** Ah. De 28:63; 32:43; Pr 1:25,26; Eze 5:13; 16:42; 21:17; Heb 10:13;

(v.25) ** And I. Zec 13:7-9; Re 3:19; ** purge. Is 4:4; 6:11-13; Jer 6:29; 9:7; Eze 20:38; Zep 3:11; Mal 3:3; Mt 3:12;

(v.26) ** And I will. Is 32:1,2; 60:17,18; Nu 12:3; 16:15; 1Sa 12:2-5; Jer 33:7,15-17; Eze 34:23,24; 37:24,25; 45:8; ** thou shalt. Is 60:21; 62:1; Jer 31:23; Zep 3:9,13; Zec 8:8; Re 21:27;

Isaiah 1:21-23

The Harlot

21 How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers. 22 Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water: 23 Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them.

Israel had two choices under her covenant with God. She could live in obedience to Him and reap innumerable blessings, or she could disobey Him and be destroyed. In the beginning, under Joshua and later under David, she was a faithful and righteous nation, because her leaders were faithful and righteous. David was a man after God's own heart, and Israel flourished as a result.

However, there were not many righteous kings after David, and Israel slipped away from God. "How," Isaiah asks, "did the faithful city of Jerusalem become a harlot?" She was considered to be the bride of God, treated with the uttermost love, and expected to be faithful to her husband. Instead, she betrayed Him.

Now, the city was full of "murderers." The worst offense is named here to show that all of the lesser sins were also tolerated and even encouraged. Is our own society any different? Listen to the music that our children hear daily, encouraging them to kill police officers, to have illicit sex, to try drugs and to do every other vile thing imaginable. We might ask the same question. "How has America, which was founded on faith in the Lord Jesus Christ by men seeking justice and freedom for all people, become a whore, selling her soul to the things of the Devil?"

Isaiah compared the leadership of the nation to silver and wine. They are supposed to be the best men and women in the nation, but they have become corrupted. The silver not only has impurities but has been change into the impurities, and the choicest, freshest grape juice had become watered down. Even the best of the leaders had compromised their faith.

The twenty-third verse explains it. The leaders had rebelled against God. Their decisions had become corrupted and were guided by monetary rewards instead of what was best for the nation. The poor had no representation in such a government.

Compare this with our society in the United States. Special interest groups spend millions upon millions of dollars in an attempt to influence (buy) the votes of our representatives. As a result, political correctness and toleration are the key words in Washington. We have to tolerate homosexuality, false religions, pornography, filthy music etc., but the name of Jesus cannot be tolerated in public places.

The problem has become very serious. Christians are becoming desensitized to sin. Churches are inviting the wickedness of the world to come into their sanctuaries, and the integrity of God's word is under constant attack by those who profess to be His people. How have the faithful become the harlot?

"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron." (1 Timothy 4:1-2) This apostasy is no surprise to God. It was not a surprise in Isaiah's day and it does not surprise Him now.

Will the harlot come home to her husband? She cannot! Only God, by His grace and mercy can bring her home and clean her up. His true bride is made up of the people whom He has gathered. She would never stray from Him and will never see destruction. Jesus promised, saying, "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand." (John 10:28-29)

We might be in a society of wickedness, but our situation is different from ancient Israel's. They were under the law and not under grace. They had no assurance of their salvation and no guarantee of an eternal security. Israel was God's church gone astray, but we are His church established forever.

Before The Throne:

Pray for your nation. Ask the Lord to bring back righteousness and justice. Pray for your leaders and representatives. Pray for God's continued protection for His church. Ask Him to keep it pure and holy. Ask God to keep you from becoming desensitized to the sins around you and pray that you will have the faith and the strength to resist every temptation.

For Further Study:

(v.21) ** the faithful. Is 48:2; Ne 11:1; Ps 46:4; 48:1,8; Ho 11:12; Zec 8:3; Heb 12:22; ** become. Jer 2:20,21; 3:1; La 1:8,9; Eze 16:1-63; 22:1-23:49; Lu 13:34; Re 11:2,8; ** it was full. Is 5:7; 2Sa 8:15; 2Ch 19:9; Eze 22:3-7; Mic 3:2,3; Zep 3:1-3; Ac 7:52;

(v.22) ** silver. Jer 6:28-30; La 4:1,2; Eze 22:18-22; Ho 6:4; ** wine. Ho 4:18; 2Co 2:17;

(v.23) ** princes. Is 3:14; 2Ch 24:17-21; 36:14; Jer 5:5; Eze 22:6-12; Da 9:5,6; Ho 7:3-5; 9:15; Mic 3:1-3,11; Ac 4:5-11; ** companions. Pr 29:24; Mt 21:13; Mr 11:17; Lu 19:46; ** every. Is 33:15; Ex 23:8; De 16:19; Pr 17:23; Jer 22:17; Eze 22:12; Ho 4:18; Mic 7:3; ** they judge. Is 10:1,2; Jer 5:28,29; Zec 7:10; Mal 3:5; Lu 18:2-5;

Isaiah 1:19-20


19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: 20 But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken [it].

Israel had a choice to make and, as with every choice, they would reap or pay the consequences of their decision. In this case, they had been invited to come and reason together with God. They had been asked to look at His word and to see whether it was to their benefit to obey it. God revealed to them that their sins could be forgiven and even eradicated, so that it would be as though they had never done anything wrong.

"If ye be willing and obedient." Israel's first option was to listen to the word of God and to obey Him. We have already seen that they had continuously, throughout their history, failed to listen and obey God's word. There was nothing new in this. Compare it with what God had told them early in their history:

"And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe [and] to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God. Blessed [shalt] thou [be] in the city, and blessed [shalt] thou [be] in the field." (Deuteronomy 28:1-3)

Nor was God implying that they had the ability to be reasonable and obey Him. Once a person has sinned, he is the slave of sin and cannot save himself. It is only by the sovereign grace of God that a sinner is able to reason together with Him

Nevertheless, Israel was given the choice and would be held responsible for their decision. If they would obey God, they would "eat the good of the land." The promise is of a materialistic reward and is not unlike Jesus' promise to us. "Blessed [are] the meek: for they shall inherit the earth." (Matthew 5:5) However, in order for it to be perfectly fulfilled, there must be an eternal aspect to the promise.

The second option that Israel had is not a good one. "But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword." We can look at this second option and say, "Oh, it would take a fool to choose the second option," but this is the option that men have chosen since the day that Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden. It is not because men have no fear of certain destruction. We just seem to think that it will not happen to us. "The other guy might get destroyed, but I can find a way out of it." Until we believe that God can and will punish the sinner, we will not listen to Him.

The power of this passage, the guarantee of its truthfulness, lies in the fact that it came directly from the mouth of Yahweh, the I AM. He is the essence of existence with the power to destroy. To think that we can escape certain destruction for our sins is to think that we are more powerful than God Himself.

"How does this apply to us? Christians are under grace and not under the law."

That is true, but there are many in our churches who only think they are under grace. They have never experienced the saving grace of Jesus Christ, have never had their hearts changed by the Holy Spirit and they continue in a lifestyle of willful sin.

"Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another." (1 John 3:7-11)

Before The Throne:

Christians have an advantage over everyone else, because we have been given the ability to reason with God and to make the right choices in our lives. Pray that God would lead you in those choices. Ask Him to help you walk righteously among your peers and to be light to them. Continue to pray for your nation. Ask God to bless your leaders with His saving grace and to guide their decisions. Do not deceive yourself by believing that you are living a completely sin free life. Confess your sins and receive your cleansing.

For Further Study:

(v.19) Is 3:10; 55:1-3,6,7; Jer 3:12-14; 31:18-20; Ho 14:1-4; Joe 2:26; Mt 21:28-32; Heb 5:9;

(v.20) ** if ye refuse. Is 3:11; 1Sa 12:25; 2Ch 36:14-16; Heb 2:1-3; ** for the mouth. Is 40:5; 58:14; Le 26:33; Nu 23:19; 1Sa 15:29; Tit 1:2;

Isaiah 1:18

Come now!

18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

God is neither unapproachable nor unreasonable. And, while the sins of Israel and Judah had separated them from their God and had severely damaged their relationship with Him, He nevertheless holds out this gentle and loving invitation to them.

"Come," He said. The word was normally used to introduce someone to a proposition that would benefit them. "Come and talk to me. See whether or not what I have to offer would be to your advantage." God's law was intended for our benefit from the very beginning. "Come now," implies that this is an invitation made with good intentions and with love.

"Let us reason together." God was not condescending to the ways of the people nor asking for any sort of compromise. He is the source of all wisdom, truth and reason. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom and His law is the foundation of reason. When God says, "Let us reason together," He is asking us to look at His laws and see them from His point of view, to join Him in holy rationalization and to understand His love for us.

"Though your sins be as scarlet... though they be red like crimson..." Your sins can be stained in blood, as the sins of our nation are stained with the blood of over forty million unborn aborted children, yet there is a way to get past this obstacle. It does not need to separate us from God, because He is a forgiving God. Every person living is stained with the blood of Christ who died for his or her sins. Some will not listen to reason, will reject the invitation and will continue to be separated from God, forever stained with the blood of a Savior who loved them.

"They (your sins) shall be as white as snow... they shal be as wool." Some will receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior. They will see the logic of His sacrifice, they will see the reason in God's Word, they will accept the invitation to come. Their sins will be as white as snow; they will no longer exist; and there will be nothing that can separate them from the love of God, which is Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:39).

"I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. Put me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified." (Isaiah 43:25-26) Isaiah was announcing a new era, a time when the righteousness of the law would no longer be thought to be sufficient for the salvation of men, because they were not able to keep it. In this new era, man would have to reason with God and come to see that only by His grace and mercy would there be any hope of entering into His kingdom.

When Paul was in Thessalonica, he went to the synagogue and there, we are told that, "...Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures, Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ. (Acts 17:2-3)

Have you seen the reasoning of God's word? Have you brought every thought under the authority of Jesus Christ? There never will be a more logical thing for you to do. Please do it today. "Come now!"

Before The Throne:

Pray for holy reasoning. Even though you know Christ as your Savior and Lord, you are still under the pressures of the world. Ask God to give you the ability to see things from His perspective. Ask Him to help you apply His word to every situation in your life. Pray that He will give you the ability to reason together with others so that they can also understand the gospel of Christ. Thank Him and praise Him for making your sins as white as snow.

For Further Study:

(v.18) ** and let us. Is 41:21; 43:24-26; 1Sa 12:7; Jer 2:5; Mic 6:2; Ac 17:2; 18:4; 24:25; ** though your. Is 44:22; Ps 51:7; Mic 7:18,19; Ro 5:20; Eph 1:6-8; Re 7:14;

Isaiah 1:16-17

Wash You, Make You Clean.

16 Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; 17 Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.

When God is not answering your prayers, the solution is very simple, as God tells us in this passage. "Repent!" is the best way to summarize it.

"Wash you, make you clean." This has a different meaning to the people of Isaiah's day than it has for us. We immediately think of the blood of the Lamb of God. It is the only real way to be cleansed from the filth of our sins and, I believe, it is the true meaning of the passage.

However, the people in Isaiah's day had no concept of a Messiah who would suffer and die on the cross for their sins. To them, "Wash you, make you clean," meant to have a change of heart and a change in the way they lived their daily lives. It was a call for national repentance.

God reminds Israel in this passage that He sees their sins and is not pleased with what He sees. The only way that they can remove this evil from before His eyes is to stop doing it. They would have to cleanse themselves of the constant greed and self-righteousness that pervaded their society.

Are we any different today? Regardless of what nation you live in, it would be very odd if greed and self-righteousness were not the controlling factors in your society. Christians who live in that sort of a society must be the first ones to repent and change their ways. Jesus' message to the world is, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." And, He calls every Christian to be an Isaiah to his or her nation.

Change does not come instantly. "Learn to do well." We must be patient and teach those around us what God desires for them. We must proclaim the gospel of Christ, so that people will know there is forgiveness for them after they repent and receive Him.

We must teach our people the meaning of justice, as it is taught in God's word and not as it is determined by the will of legislators and judges. Our society must learn to be merciful to those who are oppressed by it, to those who have suffered the tragedies of being orphaned or widowed and to those who are poverty stricken.

I wonder what God thinks about the big multi-million dollar softball complexes and family life centers that our churches have built, while children in the same city go without adequate food, clothing, and housing. Is that what Jesus wanted His church to do?

Isaiah's call may be more relevant to our generation than it was to his own. Let's pray for our nation, because it will one day be judged and subdued by the Son of the Living God.

Before The Throne:

What injustices, poverty, and unfulfilled needs do the people of your community have? Pray for them. Ask God how you can help? Ask Him to show you a way to teach the people around you how to do well, which literally means, "to do God's will." Pray that your church would focus its budget on seeking justice and mercy for others rather than comfort and entertainment for its members. When you finish praying about it, sit down and write out a plan for accomplishing what God has led you to do.

For Further Study:

(v.16) ** Wash. Job 11:13,14; Ps 26:6; Jer 4:14; Ac 22:16; 2Co 7:1; Jas 4:8; Re 7:14; ** put away. Is 55:6,7; Eze 18:30,31; Zec 1:3,4; Mt 3:8; Eph 4:22-24; Tit 2:11-14; 1Pe 2:1; ** cease. Ps 34:14; 37:27; Am 5:15; Ro 12:9; Eph 4:25-29; 1Pe 3:11;

(v.17) ** seek. Ps 82:3,4; Pr 31:9; Jer 22:3,15,16; Da 4:27; Mic 6:8; Zep 2:3; Zec 7:9,10; 8:16;