Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Isaiah Post 27 - For My Name's Sake (Chapters 47-48)

In chapter 46, we saw the LORD giving a warning to and also pleading with Israel, to forsake their idols and return to Him.

In chapter 47, the LORD now turns to Babylon, warning them in colorful language.  Babylon is likened to a prostitute, uncovering herself and wallowing in her shame.  In Revelation 17:5, this theme continues:


The rebuke to Babylon continues in Isaiah 47.  The LORD explains why He was angry with them.  God used them to judge Israel, but Babylon went overboard in their destructive glee.  

This is more near/far prophecy.  Babylon cursed the people of Israel then, and the religious system of Babylon continues today, cursing the land and the people of Israel.  This is why spiritual Babylon is mentioned in Revelation.  This false religious system, which takes on many forms but is basically sun god/moon goddess worship, will be destroyed once and for all.  If you need a refresher, this post from the current series on Isaiah covers the subject.

In fact, when you read the rest of Isaiah 47, you might think you are actually reading Revelation 17 and 18.

Isaiah changes tone in chapter 48 again, and switches back to the pleading tone of chapter 46.

The chapter begins by addressing those who swear by the name of YHVH, but not in truth or righteousness,  This is applicable today as well - there are many who serve the LORD but do not yet know the Messiah who is the giver of true righteousness.

The chapter continues... The Lord reaffirms His sovereignty, He brings things to pass, but Israel still does not hear or obey Him.

In verses 9-11, the LORD says He will defer His anger and will not cut them off – for His sake.  He will not give His glory to another.  So much for Replacement Theology - the idea that the church is now Israel.  Nope.  Not according to the promises of YHVH.  He made those promises and therefore, He WILL keep them.  It does not matter that Israel was disobedient and hard-hearted.

He is Who He says He is, and He does what He says He will do.

Beginning in verse 12, YHVH pleads again with Israel.  Oh, that they had obeyed His commandments!  So much good would have happened if that were the case.  We can say the same today.  Where would our lives be today if we had faithfully obeyed the LORD every step of the way in our walk with Him?  And yet, He is faithful even when we are not.  Even when we are disobedient and hard-hearted.

Verse 20 gives Israel a warning.  Flee from Babylon!  (Remember, they weren’t even there yet).  Flee from the country and also flee from the Babylonian religious system that is based in paganism.

Again, we could all learn from this command.  That system has worked its way into pretty much every corner of the church.  We are so used to it that we don't even recognize it.  But someday it will all be gone, when the King of kings and Lord of lords returns to Jerusalem and sets up His very Jewish kingdom.

Chapter 48 wraps up with this straightforward statement:
“There is no peace,” says the LORD, “for the wicked.”

Who are the wicked?  The Hebrew word is rasha, and is used 263 times in scripture.  It is always used in the context of one who is guilty, morally wrong, and hostile to God.

But God in His mercy will continue to draw His people to Him and will discipline us when needed. We just need to look back at verses 8-11 of this chapter:

Surely you did not hear,
Surely you did not know;
Surely from long ago your ear was not opened.
For I knew that you would deal very treacherously,
And were called a transgressor from the womb.

“For My name’s sake I will defer My anger,
And for My praise I will restrain it from you,
So that I do not cut you off.

Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;
I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.
For My own sake, for My own sake, I will do it;

For how should My name be profaned?
And I will not give My glory to another.

Oh, what a merciful and faithful God we serve.

For the next post in this series, click here.

If you would like to start at the beginning of this series on Isaiah, click here.

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