Ministry of Love

The intention of this blog is to share Biblical messages at least on a weekly basis. Any response is appreciated. I do not expect everyone to agree with my interpretation of Biblical passages. I will try to respond with love and thoughtfulness.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

History Does Seem to Repeat Itself by John

History does seem to repeat itself.
Isaiah 1:1-20

1. We live in amazing times.
(1) Just this week I received pictures of a new computer shaped like a fountain pen. It can be clipped into a shirt pocket to record a conversation with someone. It will give a visual and audible record that can then be projected on to a screen for viewing.
(2) Drs. and other scientists are reversing their positions on many things almost daily.
2. There's a newly discovered planet beyond Pluto. It's about 4 times as big as earth. They haven't given it a name yet, but it is another planet. Can you imagine the technology required to see something that far away? Our technical abilities change almost daily!
3. History doesn't change, but some people do rewrite it to suit themselves, and history does seem to repeat itself, doesn't it?
4. Most people may never consider it, but the single most repeated item in history is change, and it seems to be constant.
5. We read these first 20 verses of Isaiah today because they tell us that some things apparently do not change! Or at least, they repeat.
(1) In the beginning, everyone believed in God. Adam and Eve walked and talked with God. After the Fall, people didn't have a personal relationship with God. They believed He existed, and that He created everything, but they were not close to Him.
(2) It didn't take long for people to stop believing in God, and by the time Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah were kings of Judah, I'm sure there were more disbelievers than believers.
(3) That's not to say that most people believed there was no God, but that most people did not believe in the One True God.
6. When you look at Judah in that period, you don't have to stretch your imagination much to think the Bible is talking about today!

I. In vv 2-4 God States Judah's position.

1. He created mankind as well as the animals of the planet.
2. God pictured them as His children whom he raised, and now they have rebelled against Him.
3. Isn't it strange that oxen recognize their masters and donkeys know where they get their food, but human beings don't?
4. Human beings don't realize that their Creator owns them by right of creation.
(1) I can almost hear someone say, "Well, He may have created Adam and Eve, but not me!"
(2) Even if that was true, if you own a dog or a cat, and that animal has little ones, don't they belong to you?
(3) Their life spans are short, and you may own the descendents of your original pet for several different generations, right?
(4) Don't you see that it is right for God to be your Owner and Master?
5. Our position by creation is that we belong to God! We should recognize Him as our own Lord and Master!
6. Our present age is much like this age we read about in our text. People refuse to recognize God as He is!

II. In vv 5-9 God shows the futility of their rebellion.

1. In v 5, He asks them why they should be beaten anymore, and why they persist in rebellion? I've heard parents ask their children just about the same question, haven't you?
2. God told the Jews that they are seriously injured.
(1) Their wounds could cause their deaths!
(2) They are hurt, and they haven't even had first aid!
(3) Enemies have conquered their land!
a. Their cities are only the charred remains left by their enemies!
b. Their enemies have stripped their fields clean.
c. They are utterly defenseless even against the weather!
3. All of this is saying that they are hurt, hungry, in need of medical care, and they don't even have the protection of shelter from the weather!
4. They would cease to exist if it was not for the pity of the Lord!
5. In v 9, Isaiah speaks up, "Unless the Lord Almighty had left us some survivors, we would have become like Sodom, we would have been like Gomorrah."
6. Isaiah is speaking to us, people! Rebellion against God is completely futile! Without His blessing the future of mankind and this nation is bleak indeed!

III. In vv 10-16, God tells us Religion is a blind alley humans like to pursue!

1. God calls Judah "Sodom" in v 10.
(1) Let me digress here for a moment. If the sin of Sodom was homosexuality as many fundamental Bible students say, then God called the whole nation of Judah homosexual!
(2) Obviously Judah was not homosexual.
(3) Sodom's sin was their desire to humiliate strangers, and probably anyone else. This was probably not a first act of this kind for them.
(4) Rape of conquered people, males and females alike, was practiced for that purpose. A people with broken spirit would not be likely to give their conquerers much trouble.
(5) With one word, "Sodom," God told Judah that they possessed Sodom's character. (That's the opposite of the character of the suffering servant in Isaiah 53.
(6) That meant they deserved the same treatment Sodom got!
(7) Only God's promise to David, and His love for the people He had made into a nation kept Him from treating them the same way He treated Sodom!
2. Now God talks about their religion, and what He said applies today, too!
(1) V 11, Their sacrifices meant nothing to God. He found no pleasure in them.
(2) V 12, He asked them who told them to trample God's courts?
(3) V 13, He wanted them to stop bringing their offerings and their burning incense was detestable to Him.
(4) Vv 13b, 14 He could not bear their special day celebrations. He hated them!
(5) V 15, When they prayed He would hide His eyes from them, and no matter how much they prayed He would not listen!
3. People, if religion is all you have, God will not answer your prayers and your future is barren.

IV. In Vv 17,18, Even before Christ, God gave them a way out.

1. First, they had to clean up their lives, stop doing wrong and start doing right.
2. Doing right included being just, encouraging the oppressed, defending the cause of the fatherless, and pleading the case of widows.
3. James echoed these words in James 1:27, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."
4. God gave them the opportunity to look forward in time to the coming of His Son as their Savior, but Judah refused to do it, and they suffered God's wrath as a result.
5. We look back to lthe cross now, but the opportunity is still there. The question is, will we obey the Lord, or not? The way is open to us.


1. Vv 18-20 contain an invitation, a blessing, and a warning.
(1) One of the most wonderful invitations in the Bible is in v 18.
"'Come now, let us reason together.' says the Lord. 'Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow, though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.'"
(2) Helen Keller was blind, but she had remarkable spiritual insight. She said something to the effect that security in this world is impossible, but in v 19, God says that when you obey Him security is an eternal reality.
(3) V 20 warns rebellious people that destruction awaits them if they continue on their own course! ill. When I was a youngster, some service stations had signs up that said, "Free air." The Red Front Station run by Mr. Burger was the first to have free air in our town. An old farmer came in with his right front tire low. He asked if it was true that the air was free, and Mr. Burger told him it was, and started to put the air in for the farmer. The farmer stopped him, and told him he would do it himself. Mr. Burger said, "Okay...But have you used compressed air before?" The man told him he had not, but that he knew what he was doing! He held the air hose to the valve and then with his other hand he made up and down motion like he was using a hand air pump. Mr. Burger tried to warn him, but he just kept going, and in a moment the tire exploded like a stick of dynamite!
The old farmer ended up buying a new tire and tube. Doing it his way cost him! Proverbs 14:12 says, "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death."
2. Today this nation looks like it is playing the same losing game with God that Judah played, and I believe Isaiah's message to Judah is exactly what we need right now.
3. The way to conquer sin in your own life is for you to place your life in the hands of Jesus. Honor Him as the Lord and Savior of your life. He has already conquered sin, and He gives you the victory!
4. I repeat the invitation God gave in our text...
"'Come now, let us reason together.' says the Lord. 'Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow, though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.'"

ECC 1/29/2006.


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