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Sermon #16 Isaiah Series
Title: “Jerusalem is Ruined!”
Text: Isaiah 3:1-26
Subject: Providential Judgments
Date: Sunday Evening — December 4, 2016
Readings: Rex Bartley and Allen Kibby
“Jerusalem is ruined and Judah is fallen!” — That is the message of Isaiah chapter three. — “Jerusalem is ruined and Judah is fallen!” Let’s read these 26 verses of Isaiah together, and hear how God the Holy Ghost declares “Jerusalem is ruined and Judah is fallen.”
I take the words of God’s prophet in verse 8 as the title of my message. — “Jerusalem is Ruined!” Jerusalem and Judah were in Isaiah’s day the professed church and people of God. Among them there was a chosen remnant, a people who truly believed God, a people who trusted the Lord Jesus, a people who truly worshipped God. But the vast majority of those who professed to be God’s people and worshippers of the Triune Jehovah were as vile as the rest of the world, and just as superstitious and idolatrous. Yet, even among the proud idolaters, there was an elect, redeemed remnant who must be saved by God’s almighty grace.
Let’s see how Isaiah describes the work of God’s grace for his chosen in his providential judgments upon Judah and Jerusalem.
Proposition: Everything God does is right, and just, and true. — God always acts in justice, both in the everlasting salvation of his elect and in the everlasting destruction of the wicked.
God our Savior
We are about to read very solemn words of judgment, judgment poured out upon men and women by the hand of God in judgment. We are about to read of divine retribution upon proud men and women because “their tongue and their doings are against the Lord, to provoke the eyes of his glory” (v. 8). How delightful it is, how hopeful, how blessed, to read the opening words of the first verse. — “For, behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts!”
In the last verse of chapter 2, the prophet commands us to cease from men. Rather than looking to the arm of the flesh, he tells us to look to God our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Notice the spellings of the words translated “Lord” and “Lord.”
Adonai — The first time we see the word “Lord” in this opening verse, it is written in lower case letters, because the word translated “Lord” is Adonai, which is one of the many, well-known names by which God our Savior reveals himself in Holy Scripture. Adonai means “the Cause,” or “the Support,” or the Stay.” Adonai is the name for God our Savior in all his office characters as our Mediator.
Jehovah — The second word is very properly written out by our translators in all capital letters, as it is throughout the Old Testament, to let us know that it is our blessed Savior’s incommunicable name — Jehovah. This is the redemptive name of God our Savior. — “Behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts!”
The word Jehovah means “Savior” or “Deliverer” (Exodus 6:3). God in Christ is God mighty to save! Jehovah essentially means “to be.” And our Lord Jesus Christ declares that he is the One “which is, which was, and which is to come” (Revelation 1:4). He is the eternal God of salvation, redemption, and deliverance. The Jews had such reverence for this name that they would not allow it to be spoken in common conversation, read aloud, or even written. When the scribes would write the word Jehovah in copying the Scriptures, they would bathe themselves before writing it.
I would not have us given over to Jewish superstitions; but we ought to highly reverence the name of our God. “This glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD” (Deuteronomy 28:58) is not to be taken in vain, used in common speech, or spoken with any levity. “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who taketh his name in vain” (Exodus 20:7) He that sent redemption to his people and commanded his covenant forever is to be reverenced by us. — “Holy and reverend is his name” (Psalm 111:9). Let us ever extol, honor, praise, and magnify the name of the Lord our God. — “I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore. For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell” (Psalm 86:12-13). — “Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake” (Psalm 115:1).
Isaiah’s message in this third chapter begins by calling us to look away from man, to look away from self, to look away from the arm of the flesh, to look away from our circumstances, and — “Behold your God!” — “Behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts!” His name is Jehovah-Jesus
(Isaiah 45:20-25) “Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save. (21) Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? Have not I the LORD? And there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. (22) Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. (23) I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. (24) Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed. (25) In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.”
Jehovah-Jesus — “Behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts!” His name is Jehovah-Jesus. We are Trinitarians. We worship one God in the trinity, or tri-unity, of his sacred Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. There are three distinct Persons in the eternal Godhead; and those three divine Persons are one God (1 John 5:7). The Father is God. The Son is God. And the Holy Spirit is God. Yet they are not three Gods, but One.
And this eternal Godhead in all the fulness of the divine Persons is revealed by and forever dwells in the body of that man whose name is Jesus, the Christ (Colossians 2:9; John 1:1, 14; 14:1-10). The triune God reveals himself to men, deals with men, and is known by men only in the Person of that One who is the Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (John 14:6). And this man, Jesus Christ, is himself Jehovah, the eternal God (Revelation 1:4, 8). He is Immanuel (Matthew 1:21-23; Isaiah 9:6).
This is the wondrous mystery of the incarnation. — “God was manifest in the flesh” (1 Timothy 3:16). Jesus Christ is really and truly God, as much God as though he were not a man. Yet he is really and truly man, as much man as though he were not God. Indeed, he must be both God and man in one glorious Person or he could not be our Savior. Someone said, “God could not suffer and man could not satisfy; but the God-man both suffered and satisfied.”
Jehovah-Jesus bridged the gulf between God and man. Our Savior is God. Therefore, he is able to save. But he is also man. Therefore, he has compassion upon men. He is God come to save. God, who spoke to our fathers in times past by the prophets, has spoken to us with finality by his Son, whose name is Jehovah-Jesus (Hebrews 1:1-3). And the thing he speaks is salvation!
Jehovah-Jesus is God over all and blessed forever, Creator and sovereign Ruler of all things. He is a real man, touched with the feeling of our infirmities. He knows the temptations of his people in every age and at every stage of life. He knows the pain of loneliness and isolation. He knows the bitterness of scornful and mocking jeers. He knows the grief of betrayal by friends. He knows the weakness of hunger and the fever of sickness. He knows the sorrows of bereavement, sin, and death. Though he had no sin of his own and consequently no sorrow of his own, when he was made sin for us he suffered for us all the consequences of sin. — He knows…
Child of God, be assured that whatever it is that touches you, it has touched him. He knows what you feel. He knows the pain that crushes your heart which no one else can understand. What is your trouble? What is your sorrow? What is your burden? Tell it to Jehovah-Jesus. He is a friend who understands and a God who is able to help. He not only knows our weaknesses and needs, he is able to do something about them. Jehovah-Jesus is our Mediator, our Savior, our Brother, our Advocate, and our God.
After calling for us to behold God our Savior, specifically to behold his hand in all things, God’s prophet describes Jehovah’s obvious judgment upon his generation. Like us, Isaiah lived in an apostate religious generation, obviously under the judgment of God (vv. 1-8).
God’s judgment upon the people in Isaiah’s day was the consequence of sin, just as it is in our day. God never sends undeserved judgment.
(Isaiah 3:1) “For, behold, the Lord, the LORD of hosts, doth take away from Jerusalem and from Judah the stay and the staff, the whole stay of bread, and the whole stay of water.”
Bread and water are the common staples and necessities of life. These stays of life, God removes from those who despise them. Certainly, it is true, God sends physical famine and drought upon men in judgment. But we must not fail to see the far more dreadful judgment that comes when God sends spiritual famine (Amos 8:11-12).
Like Isaiah, we are living in an apostate religious world! That is a fact that cannot be disputed by anyone with spiritual perception and understanding in Divine Truth. The New Testament plainly teaches us that before Christ comes, as this dispensation is drawn to a rapid conclusion, there will be a general, universal, wholesale departure from the faith of the Gospel, a departure from the Gospel by those who profess to believe, defend and preach the Gospel.
Nothing is so evident to me in this age as the silence of God (Amos 8:11-12). Thank God, he yet has his 7,000 prophets who have not bowed to Baal! But they are scattered far and wide! This is a day of spiritual famine.
(Amos 8:11-12) “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: 12 And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.”
God has done as he said he would. Oh, what a famine he has sent! The religion of this age is the religion of antichrist. Never before in history has all the professedly “Christian Church” of the world so openly denied the Gospel of Christ. I am not talking about Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, or the hundreds of other religious systems outside what is commonly called Christianity. If you never had something, you can’t lose it.
And I am not talking about the apostasy of Rome. Romanism has always been apostate! Papacy was antichrist from the beginning! But in our day the children of Rome are rapidly returning home to their harlot mother, not in name, but in belief and practice.
The major tenets of all organized religions in the “Christian world” are purely Roman doctrines.
This is precisely what God told us would happen in these last days (1 Timothy 4:1-5; 2 Timothy 3:1-5; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-8).
Four hundred years ago, John Owen wrote, “The time will come, when a faithful minister of the Gospel will be more scarce and precious than a bar of gold!” And, to those who have sense enough to see what is going on in our day, a faithful Gospel preacher is as scarce and precious as a bar of gold. Truly, these are perilous times!
Rolfe Barnard said, “This is a reprobate age, an age that cannot be explained apart from the judgment of God.” And Barnard was right. — The apostate religion of this day is the result of Divine judgment, the result of God’s judicial reprobation. This is one of the most solemn things in all the Word of God. When God gives men the light of the Gospel and they refuse to walk in it, they are in danger of being reprobate, cut off and given over to satanic deception. —— And this is the work of God! — That is what Isaiah is talking about in this third chapter.
Illustration: Ephraim (Hosea 4:17).
Jerusalem (Matthew 23:37-38).
Do you understand what reprobation is? — Reprobation is the Work of God, fixing it so that those who would not believe the Gospel cannot believe the Gospel (Proverbs 1:23-33; Romans 1:16-32).
Š It is Christ himself who turns Satan loose upon the nations of the world (Revelation 20:1-8).
Š It is God the Holy Ghost who ceases to restrain and lets loose the powers of darkness (2 Thessalonians 2:7-8).
Š It is God the Father who sends men a strong delusion that they should believe a lie (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12).
Can you imagine anything more solemn? The Scriptures tell us that God almighty sovereignly employs Satan and his hellish imps to secure the damnation of those who hear but refuse to receive the love of the truth! Hear what I am telling you, and be warned! God will not trifle with those who trifle with his Son and the Gospel of his grace.
Never Taken Away — Oh, what great praise and thanksgiving should fill our hearts when we remember that our Lord Jesus Christ who is the Bread of Life and the Water of Life to our souls will never be taken from us. — “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift!”
Universal Depravity — In verses 2-9, the prophet of God shows us that the depravity and sin that brought the judgment of God by which Jerusalem was ruined and Judah fell was universal. — It is truly a dark and sad day when sin, like a spreading disease, engulfs both the state house and the church house, the streets and the sanctuaries. — Having forsaken the Rock of Ages, men and women put their confidence in the reeds of Egypt and adopt the ways of Egypt.
(Isaiah 3:2-8) “The mighty man, and the man of war, the judge, and the prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient, (3) The captain of fifty, and the honourable man, and the counsellor, and the cunning artificer, and the eloquent orator. (4) And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them. (5) And the people shall be oppressed, everyone by another, and everyone by his neighbour: the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient, and the base against the honourable.”
That is exactly the way the Spirit of God describes the generation in which we live (1 Timothy 4:1-5; 2 Timothy 3:1-5). Is it not?
(Isaiah 3:6-8) “When a man shall take hold of his brother of the house of his father, saying, Thou hast clothing, be thou our ruler, and let this ruin be under thy hand: (7) In that day shall he swear, saying, I will not be an healer; for in my house is neither bread nor clothing: make me not a ruler of the people. (8) For Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen: because their tongue and their doings are against the LORD, to provoke the eyes of his glory.”
Though the brother of nature can neither heal our souls, nor give us the bread of life, nor clothe our spirits, nor rule our hearts, — Thanks be unto the God of all grace, there is another Brother, the Lord Jesus Christ. He is a Brother born for our adversity! He is…
Look at Isaiah 3:9. — Reprobate men and women, people whose tongue and doings are against Jehovah and provoke the eyes of his glory are here described. — The description fits such people in every age and in every place. Their god is their belly; and they “glory in their shame” (Philippians 3:19).
(Isaiah 3:9) “The shew of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves.”
As reprobate men declare their shame and glory in it, let ransomed sinners declare God’s salvation and glory in him!
Read verses 9-11 and understand this. — God always deals with men in strict justice. He never bends his law, compromises his holiness, relaxes his righteousness, violates his justice, or denies his truth. The reprobate reward evil to themselves, reaping only what they have sewn (v. 9).
(Isaiah 3:9) “The shew of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves.”
No matter what the circumstances are in which God’s elect find themselves, all is well for the righteous (v. 10).
(Isaiah 3:10) “Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings.”
All who trust the Lord Jesus Christ, all who are born of God, are righteous, truly righteous. God says so! — Saved sinners are made righteous by God!
And all is well with the righteous because they “eat the fruit of their doings.” — The doing and dying of the Son of God in our nature is our doing and dying!
But with the wicked, with the reprobate and unbelieving, all is ill and shall be ill forever, because the just reward of your hands shall be given to you (v. 11).
(Isaiah 3:11) “Woe unto the wicked! It shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him.”
In verses 12-15 the prophet speaks of Jehovah’s care for his own, even in such days of darkness as this chapter describes. He who is our Adonai, Jehovah-Jesus undertakes and pleads the cause of his people, even in our darkest times, even when we, failing under oppressors, err from him and his ways!
(Isaiah 3:12-15) “As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths. (13) The LORD standeth up to plead, and standeth to judge the people. (14) The LORD will enter into judgment with the ancients of his people, and the princes thereof: for ye have eaten up the vineyard; the spoil of the poor is in your houses. (15) What mean ye that ye beat my people to pieces, and grind the faces of the poor? saith the Lord GOD of hosts.”
Read verses 16-26 and see how the haughty and proud are humbled and made to fall before “the Lord, the Lord of hosts.” — Blessed be God, even in this dark, dark day, there is an elect remnant who must and shall be saved! This last portion of Isaiah 3 is all about God’s elect, his chosen, “the daughters of Zion,” yet to be called by his grace. Proud and haughty as they are by nature, they shall be brought down before the Throne of Grace!
(Isaiah 3:16-26) “Moreover the LORD saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet: (17) Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the LORD will discover their secret parts. (18) In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their cauls, and their round tires like the moon, (19) The chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers, (20) The bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, (bottles of perfume ladies wore hanging between their breasts) and the earrings, (21) The rings, and nose jewels, (22) The changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins, (23) The glasses, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the vails. (24) And it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of well set hair baldness (scabs, ulcers, sores, leprosy); and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth; and burning instead of beauty. (25) Thy men shall fall by the sword, and thy mighty in the war (strength taken away). (26) And her gates shall lament and mourn; and she being desolate shall sit upon the ground.”
Those for whom the Son of God pleads, all “the daughters of Zion,” shall be brought down by almighty grace in repentance and faith!
What grace, what mercy, what goodness! God our Savior makes our misery to be the backdrop of his mercy! Where sin has abounded, grace much more abounds in Christ. And as sin has reigned unto death, grace reigns through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 5:20-21).
 (1 Timothy 4:1-5) “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; (2) Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; (3) Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. (4) For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: (5) For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.”
(2 Timothy 3:1-5) “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. (2) For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, (3) Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, (4) Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; (5) Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”
 (Zechariah 3:1-5) “And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. (2) And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? (3) Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. (4) And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. (5) And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the LORD stood by.”
(1 John 2:1-2) “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: (2) And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”