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Sermon #57 — Isaiah Series
Title: “The Burden of Moab”
Text: Isaiah 15:1-16:14
Subject: Moab a Beacon of Warning
Date: Sunday Evening — August 19, 2018
Readings: Lindsay Campbell and Mark Henson
Why do moral, upstanding, religious people go to hell? Open your Bible to the 15th chapter of Isaiah and I will show you. Hear “the burden of Moab” and you will find out why religious people go o hell.
My subject tonight is “THE BURDEN OF MOAB.” Our text will be Isaiah chapters 15 and 16. In these two chapters, God’s prophet announces God’s judgment upon Moab.
I suggest that you read Jeremiah 48 while this message is still fresh on your mind. In that chapter the Lord God tells us of Moab’s specific sins, the sins by which that wicked people earned the wrath and judgment of God.
Proposition: As we read Jeremiah 48 and read these two chapters of Isaiah’s prophecy, it becomes obvious that Moab is held before us by the Spirit of God as a beacon of warning to stubborn, obstinate sinners who refuse to trust the Lord Jesus Christ.
The judgment of God is always his just retribution upon men and women who have earned it. Here are the reasons given by God for his judgment upon Moab.
Be wise and hear the voice of God in his Word. — The Moabites were a people who claimed to be worshippers of God, but in their great pride they worshipped the works of their own hands and refused to worship God. Everything spoken against Moab is spoken against all who follow their example of will-worship, pride, presumption, idolatry, and unbelief.
(Jeremiah 48:42) Moab shall be destroyed from being a people, because he hath magnified himself against the LORD.
Why? Why was Moab destroyed by the holy Lord God? What did they do to so greatly provoke his wrath? How did the Moabites earn God’s judgment.
(Jeremiah 48:4) Moab is destroyed. — (7) Because thou hast trusted in thy works thou shalt also be taken. — (10) Cursed be he that doeth the work of the LORD deceitfully. — (11) Moab hath been at ease from his youth, and he hath settled on his lees. — (14) How say ye, We are mighty and strong men? — (26) He magnified himself against the LORD. — (29) We have heard the pride of Moab, (he is exceeding proud) his loftiness, and his arrogancy, and his pride, and the haughtiness of his heart. — (36) Therefore, — (38) I have broken Moab like a vessel wherein is no pleasure, saith the Lord.
Now, read “The Burden of Moab.” This is a prophecy about the utter, complete destruction of God’s implacable enemies.
(Isaiah 15:1-16:14) The burden of Moab. Because in the night Ar of Moab is laid waste, and brought to silence; because in the night Kir of Moab is laid waste, and brought to silence; (2) He is gone up to Bajith, and to Dibon, the high places (Their Idolatrous Altars), to weep: Moab shall howl over Nebo, and over Medeba: on all their heads shall be baldness, and every beard cut off (Expressions of Great Sorrow). (3) In their streets they shall gird themselves with sackcloth: on the tops of their houses, and in their streets, everyone shall howl, weeping abundantly. (4) And Heshbon shall cry, and Elealeh: their voice shall be heard even unto Jahaz: therefore the armed soldiers of Moab shall cry out; his life shall be grievous unto him (So Grievous that They are Suicidal). (5) My heart shall cry out for Moab; his fugitives shall flee unto Zoar (The Place of Their Beginning), an heifer of three years old (Bawling Loud Like the Lowing of a Young Heifer): for by the mounting up of Luhith with weeping shall they go it up; for in the way of Horonaim they shall raise up a cry of destruction. (6) For the waters of Nimrim shall be desolate: for the hay is withered away, the grass faileth, there is no green thing. (7) Therefore the abundance they have gotten, and that which they have laid up, shall they carry away to the brook of the willows. (8) For the cry is gone round about the borders of Moab; the howling thereof unto Eglaim, and the howling thereof unto Beerelim. (9) For the waters of Dimon shall be full of blood: for I will bring more upon Dimon, lions upon him that escapeth of Moab, and upon the remnant of the land.
(16:1) Send ye the lamb to the ruler of the land from Sela to the wilderness, unto the mount of the daughter of Zion. (2) For it shall be, that, as a wandering bird cast out of the nest, so the daughters of Moab shall be at the fords of Arnon. (3) Take counsel, execute judgment; make thy shadow as the night in the midst of the noonday; hide the outcasts; bewray not him that wandereth. (4) Let mine outcasts dwell with thee, Moab (Embrace My People — Cease from Your Enmity); be thou a covert to them from the face of the spoiler: for the extortioner is at an end, the spoiler ceaseth, the oppressors are consumed out of the land. (5) And in mercy shall the throne be established: and he shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness. (6) We have heard of the pride of Moab; he is very proud: even of his haughtiness, and his pride, and his wrath: but his lies (Religious Lies — Fables) shall not be so. (7) Therefore shall Moab howl for Moab, everyone shall howl: for the foundations of Kirhareseth shall ye mourn; surely they are stricken. (8) For the fields of Heshbon languish, and the vine of Sibmah: the lords of the heathen have broken down the principal plants thereof, they are come even unto Jazer, they wandered through the wilderness: her branches are stretched out, they are gone over the sea.
(9) Therefore I will bewail with the weeping of Jazer the vine of Sibmah: I will water thee with my tears, O Heshbon, and Elealeh: for the shouting for thy summer fruits and for thy harvest is fallen. (10) And gladness is taken away, and joy out of the plentiful field; and in the vineyards there shall be no singing, neither shall there be shouting: the treaders shall tread out no wine in their presses; I have made their vintage shouting to cease. (11) Wherefore my bowels shall sound like an harp for Moab, and mine inward parts for Kirharesh. (12) And it shall come to pass, when it is seen that Moab is weary on the high place, that he shall come to his sanctuary to pray (unto gods that cannot save); but he shall not prevail.
(13) This is the word that the LORD hath spoken concerning Moab since that time. (14) But now the LORD hath spoken, saying, Within three years, as the years of an hireling, and the glory of Moab shall be contemned, with all that great multitude; and the remnant shall be very small and feeble.
Like Moab, every vessel of wrath is fitted for destruction by its own hands. If you go to hell, it will be your own fault. It will be by your own doing (Romans 6:23).
(Romans 6:23) For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The prophet called upon Moab, in her distresses, to look to him who alone could save her, the Lord Jesus Christ who must sit King upon the throne of David. If she refused to do so, her refusal must be her everlasting ruin.
Š Isaiah said to Moab, “Offer up the lamb for an offering in sacrifice to God, confess your sin looking to Christ the Lamb of God. Seek pardon and peace through his blood.” — (1 John 1:9) — There is no other God! There is no other Savior!
Š He said, “Christ Jesus, the seed of David, will erect his throne in mercy and the Gentiles, as well as the Jews, shall partake of the blessings which will issue from his throne. Therefore seek the favor of this almighty King.” — (Hebrews 4:16) — God will save his elect!
I find much reproof and much instruction in the fact that both Isaiah and Jeremiah, as they faithfully denounced the sins of Moab and faithfully warned them of God’s certain and impending judgment. Those faithful prophets of God wept for the perishing Moabites (Isaiah 16:9-11; Jeremiah 48:31-32, 36).
(Isaiah 16:9-11) Therefore I will bewail with the weeping of Jazer the vine of Sibmah: I will water thee with my tears, O Heshbon, and Elealeh: for the shouting for thy summer fruits and for thy harvest is fallen. (10) And gladness is taken away, and joy out of the plentiful field; and in the vineyards there shall be no singing, neither shall there be shouting: the treaders shall tread out no wine in their presses; I have made their vintage shouting to cease. (11) Wherefore my bowels shall sound like an harp for Moab, and mine inward parts for Kirharesh.
(Jeremiah 48:31-32) Therefore will I howl for Moab, and I will cry out for all Moab; mine heart shall mourn for the men of Kirheres. (32) O vine of Sibmah, I will weep for thee with the weeping of Jazer: thy plants are gone over the sea, they reach even to the sea of Jazer: the spoiler is fallen upon thy summer fruits and upon thy vintage.
(Jeremiah 48:36) Therefore mine heart shall sound for Moab like pipes, and mine heart shall sound like pipes for the men of Kirheres: because the riches that he hath gotten are perished.
Moab is but a picture of all people in this world who are without God and without Christ, aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to God’s covenant mercy, love, and grace in Christ. What a miserable life the life of a poor, lost sinner is! — A Life without Hope! How our hearts ought to break, how we ought to weep for such people!
(Matthew 23:37-38) O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! (38) Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.
Five Things About Moab
Let me briefly tell you five things about Moab and I will be done. These five things are all true of you who are yet without Christ. May God be pleased now to send these five sharp arrows directly to your heart.
1. Moab’s origin was sin — Lot’s Incest. So was yours. Moab was a cursed nation from its beginning. So were you.
2. Moab’s prophet was a deceiver. Her prophet was Balaam who taught all who heard his voice to worship the works of their own hands and call it the worship of God. — “Thou hast trusted in thy works!” — “His lies shall not be so” (v. 6).
3. Moab’s only hope was a lamb. — “Send ye a lamb to the ruler!”
Christ is the sinner’s only hope. Let us not only send to him, but come to him, the true Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world. He is upon the throne of David, judging, seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness. He is the Lamb in the midst of the throne. And that throne is a throne of grace, as well as glory. He will hear and answer prayer, for he is still the meek and lowly Savior, who has said, “Come unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Oh, for grace to come boldly unto his throne, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in all time of need!
There is much encouragement for poor, Moabite sinners to come to the throne of grace looking to Christ for grace and salvation.
Come humble sinner, in whose breast
A thousand thoughts revolve;
Come with your guilt and fear oppressed,
And make this last resolve.
“I’ll go to Jesus, though my sins
Like mountains round me close;
I know His courts, I’ll enter in,
Whatever may oppose.
“Prostrate I’ll lie before His throne,
And there my guilt confess;
I’ll tell Him I’m a wretch undone
Without His sovereign grace.”
I’ll to the gracious King approach,
Whose scepter pardon gives;
Perhaps He may command my touch,
And then the suppliant lives!
Perhaps He will admit my plea,
Perhaps will hear my prayer;
But if I perish, I will pray,
And perish only there.
I can but perish if I go,
I am resolved to try;
For if I stay away, I know,
I must forever die.
But if I die with mercy sought,
When I the King have tried,
This were to die (Delightful thought!) —
As sinner never died!”
4. Moab’s choice was unbelief. Moab refused to bow to Christ. Moab refused to believe God. Rather, she chose to pray unto a god that cannot save (Isaiah 16:12).
(Isaiah 16:12) And it shall come to pass, when it is seen that Moab is weary on the high place, that he shall come to his sanctuary to pray; but he shall not prevail.
(John 3:36) He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
(John 6:35-40) And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. (36) But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. (37) All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. (38) For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. (39) And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. (40) And this is the will of him that sent me, that everyone which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
5. Moab’s end was destruction, everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord (Isaiah 16:14).
(Isaiah 16:14) But now the LORD hath spoken, saying, Within three years, as the years of an hireling, and the glory of Moab shall be contemned, with all that great multitude; and the remnant shall be very small and feeble.
When you appointed years “as the years of an hireling” are done, you must meet God in judgment.
(Isaiah 28:14-20) Wherefore hear the word of the LORD, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem. (15) Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves: (16) Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. (17) Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place. (18) And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it. (19) From the time that it goeth forth it shall take you: for morning by morning shall it pass over, by day and by night: and it shall be a vexation only to understand the report. (20) For the bed is shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it: and the covering narrower than that he can wrap himself in it.
(Isaiah 45:22) Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.
Illustration: Rowland Hill’s Dream