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Sermon #59 — Isaiah Series
Title: ŇScattered and PeeledÓ
Text: Isaiah 18:1-7
Subject: GodŐs Elect — Scattered into and Peeled
Peeled from the Nations
Date: Sunday Evening — September 9, 2018
Readings: Mark Medley and Rex Bartley
The title of my message is ŇScattered and Peeled.Ó You will find my text in the 18th chapter of the Gospel of Isaiah.
Proposition: As surely the Lord God has his elect to the four corners of the earth and among all nations, at his own appointed time of love, he will peel them from the nations and gather them in his arms by his omnipotent mercy and saving grace.
While you are turning to Isaiah 18, hear GodŐs often-repeated promise.
(Deuteronomy 30:3) The LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee.
(Jeremiah 31:10) Hear the word of the LORD, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock.
(Ezekiel 11:16) Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Although I have cast them far off among the heathen, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet will I be to them as a little sanctuary in the countries where they shall come.
(Ezekiel 11:17) Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will even gather you from the people, and assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.
(Ezekiel 20:34) And I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out.
(Ezekiel 20:41) I will accept you with your sweet savour, when I bring you out from the people, and gather you out of the countries wherein ye have been scattered; and I will be sanctified in you before the heathen.
(Ezekiel 28:25) Thus saith the Lord GOD; When I shall have gathered the house of Israel from the people among whom they are scattered, and shall be sanctified in them in the sight of the heathen, then shall they dwell in their land that I have given to my servant Jacob.
(Ezekiel 34:6) My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them.
(Ezekiel 34:11-16) For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. (12) As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. (13) And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country. (14) I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel. (15) I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord GOD. (16) I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment.
(Ezekiel 34:20-26) Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD unto them; Behold, I, even I, will judge between the fat cattle and between the lean cattle. (21) Because ye have thrust with side and with shoulder, and pushed all the diseased with your horns, till ye have scattered them abroad; (22) Therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle and cattle. (23) And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. (24) And I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the LORD have spoken it. (25) And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods. (26) And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing.
(Ezekiel 34:28-31) And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen, neither shall the beast of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and none shall make them afraid. (29) And I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more. (30) Thus shall they know that I the LORD their God am with them, and that they, even the house of Israel, are my people, saith the Lord GOD. (31) And ye my flock, the flock of my pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord GOD.
Now, letŐs read our text together — Isaiah 18:1-7.
18:1-7) Woe to the land shadowing with wings, which is beyond the
rivers of Ethiopia: (2) That sendeth ambassadors by the sea, even in vessels
of bulrushes upon the waters,
1st — In verses 1-3 the Lord God sends his ambassadors into a hostile world, but he sends them to a specific nation.
18:1-3) Woe to the land shadowing with wings, which is beyond the
rivers of Ethiopia: (2) That sendeth ambassadors by the sea, even in vessels
of bulrushes upon the waters,
Among all the nations of the world, the Lord God has one nation scattered, a nation he preserves and keeps as the apple of his eye. That nation is his Israel.
We are not told what nation this is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia. It seems, therefore to me, that the prophet speaks of all the nations of the world as one nation set in opposition to GodŐs holy nation, the church, the Israel of God. The Lord God sends his ambassadors into the nations of the world to declare both his judgment and his grace. — Notice it is not the nation under judgment that sends these messengers, but the God of judgment. It is God who commands, ŇGo swift messengers!Ó — (Isaiah 6)
God sends his messengers of grace into the world to declare his judgment upon all who refuse to bow to Christ. If the world, or the great enemy of souls, comes to distress the souls of GodŐs elect, when the Lord is chastening them, the Lord sees and avenges their quarrel. Though the Lord correct, they shall not. Though he brings down, he will bring up, and they shall not hinder. It is blessed to see this and to know it (Obadiah 1:8-21).
(Obadiah 1:8-21) Shall I not in that day, saith the LORD, even destroy the wise men out of Edom, and understanding out of the mount of Esau? (9) And thy mighty men, O Teman, shall be dismayed, to the end that every one of the mount of Esau may be cut off by slaughter. (10) For thy violence against thy brother Jacob shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off forever. (11) In the day that thou stoodest on the other side, in the day that the strangers carried away captive his forces, and foreigners entered into his gates, and cast lots upon Jerusalem, even thou wast as one of them. (12) But thou shouldest not have looked on the day of thy brother in the day that he became a stranger; neither shouldest thou have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; neither shouldest thou have spoken proudly in the day of distress. (13) Thou shouldest not have entered into the gate of my people in the day of their calamity; yea, thou shouldest not have looked on their affliction in the day of their calamity, nor have laid hands on their substance in the day of their calamity; (14) Neither shouldest thou have stood in the crossway, to cut off those of his that did escape; neither shouldest thou have delivered up those of his that did remain in the day of distress. (15) For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head. (16) For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the heathen drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been. (17) But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions. (18) And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the LORD hath spoken it. (19) And they of the south shall possess the mount of Esau; and they of the plain the Philistines: and they shall possess the fields of Ephraim, and the fields of Samaria: and Benjamin shall possess Gilead. (20) And the captivity of this host of the children of Israel shall possess that of the Canaanites, even unto Zarephath; and the captivity of Jerusalem, which is in Sepharad, shall possess the cities of the south. (21) And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORDŐS.
GodŐs ambassadors are sent into all the nations of the world, but set to a specific nation, the Israel of God, on an errand of mercy, proclaiming grace to that nation, grace for the salvation of that nation, salvation in by and with his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ (Isaiah 40:1-2).
(Isaiah 40:1-2) Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. (2) Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORDŐS hand double for all her sins.
(Isaiah 54:7-10) For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. (8) In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer. (9) For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee. (10) For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee.
GodŐs messengers are sent into the nations with the gospel for the saving of his chosen nation (Romans 1:14-17; 10:17). By the preaching of the gospelÉ
(Ezekiel 30:9) In that day shall messengers go forth from me in ships to make the careless Ethiopians afraid, and great pain shall come upon them, as in the day of Egypt: for, lo, it cometh.
(Matthew 28:19-20) Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: (20) 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.
(Mark 16:15-16) And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. (16) He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
(Luke 24:46-48) And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: (47) And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. (48) And ye are witnesses of these things.
(2 Corinthians 5:17-21) Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (18) And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; (19) To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. (20) Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. (21) For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
(2 Corinthians 6:1-2) We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (2) (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)
2nd — In verses 4-6 the Lord God, easing himself of his adversaries, declares that he will take his rest, or find his rest, in Christ for his church, his dwelling place.
(Isaiah 18:4-6) For so the LORD said unto me, I will take my rest, and I will consider in my dwelling place like a clear heat upon herbs, and like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest. (5) For afore the harvest, when the bud is perfect, and the sour grape is ripening in the flower (Everything is promising!), he shall both cut off the sprigs with pruning hooks, and take away and cut down the branches (of his foes and ours). (6) They shall be left together unto the fowls of the mountains, and to the beasts of the earth: and the fowls shall summer upon them, and all the beasts of the earth shall winter upon them.
When the Lord God goes forth for the salvation of his people, for salvation with his Anointed. Every eye shall see, every knee shall tremble, and all faces shall be put to shame, when the Lord turns back the captivity of his people.
ŇFor so the Lord said unto me.Ó — Christ is the rest, in which Jehovah rests and is well pleased. In him, and his great salvation, IsraelŐs deliverance and security is found. When the Lord swore in his wrath that the unbelievers should not enter into his rest, it referred to manŐs obstinate rejection of his Christ (Hebrews 4:1-16).
(Hebrews 4:1-16) Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. (2) For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. (3) For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. (4) For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. (5) And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. (6) Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: (7) Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. (8) For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. (9) There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. (10) For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. (11) Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. (12) For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (13) Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. (14) Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. (15) For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. (16) Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
GodŐs rest, GodŐs sabbath, is Christ. His dwelling place is his church (Psalm 132:14; 1 Corinthians 3:16).
(Psalm 132:14) This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.
(1 Corinthians 3:16) Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
3rd — In verse 7 Isaiah tells us that GodŐs people, when he gathers them shall be a present brought to him by his own, almighty, irresistible grace, Ňa people scattered and peeled.Ó
(Isaiah 18:7) In that time shall (when God comes to save) the present (GodŐs present to himself is his church.) be brought unto the LORD of hosts of a people scattered and peeled, and from a people terrible from their beginning hitherto; a nation meted out and trodden under foot, whose land the rivers have spoiled, to the place of the name of the LORD of hosts, the mount Zion.
(John 16:7-11) Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. (8) And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: (9) Of sin, because they believe not on me; (10) Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; (11) Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
(Ephesians 5:25-27) Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; (26) That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, (27) That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
(Jude 1:24-25) Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, (25) To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
When we think about the nature and extent of sin, beholding the universal reign of it sin in every nation, among all people, and in every age, what good news the gospel gives! — His empire by whom sin is destroyed is and shall forever be from sea to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth!
á Only GodŐs grace can overcome and subdue manŐs corruptions of nature!
á Only omnipotent mercy can stop the hatred of the heart against the love of God.
á Only almighty grace can subdue the enmity that reigns in the heart of man!
á Only the love of Christ could conquer the hatred of my heart against him!
As we behold the land shadowing with wings beyond the river coming forth with wrath against GodŐs people, let us behold the Lord going forth with whirlwinds of the south to blow the trumpet of the everlasting gospel. Stand still, my soul, and see the salvation of the Lord, as he causes the weapons of sin to fall from the hands of the mighty and bows the proud rebel heart to the sceptre of his grace!
Seek rest, my weary soul, seek rest my brother, seek rest my sister, seek rest poor, weary, heavy-laden sinner, where the holy Lord found rest — in his Son!
(Matthew 11:28-30) Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (29) Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. (30) For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.