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Sermon #80 — Isaiah Series
Title: A Review, A Promise, And
Text: Isaiah 26:12-21
Subject: Isaiah’s Song of Peace
Date: Sunday Evening — April 7, 2019
Readings: Merle Hart and Jimmy Bowman
The nation of Israel was a type and picture of the church of God. And the history of that nation, as it is recorded upon the pages of Old Testament Scripture, was highly symbolic and representative of the things experienced by God’s church in this world. Their physical struggles were pictures of our spiritual struggles. Indeed, the true Israel, the Israel of God, is the church of God.
Everything spoken to, experienced by, and done for the nation of Israel has application to us.
Š As Israel was a great nation, sprung from Abraham, the seed of Abraham, so the church is a great nation sprung from Christ, the seed of Abraham. — “If ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed” (Galatians 3:29).
Š As Israel was the beneficiary of a covenant made by God with one man, so the church is the beneficiary of the covenant Triune God made with Christ before the world began.
Š As Israel was held bondage in Egypt for 400 years, so we were once held in bondage to sin, Satan, and the law of God.
Š As Israel was delivered from Egyptian bondage by the blood of the lamb and the power of God, so we have been delivered from our bondage of nature by the blood of Christ, the Lamb of God, and by the power of God the Holy Ghost.
Š As Israel had many struggles with many enemies before she entered into the land of promise, so God’s saints in this world have countless struggles with the world, the flesh, and the devil.
Š As Israel was at last brought across Jordan and delivered into the land of Canaan by Joshua, so the whole church of God, shall, in the last day, be delivered into heavenly glory by our great Joshua, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Isaiah 26 is a song of praise to God for all that he had done for Israel and Judah. But the song looks beyond that physical nation, her physical troubles and her physical deliverances. This is a song that Isaiah said would be sung in this Gospel Day. All the historic and physical things here spoken of have reference to us the church of God, in this Gospel Day.
Security and Peace
The first part of this song is a declaration of security and peace (vv. 1-4).
(Isaiah 26:1-4) In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah; We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks. (2) Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in. (3) Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. (4) Trust ye in the LORD forever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.
Faith and Confidence
The second part is an encouragement to faith and confidence (vv. 5-11).
(Isaiah 26:5-11) For he bringeth down them that dwell on high; the lofty city, he layeth it low; he layeth it low, even to the ground; he bringeth it even to the dust. (6) The foot shall tread it down, even the feet of the poor, and the steps of the needy. (7) The way of the just is uprightness: thou, most upright, dost weigh the path of the just. (8) Yea, in the way of thy judgments, O LORD, have we waited for thee; the desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee. (9) With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness. (10) Let favour be shewed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness: in the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the LORD. (11) LORD, when thy hand is lifted up, they will not see: but they shall see, and be ashamed for their envy at the people; yea, the fire of thine enemies shall devour them.
God’s Work Celebrated
The last part is a celebration of God’s wonderful works (vv. 12-21).
(Isaiah 26:12-21) LORD, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also hast wrought all our works in us. (13) O LORD our God, other lords beside thee have had dominion over us: but by thee only will we make mention of thy name. (14) They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise: therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish. (15) Thou hast increased the nation, O LORD, thou hast increased the nation: thou art glorified: thou hadst removed it far unto all the ends of the earth. (16) LORD, in trouble have they visited thee, they poured out a prayer when thy chastening was upon them. (17) Like as a woman with child, that draweth near the time of her delivery, is in pain, and crieth out in her pangs; so have we been in thy sight, O LORD. (18) We have been with child, we have been in pain, we have as it were brought forth wind; we have not wrought any deliverance in the earth; neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen. (19) Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. (20) Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. (21) For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.
The title of my message is A Review, A Promise, and an Invitation. My text will be verses 12-21.
“Lord, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also hast wrought all our works in us.” (v. 12) — Whatever trouble we may experience on this earth, God’s elect can and should comfort themselves with this fact, God will ordain peace for us in the end. Every creature and every event, every experience and everything that comes to pass in the lives of God’s elect he has graciously and wisely ordained and brings to pass for our peace. Even those things that seem to be altogether against us, he causes to work for us, for our everlasting peace.
“For thou hast wrought all our works in us.” (v. 12) — We are all debtors to the grace of God. We are not what we should be. We are not what we want to be. We are not what we shall be. But, blessed be God, we are not what we once were. And we are what we are by the grace of God. Any good work that may be wrought by us is the result of God’s good work of grace wrought in us. Being acted upon, we act. “For it is God which worketh in (us) both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). Every grace that we exercise is the fruit of his Spirit and the gift of his grace (Galatians 5:22-23).
(Galatians 5:22-23) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, (23) Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Divisions: The remaining verses of this song are an exposition, or explanation, of verse 12. These remaining verses contain three things:
1. A Review of Our Past (vv. 13-18)
2. A Promise of Grace (v. 19)
3. An Invitation of Mercy (vv. 20-21)
1st — Here is a review of our past (vv. 13-18). Whenever we think about the history of God’s church or the history of our individual lives there are some things we should always bear in mind.
We should always remember where the Lord found us (v. 13).
(Isaiah 26:13) O LORD our God, other lords beside thee have had dominion over us: but by thee only will we make mention of thy name.
This is a confession of sin. As Israel had served other gods and subjected themselves to the superstitions and customs of the heathen, they had been under the dominion of other lords. But now they promise that it shall be so no more of them. The words, “by thee only will we make mention of thy name,” means we will worship no god but you. Spirit of God, let me remember where you found me. Son of God, my Savior, graciously bring to my heart and mind constantly where I was when you called me. O God, my Father, cause me ever to remember (Isaiah 51:1).
(Isaiah 51:1) Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the LORD: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged.
Illustration: — “This is my remembrance room.”
When the Lord God found us, we were serving other lords, under the dominion of the world, the flesh and the devil, walking after the course of this world, under the rule of our hearts’ lusts, and taken captive by Satan at his will.
“By thee only will we make mention of thy name!” — Remembering where we were when God found us, let us resolve henceforth, by his grace, to praise his name forever and serve him.
Illustrations: — Baptism — We have been buried with Christ and risen with him to walk in the newness of life.
The Lord’s Supper — We eat the bread and drink the wine in remembrance of our Redeemer.
Let us remember, too, what the Lord has done for us by his grace (v. 14).
(Isaiah 26:14) They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise: therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish.
As he destroyed Israel’s enemies who held them in bondage for so long, so he has destroyed ours — (Pharaoh and Egypt in the Sea)
(John 12:31-32) Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. (32) And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
(Revelation 20:1-3) And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. (2) And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, (3) And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
Illustration: Pilgrim and the Roaring Lion
David and Goliath
(Colossians 2:6-15) As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: (7) Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. (8) Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. (9) For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. (10) And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: (11) In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: (12) Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. (13) And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; (14) Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; (15) And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
My sin (Oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!) —
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more! —
Praise the Lord! It is well with my soul!
Always remember that “Salvation is of the Lord” (v. 15).
(Isaiah 26:15) Thou hast increased the nation, O LORD, thou hast increased the nation: thou art glorified: thou hadst removed it far unto all the ends of the earth.
“Thou hast increased the nation.” — From one man, Abraham, God made a great nation. And from one man, Christ Jesus, God has raised up a far greater nation, his “Holy Nation,” “the church of the living God.” And it is his work altogether (Matthew 16:18). The Lord adds daily to his church such as should be saved. — He still does! — As Israel multiplied exceedingly in Egypt, so God’s church increases in the midst of adversity and persecution. — Nothing can hinder the cause of Christ!
Ever remember that the object of God in all his works for us and in us is the glory of his own great name. — “Thou art glorified” (v. 15; Ephesians 1:3-14).
And remember that though we are often unfaithful to him, the Lord our God is always faithful to his own (vv. 15-18). — As he scattered Israel among the nations, graciously forcing his chosen seek him, so he sends trouble, adversity, and affliction upon us, graciously bowing our hearts to our Redeemer, graciously forcing us to seek him (vv. 15-16).
(Isaiah 26:15-16) Thou hast increased the nation, O LORD, thou hast increased the nation: thou art glorified: thou hadst removed it far unto all the ends of the earth. (16) LORD, in trouble have they visited thee, they poured out a prayer when thy chastening was upon them.
When trouble, especially spiritual trouble comes upon us, we cannot deliver ourselves (vv. 17-18).
(Isaiah 26:17-18) Like as a woman with child, that draweth near the time of her delivery, is in pain, and crieth out in her pangs; so have we been in thy sight, O LORD. (18) We have been with child, we have been in pain, we have as it were brought forth wind; we have not wrought any deliverance in the earth; neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen.
Š When lost, we could not save ourselves.
Š When fallen, we cannot recover ourselves.
Š When languishing, we cannot revive ourselves.
Š When tempted, we cannot escape the tempter.
Š When assaulted, we cannot overcome our enemies.
Š We are helpless until God helps us — “Turn me, O God of my salvation, and I shall be turned!” — “Draw me, and we will run after thee!” — “Wilt thou not revive thy work?” — Indeed, he will!
The history of God’s church and the history of our souls is a history of grace, pure, free, sovereign, immutable grace. Let us never forget it (Malachi 3:6). Our mighty Zerubbabel, Christ Jesus, laid the foundation stone. And he will finish the work. He will bring the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, “Grace, grace unto it” (Zechariah 4:7).
(Zechariah 4:6-9) Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts. (7) Who art thou, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it. (8) Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, (9) The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto you.
2nd — As we review the past, we see nothing but grace. And as we look to the future, our only hope is grace. — So here is a promise of grace (v. 19).
(Isaiah 26:19) Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.
The Lord willing, I will come back to this soon. For now, let me simply call your attention to the fact that our Lord’s promise here is threefold.
1. The Spiritual Resurrection of God’s Elect in the New Birth
“Thy dead men!” — Though they are dead in sin, they are his and they shall live by him, with him, and because of him (Ezekiel 37:1-14; Ephesians 2:1-7; Revelation 20:6).
(Ezekiel 37:1-14) The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the Spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, (2) And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. (3) And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest. (4) Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. (5) Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: (6) And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD. (7) So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. (8) And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. (9) Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. (10) So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. (11) Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. (12) Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. (13) And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, (14) And shall put my Spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.
(Ephesians 2:1-7) And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; (2) Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: (3) Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. (4) But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, (5) Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) (6) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: (7) That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
(Revelation 20:6) Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
2. The Reviving of Our Souls and of His Church as Needed
At his own appointed time, the Lord God sends refreshing to our souls and revival to his church as needed (Psalm 138:7; Song of Solomon 4:16-5:16; Isaiah 57:15; Hosea 6:2; 14:7)
(Psalm 138:7) Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me.
(Isaiah 57:15) For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
(Hosea 6:2) After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.
(Hosea 14:7) They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon.
3. The Glorious Resurrection of Our Bodies at the Last Day
Soon, Christ Jesus our Lord shall appear in his glorious second advent. And he promises — “In that day… (at the end of this Gospel Day, the dawn of that great Eternal Day) Thy dead men shall live! Together with my dead body shall they arise! Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out her dead!” — (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)
(1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. (14) For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. (15) For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. (16) For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: (17) Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (18) Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
3rd — Remembering God’s goodness already heaped upon us in all our sweet experience of it and assured of his goodness and grace in Christ Jesus, in the midst of trial and even as we witness his judgments in the earth, let us take refuge in the Rock of Ages, “for in the Lord JEHOVAH is everlasting strength!” — Here is an invitation of mercy from him (vv. 20-21).
(Isaiah 26:20-21) Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. (21) For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.
As we live in this world, often in the midst of trouble, looking forward to that great day of our resurrection and glory, the Lord Jesus invites us to take refuge in him.
He calls us to come into our chambers.
Illustration: Noah — “Come into the Ark!”
Then, the God of all comfort assures us that our trouble will be over soon. — “Hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.”
Illustration: When Athanasius was banished from Alexandria by Julian, and his friends greatly lamented his exile, he urged them to be of good cheer, saying, “It is a little cloud that will soon blow over.”
And, in the end, our God will reckon with his enemies and ours in justice (v. 21).
(Isaiah 26:21) For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.
He will come out of his place, from the mercy seat to the judgment seat. ——— He will punish the inhabitants of the earth. ——— The Lord will reveal all things in that day.
Š The Righteousness of His People
Š The Wickedness of His Enemies
“Lord, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou hast wrought all our works in us…Thou art glorified.” We want no more. — “Lord, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou hast wrought all our works in us…Thou art glorified.” Truly, we want no more.