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Sermon #84 — Isaiah Series
Title: “Fury is not in me!”
Text: Isaiah 27:1-13
Subject: God’s Fury Taken Away
Date: Sunday Evening — April 28, 2019
Readings: Mark Medley and Mark Henson
(Isaiah 27:1-13 “In that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea. (2) In that day sing ye unto her, A vineyard of red wine. (3) I the LORD do keep it; I will water it every moment: lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day. (4) Fury is not in me: who would set the briers and thorns against me in battle? I would go through them, I would burn them together. (5) Or let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me. (6) He shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root: Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit. (7) Hath he smitten him, as he smote those that smote him? Or is he slain according to the slaughter of them that are slain by him? (8) In measure, when it shooteth forth, thou wilt debate with it: he stayeth his rough wind in the day of the east wind. (9) By this therefore shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged; and this is all the fruit to take away his sin; when he maketh all the stones of the altar as chalkstones that are beaten in sunder, the groves and images shall not stand up. (10) Yet the defenced city shall be desolate, and the habitation forsaken, and left like a wilderness: there shall the calf feed, and there shall he lie down, and consume the branches thereof. (11) When the boughs thereof are withered, they shall be broken off: the women come, and set them on fire: for it is a people of no understanding: therefore he that made them will not have mercy on them, and he that formed them will shew them no favour. (12) And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall beat off from the channel of the river unto the stream of Egypt, and ye shall be gathered one by one, O ye children of Israel. (13) And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem.”
I call your attention to that blessed, remarkable statement that falls from the mouth of God in heaven to hell-bent, hell-deserving sinners upon the earth in verse 4. Did you catch it as we read the chapter? Did you hear it? ― “Fury is not in me.” The God of Glory, holy, just, and true, the Judge of all the earth who must do right, he who must and will punish sin, says concerning somebody, with regard to someone, “Fury is not in me!”
What an astounding statement! — “Fury is not in me!” — That is my subject. — “Fury is not in me!” — God says that! God says that to sinners who deserve his wrath! — “Fury is not in me!”
How can that be? Is not fury one manifestation of God’s essential attributes? Do we not read repeatedly of his fury, the fury of his holy wrath and unbending justice? Indeed, in this very passage, he calls for us to hide ourselves from the fury of his indignation (Isaiah 26:20-27:1, 10-11).
(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.”
(Isaiah 27:1) “In that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea.”
(Isaiah 27:10-11) “Yet the defenced city shall be desolate, and the habitation forsaken, and left like a wilderness: there shall the calf feed, and there shall he lie down, and consume the branches thereof. (11) When the boughs thereof are withered, they shall be broken off: the women come, and set them on fire: for it is a people of no understanding: therefore he that made them will not have mercy on them, and he that formed them will show them no favour.”
The prophet Nahum speaks of the terrible fury of our God as that which shall cause the mountains to quake, the hills to melt, and the earth with all its inhabitants to burn at his presence (Nahum 1:5-6).
(Nahum 1:5-6) “The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein. (6) Who can stand before his indignation? And who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? His fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him.”
Yes, there is fury in God! He must and shall punish sin. He will destroy all workers of iniquity. Hell is the everlasting, unrelenting, and just execution of his fury upon all his enemies.
Yet, there are some people in this world to whom the holy Lord God declares, “Fury is not in me!” I want to be found among them. Don’t you?
How are we to understand these words? How are we to interpret them? As always, we must interpret the words in their context, and let the context in which they are found determine our understanding.
1st — God’s message to us in Isaiah 27 is plain and clear. — Israel shall be saved. None of God’s elect are in danger. None of his chosen shall be lost.
In this 27th chapter of Isaiah’s prophecy, the Lord God declares two things.
1. First, he tells us that he will utterly destroy all his enemies and ours. He assures us that the nations of the world are under the sentence of his wrath and judgment, wrath and judgment being continually and relentlessly executed throughout the ages.
2. Second, The Lord graciously assures us that “all Israel shall be saved” (Romans 11:26). He declares that “Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the whole world with fruit” (v. 6).
In other words, the Lord is here declaring, in absolute and unmistakable terms, that there is no reason for us ever to be concerned about the welfare of God’s church and kingdom.
All is well in Zion, all the time. No matter how things appear on the surface, no matter what we read in our newspapers, no matter what we experience in providence, no matter how bad things look in our eyes, all is well in Zion, all the time. — How I wish we could learn that! — All is well in Zion, all the time!
(Isaiah 3:10) “Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings.”
2nd — How can that be? The reason is stated in our text. The Lord God declares, “Fury is not in me!” He has just told us that there is great fury in him against his enemies (Isaiah 26:20-27:1). But with regard to his church, his vineyard, God has no fury. He is never angry with his people in Christ. These are his words ― “Fury is not in me.”
Š No Fury Then!
Š No Fury Now!
Š No Fury Tomorrow!
There never has been and never can be any fury in him against his people.
Sometimes, he appears to be angry. He seems to contend with us in his providence. When he does, it is only that he may gather out of his vineyard the briars and thorns, the tares, the wood hay, and stubble, to burn them and purge his church (Matthew 13:24-30; Isaiah 33:14).
(Isaiah 33:14) “The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?”
(Matthew 13:24-30) “Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: (25) But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. (26) But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. (27) So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? From whence then hath it tares? (28) He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? (29) But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. (30) Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.”
This purging of the kingdom is God’s work. No man has the right or the ability to do it. ― “Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.”
How is it that there is no fury in God toward his people? There is no fury in God toward his own because God’s fury spent itself on his darling Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, our Substitute (Zechariah 13:7, 9; Isaiah 53:4-11; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 8:1).
(Zechariah 13:7) “Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.”
(Zechariah 13:9) “And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.”
(Isaiah 53:4-11) “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. (5) But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. (6) All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. (7) He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. (8) He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. (9) And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. (10) Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. (11) He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.”
(2 Corinthians 5:21) “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.”
(Romans 8:1) “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
In the Old Testament, the fire of God’s holy wrath fell upon the sacrifices that were offered upon his altar, and consumed them (Leviticus 6:10; 9:24). But Christ, the Lamb of God is that Sacrifice that consumed the fire of God’s wrath. Now, the Lord God declares, regarding all for whom that sacrifice was made, “Fury is not in me!”
A Vineyard Protected
3rd — Because there is no fury in God toward us, his church and kingdom in this world is “a vineyard of red wine” under his constant protection and care (Isaiah 27:2-3). Not only does he burn up the briars and thorns that cumber the ground, he tenderly cares for his own vineyard.
(Isaiah 27:2-3) “In that day sing ye unto her, A vineyard of red wine. (3) I the LORD do keep it; I will water it every moment: lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day.”
When God’s judgments fall, there is no reason for the believer to be afraid. While God is judging our enemies and punishing them he is protecting, preserving and saving his elect. God will protect his own!
1. The church is God’s vineyard (Matthew 20:1; John 15:1-5).
(Matthew 20:1) “For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard.”
(John 15:1-5) “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. (2) Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. (3) Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. (4) Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. (5) I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”
The church of God is here called a vineyard of red wine, symbolic of the choicest, best fruit of the vine, wine that gladdens the heart and makes merry the downcast.
Š A vineyard is a spot of ground separated from the rest of the property.
Š A vineyard is the property of one person.
Š A vineyard is fenced in and protected.
Š A vineyard has many plants ― all planted, pruned, and cared for by the husbandman.
God commits the care of his vineyard to faithful pastors. But his hand is really the one that cares for his vineyard.
Š A vineyard is valuable, pleasant, and fruitful.
Š The fruit of this vineyard is all red. ― It arises from and is washed in the precious blood of Christ.
Š As the fruit of the vine must be squeezed to give out its juices, so the saints of God give out their graces as they are squeezed and pressed by the hand of God’s providence.
2. This vineyard, the church of God, I repeat, is under God’s own care (v. 3).
It is kept by God. — The Lord God himself has undertaken to keep Israel. And “he that keepeth Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps.” Because God keeps his vineyard none can hurt it. God keeps it at all times, by night and by day (Psalm 91:4-6).
(Psalm 91:4-6) “He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. (5) Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; (6) Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.”
In the night of affliction and persecution and in the day of peace and prosperity he keeps his vineyard. He keeps us amid the temptations of the day and in the trials of the night.
And God waters his vineyard. — God waters his vineyard by the ministry of the Word, by his servants, whose doctrine drops as the dew of heaven. Paul plants and Apollos waters. But God gives the increase. Without him our labors are vain.
God’s vineyard needs an occasional flood. But it is the daily dew of grace that brings forth fruit to the glory of God. ― We are impressed by the floods. But the real, vital necessity is the dew.
A Call to Reconciliation
4th — Because there is no fury in God, he calls for sinners, for you who are his enemies to take hold of Christ, to be reconciled to him by faith in Christ, and be reconciled to him (Isaiah 27:5).
(Isaiah 27:5) “Or let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me.”
Now, read verses 4 and 5 together. The word “Or” at the beginning of verse 5 connects the two verses. God the Holy Ghost has joined them together. We must not put them asunder.
(Isaiah 27:4-5) “Fury is not in me: who would set the briers and thorns against me in battle? I would go through them, I would burn them together. (5) Or let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me.”
The Lord is saying to you who are by nature, worthless bramble bushes, fit to be burned, and sure to be burned forever, if you set yourselves against him, “There is another option. You do not have to die. I am a God willing to save. I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked. I delight in mercy.”
“Let him take hold of my Strength” ― Lay hold upon Christ. “That He (Christ ― Mighty to Save!) may make peace with me.” ― Our Daysman, our Mediator, our Intercessor, our Advocate. “And He (Christ) shall make peace with me!”
This fifth verse is a summary of the gospel with which God continually waters his church and vineyard.
Š There is a quarrel between God and men.
Š God himself urges sinners to lay hold of Christ, his Strength, and find peace in him, in him to be reconciled.
Š And God promises peace to all who lay hold of Christ in faith (2 Corinthians 5:17-6:1). Will you hear God’s own Word? If you lay hold on Christ, there is no fury in him toward you!
(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) “We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.”
5th — Now, look at Isaiah 27:6. — Because there is no fury in God toward his elect, the salvation of his elect is sure.
(Isaiah 27:6) “He shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root: Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit.”
There are two groups of people in this world, Esaus against whom God is forever furious, and Jacobs toward whom there is no fury in God. All who are of Jacob, loved of God with an everlasting love, chosen by him from eternity, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world shall come to God by faith in Christ. As Jacob took hold on the Lord’s Strength in the night that the Lord wrestled with him and found peace, so they shall take hold on Christ and find everlasting peace.
Š If you are of Jacob, you will come.
Š Only then will you find out who you are.
Š Only then will you discover the love of God toward you.
Š Only then will you have peace with God in your soul.
Here the Lord God promises that all who come to him, he will cause to take root and flourish. ― “Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit.”
Š He will cause you to be rooted and grounded in Christ, in the love of God “that passeth knowledge.”
Š He will cause you to blossom and bud with the fruit of his Spirit.
Š He will cause the whole earth to be filled with the fruit of Israel and Jacob. ― The fulness of the Gentiles shall be brought in, and so all Israel shall be saved.
The church of God in this world is a growing church. And when all have been gathered in, it shall be a great and glorious church. God has an elect remnant among the sons of Jacob who shall be saved. — “He (the Lord Jesus Christ) shall cause (Psalm 65:4) them that come of Jacob to take root.” There is an elect multitude scattered throughout the earth who must be saved (John 10:16; Romans 11:25-27). — “Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit” (Isaiah 37:31-32; Psalm 80:9; Matthew 13:31-32).
(Psalm 80:9) “Thou preparedst room before it, and didst cause it to take deep root, and it filled the land.”
(Isaiah 37:31-32) “And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward: (32) For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of mount Zion: the zeal of the LORD of hosts shall do this.”
(Matthew 13:31-32) “Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: (32) Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.”
The preaching of the gospel shall bring forth fruit in all the world (Colossians 1:5-6). And that fruit shall remain forever (John 15:16).
6th — Read verse 9. Because there is no fury in God toward his elect, their iniquity shall be purged and their sins shall be taken away.
(Isaiah 27:9) “By this therefore shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged; and this is all the fruit to take away his sin; when he maketh all the stones of the altar as chalkstones that are beaten in sunder, the groves and images shall not stand up.”
What does that mean? Does the Lord here teach us that our coming to him makes atonement for and purges away our sins? Of course not. But he does mean this. ― The only way you will ever know the blessed experience of pardon, forgiveness, justification, and peace in your soul is by coming to him.
When the Lord God causes you to take your own hands and destroy all your gods, when he graciously causes you to come to him, trusting Christ alone as your Savior and Lord, he says to you as he did to Isaiah of old, “Thine iniquity is taken away and thy sin is purged!”
“Shall Be Gathered”
7th — Because there is no fury in God toward his elect, because Christ has redeemed them, because he who is our God is a just God and a Savior, we are assured in verses 12 and 13 that all the children of Israel, all God’s elect, shall be gathered from the four corners of the earth unto Christ. Yes, it is true, “He shall see of the travail of his soul and shall be satisfied.”
(Isaiah 27:12-13) “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall beat off from the channel of the river unto the stream of Egypt, and ye shall be gathered one by one, O ye children of Israel. (13) And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem.”
When the hand of God’s judgment appears heavy, even severe upon the earth, we need not be alarmed. He is simply beating his fruit off the trees of the earth. As he does, he tells us that his elect, the children of Israel, “shall be gathered one by one,” as fruit that is beaten off the tree is gathered up, one by one.
Š The great jubilee trumpet of grace shall be blown.
Š They shall come which are ready to perish ― the outcasts of Egypt.
Š They shall worship the Lord in his holy mount. At Jerusalem. ― “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved!”
Remember The Duck
There was a little boy visiting his grandparents on their farm. He was given a slingshot to play with, out in the woods. He practiced in the woods, but he could never hit the target. Getting a little discouraged, he headed back to dinner.
As he was walking back, he saw Grandmother’s pet duck. Just out of impulse, he let fly, hit the duck square in the head, and killed it. He was shocked and sorry. More than anything, he was afraid. In a panic, he hid the dead duck in the wood pile, only to see his sister watching. Sally had seen it all, but she said nothing.
After lunch that day, Grandma said, “Sally, let’s wash the dishes.”
Sally said, “Grandma, Johnny told me he wanted to help in the kitchen today, didn’t you Johnny?” And then she whispered to him, “Remember, the duck?” So Johnny did the dishes.
Later Grandpa asked if the children wanted to go fishing, and Grandma said, “I’m sorry but I need Sally to help make supper.”
Sally smiled and said, “Johnny told me he wanted to help.” And she whispered again, “Remember, the duck.” So Sally went fishing and Johnny helped in the kitchen.
After several days of Johnny doing both his chores and Sally’s, he finally couldn’t stand it any longer. He came to Grandma and confessed that he killed the duck.
She knelt down, gave him a hug, and said, “Sweetheart, I know. You see, I was standing at the window and I saw the whole thing. But because I love you, I forgave you. I’m not angry with you. I was just wondering how long would you let Sally make a slave of you.”
I don’t know what’s in your past. I don’t know what sins Satan keeps throwing up in your face. But whatever they are, I want you to know something.
If you can now take hold of God’s Strength, if you can now take hold of Christ, he declares to you, “I’m not angry. Fury is not in me. You are forgiven. Your iniquity is purged. Your sin has been put away. How long will you let the fiend of hell torment you and enslave you?”
“Fury is not in me!” — That is God’s word of grace to every sinner who trusts his Son!