Listen to sermons at FreeGraceRadio.com
Sermon #103 — Isaiah Series
Title: Our Judge, Our Lawgiver,
Text: Isaiah 33:1-24
Subject: The Sure Triumph and Glory of the Church
Date: Tuesday Evening — September 17, 2019
Readings: Lindsay Campbell and David Burge
The title of my message is — Our Judge, Our Lawgiver, Our King. My text will be the 33rd chapter of Isaiah. — Our Judge, Our Lawgiver, Our King (Isaiah 33:1-24). In the 22nd verse of this chapter the prophet of God was inspired to tell us everything we really need to know to keep our souls in peace. If we could constantly keep in our minds, keep before our eyes, and believe in our hearts that which is revealed in this one sentence, this one verse of Inspiration, nothing could greatly disturb us, frighten us, or make us uneasy. — “For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us.”
After giving the ecstatic prophecy of Christ’s reign and the outpouring of the Spirit upon the church in chapter 32, in chapter 33 Isaiah returns to his own times and addresses the present trials of his people. But he does not stay there long.
The prophet of God had learned to look upon the church’s troubles as nothing more than preludes to the church’s triumph. So this chapter begins with Sennacherib and the Assyrian invaders, who were bent upon the destruction of Judah. But it concludes with the triumph and glory of God’s church in heaven. Really, the theme of the whole chapter is expressed in verse 17. — “Thine eyes shall see the King in his beauty!”
Let me give you the historical background of this prophecy, before I explain the meaning of Isaiah’s prophetic message. If you want to read it at home, the historical background for this prophecy is found in 2nd Kings 18:13-19:37. That passage describes in detail the invasion of Sennacherib’s hosts, the desolation of Judah, and the threat of great danger Jerusalem faced.
Sennacherib demanded tribute from Hezekiah. And Hezekiah foolishly paid it. He sent the tribute money to Sennacherib at Lachish. Then Sennacherib demanded the unconditional surrender of Jerusalem. He had already captured many cities and cut off travel and commerce. So Hezekiah’s ambassadors came home weeping, carrying Sennacherib’s message. Then he sent his army to Jerusalem, did some saber rattling, and tried to get Hezekiah to turn over the keys to the city. But Rabshakeh failed to persuade Hezekiah to surrender. God promised Hezekiah that he would defend the city (2 Kings 19:34). And defend it he did. God sent an angel into the army of Sennacherib, who killed 185,000 of his men while they slept. Sennacherib fled to Nineveh in confusion and fear. And one day, while he was worshipping Nisroch, his god, two of his own sons killed him.
Proposition: As God defended Jerusalem, so he defends his church. — As God dealt with Sennacherib, so he deals with all who seek to destroy his gospel, his people, and his church.
Divisions: This prophecy has four parts.
1st — In verses 1-6 the prophet of God, speaking by divine inspiration, gives his people a promise of deliverance.
Of course, Isaiah wrote this prophecy to his own people in his own day. But he also wrote it to us (Romans 15:4). He promised Judah deliverance from her treacherous oppressors. And he promises us deliverance from our treacherous oppressors. As God delivered Judah and Jerusalem from Sennacherib and the Assyrians by sovereign power, so he will deliver his people from all their enemies and his church from all her foes. He says, “He that toucheth thee toucheth the apple of mine eye!” — Notice 5 things in these first six verses.
1. God’s promise of deliverance to his chosen by the destruction of our enemies. — “Woe to thee that spoilest, and thou wast not spoiled; and dealest treacherously, and they dealt not treacherously with thee! When thou shalt cease to spoil, thou shalt be spoiled; and when thou shalt make an end to deal treacherously, they shall deal treacherously with thee” (v. 1).
2. In light of God’s promise the prophet offers a prayer of faith for God’s people. — “O LORD, be gracious unto us; we have waited for thee: be thou their arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble” (v. 2).
This is a prayer based upon God’s promise (2 Samuel 7:27). It is a prayer arising from heartfelt need.
Š “Be gracious unto us.”
Š “We have waited for thee.”
Š “Be thou their arm every morning.” — Our Brethren! — Our Pastors!
Š “Be thou our salvation in the time of trouble” (Hebrews 4:16).
(Hebrews 4:16) Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
3. Here is the answer of grace (vv. 3-4).
(Isaiah 33:3-4) At the noise of the tumult the people fled; at the lifting up of thyself the nations were scattered. (4) And your spoil shall be gathered like the gathering of the caterpiller: as the running to and fro of locusts shall he run upon them.
The wealth of the wicked is laid up for the righteous. As Israel was enriched by the spoils of the Egyptians, so we shall be enriched in eternity by the spoils of our enemies (Romans 8:18).
4. We see the exaltation of our Savior in his mighty works, especially in the salvation of his people. — “The LORD is exalted; for he dwelleth on high: he hath filled Zion with judgment and righteousness” (v. 5; Philippians 2:1-11).
Š He is exalted because of his peace.
Š He is exalted because of his grace.
Š He is exalted because of his justice.
Š He is exalted because of his righteousness.
(Philippians 2:1-) If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, (2) Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. (3) Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. (4) Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. (5) Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: (6) Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: (7) But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: (8) And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (9) Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: (10) That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; (11) And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
5. The blessedness of God’s church in this world is set before us in verse 6. — “And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation: the fear of the LORD is his treasure” (v. 6).
Time of Trouble
2nd — Verses 7-12 describe a time of great trouble.
(Isaiah 33:7-12) Behold, their valiant ones shall cry without: the ambassadors of peace shall weep bitterly. (8) The highways lie waste, the wayfaring man ceaseth: he hath broken the covenant, he hath despised the cities, he regardeth no man. (9) The earth mourneth and languisheth: Lebanon is ashamed and hewn down: Sharon is like a wilderness; and Bashan and Carmel shake off their fruits. (10) Now will I rise, saith the LORD; now will I be exalted; now will I lift up myself. (11) Ye shall conceive chaff, ye shall bring forth stubble: your breath, as fire, shall devour you. (12) And the people shall be as the burnings of lime: as thorns cut up shall they be burned in the fire.
God promised to defend Jerusalem and destroy Sennacherib. But before the deliverance there would be distress. Before triumph there would be trouble (2 Kings 18:13).
Š Apply to Sennacherib and his armies.
Š Apply to antichrist and Babylon (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12; Revelation 11:7-17).
(2 Thessalonians 2:1-17) Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, (2) That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. (3) Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; (4) Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. (5) Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? (6) And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. (7) For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. (8) And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: (9) Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, (10) And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. (11) And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: (12) That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (13) But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: (14) Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. (15) Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. (16) Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, (17) Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.
(Revelation 11:7-17) And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. (8) And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. (9) And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. (10) And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. (11) And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. (12) And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. (13) And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven. (14) The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly. (15) And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. (16) And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, (17) Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.
3rd — In verses 13-16 Isaiah shows us the effects of God’s intervention.
The Call to Praise — “Hear, ye that are far off, what I have done; and, ye that are near, acknowledge my might” (v. 13). The Lord God calls for us to praise him in anticipation of him doing what he promises!
The Confusion of Hypocrites — “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?” (v. 14).
The Character of God’s Saints — “He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil” (v. 15).
The Assured Blessedness of God’s Elect — “He shall dwell on high: his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure” (v. 16).
Dwelling on high with Christ, we are beyond the reach of danger. Being one with Christ, we are saved in Christ. No arrow from the shaft of the enemy can touch you. No weapon formed against you shall prosper. Our place of defense is in the munitions of rocks. We are hidden out of sight, out of reach, out of danger, with Christ (Colossians 3:1-3).
(Colossians 3:1-3) If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. (2) Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. (3) For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
When hypocrites in Zion are afraid, still the bread of life shall be given God’s saints and waters of refreshing shall be sure. — Precious promise!
4th — In verses 17-24 the prophet expands the promise of assured blessedness to God’s elect and declares the sure of triumph and glory of Christ, his church, his cause, his gospel, and his people. — Here is the blessedness of heavenly glory that awaits every believer.
(Isaiah 33:17) Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off.
(Isaiah 33:18-19) Thine heart shall meditate terror. Where is the scribe? Where is the receiver? Where is he that counted the towers? (19) Thou shalt not see a fierce people, a people of a deeper speech than thou canst perceive; of a stammering tongue, that thou canst not understand.
(Isaiah 33:20-22) Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities: thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken. (21) But there the glorious LORD will be unto us a place of broad rivers and streams; wherein shall go no galley with oars, neither shall gallant ship pass thereby. — Who needs them? Christ is ours! — (22) For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us.
Do you remember what I told you at the beginning of my message? If we could constantly keep in our minds, keep before our eyes, and believe in our hearts that which is revealed in this one sentence, this one verse of Inspiration, nothing could greatly disturb us, frighten us, or make us uneasy. — “For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us.”
Our enemies shall never again come against us (v. 23; Romans 8:31-39).
(Isaiah 33:23) Thy tacklings are loosed; they could not well strengthen their mast, they could not spread the sail: then is the prey of a great spoil divided; the lame take the prey.
(Romans 8:28-39) And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (29) For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (30) Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. (31) What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? (32) He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? (33) Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. (34) Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. (35) Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? (36) As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. (37) Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. (38) For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, (39) Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Sorrow shall be no more (v. 24).
(Isaiah 33:24) And the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick: the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity.
I bid you now to come into this blessed kingdom of grace, which shall soon become a kingdom of glory (Revelation 21:1-22:17).
(Revelation 21:1-7) And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. (2) And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (3) And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. (4) And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (5) And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. (6) And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. (7) He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
(Revelation 22:1-7) And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. (2) In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. (3) And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: (4) And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. (5) And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. (6) And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done. (7) Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.
(Revelation 22:10-17) And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. (11) He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. (12) And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. (13) I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. (14) Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. (15) For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. (16) I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. (17) And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.