Wednesday, June 14, 2023

2023.06.14 Hopewell @Home ▫ Isaiah 2:1–21

Read Isaiah 2:1–21

Questions from the Scripture text: What does Isaiah 2:1 call Isaiah 2:2-4? When will this happen (Isaiah 2:2a)? What will be where (verse 2b–d)? Who will go there (Isaiah 2:2-3a)? To Whose mountain will they say they are coming (Isaiah 2:3b)? To Whose house (verse 3c)? For what to happen (verse 3d–g)? What will this instruction include (Isaiah 2:4a–b)? With what result (verse 4c–f)? In light of this, what does the prophet urge Israel to do (Isaiah 2:5)? What has God done to them (Isaiah 2:6a)? Why (verse 6b–d)? What do they treasure and trust in (Isaiah 2:7-9b)? What will not be done for those who do this (Isaiah 2:9c)? How will those who humbled themselves to idols end up being infinitely more humbled (Isaiah 2:10Isaiah 2:19)? Who will be exalted (Isaiah 2:11Isaiah 2:17c)? What will His day do to whom (Isaiah 2:12-18)? What will an idolater do to his idols on that day (Isaiah 2:20)? Why (Isaiah 2:21)?

What are the dangers of humbling ourselves before idols instead of before God? Isaiah 2:1–21 looks forward to the first serial reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these twenty-one verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that men who trust in anything other than God will be humiliated, as will whatever they trust in.

We are still in that opening section of Isaiah (chapters 1–5), where the Lord describes how His people have provoked Him. This middle part (Isaiah 2:1–4:6) of the introduction basically begins with what God’s people and city are designed to be (Isaiah 2:1-4) and ends with how the Lord will bring it about (Isaiah 4:2–6). In between those bookends, we read about the Lord’s chastening to purify them from their idolatries (Isaiah 2:5–21) and then the judgment that must come when idolatry is not removed (Isaiah 2:22–4:1). So, for this week, we see the exalted end for which God’s people are destined—and His determination to purify them from the idolatry that is hindering that end.

Exaltation for God’s PeopleIsaiah 2:1-4. Yahweh teaches His people, and there is coming a day that all nations (Isaiah 2:2e), many people (Isaiah 2:3a), will desire to be taught by Him and walk with Him (verse 3d–e). In the last days, they will come to “the mountain of Yahweh’s house” (Isaiah 2:2b)—Zion (Isaiah 2:3f), Jerusalem (verse 3g). They would need no more weapons, because with Yahweh as their God, these nations would no longer war (Isaiah 2:4). This is what Israel, Judah, Jerusalem should have been—God’s people to whom all nations came in order to join and be God’s people!

Humiliation of Idolaters in IdolatryIsaiah 2:5-9. Grievously, the opposite happened. Though they were called to walk with Yahweh (Isaiah 2:5), rather than bringing the nations to Him, they left the Lord in order to walk like the nations (Isaiah 2:6)! They trusted in treasure (Isaiah 2:7a–b), power (verse 7c–d, cf. Deuteronomy 17:16), and idols (Isaiah 2:8) just like the rest of the nations. What a temptation! And sadly, many who call themselves Christians even today fall for one or more of those. They humble themselves (Isaiah 2:9a–b, cf. Psalm 20:7–8) not before God but before wealth, power, or religion.

Humiliation of Idolaters at the JudgmentIsaiah 2:10-17. Those who humble themselves before idols instead of before God will ultimately fail in their purpose. Their knees will yet bow, and their tongues will yet confess that Yahweh alone is God. (Indeed, they will confess that Jesus Christ is Yahweh God, Hallelujah! cf. Isaiah 45:23; Romans 14:11; Philippians 2:10–11). There is “that day” coming (Isaiah 2:11c, Isaiah 2:17c), the day of Yahweh of Hosts (Isaiah 2:12a). And it will bring down all of the proud and lofty, not only among men (Isaiah 2:11a–b, Isaiah 2:17a–b) but among all creation (Isaiah 2:12-16). 

Humiliation of the Idols ThemselvesIsaiah 2:18-21. Money can’t love you back, weapons of war can’t deliver you, and manmade religion can do absolutely nothing for you. When God’s enemies are humiliated before Him on the last day, their idols will be eliminated (Isaiah 2:18). As the idol’s worshipers scramble in terror of the Lord (cf. Revelation 6:14–17), their idols will at first go into their holes with them (Isaiah 2:19), but be abandoned altogether when there isn’t room for both idol and idolater in their holes (Isaiah 2:20-21). A similar thing is going to happen when Judah’s idols slow them down during the Babylonian exile, and idol and idolater are captured together (cf. Isaiah 46:1–2). The almost humorous picture of Isaiah 2:20d is of idols strewn outside the cave for desert creatures to “worship.”

Everyone worships. Judah and Jerusalem were to worship the Lord alone, and to be used by God to bring others into His worship. And whatever parts of the visible church today fail to worship the Lord, by falling into the idolatries of the world, can expect its own lampstand to be removed. The Lord spare us. And may the Lord give us instead to be used of Him to bring others streaming in to worship Him, the Triune God, through our Lord Jesus Christ! 

Which are you most tempted to trust in: wealth, power, or manmade religion? How often do you humble yourself before the Lord right now, in this season of life?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we thank You that You have given to us to know You, to be instructed by You, and to walk with You. Forgive us for how often and how much we are like Israel—hoping in our wallets, or hoping in the security of our weapons, or hoping the religious activities that we do. Grant instead that we would be humbled before You and trust in You, so that the last day will be for us a day of great exaltation rather than terror. Forgive us, and help us, we pray through Jesus Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP73C “Yet Constantly, I Am with You” or TPH508 “Jesus, Priceless Treasure”

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