Wednesday, July 26, 2023

2023.07.26 Hopewell @Home ▫ Isaiah 10:20–11:16

Read Isaiah 10:20–11:16

Questions from the Scripture text: On a coming day, upon whom will remnant Israel no longer depend (Isaiah 10:20a–d)? Upon Whom will they depend instead (Isaiah 10:20-21)? How many had the people been (Isaiah 10:22a)? How many will return (verse 22b)? To show what (verse 22c)? By doing what (Isaiah 10:23)? Whom is YHWH addressing in Isaiah 10:24? What does He call them? Where do they dwell? Of whom does He tell them not to be afraid? What will Assyria do? Like who before them? But how long will this last (Isaiah 10:25)? Whom has YHWH of hosts suddenly destroyed before (Isaiah 10:26)? To whom else will He do this? With what result for God’s people (Isaiah 10:27)? How will Assyria progress (Isaiah 10:28-31)? How close will he get (Isaiah 10:32a)? To be able to do what (verse 32b–c)? But then what will YHWH of hosts suddenly do (Isaiah 10:33-34)? What will come forth (Isaiah 11:1a)? From what? What will grow out of what (verse 1b)? Who will rest upon Him (Isaiah 11:2a)? What six things does this Spirit give (verse 2b–d)? In Whom does this Spirit-anointed One delight (Isaiah 11:3a)? How doesn’t He judge (verse 3b–c)? How does He judge instead (Isaiah 11:4a–b)? Particularly for whom? With what does He strike what (verse 4c)? And with what slay whom (verse 4d)? What two things pull all His attributes together like a belt (Isaiah 11:5)? By what images does the Spirit present the extent to which the future kingdom recovers Eden (Isaiah 11:6-7) and overcomes the fall (Isaiah 11:8)? How does Isaiah 11:9a summarize the new kingdom? How does verse 9b–c explain it? In addition to being a shoot from Jesse (Isaiah 11:10a) what relation does this King have to Jesse (verse 10a)? Whom does He welcome (Isaiah 11:10b–c)? Where (it’s a noun in the original, not an adjective as in NKJ) is His resting place (Isaiah 11:10d)? What happens a second time in the King’s day (Isaiah 11:11a–c)? Recapturing which exoduses (verse 11d)? And adding what sorts of others (verse 11e–g)? Whom does He welcome/rally to Himself (Isaiah 11:12)? Who in particular will be united/reconciled (Isaiah 11:13)? How does Isaiah 11:14 describe the kingdom extension? How does the power of this new exodus compare to the original (Isaiah 11:15, cf. Exodus 14)? From among whom are His remnant people now, and like the salvation of whom will their salvation be (Isaiah 11:16)?

How will the kingdom of the Son of Jesse come, when the line of David has been cut down to a stump? Isaiah 10:20–11:16 looks forward to the first serial reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that by the almighty anointing of the Holy Spirit, One will come from Jesse’s stump Who was also Jesse’s root, and He will not only restore Eden and overcome the Fall, but bring a remnant people from all the nations into the rest which is God’s glory. 

Isaiah 9:1–7 had prophesied that the darkness itself was a precursor to the light that would dawn when a Child Who is God would fulfill the 2 Samuel 7 promise of the forever-King.  But with the Assyrian destruction that the Lord is bringing upon Judah and Israel in the near term, how glorious can that coming reign actually be? The answer of this chapter is that it will be wondrously glorious indeed. David’s line may be cut so deeply that what remains is the stump of Jesse (Isaiah 11:1a), but the Shoot that is coming is so great that He is also Jesse’s root (Isaiah 11:10a). It’s a paradox like the one that Jesus points out (cf. Matthew 22:44–45) from Psalm 110:1. Great, then, is the glory of this King, Who is both shoot from Jesse and root of Jesse!

His glory as the reuniter of Israel, Isaiah 10:20–11:1. The judgment that the LORD is bringing has multiple purposes. It destroys all other supports (Isaiah 10:20). Both north and south have enlisted enemies for help that end up destroying the other and turning upon them themselves. Whatever we put our trust in instead of the Lord, they will surely fail us, and our trust in them will positively harm us. The judgment also displays the greatness of the LORD’s righteousness. By saving just a remnant, He displays both mercy and faithfulness to save any at all, and that He would have been perfectly righteous even to destroy all of them (Isaiah 10:21-23). 

The judgment also has the purpose of reuniting Israel and Judah. We’ve already seen in Isaiah 10:5, Isaiah 10:15 that, despite Assyria’s arrogance to think otherwise, the fundamental reality is that they are an instrument of the Lord. And the Lord will punish the instrument for its own wickedness in due time—just as surely as He has punished others like Egypt and Midian (Isaiah 10:24-27). But where and when will this relief (Isaiah 10:27) come? 

As Assyria destroys much of the northern kingdom, the remnant is seen as being pushed back to Jerusalem, back to Zion. That is the terminus of the path that Assyria takes in Isaiah 10:28-31. But he will ultimately only get close enough to shake his fist (Isaiah 10:32) before he is destroyed (Isaiah 10:33-34). Thus, he becomes the instrument by which the remnant from the north finally comes back to the house of David (Isaiah 11:1). Back to the son of Jesse. 

As the passage describes, this is a pattern that has repeated several times in history, and is ramping up to the final glorious iteration considered in chapter 11. God keeps using judgments to purify a remnant from His people, and to gather them unto Christ in Whom they are reunited. And eventually this will be a reunited remnant from all the nations! When that remnant is gathered and reunited, then all of His enemies will receive their final and full and everlasting destruction!

His glory as the revelation of God in fleshIsaiah 11:2-5. Ordinary kings are anointed with oil. This King will instead have the Spirit rest upon Him (Isaiah 11:2a). The Spirit proceeds from Him in His divine personhood (cf. Isaiah 9:6) and rests upon Him in His humanity (Isaiah 11:1-2). As such, His character will be the perfect human display of the character of God. 

While the summary of this Spirit-given character emphasizes the triplet of wisdom, understanding, and counsel (Isaiah 11:2b–c), note from where this all especially comes: the knowledge and fear of YHWH (verse 2d). What the Spirit especially communicates is not merely skill or information or tactics but proper personal engagement and interaction with God. It is first and foremost delight in fearing God (Isaiah 11:3a) that produces righteousness in His dealings with all men (Isaiah 11:3-4b). The Spirit communicates to Him perfect keeping of the first great commandment and first table of the law, from which follow the keeping of the second great commandment and second table of the law. 

This love of man, of course, must include the avenging of man and destruction of His enemies. And this the Christ will do (Isaiah 11:4c–d, cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:8; Revelation 19:15, Revelation 19:21). In righteousness, He will follow all of the principles of the Lord (Isaiah 11:5a), and in faithfulness He will keep all of the promises of the Lord (verse 5b), including the crushing of the serpent’s head (cf. Isaiah 11:8; Genesis 3:15).

What is amazing is that believers now have His Spirit not only as our Helper but as the One Whom He has poured out upon us. To us, He is not only the Spirit of YHWH as in Isaiah 11:2, but the Spirit of Christ (cf. Romans 8:9).  And it is as “the Spirit of His Son” that God has sent this Spirit not just to be with us but to be in our very hearts (cf. Galatians 4:6, cp. Romans 8:9; John 14:17–23)!

His glory as the recoverer of EdenIsaiah 11:6-7. His perfect Kingship will eliminate not just the hostilities of men toward one another, but even the viciousness of the creatures toward each other (Isaiah 11:6a–c, Isaiah 11:7). This new creation will be perfectly safe even for a little child (Isaiah 11:6d). This is something that cannot occur in the creation that is bound to corruption and decay (cf. Romans 8:21a), but God didn’t bind the creation in despair or destruction but rather in hope (cf. Romans 8:20), and now it eagerly awaits the return of the King (cf. Romans 8:19, Romans 8:22). Then, at the resurrection, the creation itself will enjoy the glorious liberty of the children of God (cf. Romans 8:21b). 

His glory as the reverser of the FallIsaiah 11:8-9. Cobras’ and vipers’ mortal threat to men’s bodies is emblematic of that murderer from the beginning (cf. John 8:44), who is called a serpent and dragon (cf. Revelation 12:9). But when that serpent’s head has been crushed, not only will Eden be restored, but the subjugation and docility of the venomous reptiles will forever remind that the Christ has destroyed the works of the devil (cf. 1 John 3:8). 

The Zion in view in Isaiah 11:9 is not just a hill in the Near East, or a heavenly location of the assembly of the firstborn, but a stone that grew into a mountain (verse 9a) so great that it has now filled the whole earth (verse 9b, cf. Daniel 2:35, cp. Revelation 11:15ff.)—a mountain that is saturated with the knowledge of YHWH (Isaiah 11:9c) that originated in the Christ by His Spirit (cf. Isaiah 11:2d).

His glory as the retriever of the nationsIsaiah 11:10-14. The event in view in this chapter is not only Eden-restoring and Fall-reversing, but it is a great gathering day. Christ lifts Himself up as a banner of welcome (Isaiah 11:10a–b; cf. John 12:32), and that banner gathers the nations (Isaiah 11:10c, Isaiah 11:12a) together with remnants from Israel and Judah from the ends of the earth (verse 12b–d). This “second exodus” (Isaiah 11:11a–b) of “His remnant people” (more literal than “the remnant of His people” in verse 11c) will be far greater than the first. Its scope will include a remnant from the most unlikely (verse 11d) and distant (verse 11e–g) nations. And its effectiveness will be not only to reconcile them to Himself but to each other (Isaiah 11:13, cf. Ephesians 2:11–18). Only under David had this been even superficially true, and the reconciling of people from many nations in His church brings great honor to Christ already in anticipation of the day when that reconciliation will be complete. Of course, it is only on that day that not only will the entire remnant be retrieved and reconciled, but all who are not of the remnant will go to their dreadful reward (Isaiah 11:14).

His glory as the restorer of God’s restIsaiah 11:15-16. Noah features heavily in this chapter. What his father had hoped for in Genesis 5:29, Isaiah was now announcing would come in this Shoot (and Root!) of the stump of Jesse. The resting of the Spirit upon Him in Isaiah 11:2a and the place of rest that is glory itself in Isaiah 11:10d (a noun there, not NKJ’s adjective) both employ the root for “rest” or “comfort” from which he gets his name. When this prophecy is fulfilled, the Shoot of Jesse will have surpassed the flood and the exodus for bringing God’s people into God’s rest. 

Isaiah 11:15 employs an image that is a great magnification of the crossing of the Red Sea, right down to the mighty wind of God that dries up seas and rivers and makes God’s new remnant to cross over on dry land. “His remnant people” (Isaiah 11:16a), whether Assyrians or otherwise (verse 16b), will come into the rest of God that had been prefigured in the original exodus (verse 16b, cf. Psalm 95:11; Hebrews 4:8–9). 

Here again is a feature of the event described here that cannot occur in this world but awaits the new creation (cf. Hebrews 4:1, Hebrews 4:6, Hebrews 4:10; Hebrews 11:9–10, Hebrews 11:16, Hebrews 11:39–40). Believers are already new creation. And their as-yet-imperfect reconciliation and resting in the Lord both bring forward the glory that belongs to the great day to come. Thus they rejoice for the glory that comes to Christ in these ways. But like the saints of old, we wait to receive the fullness of this promise when the number is completed, and we will all be made perfect together in the resurrection (cf. Hebrews 11:39–40; Revelation 6:11; Romans 8:23). 

Jesus Christ is the Son of David and Son of God Who has the Spirit in full measure, recovers paradise, reverses the fall, retrieves the nations, and restores rest in God! Whatever had to come upon Judah and Israel at the hands of Assyria, and whatever we have to go through in our own lives, dear Christian, it is worth it for His great glory!

In light of this chapter, why is it so amazing that Jesus anoints/baptizes us with His Spirit? How are you already enjoying some of the reconciliation and rest aspects of the glory of His reign? What parts of the glory of His reign must be waited for until the next world? 

Sample prayer:  Lord, thank You for glorifying Christ as having Your Spirit without measure and pouring out Your Spirit upon us. Forgive us for how easily we are discouraged, when we know from Your Word that He is restoring paradise, reversing the Fall, and bringing us into Your rest. We thank You for the honor of bringing Him glory by living as those who belong to the new creation in the reconciliation and rest that He is bringing. Forgive us for not loving His glory enough to live that way more consistently, for not desiring enough that He might get praise from our lives. Forgive us that we don’t even come rushing to His banner of welcome like we ought to. Grant that His Spirit Who dwells in our hearts would so groan for glory, and we also groan for it in Christ, that we would press on toward the upward call of knowing Him. For, we ask it in His Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP98 “O Sing a New Song to the LORD” or TPH299 “Joy to the World!”

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