Wednesday, November 15, 2023

2023.11.15 Hopewell @Home ▫ Isaiah 29:1–14

Read Isaiah 29:1–14

Questions from the Scripture text: Upon who/what is the second woe pronounced (Isaiah 29:1a)? What is its great boast? What else does it boast (verse 1b–c)? But Who is going to be against them (Isaiah 29:2-3)? How is God’s attitude toward doing so described, in human terms (verse 2b–c)? And what will the effect be upon them (Isaiah 29:4)? How low are they described as being brought down (verse 4b, c, d, e)? Whom else will God bring this low (Isaiah 29:5)? Despite what appearance of theirs (verse 5c)? What will their comparative weightiness end up being (verse 5d)? How long will this take (verse 5e)? Who is punishing Jerusalem in this way (Isaiah 29:6)? How severely? But after they have distressed her, what will the end result be (Isaiah 29:7-8)? What are the people of Jerusalem like, in response to this vision (Isaiah 29:9)? Who is doing it to them in verse 9b? But Who is superintending this in His providence (Isaiah 29:10)? By the removal/confusion of whom is He especially judging them (verse 10c–d)? What effect does their spiritual blindness have on their ability to understand Isaiah (Isaiah 29:11-12)? Under such judgment, what are the people yet doing (Isaiah 29:13a–c)? But with what inner substance (verse 13d)? From where does religion come, when there is this blindness-induced hypocrisy toward God (verse 13e)? What are they, therefore, especially unable to see (Isaiah 29:14, cf. 1 Corinthians 1:18–25)?

How is pride dangerous? Isaiah 29:1–14 prepares us for the first serial reading in public worship on the Lord’s Day. In these fourteen verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that pride puts us in danger of stumbling over the Cornerstone, inventing our own theology, and devising our own worship. 

God opposes the proud. Jerusalem, here, is a warning against spiritual pride. They were proud to be Ariel, “lion of God” (Isaiah 29:1a, cf. Genesis 49:9–10). They were proud to be the city of David (Isaiah 29:1a). They were proud of how long their city had stood (verse 1b). They were proud to be the location of the feasts (verse 1c). But being near to God and used of God is cause for humility, not pride. And the Lord Himself will humble them. He will distress and grieve them (Isaiah 29:2), bring them down (Isaiah 29:3-4a), and silence their proud talk (Isaiah 29:4b–e). Let gratitude and worship be our humble responses to all of God’s goodness to us, lest we learn by sad, humiliating, silencing experience: God opposes the proud (cf. 1 Peter 5:5–7).

God destroys His people’s oppressors. It is God’s prerogative to distress Jerusalem (Isaiah 29:2a), but those mere creatures who gladly distress His people (Isaiah 29:7c) have their days numbered. Though their day seem great and fierce (“multitude of the terrible ones,” Isaiah 29:5c), it will ultimately amount to nothing (Isaiah 29:5Isaiah 29:7-8), and the Lord will punish them (Isaiah 29:6). This is a warning to any who would oppress or persecute the church—and since the Lord may surprise us with regard to in whom He has begun a work of grace, it is truly a warning against oppressing or persecuting any. But it is also an encouragement to believers who are being oppressed—that we would trust God’s vengeance, leave room for His wrath, and refuse to trust in our own wisdom or strength for help.

Spiritual blindness the worst judgment. The Lord will disable and disorient Jerusalem (Isaiah 29:9). He will remove His prophets from among them (Isaiah 29:10) and incapacitate their understanding (Isaiah 29:11-12). Without having or understanding God’s Word, they will think that they draw near to God and honor God, but the truth will be that their hearts are far from Him (Isaiah 29:13). Their theology—especially their theology of worship—will be merely the ideas, the commandments, of men. Manmade worship and theology is a dreadful judgment. May God deliver us from thinking about Him according to our thoughts instead of His! May God deliver us from worshiping Him according to our ideas instead of His instruction!

The marvelous wisdom and work of God. The city that was proud of being the lion of God will be the city where God lays a cornerstone—the very cornerstone that they reject (cf. Isaiah 8:14, Isaiah 28:16)! But the wisdom of man could never come up with a plan in which the Lord of Glory is crucified for sinners (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:18–2:16). Right in the place where the folly of pride had presented itself, God did the marvelous work that makes the wisdom of men to perish and the understanding of men to be hidden (Isaiah 29:14). When the Cornerstone Himself came, they were under the blindness of the wisdom of men and could not perceive the wisdom of God in the marvelous work of Christ and His cross.

What blessings have you received that might become causes of pride? How must you be careful not to think of God? What are some manmade ways of doing so? How must you be careful not to worship God? What are some manmade ways of doing so? What has God’s wisdom and power done for you? What other hopes must you reject?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we praise You for preparing for Your people that which no eye could see, no ear could hear, and the heart of man could not understand. Forgive us for how often we have tried to make You make sense to us, rather than following the logic of Your Word. Forgive us for how often we have desired to worship You in a way that felt worshipful to us, rather than the way that You have defined. In that way, we have drawn near to You with our lips, when our heart was far from You. But indeed, in Your wisdom and power, You have given Christ for us, through Whom we look to You for grace, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH426 “How Vast the Benefits Divine” 

No comments:

Post a Comment