A Dark Decision in Judah (Isaiah 7:1-8:8)
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Okay, you can go ahead grab your Bibles open up to Isaiah chapter seven, we’ll start our new series this morning in Isaiah seven to 12. As you’re turning to Isaiah seven, recently, through a series of unfortunate events, my family incurred an unexpected large expense, just beyond what we were hoping for, especially with the holidays approaching and all the expenses that go with that. So we’re tossed into this conundrum. You know, I’m fretting I’m, I’m worried there’s no way around it. If you’re like me, and you’re in a situation like that, step one is usually to start strategizing. So is there someone we can talk to ask for help, but I need to talk to my parents kind of thing. Is there a way to get a little extra income? How can I solve this problem, of course, finances would not be the only area where we do this, if I were to tap you on the shoulder this week and say, Hey, starting in January, we really want you to teach one of the classes here at church, you would start gathering resources that day, I’m confident of it or larger issues as well. These are not just the small things, if you’ve got a a teenager who’s struggling with mental health issues, which of course is very common these days, you’re gonna get on Google, you’re gonna figure out what can be done to help you’re gonna ask around other friends that you know, who’ve gone through things like this, you’re going to talk to the school social worker, whatever it may be, when things aren’t going well, we start looking around. We start looking around for that kind of help, what can I do? Who can help me? That’s exactly what happens in our passage this morning with disastrous consequences. And that is the reminder for us that there is this problem with our instinctive response, there is a problem with our immediately going, where’s my help? You know, who can who can help here. So bit of context, because we are starting here and Isaiah seven, which is not exactly the middle of the book, by any means, but it’s not the start of the book, either. We did cover Isaiah, one to five back in June, perhaps you remember that. And it set a pretty bleak stage for the book as a whole. This is not a nation that is doing well, spiritually. In fact, it ended chapter five, verse 30. If one looks at the land, there is only darkness and distress, even the sun will be darkened by clouds. Not going well. Then chapter six, verse one opens with King Uzziah, as death he had been on the throne for 52 years. So this was a cataclysmic event in the nation of Judas history similar to what UK just went through. And it was also emblematic of the nation. The monarch didn’t make it will the nation make it? It’s right at that moment when Hosea dies that Isaiah encounters the Holy God of Israel, we looked at that passage, Isaiah six on kickoff. And yet, even though he is unknown, in the presence of the Lord, he experiences grace. And we asked the question, then, can that happen at the national level as well? Is there hope that the nation will go the way of Isaiah? It didn’t seem like it because the end of chapter six ends with destruction and deforestation. So it seems like the land is just getting wiped out here, although we read this, but as the terabytes and oak leaves stumps when they’re cut down, so the holy seed will be the stump in the land. A stump remains, can a chute spring forth from that stump? It’s the larger question of the series as a whole, hence our graphic for this series. But it is a question for Judah and Israel. In the meantime, and that’s we’re going to look at in these next few weeks, is there any hope that they will receive grace, like Isaiah, respond with Humble Confession and then receive their commission from a gracious God? We got a two part message read how many of you by the way you read the prophets during your yearly Bible reading, and they just are confusing. And you’re especially sure that there is no structure whatsoever to these books. These are just random sayings collected mostly about nations you know nothing of in Isaiah at least that is true for some of them by the way, they’re just random collections. I’m sure of it Jeremiah, for example, but with Isaiah It is a very tight structure. So we get this two part message first to Judah, the southern kingdom, Jerusalem as its capital, and then to Israel, the northern kingdom, which split away after Solomon’s death, we could almost give this two part message like it’s kind of like Darkness and light like there’s kind of a negative message and a message of hope so that’s what we’re gonna look at that’s our next four weeks to for Judah to for Israel. We’re gonna look today at the darkness in Judah. We’ll do that in three scenes really danger, decision and destruction. So there’s your context. Let’s dig in, starting with the danger Isaiah chapter seven verses one to nine. When he has son of Jonathan, the son of XyO, was king of Judah king, a resident of Aram and Pecos, son of Himalaya king of Israel marched up to fight against Jerusalem, they could not overpower it. Now the house of David was told Aram has allied itself with Ephraim so the hearts of Ahaz and his people were shaken as the trees the forest are shaken by the wind. Then the Lord said to Isaiah go out you and your son Shourya shoes to meet Ahaz at the end of the aqueduct to the upper pool on the road to the launders field, say to him, Be careful, keep calm, and don’t be afraid do not lose heart because of these two smoldering stubs of firewood, because the fierce anger of resonant arrowmen The son of REM Elia Aram Ephraim and REM Elias son have plotted your ruin saying let us invade judo, let us tear it apart and divided among ourselves and make the son of Tabby oh king over it. Yet this is what the Sovereign LORD says it will not take place it will not happen. For the head of Aram is Damascus, the head of Damascus is only resident within 65 years, Ephraim will be too shattered to be a people. The head of Ephraim is Samaria and the head of scenarios only memulai as Son, if you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all. We got some literary context, we need some historical context now to because I just read a whole list of names that we don’t know anything about. The historical context is that there is disaster on the horizon. There is danger there. Now. Ahaz is Zions grandson’s, we just read. But he is not like Uzziah, who’s a pretty good King Ahaz is a wicked king eventually will even sacrifice his child in the fire to a pagan god. So what he does is detestable in the sight of the Lord. Because of his wickedness. God sends the Arameans and Israelites to attack his nation to attack Judah, it’s meant to be a wake up call to a has, that’s from the divine perspective. You can read about that in Chronicles. But what about from the human perspective? Why do Aram and Israel align themselves against Judah especially because these are longtime enemies really ancestral enemies? Here’s why it’s because of the rising threat of Assyria just shortly going to be the global superpower least in that part of the world. So what they’re trying to do here is form at NATO, the northern Aramean Treaty Organization. The problem is that Judah is unwilling to join them. And so they’re coming in to kind of go well, then we’re gonna make you join us. That’s it. So we read here in verse one that they don’t actually end up succeeding, but then we shoot back in time to when word first reaches the house of David. That’s an unusual use, by the way, we don’t normally get House of David, when we’re just talking about news reaching the king here. So pay attention. We’ll come back to that in a moment. So the alliance is coming for Jerusalem and he has and his people shudder at the thought like trees being blown by the wind. Disaster threatens there’s danger lurking What should he do? Well, he does what we do. He looks around immediately, what can I do to get ready? In fact, the first thing he does is head to the aqueduct. Why? Because Jerusalem up on a hill as it is, is well nigh impregnable. But its water supply was under threat, easy to attack. And so he’s immediately making preparations for the invasion. Again, just like we do, how often we rushed to solve our own problems in our own strength, just like I was doing when this expense hit me, what can I do to get some more money here? So it’s in that moment, when Ahaz is is doing that sort of preparation that God sends His Prophet and his prophets son,
whose name Sharia shoes is a note of promise, because it means the remnant will return. The people are going to come back it is also a note of disaster though, because why is the remnant returning because apparently they’re leaving for a little while and also it’s only a remnant returning now shoe is a rich word to begin with. That means return. It really just means turn in the first place. Actually, if you know anything about Biblical words, you know that to turn is to repent. And so that’s that’s the whole idea, right? Who is it that a remnant will turn back to the Lord a remnant will repent, and as a result a remnant will return to the land. Isaiah is so sure of his word, the word that he’s speaking to Ahaz, that he’s actually willing for the word to be made flesh. And that’s why he’s bringing his son along so that Ahaz Can you hear the message, the remnant will return and also see the message, meet the message, shake the messages a hand, he’s going to be doubly sure that the word Isaiah is speaking is true. What is the message specifically that Isaiah speaks here? Then you’ve seen the memes, you may own the t shirt already here it is the original keep calm and carry on. That’s what Isaiah says, Don’t worry, you don’t need to be afraid why these two guys that you’re so scared of resin and the son of Himalaya, they’re just smoldering stubs of firewood, which says two things about them. Number one, they’re useless once you burn the wood, you can’t really make anything out of it anymore. And number two, they’re weak. You ever tried to snap a log in half? It’s difficult, burn it for a while and then snap it in half not a problem at all. It’s actually interesting. By the way, did you notice that they stopped calling him pica after a while, and they just start calling him the son of Himalaya. That is fascinating. Why? Hang on to that, okay. I’m not gonna tell you. Now, the plans are bad for sure, the plans that they’re making, they want to plunder Judah and install this puppet King, who will of course join their alliances and give them the conscripted troops that they need. So yeah, the plans are bad, but they’re not going to happen. They won’t actually be able to succeed. And so we get this powerful word, especially in verses eight and nine offered in these very balanced phrases kind of interesting. We get, you know, country Capitol King in twice in a row. So it’s a little bit like saying, the head of the USA is DC and the head of DC is Biden. And so that’s the phrase we get here twice in a row. Why say it’s so plainly especially to somebody who already knows what the capital of Israel is. Because in the end, all they’re offering is themselves. They’re just two guys. That’s it. And as we’ve seen smouldering stubs not even impressive, guys. So all they really have is the collective strength and wisdom of resin and the son of Himalaya. And that’s that’s not that impressive. And that’s really what the final line of each half brings out. So head of airman’s mask has had to Damascus has only risen within 65 years, Ephraim, standing in for the northern kingdom of Israel, Ephraim will be too shattered to be a people to within 65 years, Israel just won’t be around anymore, because they forsook God, and trusted in Aaron’s strength. Instead, they formed this alliance with him because they forsake God and trust Aram, God forsakes them and hands them over. And sure enough, 64 years later, the Assyrian king s or hudon, moves a group of foreigners into Israel, and has them settle there, so that there’s no hope of Israel becoming a nation again, because now somebody else lives there, a remnant can’t return because the houses are full. This, by the way, is when you get to the Gospels, we have Samaritans, they’re not Israelites anymore, and they no longer belong to the people of God, because they’re this mixed race group coming from the pagan population that the Assyrian king had settled there. But the second second half is especially interesting, because we kind of expect it to be the destruction of Aram and the destruction of Israel. And instead, we get the destruction of Israel in the, in the what, what exactly? Well, it’s the question about Judah. What about Judah, that’s going to come down to faith. In fact, what’s left unsaid is really the loudest part, the head of Judah is Jerusalem, and the head of Jerusalem is the son of David. That, by the way, is why we keep using the phrase son of Himalaya, so that he hasn’t asked himself the question, whose son, am I? He should be a son of David, what is David’s son going to do? Is he going to be like, David, is he going to trust in God’s promises? Is he gonna trust in the powerful word that Isaiah just spoke to him? Or is he going to look around to Aaron into Syria and an aqueduct? This is a moment of decision and how he responds will determine how Breathing, whether he will stand firm, or not stand at all. The Ray ortlund that says about this verse that Isaiah seven nine really makes faith in God, the central, unavoidable question of our lives, will we believe or not? And what exactly does faith mean? I mean, belief on the one hand, that’s the intellectual piece that these statements are true. But it’s so much more than that. Kyle mentioned this to us last week. It’s not just the head. It also involves the heart that that trust because demons believe that God is real, and it’s not helping them out at all. It’s the quote from James Kyle gave us last week, but but there’s that heart behind as well to the trust the loving, willing, joyful submission, and then that manifests in fidelity, obedience to His Word, belief, trust and fidelity together. That’s the question that is asked of us. In this passage, how do we respond? When we hear God’s word, as Ahaz was hearing it then as we are hearing it even right now? Every time we hear God’s word, it becomes for us a moment of decision, which is our second scene let’s keep going. decision when we read verses 10 to 17, again, the Lord spoke to a has asked the Lord your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights, but he has said, I will not ask I will not put the Lord to the test. When Isaiah said he here now you house of David, is it not enough to try the patience of human will you try the patience of my God also, therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign, The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son and call him a manual. You’ll be eating curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right for before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right the land of the two kings, you dread will be laid waste. The Lord will bring on you and on your people and on the house of your father a time on like any since Ephraim broke away from Judah, he will bring the king of Syria. God has spoken to Ahaz he’s promised him that Arum and Israel will not prevail. So as should be feeling pretty good already. Like that’s really good news. But God who is rich in kindness goes a step further even. And he offers a sign to assure Ahaz This is blank check language, by the way, in the highest heavens, in the deepest depth does not matter to me ask for any sign you want. I will do it for you. I would guess, by the way that many of us wish we had this kind of assurance, when it comes to the word of the Lord, that we would hear His word this clearly. And then immediately have God go. What do you need for me? So you’re gonna believe this fully? Let me remind you, we have that. We have that all the time. You want the Word of God spoken clearly to you? Here it is. And by the way, it’s actually even nicer that it’s already in leather bound form. Why? Because it means we don’t need to wonder if it’s coming from a false prophet any longer the canon is established. We know that this is the inspired, inerrant Word of God. Do you want some assurance that it’s true? How about the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave? Is that a good sign? Good enough sign for you? He walked out of the grave. We’re feeling good now. Right? Okay, nevermind everything else. We could talk about a whole lot of other things like say the fulfillment of all the words in this passage, even. We have everything we need. We have the word of God spoken clearly. And every assurance we could ever require. We’d love it. If we had something like this Ahaz doesn’t care for it. And He sounds just a little too pious, and he’s refusing, doesn’t he? He sounds interestingly, like Jesus, in Matthew chapter four, resisting the temptation of the devil, who is quoting from Deuteronomy, it is written you shall not put the Lord your God to the test. That’s what it sounds like. But Isaiah, its response makes clear that this is a wrong hearted response. Why? What’s happening here is that he has won’t let God in. Because if he does, then he has to let God in. You understand what I’m saying there.
If he takes this sign from the Lord, he is in essence, acknowledging that he is the Lord. And then that means he’s got to let God be God. And he doesn’t want God to be God because He wants to be God. He wants his autonomy, even if it comes at the cost of self reliance, or in this case, a Syrian reliance, he wants to solve his own problems. This might be holding some of you back even now. You like the promises of Scripture. There’s like a lot of good words in here for sure, but unwilling to give up control, even to get this good word, you Take a few examples. Perhaps you’re single and you’re thinking I would love a spouse, I could pray that the Lord would provide a spouse for me. But then I’ve got to accept his terms, like sexual chastity before marriage and faithfulness in marriage or provision, how many of us would love to ask the Lord to provide but you know, he’s going to require generosity of you, then at the same time, so you see, we can be unwilling to give up control. That’s not a good choice, though. That’s not a good choice. Might as well take the promises because God is in control anyway. So that was not really up for debate, actually, as Ahaz learns here, again, we get a word to the house of David verse 13. Here now you house of David, by the way, not living up to David’s standard that the point here when he calls it the house of David is you should know better. You should not go back and read your great granddad stuff, okay? He knew better, you should know better. I love this too. In verse 10, it says, Ask the Lord your God. And then in verse 13, will you try the patience of my God? Isaiah has switched pronouns here, you know what, he’s not your God, you rejected him. Okay, so now we’re talking about my God, he is no longer your God, although he made himself willing to be. The Lord gives a sign regardless, again, Lord is always in control. But now, it’s not a sign of assurance. It is a sign of judgment. How many of you knew by the way that this wonderful Christmas text that we read that warms our hearts every year is a sign of judgment, Emmanuel, coming to us, is a great thing. It’s a terrible thing. It kind of depends on how you feel about Jesus, and that whole willing to let him be king thing. And since he has is unwilling to let God be king, this is a sign of judgment. The virgin will conceive, just feeling supernatural. At this point, the Lord is doing something big. She will give birth, and she’s going to call him Emmanuel, God with us. We certainly shouldn’t skip past that part. Even though it’s familiar to us at this time of year, we need to feel the weight of that name, that God enters the mess we’ve made of his world, in our lives, enters into the suffering and brokenness of this world enters even into our death. To get us, to deliver us, even to dwell with us, is one of my girls read earlier. Part of the sign is that God with us, Emmanuel will be born into poverty. That’s the Kurds and honey stuff, we’ll see that actually in the next section, even in Aram, and Israel will be laid waste before he reaches maturity. But did you notice that that’s also coming for Judah to the very last sentence, and verse 13, he will bring the king of Assyria on Ahaz on that house. So God’s going to bring a Syria as his instrument of judgment, we’re going to come back to that a lot in chapter 10, by the way, and it’s going to devastate the nation. And we’ll talk about the devastation of the nation in just a moment. For now, let’s ask the question that’s probably on a lot of your minds. How exactly is this a sign of anything in particular, what is the fulfillment? This is all a bit confusing, because it seems like the child is about to be born. Like before he reaches a certain age, the land will be laid waste. So we’re kind of going okay, in three to four years, this is all going to happen. And it does all happen in that timeline, by the way. So in order to be a sign, it should happen quickly. But then elsewhere, when we’re reading about this baby that is going to be born, it seems like he’s born in kind of a distant future, we’re gonna see that next week in particular, will help us if we look at the use of the manual in these chapters, even in our passage, we’re going to end with eight today, it’s outspread wings will cover the breadth of your land Immanuel. The phrase, your land, followed by somebody’s name only ever refers to a king. And of course, we’re going to see that a little bit this mighty God, Prince of Peace is going to rule on David’s throne forever and over his kingdom, which will have no end. So who are we talking about here? We’ve got to be talking about a son of David, a king, the Messiah. That helps us understand how exactly this is a sign. We get the point now because of Ahaz is unbelief. David’s kids? The kings of Judah of Israel, David’s kids will from now on sit on a meaningless throne in a conquered land. That’s what’s being said here. Ahaz chooses Assyria over the almighty bad Choice, he grabbed the proverbial tiger by its tail. And sure enough, what you’d expect to happen happens, the tiger turns around and devours him. And so Judah at this point becomes a vassal state, and it will remain a vassal state in perpetuity, there is no king, who’s not a puppet, who’s really on David’s throne until Luke chapter two. If you’re looking for him, by the way, he’ll be wrapped in swaddling cloth and lying in a manger. That’s the next time the true king is truly on David’s throne. The conquerors change, yes, it’s a Syria right up until about Babylon destroys them, and then the Medes and the Persians come and wipe out Babylon. And then Alexander the Great trots on by and that’s the end of the Persians. And then of course, we get to Rome and they tidy everything up for us, the Conqueror is changed with the conquest doesn’t the Messiah, the Son of God, the Son of David, will be born into poverty and oppression? All because he has didn’t believe right here in this moment. So why don’t we get this remote fulfillment set as though it’s happening right now? It’s so that we remember where it all started. At the key moment he has fails his test. He did not stand firm in the faith. And so his kingdom won’t stand at all. It is a dark decision on a dark day in Judah. And what about you? Because make no mistake, God wants you to believe every bit as much as he wanted, he has to believe here. Can I say this? And you’re all gonna look at me like I’m crazy. But it’s true. God makes faith easy. He makes faith easy. He really does. He has revealed Himself to us. He did not have to do that. He could have turned his back on us and said he reveals himself it gets a long book, even that we get like, there’s a lot of information about him. And then he keeps his word, so that we know of course I can trust him. We sang it in the opening song, The God who’s never failed. Today’s not the day, tomorrow is not looking good, either. Okay, he’s going to keep his promises. I mean, you ever think about why we have so much fulfilled prophecy in Scripture? I mean, hundreds and hundreds of explicit promises fulfilled. Why? So that we’d go of course, of course, I can trust His Word. Everything that I’ve read for you already happened, and happened exactly as Isaiah predicted. Aram and Israel get wiped out within a few years as Syria is on the scene, global superpower, we’re going to happen to them in chapter 10. Guess what it happened to them. Nevermind some of the stuff that we talked about now. Like this baby’s gonna be born in Bethlehem, and he’s gonna grow up in Nazareth. That’s weird. He’s also going to come from Egypt. Go ahead and work those out in your head. Except they all work out. Right? And then everything that happens in his life, what are the chances that none of his bones would be broken even though he’s been crucified, which was a form of execution that didn’t even exist at this point? Every Prophecy Fulfilled exactly why? Because God wants you to believe, to trust Him, to know that he will keep his word. We might not have kingdoms at stake in our lives but rejecting His Word, and forgetting God’s promises, destroys lives. And that’s where we go next third seen destruction 718 to eight, eight.
And that day, the Lord will whistle for flies and the Nile Delta and Egypt and for beasts in the land of Assyria, they will all come and settle in the steep ravines and in the crevices and the rocks, and all the thorn bushes and at all the waterholes. And that day the Lord will use a razor hired from beyond the Euphrates River, the king of Assyria, to shave your head and private parts and to cut off your beard also. And that day a person will keep alive a young cow and two goats. Because of the abundance of the milk they give. There will be curds to eat. All who remained in the land will eat curds and honey. And that day and every place where there were 1000 Binds worth 1000 Silver shekels there will be only Briars and thorns. hunters will go there with bow and arrow for the land will be covered with Briars and thorns. As for all the hills once cultivated by the hoe, you will no longer go there for fear of the Briars and thorns. They will become places where cattle are turned loose and where sheep run. The Lord said to me take a large scroll and write on it with an ordinary pen Mahesh Lau hush boss. So I called in Uriah the priest in Zacharia, son of Jabara Kaya is reliable witnesses for me. And I made love to the prophetess and she conceived and gave birth to his son. And the Lord said to me, name him Harish, hello hush boss prayer before the boy knows how to say my father, my mother, the wealth of Damascus, the plunder of Samaria will be carried off by the king of Assyria. The Lord spoke to me again, because the people has rejected the gently flowing waters of shilowa and rejoices over resin and the son of Himalaya. Therefore, the Lord is about to bring against them the mighty floodwaters, the Euphrates, the king of Assyria, with all his pomp will overflow all its channels run over all its banks and sweep on Judas swirling over it, passing through it. reaching up to the neck, it’s outspread wings will cover the breadth of your land, Immanuel. God is sovereign. He whistles and the nations obey. The imagery of flies and bees are appropriate because when the Nile floods, the flies show up, and the Assyrian hills are full of BS, these nations will cover the land like a flood, filling every crevice, they will bring total humiliation upon the people of God. That’s the razor imagery there. If you’re reading in a different translation, it might say from your head to your feet, feet being used as a euphemism for the genitals. But you can see how comprehensive the humiliation is from head to toe, both the private places and the public places because the beard gets shaved if you don’t have a beard. That’s an issue. So I’ve got a series. So a series is going to bring desolation and destruction, there’s going to be enough food for the people as the good news. But that’s only because there are so few people left in the land that whatever they can find grown on a tree will be more than enough, they won’t be able to cultivate the land anymore, because that takes laborers, which is why there’s going to have Kurds and Honey, there’s that poverty piece I mentioned in the last section. So he has thinks he’s wise and turned into a Syria but really, he’s playing the full because you will never find better help than God. And we get a second sign confirming the immediate result, not the remote fulfillment any longer. But the immediate result of Ahaz is unbelief, another child will be born. This is not the child spoken of in chapter seven. For one really key reason. Isaiah, his wife is not a virgin. We already met his older brother, my hair swell house boss, his older brother, share your shoe. So even if you were to fight with me and go you know the word doesn’t have to mean virgin I’ll go in that’s dicey to begin with, but I’ll grant it to you. It still means an unmarried young woman. And Isaiah, his wife doesn’t qualify. So we’re talking about a different child and a different sign. What happens though, he calls witnesses, reliable witnesses, and then he writes this name. Really not so much on a scroll because you’re picturing small like picture butcher paper, that kind of scroll like this is a billboard that’s happening here. Why this is like putting your World Cup pics on social media before the cup kicks off. What happens when you do that? People make fun of you later, because you picked wrong because none of us gets it. All right. And so it eventually gets submitted to the freezing cold takes on Twitter and you are there you know, living an ignorant nominee for the rest of your life. That’s what Isaiah is doing here. He’s putting his prediction out there in bold letters for all to see except of course, he knows that it will come true. He makes love to his wife. She’s called the prophetess. Why because the word comes from her. She bears the word conceives and then you know gives this prophetic name to the child she delivers. Naming meaning quick to the plunder swift to the spoil. That’s what the Assyrians will be for Aram and Israel and ultimately for Judah as well. Similar sign while the boy is still young. Before he can get his earliest words out. This word will be fulfilled Assyria will wipe out the nation’s threatening Ahaz. And the Lord confirms this was another Oracle then starting in verse five, because Israel rejected shilowa, which is the little stream that runs through Jerusalem from the spring outside Jerusalem. This is their water source. So they’re rejecting shilowa that means they’re rejecting Jerusalem, and they are rejecting Jerusalem ahead, David, they did this because they split earlier on they didn’t want to be under David’s line and he longer because they rejected Jerusalem and David and trusted in pagans and pretenders what happens? Well, you reject God’s river, you get another river instead. Except this one is the Euphrates, and you don’t want that one not so good because of the flood. That’s coming. Basically what the Lord is saying here is you choose the world, guess what you’re gonna get the world. How’s that going to work out for you? This is like a young man setting out in his career, who decides despite all the ethical instruction he got growing up in church, he’s going to bend the rules. He doesn’t need to act with integrity all of the time, because if he cheats a little bit, he can knock off some of his competition and get into that higher position earlier on. He can climb the ladder. Should he be surprised when a few years later somebody does the same thing to him. cheats, knocks him down a few rungs. Of course not that’s what’s happened here. And the problem though, is that because he has rejects not David, he’s a big fan of the Davidic line. You He doesn’t reject David, but he rejects David’s God that flood is going to cover Judah, too. So Emanuel will be born in a land flooded with a military occupation of a pagan power. So the when you reap the whirlwind, choose a bloodthirsty power hungry ally, get eaten alive, there is a better way, God with us, the God who wants to dwell with us who’s willing to help us, we can be that remnant that turns and repents and returns as a result. Here’s the main idea. I think. We put together all that we’ve learned this morning. It’s this when trouble comes. when trouble comes, look up before you look around. That’s him. Look up before you look around, you won’t ever be disappointed. And he has never failed. He never will fail. God knocks on he has his door. And he still refuses to look up like asked me any sign and he has goes No thanks. I’m actually Isaiah, can I borrow your cell phone I’m not getting good reception here I need to call a Syria from the aqueduct. He’s is like a perfect illustration of an belief. But we can do better we can look up before we look around. By the way, I said before, not don’t ever look around, there will come a time when we need to act when there’s stuff that we can actually do. But that work we do then comes from a place of rest and guidance, and trust. And we’ll be met with gratitude when the Lord in fact fulfills His Word. So you might you know, everything goes haywire at work. And you just got to pause like you got to go find a closet somewhere, lock yourself and pray for a moment, when trouble comes at work. You might still have to pull an all nighter then afterwards. But it’s gonna be a really different all nighter than it would have been if you hadn’t prayed to begin with. Because this is no longer. You know, I gotta power through my own strength, but I’m gonna power through with the power that God supplies with his very spirit. When I saw this after that, the big expense hit me in the initial complaint. Certainly lots of complaining. I confess that before you all and scheming. Well, I had to wait a long time for locksmith to show up that gives away a lot of the story right there. And as I’m waiting and stewing in my anger and complaining, the Lord’s just going until eventually I let him in and prayed caught myself confessed my sin and asked his help. The result was incredible. I mean, like before I got home, and granted, it was a long way before I got home. All the money we needed was already in from the people who offered to help us in this situation. And then we had two really unexpected things happen. Like this was literally monopoly stuff. I had a bank error in my favor. I like didn’t even know that was a thing that helped us we actually ended up with twice as much money as we needed within the week, it was shocking. Now look,
I don’t want to make it seem that easy. Hear me so clearly here. I am not saying if you pray, money falls from heaven, all your problems go away. That’s not it at all. I’m just talking about trusting his promises. He is an ever present help in times of trouble. He is our rock, our strength, our salvation and our deliver. Sometimes He delivers us from our circumstances. Sometimes He delivers us through our circumstances, that’s up to him. But I want to close by thinking through what this looks like practically, how do we look up? Three things for you. They all start with ours, it’s gonna be really easy to remember, especially as the first one is, remember, remember? How do you look up you remember you remember who God is, and what he has already done and what he has promised to do, because you know that he will keep his word. This begins by the way with the honest admission that we can’t do it. And remembering who God is, we remember who we are and that we are not God that we are not sufficient. But we also this sets us in in that trusting frame of mind then. So we are not God but God is God even when we can’t see it. We know that he is who he has always been Spurgeon said it well, when we can’t trace his hand we must learn to trust his heart. Because his heart is so well known to us. His character is revealed on every page of this text. But we do more than remember just generally who God is we lean into specific promises. What exactly has God promised for me in this moment? We gotta be careful about that because sometimes we’ll believe too much you pray and money falls from heaven, and that will make you overly hopeful and ultimately disappointed your question In God’s character, when really it’s your theology that you should question, you get overly hopeful or more likely for most of us, you just get hopeless. You forget that there is such a thing as a promise of God, and you get hopeless. Look at limitations 321 and 22. This is the pattern fourth, by the way, the book, stop reading. I’m not there yet. The book is called lamentation, how do you think things are going right then? Going? Well? No. And this is the middle of the book. It continues to go poorly for another couple 100 years. And yet the writer dilemma of limitations says this, Now you can look yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope. Do you see what I’m saying? I remembered something. And now I’ve got hope. Because of Lourdes great love, we are not consumed for his compassions never fail. There’s a promise, His mercies are new every morning, there’s a promise. Great is your faithfulness. We started looking at the promises of God a little bit like when you go out into the night sky, and you come from a bright room, and it’s maybe still you know, Twilight or something like that. And you can see one or two stars, but they’re faint. But as the night grows darker, and there’s an illustration for you, by the way, as the night grows darker and as your eyes adjust, how do we adjust our eyes, with meditation, that’s what that is, their eyes adjust, you begin to see more and more stars twinkling their assurance of God’s promises. What a great season to discuss this, by the way, because what is Advent? It is a time of waiting. Christ has come, Christ will come again. And so we are still lonely. We are still praying come thou long expected Jesus. It is a time of waiting. But it is also a time of rejoicing. In the fulfillment of God’s promises Christ has come Yes, we’d love for him to come again. But he has come all ready. That’s the tension we live with, as Christians promises fulfilled, promises as yet unfulfilled. But there will come a day. We remember who this God is Emmanuel, God with us. And we know better than Isaiah did, why he came not just to be a military King, not to kick the foreign power out of the land no far better. Jesus actually drowned in that flood that came on his land. For our sakes he was killed by the foreign power that He has invited into the land, to show us what the true king is like the cross his throne, the thorns his crown. And Paul assures us that all of God’s promises are yes and amen. In Christ. What does that mean? It means he is the first fruits of every fulfillment. And that is why our trust is unshakable. You have loved ones who have not walked out of the grave yet, but Jesus walked out of the grave. And that’s how we know they will one day too, and we will one day two, we remember. Second thing we do, is we remind, remind who each other. Absolutely. I love that that’s great, you should do that. That’s not what I’m talking about. Here. We remind God of his promises, not that he’s forgotten them. This is kind of just reminding ourselves, what do I mean by this, we pray His promises to what Daniel does. For example, you said through the prophet Jeremiah, you’re in come and get us. So Lord, if I could remind you of that time is up, time to come and get us because what God does, comes and gets them right because he keeps his word always we remind God we don’t always have a specific promise of course. And I think that’s that’s important for us to remember there’s not a specific again, if you pray this prayer, money will fall from heaven that’s not granted to us. We got to know the specific promise How far would to pray in faith as to go as far as the promise goes, which means praying that God would keep His promises even if it means financial ruin succumbing to the disease and the relationship ending, he might still be faithful to His promises and all of those things how because we, we do have promises that he no he will keep, for example, he would use all of that stuff for your good and his glory. That’s a promise. He will sanctify you through and through, He’s faithful and He will do it. That’s a promise. The Lord will neither leave you nor forsake you. No matter what you face. That’s a promise. And there will come a day when there will be no more pain, no more mourning, no more tears, and no more death. That’s a promise. Lord, remember, remember what you said? That’s how we pray. You said you will keep in perfect peace, the one whose mind is stayed on you because he trusted you, Lord, I’m trying to get my mind fixed on you. Where’s the perfect peace, the peace that surpasses understanding. You said through your Prophet James, if any of This lack wisdom, we can just ask and if we believe you will give it graciously. I’m trying to believe, Lord, would you give me wisdom here? Kyle read this one earlier. I didn’t have this in my notes, but he read us prayed through Isaiah 44 us. Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength, Florida, I am weary, but I’m trying to put my hope in you, will you renew my strength? First Corinthians 1013, God is faithful. He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. There’s some good promises there. Lord, I’m tempted. I know I’m not being tempted beyond what I can bear. I can say no to this sin. And I know you provided a way out would you show it to me? This, by the way, is why the journey group question we have in our meditation questions as you and journey groups is so important. What specific promises will sustain my obedience, we got to find them. We got to like install a treasure chest in the center of our hearts where we just took away the promises of the Lord so that we can come back to them and pray them as we need. We remember we remind lastly we respond. We respond in faithful obedience that the main point of the passage, we hear the word of God, and then that moment of decision comes and we respond to the word we trust. And then we act. Every day, we are in a has shoes. God speaks. You don’t need to hear him out loud. If you wanna hear him out loud. Just read your Bible out loud. There you go, audible voice of the Lord. We hear him speak in his word every day, every day. The question is, how will you respond? Will you obey, especially when disaster threatens when the temptation is to trust in yourself or the powers of this world when trouble comes? Look up, remembering and reminding and responding. Before you look around. Let’s pray. Lord, we worship you as the God who is faithful to keep his word. Every promise has been fulfilled, is yes and amen in Christ and will be fulfilled on the last day. We know this and we believe this Lord, because you have given us ample proof. The whole record of your faithfulness not only recorded in Scripture, but written in the scrapbooks of our lives as well. You have never failed us. And you never will fail us. Lord, would you help us then to stand firm in the faith when trouble threatens? Because we want not to fall. We don’t want to be like Ahaz we want to endure, to persevere and to reach glory, where we will see you and see every promise at last fulfilled. We pray this in Christ’s name,