The Lord Makes The Earth Empty
The Lord Makes The Earth Empty
Isaiah invites us to behold, to look upon the scene of God’s judgment.
The principles revealed here apply universally to the judgment of the Lord, but the ultimate fulfillment of this will be in the ultimate period of judgment, the time of the Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:21–22 “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” ..........
Which will immediately precede the second coming of Jesus Christ (Matthew 24:29–30 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” dQUHIDGH
Verse 5..........“Defiled.” We have a number of organizations that are talking about a polluted earth but they are not giving Isaiah’s message. The EPA and other like groups are concerned about the physical pollution of the earth while Isaiah focuses on the spiritual pollution. This defilement speaks of moral pollution, or profaneness. The word “defiled” speaks of being profane (irreverence for God), of shedding innocent blood (Numbers 35:33) which is murder which is what abortion is all about. The word describes the pollution that comes to the land through divorce (Jeremiah 3:1). These defilements are not the agenda of the EPA and other like groups. I have often said and repeat it here, I will give support to the EPA when they start fighting abortion, drunkenness, and irreverence. You can use God’s name in a profane way on the radio and get no flack for it, but if you say ‘Nigger,’ you will be tarred and feathered and forced to apologize publicly. If our land was as concerned about moral pollution as they are about water and air pollution, it would benefit our land immeasurably...........................................John G. Butler, “Defiled Earth,” in Sermon Starters, vol. 5
Isaiah 25—The Song of Joy from the Midst of Tribulation
A. Praising God for what He has done [25:1–5]
1. Introduction: For You have done wonderful things (1)
a. Isaiah 24 spoke of the judgment to come upon the world, especially in the Great Tribulation. During that time, those who have come to trust in the LORD will praise Him, even in the midst of His righteous judgment. They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing; for the majesty of the LORD they shall cry aloud from the sea (Isaiah 24:14). This song shows the kind of heart that praises God in the midst of tribulation, even in the midst of the Great Tribulation.
b. O LORD, You are my God: Knowing that the LORD—the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God revealed in and by Jesus Christ—is our God makes us want to praise Him. When someone or something other than the LORD is our God, we are guilty of idolatry.
c. I will exalt You, I will praise Your name: The worshipper here makes a decision to praise God (I will). Worship is never to be just a feeling, even if it is an intense feeling. We are to worship God with a decision.
i. “If I did not praise and bless Christ my Lord, I should deserve to have my tongue torn out by its roots from my mouth. If I did not bless and magnify his name, I should deserve that every stone I tread on in the streets should rise up to curse my ingratitude, for I am a drowned debtor to the mercy of God—over head and ears—to infinite love and boundless compassion I am a debtor. Are you not the same? Then I charge you by the love of Christ, awake, awake your hearts now to magnify his glorious name.” (Spurgeon)
d. For You have done wonderful things: When we think about all the wonderful things the LORD has done, it is pretty easy to make the decision to worship the LORD. God wants our worship to be filled with thought and remembrance of God’s great works, not only an emotional response.
e. Your counsels of old are faithfulness and truth: When we remember the greatness and permanence of God’s Word, it makes us what to praise Him. What is more reliable, more everlasting, more enduring than the Word of God?
2. Praising God for His righteous judgment (2–3)
a. For You have made a city a ruin: We can worship God for His judgment, because we have confidence in His fairness. As was the case with Sodom and Gomorrah, God will never make a city a ruin unless the judgment is deserved, and God has made provision for the righteous.
i. Which city is referred to? No specific city, but in reality every city. “There is a complete lack of any specific national reference, and none of the activities which are pursued within the city differentiate it any special way. It can best be understood, therefore, as a pictorial description of the body of organized human society, a type of ‘Vanity Fair,’ which is to be subjected to the divine judgment. When God asserts his will in judgment he will bring an end the existing human order, so that in a sense every city will be brought to chaos.” (Clements, cited in Grogan)
b. The righteous judgment of God has two effects. First, the strong people will glorify You. The people of the LORD see His work and glorify Him. Second, the city of the terrible nations will fear You. The unrighteous fear God when they see His righteous judgment.
3. Praising God for His goodness to the weak (4–5)
a. For You have been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy: God is worthy of our praise because He brings strength to the poor and needy!
b. We can praise God because He is a refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat, and even the strangers (aliens) are blessed by His goodness. God will even quiet the song of the terrible ones!
B. Praising God for what He will do [25:6–12]
1. A glorious feast for God’s people (6)
a. In this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all people a feast: In several places, the Bible speaks of what is often called the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Revelation 19:9 says, Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb! According to Isaiah 25:6, we might say that this great feast takes place on earth, not in heaven.
b. And what a feast it will be! A feast of choice pieces, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of well-refined wines on the lees. For the God’s people, this will be the “victory banquet” or the “awards banquet” when after the final battle is over!
i. Jesus is really looking forward to this banquet. He said to His disciples at the Last Supper, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom (Matthew 26:29 “But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” ). In this, Jesus spoke of His longing expectation for the day when He would take communion with His people at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Jesus is excited about this event; are you?
2. The destruction of evil (7–8)
a. What will the LORD destroy? The veil that is spread over all nations. The picture is that there is a veil that is spread over all nations that keeps them from seeing God, loving God, and obeying God. In this glorious day, the LORD will destroy that veil.
i. In the New Testament, Paul speaks of Israel being blinded by a veil: But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart (2 Corinthians 3:15). In Isaiah’s day, it was more apparent that the nations were veiled. In Paul’s day, it was more apparent that Israel was veiled. But for both the nations and for Israel, the remedy is the same: Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away (2 Corinthians 3:15-16 “But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.” ).
b. The LORD will also destroy death: He will swallow up death forever. The day will come when death is powerless. Death was introduced by Adam’s rebellion (Genesis 2:16–17), and will one day be completely eliminated by God.
i. Paul knew this and looked forward to this day. He proclaimed in 1 Corinthians 15:54: Death is swallowed up in victory. This will be true for every believer when death is defeated by resurrection. A resurrected body is not a resuscitated corpse. It is a new order of life that will never die again.
ii. Freud was wrong when he said: “And finally there is the painful riddle of death, for which no remedy at all has yet been found, nor probably ever will be.” Compare that with Isaiah’s triumphant declaration, He will swallow death up forever!
iii. “Ever since death ran through the veins of Jesus Christ, who is life essential, it is destroyed or swallowed up; like as the bee dieth when she hath left her sting in the wound.” (Trapp)
c. And the LORD God will wipe away tears from all faces: How much more glorious could the tender mercy of God be? It isn’t just that He takes away the things that made us sad, or even that He gives us a handkerchief to dry our eyes and blow our nose. Instead, He gently and lovingly will wipe away tears from all faces.
d. The rebuke of His people He will take away from all the earth: Now, we need the rebuke of His people. If God did not rebuke and correct us, we could drift further and further from Him. But there will come a day when we are no longer troubled by sin, no longer in a place to rebel. In that glorious day, the rebuke of His people He will take away. Thank God for that coming day! Thank God for His faithful rebuke until then!
3. The testimony of God’s people (9)
a. Behold, this is our God: We will proclaim it then because we have proclaimed it now. We are those who were unafraid to confess Jesus before men on earth, and we will be blessed to hear Him confess us before our Father in heaven (Luke 12:8).
b. We have waited for Him, and He will save us: How great it is to wait on the LORD, and to see Him bring His salvation! God often seems distant or cruel when He compels us to wait on Him, but His ways really are best, and will be shown to be the best.
c. We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation: If it is our salvation—a salvation of our own making, of our own creation, then there is nothing to be glad and rejoice in. But since it is His salvation, there is everything to be glad and rejoice in!
d. And it will be said in that day: Each one of these things—confessing He is our God, the fulfillment of patient waiting, and rejoicing in His salvation—each of these will be ultimately fulfilled in that day. But they can be substantially fulfilled right now! We can praise God for these things right now! And as we do, we bring some of the glory of that day to pass in our lives right now.
i. “To be rapt in praise to God is the highest state of the soul. To receive the mercy for which we praise God for is something; but to be wholly clothed with praise to God for the mercy received is far more. Why, praise is heaven, and heaven is praise! To pray is heaven below, but praise is the essence of heaven above. When you bow in adoration, you are at your very highest.” (Spurgeon)
4. The LORD resolves all things (10–12)
a. For on this mountain the hand of the LORD will rest: The LORD will settle His hand of favor, power, and glory on Mount Zion. After the Great Tribulation, when Jesus Christ reigns from Jerusalem, the whole creation will know that the hand of the LORD does rest on this mountain.
i. “The powerful and gracious presence of God (which is oft signified in Scripture by God’s hand) shall have its constant and settled abode; it shall not move from place to place, as it did with the tabernacle; nor shall it depart from it, as it did from Jerusalem.” (Poole)
b. And Moab will be trampled down: In that day, Jesus will rule the nations with all authority and righteousness (Psalm 2:8–12). God will reach out (As a swimmer reaches out to swim) and bring low every proud, rebelling heart. Those who oppose His rule He will bring to the ground, down to the dust.
i. “In a powerful anthropomorphic figure, the prophet pictures the Lord’s hand resting in blessing on Mount Zion and his feet trampling on Moab in judgment.” (Grogan) So, which do we want—the loving hand of God, or to be under His feet?
David Guzik, Isaiah, David Guzik’s Commentaries on the Bible (Santa Barbara, CA: David Guzik, 2000), Is 25.