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Fear and Dread

27/08/2016

Fear and Dread

Text Isaiah 30
Isaiah continues his prophecy to the wayward, backslidden nation of Israel, warning them of the consequences of their actions in rejecting their God. They were terrified. A large and powerful army is encamped on their borders, and that army is very hostile indeed. What were they to do?
Fear is an emotion that is common to mankind. It is defined as ‘a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid. Synonyms: foreboding, apprehension, consternation, dismay, dread, terror, fright, panic, horror, trepidation, qualm.’ What does Isaiah teach Israel about fear that will help us too? 

1. Don’t Trust in Human Measures!
30 “Woe to the rebellious children,” says the Lord, “Who take counsel, but not of Me, And who devise plans, but not of My Spirit, That they may add sin to sin; 2 Who walk to go down to Egypt, And have not asked My advice, To strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, And to trust in the shadow of Egypt! 3 Therefore the strength of Pharaoh Shall be your shame, And trust in the shadow of Egypt Shall be your humiliation.

  • The great plan is revealed. Diplomacy! There was another superpower, just to the south; Egypt. Egypt would have the manpower and the strategic ability to defend Israel from the Assyrians. So they sent ambassadors to see Pharaoh, with gifts or bribes, in the hope that he would intervene on their behalf. So would that plan work? And more importantly, what did God think of their plan?
  • The great plan is reviled. They are adding sin to sin. V1. They wanted to go for help to Egypt. They were returning to the nation of enslavement and poverty and bondage, from which only the Lord had been able to rescue them. It was what seemed best to them, it was their best shot at defending themselves, and they could think of nothing else. But all of human wisdom is tainted with sin. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God” (I Corinthians 3:19).

The Israelite plan was human wisdom, it was not God’s wisdom. and in so doing they were rejecting the God who had rescued them from bondage. 1 Cor 1:25. Such wisdom lies at the root of all this worlds false religions, eleven atheism. Romans 1. 18 -25. No matter what plans we devise they will fail.

2. Don’t Reject God’s Message!

12. Because you despise this word, And trust in oppression and perversity, And rely on them, 13 Therefore this iniquity shall be to you Like a breach ready to fall, A bulge in a high wall, Whose breaking comes suddenly, in an instant.

  • God’s will is revealed in his word! 8 Now go, write it before them on a tablet, And note it on a scroll, That it may be for time to come, Forever and ever. These Israelites had the Word of God! They were without excuse. They knew what was God’s will for them. But they rejected that message. 9 That this is a rebellious people, Lying children, Children who will not hear the law of the Lord 10 Who say to the seers, “Do not see,” And to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us right things; Speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits. Get out of the way, Turn aside from the path, Cause the Holy One of Israel To cease from before us.”  Not officially, – they even liked to listen to sermons, provided the sermons were ‘nice’. ‘Speak to us smooth things…’ BUT:-
  • God’s message is plain! It has always been the same, it has never changed. It is found in verse 15 For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.”
    Repent!
    Trust!
    Believe!
  • God’s sovereignty is required! Yet there is a sad response from the hearts of all men when these responsibilities are shown to them. The Israelites were no different than us… But you would not, 16 And you said, “No, for we will flee on horses”— Therefore you shall flee! And, “We will ride on swift horses”— Therefore those who pursue you shall be swift! Given the message of the Gospel, they were unwilling to come and take the free pardon that was being offered to them! Paul would write, ‘There is no one that seeks after God’. So how can we ever be saved? We need the work of the Holy Spirit, to regenerate us, and make us willing, to bring us to the condition where we will yield to God and to his will, and thus be made able to come to that place of repentance and trust.
    And that’s where our third helpful teaching comes in…

3. Don’t Forget the Grace of God!
18 Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you; And therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; Blessed are all those who wait for Him.

Who is this God who is telling us not to trust in our own wisdom, but to rest in him, and have quiet confidence in him? It is the same God who is described in these verses. It is the God who is gracious! He waits for us! How long has he waited? Look at how He deals with his wayward people.. He is patient in His graciousness! He is patient in his mercy! He is patient in his justice! He blesses those who wait on him.
When we turn to him, and cry out for his salvation… He answers our prayer. He wipes away our tears. V19. He reveals himself to us. V20. He speaks to us from his word. He gives us guidance and direction. V21. He guides us to worship him aright. He provides for us. V23. He gives us a song in the night. V29. He defeats all our foes. V31

So what is Isaiah proclaiming to the people of God in his day, and by extension to us?  Proverbs 3:5-6 is God’s way to cope with the fear and the dread and the anxiety of this world.

From → Bible Study, Isaiah

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