Can There Really be Peace?
Sunday, July 26, 2015
Isaiah 2:2-4, 12-17; 3:8-15; 5:1-7
2 Now it will come about that in the last days, the mountain of the house of the Lord will be established as the chief of the mountains, and will be raised above the hills; and all the nations will stream to it.
3 And many peoples will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that He may teach us concerning His ways, And that we may walk in His paths."
For the law will go forth from Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
4 And He will judge between the nations, and will render decisions for many peoples; and they will hammer their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they learn war. NASB
In the last days...
We dream of a day when there will be no more war. As children our boys, and some girls, dream of going to war and fighting. We had our toy guns and when we couldn't buy them we pretended by using sticks and boards. Bows and arrows and swords.
Then the boys and girls went off to war. None who have done so have come back the same as when they left. War is a terrible thing.
I suspect people of all ages and times and places have gone through those times of learning that the cost of war is too high. Here in the United States we find reasons to go, but no one thinks it a good thing. Except perhaps those who profit from the sale of arms and munitions.
We dream and hope for the day this Scripture is fulfilled when there will be no more war. We long for peace, and we see war and destruction and wrong all around us.
How can we get there? There is only one way... 3 And many peoples will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that He may teach us concerning His ways, And that we may walk in His paths."
We must allow Him to teach us His ways and we must learn to walk in His paths. We are called to follow the Master. The way to peace is to come to the Peace Giver. We must surrender to the Lord of lords and King of kings and allow Him to love us and lead us. God spoke these words to Judah in a time when life for them was in an upheaval. He speaks to us today, to anyone who will take Him seriously and allow Him to truly be the Lord of their lives.
12 For the Lord of hosts will have a day of reckoning against everyone who is proud and lofty, and against everyone who is lifted up, that he may be abased.
13 And it will be against all the cedars of Lebanon that are lofty and lifted up, against all the oaks of Bashan, 14 against all the lofty mountains, against all the hills that are lifted up, 15 against every high tower, against every fortified wall, 16 against all the ships of Tarshish, And against all the beautiful craft. 17 And the pride of man will be humbled, and the loftiness of men will be abased, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day. NASB
A day of reckoning...
The Lord alone will be exalted. Admitting our sin is another way of saying, we allow God to show us our need of Him. We agree with Him about our need of the Savior, our need of His Presence in our life. With out Him, we are nothing, we are dust and water, we are flesh that decays.
With Him, we are glorious creatures who have eternal life. The pride of man is that part of us that rebels against this need of anyone else... especially God. We want to be enough on our own, to be the captain of our own souls, but we are not.
Coming to the point that we recognize that without Him we are hopeless and lifeless. It is coming to the end of the self life and dying to that old, fleshly nature and realizing that real life comes only from our connection to the Creator. Then we will lift up His name and glorify Him and allow Him to be our Lord. Then we will come to understand that He loves us and has a plan for our lives, a plan for good and not for evil. We may go through trials and difficulties here as Judah was experiencing in Isaiah's time. One day, One glorious day, after we have accepted this truth, we will be with Him forever and always.
17 And the pride of man will be humbled, and the loftiness of men will be abased, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day. NASB
Are you looking forward to this day with dread, or with hope and joy?
8 For Jerusalem has stumbled, and Judah has fallen, because their speech and their actions are against the Lord, to rebel against His glorious presence. 9 The expression of their faces bears witness against them. and they display their sin like Sodom; they do not even conceal it. Woe to them! For they have brought evil on themselves. 10 Say to the righteous that it will go well with them, for they will eat the fruit of their actions. 11 Woe to the wicked! It will go badly with him, for what he deserves will be done to him. 12 O My people! Their oppressors are children, and women rule over them. O My people! Those who guide you lead you astray, and confuse the direction of your paths.
13 The Lord arises to contend, and stands to judge the people. 14 The Lord enters into judgment with the elders and princes of His people,"It is you who have devoured the vineyard; The plunder of the poor is in your houses. 15 "What do you mean by crushing My people, and grinding the face of the poor?" Declares the Lord God of hosts. NASB
Getting what we deserve...
There are two types of people in this world – the wicked and the righteous. This message to Judah through Isaiah says so. God says we get what we deserve. The wicked are those who rebel against His glorious presence. They become people who live to please only themselves. They have no fulfillment within themselves and they strike out at the world. They seek to get, and get, and get more, crushing those around them and grinding the face of the poor. They take pride in their own accomplishments and say to others, I got to where I am by pulling myself up by my own bootstraps. The plunder of the poor is in their houses.
The righteous know and love God. They have submitted themselves to the Glorious Presence of God and have admitted their need of Him and are believing He loves them and saves them. They do not need to prove to anyone how good they are in themselves, they glorify God. They can reach out in love to others and share what little they have because they trust God to care for them. They do not need to protect themselves because they have the hope of a coming day when Justice will prevail and Peace will reign because God says it is coming.
1 Let me sing now for my well-beloved a song of my beloved concerning His vineyard. My well-beloved had a vineyard on a fertile hill. 2 And He dug it all around, removed its stones,And planted it with the choicest vine. and He built a tower in the middle of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it; then He expected it to produce good grapes, but it produced only worthless ones.
3 "And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge between Me and My vineyard. 4 "What more was there to do for My vineyard that I have not done in it? Why, when I expected it to produce good grapes did it produce worthless ones? 5 "So now let Me tell you what I am going to do to My vineyard: I will remove its hedge and it will be consumed; I will break down its wall and it will become trampled ground. 6 "And I will lay it waste; it will not be pruned or hoed, but briars and thorns will come up. I will also charge the clouds to rain no rain on it."
7 For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah His delightful plant. Thus He looked for justice, but behold, bloodshed; for righteousness, but behold, a cry of distress.
The Lord's vineyard..
Jesus retold this parable to the Scribes and Pharisees. It made them mad. The temperature of their anger increased. They hated Him because they knew it was about them. They knew they were the white washed tombs that Jesus called them, and they hated Him for telling them the truth.
All they had to do was admit that on their own they had failed to be what God had called them to be. All they had to do was admit that they had been trying to please God in their own strength. Admitting the truth about themselves that they were hypocrites who claimed to know God, but only knew about Him.
Jesus was calling them to place their trust in God and stop trusting themselves. He was calling them to believe that God loved them and would meet their needs if they would give God the credit, glorify Him and love Him and follow Him. He, as God, would be with them. His Spirit would come to live within them, if they would surrender to His Lordship and allow Him to lead them.
Our sinfulness, our flesh, our old man, leads us to believe that God hates us, but He loves us. Our flesh leads us to believe that God asks too much of us, and seeks to hurt us by His demands, but He loves us and gave His Only Begotten Son to come and tell us so, and to die to prove His love for us.
He simply wants us to surrender to our need for Him and confess Him as our Lord and Savior, to begin living as if we believe He loves us.
This was what Isaiah was calling Judah to do. This was the message of the prophets.
One day, we will stand before Him and give an account of ourselves to Him. You can face Him now and give yourself to Him, or you can stand and say to Him, if I am not good enough for you on my own, then I want no part of you.
Surrender your pride. Give up on the idea that you can save yourself. Stop believing the lie that God wants anything but good for you when He gives you His commandments.
Living for Him is the best way to live. No, it is the only way to live. Life without Him in your life is no life at all, it is death and destruction. If you are still breathing it is only because the Lord is not willing for you to perish, but that you would come to Him and accept His love and grace.
This message was for the Southern Kingdom of Judah, but it is also for you. God's people are called to take this message to the world. It is for all of mankind.
Will you put your trust in him today?
There is a place of peace and Jesus is calling all people to enter His Peace, to be adopted into His family, to become citizens of His kingdom. Please accept His offer.