Read Sermon Text: Isaiah 6:11-13
Review: We have seen that he who has experienced God’s forgiveness and cleansing is mandated to obey the urgent call of the Master. A commission that requires an urgent response, and carries a serious message. We learned that the message that Isaiah carries is a message that hardens and a message that secures judgment.
We are now on the third character of God’s commission.
Message: God’s commission always serves His purpose for the good of His people.
The commission that God gives Isaiah serves His divine purpose – we will see his Honest Question and A Sufficient Explanation.
I. AN HONEST QUESTION
Observe: Then I said… this is a direct response to God’s commission to him. Remember, that Isaiah, as a humbled messenger had an immediate and deliberate response seeing that it is a commission from a Sovereign Master.
- Not an inquiry for a reason. The inquiry is not WHY. Obviously, he knows why since he witnessed how Israel despised the Name of the Holy One, and he kept it in mind as he responded to God.
Point: Whenever God asks us to do something, the first reaction is that of obedience. Trying to understand the “why” first is unbelief (Peter – Luke 5:1-7).
- An inquiry of duration: How long, LORD… He changed the name he used in reference to God, from a term that addresses the LORD as master, and he addressed the LORD with His proper Name YHWH. This is the sacred Name of God that the Jews fear using. At the same time, this name is God’s personal Name. This is the covenantal Name of God (Exodus 3:14). In Exodus, God’s responded to the affliction (v.7) of His people and He commissioned Moses, bearing the Name of God.
- A similar question was asked by the Psalmist that may shed light on Isaiah’s inquiry in Psalm 79:5. How long, LORD? Will you be angry forever? How long will your jealousy burn like fire?
- How long… this has a twofold meaning, first to his ministry of preaching and the hardening of the people.
- His ministry is the means for their hardening.
- It suggests that He is interceding on their behalf.
- He struggled, he knows that Israel sinned, but he also knows that they are the covenant people of God.
- Humbly, he submitted to God’s commission and He is willing to obey. When the LORD commands us to do things for the display of His glory, we may not know the specifics as to why He is doing it, but we must obey.
- This is like Moses when the LORD told Him that He will destroy them all.
Point: For Isaiah, it is of limited duration since he is commissioned at that specific moment to preach God’s message to Israel. But we proclaim the gospel until He comes. So let’s be faithful. We may ask God how long, but we will obey.
II. A SUFFICIENT EXPLANATION
- A Certain Desolation
- (a state of complete emptiness or destruction) v. 1 …since the commission secures judgment, it follows certain desolation
- Total: What are to be destroyed? cities … houses … fields (11)
- Utter: How are they to be destroyed? Until cities lie waste without inhabitants, and houses without people, and the land is a desolate waste (v.11)… And though a tenth remain in it, it will be burned again, like a terebinth or an oak… (v.13) – the entire forest is burned
- Deportation v. 12 at ilayo ng PANGINOON ang mga tao
- According to Alec Motyer in his Tyndale Commentary of the OT, the language refers to their exile i.e Jeremiah 27:10
- At present, there is a threat of the Assyrian power which we will see (chs. 7–37), and greater power, Babylon, will arise (chs. 38–48).
- A Merciful Preservation …whose stump remains when it is felled” The holy seed is its stump.
- In verse 5, we saw that Isaiah dwells with them, he identified himself with the people who will receive judgment from God. But we ask, will the divine judgment/discipline have the final word concerning the fate of God’s people?
- The judgment for Israel is similar to Isaiah’s experience. He met God who is a consuming fire, the burning coal touched his lips, yet He is not utterly destroyed.
Illustration: Quiboloy’s statement (A false prophet in the Philippines) “I will be the last to sign the salvation of men… When I fail in this, there will be no salvation for men.” He is saying that he already took the place of Jesus Christ who said there is no salvation apart from Him (Acts 4:12)” Making our salvation dependent upon him. However, man’s salvation is not dependent on anyone else but on Christ alone!
- The entire forest is burned but a single stump is left… it is the holy seed. The stump remains… Though how severe the judgment is, the true people of God remain.
- The remnant is set apart and they are the heirs of God’s promises all the way from Abraham, the hope of the world (Isa 10:20-23, 11:1-10) – shoot But this allusion to a stump prepares us for and makes us think of Isaiah 11:1, which speaks of the “shoot” that arises out of the “stump of Jesse.” Surely this is a messianic allusion. (Walter Kaiser)
- So here the tree lies cut down, but the divine voice says ‘the holy seed’ (lit. ‘the seed of holiness its stump’).
- The implication is that the people who carry the promise of the Messiah carry thereby the guarantee of continuing until he comes. In the OT, not all of Israel belongs to the true people of God.
- When the LORD commissioned Isaiah, there is a specific purpose that will be accomplished through His ministry.
- Isaiah uses the ‘seed’ of the people who will yet enjoy the promises (41:8; 43:5; 45:25; 53:10; 59:21; 65:9, 23; 66:22), and the ‘holy seed’ could therefore be the remnant, called holy and ‘written unto life’ (4:3) in the Zion that was yet to be (cf. Heb. 12:22).4 (TOTC, Alec Motyer)
- God preserved the remnants, until the time of Jesus Christ in order to fulfill His promise to Abraham, and even to Adam.
Point: When God sends us to preach the gospel, it serves a particular purpose. As we have seen before, it may harden or soften hearts. But the divine purpose will always be accomplished!
- There is a great comfort for the people of God. God will not leave his people utterly destroyed. So it is a judgment that leads to utter destruction for some and a judgment as a discipline for the true people of God. It is grace through judgment. When we sin, we may feel the weight of God’s discipline but it is for our good (Hebrew 12:10-11)
- There is a great privilege in obeying the commission of the LORD. Let me ask you, “How long will you keep your mouth shut while seeing your friends living in sin? How long will you not kneel begging God in prayer to save your loved ones? We must be faithful, we may feel disappointed because of the evil of this world because when you share the gospel with your parents, loved ones, and friends for so many years, it seems that nothing is happening. Remain faithful, do not be disheartened. Our commission SERVES THE DIVINE PURPOSE
- There is a certain judgment for the unrepentant. Most of the exiled did not return to their homeland, instead, they traveled westward and northward. Because the Jewish people were not slaves in Babylon but we were full and active members of Babylonian society. Many prospered. It is easy to imagine that many second and third-generation Jewish Babylonians had no interest in leaving. With the exception of a few, most of the Israelites born in captivity probably had lost their love for the homeland. Perhaps their desire to fit in caused many to discard God’s Word. https://israelmyglory.org/article/the-exiles-return/
- Just because you prosper in this world doesn’t mean you have God’s favor.
- I’ll ask you now the question that Isaiah asked the LORD, “How long? How long will you harden your heart”?
- God’s judgment will certainly come upon you if you do not trust in the Holy Seed, Jesus Christ who fulfilled God’s righteous demands that you may be saved from sin and the wrath of God. Come to Him alone!
To God be the glory!