October 2, 2022

Isaiah: The Hope of Deliverance

Speaker: David Jordan Series: Journey Through the Bible Scripture: Isaiah 1:1– 66:24

Download the Isaiah Bible Journal Outline

Open your Bibles if you would have the book of Isaiah. If you have an outline journal that will be helpful for you today. It is one of the most grand books in all the Old Testament. In the 13th century the Mongols wrought destruction, all across Eurasia. Their empire was the largest in human history, covering over 9 million square miles, slightly bigger than the US. Much bigger, that was a joke. From China, to Afghanistan, Syria, Turkey, it stretched all the way north, into Russia, even what would be now modern-day Moscow. Russia covers 11 time zones; this empire was bigger. Deliverance was on everyone's mind. They wanted to be delivered from this oppressive enemy. But the Mongols did not conquer everyone, they came into contact with, almost everyone. Around 1227 or so they tried to set sail and conquer Japan. All kinds of stories about why that didn't work. They did not succeed. They tried again a few years later and failed again. A great storm came up both times and wiped out most of their forces even though they outnumbered those in Japan greatly. There was also a little territory that you and I now know, as Israel, where their escapades did not fully succeed and they were not able to capture that land, as well. It is staggering to consider what Genghis Khan and others have done in the world.

Hope throughout the centuries, has come from military might. Whoever's got the strongest army, wins. But as history shows that is fleeting, temporary at best. Men have always tried to bring things under their feet. They rebel against God while trying to squash the rebellion of others against them. They try to promise peace, as they themselves ignore the Prince of Peace. Going astray is common. Entire nations go astray. Many times we look to go astray for what we would simply call greener pastures. You know, for the happiness just on the other side of the fence. As if God is some kind of killjoy who likes to tempt you with really nice things just out of your reach. We hope to be delivered from whatever disappoints us as we head to, normally, the field of sin. Whatever we run to shows us though, where our hope and our trust resides. If your hope and your trust resides in God and God alone, and you have that fully where you are, why would you run to something else to make you happy?

Well, 1900 years before Genghis Khan and those who followed him, Israel was under the shadow of the Assyrian Empire. And after that, the Babylonian Empire. Isaiah covers both of those time periods. The question for them is: Who will they trust in? Notice the spiritual trust impacts the physical world. Your spiritual trust in God should impact your physical life on a daily basis. Maybe you've come here today, trusting in something other than Jesus Christ, for your happiness, for your hope in life. Maybe a new outcome at work or at home. Maybe a better job or, or better friends, or maybe just more godly friends, maybe better health, or a better marriage, or more family time. These things can be good. And we should strive for those things. But do they govern our lives? Do our minds go towards those things to find happiness?

Church, what do we trust in? Do we trust in more numbers or good music? Do we trust that we won't get sidetracked and led astray? Those are good things. We sang lyrics this morning that came from the book we are preaching this morning, that is on purpose. But do we trust in those things? That we will always be able to do that? Or do we understand that those are preferences. It's difficult to think through what we actually put our hope in in life. But in a sense, it's easy to figure out. What in your life, if taken away, would just ruin you? If taken away, would ruin you? That normally is the thing in which you find your greatest happiness, find your greatest hope, your hope of deliverance from whatever situation you're in, as long as I have this, I shall be content. As long as I have this I shall be satisfied. As long as I have my children I will be satisfied. But what about the parent whose children are taken away. As long as I have this type of marriage, or this type of job, as long as my job keeps paying me more overtime, I shall be satisfied and content. As long as I have no problems in life, my life shall be full.

Isaiah, friends, is an incredible book. It is really without comparison in the Old Testament, if not the New Testament as well. The language to describe God, the language to describe his desire for us to be with him and near him is unparalleled. Even just simply, from a factual standpoint, there's a greater vocabulary in Isaiah, than any other book. Even all of the Psalms put together don't have a greater expanse of vocabulary than Isaiah. Isaiah is a book that we should deeply consider. Because in it, we will learn how to set our hope on God and God alone. Isaiah is a book, as you know, about God's judgment. It is a book about God's deliverance though as well. As he tries to take a people and set them apart for the glory of his Name. In their trials, in their joys, in their successes, in everything they do. To set them apart so that the world may look upon them and see God.

Let me give you a little context of Isaiah as we look to jump into this book here. Isaiah means, “Yahweh is salvation” or “Yahweh will save.” He was a normal person, although he did some extraordinary things. He was married, he had two sons, and at times you'll notice that God said, “Go and speak to this king and take your son with you.” So, God favored the example of a godly father and husband, demonstrating what a godly life looked like to his family. Tradition has it though, that he probably died under King Manasseh sometime after 680 BC maybe closer to 650. He may be the person mentioned in Hebrews 11, because tradition has it that he was sawn in half by a wooden sword, which is what's mentioned in Hebrews 11:37. This book was composed then around 680 BC, not too long before Isaiah would also have his life taken.

Isaiah lived in Judah, and was called by God as a prophet to the people. You can look in Isaiah 1:1, it sets the context for us. Let me read it to you, “The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.” Now Judah was the southern portion, the southern two tribes. Remember this is after King Solomon, okay, and it just got worse after King Solomon. And the nations divided, quickly. They split into the Northern Tribes, which were called Israel, that's 10 of the 12 tribes. And that would be up towards Samaria and Galilee, and further. And then there was the Southern Kingdom, which was Judah and Benjamin. And they called that Judah. And that's where he is. That's where Isaiah is. He was a prophet, to the kings.

And those four kings are mentioned there in verse one. So, if they had a prophet, a man who spoke directly for God, what was the problem? What happened to these people that they got off base? Well, they had put their hope in something other than God. That's it. And it led them astray, time and time again. The Northern Kingdom was just full of evil king after evil king. You guys, in the United States, you just can't even compare the leadership that we have to what they did there. In the Northern Kingdom, the tribes of Israel, the people of God, the ones who were the protector of the faith. And the one who, as we say in the New Testament, were given to guard the deposit of faith. They were so vile and evil. They would set up sacrificial altars all around the land and sacrifice to other gods, all the while claiming to be the people of God. They had put their hope in other things, in so many other things. They put their hope in idols. And I'm going to read to you just different verses, and you can listen and take it in or you can try and keep up with the different verses that I read to you to explain to you the state of the people, in the North and the South.

Isaiah 2:20 says this, “In that day mankind will cast away their idols of silver and their idols of gold, which they made for themselves to worship…” That tells us that the people had gone astray. They had the living God speaking to them, at times directly. As we see, he spoke to Ahaz, in chapters seven and nine, directly, and he spoke through the prophet Isaiah. There were other prophets during this time as well where God spoke directly to the people, but they didn't like that. That wasn't good enough. And so they set God, the Living God, aside and they made for themselves little statues. There will be coming a day though, where those things will be set aside, chapter two says. Where they will worship God purely. So, they hoped in idols. In our day, we have so many things that are idols. The book of First John is all about that. The very last verse [1 John 5:21] tells you, “[my] Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” The whole book is full of things that we replace God with. And anything that we replace God with, is an idol. Listen, the Israelites tried that and it's not worth it.

They also put their hope in themselves. This was a big one. And maybe something that as a country we struggle with. But we need to think through, do we struggle with that as a people of God? Isaiah prophesied against their pride. Isaiah 3:8, “For Jerusalem has stumbled, and Judah has fallen, because their speech and their deeds are against the LORD, defying His glorious presence.” The way that they lived symbolized, and not only symbolized but directly, showed their defiance against God. They even made an agreement with death, with death. And Sheol. Listen to this from Isaiah 28:15, “Because you have said, ‘We have made a covenant with death, and with Sheol we have an agreement, when the overwhelming whip passes through it will not come to us, for we have made lies our refuge, and in falsehood we have taken shelter’.”

And they were going to get a rebuke from God for that. They actually made a deal with death. Do you know anyone like that? Have you ever heard somebody say, “Well, I'm gonna live it up now and then right on my deathbed, I'm going to give my life to God. I'm just going to live every way I want to, I'm going to find the pleasures I want and have the focus in life that I want. And, maybe later God.” I’ve spoken to many people like that. But you and I do the same thing when we plan to sin. I'm not just talking about, you know, getting flustered in a conversation and lashing out at someone in a moment of anger, but actually planning to sin. That's what we're doing. We're making an arrangement that I'm going to do this sin now. Because God's going to forgive me later. It's the same type of an arrangement.

Or probably one of the bigger ones in our area, they would put their hope in earthly kings. You remember, right? The Old Testament the people were governed by God, the Israelites were. And what did they say? We want a leader, we want a king like the nations. Thank you for setting us apart. Thank you for taking us out of Egypt, thank you for giving us a land in which we did not build our own houses, we did not plan our own vineyards, and we're safe. We've got the sea on one side, the desert on the other side, opposing nations, you know, on the north and south. And so if you come through us, you've got to fight all of those things. And thank you for giving us this land. But we want more. We want more. We want an earthly king. So, Samuel, the prophet, gave them one, right? They picked out King Saul, a total train wreck. Then they went to King David, though a man after God's own heart, he had so much bloodshed on his hands. He had this thirst for war. That God wouldn't even let him build the temple. All he could do was collect, you know, the wood and the gold and somebody else is going to build it after you.

And then of course, King Solomon came along, and you’d think they would start to get the idea? Right? Wow, look at all the blessing and the peace they had. And David did bring them peace from their enemies. And Solomon kept that peace from their enemies. And kings would send tributes to the nation. And Solomon became more wealthy than any king on Earth, by far. Measuring their gold, just piles and piles of it. But he used his wisdom for himself. He went after women, hundreds of them. Having many wives and many concubines and that didn't work. It didn't draw him closer to God. It drew him closer to his sin. And so, time and again, God showed the people of Israel that putting your hope in kings is futile. You say, “Hey, well, we don't have a king.” Let's just call that politics. Do we hope in politics to be the savior of the world? We do. You can see it. We get so frustrated in the evil kings, knowing God has placed each and every one of them, either for our rebuke or our blessing. But all for his glory. So, they put their hope in earthly kings.

This was kind of disheartening, I would think. God needed to get a hold of Isaiah’s attention. In life, there's a lot of times where we just kind of go into get-it-done mode, right? The checklist mode, I got these things to do, and then I can sleep. So, you get these things done, you go to sleep, you wake up, the checklist restarts, right? Every time, and so then we just get into that mode. Well, Isaiah needed to be set apart. So turn to chapter six. This is exactly what God did. Verse one, Isaiah has a vision of the throne of God. [Isaiah 6:1] “In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the LORD sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple.”

In this vision, Isaiah sees the seraphim, each with six wings: not an angel, the seraphim, right. Nowhere in Scripture, do we see angels with wings. Even though we'll put them on the little kids for the Christmas play, right? So you see these amazing creatures. And what are they saying in the Scripture? What does the Scripture say these creatures say about God, who could see God. Who could see the throne, what did they say of God? “Holy, holy, holy.” That's why we sang it this morning. “Holy, holy, holy.” It is emphatic. Isaiah, you and your people serve a holy God who deserves perfect obedience out of love for him. We cannot just live simple lives and deviate and think that it's all going to work out. It's not. I'm going to bring you to a place where you see that I am set above all the kings. I am set above all the kingdoms. Some commentators say this is like seeing God and the power he has over his own armies.

Why look to earthly institutions, when just the vision of God is so amazing and so wonderful. “The whole earth is full of his glory!” [Isaiah 6:3]. What king on earth could say that? The Mongols couldn't say that. No empire has. No empire will, until the Lord returns. Well, this shook Isaiah. God was holy. And the text tells us he says [paraphrase of part of Isaiah 6:5], “yet I am a man of unclean lips, I and my people, we are unclean.” He saw the King; he saw the perfect King. It was this vision of an Almighty King, over his hosts. And it set the course of his entire ministry. And one of the seraphim flew to him and touched his lips which atoned for his sin, it put it away. They were cleansing Isaiah, they were preparing him to go out to this wicked people.

Friends, God has prepared you, if you’re saved, to go out to this wicked people. You have everything you need. I have everything I need. I take the Word, I give the Word, that's what the people need. God uses the Word to do his work in their lives and lives are changed. But he needed Isaiah to know this. What was Isaiah’s response to this? We get to these famous verses here. We'll read one of them. Isaiah 6:8, after his sin is atoned for, “And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ Then I said, ‘Here I am! Send me.’”

Friends, this is what you and I need to be saying, “Lord God, here am I, send me.” Not, “Lord God, let's have a talk about this. You know what I like, where I like to live. What kind of house I want, what kind of job I want. You know, let's just talk about this a little bit.” Right? “You said you'd give me the desires of my heart. So I'm just sharing my heart. This is just how you want it.” Is that how it went down for Isaiah? Do you have a problem that Isaiah wasn't democratically elected by the people to represent the people? Do we have a problem with that? Right, there are so many things about this that just break the mold. But this is how God works time and again. He wants somebody who is saved, he wants to sanctify them – he does that. And then he wants to send that person out to be his mouthpiece for the world. Is that you? Are you ready to be the mouthpiece of God to the world? To take his Scripture and deliver it to your friends, and to your neighbors, to call them to faith in Christ. To those whom you go to school with.

Notice, this is not a call to just go evangelize. God's not calling Isaiah, “Hey, there's this whole pagan nation over here. I need you to go share the gospel with.” No, he's calling Isaiah to full service before he tells him what he's gonna do. He wants to know, “Isaiah, are you all in to serve me, no matter what?” And that's when he says, “Here am I, send me.” And it was going to be a difficult ministry, to a people with a very stubborn heart.

By chapter seven, you can turn there, Israel, those in the North, go into league with Syria, a neighboring country, and they want to attack those in the South, Judah. Look in Isaiah 7:2. This is the setting of these most amazing verses that you are aware of. Isaiah 7:2, “When the house of David was told, ‘Syria is in league with Ephraim,’ the heart of Ahaz [that’s the king] and the heart of his people shook as the trees of the forest shake before the wind.” This is real life. Has there ever been a time in your life when you have been that scared, where you're shaking? Not shaking mad, shaking scared. This is when God comes to Ahaz. God speaks directly to Ahaz. You know these verses well. Let's read some of them.

See, when God sees his people, trembling and scared, what does he do? Isaiah 7:11, “Ask a sign of the LORD your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.” Of course, Ahaz in his pride, he's obviously not a man of conviction before God or else he wouldn't have been trembling at mere mortals who came against God's people. Ahaz refused to even ask anything of God. Quite the opposite of Solomon, right? Who asked for great wisdom to shepherd these people who go in and out. Ahaz [says], “No, I’m going to pass.” Would you do that? Would you pass, if God says, “Hey ask me for a sign, I'm going to deliver you. I'll do anything you want. Just ask me. Make it grand as you can think of.” I think I would have probably tried to come up with something. But Ahaz refused. Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Now that is amazing! This is where we get into near and far prophecies. Where a prophecy has a near and far fulfillment. The people would eventually be delivered. That's the near portion of this prophecy. God would be with them. But yet as you know there is also the reaching into the future. There is this understanding that there is going to come a complete solution, where God is actually going to be with us. That's what it Immanuel means, right? “God with us.” And just in case, they got it confused, look in chapter nine, he explains it further to them, who this child was verses six and seven. [Isaiah 9:6-7]

“For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace,
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.”

Of course, this is one of our favorite Christmas passages, is it not? We know this looks forward to the New Testament, it looks forward to the time of the coming of the Messiah. That he will be called, “Mighty God”? That should have blown their minds. How do you get around the fact that there is this prophetic understanding of one who will be with us, and called “Mighty God.” And he's not going to be like God, just showing up in a pillar of cloud, right, or a cover of cloud and a pillar of fire? That's not possible with this passage, he's going to be a Child. And all the parents were like, “We don't think this is a good idea.” Right? “We know our kids.”

This is blowing their minds. God loved his people so much that he said, “Look, this is this is coming, this is on the way. I’m going to be with you.” If God is with you, what would you be afraid of? Right? Sometimes I just think, “Lord, if you were just here with me, you know, physically…” If Jesus was here with me, I think I’d live a more holy life. I think I’d struggle less with sin. I think I would be more devoted. This was very comforting to Ahaz and to the people. But listen, when you stand before God, you're not going to be worried about who's the president, you're not going to be worried about where your kids go to college, you're not going to be worried about relationships with anyone. In that moment, listen, in that moment when you stand before God, all you’re going to care about is this: “Do I have peace with God?” That’s it. Do I have peace with God? God loved them so much that he set that in front of them to consider.

God was calling the people to demonstrate their devotion and love for him by fully trusting in him, even with their very lives. I think sometimes we're willing to trust God with our eternal life, but not our current life, not our temporary life. We're more than willing to accept eternity with God in heaven forever. But are we willing to fully live for him now? That's what you see in Isaiah, over and over and over again. All the way through chapter 39. See, we just made a big leap there. In chapters 36 through 39, that's the coming Assyrian invasion. The Southern Tribe had, you know, called out to Assyria, “Help us defeat our northern relatives and Syria,” which they gladly did. And then they turned on the Southern Tribe. As they're going to attack Egypt. They're like, “Ah, will just send some garrison's over to Israel. This will be quick and painless.” And yet God protects them and defeats the Assyrians so badly, with a miraculous death angel, right? That they never attacked the Jews again. Assyria never came to attack them after that.

Let me summarize some of these chapters for you so that you can get your head around the first 39 chapters. It is basically this, Judgment, and Impending Babylonian Captivity. Right, there is judgment coming and the Babylonians are coming. But God is also going to judge those who come upon the Jews. And they know this already before they even get there. Isaiah 13:6, this is a judgment against Babylon who's coming, “Wail, for the day of the LORD is near; as destruction from the Almighty it will come!” I will punish the world for its evil and the wicked for their iniquity. This is speaking of Babylon. Assyria would also be punished by God. Isaiah 14:25, “I will break the Assyrian in my land.” [Isaiah 14:27] “For the LORD of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back?”

So, God is not just punishing the Jewish people. He is not just punishing those who are supposed to be the light of the world. He is going to punish every nation that is sinful. Friends, we need to remember that. That God is going to punish every nation, every person, who is sinful. And in Isaiah, specifically, Moab is called out, Damascus is called out, Egypt is called out, Cush (which is south of the land of Egypt) is called out, Tyre, and even the whole earth. Isaiah 24:1, “Behold, the LORD,” this is terrifying. “Behold, the LORD will empty the earth and make it desolate, and he will twist its surface and scatter its inhabitants.” Israel would not escape. 80 years after Isaiah was written, the Babylonian captivity would begin, they would be deported. That is Judah, the Southern Kingdom, would be deported three times. (The Northern Kingdom had already been laid waste). They would be carted off in 603 BC, 597 BC, and 586 BC. And after the last time they went, they did not return for 70 years. We can see the fulfillment of some of Isaiah’s prophecies, have already occurred in history. Even King Cyrus is named, a king who would send them back. So, the first 39 chapters have this cycle of judgment, deliverance, and hope. And it was up to the people to figure out, who were they going to hope in?

But I want to tell you a little bit about chapters 40 to 66. I don’t know if you've heard a message on this portion yet, but it is actually quite unique in the Old Testament. And I think it's going to be instructive for us to help you kind of wrap your head around Isaiah. You see, it parallels the New Testament. Chapters 40 to 66 parallel the New Testament in many ways. In fact, the second half of Isaiah’s gospel, these chapters, have been called, “The Gospel of the Old Testament.” Chapter 40 begins where the New Testament begins, with the prophecy of John the Baptist. Look in Isaiah 40:3, “A voice cries: ‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.’” Isaiah 40:1 says that this is to come as a great comfort to the people. And verse five, in chapter forty says [Isaiah 40:5], it's so that all flesh will see it. This isn't just one visitation, this is going to be a visitation that's going to stay around for a while, so that all flesh can see this visitation. Of course, this is a prophecy of John the Baptist coming to prepare the way for the Lord. And that's exactly where the New Testament begins as well, with these prophecies of John the Baptist, that he fulfills.

Isaiah 40:8, has this familiar verse, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” Why does he say that there? Because they need to know that God's Word is going to be sustained throughout time, whether we grow impatient or not. And we grow impatient at God fulfilling his Word sometimes, don't we? We do. But the Word of God, every jot, every tittle, everything about the Word is going to be fulfilled. It's going to come to pass. And we need to have comfort and confidence that that happens, just like they did in the Old Testament, about 700 years before the Messiah.

Well, Isaiah ends where the New Testament ends as well, with the new heavens and the new earth. Isaiah 66:22, talks about the new heavens and the earth, which God will make. This, of course is spoken of at the end of Revelation as well. The parallels to the New Testament though continue. And I want you to think about this a little bit. I was tempted to dive into this more with you this morning. But obviously, there's too much to cover in Isaiah, but I want you to think about this, Isaiah 45:23. Listen to this verse. What does this verse sound like from the New Testament? God says this, “To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.” That's the Father, “To me, every knee shall bow.” And over and over, he says, “I am God and there is no other.” Now how do we reconcile that with the New Testament? Right, Philippians 2:9-11, “Therefore God has highly exalted him…” Someone else, right? Jesus Christ. “…and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Now, who are we bowing to? To the Father, to the Son? Or are the Father and the Son, God? This is a great pronouncement of the deity of the one to come, the Messiah, written 700 years before his birth. This one who is going to come, they're going to bow the knee to him too. It’s revealed more specifically in Philippians. But Isaiah 45:23 says, “To me every knee shall bow.” God sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to redeem us, to save us, that we would bow to him. Where is this salvation and deliverance to come from? Scholars like this kind of thing. Halfway in the middle of this last section, section 40 to 66, halfway through, is Isaiah 53. Isaiah 53. This is the climax of the Gospel presented in the book of Isaiah. It's the clearest presentation of what the coming Messiah will accomplish and how he's going to accomplish it. Not only to redeem future believers, but for the salvation of Israel.

Notice just a few verses before 53, in Isaiah 52:13, he says that he is called, “my servant.” Now there are other chapters in Isaiah that speak of the servant who will do things for God. But here specifically the language just pushes out the idea that this servant could be the nation Israel. Look in verse 15, Isaiah 52:15, “so shall he sprinkle many nations. Kings shall shut their mouths because of him.” I think what's important to know is that salvation for the world did not begin in the New Testament. It did not. You see clearly that many nations are going to be cleansed because of the One to come. And maybe at times, you are discouraged because you might have a loved one or a friend who is resisting God, who in the way that they live, they are pushing God off. But listen, these other nations, were the same way. “No, God, I'm not going to live for you. I'm not going to serve you. We have our gods.” The Assyrians had their god, the Babylonians had their God. And yet, here's this promise that there's going to be a Servant who will sprinkle the many nations.

Isaiah 56:6-8 says this explicitly, “And the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD [i.e. Yahweh], to minister to him [notice they're serving him], to love the name of the LORD, and to be his servants, everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it, and holds fast my covenant – these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer [for who?] for all peoples.” Isaiah, chapters seven and nine, talk about a light that has dawned on the nations. A light of Galilee of the nations. This is going to be for all peoples, Isaiah 56:8, “The Lord GOD, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, declares, ‘I will gather yet others to him besides those already gathered.’” There will be other people who come to believe in the one true God. They will serve him, they will minister to him, they will love him. That's what it means to be a true person in the covenant of God. Maybe that's your relative. I have relatives I'm praying for that I hope would come to faith in Jesus Christ. Maybe that's a coworker or a neighbor. Think of someone that would just blow your mind if they became saved. Are you praying for that person? Are you praying for that person every week? That they would come to know the joy of being forgiven like you know it. Have you presented the Lord Jesus Christ to them? You see, God is going to bring in others, other peoples, distinct peoples from the nation of Israel. And he's been doing that for 2,000 years and I just wonder if that person you're praying for is one of them.

Back to chapter 53. Just to kind of summarize through this, it's unmistakable who this is talking about. Isaiah 53:4, “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.” Isaiah 53:5, “he was pierced for our transgressions” and “was crushed for our iniquities.” Isaiah 53:6, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned – every one – to his own way; and the LORD [i.e. Yahweh] has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” While God would be about the business of redeeming Israel in their timeframe, there would also come One in the future who would fit these descriptions to a tee, the Lord Jesus Christ. Every one of us needs Jesus. Every person on the planet. There is no other name under heaven given by which we must be saved. He's the only one.

Isaiah 53:11, “by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.” What nation would bear their iniquities? There is no nation who bears the iniquities of others and saves them, based on what a nation does. But there is One, a person, the Lord Jesus Christ, who would bear the sin of mankind. Isaiah 53:12, clarifying it even further, “he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.”

Here's what they needed, as the Assyrians attacked, as the Babylonians attacked. All throughout history, what we need is deliverance from our sin through Jesus Christ. And not just deliverance, we need Jesus, himself. He doesn't just give us a transaction and keep on going. He gives us his person. He puts his Holy Spirit within us to lead us and guide us. Jesus, himself, in John says, “He, himself, will abide with us.” And I want to ask you, “What in this world is worth more than Jesus? What in this world will make you more joyful and give you more blessing than Jesus, himself?” And if you and I are set in a society that is – if you can imagine this – set apart to religiously pursue whatever god they want to pursue. If that would ever occur, or if even now, all of our politicians got saved. And they set everything perfectly in line with Scripture, according to the Word of God, that won't save you. That won't save anyone, only Jesus will save. And while I hope all of our leaders would follow God. And I do, thank the Lord God greatly for those in politics who serve him and withhold, or stay, the hand of God's judgment. We need more than just physical deliverance; we need more than just financial relief. We need more than just a stable family home. We need more than just the ability to worship God, freely. We need God, himself. We need Jesus, himself.

In Luke 4:17, that's what they got. Turn there, if you would with me, as we bring this to a close. Jesus was born of a virgin, he did live a perfect life. And he, himself, thought Isaiah prophesied about him, specifically. Luke 4:17-19 says, this is Jesus as he went to the synagogue to teach, “… the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.’” That would have been an amazing sight to behold. He quoted Isaiah 42, 49, 58, and 61, in that little paragraph. Luke 4:20-21, “And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’” It's powerful. “I am the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy.” That’s what Jesus was saying.

Even today, friends, is Jesus our hope? Jesus, himself. Let us make Jesus the Centerpiece. Let him be the desire of your heart, the longing of your spare time, the focus of your mind and your energy, the drive of your family, the joy of your life, and the sole hope of deliverance. May Jesus be our greatest hope above all else. Let's pray.

Father God, you know us better than we know ourselves. Father, we pray right now that you would help us to pursue you and you alone – that you would be our hope in this life.

Friends, let's just take a moment to pray those things to God.

Father God, we thank you for this amazing book. We pray that you would help us to see the hope that you have planted in the midst of judgment. And help us to partake, Lord God, of that hope. In your precious, Holy Name. Amen.