Dr. S. Lewis Johnson discusses the prophecy of the redeeming purpose of the Messiah. Dr. Johnson also comments on the prophecy concerning Christ's knowledge of himself as Messiah.
[Prayer] Father, we thank Thee and praise Thee for the privilege of the study of the Scriptures. And we thank Thee particularly for this great Book of Isaiah and these magnificent prophecies that delineate so many years before our Lord came the essence and many of the details of his wonderful ministry of redemption. And we thank Thee that we are able to hold the Bible in our hands. And sometimes, Lord, we feel the need of confessing to Thee the fact that we so often read books about the Bible rather than reading the Bible itself. Deliver us from making the Bible second in our reading. May we make it first. Give it its proper place, first place, in our reading and study. Now, be with us as we study in this hour. We pray. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
[Message] We are looking at the Messianic prophecies in the Book of Isaiah and we have been specifically looking at the prophecies concerning the suffering servant of Jehovah. And the last two or three times together we’ve looked at Isaiah chapter 42 and we have looked at Isaiah chapter 49 and tonight we want to take a relatively brief look at the third of these Messianic prophecies, the prophecy of the suffering servant of Jehovah in chapter 50 of the Book of Isaiah. So, if you have your Old Testaments or Bibles, turn with me to chapter 50. And then I’d like to read through this chapter, it’s eleven verses long, a magnificent chapter. Notice particularly verses 4 through 9.
“Thus saith the LORD, Where is the bill of your mother’s divorcement, whom I have put away? or which of my creditors is it to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities have ye sold yourselves, and for your transgressions is your mother put away. Wherefore, when I came, was there no man? When I called, was there none to answer? Is my hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem? Or have I no power to deliver? Behold, at my rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a wilderness: their fish stinketh, because there is no water, and dieth for thirst. I clothe the heavens with blackness, and I make sackcloth their covering. The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned. The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back. I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed. He is near that justifieth me; who will contend with me? let us stand together: who is mine adversary? let him come near to me. Behold, the Lord GOD will help me; who is he that shall condemn me? Lo, they all shall wax old as a garment; the moth shall eat them up. Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? Let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God. Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.”
Now, we want to look tonight at “The Servant’s Words to Zion’s Children.” This chapter is a very vivid picture of the glory of God’s omnipotent faithfulness and the tragedy of unbelief. Israel is the object of the one and the subject of the other. It is the third of the great servant passages. Chapter 42, verse 1 through verse 7, we looked at that in which the prophet outlines the program of the ministry of the servant. And then in chapter 49 and verse 1 through verse 8, the purpose of his ministry is stressed, and verse 3 and verse 5 and 6 and verse 8 of chapter 49. And now, the preparation of the servant himself for the ministry is stressed. And the passage itself falls naturally into three parts. The first three verses record Jehovah’s words to Zion’s disobedient children, and then the servant’s words in verse 4 through 9 to Zion’s children, and finally Jehovah’s final words in verses 10 and 11. Well, let’s look for a few brief moments at verses 1 through 3. And then we’ll center most of our attention on 4 through 9 and conclude with just a word concerning verses 10 and 11.
Remember the historical background. It is important for us to remember it if we’re to understand these last chapters of the Book of Isaiah. Isaiah writes from the standpoint of the later Babylonian captivity of Israel due to unbelief. And he analyzes the real causes and offers God solution for Israel’s trials in the ministry of the servant. The passage, in a sense, is typical. In that, what we discover here is a passage that is written against that background, but often as in these Messianic prophecies the words go on beyond the return at the first coming of the Lord Jesus Christ to the second coming and the ultimate consummation of the program of God. So, in a sense, Israel’s return after the captivity was typical of the return of the future. And then, of course, their scattering to the four corners of the earth in 70 AD is itself in line with this general program we see of Israel going into captivity for disciplinary reasons, coming back, then going into worldwide captivity, and then ultimately being brought back from the four corners of the earth at the Second Advent of the Messiah. The deliverance that is offered in the past was fulfilled at the First Advent in part. But so far as the reception of all that the servant does, it is not received by the nation until the Second Advent. Therefore, the servant’s work is work that has to do with the first coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and it also has to do with the second coming. The basis of the return of Israel in the future is laid in the First Advent of our Lord. And so, in that sense, the servant’s work is concluded, so far as the foundation of it is concerned, in the ratification of the new covenant at his First Advent. But, the benefits that flow out of that will not be Israel the nation’s until the time of his Second Advent.
Well, the prophet begins in verse 1 and in the opening part of verse 1 by speaking of the condition of Zion. “Thus saith the LORD, Where is the bill of your mother’s divorcement, whom I have put away? or which of my creditors is it to whom I have sold you?” Israel’s banishment to Babylon is something of a typical thing like the banishment to the four corners of the earth that shall follow. But what the prophet is suggesting is that Israel has not gone into captivity because of anything that he has done. He has not divorced her. He has not sold her. But the difficulty lies with them. He says in the end of verse 1, “Behold, for your iniquities have ye sold yourselves, and for your transgressions is your mother put away.”
So, the real problem with Israel does not lie with the Lord God. They are sent off into discipline in Babylon and they will be sent to the four corners of the earth ultimately. Not because of God. It’s not that he has disowned them. It’s not that he has divorced them. But by their disobedience they have made chastisement necessary. It’s for their iniquities and they have sold themselves and for their transgressions is their mother put away. That’s what he goes on to speak about describing the cause of Zion’s condition. And we can look at this generally and we can look at it specifically. Generally, in the latter part of verse 1, it’s because of their iniquities and because of their transgressions. If you’ll turn over a few pages to the 59th chapter and the 2nd verse, the prophet writes here in a text that is often cited out of its context and it does have a principle associated with it that is valid at all times. The prophet writes, “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” The special cause of Israel’s difficulty is described in verses 2 and 3. And it is the fact that the servant has come. And in spite of his limitless power, they did not respond to him.
Now, one sees the foreshortening of the prophetic prospective here. We have the first coming of the servant and he performed his ministry of ratifying the new covenant and then the second coming. And the first coming and the second coming are foreshortened so that the lengthy period of time between the first and second coming often do not appear in the Old Testament prophecies. It’s in the New Testament that we learn that the period of time between the first and second coming is a period of time that stretches out for a lengthy period of time. Our Lord’s parables in Matthew 13 give us the details of the period of time between the first coming and the second coming.
But he says in verse 2, “Wherefore, when I came, was there no man? when I called, was there none to answer? Is my hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem? or have I no power to deliver?” In other words, is it as if God is not able to do for them what he has promised that he would do? And, of course, the answer to that is no, God can do everything that he has promised to do because he “Clothes the heavens with blackness, he makes sackcloth their covering.” And if one wanted to find evidence of the power of the servant, you only have to look at the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. He was the one who performed the mighty Messianic miracles which marked him out as the Messianic King. He was able to still the storm and calm the sea. He had all of the credentials of the Messianic King. He raised the dead. He healed the lepers. He preached the gospel. These were the specific things that the Messiah was supposed to do and the Lord Jesus has done them. So, the difficulty does not lie with God. The difficulty lies with the Nation Israel, so the prophet says.
Now, in verse 4 the prophet describes in words of the servant his response. And we read in verse 4, “The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.” This is God’s remedy for Israel’s difficulty. And it’s the ministry of the servant. It’s interesting that here we have the term “Lord God” in verse 4 and verse 5 and then in verse 7 and then again, I believe, in verse 9. And these, I think, are the only times in which this particular term appears in the Book of Isaiah. And it evidently is a term that the servant uses of the Father. So, “The Lord God has opened mine ear. The Lord God has given me the tongue of the learned.”
We have here, I think, a rather deep incite into the private life of the Lord Jesus Christ when he was here upon the earth and the instruction and the school into which he was put as the Messianic King. “The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary.” That is certainly a magnificent statement of the description of the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I like what Franz Delitzsch, the great German commentator, has said concerning the servant here. “Nothing indicates a tongue befitting the disciples of God, so much as the gift of administering consolation.” And the Lord Jesus is one who had that in a preeminent degree. So, it’s “The Lord GOD who has given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary.”
And we also have here, I think, a very good indication of how the Lord Jesus grew in wisdom and knowledge in his human nature. I’d like for you to turn over with me to Luke chapter 2. And in verse 40 and verse 52 of Luke chapter 2, Luke gives us some rather unique words concerning the Lord Jesus. He said, “And the child grew (This is Luke 2:40), and the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.”
Now, notice those statements. “The child grew, and waxed strong in spirit (or became strong in spirit), filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.” So, not only did the Lord Jesus grow physically, but he also grew in spirit. Notice verse 52, “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.”
Now, you know, of course, enough about the nature of the Godhead and the nature of the Son of God to know that you cannot say that the Lord Jesus Christ, so far as his divine personality was concerned, grew in wisdom. It’s plain that Luke is talking about his human nature. And so, he had to grow physically and he grew in the knowledge of God in his human nature.
Now, he never knew anything that was wrong, but he had to learn from the Father the great truths of the spiritual life. And even later on in his ministry, remember, he said there was one thing that he did not know. And that was the time of the second coming. So, the ignorance of Jesus is perfectly harmonious with the omniscience of the second person of the eternal trinity. If we remember, one person with two natures, then, of course, we do not have difficulty with statements like this.
So, we have here an indication of how our Lord, perfectly obedient, was wakened morning by morning and taught by the Lord God in order that he might learn the things as the Messianic King that he should learn for the ministry that he would have. It is, of course, a magnificent illustration of how you and I should also learn of the things of God from the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit too.
So, “He’s given me the tongue of the learned: he has wakened me morning by morning, to hear as the learned.” And so, the ear of our Lord was open to the Lord God morning by morning and he was taught the things of the word of God. It’s no wonder that when he began his ministry he amazed those who had studied the Scriptures in other ways by the knowledge that he had, even when he was twelve years of age. The great scholars of the Bible in his day were astounded at the knowledge that he had of the word of God. And when he began his ministry they marveled at the words of grace that flowed out of his mouth. It was the result of many years of instruction by the Lord God of the suffering servant of Jehovah.
Now, so far as this word in season to him that is weary, there’s probably no better illustration of our Lord’s ability to do that than that marvelous incident recorded in Luke chapter 7 when the woman that was a sinner came to Simon’s house where the Lord Jesus was and anointed him and wiped his feet with the hair and also washed his feet with her tears. In Luke chapter 7, remember, the story is the story of the Pharisee Simon who asked the Lord Jesus to come to his home. And evidently he wanted to show up our Lord because when he invited our Lord to come into his house, Simon the Pharisee did not even extend to him the common amenities of life, which would have been done for anyone. And so evidently he had in his mind to do something or to show him up with the people who were invited. And we read in Luke chapter 7 and verse 37,
“And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.”
Now, when it says she was a sinner the chances are it means that she was a prostitute. In fact, Rossetti, you may remember, has painted a picture of the woman as she is going into the house of Simon the Pharisee. And one of her lovers is pulling on her to try to keep her from going in. And that’s the picture that Rossetti paints of this particular incident. But, she had evidently come in contact with the Lord Jesus and someway had heard him and she had been convicted by the Holy Spirit and had come to a faith in him and she went into the house.
“And she stood behind him weeping in repentance and began to wash his feet with tears and wipe them with the hairs of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with ointment. And Simon the Pharisee Spoke within himself saying, this man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner. And then the Lord Jesus said, Simon I have a few things to say to you. And he told him a little parable of a creditor who had two debtors: one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And they had nothing to pay, and he frankly or freely forgave them. Tell me therefore (he asked Simon), which of them will love him the most? And Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And the Lord said you have rightly judged. And then he turned to the woman, and he said Simon, do you see this woman? I entered into your house, you gave me no water for my feet: she has washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. You gave me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.”
It was a magnificent incident. And, of course, the word that was spoken to Simon was very important, but the word spoken to her was surely like Isaiah says, “A word that was spoken to one who was weary.” Some have had some difficulty with this statement in verse 47 where we read, “Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much,” as if to suggest that forgiveness of sins comes from love. But that isn’t the point that our Lord is making. He’s saying that the evidence of the fact that she had been forgiven is the love that she expresses in what she does. Very much as we might say, “The sun has arisen because the sunlight is outside.” Or, we might say, “The sunlight is outside, therefore, the sun has arisen.” We know, of course, the rising of the sun is the cause for the sunlight, but we may reverse it.
I always think of the woman who wrote into one of the airlines and said, “I’ve enjoyed riding on your airline, but I have just a suggestion to make. I would suggest that you do not turn on the switch ‘fasten seat belt’ because I’ve noticed that every time you turn it on the ride gets bumpy.” [Laughter] Well, the reversal, of course, in effect, is common in our language. And that is what our Lord did here. Actually, she was expressing the fact of her faith in him by the love that she was showing to him. And when he said, “Thy sins are forgiven,” he doesn’t mean by that that her sins are forgiven because she loved, but she loved because her sins had been forgiven. And it was because she appreciated what had happened to her through the forgiveness of her deep sin that she loved as she did and acted as she did. “And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also? And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.”
Well, the servant’s words then describe his private instruction that comes from the Lord God. And notice it’s morning by morning. I think that’s very significant. Our Lord studied the Scriptures daily. You know that was characteristic of the Bereans wasn’t it? “They searched the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so,” so Luke writes in Acts chapter 17 and verse 11. John the Baptist is described as a person who stands by our Lord and hears him. So, if one expects to grow in the knowledge of the Lord, we can grow. Not through reading Power for Living, but we can grow through the study of the Scriptures. And it’s so sad, I think, that we neglect the great source of spiritual growth so often and read books about the Bible rather than the Bible itself.
Now, I want you to notice the response of the servant. In verse 5 he says, “The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back.” There’s a great deal of stress in the Hebrew text on that work “back.” That adjective is put thrown forward in the clause to lay a bit of stress upon it. And, of course, the difference between the true servant of Jehovah and other servants of the Lord is seen here. “The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back.” The servants of the Old Testament were often rebellious. Moses was rebellious. Jeremiah was rebellious. Jonah was rebellious. Almost all of the prophets of the Old Testament and the mighty men of the Old Testament were rebellious. And it’s true that one does not read clearly that Joseph was, but we can be sure that if we had a real full account of his life we’d find some rebellion there.
Bob Thieme used to find some rebellion in Joseph’s life simply because of a lack of trust in the Lord and a desire that someone should remember him when they left the prison. I don’t know whether that’s justified or not, but one can certainly surmise that Joseph at one time or another was rebellious. And Daniel too, who has almost a blameless life, so far as the Book of Daniel is concerned, was no doubt a man who rebelled against the Lord. But the Lord Jesus, the suffering servant of Jehovah, is the only perfect servant who has ever lived.
Now, in the 6th verse the servant goes on to describe his public persecution. “I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.”
Now, one can remember the incidents in our Lord’s life and see the fulfillment of it. The soldiers at his trial smote him, others also. Truth is objectionable to those who desire to establish their own case at any cost. When one thinks about people actually smiting the Lord Jesus Christ, I think of what Alfred Edersheim once said. He said, “Humanity itself seems to reel and stagger under the blow that struck the face of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Now, his private convictions are set out in verse 7, 8 and 9. “For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.” The servant speaks of the fact that he can trust the Lord in spite of the things that he is going to be suffering.
One thinks of the statement again in the Book of Luke in chapter 9 this time and verse 51 where as our Lord reaches near the end of his earthly ministry just before he’s going to Jerusalem he begins to come under the spell of the fact that he will suffer at Jerusalem. And Luke describes in chapter 9 and verse 51 the attitude of our Lord as he was going to Jerusalem. “And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem” I like that. And I like what Sangster once said about this. He said, “His destination was on his face.” “He stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem.” And if you had looked at the face of our Lord it was not occupied so much with the present as with that which lay before him in the city of Jerusalem for he knew that he was approaching the time when he would have to give his life as the covenantal sacrifice. “The Lord GOD will help me. Therefore, I shall not be confounded.”
Isn’t it interesting to be able to, through the Prophet Isaiah, to enter into the personal life of our Lord? He had many of the struggles that the saints of God have. He knew all about those kinds of struggles. His temptations, as we’ve often pointed out, did not come from within. They came from without, from the world, from Satan. But in essence it was the same. Turn aside from the will of God. And so the struggle with the servant was with the will of God. And here we read his trust in the Lord. “The Lord GOD will help me; therefore I shall not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.”
Now, when he says in the 8th verse, “He is near that justifieth me,” what is meant by that? You know the sense of the term justification must be understood from the context. Sometime, to justify means simply to vindicate. But sometimes it means to declare righteous. Remember, when a person believes in the Lord Jesus Christ and he is justified, he’s declared righteous. That term justify means justify in the legal sense, the forensic sense. When a believer believes in the Lord Jesus Christ there is imputed to him the righteousness of God. As our Lord has had imputed to him the sins of sinners and he has born the judgement of the sins of sinners. He has born their imputed sin. So, we, when we believe, have imputed to us the righteousness of God. “He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might become the righteousness of God in him.” That’s the essence of the doctrine of justification by faith, magnificent truth that we stand righteous before God even though we are condemned because we have fallen in Adam. The Lord Jesus has born our condemnation. And as a result of that we have imputed to us the righteousness of God, now righteousness at great cost, a righteous salvation, because the Lord Jesus has born the full penalty. Well, that’s the forensic sense of justification. That’s the forensic sense, or the legal sense, of justification.
That was at the heart of the view of many of the reformers, particularly at the heart of the view of Martin Luther who came to understand that men were justified, declared righteous apart from any righteousness in them by virtue of the imputation of the righteousness of the Lord God. But justified also has the sense of vindicate. For example, do you remember when the Lord said in John chapter 17 words that, I think, illustrate this point quite well? He said in the latter part of John 17 the great high priestly prayer, “For their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.”
Now, of course, our Lord did not need to make himself holy. But he is talking about setting himself apart for the work of the cross. And then in terminology that is very precisely the terminology of Isaiah chapter 50. In Romans chapter 3, the Apostle Paul writes, “God forbid: let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.”
Now, can God be justified, made righteous? No, he’s already righteous. He cannot be made righteous, but he can be declared righteous. He can be shown to be what he really is, righteous. In that sense, he is vindicated. Well, that’s the force of Isaiah chapter 50 when we read, “He is near that justifieth me.” The servant of Jehovah is the sinless servant of Jehovah. He does not need forgiveness of sins. He does not need to have himself made righteous. But he is declared to be what he really is, righteous. He is vindicated. So, “He is near that justifieth me (vindicates me). And if he is near and he vindicates me,” the servant says, “Who is going to contend with me?” You can see the legal language. He’s thinking of a court scene. He stands before the great judge. The judge has said, “He is righteous and I have vindicated him.” Then who is going to be able to accuse the one who has been vindicated by the judge?
So, our Lord, when he says, “He is near that justifieth me,” speaks of the father as the one who vindicates the ministry of the son.
“Who will contend with me? let us stand together: who is mine adversary? let him come near to me and let him seek to find anything that is wrong with me. Behold, the Lord GOD will help me; who is he that shall condemn me? (He says), lo, they all shall wax old as a garment; the moth shall eat them up.”
What a terrible way to refer to the lost and to those who are rebellious against the Lord God.
Have you ever gone when winter has come to the place where you have kept your woolen sweaters or your woolen clothes and have forgotten to mothproof them and to pull them out and maybe perhaps you’d left them there for three, four or five years and then you pull them out and they come out kind of perforated with many little round holes in them and you’ve lost your garment. Well, that’s the language that the Lord is using here. “The moth shall eat them up.” Imperceptible, slow, unwitting, unknown kind of destruction, that’s the kind of destruction that the lost experience.
That’s the kind of destruction that, no doubt, we have seen in the life recently of the late and lamented head of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Mr. Andropov, who probably now is in the place where he has discovered that communism and at least the way in which they have practiced it is not really in accordance with the divine will. And furthermore, the kind of life that he has lived because he’s had his hand in the murder of thousands and thousands of people is not the kind of life that pleases the supreme Lord of this universe. And he has gone to the place from which there is no return. And probably surprised and startled at what he discovered the moment that he passed from this life. Imperceptibly, unwittingly, if we are not believers in the Lord Jesus Christ we are like the moth eaten garments and finally worthless and come under the divine judgement. What a terrible expression that is. And what an expressive thing that it is, shall fall apart from the moths that they already carry within them. And those who have not believed in the Lord Jesus Christ are like garments that are being eaten by moths right now. For in Paul’s words, “We are perishing until we have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Well, the final words of Jehovah are given in verses 10 and 11. And they’re two final words. One is addressed as an exhortation to the faithful and the other as an admonition to the faithless. In verse 10 he says, “Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his servant?” There’s the suffering servant of Jehovah. This is the servant about whom the passage has been speaking. Who himself spoke in verse 4 through verse 9. And now Jehovah gives this exhortation to the faithful. “Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God.” We have no greater illustration of what it means to trust in the Lord than the servant of Jehovah. “He wakens me morning by morning to hear, he opens my ears so that I can hear. I gave my back to the smiters. I am not rebellious. I hid not my face from shame and spitting. The Lord GOD will help me in the experiences of life.” What could be more wonderful than the assurance of the presence of the Lord God in all of the experiences of our life too? They are to trust and they are to stay on the Lord.
And now the final admonition to the faithless, “Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks.” That’s a very difficult little clause to translate. That’s the Authorized Version rendering. You have a different rendering in the New American Standard Bible which is probably a little better. And he says, “Walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled.” To kindle a fire means to walk in our light instead of in his light probably and to trust in man instead of God. And the end all such is a bed of sorrow. “This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.” Or perhaps better, in torment.
Those are the final words of the section, a terrible sound, really. And in the original text there is a little bit of stress again upon this because these are the last words of the chapter. “You shall lie down in torment.” Oh, what an appeal to trust in the suffering servant of Jehovah, the Lord Jesus. We know from history who has made the sacrifice that redeems. Is your trust in him? Have you believed in him? Are you sure that you’re relying upon him? Do you lean upon him as he says, for time and for eternity? Let’s bow together in a closing word of prayer.
[Prayer] Father, we thank Thee for these magnificent pictures of the Lord Jesus Christ so many years before he came. And we thank Thee for the word of comfort that he has spoken to us who were weary in our sins. And we thank Thee for the way in which he has redeemed us by his grace. And when we were like moth eaten garments on the way to eternal perishing, Thou didst pluck us out of the burning. And establish us in the righteousness of God through grace. We are truly grateful, Lord. Thou hast been good to us. And we pray that we may truly serve Thee, and boldly and courageously represent him who has loved us and given himself for us. Give us something of the love of that woman who was a sinner who had so repented knowing the depth of her sin and wished to express her gratitude by that magnificent display of love. Oh, God, may we also win the approval of the Lord Jesus Christ in grace through the service of his wonderful name…
[RECORDING ENDS ABRUPTLY]