Dr. S. Lewis Johnson derives insight into Christian living from Isaiah's description of the disobedient Israelites.
[Message] Now we have come to the 32nd chapter of the Book of Isaiah and the great subject of the chapter is undoubtedly the king who reigns in righteousness, but the title of the message is “The Ideal Man and What’s Wrong with Women.” [Laughter] Now I did not make up that message. Of course, Isaiah is the one who is responsible because he gives us this wonderful picture of the ideal man and then he says a thing or two about the women of his day. I am sure that the women of his day of course were quite different from the women of our day. Ours are angelic, but they seemed to have had some of the characteristics of the demons about them at that time.
Now just for a word of review. Remember that in the preceding chapter, we had been discussing the relationship of Israel to Egypt because of the approaching Assyrian. Sennacherib was coming to take if he could the country of Judah and the city of Jerusalem, and King Hezekiah was very much disturbed and perturbed and led by the egyptianizing party, he was seeking an alliance with Egypt in order to have Egypt help Israel during the time of the conflict. And God was very disturbed over this because He had promised to be the God of Israel and the God of Judah, and this in a sense was their way of saying we do not want to trust in God, we want to trust in our own resources. And so remember the 31st chapter began with “Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help, and rely on horses, and trust in chariots because they are many, and in horsemen because they are very strong, but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the Lord.”
And then Isaiah concluded his message with a statement of the overthrow of Jerusalem’s enemy, Assyria. In spite of what Judah should do, God was going to bring ultimate victory. And of course, the Prophet Isaiah wanted to influence Hezekiah to drop that Egyptian alliance and rely upon the Lord because victory had been promised for Judah and for Israel in the word of God. And to rely upon Egypt was to live in unbelief. Now of course, the application of that is so obvious, I don’t think that we should even have to be told, but you obviously see that these principles which prevailed in Judah seven centuries before the coming of Christ are principles that often prevail in our individual life. We instead of trusting in the Holy Spirit who has come to be our guide and our strength and our comforter, we instead of trusting in Him, often are tempted to lean upon the flesh to scheme and maneuver and make plans and ask God to bless our efforts instead of looking to Him for direction in our daily lives.
And so when a problem comes into our life, what do we do? Well, we become very anxious, we become very disturbed. We push the panic button instead of trusting in God who has given us such wonderful enablement and such great promises and the minute we do, we have done precisely that which Judah was doing before the time of the coming of Christ, leaning upon the horses and chariots of Egypt instead of upon the Lord God. So the chapter ended with a note of victory and now the people of God in chapter 32 arise to reign and great blessing is prophesied.
Among the blessings that are prophesied is a righteous government. Now I think that in the United States of America, these prophecies mean as little as they probably mean to any country on the face of the earth because our government is probably as righteous a government as any significant government upon the face of the earth. Now it is a long way from being a righteous government, but we do not live under despotism in the United States and consequently it is difficult for us to understand what people have to go through who do live in a place like Russia, a place like Cuba, or a place like Mao’s China. Living there, I am sure, would make these prophecies of the ideal government of God that is to come through the Messiah, mean something very thrilling to us and particularly as we looked out and saw the signs of the approaching end of the age in the history of the world, as we look on our front pages and notice the things that are happening in the Near East, then these prophecies would come alive in an even deeper way and I would imagine.
I don’t know this is true, but I would imagine that in Russia, the evangelical Christians, the strong evangelical Christians who do understand the teaching of the prophetic word, probably gain a great deal of blessing from passages like Isaiah 32 because they are thinking about the ideal king and the ideal government in the light of the government that they have had, and it has not been very ideal. And Mr. Stalin and Khrushchev and Kosygin have certainly been anything but ideal governors of their country. I have a friend who was in Russia and while he was there, he said that and he spoke Russian, he said that he was in a taxicab and a Russian said to him as you probably know it is the Russians who have invented basketball and other games. Furthermore we have discovered the Kumron Dead Sea scrolls, but then he went on to say in one particularly, the world has not given us our due. Adam and Eve were Russians, and he said to his taxi driver, how come. He recognized it was a joke.
He said, well in three ways we know that Adam and Eve were Russians. First of all, they were inadequately clothed, secondly they had one apple between them, and thirdly there was somebody there constantly telling them that they were in paradise. [Laughter] Now he said that happened. I don’t know but you probably have heard the story in the United States. But I think if you had lived in Russia during the time of Khrushchev or during the time of Stalin, you surely would have appreciated these great prophecies that speak of the coming of a king.
Now this is a great passage also on the humanity of our Lord. We know of course that He is very God of very God. That’s the theological way of saying that He is all of God that one can be. He is truly God of truly God, very God of very God. But on the other hand while we say of course that He is very God of very God, He is also genuine and complete man. He has all of the faculties that men possess apart from sin and remember sin is not a necessity of human nature. Oh it’s a necessity since the fall, but it’s not a necessity. Adam and Eve lived in the garden without sin. Sin is not part of human nature necessarily. Our Lord was a sinless being, but he was completely man. He knows all of humanity that you and I know apart from sin. So all of the trials, all of the struggles, all of the conflicts, all of the temptations, even the weariness that comes from a busy day, Jesus knew.
And furthermore, he knew the problem of finding the will of God. He knew the necessity of waiting for God to speak to him. He never made a mistake and once he knew God’s will, he was implicit in his obedience, but he had to find God’s will as you and I do on the human level. On the divine level, he knows the end from the beginning, he is the alpha and the omega, but he is so completely man that he must rest upon God even for the words that he speaks as the Book of John makes very plain. So this is a beautiful passage on the true humanity of our Lord and every Christian should draw a great deal of comfort from the true humanity of the Lord Jesus because you see His incarnation speaks of His infinite love. It foreshadows intimate intercourse that is possible between man and God. It foretells unbounded blessedness for the sons of Adam because one has come and has become one of us.
Now let’s look at our passage chapter 32 and we have Roman 1 the ideal man and the ideal citizens. Verse 1 through verse 8. The ideal man and the ideal citizens. A new era of spiritual and social blessing for Judah and Isaiah writes, “Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in justice.” Now I am convinced as I study this passage that what this text has primarily in mind is King Hezekiah because you see Hezekiah was the king of Judah and Hezekiah was the one who would reign in righteousness when he dropped his egyptianizing policy and he did do just that under the influence of the Prophet Isaiah. And I think that basically this refers to the activities of King Hezekiah after the catastrophe of the Assyrian defeat under Sennacherib in 701 B.C.
Now remember Isaiah is prophesying just before this. In 701 B.C. Sennacherib came against the city of Jerusalem and in an unexplained way, his army was so decimated, some reason it was the bubonic plague, others that it was a miracle, but they were forced to flee and Jerusalem was saved. Now then Hezekiah when he had discovered the error of his ways and began to lean upon the Lord Jehovah, it could be said of him a king reigns in righteousness and princes rule in justice. His administration became an administration which God could approve and as you know, Hezekiah became the greatest king that Judah ever had and so basically in the background of the passage, Hezekiah is in view, but this passage goes far beyond Hezekiah.
Remember we had several kinds of Messianic prophecy. They were first of all directly Messianic prophecy. Directly Messianic prophecy is prophecy in which the author does not write against the background of the present time, but he goes on into the future and speaks purely predictively of that future. Directly Messianic prophecy. We have it for example in Psalm 110. We have nothing in the Old Testament into which that passage may be fit historically. It goes on to the future and that is all. Then we have indirectly Messianic prophecy. Here we have prophecy which is written against a local background and the local background is primarily in mind, but the language goes far beyond the local background.
Now indirectly messianic prophecy is prophecy for example such as in Psalm 102 when the psalmist speaks of Jehovah, but he speaks of Jehovah as coming to the earth and appearing before men. Now Jehovah, The Father, will never appear before men. He is a spirit. Jehovah, the Holy Spirit, will never appear before men. The only Jehovah who will ever appear before men is Jehovah the son and remember there is one God who subsists in three persons, the doctrine of the Trinity, the basic doctrine of the Christian faith that God subsists in a triunity of persons – Father, Son and Spirit.
Now the son is the one through whom God deals when he deals with humanity. So when the texts of the Old Testament speak about Jehovah coming to the earth to rule and to reign in the Old Testament, they did not know, but now since our Lord has come, we know that those passages refer to Him. We also have typically Messianic prophecy. It is also indirectly messianic, but I am putting it in a separate category here. It’s not really logical, but it’s easier to grasp. Typically Messianic prophecy, that is prophecy in which one of the Old Testament authors writes of himself or of someone else as a type, as an illustration of Jesus who is to come.
For example, in the Old Testament, David is a type of Christ. He is the king of Judah. And our Lord shall be the king. So David illustrates him. When you look at David, you look at a human illustration of our Lord. Moses was an illustration of Jesus. He was a type because he led the children of Israel out of Egypt through the Red Sea on through the wilderness into the Promised Land. That is what our Lord does. He takes us who were in Egypt, the world, through his cross, leads us out of Egypt through the experience of the cross, and on ultimately into the wilderness where we are right now. This is wilderness in spite of the fact that it’s Texas. It’s wilderness spiritually and soon we shall be in the celestial city of Immanuel’s land brought there by our Lord because he is the supreme Moses. He is the greater than Moses, he is the greater than David, he is the greater than Solomon. Solomon who ruled in a magnificent reign illustrates our Lord’s earthly reign upon the earth.
Now those are types, illustrations. Now don’t get hung up over the word types. There are a lot of people that say some things the types and others the illustrations. That’s all nonsense. All of them are illustrations. There is no such thing as a distinction between a type and an illustration. To past means just that. It’s an illustration. Some illustrations illustrate more clearly than others. You might say one is an evident type and one is not so evident, but they are all illustrations, and it’s typically Messianic prophecy that we have in Isaiah chapter 32.
King Hezekiah is before us. The king who is going to reign in righteousness, but the language goes beyond Hezekiah because Hezekiah, great king though he was, did not really reign as this man is said to reign here. Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness. Actually we know of course Hezekiah later displeased the Lord. So he is the one who is in the foreground, but in the background is our Lord who is to rule and reign upon the earth during the kingdom period. Remember we have the cross, we have the age of the church, we have the tribulation period, and we have the age of the kingdom, and the king is to reign during the age of the kingdom. And when he says, “Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness” that’s what he has in mind.
And his princes. Notice the king and his staff. And as we know from other parts of scripture when our Lord sits upon the throne in Jerusalem and rules and reigns over the earth, we shall rule and reign with him. And as a matter of fact, Israel also shall be associated in his reign for the apostle shall sit upon the twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. So it is a king who reigns in righteousness and princes shall rule in justice.
Now I think it’s very interesting here that the Prophet Isaiah did not say anything about Immanuel. He did not say anything about the root out of the stem of Jesse. He did not say anything about the great man of forenames in chapter 9 unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given and His name shall be called wonderful counselor, mighty God, everlasting father, prince of peace. He doesn’t call this king any of those things and that’s why I think that we have here typical Messianic prophecy. Hezekiah is in view, but the language goes beyond Hezekiah to our Lord.
Now you know why I am telling you all this. Not so you will be able to cram your heads with some information, but so you will be able to read the Bible with intelligence. So you will learn to get something out of the Bible and how to understand the Old Testament. If I fell down and break my neck, will that be in the will of God? The ideal man now. Capital B in our outline. The ideal man. And notice the second verse. “And a man shall be like an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest, like rivers of water in a dry place, like the shade of a great rock in a weary land.” Now this is a general description of the influence of individual character of which our Lord is undoubtedly the greatest illustration. He is the great rock in the weary land, but I think that the first meaning of this text is a reference to those who shall be in that government. He says and a man, not the man, but a man shall be like an hiding place from the wind. But when you talk about men and you look at them and try to fit an ordinary man into this text, what man could you ever say of him that he shall be like a hiding place from the wind? What man is there who could be a covert from the tempest? What human being could ever be like rivers of water in a dry place? I had some wonderful friends and I have some wonderful friends now. And I have no doubt but that if I were in difficulty, I could count upon them and they would be like rivers of water in a dry place if they could probably, but ultimately no one can be like rivers of water in a dry place except our Lord because all of us have sinful natures.
That is why we should never lean upon a human being. If I could ever teach you so well that you would stop leaning upon Dr. Johnson in any way and lean upon the Lord, then I would think that I have taken a long step toward bringing you to the place where you should be. Now of course I think you want to still listen to Bible teachers as long as you live, that’s why God has given Bible teachers. We need them. All of us do. But they should not be the first stay for us; it is the Lord. What man could be like the shadow of a great rock in a weary land? Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee. He is the only true rock.
Now in this text, I think we have a philosophy of history as George Adam Smith has said, great men are the basis of civilization and great men act like rocks. For example, I was on the way to Covington and I was reading the Wall Street Journal. Now don’t ask me why preachers read the Wall Street Journal. It seems utterly contradictory to everything that you know about preachers, but I was reading it because I like that newspaper. I think it has the best news section of any newspaper partially because I agree with its general philosophy.
But I was reading a review of a book about Winston Churchill and it had a little paragraph in it about Churchill’s philosophy of history. This is what it said. As for Churchill’s philosophy of history, it was a very profoundly moral view. He believed we can learn from history if only we will. He wrote to Beaverbrook after reading his book on politicians and Word War I “But what a tale. Think of all these people, decent, educated. The story of the past laid out before them: what to avoid, what to do, etc. Patriotic, loyal, and clean trying their utmost, what a ghastly (or ghostly I am sure he said) what a ghastly muddle they made of it. Unteachable from infancy to tomb, that is the first and last characteristic of mankind.” Unteachable from infancy to tomb.
Now Mr. Churchill you are right, but not altogether right. Not only unteachable, but sinful and depraved from infancy to tomb. Now here we have a man who is going to be a shadow of a great rock in a weary land. We have a man who is going to be like rivers of water in a dry place. We are going to have a man who is able in a sense to stop the drift of history like a great rock in a weary land. Have you ever noticed in the topography of lands that often it is the rock that prevents the land from washing away completely. What a rock that is big enough in a certain spot and it will stop the drift of the ground.
And there are men who have appeared on human history on the scene and they have stopped the drift. Adam of course appeared and it wasn’t long before we were drifting and then there came the great man Abraham. Abraham stopped the drift for a while and a new beginning took place. Then in New Testament times of course, there was Paul and I want to tell you the Christian church today would not be what it is had not Paul arisen. We would have been so bound up in legalism, it is doubtful that we would have ever heard of Christianity if the Apostle Paul had not come on the scene. It was the Apostle Paul who rescued Christianity from legalism. And then Luther. Where would we be if Luther had not come on the scene. Humanly speaking, we would have been in the Roman Church. We would have been lighting candles and paying the priest and going to the confessional and various things like this had not Luther come and delivered us from many of the errors of that system.
But the one who has really stopped the drift of humanity is our Lord. He is the only great rock in a weary land and so the text may have Hezekiah in mind. It may have the citizens of the kingdom in mind, but above all it has our Lord in mind and the citizens of that future kingdom who then do not have their old nature. This text also has a wonderful gospel, doesn’t it? Like a shadow of a great rock in a weary land, like rivers of water in a dry place.
Now this is not only an ideal, it is a promise of God ultimately concerned with sin. “Sin is the oldest custom of the human race,” someone has said. We have tried to eliminate it in various ways. We have tried government. That helps. We have tried education. That helps sometimes. I am wondering about today. We have tried philosophy. That helps some. We have tried psychiatry. I guess that helps some. You can tell I am not as convinced. Psychology I guess that helps some and we have tried religion, and religion has been the big endeavor, but it has not stopped the sin of human beings. Only Jesus Christ can provide a way out and a way of deliverance. All men who have come have risen upon the earthly scene in order to fall. He alone came on the earthly scene and rose up to stand forever as the holy sinless son of God. He is the shadow of a great rock in a weary land and rivers of water in a dry place.
What a magnificent expression that is. Rivers, that in itself means something, doesn’t it? Means something in Texas, great excellence, abundance. Not river, rivers. I wonder how many cubic feet of water there are in the Amazon river. Rivers of water in a dry place. A river that is a flowing river is fresh, too. Free, constant; above all, forceful. Our Lord is the one who is able to save the man who hangs upon the cross, the dying thief. He is also able to enter into Caesar’s household and take some there, and it’s rivers of water in a dry place because that’s humanity. Yes, even saved humanity with all of its strivings, a dry place. And so this man is the river of water in a dry place. What a magnificent expression that is!
Then the ideal citizens. Let’s take a look at them. Now when this man comes who is the king and he rules and reigns, what kinds of citizenry shall be present? Verse 3 “And the eyes of those who see shall not be dim, and the ears of those who hear shall hearken.” In other words, there is going to be spiritual alertness. You know it’s a wonderful thing to go into a church in which the people are alert to spiritual things. I usually can tell it after one or two messages. I can almost always tell this church is an alert church. They are responsive to the word of God. They are in right relationship to the Lord. Remember in the Bible, there is the natural man, this is the man who has not received Jesus Christ as his personal Savior. The Bible to him is a closed book. The natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God. They are foolishness unto him. Neither can he know them because they are spiritually discerned. If you have difficulty understanding what the Bible says, do not seem to grasp this message at all.
It may be that you have never received Christ as your savior and you don’t have the teacher. The teacher is the Holy Spirit and he comes the moment we believe in Jesus Christ, but it’s not enough to have the teacher. It’s possible that sin in the believer’s life prevents the teacher from teaching and so while we have life by belief in Christ, we are sick because of sin, and so the Bible speaks of carnal Christians. Carnal. They can only take the milk of the word. Give them anything that is beyond milk and they cannot take it. They leave saying Dr. Johnson was certainly difficult this morning. He was way over my head.
Now I grant you, we could talk for a long time about this because it’s entirely possible for a preacher to be way over the head of someone who is spiritual. It’s his fault. He is not as Dr. Ironside used to say, he has not taken the cookies off the top shelf and put them on the bottom shelf where everybody can reach them, but ordinarily if the word is taught plainly and clearly and we as Christians don’t get it, it’s because something is hindering in our lives and the pleasures of this world, the ambitions of the old man, the lust of the flesh and other sins clog the contact with God. Alertness comes when a man is born again and when he is walking in the Spirit, responsive to the truth and when that comes, there is an alertness that you can sense and the person is growing and vigorous and healthy.
You know how children are when they are young. How healthy they are, how active they are, particularly the boys. Well that’s a sign of health, and in the spiritual life, we need that healthiness. Now the man who is natural needs the new birth. The man who is carnal needs to confess his sin. He needs to turn to the Lord and say Lord forgive me for this and God restores him to health and when he grows, he will become a spiritual Christian. I have left out one of our categories on purpose tonight because I don’t want to get into that, but when he grows he will become a spiritual man, a man who is qualified by virtue of experience and growth to take the meat of the word. So alertness.
I was not able to go to the banquet that the seminary had, the Founders Day Banquet last week because we had a wedding on Friday night in this church and I performed the wedding. Afterwards I saw Howard Sugden who was the preacher and he told me a story which he said he told at the meeting, and if you were there, you heard it. But he said that there was a man who was a cross-eyed discus thrower who went to the Olympics and when he came home, one of his friends asked him did he win anything. He said no, he didn’t win anything but he sure kept the crowds alert. [Laughter]
Well now you know in spiritual things, alertness comes from right relationship with the Lord. You know I say this is so important because a church which hears the word or a group of people such as this who hear the word, it’s so easy for these things to become common, and we allow the lusts of the flesh, or the pride of the life, or a pride of life, or the Satanic testings to so get the better of us that we fall into sin and then the channels are clogged and we cannot receive the word of God.
And you can often see it in an individual in the church. They are born again and they are vigorous and they are happy. And then suddenly the evil one comes in and he may touch them so that they become critical about something that may be a valid reason for criticism but they let it get the best of them, defeat them and finally they have lost their freshness and vitality and usefulness to the Lord. They never reach anyone. They never talk to anyone about the Lord. They never bring anyone to hear the word because they are out of touch with the Lord. O how important it is to stay alert and in the kingdom, he says the eyes of those who see shall not be dim and the eyes of those who hear shall hearken. That’s going to be a wonderful time because the Bible teachers are going to have a field day during the millennium, for a while at least.
Now the 4th verse says, “The heart also of the rash shall understand knowledge, and the tongue of the stammerers shall be ready to speak plainly.” There shall be a restoration of conscience before God so that there is a right relationship to Him. Now then also there is something else here. Social lies are not going to exist. Notice the 5th verse “the vile person shall no more be called noble.”
Now we do that today you know. We call the vile person noble and sometimes we call a noble person vile. Our values are so twisted that we call good bad and bad good or as Isaiah says good evil and evil good. But then the evil will be known for what it is evil and the good will be known for what it is good. Now I don’t want to say anything against the taking of a drink. Please don’t misunderstand me. I don’t want to fall into legalism. The Bible speaks very plainly against drunkenness. We don’t have to worry about that. Drunkenness is set forth as a sin in the word of God. As far as I can tell honestly, I do not know of any text that says you should not take a drink. So I am not talking about that, but you know in some of our advertising, you will see a man. He looks like a Kentucky Colonel. He is back in a seat, reclined and relaxed. He has on a tweed sport jacket and out of the window you can see horses or beautiful gardens, and he is sitting in a lovely room and underneath you see the man of distinction. That may not be the man of distinction at all, and often times the things that the world calls right are wrong and the wrong is called right. In the kingdom, truth is going to be known for what it is. Evil shall be called evil and good good.
Verse 6 “For the vile person will speak villainy, and his heart will work iniquity, to practise hypocrisy, and to utter error against the lord, to make empty the soul of the hungry, and he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail. The instruments also of the churl are evil: he deviseth wicked devices to destroy the poor with lying words, even when the needy speaketh right. But the noble deviseth noble things; and by noble things shall he stand.” So in the days of the kingdom, there will be sinners upon the earth and ones shall be born in sin remember, but there will be a sense of rightness, a sense of division, right is right and wrong is wrong and we won’t have the kind of ethics that we have in the twentieth century even in our churches in which morality is determined by considerations that are not spiritual at all.
Do you know what Situation Ethics is? Situation Ethics is very popular in our churches. Situation Ethics if I may try to put it very simply is this. Ethics and moral decisions are determined not by what the Bible says, not by what you learn in Sunday school, but ethics is determined by love toward your neighbor. Whatever represents love toward him is right. Whatever represents lack of love toward him is wrong. The standard is love, not the word of God. In other words the situation itself determines what’s right and what’s wrong. In some situations, one thing is right. In other situations, that very thing might be wrong.
Now this of course has allowed the present day contemporary thought, religious thought to abandon the things that are found in God’s word. Most of these men who teach Situation Ethics are against the application of the Ten Commandments. Now of course we are not under the Ten Commandments. We are not under law. We are under Grace. We are not under the Sabbath Law. But nine of the Ten Commandments are repeated in the New Testament and the righteousness of the commandments is the righteousness of God, and we cannot break the commandments and be in fellowship with God except for the Sabbath commandment. But they would say, it’s the situation that determines it. So in certain situations, adultery may be perfectly alright. In certain situations, homosexuality may be perfectly alright. But in the kingdom, it’s not going to be that way.
Last week the man who took me to the meeting each night sold Cadillacs and I would every night ask him well how did you do today, sell any Cadillacs. He said I haven’t got any Cadillac to sell because I’ve sold them all. That’s what Cadillac salesmen always say. That’s why I don’t have one. It’s just hard to get them you know. They are never in when I go there. He said but today I had an interesting experience. He said you know two fellows came in and they were dressed very well and they said they wanted to buy a Cadillac. And so I sat down to talk with them and we had a car that had come in, and we talked, and they said they had already had the approval of a finance company, and I called them up to see. And while I had them on the phone, there was a lull in the conversation while they were looking for something and I just turned to them and I said by the way what do you fellows do for a living?
They said we are thieves. He said ha ha ha ha. They said we are not kidding. We are thieves. Said we have to wear two-hundred dollar suites and we have to drive around in a nice car like a Cadillac in order to convince people that we are alright and we make our living by thievery. During the course, he still had the finance company on the line. He said I am not so keen on these two fellows here and the fellow on the line said I am not either except that they’ve already bought one car through us. They borrowed twenty five dollars on the last car they bought and they have paid four payments right on time, so we are going to go ahead with them, and when he said that, the two thieves turned to him when he put the phone down, and they said yes, we borrowed twenty five hundred dollars from that finance company and we have made four payments or three I have forgotten the number, three or four payments of over a hundred dollars each and we still owe them twenty six hundred dollars. Now if that’s not thievery, what is? So you see it’s just really a matter of rationalization and it’s possible for us to rationalize almost anything in a way, but in the Kingdom Age it’s not going to be that way. In the Kingdom Age, you are going to be able to see what is right and what is wrong, and of course in the present day, we have a guide in holy Scripture to that which is right and that which is wrong.
Now the prophet on women. I just saved this for about five or six minutes because I am not going to say much. I don’t know much about women [laughter]. And I wouldn’t dare speak on my wife, but notice Isaiah’s words. Now the thing that he tries to say about women here is that it’s possible for a woman to have false confidence and to have a false optimism, and such a false optimism and a false confidence that she becomes careless and indifferent to the needs and opportunities, needs of others and opportunity she might have to help. Notice what he says in verse 9. “Rise up, ye women who are at ease; hear my voice, ye careless daughters; give ear unto my speech. Many days and years shall ye be troubled, ye careless women: for the vintage shall fail, the gathering shall not come. Tremble, ye women who are at ease; be troubled, ye careless ones: strip you, and make you bare, and gird sackcloth upon your loins.”
Now the confidence that they have is a false confidence and the word that is translated at ease here is the word that really means thoughtlessness. So the picture of the women of the city of Jerusalem is of a group of people who have that false confidence in themselves and in the situation and that thoughtlessness of the needs of others that makes them an anathema to God. You know I have noticed this about the two sexes. They each have some strong points and frequently it is in the strong point that Satan trips us. Men are strong, but it often is in their strength that they are defeated because they become proud and boastful and self-sufficient.
Women are the reliant sex. They should be. They are the reliant, dependent sex. Their strong point is trust. Their strong point is in their simplicity of response, but it is in that that they may sin. And I think it’s very striking. I wish you could read Hebrew because the words that are translated here at ease and careless are found in verse 17 and verse 18 in a different way and there is obviously a play on the words. Notice verse 17. “And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.”
Now do you know what the word assurance is there? Well that’s the word that’s translated careless above. It’s the confidence that becomes so confident that it’s self confidence that becomes carelessness. Now confidence is a great thing. The Hebrew word batach means to trust. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed upon Thee because he batach in Thee, he trusts in Thee” but when a man so trusts, well a woman in this case, when a woman is so confidence of her trust, she becomes self confident and that was a trouble with the women in Judah and Jerusalem. Self confident. Also the word translated at ease here is the word that is translated quiet in verse 18. Listen “And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.” Easy resting places, but you see you can become so at ease that it becomes a sin. Thoughtless, careless of others thoughts, and therefore you do not care about anyone else but yourself. Or is it possible in the twentieth century that some of our women are afflicted with this kind of sin? Self confident, careless and thoughtless of anyone else. I’ll only do what I want to do.
I think I have seen some in the church like that. Now Ann Roof is in the audience tonight, but she told me that her husband who is a good friend of mine says about women, jokingly of course, that all they do is sit home and eat bonbons and read movie magazines. Now that is not true, of course, is it ladies? You work awfully hard, don’t you? The only danger that the modern housewife has today is the danger of frostbite from frozen food. But you know it is possible in our affluent society for us to sin and sin greatly by carelessness. Oh, if in the church of Jesus Christ we had some women who were careful! We do have. I know some in this audience who are and you don’t know how wonderful it is to have a few women in the local church who are careful, who have the interests of others upon their hearts, in the slightest little thing which others won’t even bother with. And what tremendous service you can be to the Lord.
We had a baptismal service like last night. The woman who is willing to help in that or when someone dies, the woman who is willing to go over to the house of the bereaved and work in the kitchen; when someone is sick, the woman who is willing to drive to the hospital or home, all of the little duties that in the twentieth century we are so self confident and careless and thoughtless, that we neglect. And they are just tremendous opportunities for personal usefulness to God. No way to get closer to people than this. I would like to see in our little church I may speak to those of you who attend Believers Chapel a whole host of women who were concerned.
Now in the last part of the chapter, it’s very simple. Let me read. He speaks of the catastrophe of Jerusalem in verses 12 through 14. He says “they shall smite upon the breasts for the pleasant fields, for the fruitful vine. Upon the land of my people shall come up thorns and briers; yea, upon all the houses of joy in the joyous city (that’s Jerusalem) because the palaces shall be forsaken; the multitude of the city shall be left; the forts and towers shall be for dens for ever, a joy of wild asses, a pasture of flocks; Until the spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted as a forest.”
Now the date of this future blessing is not given here. It is indefinite but probably the last days. In other words, he is talking about the outpouring of the spirit that precedes the Messianic Kingdom. It is really the appropriation of what was made available when Jesus died on the cross at Calvary because when he died and ascended on high he received the gift of the Holy Spirit and he has poured that out upon all who have believed, but Israel did not believe as a nation. They will however come to faith in Christ and then they shall enter into the experience of the outpoured spirit and material and moral results shall follow as he says.
Verse 16, “Then justice shall dwell in the wilderness; and righteousness shall remain in the fruitful field. And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance for ever. And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting-places. When it shall hail, coming down on the forest; and the city shall be low in a low place. Blessed are ye that sow beside all waters, that send forth thither the feet of the ox and the ass.” Let me just close with one word about and the work of righteousness shall be peace. What he means ultimately is that on the cross Jesus Christ dies for the sins of the human race, justly takes upon himself the penalty for sin, and by reason of God’s just punishment of sin, there now results from the cross to all who will believe peace. Therefore being justified by faith in the one who has died, we have what? Peace with God. The relationship that we bear to God is right. We are His, His sons, His children who possess the spirit and so forth. So the work of righteousness issues in peace and it shall issue in peace in the last days for the Nation Israel.
Time’s up. We will have to stop. Let’s close in a word of prayer.
[Prayer] Father we thank Thee for the word of God and may these practical lessons which we have considered tonight touch us. For Christ’s sake. Amen.