Isaiah 48:1-2 ESV
Hear this, O house of Jacob,
who are called by the name of Israel,
and who came from the waters of Judah,
who swear by the name of the Lord
and confess the God of Israel,
but not in truth or right.
For they call themselves after the holy city,
and stay themselves on the God of Israel;
the Lord of hosts is his name.
Many people in America (USA) profess to believe in Jesus Christ and/or to be Christians. But, not all of them who make this profession truly have trusted in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of their lives. Thus, their profession of faith in Jesus Christ is not in truth, whether intentional or in ignorance.
Some people have been deceived, and so their false professions of faith are truly in ignorance of the truth. Others know the truth well, and yet they fake their Christianity in order to deceive others into believing that they are following the Lord when they are not, for they are living in secret sin.
And, some people fake being Christians truly in order to trick and to deceive them, in order to lead them away from Jesus Christ and his truth. And, those who follow them in their deception often do so because they want to believe the lie. They want to believe that heaven is secured them while they continue in their sinful lifestyles. And, so they close their ears and their eyes to the truth, for the lie is what they want to hear.
Isaiah 48:3-5 ESV
“The former things I declared of old;
they went out from my mouth, and I announced them;
then suddenly I did them, and they came to pass.
Because I know that you are obstinate,
and your neck is an iron sinew
and your forehead brass,
I declared them to you from of old,
before they came to pass I announced them to you,
lest you should say, ‘My idol did them,
my carved image and my metal image commanded them.’”
God is truth, and what he says he will do, he will do. The only exception I know to this is if he warns of judgment and the people repent of their sins, and then he relents of the judgment that he promised he would do. There may be other times in scripture where it says God changed his mind, too.
All throughout history God has announced his judgments in advance, as far as I know. He sent the prophets time and time again to confront his wayward people with their sins, to call them to repentance, to warn of judgment and deception, and to promise them restoration and renewed hope to those who were broken and contrite before him.
And, many of these prophetic utterances had dual fulfillments intended, one for that time period, and then another for the time of the end. And, so these that were also for the time of the end have either been fulfilled and/or they are being fulfilled in our day and time, or they are yet to be fulfilled. And, then we had many more prophecies in the New Testament regarding the time of the end, some of which may have already been fulfilled, or are also being fulfilled in our day and time, or are yet to be fulfilled.
So, the Lord announces his judgments in advance so that we know that they are from him, and so we know that we are without excuse because we knew he told us. And, he announced many such warnings to the church in the New Testament, too, most or all of which still apply to us today.
Warnings to the Church
He warns much of divine discipline, correction, rebuke and chastisement which are necessary either to keep us from going astray, or to bring us back should we stray from our pure devotion to Jesus Christ. These are also needed in our lives so that we will share in Christ’s holiness and so that we will bear the fruit of the Spirit of God in our lives in keeping with repentance.
These disciplines are also to keep us humble, to train us in godliness, to purify our hearts, to teach us to rely on God and not on ourselves, and so that we can empathize with others in their suffering.
But, there is another kind of judgment he warns the gatherings of the church about, and that is the judgment at the very end which determines our eternal destiny. For, not everyone who says he is a follower of Jesus Christ truly is one. And, so he makes it very clear to us what it means to be a follower of Christ and what must take place in our lives for us to have that hope of eternal life with him, too.
He says that we must die with him to sin and live with him to righteousness. He says that we must leave our former lives (of living for sin and self) behind us and follow our Lord in walks of obedience. And, He says that we must walk (in lifestyle, in practice) according to the Spirit of God and the ways of our Lord, and not according to the flesh, if we want eternal life with God (Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Tit. 2:11-14; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 5:19-21; Gal. 6:7-8; 1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15).
Isaiah 48:17-19 ESV
Thus says the Lord,
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“I am the Lord your God,
who teaches you to profit,
who leads you in the way you should go.
Oh that you had paid attention to my commandments!
Then your peace would have been like a river,
and your righteousness like the waves of the sea;
your offspring would have been like the sand,
and your descendants like its grains;
their name would never be cut off
or destroyed from before me.”
But, the Lord is not all about judgment and warnings. His desire for us is for our good, for what is beneficial for us spiritually, morally, physically, and emotionally. So, he teaches us what is best for us. He instructs us in the right way so that we know the way we are to go. He does not leave us hanging, wondering which way is the right way.
But, many people follow after their own stubborn hearts, instead, not out of ignorance, but out of willful rebellion. They are obstinate and hard-headed. Their pride is what rules their hearts, not God. So, they don’t pay attention to God’s commandments.
And, even in the New Testament, under the New Covenant, we are commanded that we must obey Christ’s commands. We are not free to ignore them, as some would have you to believe.
And, here God is pleading with his rebellious people or with those who profess his name, but not in truth, who are living in open rebellion against him. Oh, that you would walk in his truth, and abide by his commandments, and do what he says, then you would be at peace with God and you would walk in his righteousness, and you would have spiritual offspring, the fruit that is borne by those who are abiding in the Lord Jesus.
Isaiah 48:20-22 ESV
Go out from Babylon, flee from Chaldea,
declare this with a shout of joy, proclaim it,
send it out to the end of the earth;
say, “The Lord has redeemed his servant Jacob!”
They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts;
he made water flow for them from the rock;
he split the rock and the water gushed out.
“There is no peace,” says the Lord, “for the wicked.”
So, this is the call God is giving to his wayward ones and/or to those who profess faith with their lips, but not in truth. He is saying to leave “Babylon,” i.e. this world’s system, which is filled with wickedness and idolatry. And, this includes leaving these market-driven “churches” which are institutions of men whose glory is in the flesh and not in God, and to gather yourselves, instead, with those who are walking with the Lord in truth.
He is saying to come out from the world and be separate (unlike, different) from the world of sin. He is saying to live by the Spirit and not by the flesh, and to follow him wherever he leads us to go and to do what he says to do. For, he died on that cross to free us from our slavery (bondage, addiction) to sin, not to just forgive us our sins so that we can still wallow in them.
And, he promises to give us all we need to live godly and holy lives pleasing to him, too. We just have to say “Yes!” to Jesus, and surrender our all to him.
Broken and Contrite
An Original Work / May 13, 2012
I come before You, Lord, my Savior,
With humble heart and crushed in spirit.
I bow before You, I implore You,
Heal my broken heart, I pray.
Love You, Jesus, Lord, my master,
You are the King of my heart.
Lord, purify my heart within me;
Sanctify me, whole within.
Oh, Lord, I long to obey fully
The words You’ve spoken through Your Spirit.
I pray You give me grace and mercy,
Strength and wisdom to obey.
Father God, my heart’s desire,
Won’t You set my heart on fire?
Lord, cleanse my heart of all that hinders
My walk with You, now I pray.
Oh, Jesus, Savior, full of mercy,
My heart cries out for understanding.
I want to follow You in all ways,
Never straying from Your truth.
Holy Spirit, come in power,
Fill me with Your love today.
Lord, mold and make me;
Your hands formed me;
Live Your life through me, I pray.