+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!
Opening – (Northumbria Community)
One thing I have asked of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life; to behold the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple.
Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory.
Isaiah 1 (NLT) – These are the visions that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. He saw these visions during the years when Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah were kings of Judah.
To Judah: “Must you rebel forever?”
Listen, O heavens! Pay attention, earth! This is what the Lord says:
“The children I raised and cared for have rebelled against me. Even an ox knows its owner, and a donkey recognizes its master’s care—but Israel doesn’t know its master. My people don’t recognize my care for them.”
Oh, what a sinful nation they are—loaded down with a burden of guilt. They are evil people, corrupt children who have rejected the Lord. They have despised the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on him….
If the Lord of Heaven’s Armies had not spared a few of us, we would have been wiped out like Sodom, destroyed like Gomorrah.
Listen to the Lord, you leaders of “Sodom.” Listen to the law of our God, people of “Gomorrah.”
“What makes you think I want all your sacrifices?” says the Lord…. “When you lift up your hands in prayer, I will not look. Though you offer many prayers, I will not listen, for your hands are covered with the blood of innocent victims.
“Wash yourselves and be clean! Get your sins out of my sight. Give up your evil ways. Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.
“Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool. If you will only obey me, you will have plenty to eat. But if you turn away and refuse to listen, you will be devoured by the sword of your enemies. I, the Lord, have spoken!”
To Jerusalem: “Unfaithful and Corrupt”
See how Jerusalem, once so faithful, has become a prostitute. Once the home of justice and righteousness, she is now filled with murderers…. Your leaders are rebels, the companions of thieves. All of them love bribes and demand payoffs, but they refuse to defend the cause of orphans or fight for the rights of widows.
Therefore, the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the Mighty One of Israel, says,
“I will take revenge on my enemies and pay back my foes! I will raise my fist against you. I will melt you down and skim off your slag. I will remove all your impurities. Then I will give you good judges again and wise counselors like you used to have. Then Jerusalem will again be called the Home of Justice and the Faithful City.”
Zion will be restored by justice; those who repent will be revived by righteousness. But rebels and sinners will be completely destroyed, and those who desert the Lord will be consumed….
“In the last days” – The Lord will Reign
Isaiah 2 (NLT) – This is a vision that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem:
In the last days, the mountain of the Lord’s house will be the highest of all—the most important place on earth. It will be raised above the other hills, and people from all over the world will stream there to worship. People from many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of Jacob’s God. There he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths.”
For the Lord’s teaching will go out from Zion; his word will go out from Jerusalem. The Lord will mediate between nations and will settle international disputes. They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war anymore.
“In the last days” – A Day of Reckoning
Come, descendants of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the Lord! For the Lord has rejected his people, the descendants of Jacob, because they have filled their land with practices from the East and with sorcerers, as the Philistines do. They have made alliances with pagans…. Their land is full of idols; the people worship things they have made with their own hands.
So now they will be humbled, and all will be brought low…. Human pride will be brought down, and human arrogance will be humbled. Only the Lord will be exalted on that day of judgment. For the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has a day of reckoning….
Judgment: Jerusalem and Judah
Isaiah 3 (NLT) – The Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, will take away from Jerusalem and Judah everything they depend on… People will oppress each other—man against man, neighbor against neighbor. Young people will insult their elders, and vulgar people will sneer at the honorable….
For Jerusalem will stumble, and Judah will fall, because they speak out against the Lord and refuse to obey him. They provoke him to his face. The very look on their faces gives them away. They display their sin like the people of Sodom and don’t even try to hide it. They are doomed! They have brought destruction upon themselves.
Tell the godly that all will be well for them. They will enjoy the rich reward they have earned! But the wicked are doomed, for they will get exactly what they deserve….
Warning To Jerusalem: Shame for Beauty
The Lord says,
“Beautiful Zion is haughty: craning her elegant neck, flirting with her eyes, walking with dainty steps, tinkling her ankle bracelets. So the Lord will send scabs on her head; the Lord will make beautiful Zion bald.”
On that day of judgment the Lord will strip away everything that makes her beautiful…. Shame will replace her beauty…. The gates of Zion will weep and mourn. The city will be like a ravaged woman, huddled on the ground.
Isaiah 4 (NLT) – In that day so few men will be left that seven women will fight for each man, saying, “Let us all marry you! We will provide our own food and clothing. Only let us take your name so we won’t be mocked as old maids.”
Promise to Jerusalem: Glorious Restoration
But in that day, the branch of the Lord will be beautiful and glorious; the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of all who survive in Israel. All who remain in Zion will be a holy people—those who survive the destruction of Jerusalem and are recorded among the living. The Lord will wash the filth from beautiful Zion and cleanse Jerusalem of its bloodstains with the hot breath of fiery judgment.
Then the Lord will provide shade for Mount Zion and all who assemble there. He will provide a canopy of cloud during the day and smoke and flaming fire at night, covering the glorious land. It will be a shelter from daytime heat and a hiding place from storms and rain.
The Lord’s Vineyard: Israel and Judah
Isaiah 5 (NLT) – Now I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard:
My beloved had a vineyard on a rich and fertile hill. He plowed the land, cleared its stones, and planted it with the best vines. In the middle he built a watchtower and carved a winepress in the nearby rocks. Then he waited for a harvest of sweet grapes, but the grapes that grew were bitter….
Now let me tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will tear down its hedges and let it be destroyed. I will break down its walls and let the animals trample it. I will make it a wild place where the vines are not pruned and the ground is not hoed, a place overgrown with briers and thorns….
The nation of Israel is the vineyard of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. The people of Judah are his pleasant garden. He expected a crop of justice, but instead he found oppression. He expected to find righteousness, but instead he heard cries of violence.
Judah’s Guilt and Judgment
- What sorrow for you who buy up house after house and field after field, until everyone is evicted and you live alone in the land….
- What sorrow for those who get up early in the morning looking for a drink of alcohol and spend long evenings drinking wine to make themselves flaming drunk….
So my people will go into exile far away because they do not know me. Those who are great and honored will starve, and the common people will die of thirst…. The great and the lowly and all the drunken mob will be swallowed up. Humanity will be destroyed, and people brought down; even the arrogant will lower their eyes in humiliation.
But the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will be exalted by his justice. The holiness of God will be displayed by his righteousness. In that day lambs will find good pastures, and fattened sheep and young goats will feed among the ruins.
- What sorrow for those who drag their sins behind them with ropes made of lies, who drag wickedness behind them like a cart!…
- What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter.
- What sorrow for those who are wise in their own eyes and think themselves so clever.
- What sorrow for those who are heroes at drinking wine and boast about all the alcohol they can hold. They take bribes to let the wicked go free, and they punish the innocent….
They have rejected the law of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies; they have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. That is why the Lord’s anger burns against his people, and why he has raised his fist to crush them….
He will send a signal to distant nations far away and whistle to those at the ends of the earth. They will come racing toward Jerusalem…. They will roar like lions, like the strongest of lions. Growling, they will pounce on their victims and carry them off, and no one will be there to rescue them. They will roar over their victims on that day of destruction like the roaring of the sea. If someone looks across the land, only darkness and distress will be seen; even the light will be darkened by clouds.
Isaiah’s Cleansing and Call
Isaiah 6 (NLT) – It was in the year King Uzziah died that I saw the Lord. He was sitting on a lofty throne, and the train of his robe filled the Temple. Attending him were mighty seraphim, each having six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. They were calling out to each other,
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies! The whole earth is filled with his glory!”
Their voices shook the Temple to its foundations, and the entire building was filled with smoke. Then I said, “It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips. Yet I have seen the King, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.”
Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal he had taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. He touched my lips with it and said, “See, this coal has touched your lips. Now your guilt is removed, and your sins are forgiven.”
Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?”
I said, “Here I am. Send me.”
And he said, “Yes, go, and say to this people, ‘Listen carefully, but do not understand. Watch closely, but learn nothing.’ Harden the hearts of these people. Plug their ears and shut their eyes. That way, they will not see with their eyes, nor hear with their ears, nor understand with their hearts and turn to me for healing.”
Then I said, “Lord, how long will this go on?”
And he replied, “Until their towns are empty, their houses are deserted, and the whole country is a wasteland; until the Lord has sent everyone away, and the entire land of Israel lies deserted. If even a tenth—a remnant—survive, it will be invaded again and burned. But as a terebinth or oak tree leaves a stump when it is cut down, so Israel’s stump will be a holy seed.”
“I see the Lord” – Maranatha! Vocal Band
Blessing – (Northumbrian Community)
May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.
+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!
Categories: Life in Christ