The Prophet Proclaims Israel’s Salvation

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Jesus always supported and promoted the core principles of the Torah. As a matter of fact, “Jesus’ Judaism was a conservative reaction against some radical innovations in the Law stemming from the Pharisees and Scribes of Jerusalem.”  Immediately after he had preempted the charge that he knew some would make that he was “destroying the law” by misinterpreting it, Jesus explained, “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one yud or crown shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.”  In making this statement, Jesus first affirmed his belief in the inspiration, authority, and perdurability of even the most minute aspect and feature of the Torah text. – John Garr, Christian Fruit–Jewish Root: Theology of Hebraic Restoration

Today, we arrive at a Passage about God’s Care and Salvation…  Reading through such Scripture really helps put days like “Black Friday” into perspective…

Good people pass away; the godly often die before their time. But no one seems to care or wonder why.  No one seems to understand that God is protecting them from the evil to come. For those who follow godly paths will rest in peace when they die (Isaiah 57:1-2 NLT).

God may permit the premature death of His servants as an escape from the calamities which are worse than death.

Because your heart was tender, and you have humbled yourself before the LORD, when you heard what I spoke against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and have rent your clothes, and wept before Me; I also have heard you, says the LORD.  Behold therefore, I will gather you unto your fathers, and you shall be gathered into your grave in peace; and your eyes shall not see all the evil which I will bring upon this place.  And they brought the king word again (II King 22:19-20 KJV).

“But you—come here, you witches’ children, you offspring of adulterers and prostitutes! Whom do you mock, making faces and sticking out your tongues? You children of sinners and liars! You worship your idols with great passion beneath the oaks and under every green tree. You sacrifice your children down in the valleys, among the jagged rocks in the cliffs (Isaiah 57:3-5 NLT).

Witchcraft and sorcery have to do with seeking leading and guidance from anything other than the Word of God.  Modern Charismatic mystics call it “going off the map.”  In reality, it is witchcraft and sorcery.  Directly referenced here are the sexual rituals and child sacrifice which the people tried to mix with worship of the One True God.  It was and is and always will be an abomination.

Your gods are the smooth stones in the valleys. You worship them with liquid offerings and grain offerings.  They, not I, are your inheritance. Do you think all this makes me happy? You have committed adultery on every high mountain. There you have worshiped idols and have been unfaithful to me. You have put pagan symbols on your doorposts and behind your doors.  You have left me and climbed into bed with these detestable gods. You have committed yourselves to them. You love to look at their naked bodies (Isaiah 57:6-8 NLT).

God commanded His People to put Scripture upon the walls of their rooms, but they removed these and replaced them with idolatrous emblems.  They had spiritually whored themselves out to pagan gods, even setting up altars in their homes—often in very conspicuous places.  They paraded their false worship, desiring that all know of their brazen rebellion.

You have gone to Molech with olive oil and many perfumes, sending your agents far and wide, even to the world of the dead. You grew weary in your search, but you never gave up.  Desire gave you renewed strength, and you did not grow weary (Isaiah 57:9-10 NLT).

“Molech” means “the king” in Hebrew.  This idol as worshipped with ointments and perfumes.  The people sent ambassadors to distant countries to secure the alliance of idolaters and to bring back their idols and set them up in the very Temple of God at Jerusalem.  They took on the yoke of groveling superstition, which debased them to the lowest point conceivable.  And yet, the people would not confess their weariness in regard to their actions never bringing forth any positive results.

“Are you afraid of these idols? Do they terrify you?  Is that why you have lied to me and forgotten me and my words?  Is it because of my long silence that you no longer fear me? 12 Now I will expose your so-called good deeds. None of them will help you. 13 Let’s see if your idols can save you when you cry to them for help.  Why, a puff of wind can knock them down!  If you just breathe on them, they fall over!  But whoever trusts in me will inherit the land and possess my holy mountain” (Isaiah 57:11-13 NLT).

Judah feared man, namely, at this point, Assyria.  They professed loyalty to Jehovah, but in fact they did not remember Him, nor heartily record His past Goodness and Power.  Their hypocritical righteousness and their useless works would be exposed.  Their claimed righteousness was really unrighteousness before the LORD.

Yet, even at this late hour, the LORD says, “whoever trusts in me will inherit the land and possess my holy mountain.”

Come unto Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matt 11:28 KJV).

God says, “Rebuild the road!  Clear away the rocks and stones so my people can return from captivity.” 15 The high and lofty one who lives in eternity, the Holy One, says this: “I live in the high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble.  I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts. 16 For I will not fight against you forever; I will not always be angry.  If I were, all people would pass away— all the souls I have made (Isaiah 57:14-16 NLT).

The LORD condescends to dwell only with those who are “humble” and have a “contrite spirit.”  His Presence is a well of life, springing up within the soul to Everlasting Life.

But whosoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into Everlasting Life (John 4:14 KJV).

I was angry, so I punished these greedy people.  I withdrew from them, but they kept going on their own stubborn way. 18 I have seen what they do, but I will heal them anyway!  I will lead them.  I will comfort those who mourn, bringing words of praise to their lips.  May they have abundant peace, both near and far,” says the Lord, who heals them. 20 “But those who still reject me are like the restless sea, which is never still but continually churns up mud and dirt. 21 There is no peace for the wicked,” says my God (Isaiah 57:17-21 NLT).

So long as Israel practiced idolatry there was no healing.  Healing was only promised to a Repentance which forsakes such an abomination before the Holy God.  The sea is never at rest, continually casting up mud and dirt, and so was true of enemies of the Truth.  There is no peace for them.

“Shout with the voice of a trumpet blast. Shout aloud! Don’t be timid.  Tell my people Israel of their sins!  Yet they act so pious!  They come to the Temple every day and seem delighted to learn all about me. They act like a righteous nation that would never abandon the laws of its God. They ask me to take action on their behalf, pretending they want to be near me. ‘We have fasted before you!’ they say. ‘Why aren’t you impressed?  We have been very hard on ourselves, and you don’t even notice it!’ (Isaiah 58:1-3 NLT).

Here is a presentation of people honoring God with their lips but whose hearts were far from Him.  They even tried to lay the Almighty under a binding obligation which they claimed compelled Him to grant the requests of their “worship.”

“I will tell you why!” I respond. “It’s because you are fasting to please yourselves.  Even while you fast, you keep oppressing your workers. What good is fasting when you keep on fighting and quarreling? This kind of fasting will never get you anywhere with me. You humble yourselves by going through the motions of penance, bowing your heads like reeds bending in the wind. You dress in burlap and cover yourselves with ashes. Is this what you call fasting?  Do you really think this will please the Lord? (Isaiah 58:4-5 NLT).

They used their polluted worship and pagan rituals as instruments for oppression.  And the Almighty proclaims that He will not hear such prayer nor honor such a fast.

“No, this is the kind of fasting I want: Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you.  Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people. Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help (Isaiah 58:6-7 NLT).

The LORD is telling Judah through Isaiah that if they really loved Him and truly desired to serve Him, the ritualistic observance would be secondary to the “weightier matter of the Law,” such as “judgment, mercy and faith.”

Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!  For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the Law, Judgment, Mercy, and Faith; these ought you to have done, and not to leave the other undone.  You blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel (Mat 23:23-24 KJV).

“Then your salvation will come like the dawn, and your wounds will quickly heal.  Your godliness will lead you forward, and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind. Then when you call, the Lord will answer. ‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply. “Remove the heavy yoke of oppression. Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumors! 10 Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble.  Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon (Isaiah 58:8-10 NLT).

The ruling class of Judah’s profession had to translate into righteous action, which meant to help the poor and hungry, etc.

The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength.  You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring. Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities. Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls and a restorer of homes. 13 “Keep the Sabbath day holy. Don’t pursue your own interests on that day, but enjoy the Sabbath and speak of it with delight as the Lord’s holy day. Honor the Sabbath in everything you do on that day, and don’t follow your own desires or talk idly. 14 Then the Lord will be your delight. I will give you great honor and satisfy you with the inheritance I promised to your ancestor Jacob. I, the Lord, have spoken!” (Isaiah 58:11-14 NLT).

“The inheritance I promised to your ancestor Jacob” refers to the Truth that Israel will ultimately be restored.  These Statements and Promises were not originated by the Prophet but the utterances of God Himself.

But he who glories, let him Glory in the LORD.  For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the LORD commendeth (II Cor 10:17-18 KJV).