Isaiah 65:1-10 Descendant of Jacob

Isaiah 65:1-10 Descendant of Jacob

Isaiah 65:1-10 KJ2000 I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name. (2) I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, who walk in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts; (3) A people that provoke me to anger continually to my face; that sacrifice in gardens, and burn incense upon altars of brick; (4) Who remain among the graves, and lodge in the monuments, who eat swine’s flesh, and broth of abominable things is in their vessels; (5) Who say, Stand by yourself, come not near to me; for I am holier than you. These are a smoke in my nostrils, a fire that burns all the day. (6) Behold, it is written before me: I will not keep silence, but will repay, even repay into their bosom, (7) Your iniquities, and the iniquities of your fathers together, says the LORD, who have burned incense upon the mountains, and blasphemed me upon the hills: therefore will I measure their former work into their bosom. (8) Thus says the LORD, As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one says, Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it: so will I do for my servants’ sakes, that I may not destroy them all. (9) And I will bring forth a descendant out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains: and my elect shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there. (10) And Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, and the valley of Achor a place for the herds to lie down in, for my people that have sought me.

I have to say what a privilege it’s been to write about Isaiah, to imagine the scenes he saw and the trials he experienced. Give God all the glory for the detail’s His Spirit has revealed, the lessons we’ve learned, and the glimpse we’ve seen from inside those walls in Jerusalem. And praise the Lord to the scenes of Heaven and those promises of a far better future.

It seems strange that the last study in Isaiah took us back to the beginning of Jesus’ ministry on earth, His birth. Jesus was born in a world that wasn’t looking for Him, nor did they expect to see Him, much less listen to Him or be healed by Him. Jesus was not the God anyone expected. There were only a few who know He was coming. Simeon and Anna seemed to be the only two Jews who were listening to God at the time. Of course there was Joseph and Mary, Jesus’ father and mother. They listened to God’s angel. This showed how God was moving from prophets and opening up a new door for us to work more closely with His angels. Then he said, “I tell you the truth, you will all see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on the Son of Man, the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth.” (John 1:51 NLTse). This also showed how few people were listening to God when Jesus was born into this world as a human being. This showed only a few people were listening to God when Jesus gave up His throne to come to this world to save it. There were a few shepherds the angels told about Jesus’ birth. But who was going to listen to a shepherd? All they knew about was looking after sheep. They didn’t know anything about religious matters. So those shepherds told about what they saw. A few people listened, but most people ignored them. Of course Zachariah and his wife Elizabeth knew about Mary’s baby. How many people does that make? Including Jesus’ parents the Bible mentioned only six. Then there were those people Mark referred to as wise men from the east. Some how they knew about Jesus’ birth. Some people claim they were from Babylon. Most of the known world was east of Jerusalem including Babylon, Syria, Assyria, and Persia. They could have come from anywhere. For some reason their native countries were not important. An important detail was their encounter with Herod. Imagine the King of the world being born and only a hand full of people knew. Is it going to be much different when Jesus returns?

When those wise men went to Herod to find out what he knew about the birth of the new king, they must have been surprised to see he didn’t expect the Messiah’s birth at the present time. I wish we knew how those wise men got their information about Jesus’ birth. It must have been through scripture. I wonder what scripture told them the date. I don’t think I’ve seen a date in the Bible. Strange how those wise men knew the date, but some historians can’t do anything but guess. Some do not agree. Look what the wise men asked Herod. “Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:2 KJ2000). Did those wise men know Jesus was born based on only a star? That seems strange. How did they know what that star meant? Maybe the encounter with those shepherds gives us a clue. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were much afraid. (Luke 2:8-9 KJ2000). Was the star an angel? Maybe this is telling us an angel told those wise men what the star meant. Maybe God’s Spirit told the wise men about Jesus’ birth. Why would a group of unknown wise men outside of the Jewish nation listen to God’s Spirit while the rest of the world wallowed in ignorance?

Another interesting point is the answer Herod received from his priests. When he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And you Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are not the least among the princes of Judah: for out of you shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. (Matthew 2:4-6 KJ2000). They knew where Jesus was born, but didn’t know the time. We can see how God is making a point. When He announces an important event God also introduces the need for cooperation. The wise men knew the time and the priests provided the location. Half the information was given to a group who wanted to worship Jesus while half was given to a group who opposed Him. God is always trying to pull groups together so they are able to learn from one another. Imagine if you were there. I’m sure you would have inquired what those foreigners knew about the Messiah. But no inquiry was made by Herod or the religious leaders. Pride kept them from finding out more about Jesus’ birth in addition to rejecting Him as the Messiah.

I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name. I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, who walk in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts. To think God wrote this generations before those wise men showed up in Herod’s court. Herod and those religious leaders were looking for a Messiah, but not the image Jesus came in. Those wise men with little knowledge of Jesus were the ones who found Him. Those religious leaders paid little attention to the wise men for two major reasons. The first was because they went to see Herod who called the priests. Herod had his own set of dedicated priests, much like surrounding nations in that region. Jerusalem’s regular priests did not appreciate, trust, or respect Herod. They were enemies. No problem for a king. All Herod had to do is go out and hire himself a group or priests. Herod’s priests appreciated the money but still had little respect for Herod or people he associated with. The second reason those priests didn’t want to associate with those wise men was because they were different. They weren’t Jewish. They had less reason to associate with a group of strange Pagans than they had to associate with Herod beyond business. Both instances are credited to pride and blind faith to their beliefs.

What Herod and his priests didn’t realize was, things didn’t appear like they expected because they set their sights on taking the easy path in life. Herod’s family bought their way into power. Those priests who served him also took the easy path, accepting money over dignity. This prophecy itself hints at the easy path. My first choice and I think everyone’s choice for the prophecy to study would have been: “And I will bring forth a descendant out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains: and my elect shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there.” As we break down this prophecy into sections, we once again see this covers a broad time span. Bringing forth a descendant out of Jacob appears to point to Jesus’ birth. Inheriting God’s mountain is something that will happen in the future, including us, His servants living here. This is a lesson in paying close attention to God’s Word. The beginning of the prophecy says, “ I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name. I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people.” What began as a difficult fulfillment to find turned out to become an easy chapter to locate. Looking at the key words it was easy to see sought, found, behold, and called is the logical place to begin. I searched the word sought which turned up a number of texts. After a bit of searching one turned out to be a perfect match.

Romans 10:13-21 KJ2000 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (14) How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? (15) And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! (16) But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed our report? (17) So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (18) But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. (19) But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses says, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you. (20) But Isaiah is very bold, and says, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. (21) But to Israel he says, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and contrary people.

Paul quoted this prophecy from Isaiah as well as a number of other texts in this chapter. That was Paul’s way of teaching. After all don’t you do the same thing? Lead people to a series of texts by quoting one. This is common for people who listen to God’s voice. For those who know God’s Word forwards and backwards as well as people who don’t know much more than a few of the simple concepts pointing to Jesus and His real ministry. Quite the opposite is true for people who quote texts to make a point. They don’t want you to look up those texts they use. Deep down inside they know the way they use texts is out of context. Something told Herod’s priests there was more than the text they quoted. The problem was, they didn’t want to spend any time examining the details in any method required to understand. Before we examine the two parallel chapters and of course the scripture Paul quoted, we should examine one scripture quoted by Isaiah.

Psalms 50:16-23 KJ2000 But unto the wicked God says, What have you to do to declare my statutes, or that you should take my covenant in your mouth? (17) Seeing you hate instruction, and cast my words behind you. (18) When you saw a thief, then you consented with him, and have been partaker with adulterers. (19) You give your mouth to evil, and your tongue frames deceit. (20) You sit and speak against your brother; you slander your own mother’s son. (21) These things have you done, and I kept silence; you thought that I was altogether such a one as yourself: but I will rebuke you, and set them in order before your eyes. (22) Now consider this, you that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver. (23) Whoever offers praise glorifies me: and to him that orders his conduct aright will I show the salvation of God.

It’s unusual for an Old Testament writer to quote scripture. That’s why it’s important to look at it. Generations before Isaiah delivered his message, David wrote about the same problems. Even in David’s day people were taking God’s Word in vain. They were misusing it, abusing it, trying to profit from it, and using small sections of God’s Word to mislead people. This is nothing new. It’s one of the devil’s oldest and most loved tricks. Most people believe God spoke in David’s day. We see evidence in his Psalms. The mighty God, even the LORD, has spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof. Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God has shined. Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him. He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people. (Psalms 50:1-4 KJ2000). David’s Psalms shows us what God’s Word brings – the perfection of beauty! When the devil tempted Jesus, he offered Him a piece of bread and a share of the riches of this world. Mere trinkets compared to the Kingdom Jesus received from His Father.

Jesus taught His disciples about the devil’s trick. Jesus wanted His disciples to know there is one message from Heaven and a distorted version from earth. All the gospels point this out but John added a few details that stuck with him. When Jesus met that Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well, He explained to her how God should be worshiped. You worship you know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:22-24 KJ2000). Jesus also offered her that living water only He could offer. What was her response? The woman said unto him, Sir, you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from where then have you that living water? (John 4:11 KJ2000). Her mind was stuck on the only thing she knew – what the world taught. She couldn’t get her mind off a bucket at the end of a rope. Then Jesus went to Bethesda. He healed one man there. Why only one man when the place was full of sick people? Lame, blind, and people with every imaginable infirmity? Jesus had to make a point. Compare what Jesus did what the world taught about that pool. For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. (John 5:4 KJ2000). Their belief told them only one person would be healed. Jesus could not operate beyond their belief. Once again it was man made traditions verses Jesus.

Nicodemus couldn’t comprehend what Jesus was trying to tell him about God’s Spirit and how he had to put away everything he learned and trust in God’s Spirit. Nicodemus said unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (John 3:4-6 KJ2000). Jesus called Nicodemus a teacher in Israel and asked why he couldn’t understand the basic concept of listening to God’s Spirit.

Jesus also tried to explain this to the other priests and Pharisees. “The Father himself, who has sent me, has borne witness of me. You have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his form. And you have not his word abiding in you: for whom he has sent, him you believe not. Search the scriptures; for in them you think you have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And you will not come to me, that you might have life. I receive not honor from men.” (John 5:37-41 KJ2000). How can people claim to be religious leaders when they never heard God’s voice? This may sound strange but it happens everyday in every generation. John explained exactly how Jesus reached out to people who didn’t seek Him or God. “How can you believe, who receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor that comes from God only? Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuses you, even Moses, in whom you trust. For had you believed Moses, you would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if you believe not his writings, how shall you believe my words?” (John 5:44-47 KJ2000).

Looking back on this study, we still have to look at that scripture that led the wise men to Jerusalem and the scripture Herod’s priests provided. Numbers 21 may contain the prophecy that led those wise men to follow that star. And he took up his oracle, and said, Balaam the son of Beor has said, and the man whose eyes are open has said: He has said, who heard the words of God, and knew the knowledge of the most High, who saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open: I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not near: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Scepter shall rise out of Israel, and shall crush the forehead of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth. (Numbers 24:15-17 KJ2000). Does it seem strange Balaam spoke this prophecy? It shouldn’t. It pointed to the fact Pagans would be the only people to understand and follow it. Look at the contrast. Balaam accepted a treasure to curse Israel. Those wise men took treasures to give to Jesus.

The prophecy Herod’s priests provided should have given them a clue. Now gather yourself in troops, O daughter of troops: he has laid siege against us: they shall strike the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek. But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she who travails has brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel. And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth. (Micah 5:1-4 KJ2000). If they would have read a little more they would have seen the lesson Jesus tried to teach them – he shall stand and feed in the strength of the LORD. Jesus also used bread as a symbol. I am the bread of life: he that comes to me shall never hunger; and he that believes on me shall never thirst. (John 6:35 KJ2000). Today people look at this with as little interest and understanding as those priests and Pharisees had. How many people go back to read the entire chapter to find out the main point Jesus was trying to teach? I am willing to bet sermons you heard on the bread of life pull out one or two texts, then mix in a lot of concepts about what the world thinks it means. Does that sound right to you? Is that what your looking for, the wisdom of the world, or the original lesson Jesus taught? It’s such an easy choice. You either listen to God’s voice or the world. God’s voice will get you an invitation to His Son’s wedding. The world …. well you can see what it has to offer.

Paul summed up the choice in one verse leading into his use of Isaiah 65. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Paul mentioned the word call, but is that all Paul meant? This is why it’s important to read those texts Paul used in his letter. It doesn’t seem people have much trouble calling on God. After all, that’s what we hear in churches, a long list of things for God to do. How is your prayer life? Keep a count and tell yourself if it is out of balance. Do you spend more time in prayer giving God more requests than listening to answers and instructions? How much do you praise God? How much time do you spend thanking God? The usual prayers are for worldly things. More money, solve a problem, keep the car running, make the mortgage payment, physical healing, help for friends and family, and requests for God to fix a host of other problems. But what about listening to answers so we know how to react to those situations? Didn’t God tell Isaiah how to heal Hezekiah? God also told Elisha how he was going to cure Naaman of leprosy. What would have happened if Isaiah and Elisha didn’t listen to God? What if Isaiah decided to use grapes instead of figs? Or Naaman followed his idea and went back to Damascus to bath in one of those rivers? Listening to God is one thing. Following orders is another.

Paul added another important point to his lesson. “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?” How many people really believe in God? People often say, “devils know God exists and that won’t save them.” How well do you know God? Is your relationship with God one hour a week going to listen to someone talk about God? Is it one of those, “in case of an emergency call on God,” type of relationships? What does it take to really know God? Of course we really can’t know everything about God. As a matter of fact, we need to watch out for people claiming to know everything about God. Paul’s next line really describes the problem a lot of Christian have. “How shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?” Do you really have faith if your not listening to God? Paul’s next sentence is one of those taken out of context and misquoted a lot. “ How shall they hear without a preacher?” Separated from the rest of the chapter this sentence can be completely misleading. I’ve seen people use this text as a stand alone proof text to emphasize a point they’re trying to make. More often than not they are trying to convince people preachers have to be educated. By whom? They insist preachers require a degree from an institution of higher learning. Here we go again. The world verses God. The Bible clearly shows us, God provides the education and message. Personal messages for individuals. There is no way an institution of higher learning can take God’s place. Of course the world wants you to believe they can.

If people would look at Paul’s next sentence, they would see a very good question. “And how shall they preach, except they be sent?” Sent? Sent by who? A college or God? An institution or God’s Spirit? With a message arranged by educated preachers or the Good News Jesus gave His disciples to preach? Paul then quoted texts we need to look at. Let’s test the theory of looking at the chapter Paul quoted from: “As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” Notice how Paul told us, “it is written.” This is a signal to pause, look up the chapter and learn directly from God’s Spirit.

Isaiah 52:1-15 NLTse

(1) Wake up, wake up, O Zion! Clothe yourself with strength. Put on your beautiful clothes, O holy city of Jerusalem, for unclean and godless people will enter your gates no longer.

(2) Rise from the dust, O Jerusalem. Sit in a place of honor. Remove the chains of slavery from your neck, O captive daughter of Zion.

(3) For this is what the LORD says: “When I sold you into exile, I received no payment. Now I can redeem you without having to pay for you.”

(4) This is what the Sovereign LORD says: “Long ago my people chose to live in Egypt. Now they are oppressed by Assyria.

(5) What is this?” asks the LORD. “Why are my people enslaved again? Those who rule them shout in exultation. My name is blasphemed all day long.

(6) But I will reveal my name to my people, and they will come to know its power. Then at last they will recognize that I am the one who speaks to them.”

(7) How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns!

(8) The watchmen shout and sing with joy, for before their very eyes they see the LORD returning to Jerusalem.

(9) Let the ruins of Jerusalem break into joyful song, for the LORD has comforted his people. He has redeemed Jerusalem.

(10) The LORD has demonstrated his holy power before the eyes of all the nations. All the ends of the earth will see the victory of our God.

(11) Get out! Get out and leave your captivity, where everything you touch is unclean. Get out of there and purify yourselves, you who carry home the sacred objects of the LORD.

(12) You will not leave in a hurry, running for your lives. For the LORD will go ahead of you; yes, the God of Israel will protect you from behind.

(13) See, my servant will prosper; he will be highly exalted.

(14) But many were amazed when they saw him. His face was so disfigured he seemed hardly human, and from his appearance, one would scarcely know he was a man.

(15) And he will startle many nations. Kings will stand speechless in his presence. For they will see what they had not been told; they will understand what they had not heard about.

Paul is teaching how important it is to listen to God’s Spirit. He must have quoted Isaiah 52:7 for a reason. When we look at the entire chapter we see Paul quoted one out of 15 verses. That is about 6.5% of the chapter. In this example verse 7 is just about in the middle of the chapter. One of the patterns we’ve learned is how the introduction and summation in each chapter established its context. Time to put that Bible Study rule to the test. “Wake up, wake up, O Zion! Clothe yourself with strength. Put on your beautiful clothes, O holy city of Jerusalem, for unclean and godless people will enter your gates no longer. Rise from the dust, O Jerusalem. Sit in a place of honor. Remove the chains of slavery from your neck, O captive daughter of Zion.” Isaiah made it clear this chapter deals with a wake up call. Isaiah also told us there is going to be a change by using the symbol of putting on clothes which he related to strength that removed those spiritual chains of slavery.

Paul quoted a single text about a message, but didn’t quote the message itself. Part of that message is found in the introduction, a change from slavery to strength. This world is filled with thousands of different forms of slavery. Each one touches us in a different way. That’s why we need a direct connection with God to break our own chains. We need God to a far greater degree before we’re able to help other people begin the process of breaking their chains. When we skip to the summation in Isaiah 52, we see another important detail of that message. “See, my servant will prosper; he will be highly exalted. But many were amazed when they saw him. His face was so disfigured he seemed hardly human, and from his appearance, one would scarcely know he was a man. And he will startle many nations. Kings will stand speechless in his presence. For they will see what they had not been told; they will understand what they had not heard about.” Based on these texts it’s easy to see the messenger Isaiah is pointing to is Jesus. Isaiah also pointed out how Jesus will suffer. Take a moment to let that sink in on a personal level. Are you getting a personal vision of Jesus’ suffering? Are you getting an audible message telling you why He had to suffer? How personal is that message? See how personal God’s message is? Now you can see why people would rather sit in church for an hour than talk to God personally. People can’t handle God’s honesty. They feel more comfortable dealing with a deceptive world. God covered that detail. “For this is what the LORD says: “When I sold you into exile, I received no payment. Now I can redeem you without having to pay for you.” This is what the Sovereign LORD says: “Long ago my people chose to live in Egypt. Now they are oppressed by Assyria. What is this?” asks the LORD. “Why are my people enslaved again? Those who rule them shout in exultation. My name is blasphemed all day long. Notice how God used the symbols Egypt and Assyria? Among other things, Egypt symbolizes slavery to the world and Assyria symbolizes revenge, violence, and shows our reliance on taxes and government for protection. Paul quoted one text is Isaiah 52 because he wanted us to see the contrast showing how the world has distorted God’s message, spiritually distorted us, and physically distorted Jesus.

You may be questioning if Paul pointed to those details. God knew that question would come up. God used the opportunity to show you how well He knows you. Look at Paul’s next line. Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed our report? Once again Paul sent us back to Isaiah. Not any chapter in Isaiah, but the very first verse in the next chapter. Who has believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he has no stately form nor splendor; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (Isaiah 53:1-3 KJ2000). Look at the whole chapter. There’s no doubt Paul wanted everyone to see this. Paul wanted everyone to see how this world rejected Jesus and what that rejection did to Him. Talk about bullying. No one has suffered more at the hands of bullies or been rejected as often as Jesus.

Paul also showed us how he understood the patterns God used to record scripture. Now see how Paul used a single text about a message. It was a message covered in the entire chapter he quoted from and continued into the next. See how Paul wanted everyone to see what was between, before and after. Talk to any Jewish scholar who studies scripture. They can tell you all about what they refer to as poetry in scripture. Jews follow God’s poetry. They relish it. That is one reason they reject almost everything from Christianity where the majority of information is taken from here, there, everywhere with little or no regard for context. Of course an educated Jew is going to reject anything offered that does not follow their rules of poetry they’ve been taught since youth. Their problem is, their rhymes are centered on a conquering Messiah who comes and straightens out the world in a flash. They’ve been in that pattern for so long its become a rut almost impossible to get out of.

Paul continued to quote Old Testament scripture. “Moses says, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.” When we look this up we see another contrast to accepting God’s message.

Deuteronomy 32:20-22 KJ2000 (20) And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very perverse generation, children in whom is no faith. (21) They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those who are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation. (22) For a fire is kindled in my anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with its increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.

People didn’t want to listen to God, or Moses for that matter, so Moses told them what the alternative was. The introduction to this chapter shows us Paul used scripture within context. This chapters deals with the same subject – to listen to God or ignore Him. Give ear, O you heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. My teaching shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass: Because I will proclaim the name of the LORD: ascribe you greatness unto our God. He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are justice: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he. (Deuteronomy 32:1-4 KJ2000). God spoke to Israel during Moses’ time, also throughout David’s reign, up through Jerusalem’s fall, and up to Paul’s ministry. Why do we have so many people insisting God forgot to talk to this world or stopped for some unexplained reason. I’d like one of those people with such misaligned messages to show me a single texts any where in the Bible explaining that God choose a time not to communicate with this world. Paul made the point, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. That Word is written and verbal. If it was only written, Paul would have specified the detail and not pointed us back to a list of texts showing us how God always spoke to His people, loved to speak to His people, and always wanted all of them and us to listen better.

This brings us to the point where Paul quoted Isaiah 65. We’ve already seen how this prophecy pointed us to Jesus, following the same pattern found in those texts Paul quoted. Can you see the pattern? Do you see how all of this merges into one lesson? If you take nothing else from this study, make sure you remember to look up every text Paul quoted. You may think it takes time, but don’t worry, once you find God, He can always make more time. The reward is eternity.

Working in Real Estate I deal with a lot of negotiating. For some people negotiating is in their blood. This is one aspect of the world most people want to leave God out of for obvious reasons. They think they can do a better job on their own. Is that true? I’ve seen this pattern time after time. People try to negotiate like its a game. The other party senses this and looses interest. I’ve especially seen this with buyers. Lack of common sense and prayer led them to loose a nice home. Frustrated and caught up in trying to place blame on everyone but themselves, they loose track of what really matters. They walk into an open house where the agent feeds them a rehearsed script designed to pressure buyers. After a few minutes those buyers are convinced other buyers are interested in the house and they have to make a quick decision. The agent convinces them it is a good thing they already have a contract all ready to sign. Of course this contract favors the seller who that agent legally represents. The buyer signs the contract then finds themselves stuck with a house they really didn’t want. Yes there are some agents who know how to take advantage of people. They make an art of deceiving people. That’s their style. Sometimes God’s message is presented much like those dishonest agents present a prepared contract. Neither the message nor the contract are prepared for the individual. Neither that buyer nor the people who received a preconceived message get what they want or need. This world is built on deceptions since the day Eve ate that fruit.

Paul was a smart guy. He saw how this world treated people. After all, Paul had people trying to kill him because He preached about Jesus’ resurrection and of course details about His ministry. Paul wrote a lot about the prophecies Jesus fulfilled. We can only imagine some of the details Paul preached about Jesus’ life and ministry. We get a good idea of what Paul preached when we read those texts Paul quoted. Paul described his concern for those he ministered to in the introduction to Romans 10.

Romans 10:1-12 KJ2000 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. (2) For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. (3) For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. (4) For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believes. (5) For Moses describes the righteousness which is of the law, That the man who does those things shall live by them. (6) But the righteousness which is of faith speaks thus, Say not in your heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) (7) Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) (8) But what says it? The word is near you, even in your mouth, and in your heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; (9) That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved. (10) For with the heart man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (11) For the scripture says, Whosoever believes on him shall not be ashamed. (12) For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

Paul wanted to help save people. Something we all should appreciate. Paul introduced a new key word, righteousness, which is quite the opposite of a series of key words used in Isaiah’s introduction. Isaiah’s prophecy is a warning in which he pointed out their condition by using key words like iniquity and abomination. Paul’s introduction tells us he wanted to save people. Paul of course carried the Good News of salvation. But Paul also knew salvation requires a measure of righteousness. Not the righteousness the world knows, but God’s righteousness. The kind of righteousness the world usually doesn’t want to hear about. The introduction to Isaiah 65 and Romans 10 are a type of contrast. Isaiah pointed out the problems which still exist today while Paul presented the solution. Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believes.

Paul introduced another interesting contrast. Moses describes the righteousness which is of the law, That the man who does those things shall live by them. But the righteousness which is of faith speaks thus, Say not in your heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) No one can ever become righteous by following the law God gave through Moses. Neither can anyone bring Christ down from Heaven, or bring Christ back up from the grave again. All three are impossible. But preachers keep trying to put Jesus back up on the cross. Or they try to minimize Jesus’ ministry. They claim they are trying to simplify matters so people can understand, but is that the message Paul preached or God gave to them to preach? Some preachers go to the extreme by trying to give the impression they’re able to call upon Jesus whenever they want to do whatever they want. Those preachers carry messages like the get rich blessings. Other preachers know so little about Jesus, its as if they are placing Him in a restrictive spiritual grave. They take a line or two out of scripture then preach on subjects often unrelated to the texts. Neither do they have a real relationship with Jesus nor listen to His voice. Jesus talked about those pastors. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief comes not, but to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd gives his life for the sheep. But he that is a hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep, and flees: and the wolf catches them, and scatters the sheep. The hireling flees, because he is a hireling, and cares not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. (John 10:9-14 KJ2000). The thief represents those preachers who twist the Bible for personal gain. Both them and usually a few choice members. The hireling represents preachers with good intentions but lack experience and an education at the feet of the Teacher.

Isaiah wanted people to know they had to seek after God to know Him. It takes a conscience effort on our part. Paul tells about the learning process. It has a simple beginning. Believe in Jesus and that He rose from the grave. Of course it goes much deeper than that, as Paul described in Romans 10 by quoting a number of texts. Paul wanted people to see his growth, where he came from and how meeting Jesus changed his life. But unto the wicked God says, “What have you to do to declare my statutes, or that you should take my covenant in your mouth? Seeing you hate instruction, and cast my words behind you. When you saw a thief, then you consented with him, and have been partaker with adulterers. You give your mouth to evil, and your tongue frames deceit.” Psalms 50 described the life style Jesus saw Paul in before He met him on the road to Damascus. Paul was much worse than David described. Paul was more like David when he killed Uriah, one of his trusted men of valor because he wanted to marry his wife. David already committed adultery with Uriah’s wife. David decided to kill Uriah to cover it up. Saul already arrested, beat, imprisoned, and executed a number of Jesus’ followers before Jesus stepped in and said enough is enough. What did Jesus do? He didn’t punish Saul. Jesus changed Saul by explaining the truth. The truth opened the eyes of that zealous Pharisee. Jesus showed Saul the simple patterns in the Old Testament prophecies. As Paul unfolded the mystery of one prophecy after another, memories of what he saw Jesus do and say flooded his mind. In only a few days Saul saw how Jesus fulfilled every single prophecy to the letter. There was no doubt in Saul’s mind, Jesus was the Messiah. Not the Messiah he was taught to look for, but the Messiah described in scripture. The transformation was so complete, Jesus changed his name from Saul to Paul. If the truth of scripture had such a life changing effect on Saul, why don’t we teach it anymore? Why has that life changing truth in scripture been swept under the carpet, replaced once again by man made doctrines and traditions? Not the same doctrines and traditions Saul was blinded by as a Pharisee, today preachers have new sets of doctrines and traditions. They are all a little different. Some are exactly the same except for a few small details. But they all serve the same purpose. All those man made doctrines and traditions are designed to separate God’s followers and blind people so they are unable to see and learn the plain simple truth in scripture. They are designed to blind people to God’s love and security contained within the love letter God gave to this world. The Bible even tells us this would happen. See how blind the doctrines of men have made this world?

It’s time we move onto the summations for these two chapters. We’ve already seen the introductions share the same verse about people pretending to seek God but don’t really know Him. Isaiah introduced key words about rebellion and iniquities to describe those types of people. We’ve seen this problem has been around since Moses, and even longer. Paul told us what caused that rebellion. People just don’t want to listen to God. Of course Paul also pointed us to Jesus’ ministry to show how His ministry was to teach us how to listen, follow God, and of course assure us our past sins from when we didn’t know how to follow God are forgiven.

Isaiah 65:21-25 KJ2000 And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. (22) They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and my elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. (23) They shall not labor in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the descendants of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them. (24) And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear. (25) The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the ox: and dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, says the LORD.

Isaiah closed chapter 65 with a few words of hope. Isaiah shows a few details about Heaven. We won’t have houses taken away from us nor see people take food out of the mouths of our children. What we put in, we will receive much more in return. Look at that on a spiritual level. Look at that detail in relationship to your ministry here. We can also look at those details in relationship to Paul’s life and ministry.

What comes to your mind when you think about Paul? Let’s look at what the world teaches about Paul. To the world Paul is a symbol showing how God gives truth to a gifted religious leader. Today the world refers to them as theologians. But Paul is a symbol showing how God calls theologians to the truth. Saul had a head full of knowledge, but didn’t know how to use it. His thoughts, actions, and motives were shaped by the world around him. Some people think Paul’s conversation with Jesus was on that road to Damascus. But God’s Spirit was trying hard to reach Paul for a long time. Memories were being burned into Saul’s mind every step of the way. Saul enjoyed the honor and glory that came to the position he held. Saul enjoyed seeing people who didn’t believe like him suffer. Especially when it resulted in a higher status in his religious order. I’ve seen the same thing happening today. I’ve seen preachers and teachers talking about other religious orders like they’ve been in charge of them. Telling about all kinds of so called secrets plans other religious orders have to deceive people. I’ve heard preachers and teachers openly spread unsubstantiated so called facts about other denominations they consider competition. They seem to enjoy passing out judgment on others as much as Saul enjoyed seeing his victims suffer.

Saul was vicious to say the least. He went about his missions to destroy Jesus’ followers with great zeal. It seemed nothing could stop him. Until Jesus met him on that road. Jesus knew what would reach Saul. Jesus knew everything in Saul’s mind and what was on his heart. Saul was in a battle between serving himself and and God. Saul had convinced himself his ambitions served God. Jesus knew how Saul enjoyed the battle inside, so Jesus introduced a new battle.

It wasn’t only the beginning of a new journey for Saul when he met Jesus on the road to Damascus. It was the beginning of a new battle. A battle for his life. Jesus introduced a few bits of scripture to Saul who looked at them in a new light. While Saul was blinded, he saw visions of Christ. He saw Jesus in Heaven. Saul say Jesus pleading with God for his life. Then Saul saw Jesus kneel down to pray for him. Suddenly Saul remembered how Jesus forgave His executioners at the cross. For the first time scripture began to come together for Saul. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. (Isaiah 53:8-9 KJ2000). Dozens of texts filled Saul’s mind in a flash. For days Saul fought a battle between what the world around him taught, what he saw with his eyes, and those plain words in scripture. One by one Saul’s old beliefs began to fall. One by one new truth entered his mind and heart. Over whelming evidence took control of Saul’s mind and will. Finally Saul dropped down to his knees and like Jesus in his vision, Saul prayed to God for his salvation. Saul finally saw how his salvation was in the hands of the One he saw die on the cross.

Paul’s example was an extension of the symbolism Jesus’ disciples represented. Jesus’ disciples didn’t understand any of those prophecies Jesus tried to explain to them until after Jesus died on the cross, rose from that grave, then explained all those prophecies He fulfilled. In Paul’s case, he didn’t have anything explained to him until after spending time with Jesus. Some people may think Jesus’ disciples didn’t have much experience and no education in religion and that was why they weren’t able to understand. Paul on the other hand had a life of formal religious training. Neither one of them could understand a detail about those prophecies Jesus fulfilled in front of their eyes. Together those two classes show us, no one can hope to understand any of Jesus’ life, ministry, or sacrifice until we follow the only example set in the Bible, to learn at Jesus’ feet. Jesus taught the disciples after His resurrection. During the forty days after his crucifixion, he appeared to the apostles from time to time, and he proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive. And he talked to them about the Kingdom of God. (Acts 1:3 NLTse). It took Jesus only forty days to explain what they should have seen in those lessons over the previous three years. With all his education and knowledge of scripture it took Paul three years to learn at the feet of Jesus. I was far ahead of my fellow Jews in my zeal for the traditions of my ancestors. But even before I was born, God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace. Then it pleased him to reveal his Son to me so that I would proclaim the Good News about Jesus to the Gentiles. When this happened, I did not rush out to consult with any human being. Nor did I go up to Jerusalem to consult with those who were apostles before I was. Instead, I went away into Arabia, and later I returned to the city of Damascus. Then three years later I went to Jerusalem to get to know Peter, and I stayed with him for fifteen days. (Galatians 1:14-18 NLTse). This shows no matter how many years people spend in school or are self taught, that time will amount to nothing if they are not personally meeting with Jesus. And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.

Paul began the summation Romans 10 with a similar thought. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Paul takes the statement one step further by adding the word saved. What are people most likely to ask God for? Of course people will ask God for a lot of things. Does that mean they know Him? Is asking for things a way to show appreciation? Both those verses are linked by the word called. Paul used a specific word that goes a little deeper than a verbal request. In this case the word called relates to invoked worship, a testimony, and a decision. The word Paul used relates to a time, place, and specific order – a direction. To call out load. Paul refers to much more than our modern interpretation on prayer or calling to God. Paul referred to calling out at a time after a decision is made and a need is seen for a new direction. Paul is referring to his personal experience with God. That is one of the details many Christians lack – the ability to portray a real relationship with God. A relationship with God begins by talking out loud with Him. The best place to begin is at home. If you have a family don’t be afraid to let them see your faith. Good Christian ethics as well as evangelism begins at home, spreads to the church, then out to the community.

Some times it feels like your work for God is going no where. It may seem as if the world is stuck in a rut it will never get out of. It’s times like those your convinced the end is near. But remember, you were once in that rut. The question is, do all you want to do is learn enough about God to get yourself into Heaven, or do you want other people to share a land and life with no mortgage, homes you build and live in, food you grow and eat, and God’s presence? You can give one of those to people right away. Or at least introduce people to one of those promises. You can introduce them to God’s presence. That is if you know how to talk and listen to Him yourself. If you haven’t met God, how are you going to properly introduce Him? If you don’t know how to listen to God, how do you know who He needs to send you to and when they are ready?