Summary: Israel is pictured in Isaiah 1 as a rebellious child who has foolishly ignored God’s corrective activity.
Forgiveness or judgment: It’s your choice
This morning we are beginning a brand new series in the book of Isaiah.
Isaiah the book
-in terms of number of words, it’s the longest book in the Bible
-it contains for us the fullest revelation of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament--- so much so that it has been called the “gospel according to Isaiah”
-it can be divided into 2—Isaiah 1-39, 40-66
Isaiah the man
-a prophet, highly educated, ministry lasted thru 4 kings and for almost 50 years
-charged by God to announce to the nation the consequences of their rebellion against God
-ministered first in a time of national affluence and power and then during years of incredible hardship for the nation
-lived some 700 years before Jesus came to the earth
-tradition tells us that Isaiah was martyred during the reign of Manasseh, one of the most wicked kings recorded by the Old Testament. The story is that he hid in a hollow tree to escape Manasseh, and the king’s soldiers, knowing that he was in the tree, sawed the tree down. Thus, he was sawn in half. This may or not be true.
Today: Isaiah 1:1-20 READ
All of us have parents. Some parents are excellent. Some are so-so as parents. Some people shouldn’t be parents and yet are.
1. God is the perfect father
Regardless of what your earthly parents were or are like, God is the perfect father. He is the best father that there is.
Creatively God is the father of all. By His choice became the father of Israel, choosing her from amongst the nations to be his special people and channel by which the world has been blessed. By His choice He has become the special father of us who are in Christ. Between us and Him there is a most special bond that can never be broken.
As our perfect Father, he tenderly cares for us, he provides for us, he blesses us, he disciplines us, and he loves us with a perfect love.
2. I’m sure that you’ll agree with me that one of the hardest things that some parents face is rebellious children.
-rebellious children have a tendency of breaking their parents hearts
-rebellious children often leave, in their wake, a trail of destruction and hurt
-sometimes children rebel because their parents rules are too strict
-sometimes they rebel because their parents are too lax
-sometimes children rebel even though their parents have done everything right
-ultimately all our rebelliousness is due to our sinfulness.
3. In Isaiah 1 the people of Judah and Jerusalem are likened to as rebellious children. 1:2
This is despite having the perfect Father! This is despite the love of God being lavished upon them. This is despite the blessings that God had poured out upon them. This is despite his care and provision and gentleness with them.
Despite having the perfect Father in God, the Israelites rebelled, like senseless animals they decided to go their own way.
More than just drift away from God and ignore Him, the Israelites did everything they possibly could to break all of God’s laws. They were skilled in doing evil. They were inventors of different ways of doing what is wrong in the eyes of God.
The people of this world are in a state of rebellion against God…
Sometimes, we who profess to love him, enter into a state of rebellion against him.
When you think about it, it’s inexplicable, it’s senseless, it’s just dumb (note Isaiah 1:3). God is amazing. He is so full of love and grace and mercy and blessing and yet how often is that we say “I don’t want any of that, I want to do my own thing. Who needs God?”
4. WHAT DO REBELLIOUS CHILDREN NEED?
Discipline. Correction. Punishment.
This is exactly what Israel got. God, as the perfect Father, disciplined his son. According to the covenant that he established with Israel in the wilderness at Mount Sinai, he poured out his judgments upon Israel and laid waste to her land.
If you’ve forgotten, while in the wilderness God had come to the people with this: If you obey me I will bless you. If you disobey me, I will curse you and judge you. If you return to me, I will restore you.
In verses 5-8 of our text (READ) Isaiah draws quite a picture of what happened to the people of Judah and Jerusalem because of their wickedness and rebellion.
5. The discipline and judgment that Judah and Jerusalem experienced was completely deserved. Ditto for us! READ v.9-10
Who remembers what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah? When Isaiah addresses Judah and Jerusalem as Sodom and Gomorrah- it means they were incredibly wicked.
6. While Judah and Jerusalem--- and ditto for us-- deserved every bit of what they got and more, instead of being on the receiving end of more judgment they received mercy v.9