Summary: PART TWO of THREE This three part sermon series was presented at a men's camp. It also comes with a Bible study based on the series.
"Battle Royal - When World's Collide"
Session Two: The Collapse of Securities
Isaiah 47 (Bibles open for reading throughout the message)
Last night’s Session
- Addictions to impotent gods
- Explored the battle strategy of needing an attraction toward the Omnipotent God!
- Realize the depth of his love for us it could be all the motivation we need to get into relationship. There is no greater motivator than love.
- Question: Warriors or Prisoners of War?
- Enemies are not flesh and blood. Bigger than that; more cunning than we something we can see or fully comprehend.
As we begin today, a word about the theme of “the collapse of securities”. The natural assumption is to think of stock markets and securities in that sense. It certainly involves that but is much more than that. We need to broaden our thinking to include ideas like our over-confidence in achievements, power, position, wisdom and knowledge, which are the over-arching themes of this chapter.
Isaiah chapter 47 could easily have been written today, for today. It addresses a people who exalt themselves and are consumed with human wisdom and knowledge. Social security and accomplishments have made the people blind in self-confidence and reliance. Our world has become so self-assured and arrogant that we would erect statues of ourselves if we had the resources and permits to do so. The predominant attitude of this chapter is ME - my resources, my gods, my accomplishments and so on. Here’s a video spoof on worship that captures the ridiculous obsession we have with ourselves. (CLIP: IT’S ALL ABOUT ME. Can purchase at www.sermonspice.com)
Did you feel a twinge of discomfort, almost like the video was sacrilegious? I do, every time I watch it. But if a video can make me squirm because we've toyed with songs that are normally treated as expressions of praise and worship to God, shouldn't we feel that much more out of place and awkward when we behave like we are god and discredit Yahweh’s rightful place? Shouldn't it bother us when we displace Him for self-promotion, self-interest and self-glorification?
Our sacrilegious practices are shameful and they create a host of problems. We need to continue down this path for a few more minutes. We must go to the bottom of this spiral before we can begin the journey up and out.
Returning to the focus of impotent gods, we find some battle realities at work.
OUR ADDICTIONS TO IMPOTENT gods DEGRADE US
Isaiah 47:1-3, 5-11…
Chapter 46 ends with good news for Israel – salvation and glory language. Chapter 47 begins with Babylon in the dust. It serves as a powerful contrast of two realities – the reality of choosing gods, versus choosing God. The picture helps us appreciate where things end up and here we’re seeing a nation – Babylon the Great – falling into degradation and taking God’s people with her. Of course, God’s people wouldn't be in this mess if they honoured Yahweh and obeyed Him. There’s always consequence after choice. Some can be good. Far more is not so good. The streets of our cities and towns are filled with people who are dealing day after day with the consequences of their choices, trapped like rats in a maze, wanting a way out but never finding an exit. The inconceivable happens and for a moment we’re dazed, like something struck us on the head and we’re trying to recover from the impact. That couldn't have happened; it can’t be happening.
I wonder how the prophet processed the revelations coming to him as he speaks of the “virgin daughter” (47:1) which is a picture of a nation not having been defeated in battle. She was confident, strong, and self-assured. The language then moves to images of shame and being stripped of her pride and becoming nothing more than a peasant girl half naked and dirty. Babylon sits on the ground instead of a throne. Her delicate nature is replaced with hard labour, sweat and ragged clothes. God tells the prophet that Babylon the Great will become nothing more than a dream, a piece of history to talk about. How can this be? It is impossible to imagine. Could we imagine Canada engulfed in the United States of America or another nation, existing in name and history only and no longer a nation of our own? What is prophesied in these verses is just as unbelievable as that. The frightening reality is it can happen.
There is another problem that comes out of sacrilegious behaviour:
OUR ADDICTIONS TO IMPOTENT gods DE-SENSITIZE US
Babylon was a great nation once upon a time. But she behaved inappropriately. Justice didn't exist as she exploited innocent people for her gain, prosperity and comfort. As was common in war, a conquering nation would sexually violate the woman and children as an act of aggression. Add to this the acts of sexual exploitation for the added simple, reason of being sexually gratified, no matter what it looked like, you have an explosive combination of the grossest sins in unimaginable proportions. Gary Smith in The New American Commentary says it well.