Summary: Knowing the cycle of disobedience to God and loss of blessings that Judah and the people of Isaiah experienced time and time again, it would not seem like much of a risk in predicting that the very same fate awaits this nation of ours. There will be suff
Sermon Title: Turn or Burn
Text: Isaiah 1:21-31
Date: August 3, 2003 PM
Context of Scripture:
I think by now, if you have listened to the previous sermons out of this series that I am preparing out of the book of Isaiah, we know that the situation is grim and all to well we know that this great nation is paralleling Judah in its transgressions. Knowing the cycle of disobedience to God and loss of blessings that Judah and the people of Isaiah experienced time and time again, it would not seem like much of a risk in predicting that the very same fate awaits this nation of ours. There will be suffering ahead for all of us, regardless of if we are being true, because we cannot help but be affected by lost blessings of our nation as a whole.
With this in mind let us stand for the reading of God’s Word!
Scripture Reading: Isaiah 1:21-31
21 ¶ How the faithful city has become a harlot, She who was full of justice! Righteousness once lodged in her, But now murderers. 22 Your silver has become dross, Your drink diluted with water. 23 Your rulers are rebels And companions of thieves; Everyone loves a bribe And chases after rewards. They do not defend the orphan, Nor does the widow’s plea come before them. 24 Therefore the Lord GOD of hosts, The Mighty One of Israel, declares, "Ah, I will be relieved of My adversaries And avenge Myself on My foes. 25 "I will also turn My hand against you, And will smelt away your dross as with lye And will remove all your alloy. 26 "Then I will restore your judges as at the first, And your counselors as at the beginning; After that you will be called the city of righteousness, A faithful city." 27 Zion will be redeemed with justice And her repentant ones with righteousness. 28 But transgressors and sinners will be crushed together, And those who forsake the LORD will come to an end. 29 Surely you will be ashamed of the oaks which you have desired, And you will be embarrassed at the gardens which you have chosen. 30 For you will be like an oak whose leaf fades away Or as a garden that has no water. 31 The strong man will become tinder, His work also a spark. Thus they shall both burn together And there will be none to quench them.
I have entitled this evenings message, “Turn or Burn”, because that is basically the message that we need to get out to those in the world that need to hear God’s message but they are either to stubborn or full of themselves to process what is being spoken to them. This is an extreme message that is needed in extreme times.
This is why explanation by stating opposites is so effective in getting a message across to a thick headed audience. I was thickheaded in my flight from the Lord and He placed an obvious opposite in my path with the question, “Do you want to live or do you want to die?” Pretty simple method of calling one’s attention to the flaws in their lifestyle right? That is why we compare the light and the dark and night and day as a means of explaining an abstract idea like following the will of the Lord.
It is also interesting that when strife breaks out between people that were at one time close, it is generally the outcome that the relationship moves from one of intense love to intense hatred. Look at the outcome of most divorces, here we have what is supposed to be the most intimate of relationships and through the process of legal wrangling, we have two parties that many times share an intense dislike. Those that are often the closest have the best access to the means of betrayal.
In the situation regarding the truth of the opposites, in our lack of relationship with God, it is oftentimes the situations that bring us the lowest that eventually bring us the closest. In our shattered friendships and other relationships, it is only after a painful ordeal and a period of reflection that healing can begin. It requires a time of hurtful healing. There is no such thing as painless surgery – if you believe that then you might also be a candidate for ocean-front property in Nevada. There is no such thing as a painless separation between the closest of friends – it just doesn’t happen.
The truth be known, our fallen race learns better through pain and suffering then anything else. We can see example after example of people who have done contrary to what they ought, we see the problems that they encounter with various lifestyles, we see the negative effects on their health, and at times we still don’t learn and need to feel that pain – up close and personal in our own lives.