All Eyes and Ears on God

Posted: November 25, 2013 in Isaiah

Isaiah 50-51, “All Eyes and Ears on God”

For those of you who grew up playing sports, how many times did you hear, “Keep your eyes on the ball!”?  Or as students we’d get distracted in class, and our teachers would say “Eyes & ears up front!”  When we start getting distracted, we lose focus, and we get into all sorts of trouble.  Runners know that races can be lost by the simple act of turning your head to the side & looking at your competition, rather than keeping your eyes on the finish line.

A similar principle applies in our relationship with the Lord Jesus.  When we get our eyes off Him as the goal at our finish line, we tend to get into all kinds of trouble.  We get distracted – we forget the promises we have in Christ – and all of a sudden we’re in sin or despair, or something else.

That was the danger for the Jews of Isaiah’s prophecy.  Although they had not yet experienced it, they would soon be overrun by the Babylonian empire and taken into captivity away from Jerusalem and the Promised Land.  This was the discipline of God, because the Jews had sinned against the covenant promises they had made with the Lord, and they had worshipped false idols rather than the Living God.  The Jews would drink of the cup of God’s wrath that they had prepared for themselves, and they would suffer immensely.

All that has been well-established in Isaiah’s writings & prophecy.  It’s with all of that in mind that God continually reminds His people that there is more to His promises than just the promise of judgment.  There is also the promise of restoration and a Deliverer.  God would not forever cast His people aside.  They would indeed experience God’s wrath, but they would also experience God’s grace.  This is why it was so important for them not to give up.  They needed to keep their eyes and ears upon the Lord, even while they were held captive.  Above everything else, they needed to hold to the promises of God, and thus hold on to the hope of a Savior.

Isaiah 50
1 Thus says the LORD: “Where is the certificate of your mother’s divorce, Whom I have put away? Or which of My creditors is it to whom I have sold you? For your iniquities you have sold yourselves, And for your transgressions your mother has been put away.

  1. In Ch. 49, Israel had wondered (through Isaiah’s prophecy) if it had been forgotten by God.  God responded back saying that He could no more forget Israel than a mother forget her nursing child (49:14-15).  Though the Lord gave several assurances, it’s only natural that the people would doubt.  After all, when someone is in the middle of a lot of physical pain, the assurance that the pain is only temporary is not always terribly comforting.  If it hurts NOW, then NOW is the only thing that we can think about.  That’s true emotionally just as it is physically.  However, it’s with the emotional pain that it becomes so much MORE important to remember that the suffering is only temporary.  We need to know that the pain won’t last forever, and that God has not forgotten us.  And that’s what God does again with Israel here.  Israel felt abandoned by the Lord, but God says that no abandonment had taken place.  There was no divorce certificate – there was no bill of sale for the nation to a creditor.  Israel was certainly disciplined by God for a time, but it was only for a time.  Any separation they experienced was temporary; God had not permanently cast them away.
  2. If they were indeed “put away” for a bit, it was because they had done this to themselves.  God had not sold them into debt slavery, but they had “sold” themselves.  God’s desire was never that His beloved covenant people be taken out of the land and made the slaves of the Babylonians.  That was certainly the result of His just anger when the nation sinned against Him, but that was not His desire for His people.  That’s not what He wanted.  He wanted His people to turn from their wicked ways & live!  (Eze 33:11)
    1. God will let us be disciplined.  God will allow us to face the consequences of our sin.  But God’s desire for us is so much better than that!  God would rather us live in humility, holiness, and faith as we continue to walk with the Lord Jesus.  When we choose to walk away from Him, He will allow us to learn the consequence of that – but never think that God has abandoned US.  In our sin, WE are the ones that walk away from HIM.
    2. The good news is that Jesus is only one step away from any of us.  All we need do is turn around in repentance and faith!

2 Why, when I came, was there no man? Why, when I called, was there none to answer? Is My hand shortened at all that it cannot redeem? Or have I no power to deliver? Indeed with My rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a wilderness; Their fish stink because there is no water, And die of thirst. 3 I clothe the heavens with blackness, And I make sackcloth their covering.”

  1. Jesus wondered whether there would be faith on the earth when He came again (Lk 18:8) – God makes a similar point with the house of Israel here in their prophesied captivity.  The nation had been taken out of the land due to their own idolatry and sin, which should have caused them to turn back to God in repentance.  Instead, it seems as if many of them would simply give up.  They neither had their false gods deliver them, nor did they trust that the true Living God would deliver them.  They seemed to think that they were beyond hope and beyond help.
    1. We are never beyond hope when we belong to the Living God!  There is no situation that has placed us “too far” from the hand of Jesus!  He loves you – He knows you – and He can help you.
  2. God specifically reminds the Hebrews of His power to save.  There was none there waiting upon the Lord, seemingly because they didn’t know if God wanted to help them, or even if God COULD help them.  Of course God can help!  The Lord God is the Almighty God!  There is none as powerful as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – the Lord of Heaven and Earth.  God reminds them of their history to demonstrate His power to “redeem” and save.  He had already redeemed His people out of slavery once (Egypt), and there is no doubt that God could redeem His people a second time, out of Babylon.
    1. The references to the sea, rivers, fish, and blackness are all obvious references to the plagues and exodus out of Egypt.  However, they are all pointed examples of some of the different judgments that will take place during the Great Tribulation.  During the trumpet judgments, 1/3 of the seas and rivers will be poisoned in various ways and fish will die, and a third of the stars will be darkened.  In the bowl judgments, these things will expand to the rest of the earth, and even the great Euphrates river will dry up.  The examples God gives Isaiah in Ch. 50 seem to be used with a purpose.  Not only did God deliver His people in the past through these methods, showing that God had the power to deliver His people again from the Babylonions – but also that God would use His miraculous power to deliver His people one other time when they eventually suffer through the terrible years of the Great Tribulation.  Just as the Jews needed to remember God’s power and promise to save in their exodus from Babylon, so will they need to remember it during their suffering in the Tribulation period.

4 “The Lord GOD has given Me The tongue of the learned, That I should know how to speak A word in season to him who is weary. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear To hear as the learned. 5 The Lord GOD has opened My ear; And I was not rebellious, Nor did I turn away.

  1. Notice here how the speaker changes.  In vss. 1-3, it was God whom was obviously speaking.  Yahweh God had parted the Red Sea for the Israelites in the past, but in vss. 4-5 Yahweh God is giving understanding to another person.  This is the Servant from Ch. 49 – the One who had been called from His mother’s womb to be used by God in the deliverance of Israel.  God’s Servant would not only be used by God to gather Israel back to Himself, but He will be a light to the Gentile nations, and be worshipped by people from every corner of the earth.  Obviously the Servant cannot be Israel, but He can represent Israel – this is the Messiah, the One promised by God as the fulfillment of all of the covenant promises made to the nation.  I.e. the Servant is Jesus! 
  2. What does the Servant say about Himself?
    1. The Servant has the wisdom of God
    2. The Servant is led and taught by God
    3. The Servant is submitted to God
  3. That’s what the Servant received from the Lord.  What did He receive from the people?  Rejection.  See vs. 6…

6 I gave My back to those who struck Me, And My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard; I did not hide My face from shame and spitting.

  1. The Servant Messiah was completely obedient unto God the Father – so much so that He willingly subjected Himself to the violent rejection of the very people He came to save.  Although Isaiah 50:6 is not directly quoted by the gospel writers, there is no doubt that this was the very experience Jesus had at the hands of the Jews and the Romans.  Jesus was struck by the officers of the high priest, and had His back scourged by the Romans.  He was beaten with rods and spat upon.  The Holy Eternal Son of God willingly subjected Himself to the demonic rage of mankind, and was humiliated by those He came to save.  At any point, Jesus could have shown Himself in all His power and glory, and those who were beating Him could have been obliterated out of existence – yet Jesus restrained Himself.  He did so out of love for us, and out of submission and obedience to His Father.
  2. This is the Servant who came to save the Jews – this is the Servant who came to save you & me!  Our Lord is deserving of the highest of glories, and He willingly suffered the worst of indignities.  How He deserves our worship today!

7 “For the Lord GOD will help Me; Therefore I will not be disgraced; Therefore I have set My face like a flint, And I know that I will not be ashamed.

  1. Though the Servant Messiah would be rejected by men, He would not be abandoned by God.  To be sure, there would come a moment upon the cross that Jesus would cry out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” – and somehow the Eternal Father would turn His face away from the Eternal Son as God’s full wrath was poured out upon Jesus.  But even then, Jesus knew that God’s forsaking would not last.  He was fully confident of His Father’s “help,” and thus He could be confident and set His “face like a flint” as He moved forward in His Father’s will.
  2. Question: In vs. 6, the Servant is subject to all kinds of disgrace & shame.  In vs. 7, the Servant specifically says that He “will not be disgraced…ashamed.”  How can both statements be true?  Easy: just look at the broader picture.  Jesus would suffer shame momentarily, but He would experience glory eternally.  Jesus would die, but His body would not stay in the grave – it would not see humiliating corruption.  Jesus would rise to live again in victorious resurrection!  Jesus looked forward to what God had in store for Him, and He could despise the temporary shame He would endure.  That’s partly what the author of Hebrews referenced: Hebrews 12:1–2, "(1) Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, (2) looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." []  Would there be shame?  Yes.  Would it last?  No…there was joy set before our Lord Jesus, and so He set His face to be obedient to the plan of God.
    1. If Jesus did that in the plan that God the Father had for Him, then we can expect to do the same.  We are certainly not greater than our Master.  We will suffer, no doubt – we will have struggles, and even persecutions.  But we press on, looking unto Jesus.  HE is our Joy that is set before us!
  3. Contextually, think of how this applies to Israel.  They would be suffering in the captivity of their own making.  Their Deliverer would suffer as well.  The Servant of God would fully understand the suffering of His people, and more…His own suffering would come at the hands of His people.  But the Servant still sets the example as He looks to God, and trusts in His plan.  That’s what the people of Israel needed to do as well.  Even beyond that, there was no better Person the Jews could expect than the Servant of God.  He was worthy of their trust because He shows Himself to be utterly faithful to God, no matter what He was to endure.
  4. And God would also be faithful to His Servant.  See vs. 8…

8 He is near who justifies Me; Who will contend with Me? Let us stand together. Who is My adversary? Let him come near Me. 9 Surely the Lord GOD will help Me; Who is he who will condemn Me? Indeed they will all grow old like a garment; The moth will eat them up.

  1. God was with His Servant, so who would the Servant fear?  No one!  It wouldn’t matter who stood up to Jesus, or how powerful they imagined that they were – they were no match for Almighty God the Father who stood with Him.  It didn’t matter what accusations would be thrown at Jesus – He could stay silent because God was His defense.  It didn’t matter who would “condemn” Jesus – they would perish whereas the Father would raise the Son for all eternity.  Pilate assumed that he had all kinds of power over the Man who claimed to be the King of the Jews – after all, he was the chief ruler over Judea, subject only to Caesar himself.  Yet when Pilate tried to throw that into Jesus’ face and intimidate Him with it, Jesus could calmly respond, “You have no power over Me except that which is given to you from above.”  Jesus knew that at any moment, legions of angels could be sent by God and free Him – there was absolutely no reason for Jesus to fear Pilate at any time.  Why would a Man be intimidated by an ant?  Even in the midst of Jesus’ wilderness temptation, Jesus had the same confidence in God.  Satan came against Him as the “adversary” to try to “contend” with the Son of God, offering Him all sorts of power and authority if Jesus would but bend His knee in worship.  Yet Jesus needed no help from the devil; His help was found in His Heavenly Father!
  2. As is ours!  We do not need to be intimidated by the curses and persecution of men.  We need not fear what either men or the devil will attempt to do to us.  Why?  Because our help is in the Lord God!  Who can contend with us?  Who will condemn us?  No one!  The devil will throw out all kinds of accusations against us, but we who believe in Christ have been sheltered by Him & His sacrifice.  Let the devil contend!  We have our Justifier in Christ Jesus!  If God is for us, who can stand against us?
  3. All of this speaks of the victory of the Servant of God.  He would be a worthy deliverer, and certainly worthy of the trust of the people.  The Jews needed to look to Him & thus look to God as their sure help.  See vs. 10…

10 “Who among you fears the LORD? Who obeys the voice of His Servant? Who walks in darkness And has no light? Let him trust in the name of the LORD And rely upon his God.

  1. Calling to the faithful remnant of Israel, God invites His people to trust Him.  The nation would be in captivity, and there would be many who give up hope.  But there would be some who maintained their faith.  Whoever feared the Lord – whoever there was that obeyed the Lord God of Israel…God told them to trust Him!  Rely upon God and His promises.
  2. Do you hear God?  Do you fear Him and worship Him as YOUR God?  Have you obeyed the voice of the Servant of God, and received Jesus as your Lord and Savior?  Then trust God!  Rely on Him!  The world may fall around us – our culture might go to hell in a handbasket as it falls away from Biblical foundations – all those things may be true, but as for US, WE will trust the Lord!  We will continue to stand as the people of God, the light of the world in a dark place as we continually rely upon our Lord & the power of God the Holy Spirit.  Our God has not lost His power – our God has not stepped off His throne.  No matter what our culture does around us, don’t allow your trust in the Sovereign God be shaken!

11 Look, all you who kindle a fire, Who encircle yourselves with sparks: Walk in the light of your fire and in the sparks you have kindled— This you shall have from My hand: You shall lie down in torment.

  1. Not all would be seeking the Lord.  There would be others who tried to save themselves from their trials and suffering.  They would surround themselves not in the light of the Lord & His Servant, but in their manmade “strange fire” – their false religions and philosophies.  They would surround themselves with troubles, and they would inherit more troubles in response.
  2. Keep in mind that none of the Jews HAD to experience this.  They ALL had the same opportunity to trust the Lord, and the Messiah that the Lord God would send.  It was their choice to seek the Lord & fear Him, or to turn aside and “kindle a fire” for themselves.  Just as they had sold themselves into temporary slavery earlier, they would be sending themselves into eternal “torment” by the decisions they made.  This was not God’s desire for them, but if they rejected God, God would allow them to reject Him.
    1. The same principle applies today.  No one HAS to reject Jesus, and no one HAS to go to Hell.  Anyone and everyone can be saved – but we need to fear the Lord, and choose to put our faith and trust in Jesus.  THAT is God’s desire for mankind!

 

Isaiah 51
1 “Listen to Me, you who follow after righteousness, You who seek the LORD: Look to the rock from which you were hewn, And to the hole of the pit from which you were dug. 2 Look to Abraham your father, And to Sarah who bore you; For I called him alone, And blessed him and increased him.”

  1. God continues reaching out to the remnant that fears Him and “follows after righteousness” as He encourages His people in advance of their despair because of their captivity.  He continually calls them to “listen” to Him (3 times in Ch 51).  All eyes and ears are to be on Him.  God is saying “Pay attention!  Don’t lose sight of the things I have promised you and the things I have already done for you in the past.”
  2. In fact, it’s the past to which God first calls their attention.  Those who seek the Lord are to look back to their origins as a nation.  Where had they come from?  Why did the nation of Israel exist at all?  Solely due to the blessings and promise of God!  Abraham was an idolator in Babylon (Ur of the Chaldees) when God first called him.  Abraham and Sarah were elderly without children when God promised him a nation.  They had nothing apart from the word and promise of God – and God was faithful!  God showed grace to Abraham simply in His call, and God showed grace upon grace when He gave the son of promise.
  3. This is where Israel came from.  They started with nothing in Babylon, and God showered them with immense blessings.  If God did it once, could not God do it again?  Of course He could!  And that is exactly what God had promised to do – not just in the near-term with the exodus out of Babylon, but in the promised Servant-Messiah who was yet to come.  There would be more blessing than they could possibly imagine!

3 For the LORD will comfort Zion, He will comfort all her waste places; He will make her wilderness like Eden, And her desert like the garden of the LORD; Joy and gladness will be found in it, Thanksgiving and the voice of melody.

  1. The nation would be completely transformed!  When the 70 years of captivity were complete, Nehemiah received word of the state of Jerusalem (Zion), and the wall still lay desolate & waste, and it grieved him.  Yet here God speaks of a day in which even the desert wilderness area surrounding the city would be so transformed that it would look like the Garden of Eden.  THAT’s a transformation!  And it’s one that certainly did not happen when the Jews first returned to the land.  Certainly God did comfort His people when they came out of Babylon, but here God speaks of a greater comfort and a greater restoration – the blessing that will come in the Millennial Kingdom.
  2. Notice how they respond to the blessing of God: “joy and gladness…thanksgiving…voice of melody.”  They praise God as they enjoy the blessings showered upon them.  They rejoice in the God who loves them, and who delivered them out of suffering.  If the Jews rejoiced after Babylonian captivity, imagine how they will rejoice when Jesus comes back in power & glory, delivering them from Antichrist & future-Babylon during the Great Tribulation.  No doubt, the people of Zion will be overjoyed at the work of God!
    1. Of course, not only do we look forward to that day & will we be able to rejoice with them – but we can know and experience that kind of joy in the Lord right now!  We don’t have to wait to rejoice in our Savior; we already know the salvation of Jesus.  So rejoice…give thanks…sing out!  He has comforted us beyond our hopes!

4 “Listen to Me, My people; And give ear to Me, O My nation: For law will proceed from Me, And I will make My justice rest As a light of the peoples. 5 My righteousness is near, My salvation has gone forth, And My arms will judge the peoples; The coastlands will wait upon Me, And on My arm they will trust.

  1. God again calls His remnant to listen to Him.  First, they were to pay attention to their origins & wait for the comfort of God.  Now, they are to look to God and His perfect righteousness and justice.  The Jews will have experienced great injustice during their 70 years of Babylonian captivity.  They will experience much more injustice during the 7 year Tribulation.  (And they’ve already experienced injustice during the 2000 years in-between!)  But God’s justice will come forth!  God’s righteousness will be known – not only in Zion, but all over the world.  God speaks of a day in which He will judge all “the peoples” and rule over “the coastlands.”  Again, God speaks of the future kingdom in which the Messiah will reign over all the earth.
  2. There is a progression here.  Israel could look to the past, and see God’s outpouring of blessing upon them as a people.  Likewise, they could also look to the future and see what God had promised to do.  God repeatedly demonstrated Himself to be worthy of trust in the past, so the Jews could continue to trust God in the future.  And not just the near future, but the far future.  Although the Jews have continually expected the restoration of the kingdom (even the 11 disciples asked Jesus about it at His ascension), that restoration has not come for 2000 years, and won’t come until after the Great Tribulation and return of Christ.  But there is no doubt that the restoration of the kingdom WILL come.  God has a future plan for the nation of Israel, which is set in stone.  Consider what kind of hope that ought to give to His people in their (then) current trial in Babylon.  Because God had so much promised for them in the future, they could know they would survive their present trial.  After all, they couldn’t vanish as a people if God had a future plan for them.  Looking to the future promises of God ought to give them a present hope.
  3. A similar idea is true for us as well.  We know what God has in store for us in the future.  We know the sure promises of heaven, and how we will spend eternity with our Lord Jesus.  That ought to give us much hope for the present day!  How do we endure the loss of loved ones today?  We look forward to promise of seeing them again in heaven.  How do we endure the persecutions and ridicule of others?  We keep our eyes on Jesus knowing that our future reward is in Him.  And on & on…  We already know how the Book ends: our God wins.  Remembering His victorious assured future gives us much confidence and hope for the present.

6 Lift up your eyes to the heavens, And look on the earth beneath. For the heavens will vanish away like smoke, The earth will grow old like a garment, And those who dwell in it will die in like manner; But My salvation will be forever, And My righteousness will not be abolished.

  1. God lists out some of the things that Israel (and all of God’s people) could look to in the future.  There would be a new heaven & new earth.  All things would be remade, and creation would be restored to the place that God had intended it to be all along.  That which is evil will decay & die off, but the righteousness of God would last forever.  Earth itself will pass away, but the salvation of God won’t.  God’s love, grace, and deliverance lasts for all time!

7 “Listen to Me, you who know righteousness, You people in whose heart is My law: Do not fear the reproach of men, Nor be afraid of their insults. 8 For the moth will eat them up like a garment, And the worm will eat them like wool; But My righteousness will be forever, And My salvation from generation to generation.”

  1. A third time, God calls His people to listen to Him.  This is where He brings the first two ideas home.  God has been faithful in the past, and has poured out His blessing upon them.  God had promised to be faithful in the future, and the blessing they would experience would be beyond description.  This is the word and promise of God in whom they trusted.  If their eyes and ears were upon Him, there was no reason to fear anyone or anything else!  It didn’t matter who might oppress them today, they would surely perish, but the love and salvation of God given to His people would last for all time.
  2. Men & women of God, look to Jesus!  No matter who or what comes against you, look to the Lord who loves you & has already shown Himself strong on your behalf!  His “righteousness will be forever” & His salvation will never end!

9 Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the LORD! Awake as in the ancient days, In the generations of old. Are You not the arm that cut Rahab apart, And wounded the serpent? 10 Are You not the One who dried up the sea, The waters of the great deep; That made the depths of the sea a road For the redeemed to cross over?

  1. In response to all of this, Israel seems to get it in part, but not in others.  They’ve heard of the power & faithfulness of God (which is good!), but they seem to think that God is not willing to act.  They need to wake up their God and arouse Him to His task and promise.  Certainly there’s nothing wrong with praying to God asking Him to act on our behalf…but at the same time, God just got done telling them how He would act on their behalf!  Apparently they weren’t listening as closely as they needed to.
  2. They did remember God’s work in the past.  God had reminded them of Abraham, and the people here remember also Moses & the exodus from Egypt.  “Rahab” seems to often be a designation for Egypt, and it’s seen here through the references to parting the Red Sea.  Israel did remember the work of the Lord on their behalf – they remembered how God had purchased their freedom from slavery and brought them into the promised land.  And because God had done it once, they had faith that God could do it again.  See vs. 11…

11 So the ransomed of the LORD shall return, And come to Zion with singing, With everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness; Sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

  1. This time, they aren’t so much questioning the word of the Lord as they believing it.  They had faith in God’s promise of a 2nd exodus, believing that God would indeed bring them “to Zion with singing.”  They looked forward to the “joy and gladness” that God promised in vs. 3, even in their present day.

12 “I, even I, am He who comforts you. Who are you that you should be afraid Of a man who will die, And of the son of a man who will be made like grass? 13 And you forget the LORD your Maker, Who stretched out the heavens And laid the foundations of the earth; You have feared continually every day Because of the fury of the oppressor, When he has prepared to destroy. And where is the fury of the oppressor?

  1. Again, God reaches out to comfort His people.  He encourages them to continually look to Him, remembering what it is God can do.  Why be afraid of grass when God is one who created the grass?  God is the Creator God – there is none more powerful than Him.  The largest army in the world is still only a pitiful flea against the power of Almighty God.  When God chooses to rise up in judgment, there is none who can stand against Him!
  2. BTW – that’s not just true of human armies, but demonic ones as well.  People sometimes think of the devil as being the equal match of God, but that’s simply not true.  The devil is a furious enemy, but even he is infinitely outmatched by the Almighty God.

14 The captive exile hastens, that he may be loosed, That he should not die in the pit, And that his bread should not fail. 15 But I am the LORD your God, Who divided the sea whose waves roared— The LORD of hosts is His name. 16 And I have put My words in your mouth; I have covered you with the shadow of My hand, That I may plant the heavens, Lay the foundations of the earth, And say to Zion, ‘You are My people.’ ”

  1. The Almighty God – the Creator God – THAT is Israel’s God!  The God that commands the heavenly armies?  THAT is the God of Israel!  The Living God is the one who gave His word and law to Israel – He is the one who gave the promises – He is the one who made the covenant.  That is a God they could trust!
  2. As can we!  The Lord God of Hosts is OUR God!  The Resurrected Lord Jesus is the One who made us the people of God!  This is a God we can look to – we can listen to – we can take comfort in & trust.

17 Awake, awake! Stand up, O Jerusalem, You who have drunk at the hand of the LORD The cup of His fury; You have drunk the dregs of the cup of trembling, And drained it out. 18 There is no one to guide her Among all the sons she has brought forth; Nor is there any who takes her by the hand Among all the sons she has brought up.

  1. Zion had called God to awake (unnecessarily) – now God answers Israel and calls them to awake.  They needed to be ready and look for the deliverance of God.  Yes, they would suffer in Babylon – this is what they had brought upon themselves.  Their sin had caused them to drink the cup of the wrath of God, and they were not spared a drop.  They had to drink it all down to the “dregs.”  As a result, they were left lonely & desolate in their suffering.
  2. God continues His description…

19 These two things have come to you; Who will be sorry for you?— Desolation and destruction, famine and sword— By whom will I comfort you? 20 Your sons have fainted, They lie at the head of all the streets, Like an antelope in a net; They are full of the fury of the LORD, The rebuke of your God.

  1. This is what they had experienced (speaking prophetically in the past tense): “desolation and destruction.”  God did not deny any of this.  He had rebuked Israel severely & rightly.  But He was not done with Israel.  See vs. 21…

21 Therefore please hear this, you afflicted, And drunk but not with wine. 22 Thus says your Lord, The LORD and your God, Who pleads the cause of His people: “See, I have taken out of your hand The cup of trembling, The dregs of the cup of My fury; You shall no longer drink it. 23 But I will put it into the hand of those who afflict you, Who have said to you, ‘Lie down, that we may walk over you.’ And you have laid your body like the ground, And as the street, for those who walk over.”

  1. Israel had been drunk with the cup of God’s wrath, but that cup would be taken from them!  He reaffirms His relationship with the nation, and says that He will give their cup of suffering to those who had caused them to suffer.  God knew exactly what Babylon would do to them, and He would pour out His wrath on them instead.
  2. Instead of causing His people to drink the cup of wrath, what would God do for them?  “Plead their cause.”  He would stand up in their defense, and act in their behalf.  And that’s exactly what He did with Babylon historically through the Medes & Persians, and that is exactly what God will do with Babylon-future though the return of Christ Jesus.

Conclusion:
God Himself pleads the cause of His people – why?  Because they are HIS people!  These are the people He loves – the people with whom He has covenant promises – the people for whom God has made future promises – the people for whom God sends a Deliverer.  Of course He would bring salvation to His people…how could He not?  This is what Israel needed to remember.  Whatever it is they would suffer, they needed to keep their eyes and ears upon God, trusting His person and His promises.  God was worthy of their trust!

God is worthy of our trust, as well!  Our Lord Jesus loves us immensely, and did everything that was necessary to make us the people of God.  He gave Himself over to beating & humiliation so that we would be saved.  He called us out of our own Ur of Chaldees, and gave us the grace we needed to be blessed by God as His covenant people.  He has given us the promise of heaven & an eternal inheritance with Him, as we see the justice of God carried out upon the enemy of our souls.  This is what Jesus has already done for us – He is worthy of our trust! 

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