Today: [Isaiah 57] The High and Lofty Place in God. In today’s chapter Isaiah condemns the godlessness of the people and declares that their idolatrous ways will bring them to destruction, regardless of their refusals to accept the consequences of their actions. We can look around us and see throughout all levels of society that men and institutions of government mock and scorn the salvation that you and I hold dear. The world believes it doesn’t matter what they believe or how they live because in their view they are accountable to none but their own sinful tendencies. Isaiah defies this false standard of righteousness, declaring the judgment of God upon those who reject Him and the clemency and mercy of God upon all those who come to Christ and Christ alone with contrition on their lips and humility in their hearts.
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[Isa 57:1-21 KJV] 1 The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth [it] to heart: and merciful men [are] taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil [to come]. 2 He shall enter into peace: they shall rest in their beds, [each one] walking [in] his uprightness. 3 But draw near hither, ye sons of the sorceress, the seed of the adulterer and the whore. 4 Against whom do ye sport yourselves? against whom make ye a wide mouth, [and] draw out the tongue? [are] ye not children of transgression, a seed of falsehood, 5 Enflaming yourselves with idols under every green tree, slaying the children in the valleys under the clifts of the rocks? 6 Among the smooth [stones] of the stream [is] thy portion; they, they [are] thy lot: even to them hast thou poured a drink offering, thou hast offered a meat offering. Should I receive comfort in these? 7 Upon a lofty and high mountain hast thou set thy bed: even thither wentest thou up to offer sacrifice. 8 Behind the doors also and the posts hast thou set up thy remembrance: for thou hast discovered [thyself to another] than me, and art gone up; thou hast enlarged thy bed, and made thee [a covenant] with them; thou lovedst their bed where thou sawest [it]. 9 And thou wentest to the king with ointment, and didst increase thy perfumes, and didst send thy messengers far off, and didst debase [thyself even] unto hell. 10 Thou art wearied in the greatness of thy way; [yet] saidst thou not, There is no hope: thou hast found the life of thine hand; therefore thou wast not grieved.
Verse 1 of our chapter speaks of the heartlessness of an idolatrous people. We can look around at the world around us and see a culture completely self-possessed and convinced of its own tolerance and pity, yet observe the deep contempt for people of faith evidenced in entertainment, the courts and in the political arena. The world shows kindness to all except those who look to Christ as Lord and Savior. Yet though the righteous suffer the cruelties of a secular culture the end result of their idolatries will be the same. God is a jealous God and will not turn a blind eye to the sins of a nation. We can read a passage like this and ask “where are the mercies of God”? There mercies of God and the loving nature of God are intact even in the midst of judgment and men facing the consequences of their actions. Where do we find the clemency of God? The compassion of God is found in Christ. Christ is the overture of the heart of God toward a lost and dying world. In Christ are found the tender mercies of David toward the most egregious offenders – IF they will come with repentance in their heart and humility in their spirits. To this the world mocks and turns its back on the cross. The world expects to be allow to pursue their own way without any accountability for their actions or the choices that are made. To suggest that there is a heaven to gain and a hell to shun is an absolute affront to the pride and the sin nature that is inherent, inborn in man.
It is important to understand when reading such a passage as is before us today that there are two states of disposition in life: in Christ and out of Christ. It is a fact that there are consequences even upon the most piteous case if they even in their suffering choose to deny Christ or to marginalize the work of the Cross. This is repugnant to the world that sneers are the faith of those who look to Jesus as Lord and Savior. Even in Christian culture there exists a sweeping tendency in our pulpits to minimize the reality of sin and marginalize any reference to justice, judgment or the existence and fact of punishment for those who reject the world of Christ in their behalf. To all those that live in indifference to the faith there are and will be consequences. Just because men and women ignore or marginalize the realities of Christ doesn’t mean that they will escape accountability.
11 And of whom hast thou been afraid or feared, that thou hast lied, and hast not remembered me, nor laid [it] to thy heart? have not I held my peace even of old, and thou fearest me not? 12 I will declare thy righteousness, and thy works; for they shall not profit thee. 13 When thou criest, let thy companies deliver thee; but the wind shall carry them all away; vanity shall take [them]: but he that putteth his trust in me shall possess the land, and shall inherit my holy mountain; 14 And shall say, Cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way, take up the stumblingblock out of the way of my people. 15 For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name [is] Holy; I dwell in the high and holy [place], with him also [that is] of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. 16 For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls [which] I have made. 17 For the iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth, and smote him: I hid me, and was wroth, and he went on frowardly in the way of his heart. 18 I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners. 19 I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to [him that is] far off, and to [him that is] near, saith the LORD; and I will heal him. 20 But the wicked [are] like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. 21 [There is] no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.
In verse 12 the prophet says that the false standard of righteousness will not profit nor protect those who have rejected the law of God. Verse 13 speaks of the “companies” that men put their confidence in. This is the crowd-mentality that many adopt, following the popular beliefs of the masses as if the contention “this is what everyone thinks and believes” is enough to defend against any possibility of being wrong. It isn’t enough just to be genuine in your beliefs. The world says it doesn’t matter what you believe just so you are sincere. This is absolutely wrong. There are those who shed tears of sincerity and give their lives into that which they believe who will stand unjustified before God unless they put their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. As repugnant as it may seem to the cosmopolitan thinking of the current day Jesus made this emphatically clear:
[Jhn 14:6 KJV] 6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
There will be no Muslims in heaven. There will not be one person in heaven that has failed to ask Jesus into His heart as Lord and Savior. There will be no Buddhists, or Hindus, or Jew nor those of any other faith regardless how committed, and pious and sacrificial their lives may have been lived unless they have been confronted with the claims of Christ and bowed their knee to Him and asked Him into their hearts. This is the stark truth of John 14:6 that is so controversial today that it is in danger of being lost altogether. The words of Jesus are without ambiguity. Either He is who He claims to be and is the ONLY way to salvation or you and I have believed a total and complete lie and are yet in our sins, deceived, misled and justifiably the brunt of the world’s contempt because of our confidence in Christ.
Verse 13 goes on to declare that those that put their trust in God will possess the land and inherit the kingdom. The world, and the world’s skepticism and scorn toward the believer does not determine what their outcome will be. Verse 14 declares that every stumbling block and impediment the world and society puts up before the people of God will be removed by His sovereign hand. Our blessing and the favor we walk in before the Father will not be diminished or detracted from by the idolatrous, godless society that we see thriving all around us. Our confidence is in God and He will establish us and bless us and cause us to ride high above the high places of the earth regardless of what the world thinks or judges concerning us. Verse 15 affirms to us that in the midst of upheaval and great contradiction we see in the lives of all those around us that God will defend those who live in contrition and humility before Him. He will hold us hidden in Christ in the high and lofty place where all those that put their trust in Him are protected and preserved no matter what is going on in the world around us.
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