Today: [Isaiah 2] “In that Day” – is Today that Day? In chapter 2 of Isaiah the prophet describes a people who have idols in their heart in the midst of prosperity and peace in the land. Under the rule of Uzzah and Jotham there was relative peace and blessing in the southern kingdom. Rather than being thankful the people became decadent in their culture and while outwardly devout, secret groves and hidden pagan altars abounded even in Jerusalem itself. Isaiah declares that the day of the Lord would come and “in that day” the idols would be utterly abolished. As believers in Jesus we receive the exhortation to identify any idols in our hearts and deal with them now rather than suffer unnecessary consequences in “that day”.
[Isa 2:1-22 KJV] 1 The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. 2 And it shall come to pass in the last days, [that] the mountain of the LORD’S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. 3 And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4 And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. 5 O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the LORD. 6 Therefore thou hast forsaken thy people the house of Jacob, because they be replenished from the east, and [are] soothsayers like the Philistines, and they please themselves in the children of strangers. 7 Their land also is full of silver and gold, neither [is there any] end of their treasures; their land is also full of horses, neither [is there any] end of their chariots: 8 Their land also is full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made: 9 And the mean man boweth down, and the great man humbleth himself: therefore forgive them not.
Verse 1 of Isaiah 2 gives us some insight into the prophetic gifting of the prophet Isaiah. He was a seer – at least in the beginning. In the prophetic you look to see, listen to hear and sense to feel what God is saying. One of these modality of hearing from God will be more fundamental to you than others. In the Old Testament period, seeing was more common so much so that prophets before Samuel’s time (1 Sam. 9:9) were called seers. This tells us that with Samuel things began to change in terms of prophetic gifting. Samuel was a special kind of prophet. He led God’s people out of the chaotic time of the judges and was used to ordain king David who was a type of Christ and the progenitor of Jesus through the lines of Joseph and Mary. As the first prophet to anoint any king Samuel also was a forerunner of John the Baptist who was used to inaugurate Jesus into His ministry in Galilee.
In verse 2 of our chapter Isaiah gives a comprehensive eschatological overview of the purposes of God from his standpoint six centuries before Christ right down to our day and beyond. Whatever the events of human history the mountain of the Lord’s house, namely the kingdom of God would rule over the affairs of men and all nations would flow into it. This statement is quoted verbatim by the prophet Micah who was a contemporary of Isaiah:
[Mic 4:1 KJV] 1 But in the last days it shall come to pass, [that] the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.
Now the question might come is Isaiah plagiarizing Micah, or is Micah plagiarizing Isaiah? Neither would seem to be the case in view of the fact that both statements by the two independent prophets are equally included in the canon of scripture. It doesn’t always happen but when the prophets agree and this emphatically it highlights and underscores what God is saying through them even if one or the other prophetic voice lifted the statement from another. Whatever you may believe about the things of God and the outlaying of end time events the end result is a unified manifestation of the kingdom of God over all the earth. This isn’t just something that will happen one day. It is what God was doing 2600 years ago in Isaiah’s time and it is what God is doing now not only among nations but in your own heart and life.
Remember that Jesus declared in Luke 17:21 that the kingdom of God is in you. In fact in the same verse He described the kingdom not as something you go looking for in manifestation beyond you but something that is installed, dynamic and vital on the inside of you. God’s purpose in Christ is to cause all nations to flow into the mountain of the Lord’s house and from Jesus’ perspective this kingdom is as much in you if not more so than it is anywhere else.
Isaiah goes on to describe an era of tremendous peace and prosperity punctuating this description with the exhortation in verse to the people “come let us walk in the light of the Lord…” This is a foreshadowing of what Paul preached in Rom. 2:4-5 that it is the goodness of God that leads people to repentance. Nonetheless Isaiah in noting the prosperity the southern kingdom enjoys under Uzziah and his son Jotham – he laments in verses 7 – 9 that though the land is full of silver and gold and horses it is also full of idols and the impoverished man and the men of wealth were universally given to bowing down and humiliating themselves in the pagan groves and sacred trees that dotted the countryside even in view of the holy city.
10 Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty. 11 The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day. 12 For the day of the LORD of hosts [shall be] upon every [one that is] proud and lofty, and upon every [one that is] lifted up; and he shall be brought low: 13 And upon all the cedars of Lebanon, [that are] high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan, 14 And upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills [that are] lifted up, 15 And upon every high tower, and upon every fenced wall, 16 And upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures. 17 And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day. 18 And the idols he shall utterly abolish. 19 And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth. 20 In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made [each one] for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats; 21 To go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth. 22 Cease ye from man, whose breath [is] in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?
In verse 10 Isaiah introduces the idea of the day of the Lord when his glory and majesty will be made known. It is a day (v. 11) that the lofty looks of man will be humbled and all haughty spirits will be bowed down. The Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. What should be our response? We can look around at the astonishing arrogance of men. At every point where our culture and society contradicts the character of the scriptures and the commandment of God this is a manifestation of pride, arrogance and astonishing conceit. As people of God it should be our determination to humble ourselves now rather than waiting to be humbled by the inevitable calamities that come upon a people so divorced in their hearts from the least unto the greatest from fidelity and honor of the living God. To humble one’s self is more than an expression of humility. In the previous chapter we saw that the people though very idolatrous were nonetheless very religious and very active in the outward display of love for Jehovah and honor of the temple. Humility is a heart issue and a matter of holding one’s self personally accountable without anyone looking on to the mandates of scripture and the commandment of God’s holy law. In the day we live in individualism has become so universal that even in matters of faith the highest ethic seems to be “to each his own” without any unified, arbitrary, objective standard of integrity and holiness before God. We are quick to accuse others and equally adept at excusing ourselves. What is the solution? Making the choice of humility and holding ourselves accountable for seeing to it that our humility before God is more than a religious expression but a soul deep application of piety to every area of our lives.
Verse 17 tells us that there will come a day that the loftiness of man will be bowed down and the Lord alone will be exalted “in that day”. This is not only an ultimate day that will arrive for all mankind for all time. This “in that day” can be a very personal day of reckoning when as they say the chickens come home to roost in our own lives. What is there taking place in your life that you are allowing and overlooking that will become an astonishment and a scandal before God in the day He calls you into account? This is more than something that happens after death. This could be today or tomorrow? Humble yourself now rather than waiting to be humbled by circumstance and situation.
Verse 18 declares that the idols “in that day” will be utterly abolished. Here is our starting place. Identifying our idols. They must be identified because we may have so integrated them into the bedrock of our thinking that we are incapable of distinguishing them. This was the case in the family to whom John wrote:
[1Jo 5:21 KJV] 21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.
The house church John addressed this too was very devout. It was unthinkable that anyone of this family would actually be secretly frequenting the brothel/temples of the city and bowing down to a stone or a piece of wood. What is idolatry? Idolatry is looking outwardly for what we should be finding inwardly in our dependence upon Christ. Idolatry proposes the dwelling place of God to be anywhere other than the heart of man. In the Old Testament worshipping anywhere other than the temple was dealt with on pain of death. For us in the New Covenant we know that we are the temple. Christ dwells in our heart by faith. He is our dependence. Any outward dependence in search of a sense of security or fulfillment is idolatry. Let us tear down the idols whatever and whoever they might be and lean with our whole heart upon Christ alone so that in “that day” we will not be ashamed.
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