Today: [Isaiah 48] Called By His Name. In chapter 48 of Isaiah the prophet speaks against the obstinacy of the southern kingdom against God. He declares that the foretelling of events years in advance was primarily so that when the events themselves take place the people would know that God and not their false idols had revealed all beforehand. In spite of the rebellion and stubbornness of the people there is still the insistence that they are called by God’s name and that He will punish their enemies and deal mercifully with them for His own sake. This is a reflection of our lack of piety at times even after giving our life to Christ. We may become Christians but still sin, and still willfully fall short of God’s desire for us to live in cleanliness and holiness before Him. Yet He still loves us and imputes righteousness – the righteousness of His name even during seasons where we lapse and fail.
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[Isa 48:1-22 KJV] 1 Hear ye this, O house of Jacob, which are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah, which swear by the name of the LORD, and make mention of the God of Israel, [but] not in truth, nor in righteousness. 2 For they call themselves of the holy city, and stay themselves upon the God of Israel; The LORD of hosts [is] his name. 3 I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went forth out of my mouth, and I shewed them; I did [them] suddenly, and they came to pass. 4 Because I knew that thou [art] obstinate, and thy neck [is] an iron sinew, and thy brow brass; 5 I have even from the beginning declared [it] to thee; before it came to pass I shewed [it] thee: lest thou shouldest say, Mine idol hath done them, and my graven image, and my molten image, hath commanded them. 6 Thou hast heard, see all this; and will not ye declare [it]? I have shewed thee new things from this time, even hidden things, and thou didst not know them. 7 They are created now, and not from the beginning; even before the day when thou heardest them not; lest thou shouldest say, Behold, I knew them. 8 Yea, thou heardest not; yea, thou knewest not; yea, from that time [that] thine ear was not opened: for I knew that thou wouldest deal very treacherously, and wast called a transgressor from the womb. 9 For my name’s sake will I defer mine anger, and for my praise will I refrain for thee, that I cut thee not off. 10 Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction. 11 For mine own sake, [even] for mine own sake, will I do [it]: for how should [my name] be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another.
In this chapter, Isaiah addresses the disobedience of the house of Judah – calling them the “house of Jacob”. As previously dealt with, “Jacob” speaks of who we are before we encounter God in our lives. Jacob was a misfit and a deceptive person who stole the birthright from Esau. He lived by his wits and trusted no one. God speaks of the people who ARE the house of Jacob but only CALLED by the name of Israel. Israel speaks of who we are as transformed by Christ. This is reflected in the work of Calvary when 1 Cor. 1:30,31 tell us that we are the righteousness of God in Christ. This is righteousness imputed to us by the reckoning of God even when in truth we are still manifesting our unredeemed nature.
You might ask how can this be? When you got born again, your human spirit came alive and was constituted as the habitation of God by the Holy Spirit. Your mind however was the same mind. Repentant though you might be there are still patterns of thought and behavior that have yet to be changed by the transformational power of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. This is why Paul speaks of this in Rom. 7:23:
[Rom 7:23 KJV] 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
It is a reality that we have been bought by Christ and stand redeemed by the word of the Cross yet still have warring in our members, in our mind the principle of disobedience. The warfare of the mind is where the territory is that must be conquered by our personal discipleship to the Lord Jesus Christ working against everything within us that is contrary to the character of Christ. This is what Isaiah is speaking against because the people of Jerusalem even though experience great deliverance by God’s hand were still deeply idolatrous in their character. This is the reason Isaiah give for the revealing of hidden things far ahead of time lest when the events come to pass the people claim that their false gods and idols have revealed them to them and give them false glory rather than praise to God.
12 Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I [am] he; I [am] the first, I also [am] the last. 13 Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens: [when] I call unto them, they stand up together. 14 All ye, assemble yourselves, and hear; which among them hath declared these [things]? The LORD hath loved him: he will do his pleasure on Babylon, and his arm [shall be on] the Chaldeans. 15 I, [even] I, have spoken; yea, I have called him: I have brought him, and he shall make his way prosperous. 16 Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there [am] I: and now the Lord GOD, and his Spirit, hath sent me. 17 Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I [am] the LORD thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way [that] thou shouldest go. 18 O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea: 19 Thy seed also had been as the sand, and the offspring of thy bowels like the gravel thereof; his name should not have been cut off nor destroyed from before me. 20 Go ye forth of Babylon, flee ye from the Chaldeans, with a voice of singing declare ye, tell this, utter it [even] to the end of the earth; say ye, The LORD hath redeemed his servant Jacob. 21 And they thirsted not [when] he led them through the deserts: he caused the waters to flow out of the rock for them: he clave the rock also, and the waters gushed out. 22 [There is] no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked.
In verse 12 God calls out to the people to forsake their idols and to hearken unto His voice for He is the first and the last. Even though the people are estranged in their faithlessness from God the Lord declares in verse 14 that He still loves them and for that reason will destroy the Babylonians who will in years to come deal so mercilessly with them as a nation. Babylon for us is secularism and that element of society that has zero tolerance and no mercy for the people of God yet God promises that though we are disobedient He will still defend us and champion our deliverance. In the midst of great stubbornness the Father still promises in verse 17 that He is yet our redeemer and will lead us in the way that we should go. He will teach us to profit and cause us to come out of the place of suffering. Here is the truth that Paul speaks of in Romans 2:4 that God leads us to repent by His goodness and His kindness in our behalf.
In verse 18 the Father expresses His desire that we had been obedience in the beginning and not suffered the consequences of wrong decisions. We can all appreciate this. We look back realizing we should have taken a different direction in life. The Father says if we would run the way of His commandments then our peace would be as a river and our righteousness as the waves of the sea. God’s plan is for us to have overwhelming blessing and overwhelming prosperity but it is denied us as long as we move in stubborn resistance to His word and His commandments. Yet nonetheless though Babylon will invade and cause great suffering the Father promises to destroy them and to redeem Jacob out of suffering because of His great names sake and for the save of His desire to show mercy about all else to those that call upon His name.
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