Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Illustration of the Vineyard: The Vineyard's Establishment

"Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill:" (Isaiah 5:1)

The prophet Isaiah now transitions into a song which is directed toward his beloved God. This song is concerned with the relationship between the LORD and His vineyard which represents the nation of Israel.

As Isaiah considered the many vineyards located in the hill country of Judah, he saw in them a picture of what God had done for Israel. The Lord had given her all that she would need in order to be well both physically and spiritually. Physically, the land of Canaan was rich in both agriculture and mining (Deuteronomy 8:9). Spiritually speaking, God had provided Israel with the ability to be fruitful if they were willing to follow His Law. In the keeping of the Law's two greatest commandments (Matthew 22:37-40), the Israelites would have been a light to the surrounding nations thus leading the heathen to a saving knowledge of Jehovah. Indeed, God had given His people every opportunity to bear much fruit for His glory.

"And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes." (Isaiah 5:2)

A vineyard requires protection against grazing animals and people passing by; therefore, a fence would be very necessary. God's fence of protection is about them who love Him (Job 1:10). The Lord had promised to fence in Israel if they would serve Him only.

The stony ground of Judah required much clearing before it could be suitable for planting a crop. The Lord put forth much effort in clearing out the stoney ground of Israel's heart through the lessons of the wilderness wanderings. In addition to this, He had put down all the enemies of Israel before their eyes from the day they left Egypt to the time they found themselves planted in the Promised Land. Through every step of Israel's history, the Lord had "cleared the ground."

What good is a well-cleared vineyard without a high-quality plant? Just as a man would choose carefully the best of vines for his vineyard, the Lord carefully provided His people with the choice vine of His holy Law - a law which served as a schoolmaster to lead them to Christ (Galatians 3:24). God's mercy, provision and love for Israel all served in making their "plant" the greatest of the surrounding nations.

The watchtower of a vineyard served to keep animals and thieves at bay. The Lord's Spirit was Israel's Watchtower. In Leviticus 26:12, God told Israel, "And I will walk among you, and will be your God... ." Who could ask for a greater defense from both external and internal attack?

The winepress was the place where the grapes were trodden. It was hewn out of the bedrock and was large enough to accommodate two or three treaders. The receptacle (also hewn out of the bedrock) for receiving the grape juice was located some inches downhill of the press and was connected to the press via a channel in the rock. God expected His people to produce spiritual fruit for His glory. The reward of the labor that goes into producing a quality vineyard is realized in the quality of its produce.

Naturally, the farmer who has invested so much in his vineyard would be expected to eagerly await the results. The verb looked means to look for with eager expectation. God eagerly awaited the righteous fruit which should have grown in such a perfect vineyard; however, the Lord was greatly saddened by the results. After putting so much time and care into a vineyard, one can only imagine the disappointment of finding sour grapes. In perfect harmony with human nature, the Israelites had taken advantage of God's grace and used His blessings for their own gain. Their spiritual fruit was a stench in God's nostrils.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Delight of Zion's Remnant: The Promise of Protection (Part II)

"And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain." (Isaiah 4:6)

The word translated tabernacle is the same word often translated booth. It pictures a tent or temporary dwelling constructed of tree branches. During the Feast of Tabernacles, the Israelites were to construct themselves booths. This served to remind them of the rough abodes which served as temporary shelters in the wilderness after their exodus from Egypt. In a near sense, this passage may refer to the temporary structures which undoubtedly dotted the distressed landscape of Jerusalem upon the return of the Jews in 538 BC.

The Consideration of a millennial context brings to mind the tabernacle of David which will be restored in the latter days.

In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old: That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the LORD that doeth this (Amos 9:11-12).

Obviously, in this passage the tabernacle represents the house and kingdom of David which will be restored through the return of Jesus Christ. This glorious tabernacle which represents the kingdom of Christ will serve as the ultimate place of peace and protection for the God-fearing man. Covering an area of over one square mile (Ezekiel 45:2), the sanctuary of Christ's rule will act as a place of refuge and prayer for all people (Isaiah 56:7).

The Church Age saint has begun to see the principles of Amos' prophecy fulfilled as he witnesses Gentiles come to saving faith in Christ through the preaching of the gospel. James testified to this reality during his defense of Peter's evangelistic efforts on behalf of the Gentiles.

Men and brethren, hearken unto me: Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things (Acts 15:13-17).

Despite the difficulties of this passage, one thing is for certain, the Messianic tabernacle of David will be fully established in the kingdom of Christ; and the present day believer has the privilege of seeing the principles of these things fulfilled.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Delight of Zion's Remnant: The Promise of Protection

"And the LORD will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defence." (Isaiah 4:5)

The Hebrew word for create places emphasis on the initial formation of an object from nothing. The Lord does not require the use of objects already in existence. As the Creator and Protector of Israel, He is able to form from nothing a security blanket for His chosen people. The principle of this may be observed readily as God has routinely delivered the Jews from extinction; however, as with the entire passage, the full reality of the Lord's protection of Mount Zion will be seen in the millennial kingdom.

Undoubtedly, as Nehemiah and his companions built the wall of Jerusalem, God covered them with His blanket of protection and delivered them from the physical attacks of men such as Sanballat and Tobiah. Such things were a small representation of what He will do in the millennial age. The text states that God's protective hand will be upon all dwelling places and assemblies. The word assemblies refers to large gatherings of people. Quite likely, it is in reference to the congregations of those who will gather at the millennial temple in order to worship Jesus Christ. The peace that will come to Israel through God's protection and blessing is illustrated in Ezekiel 34:26-27.

And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing. And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase, and they shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bands of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them.

The cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night relates God's future care of His people to that which He provided them when He led them out of the land of Egypt. By means of a cloud in the daytime and a pillar of fire at night the Lord provided protection, victory and guidance for Israel.

His protection through the cloudy medium is witnessed in Exodus 14:19-20 when the Egyptians pursued after the Israelites who were encamped along the Red Sea.

And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them: And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night.

Through His fiery cloud, the Lord also provided victory for His people when Pharaoh's army pursued the Israelites who were enclosed on both sides by the watery wall of the Red Sea.

And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the LORD looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians, and took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the LORD fighteth for them against the Egyptians (Exodus 14:24-25).

Lastly, God gave guidance to Israel as she wandered through the wilderness. Just prior to their entrance into the land of Canaan, Moses reminded the Israelites of God's love as demonstrated by His unfailing guidance.

And in the wilderness, where thou hast seen how that the LORD thy God bare thee, as a man doth bear his son, in all the way that ye went, until ye came into this place ... Who went in the way before you, to search you out a place to pitch your tents in, in fire by night, to shew you by what way ye should go, and in a cloud by day (Deuteronomy 1:31-33).

In the coming millennial age, God's protection, victory and guidance on behalf of His people will be just as evident as it was in the days of their inception. God's faithfulness is unfailing. This divine acceptance is not reserved strictly for the nation of Israel. The Lord has promised to adopt into His family any individual who is willing to overcome the powers of darkness by placing his faith in Jesus Christ.

He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son (Revelation 21:7).

Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Delight of Zion's Remnant: The Peace after the Purging (Part II)

"And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem: When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning." (Isaiah 4:3-4)

In a near sense, after Nebuchadnezzar decimated the city, the Lord did take special interest in the Jewish survivors. Under the leadership of Jeshua and Zerubbabel, the first wave of exiles returned to Jerusalem for the purpose of rebuilding the temple. During the years between the temple's completion and the return of Ezra, the Lord used Esther and Mordecai to deliver His people from a Jewish holocaust. In 457 BC, Ezra journeyed from Babylon with the second wave of exiles; and finally, in 444 BC, Nehemiah led the third return, and the walls of Jerusalem were completed shortly thereafter. Although the Jewish people still struggled with apathy and disobedience as testified in the books of Ezra, Nehemiah and Malachi, many of them returned as God-fearing individuals purged of idolatry.

The full fulfillment of this prophecy would seem to be found in the return of Israel's Messiah. At the dawn of the millennial kingdom, God Almighty will remove the blindness from the eyes of His people; and they will with one heart believe in Jesus Christ. This truth is found in Ezekiel 11:19 and 36:26.

And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh ... A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

A man is truly holy only when he is clothed with the holiness of God; therefore, Zion's citizens will be called holy when they have accepted the second covenant which has been ratified by the blood of Jesus Christ.

Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more (Jeremiah 31:31-34).

God promised to purge Israel's sin by a spirit of judgment and burning. God knows what it will take to bring His people to a place of repentant faith in the blood of Christ. His Spirit exercises perfect judgment at all times, and His Spirit burns through the false and the temporary in order to expose the true and the eternal. The Lord has been dealing with His people for a long time, and the troubles of the end times will be used of God to burn away the pride of Israel's citizens. When God's Spirit of judgment and burning is fully finished with Israel, she will be ready to bow the knee and find her rest in the righteousness of the Holy One of Israel.

And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn ... In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness (Zechariah 12:10, 13:1).

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Delight of Zion's Remnant: The Peace after the Purging

"And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach." (Isaiah 4:1)

The prepositional phrase "in that day" is referring back to the end of chapter three's context. After Nebuchadnezzar and his army destroyed Jerusalem, males would be so scarce that the remaining female population would be deprived of husbands. Israel's departure from God would leave her bereaved of male leadership. In the culture of Isaiah's day, to be an unmarried woman was a shameful thing; therefore, women would neglect normal modesty and take upon themselves the responsibility of seeking a husband.

The desperation of their situation is seen in the fact that they were willing to fend for themselves in every way with the exception of taking on the name of a man. Of course, God's original designs upon Israel did not allow for such a sad state of affairs. Such things would be so only because of disobedience on the part of Israel. Yet, through it all, God's mercy would keep His people from complete annihilation.

"In that day shall the branch of the LORD be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel." 
(Isaiah 4:2)

Without doubt, the remaining verses of chapter four are difficult to expound. Does one view these things strictly within the context of the Babylonian invasion's aftermath, or does he consider the possibility of a future millennial meaning? In light of these things, the safest option would be to consider the possibility of both a near and a far fulfillment.

After the pain of chastening had past, Israel's survivors would once again appreciate the things of God. The Lord's blessing would once again be upon Israel's agriculture as the Lord cared for the needs of His people. To a degree, this can be seen in postexilic accounts found in biblical books such as Ezra, Esther and Nehemiah.

In a more distant sense, the "branch of the LORD" could be in reference to Christ Himself. In Isaiah 11:1, the title of Branch is used in clear reference to Christ, although the Hebrew word behind it is different from the one used here. In Jeremiah 23:5-6, the Holy Spirit boldly declares God the Son to be that righteous Branch Who will spiritually and physically restore Israel in the millennial kingdom.

Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely....

Jeremiah 33:15-16 echoes the same prophecy almost word for word.

In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land. In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely....

Finally, in Zechariah 3:8 and 6:12-13, the title of Branch is ascribed to Joshua the high priest as God uses him to picture Jesus Christ, the great High Priest.

Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH ... Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD: Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.

Jesus Christ is the "root out of a dry ground (Isaiah 55:2)." He is that Branch Who will spiritually restore Israel after the Great Tribulation has passed. When this glorious event takes place, the survivors of Israel will fully appreciate the beauty and glory of God as seen in the Person of His Son. Physically speaking, the earth will be changed in the millennial kingdom. The sin curse will be lifted, and the land of Israel will once again be a beautiful and fruitful country on account of the Lord's healing presence.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Desolation of Zion's Rebels: Jerusalem's Poverty

"Moreover the LORD saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet:" (Isaiah 3:16)

Jerusalem had physical wealth, but she was spiritually destitute. This spiritual poverty is seen in the immodest, audacious behavior of her female citizens.

The character of these women is in direct opposition to that of the quiet, productive and God-fearing woman of Proverbs 31. God first calls them haughty or proud. Rather than displaying a demeanor of humility, they walked with their necks and faces held out in arrogance. The wanton eyes refers to winking or ogling. They were unclean spiritually and morally. Rather than being reserved for one husband, each woman was putting herself on display. In fact, the text's description of these women and their behavior seems to suggest that many of them may have been prostitutes.

Mincing means to skip. They were skipping along in short steps in order to incite a sound from the leg and ankle ornaments which they wore.

"Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the LORD will discover their secret parts. In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their cauls, and their round tires like the moon, the chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers, the bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the earrings, the rings, and nose jewels, the changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins, the glasses, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the vails." (Isaiah 3:17-23)

The Lord promised to deal with the pride of Jerusalem's women. Their supercilious actions were representative of the heart attitude of the entire population. Through the future Babylonian invasion, God would deal a bloody blow to the head of Jerusalem. When the enemy came, he would leave nothing behind. These arrogant women would have all of their ornaments removed and they themselves would suffer the shame of want and nakedness when God brought about the horrors of invasion and captivity.

As the text reveals all that God would remove from their personage, it is interesting to note how the attire represented the heart attitude. A person's dress directly reflects what he or she believes on the inside. As will be seen, the ornaments of Jerusalem's women demonstrated the reality of their apostasy.

The bravery of tinkling ornaments is literally the beauty of anklets or bangles. This jewelry which was worn about the feet would jingle and sparkle as the wearer skipped along in a dancing walk.

A caul represents a close-fitting hair net or some type of hairband which was perhaps made of gold.

A round tire means a moon or crescent. In Judges 8:21, the same word is translated ornaments. When Gideon killed Zebah and Zalmuna, he removed the ornaments or crescents that were around the necks of their camels. Quite probably, this type of jewelry reflected some form of heathen worship such as worshiping the moon.

Chains and bracelets would seem to be that jewelry which is commonly worn about the neck and wrists. Mufflers represent veils worn about the face, and bonnets are likely some form of turban. Turbans were not limited to the male gender. The root word from which bonnet is derived means to glorify, beautify or adorn; therefore, it was some form of headdress designed to make the wearer attractive.

The phrase translated tablets literally reads houses of the breath, soul or life. Quite likely, these were scent-bottles that housed various pleasant odors which acted as perfume for the wearer. Such things were common in the day. In an effort to entice the young foolish man of Proverbs 7, the harlot told him, "I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon (Proverbs 7:17)."

The root behind the word earrings, means whisperings or charmings. It is the same word behind orator in verse three. This jewelry may have been amulets (inscribed ornamentation worn to keep away death and evil spirits). Some believe that this jewelry may have contained the images of serpents which represented Israel's snake-charming practices. The ungodliness of such things should be readily apparent since the Lord gave strict commands to Israel to keep away from sorcery and witchcraft.

The rings were likely finger-rings and the nose jewels were worn in the nostril. The changeable suits of apparel represented their festival dresses which could be changed for the occasion at hand. A mantle would be the outer coat of the middle-eastern apparel, and a wimple is a headdress which covers the head, neck and sides of the face. A crisping pin is literally a bag, purse or satchel used to carry money or accessories.

The glasses may have been large sheets of polished metal used for looking at one's own appearance. In Isaiah 8:1, the Lord told Isaiah to take a great roll upon which to record his prophecies. The word for roll is the same word used for glasses; therefore, a looking-glass would seem to be a good understanding of what is being represented.

The fine linen represents costly material, and the hoods and veils are types of headdresses and cloths worn on or about the face.

God noticed every last detail of their attire. Nothing escaped His attention. The carefree attitude, the immodesty, the arrogance, the jewelry associated with divination and sorcery, all was seen by God; and it did not please Him.

"And it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of well set hair baldness; and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth; and burning instead of beauty. Thy men shall fall by the sword, and thy mighty in the war. And her gates shall lament and mourn; and she being desolate shall sit upon the ground." (Isaiah 3:24-26)

Rebellion is short-lived. Jerusalem's women looked and acted like the females of the heathen nations, but God promised to turn their arrogance into desolation. All of the fancy clothing would be removed. The nice-smelling perfume would be replaced by the disgusting odor of rotting corpses and unsanitary living conditions. The males would be scarce due to slaughter by the Babylonians, and these carefree women would sit down on the ground in desolation. Such a posture fully represented the emptiness and hopelessness of their condition.

God did not want Israel to come to this point, that is why He sent His warning through the prophets. God does not take pleasure in the destruction of people. He sends warning through His Word; however, most people refuse to change until it is too late.  

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Desolation of Zion's Rebels: Jerusalem's Oppressors

"As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths." (Isaiah 3:12)

According to Genesis, God made a man to be the head of his home, and He made the woman to be man's helpmeet. Children are the product of a union between one man and one woman, a union separated only by death. To reverse these things and have the subordinate child become the head would be indicative of an evil state of affairs. Also, the woman being made for the man is not to exercise authority over him (I Timothy 2:12-15). Israel's disobedience had left them with a series of role reversals which were void of God's blessing.

Many Christians think nothing of having female leadership either locally or nationally; however, God's design is that a man hold the position of leadership. When Deborah judged Israel, it was during a time of spiritual depravity. God had allowed her to hold such a position as a rebuke to the cowardly and apostate male leadership of her day. In fact, she herself recognized that male authority was ideal and proper; this is why she rebuked Barak of his unwillingness to go against the Canaanites without her. As the world becomes more wicked and godly men become fewer in number, it may be necessary to choose between the lesser of two evils and vote for a conservative woman over a liberal man; however, such an arrangement is not biblically ideal.

"The LORD standeth up to plead, and standeth to judge the people. The LORD will enter into judgment with the ancients of his people, and the princes thereof: for ye have eaten up the vineyard; the spoil of the poor is in your houses. What mean ye that ye beat my people to pieces, and grind the faces of the poor? saith the Lord GOD of hosts." (Isaiah 3:13-15)

The text pictures the great God rising up out of His seat and standing firmly in opposition to the oppressive leadership of Isaiah's day. Men striving against one another in a court of law is one thing; however, it is quite another thing to enter into judgment with the Creator. "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:31)."

The Lord promised to judge against the elderly and the princes of Israel. These are two groups which should have known better. Age should bring wisdom. A man should draw closer to God with time if he is walking in the fear of God. A man should hold the position of a prince because he has demonstrated a love for God and people and a willingness to adhere to biblical judgment. The leadership of Isaiah's day were thieves and oppressors. The text declares that they had stolen the fruits of others' vineyards as well as all types of spoil.

The political and civil oppression had become so bad that God likened it to the threshing and grinding of wheat. As a man would beat out the ears of grain and grind them in a mill, the leadership was threshing and grinding ever last bit of physical wealth that remained in the people.

God does not take kindly the oppression of those who already have very little. Such an attitude is in direct of opposition to Proverbs 14:31. "He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor."

Sunday, January 3, 2016

The Desolation of Zion's Rebels: Jerusalem's Impudence

"The shew of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves." (Isaiah 3:9)

The expression of the face is often the best way of determining the direction of the heart. Judah's citizens had an unmistakable look about them. Something was missing, and that something was the fear of the Lord. In recent days, this same godless expression has become very popular on the faces of many professing Christians. A man may constantly affirm that he loves God; however, his countenance and his actions are the most honest witnesses of his heart's motives. "Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit (Matthew 12:33)."

"Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings. Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him." (Isaiah 3:10-11)

The world knows only two types of people: the righteous and the wicked, the individual who is in Christ and the individual who is outside of Christ. There is no middle ground. All men struggle with a sin nature. The believer will give in to his flesh at some point; however, the individual who is clothed in the righteousness of God will eventually manifest himself as a child of God, and the unrighteous man will eventually manifest himself as a child of the devil.

God, Who cannot lie (Titus 1:2), promises that He will recompense the rebel for his disobedience. He also promises that He will care for His own. In the middle of Judah's religious and political turmoil, God promised to watch over His people. Even with the encroaching threat of the Assyrian and Babylonian Empires, the Lord promised to keep those who belonged to Him.