Thursday, June 8, 2017

The Woe of the Spoilers (Part IV)

"Hear, ye that are far off, what I have done; and, ye that are near, acknowledge my might. The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; He shall dwell on high: his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure." (Isaiah 33:13-16)

God calls for an audience. He demands that each be still in the face of the salvation which He is about to exercise upon His people. The sinners of Zion had long rejected Isaiah's reproofs, but they were soon to acknowledge the reality of their predicament.

The Lord asks a timeless question. Who is able to live with the devouring fire and the everlasting burnings? In the face of God's judgment, who will be safe? With turmoil in the city and fear without, who can find peace? The question is answered by the Lord through His prophet; and the answer is as timeless as the question. In any age and in any situation, the man who truly trusts God will be the one who abides these impossible odds. By listing a series of actions performed from the heart, God is teaching a change of works because of a change of heart. As is often the case, the Holy Spirit is not teaching salvation by works but rather salvation resulting in works. This same truth is taught in Ephesians 2:10. "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." Through his lifestyle and speech, the redeemed man displays a change of ownership in his life. By his hatred of money gotten by immoral means as well as his distaste for bribery, he shows a love for people that is impossible to display apart from the implanted love of God. He refuses to sit and to listen to those who plot murder and thievery much less be a part of such atrocities. The exact opposite attitude is seen of those who do not fear God in Psalm 50:18. When some wickedness comes within eyesight, the righteous man turns away. He knows within his soul that his spirit, soul and body belong to God and his actions show it. This passage does not speak well of those who believe that no man's relationship with God may be judged by his attitude and actions.

What is the end reward of such a man? He will dwell securely with God. Regardless of what physical ailments befall him, his soul is safe in the arms of his Messiah. His eternal security cannot be removed or molested by evil. The munitions of rocks carries with it the idea of a strong cliff, the face of which cannot be scaled and the height of which offers a supreme advantage. Such a man will be fed with the everlasting bread and his thirst quenched with everlasting water. Jesus said, "...I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst (John 6:35)." Isaiah's prophecies must have brought hope to the God-fearing. With fear in the city of Jerusalem and certain death in the camp of the Assyrians, the righteous among the Israelites could find a precious refuge in God. If such was the case in Isaiah's day, such is the case now.

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