Acknowledge the Holiness of the Holy One (Isaiah 29:15-24)

Three different settings addressed by Isaiah:
  1. 1-39 (740-700 B.C.): Isaiah's own times. The Assyrian threat.
  2. 40-55 (585-540 B.C.): Judean exiles in Babylon. The Babylonian exile.
  3. 56-66 (539 B.C. onwards): Conditions in Judah after the return from exile.
Isaiah 1-39 OutlineTrust God--The Assyrian threat.
  • 1-5 The problem: A lack of servanthood.Trust God and do not rebel.
  • 6 [740 BC] The solution: A call to servanthood. Trust God and your sins are covered.
  • 7-39 Lessons in trust, the basis of servanthood. [Trust God--NOT Assyria (7-12, 36-39), NOT the nations (13-23), NOT the world (24-27), NOT Egypt (28-33).
    • 7-12 God or Assyria: No trust. The need to study lessons in trust again.
    • 13-23 God's judgment over the nations. Don't trust the nations.
    • 24-27 God's triumph over the nations. God is the sovereign actor on the stage of history.
    • 28-33 The folly of trusting the nations. Woe to those who will not wait/trust God.
    • 34-35 The results of trusting God or the nations: A desert or a garden.
    • 36-39 God or Assyria: Trust. [701 BC]


Repentance and Rest are Inseparable (Isaiah 30:15)

"This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: 'In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it'" (Isa 30:15, NIV).

"This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: 'Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength. But you would have none of it'" (Isa 30:15, NLT).

The Connection between Repentance and Rest (John Oswalt, Isaiah, the NIV Application Commentary, 2003):


God Longs to be Gracious to You (Isaiah 30)

"In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it" (Isa 30:15). "Yet the Lord longs [waits] to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!" (Isa 30:18)

Despite our refusal to trust God, yet God is gracious. In one of the greatest statements in all of Scripture, God says that since Israel will not wait for [trust in] him (Isa 30:15), he will have to wait (NIV "longs") to be gracious to them (Isa 30:18).

Man's common problem: Not waiting. This leads to making bad decisions. Then we regret as we experience undesirable results and consequences. The problem of God's people during Isaiah's time was that they could not wait on God to deliver them when they were under duress from the threat of Assyrian invasion. So they rushed off to depend on Egypt for help, which God regards as useless.


The Deaf Hear, the Blind See (Isa 29:15-24 questions)

"In that day the deaf will hear the words of the scroll, and out of gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see" (Isa 29:18).
  1. [15-24] What is the rebuke of the third "woe" (Isa 29:15; Gen 3:8)? What are they hiding (Isa 30:1-2; 31:1)? What are the first two woes that brought sorrow (28:1ff [1-13]; 29:1ff [1–14, esp. 9–14])? What brings woe and sorrow here? How does it relate to the first two woes (Isa 2:22; 7:9b)?
  2. How do they turn things upside down (Isa 29:16; Rom 9:20-21)? How easy is this to do? Do you think you can hide things from God (Gen 3:7-8)? Do you use God to further what you want to accomplish?
  3. Notice the proportion of condemnation (29:15-16) to promise (29:17-24) here as opposed to the proportions in 28:1–22 (28:16-21) and 29:1–14 (29:5-8). Keep this in mind in the next four chapters.
  4. What is promised (Isa 29:17-19, 20-21)? How does it relate to the problems detailed thus far in chs. 28–29 (28:1, 9, 14, 23; 29:1, 9-14, 15-16)?
  5. What is the predicted response to conviction, repentance and redemption (Isa 29:22-24)? How do we do that?
When thinking of the tone of this section [29:9-14] as compared with the previous one remember Isaiah's typical approach to promise: it is to bring his audience back to the present reality.


Isaiah 2015 at West Loop, Philippines and Malaysia

The key verses for the rest of my life emphasize "the gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 20:24) and "the whole counsel of God" (Acts 20:27). As part of the whole counsel of God, I was inspired to study Isaiah in 2015. I have been reluctant to study Isaiah because it is 66 chapters in length! But as I studied and prepared for each sermon each week in 2015, I have been in awe with wonder as to the depth and scope and majesty of Isaiah.

So far I have preached 23 sermons from the first 28 chapters of Isaiah (West Loop sermons from Isaiah). Very briefly, here are ten life lessons from Isaiah:
  1. Grace: The grace of God (Isa 1:18; 5:4).
  2. Stupidity: The stupidity of man (Isa 1:3; 28:23-29).
  3. Hypocrisy: The fake Christian life (Isa 1:13; 29:13).
  4. Authenticity: The real Christian life (Isa 2:5, 3; 7:4; 8:12b-13).


How To Seek God First, Jan 2, 2016

I wrote about how I first applied Matthew 6:33 in the 1980's and 90's in my first post of 2016: How To Seek First God's Kingdom. How might I apply Matthew 6:33 today? These are my random, rambling, ruminating, reflections:
  • Don't cheat my conscience. Paul says, "So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man" (Ac 24:16, NIV). I cheat my conscience when I do and think of what I should have no business doing and thinking of. Yet like Paul I know that I do not do what I want, but instead do what I do not want to do (Ro 7:15-16). Lord, have mercy.
  • Guard my heart. Proverbs says, "Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life" (Pro 4:23, NLT). I need to do so because "The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?" (Jer 17:9, NLT)
  • Delight in the Scriptures (Ac 20:27). The psalmist cried out, "Oh, how I love your instructions! I think about them all day long" (Ps 119:97, NLT). Also, the psalmist said, "Instead, his delight is in the Lord's instruction, and he meditates on it day and night" (Ps 1:2, HCSB).