The Dispersion, the Time and the Deliverance
The Only Peace of Mind
TEXT FOR PRAYER
Our Necessities Supplied
I shall read from “The Mount of Blessing,” p. 190, the paragraph beginning in the middle of the page:
M.B., pg. 190 – “Every promise in the Word of God furnishes us with subject-matter for prayer, presenting the pledged word of Jehovah as our assurance. Whatever spiritual blessing we need, it is our privilege to claim through Jesus. We may tell the Lord, with the simplicity of a child, exactly what we need. We may state to Him our temporal matters; asking Him for bread and raiment as well as for the bread of life and the robe of Christ's righteousness. Your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things, and you are invited to ask Him concerning them. It is through the name of Jesus that every favor is received. God will honor that name, and will supply your necessities from the riches of His liberality.”
Let us now summarize what we should pray for this afternoon. We need to pray for solid faith in the assurance that regardless what spiritual and temporal blessings we may need, it is our privilege to go to the Lord with the simplicity of a child and claim these blessings in the name of Jesus. We need to pray for help to take God at His word; pray for a realization that He means just what He says when He promises to honor the name of Jesus and to supply our necessities from His immeasurable riches.
This afternoon we are to study Isaiah, chapters 31 and 32. In these chapters we shall see the cause of Zion's captivity by the Gentiles, their time limit, and antitypical Israel's deliverance:
Isa. 31:1-4 – “Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the Lord! Yet He also is wise, and will bring evil, and will not call back His words: but will arise against the house of the evildoers, and against the help of them that work iniquity. Now the Egyptians are men, and not God; and their horses flesh, and not Spirit. When the Lord shall stretch out His hand, both he that helpeth shall fall, and he that is holpen shall fall down, and they all shall fail together. For thus hath the Lord spoken unto me, Like as the lion and the young lion roaring on his prey, when a multitude of shepherds is called forth against him, he will not be afraid of their voice, nor abase himself for the noise of them: so shall the Lord of hosts come down to fight for Mount Zion, and for the hill thereof.”
Though the Lord permitted His ancient kingdom to be taken by the Gentiles, this scripture shows that He will soon deliver it. Not only will He deliver His people and Mount Zion, but He will defend them, too.
Verses 5, 6 – “As birds flying, so will the Lord of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also He will deliver it; and passing over He will preserve it. Turn ye unto Him from Whom the children of Israel have deeply revolted.”
Having now come to the time of their deliverance, the Lord is pleading with His people to turn to Him – to reform.
Verses 7 – “For in that day every man shall cast away his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which your own hands have made unto you for a sin.”
To turn to Him, He explains, is to cast away every idol. When such great revival and reformation takes place among God's people, He continues:
Verses 8, 9 – “Then shall the Assyrian fall with the sword, not of a mighty man; and the sword, not of a mean man, shall devour him: but he shall flee from the sword, and his young men shall be discomfited. And he shall pass over to his strong hold for fear, and his princes shall be afraid of the ensign, saith the Lord, Whose fire is in Zion, and His furnace in Jerusalem.”
Because of idolatry, the Assyrian was permitted to take God's ancient people and their pleasant land. And certain it is that the Assyrian will control the land just so long as God's people continue in idolatry. But, just as soon as all idols are cast aside, – yes, as soon as the great revival and reformation takes place in the hearts of the people, – then the Assyrian (the power that now rules them) shall certainly fall, and God's people shall just as certainly return. The Assyrian shall thus fall, not at the sword of a mighty man, and not of a mean man, but “through the voice of the Lord shall the Assyrian be beaten down, which smote with a rod.” Isa. 30:31.
Isa. 32:1-8 – “Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment. And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place; as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. And the eyes of them that see shall not be dim, and the ears of them that hear shall hearken. The heart also of the rash shall understand knowledge, and the tongue of the stammerers shall be ready to speak plainly.
“The vile person shall be no more called liberal, nor the churl said to be bountiful. For the vile person will speak villany, and his heart will work iniquity, to practice hypocrisy, and to utter error against the Lord, to make empty the soul of the hungry, and he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail. The instruments also of the churl are evil: he deviseth wicked devices to destroy the poor with lying words, even when the needy speaketh right. But the liberal deviseth liberal things; and by liberal things shall he stand.”
Turning again to his ancient people, Inspiration declared, that though their kingdom was doomed to fall, yet one day a King shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment; that in that day a Man shall be as an hiding place, as water in a dry place, and as a shadow of a great rock in a weary land (Isa. 32:2); that though the people were spiritually blind and could not see, yet there is a day coming when those who have eyes shall clearly see, and those who have ears shall plainly hear; that the heart of the rash shall then understand knowledge and the tongue of the stammerer be ready to speak plainly; that the vile person shall then be recognized as vile, and the churl shall no more be called bountiful; that the vile persons and hypocrites shall be known as those who speak error against the Lord and who endeavor to cheat the spiritually hungry and thirsty soul; that, on the other hand, the churl will be seen to be those who devise wicked means by which to make the poor ever poorer (Isa. 32:7).
Verses 9-14 – “Rise up, ye women that are at ease; hear My voice, ye careless daughters; give ear unto My speech. Many days and years shall ye be troubled, ye careless women: for the vintage shall fail, the gathering shall not come. Tremble, ye women that are at ease; be troubled, ye careless ones: strip you, and make you bare, and gird sackcloth upon your loins.
“They shall lament for the teats, for the pleasant fields, for the fruitful vine. Upon the land of My people shall come up thorns and briers; yea, upon all the houses of joy in the joyous city: because the palaces shall be forsaken; the multitude of the city shall be left; the forts and towers shall be for dens for ever, a joy of wild asses, a pasture of flocks.”
The “women” here referred to are doubtless “Aholah” and “Aholibah” (Ezek. 23), the figurative names of Judah and Israel. Here is described their dispersion among the Gentiles, the punishment which they were to bear.
Verse 15 – “Until the Spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest.”
Here we are told that the people are to be among the Gentiles, and the land remain desolate until the Spirit be poured upon them from on high. Then will they return.
We have now already seen the reason for the dispersion and that the pouring of the Spirit marks the people's deliverance. Yes, then no longer will their land be in captivity, no longer will their houses be desolate. Even the wilderness shall become a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be counted for a forest – there shall be then an abundant harvest of souls.
Verses 16-20 – “Then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field. And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever. And My people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places; when it shall hail, coming down on the forest; and the city shall be low in a low place. Blessed are ye that sow beside all waters, that send forth thither the feet of the ox and the ass.”
Now what have we learned from these two chapters of Isaiah? Actually we have had a summary of the subject which the previous chapters treated. Now even more vividly than before we see that ancient Israel's idolatry forced God to permit them to be ruled by the Assyrians. He is, however, well able to deliver them when His people hear His plea and lay aside their idols; when they turn again unto the Lord, when this great revival and reformation called for in this chapter is finally effected. Thus it is that “through the voice of the Lord shall the Assyrian be beaten down, which smote with a rod.” Isa. 30:31. Hence forth a King shall reign in righteousness. Then the vile persons and hypocrites shall be treated as such. In that day shall there be a great and glorious harvest of souls. Now that we have plainly seen the time, the need, and the deliverance, let us Brother, Sister, bring that day closer by parting with all our idols, and turning our hearts fully and unreservedly unto our God.