The Spoils Taken by the Lame and the Weak
The Only Peace of Mind
TEXT FOR PRAYER
Come To God As Little Children
This afternoon we shall continue reading from “The Mount of Blessing.” We shall take up where we left off last week, page 191.
M.B., pg. 191 – “But do not forget that in coming to God as a father, you acknowledge your relation to Him as a child. You not only trust His goodness, but in all things yield to His will, knowing that His love is changeless. You give yourself to do His work. It was to those whom He had bidden to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness that Jesus gave the promise, 'Ask, and ye shall receive.'
“The gifts of Him who has all power in heaven and earth are in store for the children of God. Gifts so precious that they come to us through the costly sacrifice of the Redeemer's blood; gifts that will satisfy the deepest craving of the heart; gifts lasting as eternity, will be received and enjoyed by all who will come to God as little children. Take God's promises as your own, plead them before Him as His own words, and you will receive fullness of joy.”
Let us pray for realization that our relationship to God is as a child's relationship to its parents; that we trust God in all things as a child trusts its parents; that we know that if we give ourselves wholly to do His will and work, then we may ask and receive; that He has in store for us gifts to satisfy the deepest craving of the heart, gifts lasting as eternity; and that if we only go to Him as little children and take Him at His word, all these promises in His Word shall be ours.
This subject is found in Isaiah 33. We shall begin our study with–
Isa. 33:1 – “Woe to thee that spoilest, and thou wast not spoiled; and dealest treacherously, and they dealt not treacherously with thee! when thou shalt cease to spoil, thou shalt be spoiled; and when thou shalt make an end to deal treacherously, they shall deal treacherously with thee.”
Taking into consideration what follows in this chapter and in the next two chapters (for chapters 34 and 35 are a part of the subject that is in chapter 33), it becomes clear that the one upon whom “woe” is pronounced is the church preceding “the great and dreadful day of the Lord,” the day in which the sinners of Zion perish, the day in which the repentant ones are given their reward, – “the day of the Lord's vengeance, and the year of recompenses for the controversy of Zion.” Isa. 34:8.
The church is especially pointed out by the fact that, unlike the Old Testament Church, she has been spoiling but has not been spoiled; that she has been dealing treacherously but she herself has not been so dealt with. Inspiration, however, goes on to forecast a reverse of this situation: The church shall be spoiled and dealt with treacherously. His faithful ones in the midst of her, however, shall find grace, for they plead:
Verse 2 – “O Lord, be gracious unto us; we have waited for Thee: be Thou their arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble.”
This verse shows that while the pronouncement of woe (verse 1) is being made, at the same time a deep-rooted reformation is taking place among God's Truth-seeking people. They are praying, not for themselves alone, but for their brethren also. They fully realize that they are approaching the time of trouble, and their hope lies in the fact that they have waited for the Lord. God's power shall be felt throughout the earth:
Verse 3 – “At the noise of the tumult the people fled; at the lifting up of Thyself the nations were scattered.”
This verse reveals that when God manifests His power among His people, the world will feel the effects of it.
Verse 4 – “And your spoil shall be gathered like the gathering of the caterpillar: as the running to and fro of locusts shall he run upon them.”
The spoils which the church has acquired, He gathers as the gathering of the caterpillar. Then it shall be said:
Verse 5 – “The Lord is exalted; for He dwelleth on high: He hath filled Zion with judgment and righteousness.”
When these things take place, then Zion (the church purified) will be filled with judgment and righteousness. Moreover, God's faithful ones have this assurance:
Verse 6 – “And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation: the fear of the Lord is His treasure.”
But concerning their unrepented mighty ones, Inspiration declares:
Verse 7 – “Behold, their valiant ones shall cry without: the ambassadors of peace shall weep bitterly.”
Here we see that those who are proclaiming peace rather than the day of God, shall “weep bitterly.”
Verse 8 – “The highways lie waste, the wayfaring man ceaseth: he hath broken the covenant, he hath despised the cities, he regardeth no man.”
In the language of today this verse would read: The missionary routes lie waste; the missionary himself ceaseth; he has broken his contract; he has despised the cities; he regards no man.
Verse 9 – “The earth mourneth and languisheth: Lebanon is ashamed and hewn down: Sharon is like a wilderness; and Bashan and Carmel shake off their fruits.”
The nouns in this verse being profoundly figurative, and the time of fulfillment yet future, we are unprepared to make any comments.
Verse 10 – “Now will I rise, saith the Lord; now will I be exalted; now will I lift up Myself.”
At the time the conditions here described materialize, then it is that the Lord will arise and be exalted and lifted up. But to those that are at fault He forewarns:
Verse 11 – “Ye shall conceive chaff, ye shall bring forth stubble: your breath, as fire, shall devour you.”
Turning to the sinners and hypocrites among His people, those upon whom the woe of verse one is actually pronounced, God reveals that the fruit of their doings shall be chaff and stubble, that their own breath shall devour them as if it were fire. Moreover, concerning their followers He adds:
Verse 12 – “And the people shall be as the burnings of lime: as thorns cut up shall they be burned in the fire.”
Having commenced His purifying work in Zion, He declares:
Verses 13, 14 – “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?”
When the righteous Judge rises to sift the people, then the hypocrites will not be boasting that they “are just as good Christians as any.” Neither will they say anymore, “We do not need more Truth.” Instead, fearfulness and surprise will overtake them. The greatest and most honorable question will then be, “Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?”
And here is the all-inclusive answer:
Verses 15-17 – “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. Thine eyes shall see the king in His beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off.”
Passing from this expression of Divine care and scene of beauty, they are next told:
Verses 18 – “Thine heart shall meditate terror. Where is the scribe? where is the receiver? where is he that counted the towers?”
Terrifying indeed is the realization that those who are found without the wedding garment (among whom are those who hold the highest church offices, secretary and treasurer) are cast out to weep and gnash their teeth. But the remnant, those who are left, shall be exalted. To them the Lord says:
Verses 19 – “Thou shalt not see a fierce people, a people of a deeper speech than thou canst perceive; of a stammering tongue, that thou canst not understand.”
The guests who pass the Master's inspection are actually to be made great. Be it in comprehension of a deep speech, or be it in understanding of a stammering tongue, none shall be greater than they. The eyes of the faithful are next directed to the city of God.
Verse 20 – “Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities: thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken.”
After the troublemakers have been removed, then God's people will be seen to stand steadfast and sure, standing not even the slightest chance of ever being disturbed. And the saints shall be full of joy. Even now they exclaim:
Verses 21, 22 – “But there the glorious Lord will be unto us a place of broad rivers and streams; wherein shall go no galley with oars, neither shall gallant ship pass thereby. For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; He will save us.”
All these things shall be ours if we are but faithful to the end. Again addressing the church that is approaching the great and dreadful day of the Lord, He declares–
Verse 23 – “Thy tacklings are loosed; they could not well strengthen their mast, they could not spread the sail: then is the prey of a great spoil divided; the lame take the prey.”
They that obey not the voice of the Lord, are here fore-warned that the day is at hand when they will find themselves unable any longer to gather spoil. Then it is that their spoil shall be divided, and the lame – the seemingly weak and helpless – shall take the prey.
Verse 24 – “And the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick: the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity.”
Just think! In a little while, if we be faithful, no longer will any of us need to say, I am sick.
Now to review a few of the high points of our study:
Upon the unfaithful who are approaching “the great and dreadful day of the Lord,” God pronounces a curse: The church is to be stripped of the spoil which she has acquired and is to be dealt with treacherously just as she has dealt with others.
Very obviously, at the time this pronouncement is made, a deep-rooted reformation is taking place among God's Truth-seeking people. They recognize the fact that they are approaching the time of trouble, and they are reassured that their stability and strength of salvation are to be found in wisdom and knowledge, in the Spirit and in the Truth for the day. The fear of the Lord is to be their greatest treasure.
When God manifests His power among His people, even the world will feel the effects of it. The missionary routes lie waste, the missionary himself ceases; he regards no man. God reveals that the fruit of the sinners and hypocrites among His people, shall be chaff and stubble; their own breath shall devour them as if it were fire. Fearfulness and surprise shall overtake them.
Then it is that Zion, the church purified, is to be filled with judgment and righteousness. God is at that time to be exalted and lifted up. His people who have walked uprightly, shall be blessed with His Divine care. Their eyes shall see the King and His beauty; the church shall be steadfast and sure, never to be
disturbed; the spoil which the denomination has acquired, will be taken by the lame – by God's true people. They shall be forgiven their iniquities, and their health shall be restored. Yes, the promise to you is sure:…thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward” (Isa. 58:8), if you will but give heed to this solemn warning and remain faithful to it.
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