Isaiah 27:7-13

Sunday Morning Bible Study

August 15, 1999

Introduction

We have been in the section of Isaiah known as "Isaiahís Apocalypse". It covers chapters 24-27, and deals with what we know as the "end times".

:7 Hath he smitten him, as he smote those that smote him?

(Isa 27:7 NLT) Has the LORD punished Israel in the same way he has punished her enemies? No, for he devastated her enemies,

God doesnít treat His people the same way as He treats those who are His enemies.

Bad things happen to all kinds of people. For those who are Godís enemies, bad things can happen to them in order to destroy them. But for those that God loves, when bad things happen, they are allowed to happen only to help us grow up.

:8 In measure, when it shooteth forth, thou wilt debate with it: he stayeth his rough wind in the day of the east wind.

This is apparently a difficult verse to translate. Some of the versions carry slightly different ideas.

In measure Ė saseah, which comes from seah, a unit of measure for flour or grain

Keep in mind, the context is talking about how God "smites" Israel, how Israel is "smitten" differently than those enemies of God. I think Iíd probably put the verse into a little more Modern English this way:

God "smites" Israel in a measured way, sending Israel away, He strives with Israel; He has removed His harshest wind when He blows them away with the east wind.

God is careful in how He disciplines His people. Itís carefully measured out. He debates over just what is to be done. Itís all according to what we can handle.

Lesson

God is cautious and exact in His discipline.

In Leviticus 26, God lays out the punishments He will have to follow through with if His people donít obey Him. It starts with some pretty rough stuff. But over and over (four times) a certain phrase pops up:

(Lev 26:18 KJV) And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins.

The point is that God doesnít come against His people with the harshest punishment at the first sign of rebellion. Instead, He increases the punishment only after the people continue to not respond to His discipline.

God is our Father. And as a good Father, He knows how and when to discipline His children. We call these "spankings" "chastisement".

(Heb 12:6-11 KJV) For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. {7} If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

Donít feel bad if youíve experienced Godís "spankings" lately. It only shows that God loves you enough to try and get you away from your own destructive behavior.

{8} But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. {9} Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? {10} For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.

God doesnít "spank" us just because He loves to watch us squirm. He spanks us for our own good, so that we might learn to be more like Him. I donít spank my children because I love to hear the sound of a paddle whacking their bottoms. I hate that sound. Rather, I love to see my sons grow up in a manner that is honoring to God, and in a manner that they learn how to get along with other people.

{11} Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

If you "endure" (vs.7) the spankings and let them put you into "spiritual shape" ("exercised" Ė Greek word gumnazo, "gymnasium"), then you will find peace and righteousness growing in your life.

:9 By this therefore shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged Öwhen he maketh all the stones of the altar as chalkstones

chalkstones Ė A soft, powdery limestone, brittle and easily pulverized.

(Isa 27:9 NIV) By this, then, will Jacob's guilt be atoned for, and this will be the full fruitage of the removal of his sin: When he makes all the altar stones to be like chalk stones crushed to pieces, no Asherah poles or incense altars will be left standing.

There can be good altars and bad altars. Isaiah is talking about the bad altars, the ones that were dedicated to worshipping idols. They were to all be ground into fine dust.

Lesson

Forgiveness is tied to repentance.

There is a sense in which forgiveness is free, we simply receive it by faith as we confess our sins:

(1 John 1:9 KJV) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

But there is also a sense in which, if our confession of sin is sincere, that we will also repent from our sins. To "repent" means to turn around. If you are sincere in realizing that youíve done wrong with your sin, then you will not only ask for forgiveness, but you will turn from your sin.

For some, that means taking those things that were like "altars" in our lives, things that we just about worshipped, and destroying those things, like grinding them into chalk dust.

If you were involved with drugs, then a sincere repentance involves at least getting rid of all drugs and drug paraphernalia. You will find that you will want to get as far from the drug life as you possibly can. And itís only there that youíll be safe. If you want to hang around the places youíll be tempted, you will find yourself falling flat on your face, over and over and over again.

The Bible doesnít teach us to hang around the things that tempt us. The Bible teaches us to "flee" them:

(1 Cor 6:18 KJV) Flee fornication.

(1 Cor 10:14 KJV) Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.

(2 Tim 2:22 KJV) Flee also youthful lusts

Lesson

Good repentance and Bad repentance

Paul was concerned about the church in Corinth. While he was living in Ephesus, he heard some disturbing reports of things that were going on. In response, he wrote some pretty stern stuff in his letter to them, 1Corinthians:

(1 Cor 5:1-5 KJV) It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife. {2} And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. {3} For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, {4} In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, {5} To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

Pretty harsh stuff. But apparently it was needed. And the church responded. In the meantime, Paul has fled Ephesus for his life and has made it to Macedonia, where he hears about what has happened in Corinth. And by the time Paul writes 2Corinthians, things are on the mend and itís time to restore the repentant individual:

(2 Cor 2:4-8 KJV) For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you. {5} But if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part: that I may not overcharge you all. {6} Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. {7} So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. {8} Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him.

A little further into his second letter, he clarifies even further:

(2 Cor 7:4-11 KJV) Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation. {5} For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears. {6} Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus; {7} And not by his coming only, but by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in you, when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind toward me; so that I rejoiced the more. {8} For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season.

The word translated "repent" here (metamellomai) carries more the idea of "regret", the idea of "being sorry" for something. It is a word that deals with emotions, being sorrowful.

{9} Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.

The word translated "repentance" here (metanoia) means "change of mind". It carries the idea that you make a change in your "will", in your choice of what you do or donít do. As Paul will go on to describe, it involves a change in action.

{10} For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

There are two kinds of "sorrow". Two kinds of "repentance". One is to simply be sorry you got caught. They say that the prisons are full of men who are "sorry". But the problem is that many are just sorry they got caught. Godly sorrow involves a change of life.

{11} For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

A portrait of true repentance:

1. Godly sorrow (lupeo - to distress, to grieve)

There should be some tears involved in repentance. If the situation doesnít disturb you, somethingís wrong. But true repentance goes beyond just tears. It involves change.

2. Carefulness (NAS Ė "earnestness"; spoude - haste, diligence)

The idea is that you deal with the issue quickly. Donít drag your feet. Make things right and do it quickly.

3. Clearing of yourselves (NAS Ė "vindication"; apologia - a speech in defense)

Itís clearing your name.

Illustration

The man told his doctor that he wasnít able to do all the things
around the house that he used to do. When the examination was complete, he said, "Now, Doc, I can take it. Tell me in plain English what is wrong with me." "Well, in plain English," the doctor replied, "youíre just lazy." "Okay," said the man. "Now give me the medical term so I can tell my wife."

True Repentance means you donít make excuses. It means you say youíre sorry.

4. Indignation (aganaktesis Ė indignation; literally "much" + grief"; hence to be indignant)

Webster: Indignation: Anger aroused by injustice or unworthiness,

Itís not being indignant for being caught. True repentance means being grieved and upset over your sin, saying something like, "What I did was absolutely unfair and uncalled for". Sometimes the victory in our lives over certain areas just doesnít occur until we get to the point where our sin just totally makes us sick.

5. Fear (phobos, fear)

There should be a healthy, awesome fear of God, both a fear of hurting Him, as well as a fear of His chastisement.

6. Vehement desire (NAS Ė "longing"; epipothesis - longing)

This longing could apply to several areas such as a longing to make things right. Is there a yearning, a longing in my heart for the Lord, a longing to be with Him, a longing to please Him?

7. Zeal (zelos - zeal, jealousy; to boil, be hot)

Itís found in the verse:

JOH 2:17 His disciples remembered that it was written, "\Zeal for Thy house will consume me.\"

Where was this verse used? It was used of Jesus when He threw the moneychangers out of the temple. There was something wrong, and He had a burning inside Him to change the situation.

For some of us, we only change when others put pressure on us.

Illustration

A church ran a competition to find the most high-principled, sober, well-behaved local citizen. Among the entries came one which read: "I donít smoke. I donít touch intoxicants. I donít gamble. I am faithful to my wife and never look at another woman. I am hard-working, quiet and obedient. I never go to the movies or the theatre, and I go to bed early every night and rise with the dawn. I attend chapel regularly every Sunday without fail. "Iíve been like this for the past three years. But just wait till they let me out of here!"

God doesnít want you to change because someone watches you like a prison guard. He wants you to have a zeal from the inside that drives you to change.

8. Revenge (NAS Ė "avenging of wrong"; ekdikesis - vengeance, vindication)

In other words, you do something to change the situation from wrong to right. You do what it takes to make the situation right. If youíve committed a crime, it might mean turning yourself into the authorities. If youíve stolen something, you return it. Donít just say youíre sorry for breaking the window, pay for it and fix it.

9. In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear Ė (NAS Ė "in everything ... demonstrated ... to be innocent"; hagnos - free from ceremonial defilement, holy, sacred)

This isnít talking about proving that you didnít do something, but instead letting God do such a work of change in you that it would seem to others as if you hadnít done it at all. If youíve been an alcoholic and repent, then people will be surprised to hear you tell your testimony of alcohol abuse. Theyíll think that youíre the farthest thing from an alcoholic that they could have imagined.

True repentance affects more than just the one area ("In all things"). When a person is truly overcome with repentance, itís not just one area of their life that is going to change, but their whole life takes a new course.

There are times when people get caught in their sin, and they say theyíre sorry, but you have a hard time believing. These nine things are a good test to look at to see how sincere they are.

:10-11 Yet the defenced city shall be desolateÖthe women come, and set them on fire

This is probably talking about the cities that were enemies of God, like Babylon, in the last days (Rev. 17-18). We saw earlier a reference to a "defenced city" probably being Babylon (Is. 25:2). As enemies of God, they try to have all kinds of defenses against God, but will still be brought to nothing.

Some of the language is painting a picture of the city being like a tree or a bush that is withering away and dying.

:12 the LORD shall beat off Ö

beat off Ė thresh, to separate the grain from the chaff in the wheat.

the river Ė the Euphrates

the stream of Egypt Ė The Wadi el-Arish.

The picture is that of a vast "threshing floor" that covers the fullest extent of the land of Israel, which according to some boundaries could extend from the Euphrates river all the way to the border of Egypt. To "thresh" means to take a stalk of wheat and beat it in order to separate the grain of wheat from the outer shell of chaff. The picture is that of God separating those that are His from those that arenít.

:12 ye shall be gathered one by one

This is quite a tender picture. God doesnít just sweep up all the people with some big broom. He picks them up one by one.

Lesson

He knows you.

There may be times when you feel like just a number among all the people that go to church. But God cares for you, each of you, one by one. You arenít lost in the crowd. He sees you. He knows you.

:13 the great trumpet shall be blown

trumpet Ė shofar Ė horn, ram's horn. Trumpets were often blown for the purpose of gathering the people together.

(Num 10:2 KJV) Make thee two trumpets of silver; of a whole piece shalt thou make them: that thou mayest use them for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps.

There are lots of trumpets being blown in the Scriptures, and more than a few of them have to do with the end times. I think we need to be careful that we donít fall into the assumption that theyíre all talking about the same trumpets.

1. Thereís a trumpet at the Rapture (1Th. 4:16; also 1Cor. 15:52 Ė I think the "last trump" refers to the second shofar of the "Feast of Trumpets", not the seventh trumpet of Rev. 11:15). Thatís the trumpet that will be gathering us to the Lord.

2. John hears a voice like a trumpet that takes him to the throne of God (Rev. 4:1, which I believe is synonymous with the trumpet of the Rapture).

3. There are seven more trumpets in the book of Revelation (Rev. 8:2 Ė 11:15)

4. Lastly, there is a trumpet that blows when Jesus returns and the nation of Israel is gathered together after the end of the Tribulation:

(Mat 24:30-31 KJV) And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. {31} And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

I believe this is the same trumpet that we see here in Isaiah 27:13. The point is that when Jesus returns, the Jews will have been greatly scattered during the Tribulation due to the intense persecution. A trumpet will blow and gather them once again back in their land.

:11 for it is a people of no understanding: therefore he that made them will not have mercy on them Ö

understanding Ė biynah Ė understanding, discernment

Some have looked at this as being the Jews who lack understanding or discernment, but I believe itís still talking about Godís enemies. They are the ones who will not receive mercy.

Lesson

Are you "smart enough" to receive Godís mercy?

Itís not about intelligence or schooling. Itís about having the "street smarts" to realize that you need Godís mercy.

"Mercy" means that God does not give you what you deserve. What we deserve is His judgment. We are all sinners and deserve Godís judgment. Some people like to pretend that they donít need Godís mercy. But they would be people who arenít real smart.

(Psa 86:5 KJV) For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.

Do you have "understanding" enough to realize that you need to call upon God for help? Or are you trying to manage your life without God? If you donít want Godís mercy, donít worry, you wonít be getting it. But if you call upon God and ask Him for mercy, He will freely give it.