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Sermon #24 — Isaiah Series
Title: “It shall not stand.”
Text: Isaiah 7:1-25
Subject: God’s Message to Ahaz by Isaiah
Date: Sunday Evening — May 7, 2017
Readings: Josh Peterson and Mark Daniel
Here are four words written by God over all the devices, intentions, designs, and purposes of men and devils, of earth and hell, against his church, his cause, his people, and his purpose ⸺ “It shall not stand.” That is the title of my message. ⸺ “It shall not stand.” My text is the 7th chapter of the Gospel of Isaiah. ⸺ Oh, may God give us grace to read these four words over everything that would otherwise cause our hearts to tremble with fear. God says, ⸺ “It shall not stand.” And “it shall not stand!” Let’s read this chapter together.
This is God’s message to Ahaz, the wicked, idolatrous king of Judah, by his prophet Isaiah. Sixteen or seventeen years after Uzziah’s death, sixteen to seventeen years after that which is recorded in Isaiah 6, God sent Isaiah to Ahaz with a message to deliver. This is God’s message to Ahaz. And this is God’s message to you and me.
Proposition: Though earth and hell be united in a vile confederacy of rage, nothing can alter God’s promise, hinder his purpose, or injure his people, but only help.
(Isaiah 7:7 “Thus saith the Lord GOD, It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass.”
Divisions: As we look at these 25 verses together, I will call your attention to five things.
1. An Evil Confederacy (vv. 1-2)
2. An Unbelieving Rebel (vv. 3-9)
3. A Sign from God (vv. 10-15)
4. A Deserved Destruction (vv. 16-25)
5. A Preserved Remnant (vv. 21-22)
An Evil Confederacy
1st — We meet with an evil confederacy. Israel and Syria formed an evil confederacy to march against Judah. They joined forces to destroy Judah. Their failed assault is recorded in 2nd Kings 16. These two nations hated each other and would normally be determined foes. But they were united in opposition to Judah. So it is today, so it has been throughout history, and so it shall be as long as the world stands.
Š The world is united in opposition to God and his people.
Š But the enemies of God’s church are never successful.
(Isaiah 7:1-2) “And it came to pass in the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, that Rezin the king of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up toward Jerusalem to war against it, but could not prevail against it. (2) And it was told the house of David, saying, Syria is confederate with Ephraim. And his heart was moved, and the heart of his people, as the trees of the wood are moved with the wind.”
Satan’s intent was to utterly destroy the house of David and thereby prevent Christ’s incarnation as the “seed of David according to the flesh” (Romans 1:3).
Remember, Ahaz, the king of Judah, was a wicked, idolatrous king. He even caused his sons to pass through the fire to Molech (2 Kings 1:1-4). Ahaz and his people were tossed to and fro, bent, and thrown down, like trees in a tornado. They had felt the power of these two confederate kings before; and they were terribly afraid. David himself would have had confidence in God; but “the house of David” had gone “a whoring after other gods.”
Š Ahaz had cast off the fear of God, therefore he had a very great fear of men.
Š Ahaz leaned upon the arm of the flesh, seeking the help and protection of Babylon.
We must never follow the example of Ahaz. Compromise is never the way to accomplish anything for God.
Š Our enemies are many, a confederacy of evil (the world, the flesh, and the devil).
Š Our only refuge is God our Savior.
Š Our only weapon of warfare is the gospel.
An Unbelieving Rebel
2nd — In verses 3-6 we read about an unbelieving rebel, Ahaz, the wicked king of Judah.
(Isaiah 7:3-6) “Then said the LORD unto Isaiah, Go forth now to meet Ahaz, thou, and Shearjashub thy son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller's field; (4) And say unto him, Take heed, and be quiet; fear not, neither be fainthearted for the two tails of these smoking firebrands, for the fierce anger of Rezin with Syria, and of the son of Remaliah. (5) Because Syria, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah, have taken evil counsel against thee, saying, (6) Let us go up against Judah, and vex it, and let us make a breach therein for us, and set a king in the midst of it, even the son of Tabeal.”
The Lord God sent his prophet to Ahaz with promise, leaving him without excuse. But be sure you do not miss God’s purpose in sending Isaiah to Ahaz. Isaiah was commanded of God to take his young son, Shearjashub, who was just a small boy, with him. — Why?
Shearjashub means “the remnant shall return.” God’s secret purpose, his hidden design in all things is the salvation of his elect remnant. He sent Isaiah to Ahaz. But all the time Isaiah was talking to Ahaz, he was saying to God’s chosen in Judah, “This is my boy, Shearjashub, a remnant shall return. Rezin and Pekah will not succeed. Syria and Israel will not destroy you. God’s people shall not be hurt. God’s cause shall not be overturned. God’s elect shall not be harmed.”
Isaiah was commanded to meet Ahaz at a specific place — “at the end of the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller's field,” at the intersection of Upper Pool and Fuller’s Field Highway. This is very place where Rabshakeh later stood and made his blasphemous speech to terrify Hezekiah and Judah (2 Kings 18:17). The Lord God sends his servants…
(Isaiah 7:7-9) “Thus saith the Lord GOD, It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass. (8) For the head of Syria is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is Rezin; and within threescore and five years shall Ephraim be broken, that it be not a people. (9) And the head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is Remaliah's son. ⸺ If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established.”
The counsel of the Lord, that shall stand (Psalm 33:11), when the world’s wise are taken in their own craftiness (1 Corinthians 3:19). — “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall have them in derision” (Psalm 2:4). Whither Ahaz believed or refused to believe, God’s purpose was unalterable.
Š Syria would be destroyed.
Š Ephraim would be left to her idols.
Š God’s elect will be kept, preserved, and saved (Jude 1:1).
Š Christ shall accomplish his work!
Š If you believe not you shall perish! ⸺ “If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established.”
A Sign from God
3rd — Isaiah gives us a sign from God about the incarnation of our dear Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, Immanuel.
(Isaiah 7:10-15) “Moreover the LORD spake again unto Ahaz, saying, (11) Ask thee a sign of the LORD thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above. (12) But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the LORD. (13) And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also? (14) Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (15) Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.”
Ahaz despised God, while pretending to reverence him. But God’s heart was set to do his people good. And though the reprobate king would not hearken to the voice of God by his prophet, the Lord gave his people a sign that could not be mistaken or misunderstood by anyone, except those who choose to despise the Word of the Lord, as Ahaz did. — What an astonishing sign!
(Isaiah 7:14-15) “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (15) Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.”
Š “A virgin shall conceive.”
Š “Shall bear a Son.” — The Son of God and the Son of Man — David’s Lord and David’s Son.
Š “Shall call his name Immanuel.” — God with us! — God in our nature!
Š “Butter and honey shall he eat.” — Just like Any Other Man
A Progressive Revelation
Throughout the days of old, from the beginning of time and throughout the Old Testament Scriptures, by gradual, progressive revelation, the Lord God unfolded the wonders of the person and work of our all-glorious Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Š The Seed of Woman
Š Abraham’s Seed
Š The Family of Jacob
Š The Tribe of Judah
Š A Prophet like Moses
Š A Priest like Melchisedec
Š A King from David’s House
Š A Prince of Peace like Solomon
Š To be Born in Bethlehem of Judah
Š Before Civil Government Ended in Judah
Š Before the Temple was Destroyed
Š The Middle of Daniel’s 70th Week
Š To Accomplish Redemption by the Sacrifice of Himself
The sign given by God through his servant Isaiah found its fulfillment in our Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:1-14).
(Daniel 9:24-27) “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. (25) Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. (26) And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. (27) And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”
(Matthew 1:18-23) “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. (19) Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. (20) But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. (21) And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. (22) Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, (23) Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”
A Deserved Destruction
4th — In verses 16-25 we read about the justly deserved destruction of both Syria and Ephraim, and desolation to Judah.
(Isaiah 7:16) “For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings.”
Verse 16 refers us, again, to Isaiah’s boy, Shearjashub. Before that boy became a man, Syria and Ephraim were brought to ruin, brought to ruin…
(Isaiah 7:17-25) “The LORD shall bring upon thee, and upon thy people, and upon thy father's house, days that have not come, from the day that Ephraim departed from Judah; even the king of Assyria. (18) And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall hiss for the fly that is in the uttermost part of the rivers of Egypt, and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria. (19) And they shall come, and shall rest all of them in the desolate valleys, and in the holes of the rocks, and upon all thorns, and upon all bushes. (20) In the same day shall the Lord shave with a razor that is hired, namely, by them beyond the river, by the king of Assyria, the head, and the hair of the feet: and it shall also consume the beard. (21) And it shall come to pass in that day, that a man shall nourish a young cow, and two sheep; (22) And it shall come to pass, for the abundance of milk that they shall give he shall eat butter: for butter and honey shall every one eat that is left in the land. (23) And it shall come to pass in that day, that every place shall be, where there were a thousand vines at a thousand silverlings, it shall even be for briers and thorns. (24) With arrows and with bows shall men come thither; because all the land shall become briers and thorns. (25) And on all hills that shall be digged with the mattock, there shall not come thither the fear of briers and thorns: but it shall be for the sending forth of oxen, and for the treading of lesser cattle”.
Š The Lord God called Egypt’s mighty army a fly.
Š He called Syria a bee.
Š A fly and a bee terrified Ahaz!
Š God made that insignificant fly and insignificant bee instruments of judgment against Judah, bringing the rebellious, unbelieving people to desolation. — A Hired Razor!
Ahaz, in his folly looked to Assyria for help. To purchase their help, he took the treasures of silver and gold out of the temple and gave them to Tiglathpileser. Therefore, the Lord God hissed for that insignificant bee and made him an instrument of judgment against Judah. Ahaz feared the weapons of men. So, God used a fly to overthrow his kingdom.
Oh, for grace to read these things with a spiritual eye! God, in judgment, takes those things that should be for a person’s good and turns them into instruments of destruction, when his goodness is despised.
Š Isaiah’s Message
Š The Temple
Š Fertile Land Turned to Briers — The Foundation Stone becomes a Rock Offence
But, in wrath, our God always remembers mercy.
A Preserved Remnant
5th — Read verses 21 and 22 again, and see how the Lord Gd gracusly promises to preserve a remnant, even while destroying nations. Though he brought Judah into desolation, it was not utter destruction. As Shearjashub’s name indicated and the Lord God promised, provision was made to preserve God’s elect remnant.
(Isaiah 7:21-22) “And it shall come to pass in that day, that a man shall nourish a young cow, and two sheep; (22) And it shall come to pass, for the abundance of milk that they shall give he shall eat butter: for butter and honey shall every one eat that is left in the land.” — Just enough!
So it was of old. So it is now. So it shall be until all Israel has been saved, “There is remnant according to the election of grace!”
Š Loved of God.
Š Chosen to Salvation.
Š Sanctified from Everlasting.
Š Preserved (Kept) in Christ.
Š Redeemed by Christ.
Š Must be Called.
Here we are, at the intersection of the conduit of Upper Pool and Fuller’s Field Highway, at the intersection of Old Stanford Road and 150 By-pass.
Š I’ve given you God’s message.
Š Will you abandon your idols and trust God’s Son?
Š Or, will you go on wearying God with your obstinate unbelief and be forever damned?
Š “If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established.”
Illustration: Barnard at Old Faithful