Standing on the Promises
Delivered By
C.C. Risenhoover
Delivered On
March 13, 2016
Subject
Promises of God
Description

March 13, 2016

 

STANDING ON THE PROMISES

Isaiah 61:3-11; Revelation 19:6-8

In this text from Isaiah there is the promise that the Lord will return and bring to fruition the redemption of His beleaguered people.  His wondrous presence will draw astute people…meaning people capable of spiritual discernment…to His glory.  And, these will be people of all nations.

The glory of the Lord will be upon them and cause the world to accord them their rightful place and recognition.  In other words…the world will acknowledge that these are the people whom the Lord has blessed.

The outcome of Jesus’ return will be the exaltation of the Lord and His saved people…fully appropriating His righteousness.  God will fulfill all His promises to His people and they will be forever the people whom the Lord has blessed.

In verses 4-7 we experience God’s eternal exchange…in verses 8-9 a just recompense…and in verses 10-11 salvation’s resulting righteousness.

Verse 4 is actually a continuation of the thought of restoration from verse 3.  “Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins.  They will raise up the former devastations, and they will repair the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations.”

Following the Second Advent of Jesus…God’s people will rebuild the ruins…which include the truly important labors.  Those labors include our spiritual works, which the enemy has stopped, ruined, or destroyed.

God’s people…His living stones throughout earthly history…have attempted to build God’s kingdom in the midst of great opposition.  Their labors…which God’s enemies devastated, ruined, destroyed or stopped…will be raised up, repaired or rebuilt.  No matter how devastated the ruins…no matter how long ago they occurred…God will enable it to be rebuilt.  New life will spring up out of the old.  God’s purpose and promises are the final evaluating and determining factor in all human endeavors.

Verse 5 addresses the standing of God’s people with a world that once oppressed them.  “Strangers will stand and pasture your flocks, and foreigners will be your farmers and your vinedressers.”

God’s servants will be so revered that aliens and foreigners will join with them (14:1; 60:10) and be their servants.  They will do such tasks as farming, shepherding and caring for vineyards.  Strangers and foreigners will come to perform the work necessary to maintain the city of God.

God’s people then will be freed to fully devote themselves to their calling…clearly defined in verse 6: “But you will be called the priests of the Lord. You will be spoken of as ministers of our God.  You will eat the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast.”

God’s people will not rule the world…but will worship God and minister to others on His behalf.  They will be a nation of priests and ministers in a world that does not know the privations of the past.  As a nation of priests each will know the Lord and have access to Him.

God’s intention was that the people of Israel be a nation of priests to the world.  Tragically, Israel did not fully carry out that responsibility. They rebelled against God and lost their calling (43:10-13).

When Jesus returns…the Jews will be given another opportunity to be ministers and priests of God.  And, redeemed people from all the nations…the “sheep” mentioned in Matthew 25:31-46…will join them in their worship of God in Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:16-19).  Those people will bring wealth to Israel (Isaiah 60:11; 61:6; Haggai 2:7-8; Zechariah 14:14). The wealth that the nations have now will become the wealth of God’s servants.

Although Israel has rejected God and His Son…God is not finished with the Jews.  The prophecies of the Bible will not make sense to you unless you see clearly that the Lord still has a wonderful work to do with Israel.  In Romans 9-11, you can see God’s plan and heart for His people…the nation of Israel.

In verse 7, God promises a double repayment for the lost and shame His people have suffered. Instead of your shame you will have a double portion…and instead of humiliation they will shout for joy over their portion.  “Therefore they will possess a double portion in their land.  Everlasting joy will be theirs.”

Instead of the shame and dishonor that the oppressor so often heaps on God’s servants…they will be honored with a double portion.  The double portion refers to the inheritance the eldest son in a family would receive from his father’s estate (Deuteronomy 21:17; Zechariah 9:12).  As the eldest son was given special honor…so will God give a double portion to His people who endure reproach for Him.  Like the Lord’s firstborn (Exodus 4:22), they will granted the place of honor. This double portion will cause them to shout for joy and this joy will be everlasting.

Verses 8-9 speak of a just recompense.  God makes a special promise to those who have been faithful in their tithes and offerings in verse 8.  “For I (the Lord) love justice, I hate robbery in the burnt offering.  And I will faithfully give them their recompense and make an everlasting covenant with them.”

Because of who God the Lord is, He will keep His special promises.  The

Lord loves justice.  One of the most unjust actions in the world is to refuse to acknowledge God’s care and blessing by refusing to return to Him His offerings.  He calls it robbery.  God is promising to faithfully reward or recompense forever those who brought Him His offering.  [Burnt offerings were the typical Hebrew sacrifice or offering].  He will make an everlasting covenant to do so with them.

The outcome of their offering will be eternal security for them.

In verse 9 God also promises a special blessing upon the descendants of those faithful in their tithes and offerings.  “Then their offspring will be known among the nations, and their descendants in the midst of the peoples.  All who see them will recognize them, because they are the offspring whom the Lord has blessed.”

The result of God’s faithfulness to these faithful will be that their offspring will be recognizably special.  Because of the blessings of God upon the faithful remnant, even their offspring will be acknowledge that they are indeed God’s special people.  All will recognize them as the offspring whom the Lord has blessed (44:3; 65:23).  God’s promise to Abraham will be completely fulfilled

(Genesis 12:1-3).

          Salvation’s resulting righteousness spoken of in verses 10-11 seems to be speaking for the redeemed remnant who will rejoice (9:3) in response to God’s blessings that are mentioned in chapter 61, verses 1-9.  The song of the ransomed and redeemed begins in verse 10. “I will rejoice greatly in the Lord, my soul will exult in my God.  For He has clothed me with garments of salvation.  He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”

Notice that the great rejoicing is in the Lord…just as the exalting is in God.  The bride isn’t concerned about her beautiful garment, but about her beloved bridegroom’s face.  In other words, believers won’t rejoice so much over what has been done, but over who has done it.  And, apart from the redemption and the presence of the Redeemer…there can be no true rejoicing or exultation.

As to what God has done to cause such exhilaration…He has clothed His bride with salvation and righteousness (Revelation 19:6-8).  The imparted salvation and righteousness are pictured as clothes worn by the bride, which are God’s clothes (59:17).

First and foremost, God’s redeemed people are characterized by salvation and righteousness.  They are living by God’s standards (58:8; 60:21).  The joyful tone is heighten by the image of a wedding.

At the time of Isaiah’s writing…a bridegroom wore a fancy headgear like a priest’s turban to display his joy and blessing…and the bride wore costly jewelry.  It was an exciting time as the bridegroom put on his turban and bride adorned herself with costly jewels.  In similar fashion the believer delights in his garment of salvation and robe of righteousness that are received from Jesus.  So the joy is not over costly clothing or jewels, but over the One who made it all possible by His love, faithfulness, and sacrifice.

Verse 11 continues the benefits that can be received from God.  “For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes the things sown in it to spring up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations.”

The joyous event just described is an absolute certainty because God Himself will produce it.  God will cause righteousness to spring up in (be known by) other nations (62:1-2) just as surely as the earth causes seed sown in it to sprout and just as the soil sustains the growth of plants.  If nature is reliable, how much more so is the Creator of nature?  Let His name be praised for ever and ever.

There’s a children’s book called FROG AND TOAD TOGETHER.  It seems that Frog had a garden that Toad admired so much that he wanted one, too.  When he told Frog what he wanted, his friend said, “Well, it is nice, but it was hard work.”  Then he gave Toad some flower seeds with which to plant his own garden.

Toad took the seeds, planted them and said, “Now seeds, start growing.”  Nothing happened immediately, so Toad did everything he could to make his garden grow.  He shouted at the seeds…read them long stories…and sang songs to them…but they did not grow.

Toad was devastated.  “What shall I do?” Toad lamented.  “Leave them alone,” Frog said.  “Let the sun shine on them…let the rain fall on them…and soon your seeds will start to grow.”

And sure enough, one day little green plants appeared. “At last,” Toad shouted, “my seeds have stopped being afraid to grow.  But, you were right, Frog.  It was very hard work.”

Most people think it’s very hard work to grow in righteousness.  And, it’s true that we must spend time reading the Word, praying, and cultivating our faith by being with other believers.  But, our progress in holiness is still dependent on God.  As He shines His face upon us…and rains His love into our lives…we will grow.  It is then that righteousness will begin to “spring forth.”

Don’t be discouraged if spiritual growth comes slowly.  Stay in the Word and the work.  And, you will soon have a garden of righteousness.

Although Israel as a nation refused to accept God’s challenge and take up the mission He had called them to undertake…He did not abandon them or His mission.  Jesus of Nazareth came and took up Israel’s appointed task…and in the process brought true hope and salvation to the world.

God now calls us as the people of His eternal covenant to take up His mission of hope for the hopeless of this world.  As we do this we will experience the blessings of His righteousness…and we will gain assurance of the everlasting joy that is promised to us as believers.  God will show His splendor through us to a world that is lost in its self-imposed darkness.

But, in order to enter into Christ’s mission you must first be clothed in His righteousness.  In 2 Corinthians 5:21 we’re told, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

Are you clothed in the righteousness of Christ?

 

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