Paul tells us in Romans 8:8 “those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” In other words, unsaved sinners can do nothing that is meritorious in the eyes of a holy God. That means that Israel’s dead religion is completely unacceptable, both today and 2,700 years ago in the days of Isaiah the prophet. Today’s blog (and those that follow in the near future) are going to take us back to the beginning of Isaiah’s prophetic ministry with selections from my Isaiah manuscript. Today’s blog comes from Isaiah chapter 1 where God rebukes Israel for its dead religion (Sorry for the weird formatting issues below).
dividing up this chapter into : (t, (vv. t vv. tspunishment vv.
tells that they , and God will not accept their dead Judgment is coming, His true desire is that they would turn back to Him.
There are futures, destinies, represented in every worship setting. There are decisions that are being made, and that will be made in the days to come, represented in the congregation. And all of those lives, all of those destinies, the outcome of all of those decisions, hinge on what their relationship to God is and will be.
That is what we see in this section of Nahum. In this first chapter we see a burdened prophet, we see a foolish nation, we see a comforted people, and standing at the center of the picture is an awesome God—the only true and living God. And this God, the true and living God, is making Himself known through a prophet named Nahum. God is declaring Himself. He is declaring His nature and character. He is declaring His abilities. He is declaring His commitments. And, as a result of who He is, and what He does, and what He will not do, He is declaring the current condition and the future destinies of all the others in this scene.
As I already noted, the same is true for every individual and every situation that exists in this world. Who you are as a person, what your current condition is, what your future is going to be, the way you’re going to live, and the choices you’re going to make, are all determined by what your relationship is, and will be, to the God of the Bible.
When Nahum records this prophecy, it is sometime between 663 and 626 BC. It is either during the reign of Manasseh or Josiah in Judah. The cruel and fierce Assyrian empire rules the world. They have already conquered Samaria and the northern kingdom in 722 BC. They invaded Judah in 701 BC, and when they tried to take Jerusalem they suffered the massive loss of 185,000 men due to God miraculously saving the city (2 Kings 19:35). But the Assyrians have recovered from that. They are still strong, and they are still feared by all the peoples of the world, when God tells them what th eir future will be.
THE BURDENED PROPHET ( vs.1 )
God T to man (v. 1)
God’s message comes through the human source called Isaiah, but the reality is that this is a prophetic vision from the Lord Himself. We will first consider the divine character of this message.
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The human source of the vision. at
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he did not but from Syria and Israel Abadly Jerusalem
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of Isaiah is found Israel’s I, period of 1 and it continued to about the year 680.
One thing that is clear is that God is very angry with His people. Isaiah lays out the case in verses 2-17 by exposing three major failures.
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iswith its For Israel, it is even worse since also them up. as
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have been please God, it most. Such (James 1:27). The God a
we find the same message in otprophetsThe also that ; James 1:27
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thereconsent and obey, (cf. Deut. 28:1-14). T away , but if we ,w
of in the Law obey, they will find blessing, but if theydo not, i.”
Sadly, Israel is not going to listen, so judgment will come. that n swift judgment is the only option.
–lived by to some degree. Now, i, and the once-faithful city is now a faithless harlot. The city that used to practice righteousness is now filled with evil and corruption.
, Iof truth the world 1:8-9; cf. Gen. 12:1-3would . , badly.
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S (v. 21).that at one time
Fi(v. 23)., aNow they are .the Isa.
was a eu
ThHis work (vv. 24-31)
God will continue His work, and God will fulfill His redemptive purposes.
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’s: the v. 25 (cf. ).
also , Dispensational Pism, T/has not yet happened, make it happen
God’s : (vv. 26-27),
God’s f: (v. 28)Tbe judged m
God’s : (vv. 29-31)was —pagan worship
Verses 30-31 vividly illustrate what happens to those who refuse to listen. dry up and shrivel . E
Summary and application The opening chapter confronts us with the reality that God will not tolerate dead religion. Outward ritual is worthless if it has not come out of a heart of faith. Let each one of us apply this truth to our hearts lest we fail as ancient Israel did in being religious without being righteous.
 Bwas also attempting to get Hezekiah to join
John N. Oswalt, The Book of Isaiah, 1-39 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1986),
 Cf. .