THRU THE BIBLE EXPOSITION
Isaiah: Jahweh Is Salvation
Part LXXV: God's Restrained Response To The Pleas Of The Believing Remnant
A. When Israel in captivity would plea for God's mercy, His reply would be restrained due to her history of sin.
B. Isaiah 65:1-16 describes that divine restrained response, giving us insight in relating to the Lord in our era:
II. God's Restrained Response To The Pleas Of The Believing Remnant, Isaiah 65:1-16.
A. In response to the long pleas of the believing remnant for His deliverance in Isaiah 63:7-64:12, God noted the great contrast between Israel's rebellion and the coming salvation of the Gentiles, Isaiah 65:1-7:
1. God remarked that He would be sought of the Gentiles who had not even asked for Him, that He would found by those Gentiles who had not sought Him, that He had come to say, "Here am I, here am I," to a Gentile nation not called by His name, Isaiah 65:1. (Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, 1978, ftn. to Isaiah 65:1-2)
2. However, opposite these believing Gentiles, God said He had spread out His hands all day long in offering salvation to rebellious Israel, a nation that walked in a way that was not good, following her own devices (Isaiah 65:2 ESV; Ibid.), and to explain this, God named specific acts of Israel's sin in Isaiah 65:3-5a:
a. Israel had continually provoked God by worshiping false pagan idols, Isaiah 65:3.
b. She had been involved in consulting the dead while sitting among the graves, i. e., utilizing false sources of spiritual truth versus relying on God's inspired Word, Isaiah 65:4a.
c. Israel had violated God's Scripture commands, illustrated in her disobeying dietary laws, Isaiah 65:4b.
d. On top of this, Israel had become falsely religiously proud, what was repulsive to God, Isaiah 65:5a.
B. Thus, since sinful Israel had become as intolerable to God as smoke that gets in one's nostrils all day long (Isaiah 65:5b), the Lord would recompense her for her aggravating, incessant sins, Isaiah 65:6-7.
C. Nevertheless, while the nation would be judged, a believing remnant in Israel would be saved, Isaiah 65:8-10:
1. As when a few good grapes are found in a cluster of grapes and the farmer tells his servants not to destroy the cluster because of them (Is. 65:8a), God promised to save His remnant in Israel's cluster, Isaiah 65:8b.
2. This believing remnant would return to the land of Israel and cultivate it again, and God would bless their agricultural pursuits because they had sought the Lord in faith, Isaiah 65:9-10.
D. In contrast, the rebellious who had forsaken God and worshiped the gods of Fortune and Destiny for blessing would be destined for the sword, for when God called, the rebellious did not answer, when He spoke, they did not listen, but did what was evil in His eyes and chose that in which He did not delight, Isaiah 65:11-12 NIV.
E. Isaiah 65:13-16 thus contrasts the future of the believing remnant with that of rebellious Israel (as follows):
1. The believing remnant would eat, but the rebellious would go hungry, Isaiah 65:13a.
2. The believing remnant would drink, but the rebellious would go thirsty, Isaiah 65:13b.
3. The believing remnant would rejoice, but the rebellious would be put to shame, Isaiah 65:13c.
4. The believing remnant would sing for gladness of heart but the rebellious would cry out for pain and wail for the breaking of the spirit, Isaiah 65:14.
5. The rebellious would leave their name to God's chosen ones as a curse as He put the rebellious to death (Isa. 65:15a) while the believing remnant would be given a new name, signifying God's giving them a new character so that they would take oaths honestly, Isa. 65:15b-16a; Bible Know. Com., O. T., p. 1119-1120.
6. In the end, God would cause the past troubles of the believing remnant to be forgotten and hidden from not only the believing remnant themselves, but even from the Lord's own eyes, Isaiah 65:16.
Lesson: When the nation Israel cried out to God for His merciful deliverance from bondage, due to her long, great rebellion against Him, God would take the measured step of dealing out great, lasting, merciful deliverance only to the believing remnant in Israel while administering severe judgment and death for the persistently rebellious.
Application: (1) God keeps a long record and never forgets anything anyone does, so we best NOT rebelliously harbor sin in our lives lest God's discipline inevitably fall in lasting severity! (2) May we examine our hearts and confess our false idols (Isa. 65:3), our false sources of spiritual insight (Isa. 65:4a), our flagrant violations of Scripture (Isa. 65:4b) and proud, false self-righteousness (Isa. 65:5a) that we might escape God's discipline and enjoy His blessing. (3) If the Lord signals our need to confess some sin, though He is patient, stretching out His hands "all the day" (Isa. 65:2a), He will in time irreversibly punish such sin. May we thus immediately confess it!