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Isaiah16 Man's Trust_Power

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Isaiah (16)

Power - Man’s desire to defend his future !

 

Welcome and announcements                  Elder Gary Dagleish

8  Doxology              Hymn 321                     “ Bring to the Lord a glad new song”

8  Call to worship 


With what shall I come before the LORD and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:6-8)

8  Greeting                                       

Grace and peace to you from Him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.  (Revelation 1:4-6)

8 Hymn no 246:                                                                             “Crown Him with many crowns” (verses 1, 3, 5 - All; verse 2 –  men; verse 4 – ladies)

Bible Reading         New Testament:                1Corinthians 1:18-31 (8 at verse 28-29)

8  Prayer of adoration and Confession of sins

8 Declaration of pardoning

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. (Revelation 3:20)

8  News from Korea

8 Hymn no 369:     “Lord, her watch your church is keeping” (Tune 441 – 3 verses)

8 Offering:  Hymn no 47

While the Offering is taken up, all (remaining seated) sing)  Hymn no 47 “When all your mercies O my God”8

8 Dedication

8  Prayer of Intercession

8 Bible Reading                           

Old Testament:                    Isaiah 2:6-9, 22 (8  at verse 7)

8 Sermon                                           Power-  Man’s desire to defend his future!

Introduction

Dear brother and sister in the Lord,

Chapter 2 spells out what is referred to in Chapter 1:  the rebellion of God’s people.  In a series of “Their land is full …” in verses 6-8 the rebellion is catalogued. 8  Rebellion is in essence nothing but the desire of man to be autonomous; man does not want to be under God, he wants to make his own decisions and to be in control of his own destiny.

8  Rebellion is typified by superstition, one of the distinctives of the so-called autonomous man.  Superstition gives him, at least that what his thinks, control over his future. Superstition branches out in divination, sorcery, the reading of constellations of stars – all in an effort to sidestep God in an effort to map out his own future.  Autonomous man forgets the principle laid down in Deut 29:29


The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law. (Deuteronomy 29:29)

8 A second characteristic of autonomous man is his desire to accumulate silver and gold as a means to secure his future.  With superstition he wants to know his future; 8  with wealth his wants to secure his future. Of course there is nothing wrong in being rich, but the problem lies with loving money.  If we want to secure our future by material goods, and not in God who gave it in the first place, our hearts go astray and are trapped what moth and rust will eventually destroy. Point is, we cannot serve both God and money.

But, man wants more of the control over his life.  He might feel happy that he knows the future by means of superstition and divination (and all manner of refined ways we do it today), he might feel quite good with himself that he has put away enough for life to be self-sufficient to decide his own future.  The dilemma lies now with the next problem:  How can I make it safe with so many enemies around me?  The answer:  I will secure my life, my future, as autonomous man by building structures to defend it.  Because deep down in my heart there is this niggling unrest:  it might lose control over my life by someone taking it from me.  8  Now I resort to power structures to defend my independence from God. And we will see next time: 8  autonomous man who wants to be a law unto himself needs to worship something; but he wants control over it, so he fabricates idols.

8 So, just to get an oversight of the paragraph of Isaiah 2:6-22, let’s sum it up this way:

•          8 In his arrogance man wants to cut himself loose from God.  He substitutes God with something else in an effort to become his own god.

•          8 But God will rise up against arrogant man and destroy him and what he put his trust into.

•          8 Stop trusting in man, who has but a breath in his nostrils. Of what account is he? (Isaiah 2:22)

8  Misplaced trust

We read in Isa 2:7

8   Their land is full of horses; there is no end to their chariots. (Isaiah 2:7)

8  Horses are always referred to in the Bible in connection with warlike operations. The war-horse is described Job 39:19–25.


“Do you give the horse his strength or clothe his neck with a flowing mane? Do you make him leap like a locust, striking terror with his proud snorting? He paws fiercely, rejoicing in his strength, and charges into the fray. He laughs at fear, afraid of nothing; he does not shy away from the sword. The quiver rattles against his side, along with the flashing spear and lance. In frenzied excitement he eats up the ground; he cannot stand still when the trumpet sounds. At the blast of the trumpet he snorts, ‘Aha!’ He catches the scent of battle from afar, the shout of commanders and the battle cry. (Job 39:19-25)

For a long period after their settlement in Canaan the Israelites made no use of horses.  As a matter of fact, all the sins recorded in Isa 2:6-8, as we studied it so far, were things prohibited by God even before his people settled in the Promised Land.  God knew sinful man who wants to be in control, autonomous man who wants to cut himself lose from God in an effort to become like God.

8  They were prohibited to do it according to Deut. 17:16.

Be sure to appoint over you the king the LORD your God chooses. He must be from among your own brothers. Do not place a foreigner over you, one who is not a brother Israelite. He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray.8   He must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold. 8 The king, moreover, must not acquire great numbers of horses for himself or make the people return to Egypt to get more of them, for the LORD has told you, “You are not to go back that way again.” (Deuteronomy 17:16)

8 But Solomon, from his connection with Egypt through marriage, greatly multiplied their number.  8  With this he led the people astray; the seed was sown for the nation of God to trust in their own military power.

8 Solomon had four thousand stalls for chariot horses, and twelve thousand horses. (1 Kings 4:26)

And further:

8  Solomon accumulated chariots and horses; he had fourteen hundred chariots and twelve thousand horses, which he kept in the chariot cities and also with him in Jerusalem. (1 Kings 10:26)

The result:  8  Israel did not trust in God anymore; their faith rested in their power and their own ability to muster its own power for its defence.

Much can be said about the very same problem even in our day.  We live in a time of uncertainty.  We live in circumstances of terrorism and war.  Your life is in danger when you board a plane, visit a neighbouring country or go to busy city centres.  Our own city is now labelled as a category 1 security thread. America faced a dark hour of its existence some two years ago.  They had an opportunity to do one of two things:  humble themselves before God and ask for his protection, and then under God’s guidance d as He would lead; or muster every bit of military power and attack with arrogance. We know what their choice was. God was merciful, but repentance is still outstanding.

8 Trust in God

Some may think of it as a waste of power when 8  David captured a thousand of the chariots of king Hadadezer of Zobah, only to have about the horses hamstrung (2 Sam 8:4).  But he knew the danger in accumulating horses and chariots.

He was involved in more than one battle in his lifetime.  And yet, he declared in Ps 20:7

8  Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. (Psalm 20:7)

Proverbs 12:31 teaches:

8 The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the LORD. (Proverbs 21:31)

8  There was a very dark day in the history of Israel.  The Philistines assembled to fight the Israelites.  That was in the time of King Saul.  The enemy had three thousand chariots, six thousand charioteers, and soldiers as numerous as the sand on the seashore.  The Israelites saw this and knowing that they had no chance against them, hid themselves in caves and thickets, among the rocks and in pits and cisterns. In their midst not a soldier with Saul and Jonathan had a sword or spear in his hand.  How do you face a battle in these circumstances? 

There was no sword of spear, but at least one had faith in God.  Jonathan said to his armor-bearer:

8  “Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised fellows. Perhaps the LORD will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the LORD from saving, whether by many or by few.” (1 Samuel 14:6)

And then in 1Sam 14:15 we read:

Then panic struck the whole army—those in the camp and field, and those in the outposts and raiding parties—and the ground shook. 8  It was a panic sent by God. (1 Samuel 14:15)

God wanted his people to trust Him.  But in the time of Isaiah, things were different.  They once again found themselves in the same position as in the time of Saul.  But they forgot their God can save by many or by few. They allied with Egypt and trusted the pharaoh for protection. Instead of trusting God, they said:

‘No, we will flee on horses.’ Therefore you will flee! You said, ‘We will ride off on swift horses.’ Therefore your pursuers will be swift! (Isaiah 30:16)

8  Trust and repentance

God calls his people in Isa 30 as He once again declares Himself to be the Sovereign Lord – his holy Name declaring his omnipotence.  He says in verse 15:

8  This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. (Isaiah 30:15)

And He adds in verse 18:

Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! (Isaiah 30:18)

A bit further down the track, under king Hezekiah, the Assyrians besieged Jerusalem.  The army officials mocked God and Sennacherib, the king openly insulted the God of heaven and earth. But Hezekiah, after repentance before God prayed:  

“O LORD Almighty, God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Give ear, O LORD, and hear; open your eyes, O LORD, and see; listen to all the words Sennacherib has sent to insult the living God. “It is true, O LORD, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste all these peoples and their lands. They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by human hands.8   Now, O LORD our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all kingdoms on earth may know that you alone, O LORD, are God.” (Isaiah 37:16-20)

What happened?  Let’s read:

Then the angel of the LORD went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning—there were all the dead bodies! So Sennacherib king of Assyria broke camp and withdrew. He returned to Nineveh and stayed there. (Isaiah 37:36-37)

The same once powerful king was killed by his own sons not long after this.

8  Conclusion

In our day and age 8 we once again worship the power of military power.  We rely and trust on the ability of man.  We do it, because 8 we want to be autonomous, protecting our own achievements. We also ally with the military powerful nations.  But we maybe still don’t understand that this is in vain.  It only takes one madman, a few servants as mad as himself, a few seconds, and three aeroplanes to crash into two towers symbolising the economic power of the world to cripple the whole world.  8  Truly, man will be brought low, and mankind humbled.  Let us heed the word of God this morning:

8  Stop trusting in man, who has but a breath in his nostrils. Of what account is he? (Isaiah 2:22)

Amen.

8  Prayer

8 Hymn no 32:         “God is our strength and refuge”

8 Benediction

8 Threefold “Amen”

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