The Book of Isaiah
THE DAY OF THE LORD
Text: ISAIAH 2:6-21
1. Our text tonight deals with one of the great themes of the Bible – “the day of the LORD” (Isa. 2:12; cf. 13:6, 9).
2. Isaiah says in 2:6, “Therefore Thou hast forsaken Thy people the house of Jacob…”
3. Jeremiah 30:7 refers to this as “the time of Jacob’s trouble.” The focus is on Israel, but it should be noted that during this time God will pour out His wrath upon the whole world (Isa. 13:11).
4. Note God’s wrath upon the arrogant and proud and haughty (Isa. 13:11; cf. 2:12, 17).
5. Pride and haughtiness is always ugly but it is especially ugly when it gets into the church! How contemptible are proud and haughty preachers and proud and haughty deacons and proud and haughty evangelists!
6. The day of the LORD will be a time when God will judge the nations, especially Israel. He will literally “shake terribly the earth” (2:21b; 24:1). It will be a time of preparation for the second coming of Christ.
7. To the OT prophets, the day of the LORD was foreshadowed by events in their own day. For example, in the book of Isaiah, Assyria’s conquest of the Northern Kingdom and the Babylonian captivity of Judah prefigure the coming day of the LORD.
8. The big question is: Why did God judge Israel? Or, Why will God judge Israel? According to many Scriptures, Israel will suffer greatly during this time of chastisement and purging.
9. In fact, our Lord said in Matthew 24:21, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”
10. We see here several reasons why God has judged the people of Israel.
I. OCCULTISM (2:6)
II. LOVERS OF PLEASURE (2:6)
III. GODLESS SECULARISM & MATERIALISM (2:7)
IV. IDOLATRY (2:8, 9, 18-20)
V. PRIDE AND HAUGHTINESS (2:10-17)
I. OCCULTISM (2:6a)
1. The Israelites adopted new ideas and customs from their heathen neighbors, and they incorporated them into their own religion (2:6).
2. Have you ever wondered why the RCC was so big and powerful? They do not preach the Gospel. Many of their teachings are contrary to the Bible. By their own estimation, half of their priests are homosexual. Some say more than half.
3. One word: syncretism. Religious syncretism is the reconciliation or fusion of differing systems of religious belief. The RCC merged Christianity with Roman idolatry (which was the result of a fusion of Greek idolatry and Roman idolatry, etc.).
4. In Haiti, the RCC adopts voodoo. In Latin American and Africa and China, the RCC adapts various pagan practices, and so on.
5. This religious syncretism was a problem in Israel. The Israelites embraced Assyrian idolatry and Babylonian idolatry and soothsaying from the Philistines (2:6).
6. A good illustration of this apostasy is found in II Kings 1:2, where we read that King Ahaziah was sick, but rather than pray to the true God of heaven, he enquired of Baal-zebub, one of the gods of the Philistines.
7. This “soothsaying” is found throughout the Bible and God’s Word condemns it. Whether it is called divination, augury, soothsaying or astrology or fortune-telling – it is demonic and God hates it (cf. Deut. 18:9-14).
II. LOVERS OF PLEASURE (2:6b)
1. Second Timothy 3:2 says, “For men shall be lovers of their own selves…” Second Timothy 3:4 says, they will be “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.”
2. Doesn’t this sound like America today? I did a little research and found that giving to international missions has been on a steady decline for nearly a hundred years.
3. “Of every dollar given to a U.S. Protestant church, the average amount that goes to overseas missions is two cents. In 1920 the church gave 10 percent of the total offering to missions, compared to today’s 2 percent. The church’s current spending practice seems to indicate an increased emphasis on internal operations and programs over the broader mission of the church. In addition, individual Christians do not even tithe, giving less per capita than Christians gave during the Great Depression.” (From: “Who gives two cents for missions? We do, to our shame” by Gene Edward Veith, WORLD magazine, Oct. 22, 2005.)
4. This love of pleasure is what happened in Israel and Judah. “They please themselves in the children of strangers” (2:6b). God’s people are to be separated from the heathen but once the Israelites embraced the false religion of their pagan neighbors, it was only a matter of time before they started mixing with them and acting like them (cf. Ex. 23:32, 33; Neh. 13:23-27).
III. GODLESS SECULARISM & MATERIALISM (2:7)
1. As a result of trade under King Uzziah and King Jotham, Judah had become very rich and prosperous.
2. The people were amassing large quantities of silver and gold (2:7). But with this great wealth came wantonness and worldliness.
3. This is the situation we have here in America. The economy is strong. People are earning nice paychecks, but their hearts are far from God.
4. Church activities are ignored and replaced with shopping, movies, sports, TV, worldly music, etc.
5. Consider Paul’s strong warning in I Timothy 6:6-10. It is hard to build a soulwinning, missions-minded church if the members are contaminated with the spirit of covetousness and materialism.
IV. IDOLATRY (2:8, 9, 18-20).
1. Note the repetition. In verse 7, Isaiah says, “Their land also is full of silver and gold.” Then he adds, “their land is also full of horses.”
2. Then in verse 8, Isaiah goes on to say, “Their land also is full of idols.” Materialism leads to covetousness, which is idolatry (cf. Col. 3:5).
3. Money is the # 1 idol in America today.
4. The “great man (rich man or distinguished man) humbleth himself” before his idol, but not before God (2:9). This shows how men from all walks of life are abased and degraded by idolatry.
5. Isaiah’s prayer was, “Forgive them not” (2:9b). OT imprecatory prayers should be studied according to their context. The prophet Isaiah was so closely identified with the will of God that he could pray according to God’s will. Only judgment awaits those who turn their back on God (cf. Isa. 2:21b).
V. PRIDE & HAUGHTINESS (2:10-17)
1. The haughty are instructed to “hide” in the rock (2:10, cf. 2:19, 20; Hosea 10:8; Luke 23:30; Rev. 6:15, 16).
2. The cedars of Lebanon and the oaks of Bashan (2:13) are used figuratively to describe the proud and haughty. Amos 2:9 says, “Yet destroyed I the Amorite before them, whose height was like the height of the cedars, and he was strong as the oaks.”
3. Zechariah 11:2 says, “Howl, fir tree; for the cedar is fallen; because the mighty are spoiled: howl, O ye oaks of Bashan; for the forest of the vintage is come down.”
4. Isaiah 2:15 is a reference to military strength. Many people put their trust in the military and weaponry rather than in the Lord.
5. Note also the reference to “pleasant pictures” (2:16). We have here God’s judgment upon on every form of human pride – government, business, military, and art. Man, with all of his boasting, all of his creativity, and all of his ingenuity, is but a poor, vain creature, only a breath away from eternity in hell (cf. Isa. 2:22).
6. Isaiah 2:17 repeats verse 11 – “and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.” This emphasizes the divine purpose in the day of the LORD – to humble proud, haughty and rebellious sinners.
1. Isaiah 2:9 contains four of the strongest words in the Bible – “therefore forgive them not.”
2. In this dispensation of grace, the message of the cross is, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).
3. When Stephen was stoned to death by an angry mob of religious fanatics, his dying words, recorded in Acts 7:60, were, “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.”
4. But soon the Lord Jesus Christ is coming back to judge this wicked world. Then the age of grace will be over.
5. We must prayerfully consider the conditions that will prevail (Rev. 6:15-17; 9:6).