The Book of Isaiah
BUT HIS HAND IS STRETCHED OUT STILL
Text: ISAIAH 9:8—10:4
1. There is a statement found four times in our text tonight (Isaiah 9:12, 17, 21; 10:4). “For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.”
2. This section describes what will happen to the northern kingdom of Israel (“Ephraim…Samaria” – vs. 9) when the Assyrians will invade the land and take them away into captivity.
3. There can be no doubt that Assyria is the instrument God used to punish backslidden and impenitent Israel (Isa. 10:5, 6).
4. The message is clear: God chose Israel. God loves Israel. But God’s mercy and longsuffering and patience has a limit (cf. Isa. 5:25).
5. We saw this when God sent the flood and destroyed the whole world except for Noah and his family.
6. We saw it when God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.
7. Sometimes God stretches forth His hand in mercy. Isaiah 65:2 says, “I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people.”
8. But here we see God stretching forth His hand against them in judgment (cf. Isa. 5:25; 9:12, 17, 21; 10:4).
I. GOD DEALS WITH PRIDE (9:9-12)
II. GOD DEALS WITH UNBELIEF (9:13-16).
III. GOD DEALS WITH EVIL (9:17-21)
I. GOD DEALS WITH PRIDE
1. Back in its day, the Titanic was the largest and most luxurious ship afloat. No expense had been spared in her construction. She boasted opulent state rooms, luxurious dining rooms, sumptuous smoking rooms with ornate ceilings and magnificent candelabra, and an elegant grand staircase. She had elevators, libraries, a swimming pool, a Turkish bath, a gymnasium, a squash court, even an eight-piece orchestra—everything to satiate the desires of 325 first-class passengers as well as all the rest. She was at the leading edge of technology, inspiring awe and wonder in those who saw her. And most amazing of all, her builders assured, she was absolutely unsinkable.
2. But on April 15, 1912, “the unsinkable Titanic” sank out in the Atlantic Ocean.
3. The man who designed this famous ship had boasted, “No, not even God could sink the Titanic” (cf. Isa. 9:9-12).
4. Only two hours and 40 minutes after leaving Southampton, England, the Titanic hit an iceberg sunk, and more than 1,500 people drowned.
5. But we do not need to look at famous stories from history to see how God deals with pride. There are many examples in the Bible (Dan. 4:29-33; 5:17-31).
6. The people of Israel believed that their present difficulties were only temporary. They were confident that they would rebuild. But God judged them for their pride (Isa. 9:8-12).
7. I cannot help but apply these Scriptures to America after 9/11. For a few days after 9/11, God had our attention – but it did not last long.
8. Soon all we heard was, “We’ll rebuild the WTC bigger than before” and “We’re the greatest country,” and on and on. There was no repentance. There was more drinking, more drugs, more pornography, more smut in the movie theaters and on TV, more wicked rock music, more abortions, more so-called “gay marriages,” etc.
9. Soon this frightening refrain will sound in our ears: “For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.”
II. GOD DEALS WITH UNBELIEF
1. We often forget that unbelief is a terrible sin (Isa. 9:13-17).
2. In Revelation 21:8, we have a list of all of the wicked sinners that will be cat off into the lake of fire – murderers, whoremongers, liars, etc. But at the top of the list are, “the fearful, and unbelieving.”
3. Hebrews 3:12 refers to an “evil heart of unbelief.”
4. The Israelites were hard-hearted and they would not repent. They would not get right with God so God had to judge them (9:13-15).
5. God chastens us so that we might repent and get things right with Him. But when we refuse to repent, there is nothing left but judgment.
6. Hebrews 10:31 says, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
7. Nehemiah described their behaviour in Nehemiah 9:29. They “withdrew the shoulder, and hardened their neck, and would not hear.”
8. Therefore, Israel was “cut off” in one day (Isa. 9:14).
9. Notice that Israel was being led astray by false prophets (9:15, 16). It is the same way today. Peter said, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you” (II Peter 2:1).
10. Who are these “false teachers” today? Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, Pat Robertson, Benny Hinn, Harold Camping, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, et al.
11. Jesus said, “If the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch” (Matthew 15:14).
III. GOD DEALS WITH EVIL
1. A few years ago, President Bush was roundly criticized by the liberal media and his political adversaries for referring to terrorists as “evildoers.” I cannot understand their objection since it is a word found quite a few times in the Bible (cf. Isa. 9:17).
2. I think this is because worldly people do not want to see things in terms of good and evil, heaven and hell, God and Satan, etc. To them everything is murky.
3. The liberal intelligentsia here in America are moral relativists. They do not believe in moral absolutes. They hold that no universal standard exists by which to assess an ethical proposition's truth.
4. But those of us who believe the Bible understand that there is a moral standard, and God has revealed these standards to us. Our Lord said in John 17:17, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”
5. Wickedness burns like a raging fire, and the prophet says sinners are “as the fuel of the fire” (9:18, 19).
6. This is a theme taught throughout the Bible. Wickedness brings its own retribution (cf. Romans 2:5, 6).
7. Harry Ironside spoke of an old woman who was teased by an infidel. He claimed there was no lake of fire and brimstone because no such an amount of brimstone could be found in one place. She wisely replied, “Everyone takes his own brimstone with him!” She knew the Bible better than most preachers!
1. I agree with J. Vernon McGee who wrote, “This prophecy reaches beyond the immediate future of Isaiah’s day and extends down to the last days of the nation Israel."
2. In Isaiah 10:3, the prophet asks three questions. The interpretation: God is speaking to the Israelites before the Assyrian invasion. The application: God is speaking to us in the days leading up to the second coming of Christ.