The Book of Isaiah
James J. Barker


Lesson 61
GOD'S GRACIOUS DEALINGS WITH ISRAEL

Text: ISAIAH 63:7-19


INTRODUCTION:


1.     Isaiah 63:719 is substantially different from Isaiah 63:16.

2.     The emphasis in the first six verses of this chapter is the vengeance of God (cf. vs. 4).

3.     The emphasis in the rest of the chapter is God's grace.  The word "grace" is not found in this chapter (or anywhere else in the book of Isaiah), but the doctrine of grace is clearly taught.

       "I will mention the loving kindnesses of the LORD..." (vs. 7).

       "and the great goodness toward the house of Israel"

       "which He hath bestowed on them according to His mercies"

       "and according to the multitude of His loving kindnesses."

4.     Regarding the change after verse 6, J. Vernon McGee said, "In this section we see that in wrath the Lord Jesus remembers mercy to those who are His.  The entire content and intent changes abruptly at this point.  It is like coming out of darkness into the sunlight of noonday" (Thru the Bible). 

 

I. THE GRACE OF GOD MANIFESTED

II. THE GRACE OF GOD SPURNED

III. THE GRACE OF GOD REMEMBERED

 

I. THE GRACE OF GOD MANIFESTED

1.     "I" in Isaiah 63:7 is the prophet Isaiah, who is speaking as the representative of the people of Israel at the time of their future deliverance.

2.     Bible expositors (e.g., the Scofield Study Bible) see this as the faithful remnant of Jews in the coming tribulation.

3.     The Lord Jesus Christ will return to deliver Israel (Isa. 59:20).  The apostle Paul quoted Isaiah 59:20 in Romans 11:26.

4.     "And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob."

5.     This deliverance refers to both physical deliverance and spiritual deliverance (63:1b).

6.     Isaiah 63:4 refers to the Lord's vengeance upon His enemies, and deliverance for His "redeemed."

7.     Isaiah 63:7and 8 specifically refer to "the house of Israel."  "For He said, Surely they are my people" (63:8).

8.     But we can certainly apply these Scriptures to the church today.  Today we are God's people.  "But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name" (John 1:12).

9.     However, God has not given up on the Jewish people.  The apostle Paul said in Romans 11:1, 2 "I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.  God hath not cast away His people which He foreknew."

10. "Replacement Theology" erroneously teaches that the church has replaced Israel in God's plan. These "Replacement Theology" proponents believe the Jews are no longer God's chosen people, and that God does not have future plans for the nation of Israel.

11. Replacement Theology is also called "Covenant Theology," and is based on an allegorical interpretation of Scripture.  To deny God's future restoration of Israel means to deny the literal interpretation of most the book of Isaiah, and most of the rest of the Bible as well.

12. The Lord identified Himself so lovingly with His people that "in all their affliction He was afflicted" (63:9).

13. We see the same idea in Judges 10:16, where it says the Lord's "soul was grieved for the misery of Israel."

14. "The angel of His presence" (63:9) refers to the angel of the LORD, the pre-incarnate Christ, the image of the invisible God.

15. The presence of God was with His people in the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night.

16. God's gracious dealings with Israel are described in Isaiah 63:9.  But then the next verse says, "But they rebelled, and vexed His Holy Spirit: therefore He was turned to be their enemy, and He fought against them."

17. What a contrast from sympathizing and grieving over Israel's afflictions to being their enemy and fighting against them (63:9, 10)!

 

II. THE GRACE OF GOD SPURNED

1.     Ephesians 4:30 says, "And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption" (cf. Isa. 63:10).

2.     God's people can vex God's Holy Spirit and they can grieve His Holy Spirit.

3.     How?  By rebelling (63:10).  Here we see the grace of God spurned.

4.     Hebrews 10:29 says, "Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?"

5.     Grace spurned can only lead to the judgment of God.

6.     How sad that God wants to bless His children, but because of their rebelliousness He becomes "their enemy" (63:10).

7.     "He fought against them" (63:10) means God helped Israel's enemies defeat them.   God often used the heathen as a rod to chasten Israel (cf. 10:5, 6; II Chron. 36:15-17).

 

III. THE GRACE OF GOD REMEMBERED (63:11-19)

1.     "Then he remembered..." (63:11). Isaiah 63:11-14 look back to God's mercy and grace when He delivered the Israelites from the bondage of Egypt. 

2.     God led His people to make for Himself "a glorious name" (63:12- 14).  

3.     Isaiah, representing the people of Israel, pleads with the Lord to "look down from heaven..." (63:15). 

4.     This is a prayer for redemption and deliverance.  God had to withdraw from Israel because of their sin.   Isaiah asks, "Where is Thy zeal and Thy strength, the sounding of Thy bowels and of Thy mercies toward me?  Are they restrained?" (63:15).

5.     God is their "Father" (63:16; cf. 64:8) in the sense that God is their Creator. It is God who called the nation Israel into existence.

6.     This is similar to what the apostle Paul said to the Athenians in Acts 17:28, "For we are also His offspring."

7.     The Scofield Study Bible says, "Israel, collectively, the national Israel, recognizes God as the national Father (cf. Exodus 4:22, 23). Doubtless the believing Israelite was born anew (cf. John 3:3, 5; Luke 13:28), but the O.T. Scriptures show no trace of the consciousness of personal sonship... Here the reference is to relationship through creation, rather than through faith, as in Acts 17:28, 29).

8.     Isaiah 63:17 is a stern warning regarding the danger of hardening our hearts.   Persistent and obstinate rejection of God's will results in God turning those who have hardened their hearts against Him over to the consequences of their sin.

9.     A well-known example of this is Pharaoh, who was warned many times.  Exodus 9:12 says, "And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had spoken unto Moses."

10. It should be remembered that this chapter is in the context of the second coming of Christ (cf. 63:1).  In the days preceding the second coming (the great tribulation) there will be widespread apostasy, devil-worship, occultism, immorality, including homosexuality and every type of wickedness imaginable.

11. Second Thessalonians 2 says in that coming day people will reject the Word of God and instead of worshipping the true God of heaven, they will worship the antichrist.

12. "Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.  And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness" (II Thess. 2:9-12).

13. While Isaiah 63 and II Thessalonians 2 are referring to the last days, this warning about hardening the heart is given all throughout the Bible and it is a warning for our day as well (cf. John 12:37-40). 

14. Three times in Romans 1, it says, "God gave them up."

15. In Deuteronomy 2:30, the LORD says, "But Sihon king of Heshbon would not let us pass by him: for the LORD thy God hardened his spirit, and made his heart obstinate, that he might deliver him into thy hand, as appeareth this day."

 

CONCLUSION:

1.     J Harold Smith was a Baptist evangelist, who died in 2001, after preaching for nearly 60 years.  It is estimated that he preached more than 70,000 sermons, but he is well known for one particular sermon "God's Three Deadlines."

2.     It is estimated that about one million people made a profession of faith after hearing that message.

3.     J Harold Smith said God's three deadlines were:

(1) Blaspheming the Holy Spirit or "the unpardonable sin," referred to by our Lord in Matthew 12:32.

(2) Sinning away your day of grace (Proverbs 29:1).

(3) The sin unto death for believers (I John 5:16).

4.     In this powerful message, J Harold Smith gave many examples of people who committed one of these terrible sins.

5.     Sometimes when a sinner hardens his heart and persistently turns his back on God, God in judgment hardens his heart.  And at that point, it is too late for that man. 

6.     "He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy" (Proverbs 29:1).



<< Back                                       Next >>