[SW151] 08/22/2014 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“He Longs To Be Gracious”
He longs to be gracious . . . He waits for you to turn to Him and to adhere yourself to Him, because He will surely receive you back to Himself, if you do it!
Text: Isaiah 30
Verse 18 — He longs to be gracious to you. I praise Him, because it is His very nature and character to be gracious and compassionate. But it is also His very character to be just and righteous. You will see all of these characteristics in this message.
He longs to be gracious to you. That means there must be times when He has to withhold His grace for some just and righteous reason, doesn’t it?
He waits on high — emphasizing His position versus yours, and His authority and power over everything that exists. But it also indicates distance between God and His people.
What does He wait on high to do? Have compassion. That means He had to withhold His compassion for some just and righteous reason, doesn’t it? The word is racham (7355), and the root has to do with birth. Compassion comes from the depths of His being.
It is as with Paul to the Galatians (Galatians 4:19); he again travailed as in a woman in labor, so that Christ would be formed in them. That means Christ wasn’t yet formed in them, doesn’t it, or that somehow they had lost their connection to Christ?
Here’s the question, then: Why did the Lord withhold His grace and compassion from Judah? Why does He withhold it from much of today’s church?
The answer is in Isaiah 30:1 and forward:
Verse 1 — Woe to the rebellious children! His children rebelled against Him. How? They execute a plan (literally, “weave a covering web”). But it is not His plan. They make an alliance, but it is not of His Spirit. They do not seek His counsel, but devise their own plans.
Verse 2 — We rebel when we turn to the world. Egypt is not only a country to whom Judah would eventually turn for protection from Babylon, but it is also an example for us.
For the church, Egypt represents the natural, turning to the ways of the world to try to keep the church-at-large from becoming extinct.
It is using management techniques, psychology, psychiatry, and sociology to try to keep the pews filled, trying to be an “attractional” church that entertains, a church where there is no mention of sin or repentance because it might make people feel bad about themselves.
Just as Nebuchadnezzar routed Egypt and destroyed the Jews who sought shelter there, Satan will also destroy those of us who seek the world’s wisdom and power to overcome him, instead of God’s wisdom and power. I am telling you the truth.
Verse 9 — For this is a rebellious people, false (literally, “lying”) sons, who refuse to listen to the instruction of the Lord.
That is what it is to rebel. We turn to the world and listen to its instruction. We seek its protection from Satan’s plan to destroy the church, instead of turning to the Lord.
Verse 10 — Much of the church, just as Judah in Isaiah’s day, does not want to hear true words from the seers (prophets) the Lord sends to warn them.
[NOTE: The idea that a person can hear from the Lord is totally rejected in most seminaries and by many pastors and their overseers, and thus, it is also rejected by the congregations. So in a way, it is even worse now than in Isaiah’s day, when men still believed prophets heard from God.]
Judah agreed that God sends men and women to warn them. They just didn’t want to hear it.
So they command prophets not to see visions. They command them not to prophesy what is right. “Speak to us pleasant words (literally “smooth things”),” ear-tickling words. Prophesy what we want to hear, even though it will keep us in our self-made deception.
And many pastors and their overseers oblige the people. The Lord is grieved.
Judah (and many churches today) would say — Get out of the way! We’re on the broad path that leads to destruction. Don’t bother us. Turn aside.
We don’t want to hear any more about the Holy One of Israel. We don’t want to hear that HE is righteous and just, and that WE are not.
We don’t want to hear that WE have deserted the HIM, the One who is totally separated from the world, who says through His prophets that WE are not separated from the world, but SHOULD BE.
We don’t want to hear that we are wrong to put our trust in the world instead of Him.
Verse 12 & 14 — And so the Lord says (and I paraphrase), “Since you have rejected Me, I will let you be broken shattered, broken to pieces.”
Verse 15 — “I told you through my prophets that you would be saved by repenting and resting, trusting and relying on Me. But you were not willing.”
Verse 18 — “Therefore, because you have not trusted Me but have rebelled against me by relying on man and refusing to listen to those I send you, I am in the position of longing to be gracious to you.”
“I am not now gracious to you. I have had to withdraw My grace because of your rebellion. I long, I wait from on high, since you do not want to hear My words, I have withdrawn from you.”
Verse 19 — This was a cause for weeping among the people of Judah. It should be a cause for weeping among the people of the church of today.
But what will happen when you cry out in repentance to Him? HE WILL SURELY BE GRACIOUS TO YOU.
What will happen when He hears the sound of your cry of repentance? HE WILL ANSWER YOU.
He longs to be gracious. The turning point is your repentance. If you cry out —
Verse 20 — He will no longer hide Himself from you.
Your eyes will BEHOLD HIM.
Verse 21 — Your ears will HEAR HIS INSTRUCTION
Verse 22 — You will contaminate and call unclean (“not of God”) all the false things you trusted in.
Verse 23 — THEN He will bring the rain of His Spirit that will make you fruitful.
Verse 26 — THEN He will bind up the fracture in your relationship with Him and heal the bruise He has inflicted on you because of your rebellion against Him.
God wouldn’t do that, would He?
Maybe that’s just for the Old Testament. We’re under grace now. But so was Judah, before they rebelled, beloved!
And in Hebrews 12:8 the Spirit-inspired author tells us that we are bastards and not children of God if we are not disciplined by the Lord.
Here is His grace to the errant, rebellious church — He will bind you up, He will heal you, if you will return to Him. Hallelujah!
He withholds His grace and compassion from you until you:
DO ACTS IN KEEPING WITH REPENTANCE (verse 22)
And then He will:
RECEIVE YOU BACK
When you cry out in repentance:
YOUR EYES BEHOLD HIM
YOU HEAR AND HEED HIS INSTRUCTION
YOU THROW AWAY UNCLEAN THINGS THAT YOU HAVE RELIED ON (ACTS IN KEEPING WITH REPENTANCE)
And this yields:
But many would say that sin (willful rebellion against God) is no longer an issue to the Lord, and there is no way we can stop willfully rebelling, but that because of Jesus Christ, God forgives all willful rebellion — past, present and future. That is flat-out false teaching, beloved. It contradicts the Bible.
What does Paul mean in Romans 6:1-2?
Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?
What does he mean in Galatians 5:24?
Galatians 5:24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
What does Peter mean in 1 Peter 4:1-2?
1Peter 4:1 Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.
What does Jesus mean in John 8:31-36?
John 8:31 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” 33 They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You will become free’?”34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. 35 “ The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. 36 “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. He does what only God can do — He sets us free from slavery to sin.
This freedom from slavery to sin was very costly — it cost the Father the Cross, the sacrifice of His Son’s physical body on it. Dare we say He cannot set free from slavery to sin? I do not dare!
I know you will cite other passages that seem to indicate we cannot help but willfully rebel. But you cannot cite them only, and ignore these.
Beloved, the Lord longs to be gracious to you, and to have compassion on you. Return to Him now. Cry out now, and call unclean the things that you have trusted in. Trust in God alone. He will hear and answer!