Volume. XXIX, No. 26
Sunday, 28 December 2014


From the Pastors Heart: Wait on God (Part 16)


 

Isaiah 25:9, “And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” 

 

Between chapters 12 and 24 in the book of Isaiah, there are plenty of serious, dark, and terrifying prophecies of the coming judgments from God.  All who disobeyed God, both the Jews and Gentiles, and both the city of Jerusalem and the cities of pagan nations, would experience the powerful and irreversible judgments from God.  Having said of the fall of the world powers, Isaiah brought a totally different prophecy into chapter 25. 

 

The first five verses in chapter 25 is a song of praise to God.  O LORD, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth. 2 For thou hast made of a city an heap; of a defenced city a ruin: a palace of strangers to be no city; it shall never be built. 3 Therefore shall the strong people glorify thee, the city of the terrible nations shall fear thee. 4 For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall. 5 Thou shalt bring down the noise of strangers, as the heat in a dry place; even the heat with the shadow of a cloud: the branch of the terrible ones shall be brought low.”  Isaiah glorified His Lord and praised His name.  Verses 1 and 2 indicate the reason(s) why God could not but be praised.  (1) The first reason is found in verse 1b saying, “For thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.”  Isaiah praised God for something big, wonderful things.  His work was too big to be imitated by anyone else.  His counsels were of old, which means that they were purposed and planned a long time ago.  What God did was not simply reactionary to unexpected events.  He knew all things and nothing was above His foreknowledge and foreordination.  The work of His eternal purpose and decree was faithful and true.  E. J. Young explains these two terms, “faithfulness and truth” as “a perfect faithfulness.”  (2) The second reason is found in verse 2.  Isaiah revealed that one of the reasons for Him to praise God was the destruction of the world city.  The city destroyed and ruined in this verse cannot be Jerusalem, because no prophet would rejoice over the destruction of the city of God, where the name of God dwelt.  The Lord made a city an heap.  Though it is hard to identify the name of this ruined city, it could be possible that it refers to Babylon.  After all, Babylonian empire was the power that had destroyed the southern kingdom of Judah including the Solomonic Temple and taken the Jews into the captivity.  The captives needed to be delivered from their hands as God had delivered their forefathers from the bondage of the Egyptians.  As God judged the Egyptians then, so now He judges the world power of the day.  (3) The third reason is found in verse 3 which speaks of the strong people glorifying God and the city of the terrible nations fearing Him.  This particular verse provokes our minds to think of some extraordinary events, which must be prophetic.  They are: (a) conversions of pagan/Gentile nations and (b) their worship of God.  We do not know who these strong people are.  Historically speaking, we may say that Babylonians and Assyrians were strong.  Out of many nations, I pick out only these two nations because they destroyed both northern and southern kingdoms of Israel and took them into captivity respectively.  However, identifying them as converted strong people and God-fearing people does not match up with them.  Therefore, I rather want to leave them for future fulfillments.  (4) The fourth reason is found in verse 4, which speaks of God as a refuge for His people.  The people who have found a refuge in God are the poor, who are contrasted with strong people, who are their oppressors.  In times of crisis, pictured as storm and heat, God is a place for the poor and the afflicted to hide.  When storms are coming and pelting down hard with heavy rain, the Lord is their shelter.  It must be a figurative description of violence and cruelty brought against the poor and the weaker.   

 

The next passage we need to see is Isaiah 25:6-8, which is a very fascinating passage in many ways.  “And in this mountain shall the LORD of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined. 7 And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations. 8 He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.”  Even without spending too much time to understand the passage, we may quite quickly notice that it speaks about future event.  For example, death will be swallowed up in victory (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:54).  The Lord will wipe away tears from off all faces (Revelation 21:4).  There will be a feast in the mountain.  There are a lot of interpretational issues.  In short, I may say that there are two main schools of thoughts.  One school of thought will argue that everything must be interpreted figuratively.  Thus, the mountain may refer to Zion, the city of God, or Jerusalem, but it figuratively refers to the Church of Jesus Christ.  The feast also needs to be figuratively understood.  Thus, this feast refers to the spiritual blessings that God brings to us through his kingdom (E. J. Young, The Book of Isaiah, vol. 2, 192).  However, I have found some problems with this interpretation.  It is because death to be swallowed up and tears to be completely wiped off from our eyes are not present experiences but future.  Regardless of one’s millennial kingdom views, no one will deny that Revelation 21 does not belong to the Church era but the future era.  Verse 4 says, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”  Then, the other school of thought argues that this passage refers to the earthly millennial kingdom.  It believes that this feast will occur at the end of the Millennium (Constable’s Notes on Isaiah, 114).  This more literal interpretation seems to have more merits to be considered than figurative or spiritual interpretation for this passage. 

 

Then, Isaiah 25:9 comes to us as a pleasant exclamation.  “And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”  There are two things: (1) God’s people’s rejoicing voice, “Lo, this is our God,” and (2) Happy ending of God’s people’s waiting, “we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”  We cannot but notice the repeated saying of “we have waited for Him.”  The problems and trials have been serious and severe.  The people of God have not found any help or assistance from anything and anyone.  Their hope has been in God who has not been in sight.  However, they have been waiting and waiting for His coming to help them.  They have ceased from all human hope and help but clung to God only by faith and waited for Him.  It may sound strange, even ironic that the power of God’s people lies in their waiting for God while in helplessness and hopelessness.  It was not necessarily man’s waiting that the happy ending was brought in.  The reason that waiting for God brings a happy ending is because God is certain and His promises are sure.  We must be able to feel the excitement of God’s people when they shout, “Lo, this is our God.  We have waited for Him.”  There were moments of silence from God, which have caused them to wait for Him.  It also implies that waiting for God was the condition to experience the presence of God in this case.  Wait for God, and He will let you have the sweetness of His presence.

 

Lovingly,

Your Pastor


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

*Kitchen Roster - Leader: Today: Dn Colin Gan. Next Lord’s Day: Bro Edwin D’Mello.

*Session wishes all worshippers a very Blessed and God-honouring New Year.

*Session wishes to thank everyone who contributed food, drinks & dessert, & all those who came for Christmas Fellowship Lunch on Christmas Day.

*Watchnight Service on Wednesday evening, all are encouraged to come. Please arrive by 7.20 pm.

*Church Theme for 2015: “Build a God-honouring family.” Joshua 24:15c.

*Adult & Junior RPGs for Jan-Mar QTR available on the literature table. Donation: $1 per copy.

*Distribution of the Christmas Gifts is as follows:

In the mission fields: The Durands (Chile) US$350, The Bjurs (Chile) US$300, The Yoons (Kenya) US$250, & Ms Bae (Kenya) US$100.

IBPFM Office: Rev & Mrs Keith Coleman US$300, Mrs Charlotte Faucette US$200, Ms Marilyn Faucette US$200, & Mrs Irene US$100.

Retired Missionaries: Dr LeRoy US$200 & Ms Davenport US$48.85.

Others: Kim family A$1,065.

 

Praise & Thanksgiving

1. Journey mercies: Dn Wai Kin & Sis Mavis Wong & family (S’pore); Bro Tony & Sis Sally Law (Syd); Bro Phil & Sis Iris Surman (NZ); Bros Kevin Low’s family (Adl) & William Song (Melb); Sisters Amy Ang (Adl), Ashley, Jillian & Nicole Chia (S’pore), Michelle Lee (Tokyo), & Siew Ling Teh & family (M’sia); & others arriving safely at their destinations.

2. Church activities in the past week.

3. Christmas Day Service & wonderful banquet-style lunch & fellowship.

4. Year 12 students for their successful results.

5. Visitors & new worshippers.

6. God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.

 

Prayer Items

1. Health & God’s healing – Please refer to hard copy of Lively Hope.

2. Special Prayer: Sis Yashu Qin’s father (Wuhan).

3. God’s strength, guidance & provision: Sis Wol Hee Kim & her two daughters (S Korea).

4. iSketch & Tell Ministry: Pr Hai Seng Lim.

5. Cambodia Missions - Bro John Saray & Ministry (Sihanoukville; Bro Chanthon & Ministry (Siem Reap); & Bro Thi Chhay & Ministry (Kratie).

6. New Life BPC (London) - strength & encouragement for congregation; Resident Preacher Mok - UK visa application & approval.

7. Providence B-P Church (at Mawson Lakes from Jan 2015) - Ps David & Sis Susan Weng, & congregation.

8. Youth & Assistant Pastor for Hope B-P Church.

9. Journey mercies: Please refer to hard copy of Lively Hope.

10. Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.

11. Jobs: Those seeking for jobs in Adelaide.

12. Believers suffering in Islamic & communist countries.

13. Australia: People to repent & to come to Christ.

 

 

© Hope Bible-Presbyterian Church
PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063