7.10.09, Isaiah 2:6-22

The Day of the Lord

6 You have abandoned your people,
the house of Jacob.
They are full of superstitions from the East;
they practice divination like the Philistines
and clasp hands with pagans.

7 Their land is full of silver and gold;
there is no end to their treasures.
Their land is full of horses;
there is no end to their chariots.

8 Their land is full of idols;
they bow down to the work of their hands,
to what their fingers have made.

9 So man will be brought low
and mankind humbled—
do not forgive them.

10 Go into the rocks,
hide in the ground
from dread of the LORD
and the splendor of his majesty!

11 The eyes of the arrogant man will be humbled
and the pride of men brought low;
the LORD alone will be exalted in that day.

12 The LORD Almighty has a day in store
for all the proud and lofty,
for all that is exalted
(and they will be humbled),

13 for all the cedars of Lebanon, tall and lofty,
and all the oaks of Bashan,

14 for all the towering mountains
and all the high hills,

15 for every lofty tower
and every fortified wall,

16 for every trading ship
and every stately vessel.

17 The arrogance of man will be brought low
and the pride of men humbled;
the LORD alone will be exalted in that day,

18 and the idols will totally disappear.

19 Men will flee to caves in the rocks
and to holes in the ground
from dread of the LORD
and the splendor of his majesty,
when he rises to shake the earth.

20 In that day men will throw away
to the rodents and bats
their idols of silver and idols of gold,
which they made to worship.

21 They will flee to caverns in the rocks
and to the overhanging crags
from dread of the LORD
and the splendor of his majesty,
when he rises to shake the earth.

22 Stop trusting in man,
who has but a breath in his nostrils.
Of what account is he?

The Splendor of His Majesty

Just one more note about this passage before we move on.  We read here how calamity and retribution will fall on the arrogant and the proud.  But as stereotypically common as this appears, there is one very notable aspect to this retribution: it says that men will run to caves and holes in the ground “from dread of the Lord and the splendor of his majesty.”

This highlights a very simple fact, that God is awesome and terribly holy.  I don’t use that word “terribly” in a negative way, but instead to underscore how fearful his presence would be.  You read this over and over again in Scripture, with Moses meeting God, later in Isaiah’s encounter with God, some of the disciples’ reactions when they catch a glimpse of the fullness of Christ.  God’s presence, in its unadulterated and revealed form, would make us fall down in fear, even ask for death.

But it doesn’t.

Intead, many of us conceive of God’s presence as a warm, safe place that we are invited to, like the Jesus we see in the gospels, wrapping his arms around the shoulders of children, and dining with those considered sinners.  What happened here?  Which conception is correct, the holy and terrible God, or the warm arms of our Father God?

They both are.  I know that sounds crazy, but it’s not.  And the reason it is possible, why it is not a logical impossibility, is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  When Christ died and took our sins, our state changed – when the eyes of God look over us, He no longer sees a sinner, but someone washed clean by incredibly precious blood.  He sees people who have paid their debt (or had their debt paid by another), and so…he sees his children.

So this passage serves as a dual revelation: yes, the incredible holiness of the presence of God, something that we overlook all too often.  But also the fundamental transformation that occurred with Jesus’ ministry on the cross, that wrath was turned into acceptance.  So much changed after those three days.

Questions

1. Why is it important to still remember God’s terrible holiness and splendor?  What positive effects could that have?

2. When you think about God, and how he views you, which do you tend to focus on more, his holiness or his acceptance?  Why?

3. It is good to strive for a type of balance in our conception of God, his holy character, and his divine mercy.  How can we balance these two understandings?

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7.10.09, Isaiah 2:6-22

The Day of the Lord

6 You have abandoned your people,
the house of Jacob.
They are full of superstitions from the East;
they practice divination like the Philistines
and clasp hands with pagans.

7 Their land is full of silver and gold;
there is no end to their treasures.
Their land is full of horses;
there is no end to their chariots.

8 Their land is full of idols;
they bow down to the work of their hands,
to what their fingers have made.

9 So man will be brought low
and mankind humbled—
do not forgive them.

10 Go into the rocks,
hide in the ground
from dread of the LORD
and the splendor of his majesty!

11 The eyes of the arrogant man will be humbled
and the pride of men brought low;
the LORD alone will be exalted in that day.

12 The LORD Almighty has a day in store
for all the proud and lofty,
for all that is exalted
(and they will be humbled),

13 for all the cedars of Lebanon, tall and lofty,
and all the oaks of Bashan,

14 for all the towering mountains
and all the high hills,

15 for every lofty tower
and every fortified wall,

16 for every trading ship
and every stately vessel.

17 The arrogance of man will be brought low
and the pride of men humbled;
the LORD alone will be exalted in that day,

18 and the idols will totally disappear.

19 Men will flee to caves in the rocks
and to holes in the ground
from dread of the LORD
and the splendor of his majesty,
when he rises to shake the earth.

20 In that day men will throw away
to the rodents and bats
their idols of silver and idols of gold,
which they made to worship.

21 They will flee to caverns in the rocks
and to the overhanging crags
from dread of the LORD
and the splendor of his majesty,
when he rises to shake the earth.

22 Stop trusting in man,
who has but a breath in his nostrils.
Of what account is he?

The Splendor of His Majesty

Just one more note about this passage before we move on.  We read here how calamity and retribution will fall on the arrogant and the proud.  But as stereotypically common as this appears, there is one very notable aspect to this retribution: it says that men will run to caves and holes in the ground “from dread of the Lord and the splendor of his majesty.”

This highlights a very simple fact, that God is awesome and terribly holy.  I don’t use that word “terribly” in a negative way, but instead to underscore how fearful his presence would be.  You read this over and over again in Scripture, with Moses meeting God, later in Isaiah’s encounter with God, some of the disciples’ reactions when they catch a glimpse of the fullness of Christ.  God’s presence, in its unadulterated and revealed form, would make us fall down in fear, even ask for death.

But it doesn’t.

Intead, many of us conceive of God’s presence as a warm, safe place that we are invited to, like the Jesus we see in the gospels, wrapping his arms around the shoulders of children, and dining with those considered sinners.  What happened here?  Which conception is correct, the holy and terrible God, or the warm arms of our Father God?

They both are.  I know that sounds crazy, but it’s not.  And the reason it is possible, why it is not a logical impossibility, is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  When Christ died and took our sins, our state changed – when the eyes of God look over us, He no longer sees a sinner, but someone washed clean by incredibly precious blood.  He sees people who have paid their debt (or had their debt paid by another), and so…he sees his children.

So this passage serves as a dual revelation: yes, the incredible holiness of the presence of God, something that we overlook all too often.  But also the fundamental transformation that occurred with Jesus’ ministry on the cross, that wrath was turned into acceptance.  So much changed after those three days.

Questions

1. Why is it important to still remember God’s terrible holiness and splendor?  What positive effects could that have?

2. When you think about God, and how he views you, which do you tend to focus on more, his holiness or his acceptance?  Why?

3. It is good to strive for a type of balance in our conception of God, his holy character, and his divine mercy.  How can we balance these two understandings?