Waiting (Isaiah 1:1-2:4, Matthew 1:18-23, 2 Peter 3:1-13)

Bernard Gabbott, Sunday, 1 December 2019
Part of the Isaiah series, preached at a Sunday Morning service

Waiting
Isaiah 1:1-2:4

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Isaiah 1–2:4 (Listen)

1:1 The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.

  Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth;
    for the LORD has spoken:
  “Children have I reared and brought up,
    but they have rebelled against me.
  The ox knows its owner,
    and the donkey its master's crib,
  but Israel does not know,
    my people do not understand.”
  Ah, sinful nation,
    a people laden with iniquity,
  offspring of evildoers,
    children who deal corruptly!
  They have forsaken the LORD,
    they have despised the Holy One of Israel,
    they are utterly estranged.
  Why will you still be struck down?
    Why will you continue to rebel?
  The whole head is sick,
    and the whole heart faint.
  From the sole of the foot even to the head,
    there is no soundness in it,
  but bruises and sores
    and raw wounds;
  they are not pressed out or bound up
    or softened with oil.
  Your country lies desolate;
    your cities are burned with fire;
  in your very presence
    foreigners devour your land;
    it is desolate, as overthrown by foreigners.
  And the daughter of Zion is left
    like a booth in a vineyard,
  like a lodge in a cucumber field,
    like a besieged city.
  If the LORD of hosts
    had not left us a few survivors,
  we should have been like Sodom,
    and become like Gomorrah.
10   Hear the word of the LORD,
    you rulers of Sodom!
  Give ear to the teaching of our God,
    you people of Gomorrah!
11   “What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices?
    says the LORD;
  I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams
    and the fat of well-fed beasts;
  I do not delight in the blood of bulls,
    or of lambs, or of goats.
12   “When you come to appear before me,
    who has required of you
    this trampling of my courts?
13   Bring no more vain offerings;
    incense is an abomination to me.
  New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations—
    I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly.
14   Your new moons and your appointed feasts
    my soul hates;
  they have become a burden to me;
    I am weary of bearing them.
15   When you spread out your hands,
    I will hide my eyes from you;
  even though you make many prayers,
    I will not listen;
    your hands are full of blood.
16   Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
    remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes;
  cease to do evil,
17     learn to do good;
  seek justice,
    correct oppression;
  bring justice to the fatherless,
    plead the widow's cause.
18   “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD:
  though your sins are like scarlet,
    they shall be as white as snow;
  though they are red like crimson,
    they shall become like wool.
19   If you are willing and obedient,
    you shall eat the good of the land;
20   but if you refuse and rebel,
    you shall be eaten by the sword;
    for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

21   How the faithful city
    has become a whore,
    she who was full of justice!
  Righteousness lodged in her,
    but now murderers.
22   Your silver has become dross,
    your best wine mixed with water.
23   Your princes are rebels
    and companions of thieves.
  Everyone loves a bribe
    and runs after gifts.
  They do not bring justice to the fatherless,
    and the widow's cause does not come to them.
24   Therefore the Lord declares,
    the LORD of hosts,
    the Mighty One of Israel:
  “Ah, I will get relief from my enemies
    and avenge myself on my foes.
25   I will turn my hand against you
    and will smelt away your dross as with lye
    and remove all your alloy.
26   And I will restore your judges as at the first,
    and your counselors as at the beginning.
  Afterward you shall be called the city of righteousness,
    the faithful city.”
27   Zion shall be redeemed by justice,
    and those in her who repent, by righteousness.
28   But rebels and sinners shall be broken together,
    and those who forsake the LORD shall be consumed.
29   For they shall be ashamed of the oaks
    that you desired;
  and you shall blush for the gardens
    that you have chosen.
30   For you shall be like an oak
    whose leaf withers,
    and like a garden without water.
31   And the strong shall become tinder,
    and his work a spark,
  and both of them shall burn together,
    with none to quench them.

2:1 The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

  It shall come to pass in the latter days
    that the mountain of the house of the LORD
  shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
    and shall be lifted up above the hills;
  and all the nations shall flow to it,
    and many peoples shall come, and say:
  “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
    to the house of the God of Jacob,
  that he may teach us his ways
    and that we may walk in his paths.”
  For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
    and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
  He shall judge between the nations,
    and shall decide disputes for many peoples;
  and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
    and their spears into pruning hooks;
  nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
    neither shall they learn war anymore.

(ESV)

Matthew 1:18–23 (Listen)

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

23   “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
    and they shall call his name Immanuel”

(which means, God with us).

(ESV)

2 Peter 3:1–13 (Listen)

3:1 This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.

11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! 13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

(ESV)