This Week’s Focus Passage: Isaiah ‘For this is as the waters of Noah unto me.’
This Week’s Focus Passage: Isaiah
‘For this is as the waters of Noah unto me.’
We are not able to refrain, or forbear, from setting this blessed promise before our eyes and hearts in all its fullness, as contained in Isaiah 54:9-10:
For this is as the waters of Noah unto me; for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah shall no more go over the earth, so have I sworn that I will not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee. For the mountains may depart, and the hills be removed; but my lovingkindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall my covenant of peace be removed, saith Jehovah that hath mercy on thee.
Believers in Jesus Christ, as their Lord and Savior, have been given new hearts which enable them teno believe, and in the case of the promise of Jehovah, given to Noah after the floodwaters were assuaged, to know through faith in the living God, that never again would such a deluge encompass the earth. We have the promise of God. And what He is saying to Isaiah in our focus passage, and saying to every believer, is that His promises are, each and every one of them, as certain as He is Jehovah. Indeed, He declared just prior to the words cited above, vs. 9-10, in astounding terms:
For Jehovah hath called thee as a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit, even a wife of youth, when she is cast off, saith thy God. For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. In overflowing wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting lovingkindness will I have mercy on thee, saith Jehovah thy Redeemer.—Isaiah 54:6-8.
The contention of one particular writer, is that this chapter, Isaiah 54, ‘tends to be a somewhat forgotten chapter today. [we are not certain he is correct in saying this] Lying as it does between the wonderful prophecies of the suffering Messiah in Chapter 53, and the glorious Gospel invitation of Chapter 55, it tends perhaps to be ignored by preachers looking for an evangelistic text.’ That makes no sense to me. We must wonder what his definition of evangelistic might be. As he went on to talk about William Carey, ‘the father of the modern missionary movement,’ we strongly suspect that he may be confining evangelism to missionary activity.
This portion of the blessed Word of God that we are looking at, appears, rather conspicuously, to duplicate in many ways the New Covenant expressions found in both Jeremiah 31, and Ezekiel 36. In Isaiah 54, it is referred to under the title of my covenant of Peace. How may this not be aligned with the New Covenant?
The fulfillment of the New Covenant promises, in Jeremiah 31, as words spoken by a husband to his wife; although I was a husband unto them, saith Jehovah. These words are uttered immediately before He says, But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith Jehovah: I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And equally so in the book of Ezekiel, and at the 36th chapter, beginning with verse 26:
A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep mine ordinances, and do them.
This is the ‘Great Change,’ or as it is also spoken of, ‘The Great Exchange.’ The Great Change is, of course, that spoken of by Christ, to that Pharisee, Nicodemus, that came to Him by night. When this ‘seeker’ came to Jesus in great perplexity, not being able to understand His teaching, Jesus finally said unto him, if we may make it personal, “Nicodemus, you must be born again.” And that new birth spoken of by Jesus, is that same activity spoken of by both Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. This new birth involves the giving of a new heart, with God’s law written upon it; in their heart will I write it.—Jeremiah 31:33. Repentance and faith are given by God the Holy Spirit Himself, when He gives these new hearts. That is what is new about them! Nicodemus could not bring about this new birth; it is a sovereign activity of God the Holy Spirit, applying to a chosen sinner, the salvation provided by the blood of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world. And this may also be referred, as we suggest above, as the Great Exchange, because at this self-same moment, the righteousness of Christ is imputed to the recipient of regenerating grace, as the sins of this chosen vessel were imputed to Christ. The chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed. And again, It pleased Jehovah to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, our sin. Jesus took our sins; they became His: we were given His righteousness; it has become ours.
We echo the words of that incredulous Pharisee, when he inquired, How can these things be? These things can be; only because of God’s amazing faithfulness to His promises. And here, in this week’s text, we see another expression of that glorious faithfulness; faithfulness to Himself; faithfulness to His promises; faithfulness to His chosen. He declared, through Isaiah, that In overflowing wrath I hid my face from thee, and at the same time, with everlasting lovingkindness will I have mercy on thee, saith Jehovah thy Redeemer. What a blessed contrast is to be found in these expressions joined together for us by the Author of the Word of God, even God the Holy Spirit Himself, when He inspired men of old to write them down, as Peter has reminded us, 2 Peter 1:21, For no prophecy ever came by the will of man: but men spake from God, being moved by the Holy Spirit. Do not the words, ‘overflowing wrath’ depict to our minds, such an abundance of wrath, that no man, no human being, could ever withstand; it is of an insuperable nature and quantity that is as unspeakable as it is insuperable. And just what is this ‘overflowing wrath’ being contrasted with? Is it not ‘everlasting lovingkindness’? As we may contemplate the exceeding power of the overflowing wrath of God, entirely beyond our ken, let this help us to entertain in our thoughts, the contrasting ‘everlasting lovingkindness’ of Jehovah toward His people. We confess that the lovingkindness of God is above our comprehension, and surely then, adding to that lovingkindness, ‘everlasting’ takes us to infinitely higher boundaries of comprehension. We expect to have an eternity to rejoice in this blessed struggle to comprehend the love of Jesus, what it is.
David Farmer, elder
Fellowship Bible Church
More in This Week's Focus Passage
October 15, 2021This Week’s Focus Passage: John 6:44 ‘No man can come to me, except the Father that sent me draw him
October 9, 2021This Week’s Focus Passage: Jeremiah 31:3 ‘Jehovah appeared of old unto me, Yea, I have loved thee wi
September 18, 2021This Week’s Focus Passage: Isaiah ‘For this is as the waters of Noah unto me.’