Sunday, August 28, 2011

Four Great Lessons from Isaiah Chapter 3

I received the following message from Pastor Zac Poonen this week and thought I would share it.

Four Great Lessons

We can learn four great lessons from chapter three of Isaiah.

1. Isaiah 3:10,11 assures the righteous that it will finally go well with them and warns the wicked that things will finally go badly for them. Although this may not appear to be so immediately, it will be so finally.

2. Isaiah 3:12 speaks of the pathetic state of the people of Israel. They were going astray because their leaders were immature (“children”) and effeminate (“women”). This, unfortunately, is true of much of today’s Christian leadership as well. Immature leaders are those who value the temporal things of earth more than the things of eternity. Effeminate leaders are those who are not warriors for the Lord - just as women are not usually found on the battlefield but at home. Such leaders are not bold to fight for the truth or to rebuke sin in the church - especially when sin is found among the rich. If you are called to be a leader, determine that you will always live for the things of eternity and be ready at all times to fight the Lord’s battles.

3. In Isaiah 3:14, the Lord says that He is “going to enter into judgment with the elders and princes of His people.” The prophets invariably began with a warning of judgment against the leaders – because it was the leaders who had first become corrupt and thus led the people astray. The Lord says, “The plunder of the poor is in your houses. What do you mean by grinding the face of the poor?” (Isaiah 3:15). Most preachers today ask people frequently to “give money for the Lord’s work”. They even pressurise people to give their tithes – and many poor people respond and sacrificially give these preachers their hard-earned money. But what do these preachers do with it? Most of them use it to live in grand style themselves! This is what it means to “grind the faces of the poor”. If you are a preacher and you receive a gift of money for your personal use, make sure that you use it to live at a lower standard than the person who gave you the money. That was the principle by which Jesus used the money that He received.

Most preachers today (like the false prophets of old) care more for the rich people in their congregations than for the poor. They speak sweet words to the rich and hard words of rebuke to the poor. God has however “chosen the poor of the world to be rich in faith and heirs of His kingdom” (Jas. 2:5). And so, true prophets are always concerned for the poor.

4. The Lord then had something to say to the women in Zion - not to unconverted women, but to “the daughters of Zion.All young sisters should read Isaiah 3:16-26 and be warned. The Lord says there that He will judge the women “who mince along with noses in the air, tinkling the bracelets on their ankles, and with wanton eyes that rove among the crowds to catch the glances of the men. The Lord will strip away their ornaments, necklaces, bracelets, veils of shimmering gauze, ankle chains, headbands, earrings and other rings, jewels, party clothes, negligees, capes and ornate combs, their purses (handbags), and the mirrors (in their handbags), their lovely lingerie and beautiful dresses” (Living Bible).

Does the Lord observe such minute details in a woman’s attire? He certainly does. God is very interested in the way His daughters dress. He wants Christian women to dress modestly and never in such a way as to tempt men. The Holy Spirit exhorts women to be “sensible in the way they dress. Christian women should be noticed for being kind and good and not for the way they fix their hair or because of their jewels or fancy clothes” (1 Tim. 2:9,10-Living).

One can imagine how angry the women of Isaiah’s day became on hearing such strong preaching. They must have hated him and encouraged their husbands to kill him!

Prophets are different from regular preachers. They speak what God lays on their hearts, even if their message offends the rich people and the women in a church. That’s why prophets are not popular.

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