Read Isaiah 9:8-21
What do you think this passage is trying to say?
God’s judgement is essential and it is a mistake to ignore it. Ignoring it will bring harsher judgment and even then it may not be enough.
This passage starts with God speaking, or even more accurately, calling out Israel on their sin. It is not just one person but the whole group. God makes this even clearer by calling out Ephriam and Samaria. For context, Ephriam is the largest and most influential region in the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Remember that Israel is separated into two groups, Israel and Judea, as mentioned earlier in Isaiah. Samaria is the capital city of Israel at the time. God is using these two locations to be very clear about who He is speaking about, there is no room to question it.
1. God brings judgment and it is up to us to repent and turn to Him.
Read Isaiah 9:8-12
In verse 10, the people ignore God’s judgement and openly ignore it. God has delivered judgment and instead of repentance they turn from God and plan to rebuild all He has torn down and make it even grander. By doing this they think they are above His judgment and can lead themselves into a season of prosperity. Due to this defiant thinking the Lord sends the Syrians to attack and the Philistines after that. Israel continues to be destroyed and they are unable to rebuild.
The second half of verse 12 is very important. “... In spite of all of this, His anger does not turn away and His hand is still stretched out.”
What do you think this verse is trying to say?
2. When we don’t turn to God we will receive further judgment.
Read Isaiah 9:13-17
As we continue into the passage, we see that Israel is unwilling to repent of their sin and God must bring further judgment to them. God’s next step is to start removing people in leadership and influential positions. He will remove political leaders such as elders and honourable men and then He will remove those who are lowly, such as prophets who speak lies. God’s judgement becomes quite severe at this point and He is not going to spare anyone, even those who may have been spared in a different situation, like children, women and young people who are impressionable, for they are all sinners and do not repent. “... In spite of all of this, His anger does not turn away and His hand is still stretched out,” is repeated at the end of verse 17. God has punished Israel and again, it is not enough.
Why do you think Israel continues to sin even after receiving judgment from God?
3. The influence of sin is so strong but God’s judgement is stronger.
The fire is a representation of sin and it is spreading among the people of Israel quickly. Everything that sin touches burns up and it is destroyed. As Israel continues to sin they continue to bring God’s judgment upon themselves. As Israel continues to sin soon enough they begin to sin and kill each other. Sin begets sin. God has no patience for His people directly ignoring Him so He lets them hurt each other and does not intervene. He takes away His veil of self-preservation from them. As we know from last week that God also removed His veil of protection from outside enemies attacking them and exiling them after this. And again, the line “... In spite of all of this, His anger does not turn away and His hand is still stretched out,” is repeated in verse 21.
If you would like more context for what happened to Israel when they invaded and exiled go listen to Pastor Jordan’s sermon on Isaiah 10:1-19.
How do you think God judges us today?
Do you ever feel convicted of your sin and still continue to participate in that sin? How does it make you feel?
How do you think Jesus fits into God’s judgement today?