Sermon Series: Isaiah: Judgment & Hope
Scripture Reading: Isaiah 12
Sermon Title: That Day – Chosen Expressions
Memory Verse: The LORD is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation. (Ps. 118:14)
MAIN IDEA: Respond to God’s work of saving grace in the way that He ordains.
NOTE: “Scripture quotations are from the NASB." This manuscript is provided as a courtesy and is not intended for publication. The recorded audio/video message differs from the manuscript. Thanks for understanding.
God Ordains “That Day”
In the introduction, Isaiah speaks the phrase, “in that day” eighteen times. In doing so, he is not referring to one specific day, like May 15th. Rather, Isaiah speaks of an age. For example, we might say, in the future, there will be no need of gas stations, because, in that day, everything will be solar-powered.
There is more than one “that day” of which Isaiah speaks. Let’s review them, so we understand the phrase.
There is the prophetic “in that day” which occurs close to the time the book is written. It is that day of judgment when God judges the kingdom of Judah. In that day, God calls for the armies of Egypt and Assyria, and they occupy the land (Isaiah 7:18-23). In that day the Lord takes away the beauty of the daughters of Zion as He makes their foreheads bare, gives them scabs, and removes their anklets and ornaments (Isiah 3:18-23). In that day, seven out of eight men die in battle and the women beg for husbands (Isaiah 4:1). God’s purpose for judging Judah is to humble the pride of men. In that day, the Lord alone will be exalted (Isaiah 2:11-17).
Isaiah also prophecies about that day which is a time of future blessing for the people of Judah. It is that day of grace when God saves a remnant of Judah. We see in history the fulfillment of that day of grace taking place within 200-300 years after Isaiah. In that day of grace, Isaiah prophesies that a remnant of Israel will no longer rely on other nations for help, but rely on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel. In that day of grace, God breaks the burden and yoke of the enemy and blesses His people with fatness (Isaiah 10:20, 27). God ordains the scattered are gathered and the remnant returns to Jerusalem (Isaiah 11:11-16).
The first that day of judgment (around 600bc) and the subsequent that day of grace (around 400bc) are ordained by God. God gives His people specific information so that when the events of those days occur, His people know God ordains everything that happens.
They may know for certain on that day of judgment, God is the one who is bringing judgment and not the enemies of Judah. God is ordaining the humbling of the proud. In that day of grace, God gives detail about their return before it happens so that His people know that their return to Israel is because of God’s goodness. They return to Jerusalem because God ordains that they come home and not because they are clever or strong enough to find their way. God ordains the rebirth of Israel. God ordains all blessings.
What we learn from the events in this book is that God ordains the judgment of sin, God ordains who receives grace and mercy, God ordains salvation, and God is sovereign over all things. God makes it happen because it is His purpose and plan.
We need to look deeper than the events. God not only ordains the events, but He also ordains how people respond. When God orchestrates the judgment of Israel, He ordains the emotional response of the people. For example, God ordains that the daughters of Zion will lament and mourn (Isaiah 3:26) and God ordains what they will say as they beg for a husband (Isaiah 4:1).
God ordains how people will respond in that day of grace when He saves a remnant. He ordains the people’s heart will no longer be godless, but they will instead trust on the Lord (Isaiah 10:11). The people will say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord” (Isaiah 2:3). People will no longer have anger and strife in their heart and seek war (2:4). God ordains people do not get jealous of one another (Isaiah 11:13). God ordains His people worship Him upon their return to Jerusalem.
The prophecy of Isaiah is not limited to the centuries surrounding his day. Isaiah prophesies future events that have yet to occur.
Further in the book of Isaiah, there is yet another that day of judgment which is not for the people in Isaiah’s time, but the future. Isaiah prophesies world-wide judgment for all people. It is when Jesus and His armies of heavenly host pour out God’s wrath because of the sin of mankind. That day of judgment has not yet taken place. The Bible refers to that day of judgment as “the day of the Lord.” More detail of that day is in Daniel’s prophecy, in the words of Jesus (Matthew 24) and John’s Revelation.
In addition to a future day of judgment, Isaiah speaks of another day of grace. It takes place at the end of time. We know it as that day when Jesus sits on the throne of David forever as King of kings and Lord of lords.
Isaiah gives descriptions in the introduction of that day of grace. He writes, on that day the Branch of the Lord will be beautiful and glorious. All who live with Him in Zion are holy, and their names are recorded for life (Isaiah 4:2-3). Swords become plowshares as nations gather in peace (Isaiah 2:4). In that day, the wolf lays down with the lamb and the bear with the goat. In that day, the root of Jesse will stand as a signal gathering the nations to His kingdom. People, including Israelites, come from the four corners of the earth to worship Christ. There is nothing that will hurt people and nothing that will destroy in all of God’s holy mountain because the earth is full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:1-12).
That day is a glorious day in the future. That day is our hope.
God ordains the past day of judgment and grace for the Israelites. And, God ordains future day of judgment and grace at the end of the age.
We have faith in the future because we believe in the past the times of Isaiah. God gives us His word, and we look back at historical events and find evidence that God “calls the shot” before they happen. Because past prophecy becomes true, we may confidently believe future prophecy will also become true.
When people ask, how may you believe in a future judgment of mankind and how may you believe in a time of heaven, we may reply, “Because God proves His word to be true. God says in the time of Isaiah what He will do, and later, it comes to pass. We believe in the future because we believe in the past. We know that nothing stands in the way of God’s purpose and plan. No king, nation, army, or any creature stops God’s purpose. In fact, Isaiah teaches that nations, armies, and kings all act according to God’s purpose.”
God ordains the events of all of the “that days” and God ordains how people respond.
God ordains our response to His work of salvation
Let’s look at chapter 12. This chapter tells us what we will say and do as a response to His work of salvation.
Two times the prophet refers to that day (v. 1 & 4). The day Isaiah refers to is the day described in chapter 11, when Christ reigns from Mount Zion and all the nations come together in His glorious resting place to live in eternal peace.
As we picture that day in our minds, we are overcome with a vision of perfection, holiness, joy, and peace. This is the day we long for. This is the day at the top of God’s priorities.
Ponder for a moment the magnitude and scope of what is implied.
In that day, God’s purpose and plan for creation, from the serpent in the Garden to the sound of the last trump, comes to fruition. All prophecy finds fulfillment. Time enters eternity. God’s superior wisdom of raising up nations and setting them down, God’s power making every star shine and every storm rage, and God’s glory of redemption love through the ages points to and works toward that final age which Isaiah calls, “that day.”
The Lord Jesus Christ, sitting on His heavenly throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple, surrounded by Seraphim who cry out Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, leaves His throne and humbles Himself to become a man. While a man, the Son of God is mocked, beaten, and sheds His blood while willingly giving His life so that we, undeserving sinners cleansed by His precious blood, may stand blameless and above reproach on His holy mountain on that day.
On that day (Isaiah 12:1, 4), the love of Jesus Christ cleanses us from every evil thought, every proud look, all of our selfish ambition, and each motive of unclean desire. We are pure, standing on God’s holy mountain as new creations, made in the image of Christ; conformed to His likeness.
As for us, God’s work is finished; His plan complete. All of which He ordains to happen comes to an end. Our story is written. In that day we are born-again as perfect creatures designed by our Creator. On that day, we are holy humans glorifying our Savior. We think, speak, and act as God intends; as God ordains.
If we ever ask ourselves, what is God’s end-goal with us? Or, what will we do and what will we say in heaven? What will be our desire? What will we be like? What will God ordain with my life? We only need to look at this chapter of Scripture.
Isaiah 12 answers these questions. We may sum up the answers to these questions with five simple statements. These statements form the main idea of the message: Respond to God’s work of saving grace in the way that He ordains.
1) God ordains that His forgiveness and grace will result in expressions of thankfulness and comfort.
- Then you will say on that day, “I will give thanks to You, O Lord; for although You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away, and You comfort me. (Isaiah 12:1)
Standing in the presence of God’s holiness will cause us to see the magnitude of our salvation in ways we may not imagine. We will realize the depth of grace and forgiveness. God’s glory of His grace; forgiving iniquity, trespasses, and sin will shine brighter than the brightest star. We will be overcome by the brilliance of His glory. In that day, we will understand why Moses could not look at the face of God and live.
We will see His great power and tremble knowing that we were once His enemy. We will realize the perfection of God’s justice and that the only reason we stand in His presence is because of His saving grace.
As we tremble at His holiness and shake at His power, His loving hand will wrap around us, and the trembling and shaking will melt at His loving touch. We will feel His comfort. And words of thankfulness will flow from our lips as water flows over a waterfall. For the first time, we will have a perfect understanding of what it feels to be truly thankful as we say, “Thank You, Lord.”
2) God ordains that salvation results in expressions of faith, reliance, and devotion.
On that day, we will say:
- “Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation.” (Isaiah 12:2)
God is our strength; and because He is all-powerful, we completely trust Him, and we are not anxious or afraid. God is our song, the thought of Him stirs deep affections in our heart. We are unable to take our eyes off His compelling beauty.
In the Garden of Eden, the guilt of sin cause Adam and Eve to hide from God. They are afraid, and rightly so. In Heaven, we will not be afraid. We will be in a place where we feel 100% safe; because, we are completely in Christ. We live in His city surrounded by His walls. There is no principality or power, nor angel, or any power which may separate us from Him. Our greatest enemies, sin, and death are nowhere to be found. Their names are not even mentioned.
3) God ordains that salvation results in finding joy in the thirst-quenching springs of living water.
- Therefore you will joyously draw water from the springs of salvation. (Isaiah 12:3)
We will never again drink from the murky, muddy puddles of the world’s filth. Our thirst will forever be quenched because the deep well of salvation never runs dry.
We will see people there; people like Harriet Judy and Tom & Jan Johnson, and Mr. & Mrs. Brothers (to name a few). Miscarried children. Loved ones who died in Christ will be there. All of us, drinking from the fresh, pure springs of salvation. We will be drenched and splash about in the springs of salvation like children playing in a fountain on a hot summer day.
4) God ordains that salvation results in the spoken expression of the gospel.
- And in that day you will say, “Give thanks to the Lord, call on His name. Make known His deeds among the peoples; make them remember that His name is exalted.” Praise the Lord in song, for He has done excellent things; let this be known throughout the earth. (Isaiah 12:4-5)
As the old hymn says, “I love to tell the story of unseen things above, Of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love; I love to tell the story because I know 'tis true, It satisfies my longings as nothing else would do. I love to tell the story, 'Twill be my theme in glory, To tell the old, old story. Of Jesus and His love.
We will never get tired of hearing the story of God’s love. It will be our theme in glory. We will say, let me tell you of Jesus and His love. As the name of Jesus is spoken, a hush will fill the room. People will burst out in spontaneous songs of praise. We will recount and tell of the excellent things He has done. No detail will be left out.
Knowledge of Jesus will cover the earth like waters cover the sea because every inhabitant will speak in detail of how He stood in-between us and God’s wrath. Jesus is the hero who takes the lashes upon His back. Jesus is the hero who wears a crown of thorns because of His love. Jesus is the hero who walks out of the grave.
5) God ordains that salvation results in joyfully living in the awesome presence of Jesus.
- Cry aloud and shout for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel. (Isaiah 12:6)
When was the last time we shouted for joy? In that day, we will. We are the inhabitants of Zion and Jesus is the holy one of Israel. We will be bursting with joy because every one of our needs is fulfilled as Jesus lives right in our midst.
In that day, we will never be poor because we will forever enjoy the unfathomable riches of Christ.
We will never be afraid because the Captain of the heavenly hosts, He who rides the white horse is our Strong Tower and Mighty Fortress.
We will never be sick because the Great Physician, the Balm of Gilead is our comforter.
We will never have hunger or thirst because the Bread of Life and the Living Water is our sustenance.
We will never be anxious because the Wonderful Counselor and Prince of Peace is our friend.
We will never worry about the future because we are in the hands of the Alpha and Omega.
In that day, we will know Christ and Christ will know us.
Isaiah 12 tells us what God ordains for our life. These verses describe God’s will. On that day, we will perfectly fulfill the will of God in complete obedience. We will live as creatures in the way the Creator ordains.
Think of it this way. Rabbits enjoy being rabbits. Elephants enjoy being elephants. This is because God created them to be the animal of their design. A rabbit will never find joy in trying to be an elephant.
It is the same with us.
Some people are gifted as artists. They don’t feel bad that they have the gift of art. They find joy in creating their art. Art is in their nature.
Some people are gifted mathematicians. They are not unhappy God made them that way. They don’t feel like a robot mathematician. They enjoy solving math problems. They are thankful they have the gift of logic. Math is their nature.
In heaven, we will be without sin. We will not feel like robots, trapped in an endless program of praising God. We will find our greatest joy and satisfaction in God. In that day, being a lover of God is our nature. We will feel free, liberated, complete, happy, living harmoniously with our nature, in the way God intends.
Today, we are often discontent. We are often unsatisfied. We seldom shout for joy. That is because we are at war with our flesh and our spirit. Our spirit is a God-lover, and our flesh is a world lover. So, we fight and we are never satisfied.
Because we are born again, we will never be happy unless we are enjoying God. Sin makes us defective. We are broken. We try to love God as best we can, but we are imperfect and fall short. That is why Jesus gave His life. His blood covers our brokenness. We strive to love God, and His grace fills the gap between our shortcoming and God’s original design. Jesus is our victory.
Until that day, strive to live as God ordains. Fight for joy. Aim to find satisfaction in loving God. Respond to God’s work of saving grace in the way that He ordains. Be thankful. Trust God’s word. Find comfort in God. Drink from His springs of salvation. Tell of God’s wonderful deeds. Share the gospel. Enjoy living in the presence of Christ. That is our nature.