We are alive. We touch, see, and hear our surroundings. Through our intellect, we identify that we live in a material realm we call a universe. In our observation of the universe, we see evidence of a Creator. God has made His existence evident. His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, are clearly seen and understood through all that is made. Creation displays God’s general revelation known to all people.
Not only has God made Himself evident in creation, but He also reveals Himself through His written Word. We have a book which we call a Bible. Bible is another word for book. It is called the Holy Bible or the Holy Book. It is God-breathed which means holy men are moved by the Spirit of God to write the revelation of God. Creation is God’s general revelation. The Holy Bible is God’s specific revelation of His character, His work, and His purposes and plans.
Let’s consider what the God of the Bible reveals to us about God’s nature and person.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Look around, with the eyes that God created. What do we see? Listen with the ears that God gave us, what do we hear? Touch with the feeling God created, what do we feel? All these things we see, hear touch, smell, God created. Nothing that we see, hear, touch or smell was made without Him. He made all things that are seen and all things that are not seen.
God is completely independent. God has no basic needs. He is completely self-sufficient and depends on no one and nothing. He needs no air, food, water, light, or heat. He exists; therefore, His name is, “I AM.” He is the LORD, and there is no other God besides Him (Isaiah 45:5).
God may not be stopped. He is an invincible and invulnerable force. Nobody may make straight what God makes crooked (Ecclesiastes 7:13). What God speaks; truly He will bring it to pass. He plans, and surely, He will do it (Isaiah 46:11). When the LORD of hosts makes a plan, there is none who can frustrate it. When God stretches out His hand to accomplish His work, there is none who may turn back His hand. (Isaiah 14:27). He reigns supreme. Whatever the LORD pleases, He does, in heaven and in the earth, in the seas and in all deep (Psalm 135:6).
We are like a flower that fades. All the work of God’s hands, even the heaven and earth, will perish and wear out like a garment. But, God will endure. He has, and will always, remain the same. God exists eternally. He lives outside of time. His years will never come to an end. (Psalm 102:25-27)
God is omnipotent. His greatness is unsearchable and without end (Psalms 145:3). The everlasting Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired (Isaiah 40:28). Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, not one of the stars is missing (Isaiah 40:28). He holds them all in place by His word. Every lightning bolt, snowflake, and hail goes forth by His command (Job 38:22). God commands the heavenly hosts. They surround His throne declaring His holiness day after day and night after night.
God is everywhere, always. He is ever-present. We may not escape His presence. He is found in the remotest part of the sea, in the highest of the heavens, and in the deepest of the deep (Psalm 139:7-9). Heaven is His throne and the earth His footstool (Isaiah 66:1).
God is omniscient. His understanding is infinite (Ps. 147:5). He has no counselor. He knows the stars by name (Ps. 147:4). He numbers the hairs on our head (Matthew 10:30). He knows the secrets of the heart (Psalm 44:21). He knows when we sit down and when we rise. He understands all our thoughts. He is intimately acquainted with all our ways. Even before there is a word on our tongue, God knows it already (Psalm 139:2-4). There is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of God (Hebrews 4:13). As the Zulu people say, God’s ears are very long. Nothing escapes His notice.
If God should determine to do so, if He should remove His spirit and His breath, all flesh would perish together, and man would return to dust (Job 34:14-15).
There are some things God cannot do. God cannot tell a lie because He is the truth (Titus 1:2). God cannot sin nor, may He be tempted with sin, because He is perfect in His holiness.
The Bible tells us that these which are revealed about Him are the fringes of His ways; we only hear a faint a word (a whisper) of Him (Job 26:14)!
The Lord is resplendent. To be resplendent is to be magnificent, beautiful, and glorious. God’s general revelation should produce fear, obedience, and thankfulness for all people. God’s specific revelation of His nature, purpose, and character which is learned by people who read His holy Word, should bring about the additional response of reverence, love, and worship.
The Lord will one day reveal all things which are done in secret.
In Isaiah’s day, there are people who do not love the God who says His name is, “I AM.” Their response is neither fear, obedience, thankfulness, love, or worship. They blatantly disobey His commands. They worship false gods. They live as though God does not exist.
They have no excuse. They are descendants of Abraham. Their ancestors have first-hand experience of being beneficiaries of God’s mighty power and working of wonders. Their feet trod in the Promised Land given to them by God. They have set their eyes on the Holy Scriptures, the revelation of God given to Moses and the Prophets. They wear the mark of the Covenant of Abraham, eat the feasts to celebrate God’s wondrous deliverances, and by tradition, bring offerings to the temple priests in accordance with the Covenant of God.
Of all the people alive in the world, they are the most privileged because God is speaking to them through the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah warns them that the same God with the power to save is the same God who stands ready to condemn them. But, they do not listen.
Their hearts are cold to the God of love and mercy. Their hands and feet devise plans which are disobedient to the all-powerful God. They live as though the all-knowing God does not see their plans nor does the ever-present God see what they do in secret places (Isaiah 29:15).
Isaiah speaks and pronounces woe upon the wicked and evil leaders of Judah. They are oppressors. They have no fear of God, and they disregard the Covenant. Twenty years earlier, Isaiah indicted the rulers of Judah for leading astray and confusing the direction God’s people ought to take. Instead of being just and righteous, the Lord says they devour the vineyard, and the plunder of the poor is in their house. They do not lift-up, but they crush the Lord’s people and grind the face of the poor (Isaiah 3:12-15).
Here we are, twenty years later, the leaders still do not heed Isaiah’s warning to repent. Isaiah mocks the voices of the leaders by assuming their voice and says, “Who sees us?” and “Who knows us?” (Isaiah 29:15). His words intend to have them realize that God sees them and knows them. They are never out of God’s sight or knowledge.
The leaders of Judah consult foreign nations concerning their safety and the well-being of the kingdom and they do not seek God's help. They knowingly do not please God and they believe their plans are concealed from His eyes. They think if they hide their plans from God, He will be unable to interfere and bring about their defeat.
Sinners are foolish. They plot and plan their sinful ways. They believe their actions are hidden from God. But, they are deeply mistaken. The Lord sits in heaven and laughs at them.
Don’t we sometimes act in the same way? Do we think God is ignorant of our selfishness? Do we believe our sin which we commit in secret is unknown to God? How may we possibly think our unkind words, cheating, lying, acts of lustful pursuit, or attitudes of superiority go unnoticed by God?
Isaiah provides words of profound truth which ought to awaken and stir the soul of every person who hears them spoken.
Isaiah compares the relationship of the rulers of Judah to that of a potter who molds clay. What an incredible comparison. A potter has complete control of the clay. Clay is lifeless dirt from the ground and helpless in the hands of the potter. We will never see clay controlling the potter. We will never see clay rise-up and speak against the potter. The analogy shows the absurdity of anyone who thinks they are equals with God or that God has no understanding. As if the Potter doesn’t see the clay. The clay thinks it is forming into a bowl all by itself.
The Lord reveals the foolishness of the rulers of Judah. Their fate is condemnation. Woe to those who deeply hide their plans from the LORD, and whose deeds are done in a dark place.
The Lord will one day restore all things to perfection.
Isaiah pronouncement of woe upon the leaders of Judah is a proclamation of judgment. But, Isaiah does not only speak about judgment, he speaks also of hope. The remaining verses of chapter 29 foretell of how the Lod will restore the justice and righteousness upon His creation. God will not sit idly by while creation becomes increasingly evil. He is the Potter, and when He is finished, His working with the clay will result in the creation of a beautiful vessel which loves the Potter.
Isaiah changes the metaphor of people from clay to living plants. A forest will become a field and a field will become a forest. Isaiah speaks again of the reversing of fortune. The proud forest of Lebanon, which is a metaphor for the rulers, will be chopped down and turned into a field. The people who are God’s meek and lowly will be transformed from being a field and they will become the mighty forest. (Isaiah 29:17)
He begins by speaking first about those who are the field. Those who are deaf will hear, and those who are blind will see. It will come about because of the words of a book. Undoubtedly, Isaiah is referring to the book which is the gospel of salvation (Isaiah 29:18). The book allows the deaf to hear and the blind to see.
When Jesus is alive, He references Isaiah’s prophecy to confirm He is the Messiah. John the Baptist wants to know if Jesus is the Messiah, so he sends a follower to ask Jesus. Jesus says that they are to tell John, the blind see, the deaf hear, the lame walk, and the gospel is preached to the poor (Matthew 11:5).
Fortunes are reversed. The gloom is lifted, and gladness increases. Those who are needy will have their needs met and mankind rejoices in the Holy One of Israel (Isaiah 29:19).
We are the recipients of Isaiah’s prophetic words. We were blind and deaf, but now we see and hear. We once walked in darkness, but now we walk in the Spirit. We are a people who have gladness and no longer live in doom.
Isaiah speaks next concerning the reason for our eternal gladness. It is because the reign of the proud and evil rulers who wreak havoc comes to an end. The ruthless and the scorner will be finished. Those who are intent on doing evil will be cut off (Isaiah 29:20). Rulers who bring wrongful accusations against the innocent are found guilty. They will be indicted by a single word spoken by the Lord (Isaiah 29:21).
The Lord who is almighty, all-knowing, and all-powerful will bring about the end of evil. Isaiah is repeating what he spoke twenty years earlier in his proclamation to the people of Judah.
Since the beginning of the book, Isaiah tells of the evil of those who oppose God. He said the rulers are rebels and companions of thieves; everyone loves a bribe and chases after rewards. They do not defend the orphan, nor does the widow’s plea come before them. (Isaiah 1:23). Through God’s revelation, Isaiah calls upon them to repent and learn to do good; seek justice, reprove the ruthless, defend the orphan, plead for the widow (Isaiah 1:17). But, they refuse. Woe to the rulers.
It is because of evil people in Judah’s day, and in ours, God’s people are oppressed. But, God promises to change all that. God will restore. He will use His power and justice to demonstrate His love and compassion to the elect.
It will be just as Jesus promises in His Sermon on the Mount,
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:3-10)
The Lord will one day redeem His people and make them His Holy worshippers. God redeemed Abraham, and we, having the same faith as Abraham, share in his redemption. Isaiah tells us that the Lord who makes the Universe, who loves perfectly, will cleanse us from sin so we no longer feel ashamed in His presence. All the children of God, which is the house of Jacob, will see God’s work and declare God to be holy.
We will sanctify God’s name. This doesn’t mean that we sanctify God since God is already perfectly sanctified, it means we will see the work of His salvation, the work of His hands, and we will stand in awe of the God of Israel (Isaiah 29:23).
Though we once were in error in our mind about all things in God, we will one day know the truth. And, we, who at times may now criticize the things of God, will in that day willingly learn and accept instruction (Isaiah 29:24). Isaiah tells us of that day in Isaiah 2:3 when he says, “And many peoples will 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 concerning His ways and that we may walk in His paths.’” Again, Isaiah says in that day, the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11:9). We will come and worship the Lord in the holy mountain at Jerusalem (Isaiah 27:13).
If you are here today, and you are like the rulers of Judah, which means you hide your sin from God and are unwilling to repent and receive His glorious salvation, you share the same woe as the rulers of Judah. God will one day reveal your sin and you will stand under His judgment. It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:31).
If you are here today, and you put your faith in the salvation of Jesus Christ, your future is one of restoration and redemption! Rejoice knowing that the Resplendent Lord will make all things new. He uses His great power to shower His love on those who He adopts as His children. He is our heavenly Father!
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.