The Lord Has Laid Bare His Holy Arm Isaiah 52:10

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The Lord Has Laid Bare His Holy Arm The LORD hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. Isaiah 52:10 This verse comes following a call from the Lord to Judah saying, Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean. The Lord in the previous chapters, having introduced the civil, earthly instrument of their emancipation, Cyrus, here turns to awaken Judah to her coming salvation. The Lord God was to rouse them, raise them, free them, shake them off, saying, Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion. He would remind them of their predicament and how it came to be, saying, Ye have sold yourselves for nought; and ye shall be redeemed without money. For thus saith the Lord GOD, My people went down aforetime into Egypt to sojourn there; and the Assyrian oppressed them without cause. He would remind them of their bitter days of bondage, saying, They that rule over them make them to howl, saith the LORD; and my name continually every day is blasphemed. The Lord had not sold them off or cast them away; their sins had led them afar. Yet, it is the Lord that was to come a calling, saying, Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak: behold, it is I. Turning their sorrow to joy the Lord points to the day of their coming salvation, saying, How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! We have heard these words, we know the day of which the prophet and the Lord speak, for Paul applies these very words to the gospel day, saying: For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! Isaiah speaks of that very day, when he says, Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion. Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the LORD hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem. The gospel is what Isaiah speaks of, it is the gospel that the Lord awakes captive Judah to hear, knowing that in that day it shall be said, The LORD hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. Consider this verse, a declaration of the coming redemptive work of God in Christ, Judah's promised true salvation, of which we note these observations: 1. What all nations shall see, viz. they shall behold how the Lord brings salvation, it is by His glory, through His power, and by way of His holy sovereign grace, seen in the coming of Christ our Lord. In the coming of Christ, seen and detailed in the last part of this chapter, the Lord has revealed the wonder of His holy power to save, and He has done so for all men to see. It is evident in Christ that the Lord alone saves and all the nations have seen the Lord's work of salvation through His Son. 2. What the ends of the earth shall behold, viz. they shall behold the actual salvation of God. The verb here means more than just to see, but to see and to know. God's deliverance is beheld and known in Christ alone; His salvation is seen in His death as the earth is shaken and even the Roman centurion could but declare, Truly this man was the Son of God. It is seen in His resurrection, in His victory and ascension, as Jesus said, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. It is seen in His kingdom having come and made known through the signs and wonders of the apostles in their day. It is seen in His church as we are found to testify of this truth until the end of days. This verse in Isaiah mainly declares: Doctrine. In Christ alone is seen the power of the Lord to save, which by the gospel is His salvation realized. Of this salvation we note: I. His work is holy. It involves righteousness. Unrighteousness had led Judah to Babylon. Their wickedness and pollution had stained them. They were as a wayward bride. God had not divorced them. He had not sold them into slavery as a disobedient child could be sold in that day. Isaiah said, Thus saith the LORD, Where is the bill of your mother's divorcement, whom I have put away? or which of my creditors is it to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities have ye sold yourselves, and for your transgressions is your mother put away (50.1ff). For sin Israel had been led away, her own sin, her own crimes, and for her sin she was exiled. But the Lord was to bring her back. He was to redeem her with a holy arm. The Lord is to pure to behold sin. Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God almighty. He has worked a holy work of redemption, by making us holy, who were unholy. The path of salvation was through the blood of Christ. He was made sin that we might be made pure. Isaiah word of the Lord, My righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. He that was righteous was to bear our sins upon His body. He must necessarily be punished that we mighty be made righteous in Him. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. "And he is the propitiation for our sins (1 Jn. 2.2). How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God (Hb.9.10). And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us. So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus (Rom. 3:24ff). The Lord's work of salvation is first holy. II. His work is mighty. It involves magnificence in labor. What the Lord did no other could have done. Men could not do it. No earthly priest could atone for sins. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second (Hb. 8.7) Thus we understand, Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved Acts 4.12). How can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house (Mt. 12.29). Thus we imagine our salvation as though God has reached forth His arm to save us, and that arm is Christ. He fought death for us. He fought sin for us. He fought the devil fort us. He loosed the bonds of our captivity. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors (Is. 53:12). III. His work is universal. It involves all nations. This is one of the most remarkable truths of the gospel, He came to save not just the Jews, but the Gentiles, And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world (1 Jn. 2:2). Thus John said, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. And the apostle writes, He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God (Jn. 1:12,13). And, or God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved (Jn.3:16ff). This is what Paul describes as such, O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counseller? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen. And what he says, How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel (Eph.3.2ff). This is what Isaiah means by, And all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. IV. His work is remarkable. It is unbelievable. How could the Lord's Son be subject to such ignominy? The manner in which the Lord worked our salvation is incomprehensible. Consider, As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men: Who would are redeem such a rabble and vile sort? Who would do so at the sake of His own glory and honor? Who made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Should it be any surprise that the gospel is confounding? It is offensive to the pride of men. What type of Savior, King, or God, would be found a beggar, clothed in flesh, of no renown, given to the subjections of men and the scorn and humility of their mocking? Men cry out for a hero, a mighty king to save them, they would think nothing of a Nazarite. As Philip said, Can anything good come out of Nazareth? The Pharisees would say that Christ was born of fornication. Calvin said, "The greater part of men did not see it, but, on the contrary, they despised that deep abasement which was the veil or covering of his glory. The cause of their astonishment was this, that he dwelt among men without any outward show; and the Jews did not think that the Redeemer would come in that condition or attire. When he came to be crucified, their horror was greatly increased." Isaiah speaks of the remarkable way in which the Lord would deliver His people. Once He used an 80 year old man to lead them from the earth's mightiest kingdom and king. Once he used a shepherd boy with a stone to slay a giant. Now He would use one whose Visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men: Uses 1. First for our excitation consider the joy of our salvation. Salvation is all about joy. Consider what causes joy and what stifles joy: 1) Hearing causes joy. 2) The word causes joy. 3) The Spirit invokes joy. 4) Knowing, learning, and clarity causes joy. 5) Increased faith produces joy. 6) Trust in the Lord's providence produces joy. 7) Knowing the sovereign saving grace of God produces joy. 8) Humility brings joy. As Paul says: Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Ph. 4:8 9) Sin stifles joy. As David said, restore unto me the joy of thy salvation. Anger, lust, greed, avarice, are all sources of discontent. 10) The world and its troubles and sorrows stifles joy. 11) Separation stifles joy. 12) Ignorance stifles joy For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Gal. 5:17ff Perhaps the easiest way to show how godly faith and obedience brings joy and how ungodly faithless disobedience brings grief is by way of example One of Israel's greatest kings, in an earthly vantage, was ruthless, powerful, and adorned with treasures and earthly possessions; yet, he was never happy or content. When he had it all, he grieved that he did not own a small insignificant plot of land owned by one lone beggar. No matter what he owned, it was never enough, no matter what he had, it never made him happy. His life was filled with war, strife, and threat all around him. He was plagued by the word of the Lord all the days of his life. He never did right in the eyes of the Lord, as it is written, And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD above all that were before him (1 Ki. 16.30). Once, the king of Syria allied himself with 32 other kings and went to war with Ahab, saying, Thy silver and thy gold is mine; thy wives also and thy children, even the goodliest, are mine. And Ahab, who had yielded all that was his to King Benhadad. He was discontent, afraid, and unhappy. Henry says, "A rebel to God is a slave to all besides. Ahab had prepared his silver and gold for Baal, Hos. 2:8." Ahab was such an unhappy rebel. However, when pressed to the final straw of losing all to Benhadad, Ahab repulsed, thus infuriating Behadad, who said, The gods do so unto me, and more also, if the dust of Samaria shall suffice for handfuls for all the people that follow me. So, God intervened yet to deliver Samaria and even wicked Ahab from the proud Syrian king's wrath. But in his pride and self-importance Ahab disobeyed the Lord, making a final alliance with Benhadad, covenanting with him rather than God. Thus, despite escape, deliverance, observance of God's might, and victory, sinful, proud, disobedient Ahab was to be sobered up by a messenger of God. A prophet, perhaps Micaiah, was sent by the Lord to Ahab. But before coming, he asked another to smite him, which the man would not, who then was torn by a lion. He asked another, who smote but did not kill him. Then, appearing as a wounded soldier by the side of the road, as Ahab passed, he told a parable; he was given a command by a superior to escort a prisoner at the sake of his own life, who, by negligence escaped, what was to be done? Ahab said the man must die; but, when the man was found to be a prophet, Ahab understood the parable; he disobeyed the Lord by letting Benhadad live. Thus, the king of Israel went to his house heavy and displeased, and came to Samaria (1 Ki. 20.43). Ahab is an example of unhappiness. But consider David, who was once hid away in caves, who was chased from Jerusalem by his own son, who was pelted with rocks by the last descendant of Saul, who had to feign madness in Gath to hide away, who yet despite all these sorrows, knew a joy that passes all understanding, so that when sin had robbed him of that joy he prayed, Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit (Ps. 51:12). Know this, disobedience makes unhappiness. Worldliness misery. Earthly love and worldly distraction, discontent. If today you are unhappy, unsettled, discontent, afraid, anxious, know it is because you have not meditated upon your salvation, you have not labored enough in faith, you have become entangled with this world and its affairs, you have forgotten the word of your salvation. Brethren, But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere (Jms. 3:17). Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit (Gal. 5.19ff), 2. Next for our direction let us leave Babylon and this world to follow our Christ. Isaiah says, Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD. Notice we are not simply set free to live free of God, but we are sent forth to abandon idolatry, evil, and lawlessness, while drawing near to God. This happens in the Christian life in two paths: First, we must leave the world behind us. We must leave Babylon, Persia and their lives behind us; we are walking to Zion. Judah would leave Babylon and come a singing unto Zion. Christ came and led us from the world, to the grave, to live, to the sky. Philip, called to preach to an Ethiopian Eunuch, gathered him, then went away to gather more. The Eunuch heard, believed, was baptized, and went away believing and rejoicing. We must so live, gathering, learning, believing, and going on a pilgrimage to heaven. Next, we must set heaven before us. This world is not our home, we are headed home, and we need to learn to walk as though we are approaching heaven. The day Elijah died it was as if he stepped from the earth to heaven without missing a step. And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces. He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan; And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the LORD God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over. It was as though he merely walked from the earth into heaven without missing a step. So we must live this life. We are journeying beyond the Jordan, and when we leave, we leave it all behind; our work is done and our hopes and joys realized. So, let us not be weighted down with earthly wares and cares. Let us live as though we are but passing through, leaving behind but memories of our struggles in faith and relics of our labors, with recollections by others of our blessed ascent. 3. Further for our consideration look to Christ who has gone before us and is our guard. Isaiah says, For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for the LORD will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rereward. His path is ours, no course too difficult, no calling to minor, as we press on to the grave without sting, without doubt, that we shall arise, having been seated with Him already. Keep your eyes fixed on Him. Keep your prayers raised in Him. Keep your love sealed with Him. Most of all know that He is before and behind us, He hedges us in with His love. We are guarded all the days of our life. This promise looks to the covenantal, affectual, providence and sovereignty of God that will bless us all the days of our life. Divine sovereign grace is our pen, we are hedged in by His sovereign grace. As David said Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee. For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb.I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well (Ps. 139:5ff). When we live knowing this truth the world does no longer threaten, when we fail to live in accordance with this truth we suffer. Asa, king of Judah, was a mighty king who brought reform and reformation to Judah. For so many years peace reigned in Judah, as the Lord had given him and Judah rest. When Ethiopia attacked the Lord gave them into Judah and Asa's hands. When his own mother sinned with idols, even then, he removed her from being queen, because she had made an idol in a grove: and Asa cut down her idol, and stamped it, and burnt it at the brook Kidron. But later, in foolishness, he forgot that the Lord was sovereign, he forgot that the Lord was He who hedged him in behind and in front. He turned to his own understanding and strength and ended his days in misery. When a prophet was sent to him by the Lord, he put him in the stocks, refusing to listen. So in his final days he was stricken in his feet, still refusing to seek the Lord. How sad, having begun so well, to end so foolishly. Yet, so is our lives, if we live as though we are the lords of our own lives, or turn from the Lord, we shall live in misery. But, while we live in faith, clinging to our Lord, we shall have rest. Why would we ever want to suffer, trust in ourselves, and find ourselves afflicted all the days of our lives? Christian, let us turn wholly to the Lord. Let us put away our idols. Let us seek the Lord while He may be found. Let us learn to rest in Him, lest we find our feet afflicted and our days miserable in foolish steps the final days of our life.
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