Consider the context of Isaiah’s writings… Syria and the northern Kingdom of Israel were threatening Judah. King Ahaz reached out to the great world power, Assyria, for help – and then Isaiah looked into the future to see that Assyria was God’s chosen instrument of judgment against the Northern Kingdom of Israel – Assyria would completely destroy Israel – and most of the cities of Judah – but God would not allow them to destroy Jerusalem.
So it is in this context in which Isaiah is writing – he writes that Assyria is just a tool in God’s hands – that this world-super-power would be utterly destroyed – as judgment for the destruction of God’s people.
And then Isaiah looks forward to the day when God would gather his remnant and the Messiah would rule in peace.
There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord (Isaiah 11:1-2).
Out of the stump… God’s judgment would reduce Israel to a stump, but from this stump would come the Messiah! And from the Messiah would come salvation! This salvation was a supernatural salvation – the kind that King Ahaz scorned for a short-sighted, political savior.
Where do you look for salvation?
Do you look to Christ, alone, for salvation – or, like Ahaz, do you look for help from worldly sources? Our salvation is based on grace that comes through faith. Romans 14 reveals that the gospel of Jesus Christ nullifies many of the Jewish “ceremonial” laws. These laws were sacred to Israel because it gave them a way to be symbolically righteous. In other words, if they adhered to the strict diet, observed the festivals and performed ceremonial washings, they could be clean.
But those things don’t save!!!! Jesus came and set us free from the demands of the law ! We are free to obey by faith – so there is no room for judgment.
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:7).
Both Isaiah and Paul were trying to focus the eyes of their readers on the source of salvation. Ahaz was looking to Assyria for help. The Jews were still relying on their laws to gain righteousness. Both pursuits were in vain.
Jesus is the beginning and the end, the source of all things. He is our Salvation. In Him, alone, we will trust!
“Behold, God is my salvation;
I will trust, and will not be afraid;
for the Lord God is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation” (Isaiah 12:2).
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