28 July 2020Isaiah 10:13-34
THE REMNANT: MANY ARE INVITED BUT FEW ARE CHOSEN.
Isaiah has a great deal of prophesy about the judgment of God against His people in Israel. However, the beginning of this chapter (v1-19) contains a judgment against the King of Assyria, whose empire extended to modern day Israel, Lebanon, Syria, eastern Turkey, Iraq and parts of western Iran. He had made unjust laws and oppressed the people of Israel, and God was not pleased with him. From verses 13-19, we learn that God sometimes uses bad people to judge and refine the people of God, in this case, the king of Assyria. Afterwards, He may bring judgment on these enemies of the people of God. Verse 20 tells us that when we have learned to rely on Him, He will fight for us against our enemies. Verses 20-25 describe how God allowed a small number of Israelites, which Isaiah calls the ‘remnant’, to survive this destruction. God would punish the people of Israel so severely, that only a small number of them (the remnant) would survive. This means that the majority would die under God’s judgment. In Matthew 22:14, Jesus repeated the idea of a remnant when he said, “for many are invited but few are chosen”.
Not everyone who starts the Christian life finishes well. Jesus stated in the parable of the sower in Luke 8:4-15 that our hearts can harden and the enemy can steal the Word of God from hearts. Our pleasures and problems, and the anxieties of life can choke the Word of God in our lives. If we don’t actively enable God’s Word to be rooted deeply in our lives, our faith will not survive difficult times. Jesus makes clear in Luke chapter 8, that we need to “hear the word, retain it and by persevering produce a crop.”
It takes effort and perseverance on our part to live in obedience to God. In Jeremiah 17:9 we learn that, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Our heart’s natural inclination is to move away from God. Time and time again, the people of God whether in Isaiah’s time or our own, have destroyed their relationship with God. God rebukes the church in Ephesus (Revelation 2:5) for forsaking their first love. He exhorts them “to remember the heights from which they had fallen.” He commands them to “repent and do the things you did at first.”
There is a Christian theological controversy about whether or not we can lose our salvation. Consider the people of Israel who left Egypt for the promised land. Only 2 out of more than a million who set off from Egypt made it. Isaiah 10 talks of a remnant who shall return to the promised land. In other words, many others were excluded. The apostle Paul in Philippians 2:12 instructs us to “continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling”. It is difficult to see why we should be concerned to do this if our salvation is impossible to lose.
God’s Word clearly tells us that we need to be intentional in living according to the Word of God. We should be obedient and repentant before God, to overcome the ways our own personal desires would lead us astray.
Suggested prayerFather God, help us to keep our love for You and remain obedient to your Word. May we persevere in our faith and produce good fruit in our lives until the day You bring us home. In all this we pray Your mercy and grace over us by the blood of Jesus our Saviour. In Jesus Name. Amen