7 O Most Upright, you weigh the path of the just.
8 Yes, in the way of Your judgments, O Lord, we have waited for You; the desire of our soul is for Your name and for the remembrance of You.
9 With my soul I have desired You in the night, yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early; for WHEN YOUR JUDGMENTS ARE IN THE EARTH, THE INHABITANTS OF THE WORLD WILL LEARN RIGHTEOUSNESS.
10 Let grace be shown to the wicked, yet he will not learn righteousness; in the land of uprightness he will deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the Lord.
11 Lord, when Your hand is lifted up, they will not see. But they will see and be ashamed for their envy of people; yes, the fire of Your enemies shall devour them. (Isaiah 26:7-11)
It has been more than 26 months since the Lord has brought the increased pressure of His judgments upon the earth. For almost two and one-half years He has been summoning the just (Isaiah 26:7) to come to Him and “seek His Face” in an intensified way.
Isaiah 26 speaks of five universal truths regarding the nature of the judgments of the Lord. These truths are vital to us if we want to respond well to the Voice of the Lord and make ourselves ready for His return.
1. The judgments that are upon the earth right now are primarily about “weighing the path of the just” (v.7)
1 Peter 5:17-19 observes: ” 17 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 Now ‘If the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?’ 19 Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.”
The Lord is bringing His Church into alignment with His heart so that in the season that’s ahead the Church may accurately reflect His ways to a world that has not known the ways of God. In a mere moment the world will be experiencing great judgments, and signs and wonders from the Lord, and the people of the earth must know how to respond to His invitation to dialogue. We, the Church, have the privilege of giving them an example of how to respond to the Lord, today.
2. The judgments of the Lord are meant to be precious to the believer.
Through the increased pressure the believer understands that “the Lord is at hand”. He is our desire (v.8). He is the One we are waiting for. (v.8) We long to be marked by His Name.
His judgments tell us that He wants to draw us close to Himself so that, just as Aquilla and Priscilla did with Apollos in (Acts 18) He can “take (us) aside and explain to (us) the way of God more accurately.” (Acts 18:26) His judgments are an urgent invitation to focus on “one thing”.
“4 One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple.” (Psalm 27:4)
Through the judgments of the Lord the Church hears the Lord’s invitation to “seek His Face”, and we respond, just like David, who learned the great value of these honest, soul-enriching conversations with the Lord (Psalm 19:9-12), “When You said, ‘Seek My face,’ my heart said to You, ‘Your face, Lord, I will seek.” (Psalm 27:8)
“9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. 10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; wweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. 11 Moreover by them Your servant is warned, and in keeping them there is great reward. 12 Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults.” (Psalm 19:9-12)
Isaiah 26:9 reflects that same value that was in David, a spirit that cherishes dialogue with the Lord: “With my soul I have desired You in the night, yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early.” When we experience the mounting pressure in our world, we run into closer fellowship with Him; devoting more of our lives to meeting with Him in the “tent of meeting” where we can behold His glory, hear His voice clearly, understand His heart, and discern His ways so that we can walk with Him in increased love and faithfulness.
3. The judgments of the Lord draw us into dynamic dialogue with the Lord where we “learn righteousness”.
Righteousness literally means, “the right order of the King”, or “the way of the King’s heart”.
As the pressure on the earth increases, and we respond to the King’s invitation to come and “reason together” (Isaiah 1:18) with Him, He unveils what He thinks, and how He feels about key issues in His Kingdom. This is the same dynamic that Jesus engaged in while He was on the earth: teaching and shaping the thoughts and perceptions of His disciples. Jesus is doing the same with His disciples today; teaching, commissioning, analyzing, evaluating, dialoguing, rewarding and calling us to adjust to His ways. It is through His judgments that He bids His Church to collectively learn lessons regarding His Kingdom:
a.) How does Jesus feel about aborting human life?
b.) What is our King’s heart for Israel and the Jewish people?
c.) What does the King think about homosexuality and transgender sexuality?
d.) In what way does He want us to regard the weak and the vulnerable in our communities?
e.) What does the King have to say to us about how we’ve treated those of different races?
f.) What is His attitude toward our nation, and the history of our nation?
g.) To what degree are we to manifest the Sermon on the Mount in our politics?
h.) How does He release prophecy and deal with false prophecy?
i.) What is He saying about the rebellion that’s in His Church’s heart?
j.) What is His attitude toward the violence that’s in His Body?
k.) How does He view “idolatry” in the “household of God”?
l.) Why is prayer, and corporate prayer so important to Him?
m.) What does He have to say about our knee-jerk response to “self-justify”?
n.) What does it mean for us to “deny self, take up our cross daily and follow Him” (Luke 9:23)?
o.) What does it mean to live “in the fear of the Lord”?
p.) How do we live with each other “in the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3)?
q.) What are we discovering about the Lord’s extravagant mercy, patience, tenderness, zeal and long-suffering?
These are many of the Kingdom issues that the Lord is confronting us with in this hour. The fact that these topics are so prevalent in our own human conversations tells us that the Lord is wanting to talk about these issues. What is more, He wants to be the Centerpiece of our conversations! He’s returning in order to establish His Kingdom on the earth, and He urgently wants His Bride to be in alignment with His heart.
4. Many in the Church, will spurn the Lord’s judgments and fail to dialogue with the Lord about vital issues in their heart.
They will assume they have all the knowledge of His glory that they need. They will not “behold the majesty of the Lord” (Isaiah 26:10) any more than they have to.
All of heaven, that lives in perpetual adoration of the glory of the King, laments this heart-posture on the earth. Isaiah sees this and calls it “wickedness” (v.10) The reasons for snubbing the Lord’s summons may be the result of complacent theology or self-righteousness or carnal distraction or fascination with conspiracy theories. But (v.10)’s indictment is no less the same: “Those who refuse to respond to the judgments of the Lord and come and behold the majesty of the Lord, will not learn the ways of the Lord’s heart and will live in injustice, and not walk uprightly. They will be content to be clothed with wicked minds, wicked hearts, wicked speech, and wicked paradigms.”
Let’s read (v.10) again: ” 10 Let grace be shown to the wicked (though the Lord is gracious in bringing us into conversation with Himself), yet he (the wicked) will not learn (in fact, he refuses to learn) righteousness; in the land of uprightness (in the Kingdom where uprightness is the order of the heart) he (the wicked) will deal unjustly (he will continue to operate disconnected from the just ways of the King’s heart), and will not behold the majesty of the Lord. (The wicked one will neither behold the Lord’s glory in the tent of meeting, nor will he/she increase in his/her knowledge of the King’s glory)”
Obviously, this is a very very dangerous way of operating in the King’s realm in the minutes before His appearing. Jesus warned:
45 But if that servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and be drunk, 46 the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. 47 And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. (Luke 12:45-47)
5. The final state of those who spurn the Lord’s judgments is to be devoured by what they envy.
11 Lord, when Your hand is lifted up, they will not see. But they will see and be ashamed for their envy of people; yes, the fire of Your enemies shall devour them.
As difficult as the judgments of the Lord may be, there is one condition that’s even worse: for the Lord to NOT confront us regarding the waywardness of our ways.
As His hand places pressure on our families, our communities, our politics, our economics, our social-structures, our laws, our liberties, our relationships with other people-groups etc. we see (Isaiah 26:11) the ways of His Kingdom more clearly.
If we continue to spurn the Lord’s judgments, Romans 1 tells us three times that the Lord will ultimately give us over (Romans 1:24, 26, and 28) to that which will inevitably devour us.
Should we not learn His ways about politics, political violence will demolish us. Should we not learn His ways about race, racial hostility will consume us. Should we not learn His ways about insurrection and rebellion, revolution will overtake us. Should we not learn His ways about prayer, the forces of this world will swamp us. Should we not learn His ways about idolatry, our idols will corrupt and destroy us.
Isaiah 26:11 says that in this state it will actually be our very own “envy” that destroys us. We envy what we believe we should have. We experience plague and we believe we have a right to live in a plague-free world. We experience racial hostility and we believe our world is, or should be free of racial strife. We experience political corruption and we believe we deserve a nation without political corruption. We experience an epidemic of mass-shootings and we believe that our society owes us violence-free environments. We envy the promises that the god of this world offers us, and in so doing we manifest the very same heart attitude that separated him from the God of all provision and goodness: pride and independence.
In the end, the judgments of the Lord aren’t about achieving plague-free world for ourselves. It isn’t about arriving at a racially harmonious, politically honest, respectful, free, compassionate, sexually moral, peace-filled nation. It’s about learning how to live in the order that we were created for. It’s about learning how to live intimately connected to Him, in thankfulness for His close provision and the daily and moment-to-moment goodness of His majesty. This is the fellowship He longs for – with us! This is where His heart is determined to lead His Bride in this hour. And this is precisely what the enemy wants to keep us from: intimate, heart-to-heart, dialogue and dependence upon our Bridegroom King.
What have you been learning about the ways of the King’s heart through the judgments of the Lord?
JSB • July 18, 2022