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God Comes Near

Scripture: Isaiah 19 & 20

I. When God comes near, there is judgment.

A. The judgment of God in Isaiah 19 and 20 is about to fall on Egypt. “The LORD is riding on a swift cloud and comes to Egypt” (Isa. 19:1). When God judged Egypt in the days of Moses, we read what Moses said about God in Deuteronomy 33:26: “There is none like God, O Jeshurun, who rides through the heavens to your help,   through the skies in his majesty.” God is about to judge Egypt again for her sins against Jeshurun, God’s beloved one, Israel.

B. God’s judgment on Egypt would be worked out in the structures of the country. Egypt would be judged socially, economically, and politically (Isa. 19:1-15). Socially, Egypt would have civil war. Economically, Egypt would collapse. Politically, its leaders would be bankrupt of ideas to solve their problems. We learn in Isaiah 19 that the problems of every nation have spiritual causes. God is working out His purposes in every country.

II. When God comes near, there is healing.

A. In the near future, there would be judgment and trembling for Egypt (vs. 16). But Isaiah sees something different for Egypt in the far future. God would not only strike Egypt in judgment. God would also heal Egypt on that day in the far future (Isa. 19:22) so that this great enemy of God’s people in Israel would one day join with Israel and even with the wicked Assyrians as God’s one, united people in the church (Isa. 19:25).

B. God is a God of striking and healing (Isa. 19:22). He wounds you in order to heal you. He strikes you with discipline in order to bring you to a place of healing, repentance and wholeness. Hebrews 12:7: “It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?” Every true Christian will endure discipline. God uses that pain to bring us closer to Himself.

III. When God comes near, God’s people put their trust fully in God.

A. The Assyrians captured Ashdod (Isa. 20:1). Who had Ashdod trusted to defeat the mighty Assyrians? Egypt. Egypt then was a useless ally. King Hezekiah and Judah were tempted to trust in Egypt to protect them against the Assyrians. But Isaiah’s words and his acting out the captivity coming for Egypt (vs. 2) made it clear that it was pointless to trust in Egypt. Judah needed to fully trust God. Psalm 20:7-8: “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand upright.”

When God comes near, trust fully in Him to provide a solution for your problems.

The book of Isaiah
Commentaries by Alec Motyer, Derek Thomas, Tim Chester, David Jackman & Bob Fyall.

Sermon Discussion Questions

1) How was God’s judgment on Egypt carried out? What are the signs of God’s judgment socially, economically and politically?

2) What was God’s spectacular promise for Egypt in the far future? How would God heal the land that He had struck?

3) What was Isaiah’s enacted sign of shame and captivity for Egypt meant to teach Judah? Who are you tempted to put your trust in apart from God?