Prophecy of Isaiah – Isa 63:15-19 Why Have You Made us to Err From Your Ways?

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Prophecy of Isaiah – Isa 63:15-19 Why Have You Made us to Err From Your Ways?

[Study Aired August 9, 2020]

Isa 63:15  Look down from heaven, and behold from the habitation of thy holiness and of thy glory: where is thy zeal and thy strength, the sounding of thy bowels and of thy mercies toward me? are they restrained?
Isa 63:16  Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: thou, O LORD, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting.
Isa 63:17  O LORD, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart from thy fear? Return for thy servants’ sake, the tribes of thine inheritance.
Isa 63:18  The people of thy holiness have possessed it but a little while: our adversaries have trodden down thy sanctuary.
Isa 63:19  We are thine: thou never barest rule over them; they were not called by thy name.

In our last study of verses 6-14 of this chapter, Isaiah is led by the Lord to remind us of God’s great mercies towards us as His people:

Isa 63:7  I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the LORD, and the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his lovingkindnesses.
Isa 63:8  For he said, Surely they are my people, children that will not lie: so he was their Saviour.
Isa 63:9  In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.

At the same time, he is inspired to remind us that we have indeed rebelled against the Lord:

Isa 63:10  But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them.

A mere one verse reminds us of our desire to return to Egypt, as a sow to her wallow in the mire and as a dog to his vomit. In that one verse He tells us that when He hardens our hearts and makes us to err, He becomes our enemy. It is all His work after the counsel of His own will” (Eph 1:11).

Then the Lord goes right back to reminding us of His great mercies toward us and of all the great works He performs on our behalf and how He always brings us “up out of the sea with the shepherd of His flock”. He reminds us of all He has done for us by having us remember what He has done within us and in our midst, and He even asks “Where is He that brought them up out of the sea… that led them by the right hand of Moses… that divided the Red Sea” (Psa 136:13), a type of resurrection from the dead.

Isa 63:11  Then he remembered the days of old, Moses, and his people, saying, Where is he that brought them up out of the [Red] sea with the shepherd of his flock? where is he that put his holy Spirit within him?
Isa 63:12  That led them by the right hand of Moses with his glorious arm, dividing the water before them, to make himself an everlasting name?

The Lord concludes with these words concerning Himself:

Isa 63:13  That led them through the deep, as an horse in the wilderness, that they should not stumble?
Isa 63:14  As a beast goeth down into the valley, the Spirit of the LORD caused him to rest: so didst thou lead thy people, to make thyself a glorious name.

Those words are a short summary of how the Lord is working with all of mankind. We begin our walk with the Lord as “carnal… babes in Christ” (1Co 3:1-4). As babies He literally takes us by the hand, and with so much patience, He leads us into maturity. However, maturity takes many long years, and we are one and all prodigal sons along that path and during that journey. It is the Lord who gives us “an experience of evil” to humble us, and then He delivers us from our own humiliation which He has caused us to experience because of the corruptible earthy composition with which He has at first made us to be, and through which He makes us to err from His ways and hardens our hearts from His fear.

Ecc 1:13 I applied my heart to inquiring and exploring by wisdom concerning all that is done under the heavens: it is an experience of evil Elohim has given to the sons of humanity to humble them by it. (CLV)

The life of every man is a work of the Lord, “Yes, even the wicked for the day of evil” within each of us. It is all a work of His love and His patient mercy towards all His creatures.

That was the message of our last study, and our study today continues with that same theme of what the Lord is doing to “drag” us to Himself.

Isaiah is led to speak for us all when He asks the Lord:

Isa 63:15  Look down from heaven, and behold from the habitation of thy holiness and of thy glory: where is thy zeal and thy strength, the sounding of thy bowels and of thy mercies toward me? are they restrained?

When Isaiah pleads for us “…where is thy zeal and thy strength, the sounding of thy bowels and of thy mercies toward me? are they restrained?” he is expressing our own sense of being forsaken and forgotten by the Lord while He puts us through our own ‘experience of evil’ to humble us. The book of Job, according to the Jewish scholars, and it is agreed by most scholars, was written before Moses existed. Therefore, it would have been familiar to both kings David and his son Solomon, who tells us that it is the Lord who has given us “an experience of evil” (Ecc 1:13). So when Isaiah asks, “Where is thy zeal and thy strength, the sounding of thy bowels and of thy mercies toward me? are they restrained?”… The Lord does indeed restrain His strength and His mercy toward us while He is causing us to rebel against Himself. In fact, He actually becomes our enemy, while He is in the process of dragging us to Himself. We will not just naturally seek Him, and we certainly do not just naturally appreciate the pain which our sins bring upon us. It requires ‘suffering for a season’ to bring us to ourselves.

Luk 15:17  And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
Luk 15:18  I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,
Luk 15:19  And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.

1Pe 5:10  But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.

The story of Job is also our story. “Suffering for a while” is what is essential to bring us to see the self-righteous second beast we all are in our own time (Rev 13:11). In time we come to know the Lord face to face, and at that point we are all forced to face our own “vile” self-righteousness and admit that in our self-righteousness we have been found guilty of “contending with… reproving… disannulling His judgment, and condemning” God Himself, all for the purpose of maintaining our own supposed integrity and to make ourselves righteous.

This is who we are:

Job 27:5  God forbid that I should justify you: till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me.
Job 27:6  My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go: my heart shall not reproach me so long as I live.

If we are the Lord’s faithful elect, this is how He is working with us in “this present time” (Rom 8:18):

Job 40:1  Moreover the LORD answered Job, and said,
Job 40:2  Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it.
Job 40:3  Then Job answered the LORD, and said,
Job 40:4  Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth.
Job 40:5  Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further.
Job 40:6  Then answered the LORD unto Job out of the whirlwind, and said,
Job 40:7  Gird up thy loins now like a man: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.
Job 40:8  Wilt thou also disannul my judgment? wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous?

When the Lord finally does show us just how vile and self-righteous we are and when He gives us “place of repentance”, then He again comforts us and rewards us for what “His hand [and] His workmanship” have accomplished within us:

Isa 64:8  But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.

Eph 2:10  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Heb 12:17  For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.

So, Isaiah reminds us who we are as the Lord’s accepted anointed who are given “place of repentance [in] this present time” (Rom 8:18).

Isa 63:16  Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: thou, O LORD, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting.

Both Abraham and Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel, are long dead, and “the dead know not anything”:

Ecc 9:4  For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion.
Ecc 9:5  For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.
Ecc 9:6  Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.

The great men of God of old who have died in faith did not receive the promises and are manifestly incapable of helping themselves, much less you and me. Abraham and Israel are both dead, but Christ is not dead and is “the firstfruits of them that slept” and is seated ‘at His Father’s right hand ruling in the kingdoms of men’ at this very moment.

Mar 12:36  For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The LORD said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool.

1Co 15:20  But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

The Lord wants us to know that He has not lost control over His creatures and that, quite to the contrary, “the Most High rules in the kingdom of men”, and the kings of the earth and the rulers and the people are all “do[ing] whatsoever [His] hand and [His] counsel determined before to be done” (Act 4:23-28).

Here is what the scriptures teach on this subject:

Dan 4:17  This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.

Mat 28:16  Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.
Mat 28:17  And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.
Mat 28:18  And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

Act 4:23  And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them.
Act 4:24  And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is:
Act 4:25  Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?
Act 4:26  The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ.
Act 4:27  For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together,
Act 4:28  For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.

Heb 11:13  These all died in faith, not having received the promises [Enoch in verse 5: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, verses 8-9], but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

In the very next chapter, Isaiah reminds the Lord that He is indeed our Father:

Isa 64:5  Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, those that remember thee in thy ways: behold, thou art wroth; for we have sinned: in those is continuance, and we shall be saved.
Isa 64:6  But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
Isa 64:7  And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities.
Isa 64:8  But now, O LORD, thou art our fatherwe are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.
Isa 64:9  Be not wroth very sore, O LORD, neither remember iniquity for ever: behold, see, we beseech thee, we are all thy people.

Christ Himself acknowledged that the Jews were indeed the physical descendants of Abraham:

Joh 8:37  I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.

However, a mere two verses later, He denies that the Jews are Abraham’s spiritual children:

Joh 8:39  They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.
Joh 8:40  But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.
Joh 8:41  Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.
Joh 8:42  Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.
Joh 8:43  Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.
Joh 8:44  Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

Then the prophet Isaiah puts into very plain words a Truth which has been made clear throughout scripture and from the beginning, but is neither seen nor heard by our rebellious, carnal-minded “first man, Adam”. Mankind has been denying this truth from “the first man Adam” until today:

Isa 63:17  O LORD, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart from thy fear? Return for thy servants’ sake, the tribes of thine inheritance.

The commentaries physically see with their eyes what is being said in this verse, but they cannot perceive what the Lord is revealing concerning His sovereign hand in the affairs of mankind.

Here typically is what John Gill’s Commentary is saying about this verse of scripture. This commentary typifies all the rest of the Babylonian commentaries who simply cannot accept the Truth of all scripture which teaches clearly:

Pro 16:4  The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.

Isa 45:6  That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. am the LORD, and there is none else.
Isa 45:7  I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

Notice the double tongue within us all which admits to what these words say while at the same time denying that it really is God who is “working all things after the counsel of His own will” (Eph 1:11):

John Gill, who wrote one of the better commentaries, admits, “These are the words, not of wicked men among the Jews, charging all their errors, hardness of heart, and wickedness they were guilty of, upon the Lord, as if he was the author and occasion of them, and led them into them; but of the truly godly…” (End Quote). There you have it! Mr. Gill admits that the words, “O Lord, why have you made us to err from your ways, and hardened our heart from you fear?… are the words, not of wicked men among the Jews, charging all their errors, hardness of heart, and wickedness they were guilty of, upon the Lord, as if he was the author and occasion of them, and led them into them; but of the truly godly…”

Then in the very same breath and with the same pen and tongue, he goes on to place the responsibility for this ‘hardened heart’ and being ‘made to err from [the Lord’s] ways’ upon the “hardness of their heart” and letting us know that “The Jews(f) interpret this of their being hardened from the fear of God, and made to err from His ways by seeing the prosperity of the wicked, and their own long captivity, troubles, and distresses:” (End Quote) It is not adding to Mr. Gill’s words at all to quote what he had just said, “Not blaming him [the Lord] for these things, or complaining of him as having done anything amiss or wrong.” In other words, Mr. Gill, the Jews, and all of us when we first come to the Lord, place all the responsibility for our sins upon our own shoulders and not on the shoulders of our Creator who first made us of “flesh and blood… corruption” (1Co 15:50).

Notice how Mr. Gill changes the word “made” to the word “suffer” while reasoning around what the Lord just told him:

Mr. Gill is typical of each of us before the Lord opens our eyes and ears to His words. We all, by nature, want to think that obedience and disobedience is our decision to make, and that God has nothing to do with our so-called ‘free will’. At the same time we self-righteously declare our faith in a God who is sovereign. It is a double-minded, double-tongued doctrine to which we all just naturally ascribe as “carnal babes in Christ” (1Co 3:1-4). But it cannot be both ways. Either the Lord makes us to err from His ways and He hardens our hearts from His fear, or we do all that. Either He is responsible for all that we do, good and evil, or we are. Who will we believe? Will we believe “that which is written”- ‘You Lord, made us to err from your ways… (Isa 63:17), you made the wicked for the day of evil… (Pro 16:4), [and] You create evil (Isa 45:7)’, or will we believe Mr. Gill and all the Christian scholars and Jewish scribes, and take the responsibility for all this evil in our lives and in this world upon our own shoulders and contend with the Lord and contend with ‘that which is written’ (1Co 4:6)? Whatever we decide on this question, it certainly will not be a decision we will be making free from the influence of our own Creator, because this is what the scriptures teach, and this is the unfailing Truth:

Rom 9:15  For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
Rom 9:16  So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
Rom 9:17  For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.
Rom 9:18  Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.

When the Lord does give us “place of repentance”, then we will have “Return[ed]… the tribes of [His] inheritance… for [our] sakes”.

Isa 63:18  The people of thy holiness have possessed it but a little while: our adversaries have trodden down thy sanctuary.

Our “possession” of the kingdom of God in “this present time” is but “a vapor that appears for a moment and then vanishes away”, and we hold this “possession… [in] this present time” only as “the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of he purchased possession…” Indeed, “our adversaries have trodden down your sanctuary”, as we are plainly told they are given to do:

Rev 11:1  And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.
Rev 11:2  But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.

“The holy city” which is “given unto the Gentiles [to] tread under foot” is the same city “where also our Lord was crucified” and that is where we, with Him “lie dead in [its] street”:

Rev 11:8  And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.

If we fail to see that the Lord’s ‘great city’ is within us, then we will place the blame for His crucifixion on the Jews, or on evil sinners, or anyone but ourselves, and the words of Revelation 11 will have no edifying effect upon us. The truth is that all the conflicts found throughout scripture, regardless of the numbers involved, are really nothing more or less that the pre-ordained conflict which the Lord is working within us between “the first man Adam [and] the last Adam”:

1Co 15:44  It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
1Co 15:45  And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
1Co 15:46  Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
1Co 15:47  The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
1Co 15:48  As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
1Co 15:49  And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.

Therefore whenever we read of plural pronouns and plural nouns, we will glean nothing from what is being said if we do not apply all those plural nouns and pronouns within ourselves singularly, and apply what is being said in every case to the outward first man Adam, which is each of us, and the inward last Adam, who is Christ in us, the hope of glory (Col 1:27). That is the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but is now made manifest to His saints:

Col 1:24  Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:
Col 1:25  Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;
Col 1:26  Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:
Col 1:27  To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which [riches of the glory of this mystery] is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

Let’s apply this principle to our last verse in this 63rd chapter of Isaiah:

Isa 63:19  We are thine: thou never barest rule over them; they were not called by thy name.

For this verse to have any personal application for me, I must read it like this… ‘Christ in me is your dwelling place. You never ruled over my old man because he is never called ‘Christ in you’. The Lord, from Genesis 1:1 never once, for one moment ever intended that corruptible flesh and blood inherit the kingdom of God.

1Co 15:44  It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
1Co 15:45  And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
1Co 15:46  Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
1Co 15:47  The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
1Co 15:48  As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
1Co 15:49  And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
1Co 15:50  Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

If flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, and if indeed we were “called in Christ before the world began”, then flesh and blood was never intended to inherit the kingdom of God:

2Ti 1:9  Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

Tit 1:2  In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;

Our “first man, Adam” was “shapen in iniquity and conceived in sin [and was] made to be taken and destroyed.

Psa 51:5  Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

2Pe 2:12  But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;

If indeed the Lord is our Father in this present time, then we are His children and the sheep of His pasture, and we know His voice and we will flee for the voice of a stranger:

Joh 10:4  And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.
Joh 10:5  And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.

That is our study for today, and I hope it is clearer than ever that whether we err from the Lord’s ways or we fear to do so, both are His decision, and that decision was made “before the world began” (2Ti 1:9, Tit 1:2).

Here are the verses for our next study:

Isa 64:1  Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence,
Isa 64:2  As when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence!
Isa 64:3  When thou didst terrible things which we looked not for, thou camest down, the mountains flowed down at thy presence.
Isa 64:4  For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.
Isa 64:5  Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, those that remember thee in thy ways: behold, thou art wroth; for we have sinned: in those is continuance, and we shall be saved.
Isa 64:6  But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

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