Isaiah: The Sovereign Lord of History

Peter Barnes: Isaiah 10:5-19 (NO AUDIO)

(27 January 2019)


God is the sovereign over all history so what is history all about?

1. God uses the unregenerate to achieve His purposes.

– 10:5-6. God describes Assyria as ‘the (unwitting) rod of My anger’, the instrument which He used against ungodly Israel. Note 1 Per.4:17.

– Hab.1:5-6, 13. Calvin: ‘the Lord acts even by the hand of the wicked.’

– John 19:11; Acts 4:27-28; Job 1:21.

2. God holds us accountable for our sins.

– 10:7. Assyria’s motives were not God’s motives. Assyria brags about her princes (10:8), her conquests (read 10:9), her gods (10:10-11; wars between na), and her own strength (10:13-14). This is pride at its worst, says verse 12. To flog Judah will be as easy as stealing eggs from a nest (10:14). To see this truly, we might say that the Assyrians were the Nazis, the Soviets, the Maoists of the eighth century B.C.

– Adad-Nirari II (911-891 B.C.) declared:
In these days, when at the command of the great gods my lordly sovereignty has manifested itself, going forth to plunder the goods of the lands, I am royal, I am lordly, I am mighty, I am honoured, I am exalted, I am glorified, I am powerful, I am all powerful, I am brilliant, I am lion-brave, I am manly, I am supreme, I am noble.
Pride is what C. S. Lewis called ‘the complete anti-God state of mind’.
3. God humbles the proud.

– 10:15-19. See 2 Kings 19:35-36; and Dan.4:28-33; Luke 1:52. Earth’s proud empires rise and pass away, but the humble poor believe.

See quotes from Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Martyn Lloyd-Jones

– Dietrich Bonhoeffer in 1930 sought to interpret providence with regard to World War I: ‘I see it in Germany’s complacence, in her belief in her almightiness, in the lack of humility and faith in God and fear of God. It seems to me that this is the meaning of the war for Germany: we had to recognize the limits of man and that means we discovered anew God in his glory and almightiness, in his wrath and his grace.’

– Martyn Lloyd-Jones declared in his series on Ephesians: ‘I believe we have had two world wars in this century as a punishment for the arrogance and the pride and the vanity and the folly of mankind from about 1864.’