Why Did God Forsake the Jews?
by Pastor Don Fortner
Sermon # 11 Series: Isaiah Title: Why Did God Forsake the Jews? Text: Isaiah 2:5-9 Subject: Judicial Reprobation Date: Sunday Evening - May 28, 1989
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There was a time when the Jewish nation, the Jewish church, and the Jewish people were honored by God, blessed and favored above all the people of the world, as the chosen objects of his mercy (Deut. 7:6-9).
But today the Jewish people are scattered among the nations. The nation of Israel is a nation of unrest, plagued with war, terrorism, and civil strife. And the Jewish religion is only a show, a dead corpse, an empty shell, a meaningless, useless, pointless chanting of old prayers and remembrance of days long gone. The center of their religion is the temple, the priesthood, the mercy-seat, and the sacrifice. But they have had no temple, priesthood, mercy-seat, or sacrifice for 1900 years. God has left the house of Judah desolate. He has forsaken the people who were once favored above all the people of the earth. Why? WHY HAS GOD FORSAKEN THE JEWS? That is the title of my message tonight. And that is the subject of our text (Isa. 2:5-9).
Note: I do not suggest or imply that all Jews are reprobate. God has an elect people among the physical descendants of Abraham whom he will save by his grace. But as a nation, a church, and a people Israel is fallen, blinded, and cut off. Why? Why has God forsaken the Jews? The answer is twofold:
1. Without question, the cutting off of the Jews was necessary for the accomplishment of God's purpose of grace toward the Gentiles (Rom. 11:11-15, 25-27).
The Jews' unbelief, rejection and crucifixion of Christ, did not defeat, thwart, overturn, or even hinder God's purpose of grace. He did cast off the nation of Israel. But he did not cast off his elect people. He did forsake physical Israel, but not the Israel of God.
God did not, in any way, compel the Jews to reject and crucify his son. He did not compel them to forsake him. But he did overrule their obstinance and he did sovereignly use it to accomplish his purpose of grace toward us (Rom. 11:32-36).
2. Yet, the judgment of God upon Israel is the result of Israel's willful, deliberate unbelief and rejection of the counsel of God against themselves (Rom. 10:21; 11:21-23).
God forsook the Jews because the Jews forsook God. He left them because they left him. He blinded them, so that they cannot see, because when they had his light they refused to walk in it.
Proposition: In our text Isaiah holds up Israel as a reprobate nation to warn us of the danger of despising the goodness, mercy, and grace of God.
I. First, there is A RESPONSIBILITY PRESCRIBED to all who are favored with the light of divine truth (v. 5)
"O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord." It is the responsibility of those to whom light is given to walk in the light.
The Jews had the light of God. But they refused to walk in the light. And now the light they had has become darkness.
A. All men have the light of creation and conscience (John 1:9; Rom. 1:18-20; 2:14-15).
B. The Jews had the light of the law and the prophets (Rom. 3:1-2).
C. You and I have the light of the gospel of the glory of God in Christ Jesus (II Cor. 4:4-6).
1. I know that only the light of the gospel can give men and women saving faith in Christ (Rom. 10:17).
2. But I know also that if a man walks in the light God gives him, God will give him more light.
3. And I know that if you or I despise and reject the light God has given us in this place, ours shall be the greater condemnation (Matt. 11:20-30).
Behold the judgment of God upon Israel, and be warned! Because they ceased to walk in the light of the Lord, God sent them blindness. And their blindness is so great that they thing their darkness is light (Rom. 11:20-21).
II. Secondly, Isaiah describes the physical descendants of Abraham, the nation of Israel as A REPROBATE PEOPLE (v. 6).
"Therefore hast thou forsaken thy people." This is reprobation. Israel is forsaken (Hosea 4:17; Matt. 23:37-38). Reprobation, in the Bible, is the judgment of God which falls upon men and women because of their willful rejection of divine truth (Rom. 1:28; II Thess. 2:10-12).
How miserable is the condition of that people whom God has forsaken! Those who are forsaken of God cannot be saved (Isa. 6:9-12; John 12:37-41).
A. This is a condition which the house of Israel has brought upon itself.
God never leaves any who do not first leave him. He never forsakes any who do not first forsake him. He never casts off any who do not first cast off him.
B. But hear me - God will not trifle with those who trifle with Him - He will cast you off! (Pro. 1:23-33).
Illustration: Noah's Generation
III. Thirdly, the prophet of God describes A RUINOUS PATH which led to the utter desolation of the nation of Israel (vv. 6-9).
Those people whom God had long favored, he has forsaken. Those who were called his people, he has cast off. And here the prophet tells us why - "Therefore thou hast forsaken thy people the house of Jacob, because . . ."
A. God had set Israel apart for himself as a peculiar people (Num. 23:9).
He distinguished, honored, favored, and exalted the Jews above all people, but they were "replenished from the east, and (became) soothsayers like the Philistines, and they (pleased) themselves in the children of strangers."
B. God gave them his oracles, his word, his prophets, and his law to order their steps - but they sought the counsel of astrologers, soothsayers, magicians, and pagan wise men!
They rejected the counsel of God for the counsel of men, despised God's prophets and chose the guide of soothsayers, and subjected God's word to the devises of witchcraft.
C. God called for Israel to trust Him, assuring them that he would be their wealth, their strength, and their defense - but they filled their land with silver, and gold, and treasures, and horses, and chariots (v. 7).
The possession of these things was not evil. But . . .
D. God required them to worship Him alone, as he revealed himself in the scriptures - but they filled their land with idols (v. 8).
E. God had exalted and honored Israel - but they lowered themselves to the worship of tree stumps (v. 9; Isa. 44:14-22).
They worship a god who cannot save, who has less power, wisdom, and ability than they do!
IV. Fourthly, the prophet of God indicts A REASONALBE PUNISHMENT upon the idolatrous nation - "Therefore forgive them not" (v. 9).
Our irreversible, just sentence is passed against the nation. Isaiah is here speaking prophetically, not vengefully. And I assure you that God will not forgive those who despise and reject the light of the gospel of his grace, who willfully turn from the light of divine truth to the darkness of false religion (Ps. 139:21-22; Gal. 1:6-9, 5:1-4).
Application: I have been talking about reprobation, God's rejection of Israel. But the whole message applies to us.
Grace Baptist Church of Danville
2734 Old Stanford Road - Danville, Kentucky 40422-9438
Donald S. Fortner, Pastor -Telephone 606-236-8235 - Email firstname.lastname@example.org