The Preacher Says....  
  Knowing God  


I've decided this morning not to attempt to convince you by my reasoning that God, indeed, has a purpose in the earth, as though I were having to win an argument with someone about whether or not God's purposes had anything to do with the earth, but simply let the Bible speak on the subject. It's more convincing than any argument that I could make. It requires some work on your part, however, since I'll just be traveling through the Bible with you, which will require your attention, or perhaps your close reading.

In the first chapter of Genesis we read,

In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth And the earth was without form and void, And darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters, And God said, Let there be light-- and there was light. And God saw the light that it was good, And God divided the light from the darkness, And God called the light Day, And the darkness He called Night, And the evening and the morning were the first day.

The prophet Isaiah in the 45th chapter reveals some of God's purpose with this earth , this creation we just read about, starting at the 15th verse of the 45th chapter. Isaiah says:

Verily thou art a God that hideth thyself, O God of Israel, thy savior. They shall be ashamed and also confounded, All of them: They shall go to confusion together That are makers of idols. But Israel shall be saved in the LORD With an everlasting salvation: Ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded World without end. For thus said the LORD that created the heavens; God Himself that formed the earth and made it; He hath established it, He created it not in vain, He formed it to be inhabited; I am the LORD and there is none else. I have not spoken in secret, In a dark place of the earth:; I said not to the seed of Jacob, 'Seek ye me in vain". I, the LORD, speak righteousness, I declare things that are right. Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, Ye that are escaped of the nations: They have no knowledge that set up the wood Of their graven image, and Pray unto a God that cannot save. Tell me, and bring them near; yea ,Let them take counsel together: Who hath declared this from ancient times? Who hath told it from that time? Have not I the t not I, the LORD? And there is no God else beside me; A just God and a savior; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all ye eds of the earth; For I am God and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, The word has gone out from my mouth in righteousness, And shall not return, that unto me Every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. Surely shall one say, in the LORD have Ii righteousness And strength: even to Him shall men come; And all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed. In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, And shall glory. (Is 45. 15 - 25 )

This will be done in the earth because it wasn't created in vain, according to the 18th verse. Genesis the 13th chapter, verses 14 through 17:

And the LORD said unto Abram, After that Lot was separated from him, Lift up thou thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art, Northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward, For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, And to thy seed forever. This is not just an Old Testament promise that Stephen, one of the Deacons chosen to serve the Christians in the first century, reminded those who would shortly martyr him, that the hope of Israel was the hope of an everlasting inheritance on earth. And in the 7th chapter of Acts Stephen said,

Men, brethren and fathers harken; The God of glory appeared unto our father, Abraham, When he was in Mesopotamia, before he Dwelt in Charran, or Haran as it says in the Old Testament, And said unto him, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, And come into a land which I shall show thee. Then came he out of the land of the Chaldeans And dwelt in Charran; and from thence, When his father was dead, he removed him Into this land, wherein ye now dwell. And he gave him none inheritance in it, no, Not so much as to set his foot on: Yet he promised that He would give it to Him For a possession, and to his seed after him, When as yet he had no child. In the 7th chapter of 2 Sam, God says to David, starting at the 8th verse:

I took thee from the sheepcote, David From following the sheep, To be ruler over my people Israel, And I was with thee wherever thou went, And have cut off all thine enemies out of thy sight, And have made thee a great name, Like unto the name of the great men that are in the earth.

Moreover, I will appoint a place for my people, Israel, And will plant them, that they may dwell In a place of their own, and move no more, Neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them anymore, As beforetime, and as since the time that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel, and Have caused thee to rest from all thine enemies, Also the Lord telleth thee that He will make thee (David) an house..

And when thy days be fulfilled, God says to David, And thou shall sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, Which shall proceed out of thy bowels, And I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.

And now we see the promise made to Israel enlarged, to encompass more than just natural Israel. In Genesis the 22nd chapter, starting at the 15th verse:

And the angel of the LORD called to Abraham Out of heaven the second time, and said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, but because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son (Isaac): That in blessing I will bless thee, and In multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, And as the sand which is upon the sea shore; And thy seen shall possess the gate of his enemies;

And in thy seed shall all the nations Of the earth be blessed; Because thou hast obeyed my voice. The promise to faithful Abraham is the blessing on the nations. We read in Sunday School this morning the 55th chapter of Isaiah, a portion of which I would like to call to your attention again. Again making plain that the promise of the inheritance of the earth is not limited to natural Israel, verses 5 through 13:

Behold, thou shall call a nation that thou knowest not, And nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the LORD thy God, and for the Holy one of Israel, for He has glorified thee.

Seek ye the LORD while He may be found, Call ye upon Him while He is near.

Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts: And let him return unto the LORD, And He will have mercy upon him; And to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.

For your thoughts are not my thoughts, Neither are your ways my ways, says the LORD. As the heavens are higher than the earth, So are my ways higher than your ways, And my thoughts than your thoughts.

For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, And returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, And maketh it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth: It shall not return unto me void, But it shall accomplish that which I please, And it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: The mountains and the hills shall breakforth before you into singing, And all the trees of the fields shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree And instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: And it shall be to the LORD for a name, For an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.

The New Testament amplification of this promise to bless more than natural Israel is found in the 4th chapter of Galatians starting at the 22nd verse:

For it is written that Abraham had two sons, The one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; But he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: For these are the two covenants; The one from the Mount Sinai, which gendereth bondage, which is Hagar. For this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and answers to Jerusalem (that's where the law came down from), which is now in bondage with her Children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, Which is the mother of us all

For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren, that barest not; Break forth and cry thou that, thou that travailest not: For the desolate has many more children Than she which has a husband. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was (speaking now to Christians, Gentiles), Are the children of promise.

But as then he that was born after the flesh (Ishmael) Persecuted him that was born after the spirit, Even so it is now. Nevertheless, what says the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: For the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir With the son of the freewoman (the son of promise).

So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman (that is to say , cursed by natural Israel who looked only to the law For its salvation), but the children of the free.

And how do we get to be the children of the free? In the previous chapter, starting at the 26th verse:

For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you who have been baptized into Christ Have put on Christ.

There is neither Jew, nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: For ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed And heirs according to the promise. (Gal 3. 26 - 29)

Turning back again to the Old Testament for further amplification of this hope, in the 65th chapter of Isaiah-- more indication that God's promise is to spiritual Israel and not just to natural Israel:

I (the LORD) am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not; I said, behold me, behold me unto a nation that was not called by my name.

I have spread out my hands all the day Unto a rebellious people, which walks in a way Which was not good, after their own thoughts.

A people that provokes me to anger continually to my face; That sacrifices in gardens, and burns incense Upon altars of brick; which remain among the graves, And lodge in the monuments, Which eat swine's flesh, and broth of abominable things Is in their vessels; which say, Stand by thyself, Come not near to me; for I am holier than thou, (said those Jews who lived by the law), These are a smoke in my nose, A fire that burns all the day.

Behold, it is written before me: I will not keep silence, But will recompense, even recompense into their bosom, Your iniquities, and the iniquity of your fathers together, Saith the LORD, which have burned incense upon the mountains, And blasphemed me upon the hills: therefore Will I measure their former work into their bosom. Thus saith the Lord, as the new wine is found in the cluster, And one saith, destroy it not; for a blessing is in it:; So will I do for my servants' sakes, That I may not destroy them all.

And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and Out of Judah, an inheritor of my mountains: And mine elect shall inherit it, and My servants shall dwell there. And Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, And the Valley of Achor a place for the herds to lie down in, For my people that have sought me.

But ye are they that forsake the Lord, That forget my holy mountain, that prepare a table For that troop, and furnish the drink offering to that number. Therefore will I number you to the sword, And ye shall all bow down to the slaughter: because When I called, ye did not answer: When I spoke ye did not hear, but did evil before mine eyes, And did choose that wherein I delighted not.

Therefore, thus saith the Lord God, Behold, my servants shall eat, but ye shall be hungry; Behold, my servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty: Behold, my servants shall rejoice, but ye shall be ashamed: Behold, my servants shall sing for joy of heart, But ye shall cry for sorrow of heart, and Shall howl for vexation of spirit. (and listen to 15),

And ye shall leave your name for a curse unto my chosen: For the Lord God shall slay thee, and call his servants By another name: (that other name is described in the 11th chapter of Acts); 17th verse:

For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: (doesn't mean an earth beyond the skies as we'll see In a moment) the former shall not be remembered Nor come into mind.

But be ye glad and rejoice forever in that which I create: Behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: And the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, Nor the voice of crying.

There shall be no more thence an infant of days, Nor an old man that hath not filled his days: For the child shall die an hundred years old; But the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed. And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; And they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.

They shall not build and another inhabit; They shall not plant and another eat: For as the days of a tree are the days of my people, And mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.

They shall not labor in vain, nor bring forth for trouble, For they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord, And their offspring with them. And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; And while they are yet speaking, I will hear.

The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, And the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: And dust shall be the serpent's meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, Saith the Lord.

And now the prophet Zephaniah, writing 650 years before the birth of Christ, the 3rd chapter, verses 8 - 20:

Therefore wait ye upon me, says the Lord, Until the day that I rise up to the prey: For my determination is to gather the nations, That I my assemble the kingdoms, To pour upon them mine indignation, Even all my fierce anger: for all the earth Shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.

For then will I turn to the people a pure language, That they may all call upon the name of the Lord, To serve Him with one consent. From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia, my Suppliants, even the daughter of my dispersed, Shall bring mine offering. In that day shall thou not be ashamed For all thy doings, wherein thou has transgressed against me: For then will I take away out of the midst of thee Them that rejoice in thy pride, and Thou shall no more be haughty Because of my holy mountain.

I will also leave in the midst of thee An afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust In the name of the Lord. The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; Neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth; For they shall feed and lie down And none shall make them afraid.

Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; Be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. The Lord has taken away thy judgments, He hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Israel, Even the Lord, is in the midst of thee: Thou shall not see evil any more.

In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: And to Zion, Let not thy hands be slack. The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save, He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in His love; He will joy over thee with singing.

I will gather them that are sorrowful For the solemn assembly, who are of thee. To whom the reproach of it was a burden. Behold at that time I will undo all that afflict thee; And I will save her that halteth, And gather her that was driven out: And I will get them praise and fame in every land Where they have been put to shame.

At that time I will bring you again, Even in the time that I gather you: For I will make you a name and a praise among, All people of the earth, When I turn back your captivity before your eyes, Says the Lord.

John, writing on the Isle of Patmos, in the 5th verse, the 9th verse,

And they sung a new song saying, Thou art worthy to take the book And to open the seals therof, For thou wast slain and has redeemed us to God By thy blood out of every kindred and tongue And people and nation, And has made us unto our God Kings and priests, and we shall reign on the earth. (Rev 5. 9, 10)

In the 2nd chapter of Isaiah, these familiar words-second verse:

And it shall come to pass in the last days That the mountain of the Lord's house Shall be established on the top of the mountain And shall be exalted above the hills, And all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go, and say, Come ye, and let us go up unto the mountain of the Lord, To the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us of his ways and We will walk in his paths. For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

And he shall judge among the nations And shall rebuke many people, And they shall beat their swords into ploughshares And their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore.

And finally, the 11th chapter of Isaiah:

And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse , (David' father), and a branch shall grow out of his roots :the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and fear of the LORD;

and shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, nor reprove after the hearing of his ears:

but with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.

Righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, And faithfulness the girdle of his reins.

The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, And the leopard shall lie down with the kid; The calf and the young lion and fatling together; And a little child shall lead them.

The cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones Shall lie down together; the lion shall eat straw Like the ox. The sucking child shall play on the hole Of the asp, the weaned child shall put his hand On the cockatrice' den.

They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD As the waters cover the sea.