Such Great Folly Back to all sermons
Date: February 7, 2021
Speaker: Sean Grossman
Scripture: Isaiah 28:14–28:29
›Such Great Folly
14 Therefore hear the word of the LORD, you scoffers,
who rule this people in Jerusalem!
15 Because you have said, “We have made a covenant with death,
and with Sheol we have an agreement,
when the overwhelming whip passes through
it will not come to us,
for we have made lies our refuge,
and in falsehood we have taken shelter”;
16 therefore thus says the Lord GOD,
“Behold, I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion,
a stone, a tested stone,
a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation:
‘Whoever believes will not be in haste.’
17 And I will make justice the line,
and righteousness the plumb line;
and hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
and waters will overwhelm the shelter.”
18 Then your covenant with death will be annulled,
and your agreement with Sheol will not stand;
when the overwhelming scourge passes through,
you will be beaten down by it.
19 As often as it passes through it will take you;
for morning by morning it will pass through,
by day and by night;
and it will be sheer terror to understand the message.
20 For the bed is too short to stretch oneself on,
and the covering too narrow to wrap oneself in.
21 For the LORD will rise up as on Mount Perazim;
as in the Valley of Gibeon he will be roused;
to do his deed—strange is his deed!
and to work his work—alien is his work!
22 Now therefore do not scoff,
lest your bonds be made strong;
for I have heard a decree of destruction
from the Lord GOD of hosts against the whole land.
(Isaiah 28:14-22, ESV)
23 Give ear, and hear my voice;
give attention, and hear my speech.
24 Does he who plows for sowing plow continually?
Does he continually open and harrow his ground?
25 When he has leveled its surface,
does he not scatter dill, sow cumin,
and put in wheat in rows
and barley in its proper place,
and emmer as the border?
26 For he is rightly instructed;
his God teaches him.
27 Dill is not threshed with a threshing sledge,
nor is a cart wheel rolled over cumin,
but dill is beaten out with a stick,
and cumin with a rod.
28 Does one crush grain for bread?
No, he does not thresh it forever;
when he drives his cart wheel over it
with his horses, he does not crush it.
29 This also comes from the LORD of hosts;
he is wonderful in counsel
and excellent in wisdom.
(Isaiah 28:23-29, ESV)
› These verses further criticize the leadership of the people
› Isaiah describes it as a covenant with sheol because of the simple ramifications of going against God
› Isaiah concludes by wondering about so great of folly found in the leadership
› The natural world follows the course and there is life
› If in nature there is a right and a wrong way, then so too is the case for human society
› Such Great Folly
– We are continually bombarded with different teachings when it comes to society, religion, worldview, and society
– They tell us the Christian faith was for an older age and are antiquated
– This only leads to great folly
– Isaiah has warned us continually of the ramifications of following our own way
– Can such finite individuals such as ourselves adequately provide such a foundation?
– In the past with Israel and Judah they trusted in the ways of the world
› Such Great Folly (2)
– Israel and Judah trusted in the ways of the world
– They relied on wealth, worldly wisdom, military prowess, and even pagan beliefs
– The wind blowing, the sun shining, sexual relations
– They made the natural elements of the world into gods they placed their trust in…and their entire understanding of reality
– In some ways this makes perfect sense
– There is a cause and effect in nature
– There is a right way to do it in order to bring about the greatest possible results
– In one sense it is reasonable to look at nature for some signs of order in the chaos
› Such Great Folly (3)
– Today we find the same thing occurring
– Can our feelings give us a sense of rightness and wrongness?
– Can nature itself provide an adequate foundation for these things?
– Does the wind tell us what is good?
– How do we know which part of nature shows us what is good?
– Perhaps when the lion rips apart the prey? Or perhaps being the prey?
– Is nature all there is to inform us of these things?
› Such Great Folly (4)
– If nature is all there is then the ultimate answer is no
– Survival of the fittest is the only possible way to come upon what is “good” or “evil”
– Things like loved o not even come into question, because it’s only about survival
– The same is true with all virtues
– It is also true with all evil and vices
– If I am able to become the fittest by being…then evil can be considered “good”
› Such Great Folly (5)
– Nature, just as Isaiah proclaimed, tells us of God’s wisdom
– We see the results when we seek to change or break natures laws, it always leads to something rather irrational
– Nature can only tell us one form of good and evil, and that is in regards to itself
– It doesn’t tell us anything about what is good or evil, right or wrong, apart from itself
– Nature fails because these concepts are in the realm of reason
– Nature tells us a lot, it tells us many things about wisdom and about God, but it cannot tell us what is ultimately good
– Where the pagan and naturalist gets it wrong then and today is that nature is not our mother, but more like our sister
– She reminds us there is a right way for her, and because of that urges us to consider the right way for us
› Such Great Folly (6)
– In contrast to what we find in our world today, we have what has been handed to us throughout Church history
– We have been created in the image of God
– We have been able to discern there are ought and ought nots
– It is the same Creator of the natural realm which have experienced
– He has brought about this world with wisdom, and we being in His image are able to perceive this wisdom
– This is called general revelation
– He also reveals Himself and His ways through special revelation
– The prophetic Word given to us in order to teach us about who God is and we who are
› Such Great Folly (7)
– In the Scriptures we see what God has done in history
– We learn what we ought to do
– God, in existing, and in speaking to us, gives us what we need to have life
– The world continues to offer us what it did in Isaiah’s time
– We too are susceptible to such temptations, and there are many who continue to trust and rely on the world
– We too are vulnerable to be a people who follow the ways of folly, making a covenant with sheol, which claims to provide life from death
– Yet if we are experiencing the same temptations…then it seems far more likely than not that the ancient truths are not just for the ancients…but true for us as well
– To follow God is to be led into life, to follow the world is to be led into death
› Such Great Folly (8)
– To ignore Isaiah today, to ignore what was written so long ago, would be akin to ignoring it when it was first proclaimed
– To spurn the prophets, to spurn what has been handed down to us, is to act in no better way than the ancients who scoffed the message of old
– When we make statements which are true they are true regardless of the time we make them
– I could say sin is wrong today and it will still be wrong tomorrow
– Just as love is good today it will be good tomorrow
– Seeking justice is good today and will be good tomorrow
› Such Great Folly (9)
– Oughts and ought nots do not change
– What is good and what is wrong do not if God exists
– We can be confident to proclaim because we have experienced God and know His goodness
– He has provided for us all that we need
– He ahs shown us repeatedly, with each passing day, each moment, each breath we breathe, that He is wise
– So be courageous for in this time we are in need of individuals who are like Isaiah
– The world is in chaos and constant flux with sinfulness abounding on all sides
– It is our responsibility, our duty, to remember what has been passed down
– Our God lives, our God speaks, and our God redeems
– If we do not, and if we should turn away
› Such Great Folly (10)
– If we do not…we will find ourselves no different than the ancients
– Those who spurned and scoffed God while embracing the world
– If we ignore all that has come before…then we shall find ourselves joining them in such great folly
› The Gospel of Christ