Such Great Folly Back to all sermons


Date: February 7, 2021

Speaker: Sean Grossman

Series: Isaiah

Scripture: Isaiah 28:14–28:29

Tags: judgment, Wisdom, Folly

Isaiah 28:14-29

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)

Main Point

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

Application Points

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

Application Points

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

Application Points

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?

Application Points

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”

Application Points

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

Application Points

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

Application Points

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

Application Points

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

Application Points

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

Application Points

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

Application Points

The Gospel of Christ