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Isaiah 24:1-20 - Homiletics

God's final judgment upon the earth.

In striking contrast with man's self-complacent theories of continual progress and improvement in the world, resulting in something like the final perfection of our race, is God's prophetic announcement that, as the years roll on, mankind will go from bad to worse, plunge deeper and deeper into wickedness, bring calamity after calamity upon themselves, and finally so provoke him that he will destroy the very earth itself as " defiled ' by its inhabitants ( Isaiah 24:5 ), causing it to " fall , and not rise again" ( Isaiah 24:20 ). The judgment, as set forth in this chapter, is—

I. PROGRESSIVE . It begins with wars, which spread from country to country, until all nations are involved in them. Territories are wasted ( Isaiah 24:3 ); cities are thrown into confusion ( Isaiah 24:10 ); the population of the earth rapidly diminishes; the " few men left" ( Isaiah 24:6 ) are scattered widely over the face of the globe; there is general desolation; and there is general sadness and misery ( Isaiah 24:7-12 ). All classes suffer ( Isaiah 24:2 ); the haughty especially are brought down ( Isaiah 24:4 ). If men escape one calamity, they are overtaken by another ( Isaiah 24:18 ). Treachery is at work ( Isaiah 24:16 ), and each man feels like a hunted animal, sure sooner or later to be the prey of the destroyer ( Isaiah 24:17 ). The judgment passes on from man to the material fabric which he inhabits; man's transgression lies heavy upon the earth ( Isaiah 24:20 ); it totters and trembles from its foundations ( Isaiah 24:18 ), reels to and fro ( Isaiah 24:20 ), is broken up and shattered ( Isaiah 24:19 ); finally, falls from its place.

II. FINAL , AS FAR AS THIS DISPENSATION OF THINGS IS CONCERNED . "The inhabitants of the earth are burned" ( Isaiah 24:6 ); the earth is " utterly emptied" ( Isaiah 24:3 ); the remnant that has previously escaped necessarily disappears with the earth that is their habitation; and that earth is "utterly broken down," "clean dissolved," " fallen " so as never to rise again ( Isaiah 24:19 , Isaiah 24:20 ).

III. YET NOT UNCHEERED BY SOME RAYS OF HOPE . In the midst of the gloom, and the sadness, and the desolation, and the confusion, there are yet cheerful voices heard. All flesh has not corrupted its way before the Lord. There are still those who " lift up their voice, and sing for the majesty of the Lord" ( Isaiah 24:14 ), who " glorify the Lord" in the midst of the "fires" of affliction, and pour forth songs whereof the burden is "Honor to the righteous." They constitute, it may be, a small minority; but they are not dismayed. "God," they know, " is on their side;" and they " do not fear what flesh can do unto them." They bear witness for God to the last; and when the final crash comes they are those blessed ones who " meet the Lord in the air" ( 1 Thessalonians 4:17 ), and are translated to the heavenly kingdom, without passing through the gates of death, there to " be forever with the Lord."

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