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Lowell Brueckner

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A Song of Thanksgiving


14. An expository study in Isaiah, chapter 12

I used to sing a song taken from this text; in fact, we recorded it on an “LP”. Many of you, possibly, will not know what an LP is. LP stands for long-play and it was a flat disk that turned 33 1/3 revolutions per minute. Someone notified me that they saw one of my LPs for sale on the internet for $60 as an antique. I used to sell them for $3. Welcome to the blog of an antique J!

Many Christians seem to have forgotten that anger is an attribute of God. In arranging a new hymnal, Presbyterians asked Keith Getty for permission to publish his great song, The Power of the Cross, concerning Christ’s suffering, but omitting the words, “bore the wrath”, that is, the wrath of God. Much to his credit, he refused. One Spanish preacher went so far as to say, “To speak of the wrath of God in New Testament times is unbiblical and diabolical!” I beg to differ and, in fact, that difference between the gospel of my generation and that of today is one of the matters that wears at my soul. I cannot escape the conviction that part of my Christian duty is to speak out faithfully in favor of the God, who has been largely denied these days. Francis Chan said something similar to the following: “We apologize to people, if we mention the wrath of God. We ought to apologize to God for not declaring his wrath to people.  

We have before us today a wonderful song of thanksgiving and it is wonderful, in part, because Isaiah understood the reality of the wrath of God: “Although You were angry with me, your anger is turned away” (v.1). As in 11:10 (see The Millennium, part 2), Isaiah dates this chapter to take place in the Millennium... "that day".  It is a millenial song, for sure, but it can be sung, wherever and whenever, by people who have submitted to the kingship of Christ. The person, who has never come under a miserable conviction of sin, can never know the full joy of forgiveness. The woman or man, who has not known the rejection of God for sins that she or he has committed, will never bathe His feet with tears of love upon knowing that he or she has been accepted by Him. The one who has not beat his breast, calling desperately for mercy, will never go to his house justified. The condemned soul, who does not see his sin and know that he deserves the death penalty of the cross and more, will never hear Christ say, “Today you will be with me in paradise.”  

During an interim period, between our years in Mexico and our move to Germany, we learned that there were seven churches in our area in Minnesota that believed in universal salvation. These were churches that would categorize themselves among the “spirit-filled” groups, and yet, they professed to believe a delusion that claims that everyone will be saved in the end. It is a heresy that continues to grow, but the denial of the wrath of God has become even more prominent, in spite of the fact that it is clearly declared in both the New and Old Testament. David said, “God is a righteous judge, and a God who has indignation every day. If a man does not repent, He will sharpen His sword” (Ps.7:11,12). One, among many New Testament passages that proclaim the wrath of God, is this by Paul: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Ro.1:18).

As the Millennium begins, God has comforted Israel and assured him that He is no longer angry with him. . This song is a testimony of personal salvation for each individual in Israel. It is sung in the first person singular. I think that Isaiah, who composed it, could sing it as his own personal story. God is now his Well-Beloved (5:1). He once saw himself under the wrath of God, but he came to trust Him and He became his salvation. “Woe is me, for I am ruined!  Because I am a man of unclean lips… for I have seen the King, the Lord of hosts…,” he cried. He saw the darkness of his sins before the backdrop of the pure, thrice-holy God. It was a revelation of Jesus Christ (Jn.12:39-41). The Holy One of Israel provided the remedy for him and he was cleansed. The awful fear of condemnation lifted and the Lord God became his strength and song (v.2 See another song with these lines in Ex.15:2, where Israel was saved from the bondage of Egypt).

It is nothing less than a gospel account. Isaiah trusted the virgin-born Messiah, of whom he prophesied in chapter 7. He believed and trusted in His work, delivering the message to his people and the world in chapter 53: “We ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted, but He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.” Hallelujah! Isaiah believed the gospel and was saved by grace through faith in the person and the work of Christ. He put his trust in Him!  

He received the supernatural, divine strength of the Lord God. The joy of the Lord overwhelmed him and filled Him with song. The first stanza could be his personal testimony, as well as that of the whole nation of Israel in the Millennium, and in the second, he proclaimed hope for the people in "that day":

“Therefore you will joyously draw water
From the springs of salvation.
And in that day you will say,
Give thanks to the Lord, call on His name.
Make known His deeds among the peoples;
                  Make them remember that His name is exalted.” (v.3 & 4)

When the Millennium comes, Christ will reign on earth and His people will make know His deeds. It has often been said, that revival brings days of heaven to earth, so that revival is a foretaste of the Millennium. God rends the heavens and comes down. I have read many revival accounts of the moving of the Holy Spirit over a people. In one part of a crowd, drawn to the preaching of the living, powerful Word of God, there would be cries of the penitent, begging desperately for salvation; in another part, people were touched with coals from the heavenly altar and they could hardly contain their joy! If the man, who begged at the Beautiful Gate of the temple went walking, leaping and praising for mere physical restoration of his limbs, what should happen to the person, whose eternal soul had been stained with hell-deserving sin, when his soul has been healed? Isaiah said that they will joyously draw water from the springs of salvation.

Tara, an 11-year-old widow, who was branded
with a hot iron before seeking shelter at the
mission of Pandita Ramabai.
Quiet them if you can! At the beginning of the South African revival, Andrew Murray tried to advise those, who were in the act of drawing water from the springs of salvation to be more orderly, but he soon gave up. It was my privilege to visit in Kedgaon, Pune, India, a mission born in the fire of Holy Spirit revival. After the turn of the 20th Century, a newly-converted Hindu, Pandita Ramabai, began to take in hundreds of child widows… little girls, enslaved by their in-laws after their old husbands had died. She wrote, “I felt like weeping tears of joy and my heart was full of praise and thankfulness to God as I watched a child-widow interpreting for an English speaker, delivering the message to us in Marathi. The Lord has graciously delivered her from the shame of child widowhood, the terrible bondage of caste rules, and more terrible bondage of sin, and made her a child of His by adoption in Christ Jesus.”

I saw the video of the entrance of the gospel into a town in New Guinea. The missionary was a man with a family… as I remember, he and his wife had three children. Some missions rejected his applications because of his age and family and others demanded that he attend years of Bible school. Besides, his wife was not in good health. New Tribes Mission (God bless New Tribes Mission for their trust in the never-changing Christ of the Bible) was the only mission to provide a 6-month course and send him out into the harvest field. The video shows an entire village receiving the gospel and with joy drawing waters from the springs of salvation. Men surrounded the missionary and threw him into the air again and again. The celebration lasted two hours, as the wife watched with tears running down her face. That’s what Isaiah is writing about! That will be the boundless joy of the Millennium.

By far, the most important goal of salvation is to bring praise to God. The most important work of the missionary is to “make them remember that His name is exalted.” He may speak of his deeds, but beyond that, he is to show them His deeds. The gospel must be preached, in this day, just as much as in the days of the apostles, accompanied by a manifestation of the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit.

Please hear this truth declared in the epistles: “I will not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me, resulting in the obedience of the Gentiles by word and deed, in the power of signs and wonders, in the power of the Spirit”… (Ro.15:18,19). “My message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power” (2 Co.2:4). “He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you...” (Gal.3:5). “For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit, and with full conviction” (1 Thess.1:5) “God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit” (Heb.2:4).

Israel was separated unto God and set on a hill to be a light to the nations. They will be again in a more perfect manner, during the reign of Christ on the earth. Like the Psalmists and the writer of Proverbs, Isaiah had a heart for world evangelism and the final verse of his hymn is for the proclamation of the gospel among all the nations on earth. In the Millennium, the knowledge of the Lord will cover the earth, as the waters cover the sea:

“Praise the Lord in song, for He has done gloriously;
Let this be known throughout the earth.
Cry aloud and shout for joy, O inhabitant of Zion,
For great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.” (v.5 & 6)

There is vertical praise and there is horizontal praise… Isaiah is teaching us horizontal praise. Your voice can arise to the heavens or it can spread out to the nations. You can praise Him to the people. Tell them what He can do; show them what He can do! Don’t tell them that He has given you joy; show them your joy as you sing, crying aloud and shouting.

In the Times of the Gentiles, in this gospel age of the Holy Spirit, working and moving through His people on earth, Jesus said, “You are the light of the world; a city that is set on a hill cannot be hid… Go into all the world and make disciples… teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age.” From that day all the way to the 21st Century, the Holy One of Israel is with us and Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Let there be a people again who will show that Jesus Christ is great in their midst. The grief in my heart is due to the low concept of God in the minds of those who call themselves “Christian” in our day, who compromise with the world, and who have little to show the world, beyond what the world has given them. I do not preach negative things, because I have a sour attitude. I do it because I see another way in the Bible.

We will see Christ in His glory radiant, as the three disciples saw Him on the mount. So will He shine, as He sits on His throne in Jerusalem. Today, in my mind's eye, I can see the Holy One of Israel moving in the glorious atmosphere of revival among His people and I see them hungering and thirsting for righteousness. I see them as a true church in the literal meaning of the word… a people called apart… called apart as a special possession of God. They have been saved from this corrupt, perverse generation. I see powerful conviction coming upon those who are drawn near to them, as they see the dynamic difference between them and anything they have seen elsewhere. They are a unique, unearthly people, shining with the glory of God. This will be the result: “If… an unbeliever… enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all; the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so he will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you” (1 Co.14:24,25).


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