The Treachery of Israel CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
The first eight verses of Is 48 show us the treachery of Israel. Israel was called a transgressor from the womb. God knew that Israel would deal very treacherously when he chose them. Here are the things that Israel did:
They diminished the name of God to a vain appellation – Is 48:1-2 – the name “Israel” means “prince of God,” Gen 32:28 – in other words, when Jacob’s name was changed to “Israel,” God not only took away his name meaning “supplanter,” Gen 27:36, but he also placed his own name upon him “prince of God.” There is not another nation in the world who can claim this unique moniker. Yet when they mention his name they do not mention it in truth or righteousness. They are like men today who only mention God as a cuss word.
When Israel mentions God’s name in truth and righteousness, Israel must refer to his:
- Mercy – Is 48:9-10
- Glory – Is 48:11
- Eternity – Is 48:12
- Creation – Is 48:13
- Love – Is 48:14
- Provision – Is 48:15
- Redemption – Is 48:16-17
- Leadership – Is 48:17
- Peace – Is 48:18-19
- History – Is 48:20-21
The God of Israel is the Lord of hosts indicating that he is over all principality and power [Col 1:16-17] – he is not a god like the gods of the other nations – in every confrontation with other gods, the Lord has always proved himself supreme [as over Baal at Carmel; as over the Devil at the Cross].
They attributed the miracles of God to an idol – Is 48:3-5 – when Aaron made the molten calf in the wilderness they said, “These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt,” [Ex 32:4]. There is no way this could have been; the molten calf was man-made and wasn’t made until after they had already left Egypt. The miracles of God were declared aforetime by the Lord and then they were accomplished suddenly so that Israel would know they were his miracles and not something that happened by chance later [for example the plagues in Egypt, the manna in the wilderness, the Red Sea crossing, and Jehoshaphat’s victory over three nations without a fight].
Because Israel had been worshipping idols, they became like the statues they worshipped [Deut 7:25-26; Ps 97:7], obstinate, with necks of iron and brows of brass.
They relegated the revelations of God to human understanding – Is 48:6-8 – God shewed them new things that they could not possibly have known [such as the prophecies concerning Cyrus] and he revealed to them hidden things that they could have only known by his revelation [comp Matt 16:16-17; Lk 10:21; 1 Cor 2:10; Gal 1:11-12] – these are two attributes of God that set him apart from every other god worshipped by man.
But Israel, in their pride, were inclined to say “I knew that” or “I could have told you that,” as if these things were discernable by man’s wisdom and knowledge – that’s the same proud mentality of men that explain supernatural events by natural causes [i.e., the parting of the Red Sea was caused by an earthquake in Turkey].
Conclusion: These three attitudes are treacherous and they are held by men today. Men today treacherously use God’s name as an expletive. They treacherously attribute the miracles of God to their idols [i.e., attributing creation to the science of natural processes]. They treacherously wrest the words of God in pride with their own disbelief and ignorance. Unlike Israel, though, God will not have mercy on their treachery unless they repent and turn to the Lord Jesus Christ.