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THE WICKED AND THE SEA!

"I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the LORD; and I will heal him.  But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked."  Isaiah 57:19-21

 

 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
II Timothy 2:15

 

 

 

 

LESSON 1 ... JUNE 11, 2004:

Once Isaiah compares the wicked to the "troubled sea!"  The Bible is literally "full" of such word pictures.

"BUT THE WICKED ARE LIKE THE TROUBLED SEA ...."  Isaiah 57:20

The word here for "wicked" is "rasha" in Hebrew.  It means an actively bad person.  This is not a dormant type of sin ... but one that is constantly spreading and worsening by the very day!

One lexicon says of this word ("rasha") that is is believed to originate in an Arabic verb meaning to be loose or out of joint!  Hence ... turbulent or restless or or disjoined or ill-regulated. 

The Hebrew word for "sea" is "yam" and means a large body of water.  Even the Lake of Galilee is a sea in the Jewish vocabulary.  Yet our God is the Creator of such Seas as the Atlantic and Pacific also! 

Next the word "troubled" needs to be studied.  It is (in Hebrew) "garash" and is an unusual word for this context.  The Holy Spirit (Who inspired the entire body of Scripture) is indeed a Wordsmith!  (There were several other words for "troubled" that He might have normally used!) "Garash" (originally a verb) means driven out, expelled, cast away, divorced, troubled or thrust away!  It is used only 49 times in the King James Bible.  It is first translated "drive out" in Genesis 3:24 --- "So He (God) drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life."  Here's the verb rendered as "cast out."  Psalm 78:55 --- "He (the Lord) cast out the heathen also before them, and divided them an inheritance by line, and made the tribes of Israel to dwell in their tents."

The "sea" of lost mankind (the wicked) are (due to sin) expelled from the Presence of God!  And sadly they some day (unless they are saved by God's Grace) will hear another message of rejection.  Jesus said it:  "And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."  Matthew 7:23 

How these Bible words ought to give us a greater concern for the lost!

Pray today for someone who doesn't know Jesus.

Lord willing. tomorrow I want to study a little more about the Sea and the Wicked from Isaiah 57.

It's good to have you study with us here today ... with a Bible in your hand!

                                                                                    --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2 ... JUNE 12, 2004:

The Lord said something unusual in Isaiah 57. He compared the wicked of this world to the sea, the ocean!

Listen to His Words:

But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest."  Isaiah 57:2

How are the wicked like the sea?

The answer to that question hinges on the two words "cannot rest!"

We studied the word "troubled" yesterday. 

The sea is said to be restless!

The adverb "not" is just the Hebrew (adverb) negative particle meaning "no, not or nothing."  It negates the verb "to rest."  God words this in a slightly different way (but with the same foundational truth) in the very next verse of our Isaiah text here. Plus ... Isaiah 48:22 identically thunders --- "There is no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked."  And Proverbs 17:21 speaks of one who has "no joy!"  And Revelation 14:11 adds information about a place (hell) where there's "no rest" for the ungodly! 

But ... thank the Lord ... for the saved man or woman there is the possibility of "no evil" (Psalm 23:4) and "no guile" (Psalm 32:2) and "no want" (Psalm 34:9).  And they do "no iniquity" (Psalm 119:3)!  Even this too:  Psalm 101:3 --- "I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes!"

The little verb "can" in "cannot rest" translates the Hebrew word "yakol" and means to be able or to prevail.  It suggests a battle scene.  The sea is fighting to gain rest ... but is unable to attain it!  I sure would say the "wicked" are striving to enjoy rest! Look at today's army of psychologists and psychiatrists who do little else than try to help people experience the absence of worry and stress and grief ... in short ... to achieve real rest!  (All they've been able to come up with so far is "short-term" fixes ... not lasting rest!  And some of their "man-made" rest uses chemicals and mind altering drugs to do the job.)

Lastly, let's note the verb "rest."  In Hebrew it is "shaqat" and means to be settled, to be at ease or to be quiet.  It is found 41 times in the King James Bible.  Our word is translated "quietness" in Isaiah 30:15 where the Lord says to Israel --- "In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength."  Also in Isaiah 32:17 --- "And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever."  It is translated "idleness" in Ezekiel 16:49 --- "Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy."  Here is the first use of the verb in the whole Bible:  "And the land rested from war."  Joshua 11:23

Just think of it!

Like the sea ... always motion and turmoil ... the wicked have no rest!  Truly Proverbs 13:15 is right --- "The way of transgressors is hard."

YET for the Believer in Christ ... rest is promised! 

Listen to Jesus in Matthew 11:28 --- "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."  He continues in the next verse:  "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls."

Or in Mark 6:31 where Jesus again speaks of rest:  "And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat."

Of course Jesus has know how to rest for eternity!  See Psalm 16:9 where He says: "Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope."

And, perhaps the best of all:  Hebrews 4:9 --- "There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God."

Revelation 14:13 ---"And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them."

There you have it!

For the wicked ... (like the sea) NO REST!

For the godly ... ETERNAL REST!

What a difference!

Let me, in closing, reprint one verse.  Jesus said this.  "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

                                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3 ... JUNE 13, 2004:

I first heard about this verse of Scripture when I was just a little boy.  My Uncle, who was a Preacher, mentioned it in one of his sermons. Probably the Holy Spirit has brought it to my mind again and again through the years also.

I'm talking about Isaiah's passage about the "wicked" of this world being like the "sea," the ocean ... at least in several ways!

 "But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt."    Isaiah 57:20

Today let's especially notice the words "whose waters cast up mire and dirt!"

Of course we all know that the oceans of the world do eject all kinds of things! (Some of those things are even lovely!  Seashells!  Sand Dollars!  Even "driftwood!") But most of it is pretty vile. 

See what the Lord does here.  When He speaks of the "sea" ... He uses the singular number!  There are five major oceans on planet earth.  Yet God groups them into one!  (Just as there are millions of lost people on earth ... yet in God's eyes they fit into just one category!  Unsaved!  Dead in trespasses and sin!)  The Hebrew word for "sea" is "yam." That's also their word for WEST.  To the Jew the sea was west of Jerusalem!

BUT ... when God speaks of the sea producing this filth... He makes the term plural in number ... "waters!"  Why?

I don't know for sure, but I believe these "waters" represent something both multiple and specific.  (In the Scriptures "water" can picture at least two things:  the WORD of God ... and the SPIRIT of God ...  depending upon the context.)  Maybe the Lord is telling us here that specifically with their words lost wicked people are constantly spewing up garbage! 

And, as we all know, our "words" just spring from a deeper source ... our hearts (or our spirits) if you prefer!  Jesus said this in Matthew 12:24 --- "For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh."

The verb "cast up" is "garash" in Hebrew and means to expel or to thrust out.  The "time" sense of this verb is one of "incomplete" action.  This expelling of filth is a continual thing!  The verb's first use in the Bible is found in Genesis 3:24 where God DROVE man OUT of the Garden of Eden!  Sin exhales dirt!  But it also expels man from the good things of God!

Let's look a minute at the word "mire."  The Hebrew word is "rephesh" and is only used this once in the whole Bible! I guess some "sin" is unique!  However ... several of the word's "cousins" do appear!  For example, in Proverbs 25:26 it's a "troubled" fountain ("raphas")!  But look at it in Ezekiel 34:18 --- "Seemeth it a small thing unto you to have eaten up the good pasture, but ye must tread down with your feet the residue of your pastures? and to have drunk of the deep waters, but ye must foul the residue with your feet?"  Talk about "pollution!"

And the word "dirt" is "tiyt" in Hebrew.  It is used 13 times in the Bible.  2 Samuel 22:43 mentions the "mire" of the streeet!  "Then did I beat them as small as the dust of the earth, I did stamp them as the mire of the street, and did spread them abroad."  In Psalm 18:42 our word is translated "dirt."  "Then did I beat them small as the dust before the wind: I did cast them out as the dirt in the streets."  It's "clay" in Psalm 40:2.  "He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings."  But ... amazingly, by Isaiah 41:25 the word has become "clay in the hands of the potter!"  (Or more literally ... under the feet of the potter!)  Read it.  "I have raised up one from the north, and he shall come: from the rising of the sun shall he call upon my name: and he shall come upon princes as upon morter, and as the potter treadeth clay."  God, as the Potter, just can do some amazing things with this earthly residue!  And in Zechariah 9:3 the wealth of this world is compared to this "mire!"  "And Tyrus did build herself a strong hold, and heaped up silver as the dust, and fine gold as the mire of the streets."

HOWEVER ... while the "wicked" spew forth mire and dirt, the "godly" do the opposite!  Their "fruit" (produced by the Holy Spirit) is love and joy and peace and gentleness and meekness!

Even concerning there words it is said:  "No corrupt communication shall come forth out of their mouths!"  (Ephesians 4:29)

Doesn't the LORD make a difference in one's life?

Praise His Good Name!

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4 ... JUNE 14, 2004:

I've been thinking about the PEACE of God!

Listen to Paul in Philippians 4:7 --- "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

And Jesus says in John 14:27 --- "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

What a blessing such peace is!

Yet Isaiah 57:21 makes a startling statement about peace!

"There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked."

What a fact!

The Hebrew word for "no" here is spelled "ayin."  It means nothing.  (Not to exist!) The "first use" of the word is found in Genesis 2:5 --- "... And there was not a man to till the ground."  In the beginning ... no man!  Then, because of sin ... no peace!

"Peace" is a noun and is translated from the Hebrew word "shalom."  It's found 236 times in the Bible and is rendered mostly in ways that center around some aspect of tranquility.  ("Peace" = 175 times!  "Peaceably" = 9 times!  "Peaceable" = 2 times!) Otherwise it is translated "well" (14 times) and "welfare" (5 times) and "prosperity" (4 times) and "safe" (3 times) and "health" (2 times).  Its root verb ("shalam") means to be safe!

Our little English preposition "to" (in Hebrew when placed as a prefix = "l") means to, for, towards, in regard to, belonging to, or even in!

And the word "wicked" again is based on the noun "rasha," who is the ungodly man of Scripture.  He is a rebel.  He is involved in active harmful sin!  (As are all sinners.) The root word has the idea of disturbing or violating something or someone.

No matter how big a "front" the wicked erect ... they have no real peace deep down in their hearts and souls!

Isaiah has already said nearly these very words in Isaiah 48:22 --- "There is no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked."

Jeremiah twice talked about the soft compromising preachers of his day who promised peace ... when there was NO PEACE!  (Jeremiah 6:14 and 8:11)

And with all this lack of peace in the hearts of the ungodly ... Believers in Jesus Christ the Lord have such sweet peace!

We have peace with God!  Romans 5:1 --- "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."  We are no longer "at war" with the Almighty!

And we have the Peace of God too!  Colossians 3:15 --- "And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful."

Little wonder!  That is ... since we know "The God of Peace!"  That's according to Romans 15:33 --- "Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen."  He is called by that Name ("God of Peace") 5 times in the New Testament!

What a blessing!

Enjoy it today!

(And pray for those who have no peace!  They just need to be saved by the Grace of our dear Lord through His shed Blood on Calvary!)

                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5 ... JUNE 15, 2004:

Isaiah 57:19 has captured my heart this morning!  There God says:

"I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the LORD; and I will heal him."

Here is the Lord God Almighty telling us that He has created something (again)! The verb for "create" is "bara" and is the same one used in Genesis 1:1. It means "to make something out of nothing."

The noun "fruit" translates the Hebrew term "nob," which means that which germinates! (To bud! To cause to flourish!) Once in the King James Version our word has the idea of "increase!" (Psalm 62:10)

And "lips" of course refer (at least metaphorically) to our words.

This part of our verse is used by Paul in Hebrews 13:15 --- "By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name." The great Apostle here associates the expression with praise to God!

"Peace" is our old friend "shalom!" (Used twice here! For emphasis!) It means (in addition to the absence of conflict) welfare, prosperity or safety!

But to whom is God extending such peace?

Two groups are mentioned.

One is "far off!í The word is "rachoq" and means remote (in place or time). The verb behind this noun means "to widen." How very unlikely some have been for Godís Peace, His saving Grace! Yet He reached them! He has reached far back in time also! All the way to Eden ... and all the way into the future as well! To that very last soul who will be saved ... just prior to the Rapture! How many of us fit into that very category --- "far off?"

The other is "near." In Hebrew "qarob" means near (in place, kindred or time). Paul uses this verse in Ephesians 2:17 --- "And (Jesus) came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh." I think there he has Gentiles (far off) and Jews (near) in mind! (Near of kin!) I sure am glad God saves old Gentiles too! We who are "far off!" Again read Ephesians 2:13 --- "But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ."

If you want to consider "near" in time, someone very likely just got saved (somewhere around the world) since you've been reading this article!

Next God promises healing! Heal is "rapha" in Hebrew and means literally "to mend!" (To mend by stitching!) This word is also the Jewish term for "physician!" Our God is the Great Physician then!

Iím so glad he has touched and healed us old sin-sick pilgrims! He has given us a home (in heaven) and a song to sing on the way!

How unlike the wicked of the next two verses ... who have no peace!

Someone today use your lips ... to praise our great God!

To thank Him for all Heís done in your behalf!

Glory to His Name!

                                                                       --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 6 ... JUNE 16, 2004:

For several days now weíve been noticing Isaiah 57:19-21.

Each key word has been analyzed as weíve tried to understand the message of the text.

Today Iíd like to summarize and conclude the study.

The "heart" of the Passage is this: God declares the restless sea to be a picture of the wicked man (in several ways)!

"I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the LORD; and I will heal him. But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked." Isaiah 57:19-21

Maybe the overall theme of the paragraph is peace ... or the lack of it!

The sea spits filth ... so do the ungodly!

Yet each of us has seen the sea when it was calm. In fact there are times when certain oceans are absolute placid! (The Pacific Ocean is so named because of its "peacefulness" ... at least at times!)

BUT ... WHEN THE STORMS COME ... THEN COMES THE MIRE AND DIRT IN ABUNDANCE!

This is what I mean: on "good" days the oceans may vomit up little dirt and mire. BUT when "hard" times come ... the "storms" of life ... get ready! It can no longer contain the garbage! Whatís in it ... will come out!

Yet with the Christian ... things are so different! When "hard" times come his or her way ... God just gives "extra" grace to bear the burdens! A Believer in Christ can even have "peace" in the storm ... so unlike the lost man! (And no "filth" is expelled ... because no filth remains within the Believer! He or she has been cleansed!)

BUT I got to thinking about something else too. While the sea certainly DOES belch forth garbage ("mire and dirt") ... I know one thing that can extract ... even from the most vile ocean ... pure clean drinkable water! That one thing is the sun! It "draws" water into the heavens ... to be returned on the earth as fresh life-giving rain (not salty or putrid or filthy showers)! If sea water goes OUT horizontally it will be dirty ... BUT if it is evaporated vertically (toward heaven and the sun) ... it is cleansed!

Hereís my point: Jesus (The SON of Righteousness) also draws the wicked and lost sinners of earth ... to be washed in His Blood and saved by His Grace! It's nearly a miracle of creation right before our very eyes!  (A "parable" of nature!)

Then I thought this also. If the sea is a picture of wickedness (and it is) ... then real believers would not want to live right at its "dirty" shores, would they? (Of course I am not preaching against oneís literal physical address. God has people in seacoast towns just as He does in mountain towns, praise His Name!) But SPIRITUALLY speaking, we need to stay away from the filthy emissions of the ungodly. We need to SEPARATE ourselves from the vomit of this world! Live apart from its mire and dirt! Donít wade around in that stuff!

Whatís the difference between a restless sea and its mire and dirt and Peterís analogy about dogs and hogs? 2 Peter 2:22 --- "But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire." Sounds a lot alike to me.

Lastly, Iíve learned that the sea comprises 71% of planet earthís surface area! Our world is (in the vast majority) sea ... ocean ... restless water spitting forth dirt and mire! We Believers are in the minority for sure! We must be careful!

One preacher says we are IN the world but not OF the world. (Like a ship going home ... to the other shore!) IF SO ... be AWARE! There are pirates today (indeed, a resurgence of them in 2004) roaming the oceans, seeking whom they may destroy! Be vigilant on the journey!

Iíll close with this verse: "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." 2 Corinthians 6:17-18

I pray that the next time you see the ocean ... Isaiah 57 will immediately pop into your mind! (As well as its spiritual lessons!)

As usual. Iíve enjoyed studying this text with you! Visit us anytime! You are a welcome guest here! Just remember to come ... with a Bible in your hand!

                                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

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