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The Walk of the Christian
Four qualities of the Messiah are presented here in Isaiah 11:3-5 which should also characterize those who are filled with the Spirit of God. Part of the Isaiah Living Commentary.
The Spirit encourages all Christians to fully respond to God in their lives. Let’s see what this is all about.
A. The Life of the Christian (Isaiah 11:1)
B. The Spirit in the Christian (Isaiah 11:2)
C. The Walk of the Christian (Isaiah 11:3-5)
What is this call that demands us to drop all for the sake of all?!
“And He will delight in the fear of the LORD, and He will not judge by what His eyes see, nor make a decision by what His ears hear; But with righteousness He will judge the poor, And decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; And He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked. 5 Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins, And faithfulness the belt about His waist….” (Isaiah 11:3-5).
When a person is Spirit-dependent, he will live life differently. Although we might treat Isaiah 11:3-5 as only applying to the life of the Savior Jesus Christ, we are expected to make the logical conclusion that if we share in the anointing, then we share in the works that stem from that anointing. We are Christ’s disciples. The disciple of Christ not only has his Master’s knowledge but also power.
When Jesus sent the seventy forth to evangelize, He expected them to live as He lived. They were His appointees in training. In a similar way we are His ambassadors. Let’s note the changes in one’s life when He is spiritually alive and alert. We will categorize them as four life-changes.
“He will delight in the fear of the LORD.”
The Spirit-filled person does not live in fear but in delight of the awesomeness of God. He is glad he dreads any disobedience on his part. They keep him from evil.
Today, while driving, one lane was blocked off so I pulled in. The Spirit cautioned me that I went too far ahead and then cut in and should have cut in earlier. In this way I would not have been the subject of the murmurs of others. I could have ignored the Spirit’s word with me, but by His grace I confessed my aggressiveness and asked for wisdom to know when it is best to cut over in future situations.
I delighted in God’s work in my soul for otherwise I would have gone on unnecessarily giving offense to others. Although I wrestled in my heart at His prompting, I was glad in the end that He was working in my life.
Many Christians cannot think clearly about this topic. Because of bad teaching, they either are too friendly with God or too distant.
1) Those that are too friendly only know God as love. They wrongly conclude that they can buddy up to God and have Him ignore some of their ‘quirks.’ These same people often cannot tolerate the wrath of God, an important aspect of God.
2) The other group has a hard time grasping the delightfulness of the fear of God. They usually tremble under the fear of man. They cannot see God’s love and goodness but only His awesome and mighty power.
One group is too close; the other too far. They both stem from poor doctrine. The fear of the Lord produces a good respect for God and yet senses His love and goodness at the same time. The first group will not use the phrase ‘the fear of the Lord.’ It is out of style to them. The second group cannot understand why they should delight in the fear of Jehovah. This is incomprehensible.
God’s true servant, though, finds God’s goodness expressed through the cautious spirit given to a man that causes him to observe God’s command and seek His blessing. He refrains from disobedience out of fear of the coming consequences. God is real in His life. Like the reigns of a horse, the fear of the Lord control and lead the Christian into the most effective and fulfilled life possible.
“He will not judge by what His eyes see, nor make a decision by what His ears hear; but with righteousness He will judge the poor, and decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth.”
The resources a person depends upon to make decisions will ultimately control what decisions he makes. The source of information controls a person’s thinking. We see this early on when Eve went counter to the Spirit and rested on her own judgment.
“When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate” (Genesis 3:6, NASB).
Note how her eyes led her into faulty thinking (with the evil one’s help!). We cannot trust our senses to give us a right mind to judge matters. The mind forms the battleground where the world battles the Spirit. The world does its best by influencing our senses to control our lives. The Spirit of God combats this by working through the mind of God established by the Word of God.
Lust lives on sight and hearing. Lust is the flesh observing what or who it can use. Lust is simply desire but these desires are inflamed by our senses. By seeing or hearing what can or might be obtained our stomach’s appetite is stimulated, our sexual senses are aroused and our imaginations are filled with all sorts of thoughts.
Our senses serve our bodies but unfortunately they pay service to our flesh nature and bring evil into our lives. Truly, any man that is influenced by what is around him, he cannot truly serve others. His flesh rules him. He is unrighteous. He is a man of the earth.
The man of the Spirit has information that is feeding his spiritual nature. This is the opposite of what has been said. Of course, his physical senses still serve his body, but he limits them for higher principles that are given in God’s Word. He is not a glutton. He does not look with lust upon women. He does not subject himself to heavy beats and rhythms. Instead he pays full attention to what the Spirit of God is leading him to do.
When a man lives by principles of God’s Word, he necessarily lives by the Spirit.
“For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please” (Galatians 5:17).
Righteous judgment and decisions come from living by God’s Word rather than by one’s subjective judgment. Counselors who deny their subjects the truth of God are false prophets. The spirit of the world steps and interferes with God’s judgments. So the client walks away without God’s principles guiding his life.
Proper concern for the poor only comes about when one’s own flesh desires are not rewarded. Otherwise, the poor will be taken advantage of because of their lack of resources and knowledge. It is a great shame to think how women have been oppressed through the centuries because men serve their own needs above their wives and children.
God’s principles call the man to stand up for the needs and rights of the oppressed. Righteous decisions and judgments will be made to the degree God’s Word affects one’s heart.
“He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked.”
The Spirit of God strives against evil. We see this early on in Genesis 6:3.
“Then the LORD said, … My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty year” (Genesis 6:3).
This fight has continued on from the Garden of Eve when Satan captured mankind. Jesus was not tolerant of evil. Christ’s response was still constrained under the rule that He came to save and not to judge (cf. John 3:17).
Judgment would have been easier but He stayed faithful. However, He was very patient and gracious to those who repented from their sins but spoke harshly against those who used righteous words to hide their evil. Let’s just take a look at a few verses in which the word ‘viper’ or poisonous snake is used.
If we share in the anointing, then we share in the works that stem from that anointing.
“But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, …” “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” (Matthew 3:7; Luke 3:7). … “You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.” (Matthew 12:34). … “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how shall you escape the sentence of hell?” (Matthew 23:33).
We think of Jesus Christ speaking words of love, but we seem to forget He knew how to rebuke evil. They were tempered by the context of His redemptive purpose, but they were still there. He brought threats against these people and stated judgment against Jerusalem.
“And He answered and said to them, … Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here shall be left upon another, which will not be torn down.…” (Matthew 24:2, NASB).
We should note that after this redemptive age, Christ will speak and shake this earth.
“And in His right hand He held seven stars; and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength” (Revelation 1:16, NASB).
“And then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming” (2 Thessalonians 2:8, NASB).
Throughout the NT we see Spirit-filled men proclaiming God’s glory against the wicked. We need only read through the Epistle of Jude or the epistles of John. There are many statements being brought against the wicked, those who know the truth but have turned from it. Although living in a tolerant age can make it difficult, we must force ourselves to apply God’s Word to our own lives.
We need to be careful not to break the redemptive purpose of this age by speaking words of judgment. Jesus restrained Himself and so must we. But they did come forth when the evil ones were actually confusing those seeking the truth. It is in this context that we find judgment coming forth.
Do we confront others? Why is it hard to speak to them? How do we deal with those who spread evil against God’s people. Think through the Book of Acts and share 1 or 2 examples of how the Spirit led God’s servants to bring judgment even in this era of redemption.
“Righteousness will be the belt about His loins, and faithfulness the belt about His waist.”
Righteousness and faithfulness are often used together and represent the integrity of the one filled by God’s Spirit. Let’s just look at a few of these verses to gain a better sense of their strength.
“The Rock! His work is perfect, For all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness and without injustice, Righteous and upright is He” (Deuteronomy 32:4, NASB).
“Before the LORD, for He is coming; For He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness, And the peoples in His faithfulness”(Psalms 96:13).
“(A Psalm of David.) Hear my prayer, O LORD, Give ear to my supplications! Answer me in Thy faithfulness, in Thy righteousness!” (Psalms 143:1, NASB).
Five times these parallel words were used in Isaiah alone including this one (1:21, 26; 11:5, 16:5, 26:2). Righteousness characterizes living by God’s righteous principles here on earth. He would always do what was right and benefited mankind. Faithfulness is the commitment to the truth of God. He is utterly true to what God has promised.
They serve as a summary of living completely holy before God, perfect integrity with the will and purpose of God. The belt about his loins or waist is difficult for us to grasp since few of us wear robes. For a warrior the belt, would bring all his weapons and clothing together so that he could properly fight.
Those filled with God’s Spirit will be men of righteousness and faithfulness. God’s Word will dictate their actions, decisions and words rather than the spirit of the world. We see this so clearly in Christ’s life as well as those who have been near Him.
We might ask why other attributes were not mentioned. One could speculate, but it seems that these two characteristics are meant to summarize the essential qualities upon which all other qualities are built. Righteousness speaks of God’s standards; faithfulness speaks of integrity before God.
These are the qualities that a good society is built upon. Many need to use force to compel the nation to conform. But here, God’s Spirit conforms people to the ways of God, that is, the kingdom of God.
Spirit Dependent Living
As we depend upon the Spirit of God, He effectively leads us closer to Him and makes our lives more fruitful.
Besides study questions for each section, this study also has special weekly and daily projects to train yourself how to walk by the Spirit (pdf: 38 pages).
Scriptures typically quoted from the New American Standard Bible unless noted:
(C) Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1988