“Sanctify the Lord of Hosts Himself” (Isa. 8:13)
by Walter T. Turpin
Audio read by David Wandelt
Mark what you have here in v. 13: “Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself.” Oh, how He delights in that word, “himself.” I am struck with it in the Old Testament, as well as in the New.
Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself, and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread; and he shall be for a sanctuary, but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of lsrael, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many among them shall stumble and fall and be broken, and be snared and be taken. Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples; and I will wait upon the Lord, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him”
Now what we have here is this: that when you get a condition of things as here pictured and manifested, whether corporately or individually, this blessed One who is refused and rejected — perhaps not in so many words, but still rejected, if He is not supreme in the hearts of His people — I say this blessed One becomes the stay, and solace, and cheer, and sanctuary, and hiding-place of the hearts that turn truly to Him.
Is not that exactly what is true today? If we turn to the New Testament, we shall find the same thing complete; just look at Rev. 3, and is there not an exact counterpart of what we have been considering in the prophecy of Isaiah this evening? Mark it. See v. 7 of this chapter. In the terrific state of departure, even Laodicea, the last state, too, of the church, we have that which alone can keep and maintain souls from it, even the blessed grace of His own Person thus made known: “These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth, and shutteth, and no man openeth.” Well may we say, How blessed! and when we consider that condition of things, what do we find? Why, Gods reserve! “These things saith he that is holy.” Thank God for that! Thank God there is such an One faithful and true, “he that is true.”
Everything here may be in misery and wretchedness, but still there is a most complete, a most perfect and most blessed exhibition of His own Person for the hearts of the faithful. And He is the sanctuary for His people today, “the holy, and the true.” He will never give His people up, let foolish people rave as they will; and not only that, but He is the One who embodies in His own blessed, wondrous, gracious Person all that the heart could possibly claim, all that the affections could really look for, all that is necessary and needful in the midst of such a condition of things. I say, beloved friends, faith wants more than ever, and the heart delights more than ever, to turn to the Person of the Christ as God’s reserve.
You may say everything is broken to pieces, but has Christ failed? Is He changed? “He shall be for a sanctuary.” What a wonderful thing! Now I ask you, Have you found it? Can you say you know God’s reserve? You know what it is, and how all is sure and safe in Him. This it is which alone strengthens faith. If I see what Christ is — and when I say “see” Him, I do not mean in the sense of observation, but “see” in the sense of my soul as real apprehension of Him by faith — when faith lays hold upon what Christ is as God’s reserve for the most bankrupt condition of things, I say, “Thank God, there is a sanctuary for me.” He is “the faithful witness, the first begotten from the dead, the prince of the kings on the earth.”
Oh, beloved, the Lord, in His grace, lead every heart here to have good courage, and good cheer too; and not only this, but to be deeply exercised — the deeper the better — so that we may entirely and fully stand in His grace, and never give up our confidence in God. Let our confidence in God and in Christ be of such a nature, that we can afford to say (and it is a most precious word), “I will wait.” The moral magnificence of that is beautiful beyond description. Everyone can be in haste, but to see a person who can afford to wait, is a wonderful thing; because there is nothing that marks moral greatness so much as endurance. It is not what a person can go through, but what he can bear, what he can endure. That is the test; and nothing can lead to waiting in one’s soul, save this, that we are deaf and blind to every single thing that is around. How blessed to close the eyes to the tumultuous storm, and to all the strife of words, and the din and the confusion of the hour! How can this be reached? Simply by listening to His blessed voice, that unmistakable voice, that, to faith, familiar voice of the Son of God above all the storm, and above all the rage of the elements that are round about us; thus we can wait, thus can we look to the Lord, and say, We wait for Him, for His time, which most assuredly will come. Thank God, there is no doubt of it. I do not say when that time may be; but all I do desire, is, that our souls should get the sense that it is not circumstances, it is not the moving of things around us, but it is Himself. There is nothing more perplexing than the tendency to be occupied with every little cloud, or every little bit of sunshine. This is all utterly beside our true place. But the thing is to get our eyes on Jesus, on that blessed One who says, “I will guide thee with mine eye.” There is a moral magnificence in having our poor eyes fixed upon the eye of Him who is the sanctuary. That is something truly blessed; how He delights to see poor feeble creatures like us watching the eye of the One who is our sanctuary. The Lord, in His grace, give our hearts to taste the blessedness and reality of it, for Jesus Christ’s sake!
“I am waiting in the midnight,
In the storm and on the wave,
Not for light, nor calm, nor haven,
Though the winds and waters rave;
‘Tis for Thee I wait, Lord Jesus!
Light and Port art Thou to me;
Thou wondrous Sun of Glory!
I wait -- I wait for Thee.”