The Restless Ones
Dr. Joe Temple

Introduction

Open your Bibles, please, to the book of Isaiah. We will notice together chapter 62. I would like to encourage you to use your Bibles so that you can follow along with us in the reading of the Word of God.

May I remind you that we have been studying the book of Isaiah, chapter by chapter, verse by verse, and we have come to the last section of the book. It is a section of comfort; it is a section of victory. God has been promising victory for His people, and now, as we are approaching the end of the studies, we find God hastening on to the consummation of the age, because He is not willing to tarry any longer.

I would like to emphasize something that we need to emphasize from time to time, and that is that we are interpreting the book of Isaiah from a literal standpoint. By that, we mean that if the book of Isaiah is speaking about Israel, then we believe that it is speaking about Israel. If the book of Isaiah is speaking of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, then we believe that is a literal coming. If it is speaking about the restoration of Zion, the city of Jerusalem, we believe that it is talking about the literal, earthly Jerusalem and not some symbolic thing.

You understand that there are figures of speech in the book of Isaiah. There are metaphors; there are parables; there are illustrations. We see them as we recognize the Messiah, but we do not belong to that school of biblical interpretation which spiritualizes the Old Testament. We believe it means exactly what it says.

We are going to read chapter 62 of the book of Isaiah, noticing God speaking:

Isaiah 62

1For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth.
2And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name.
3Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.
4Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.
5For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.

A new paragraph begins with verse 6, when God says that He has set watchmen over the house of Israel, and He addresses them in the succeeding verses. Watch for that as we read:

Isaiah 62

6I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: [then He addresses those watchmen and says] ye that make mention of the LORD, keep not silence,
7And give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.
8The LORD hath sworn by his right hand, and by the arm of his strength, Surely I will no more give thy corn to be meat for thine enemies; and the sons of the stranger shall not drink thy wine, for the which thou hast laboured:
9But they that have gathered it shall eat it, and praise the LORD; and they that have brought it together shall drink it in the courts of my holiness.

We will stop there, recognizing that with verse 10 a new paragraph begins in which God addresses all of His people who are looking for the restoration of the city of Jerusalem and the regathering of God's chosen people. To them He says:

Isaiah 62

10Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people.
11Behold, the LORD hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.
12And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the LORD: and thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken.

Those of you who have been with us through this entire study of Isaiah will remember that back in Isaiah, chapter 57, God said, “I am going to hold My peace. I am going to keep quiet. I am not going to say one word. Israel wants to have her own way. She wants to depart from Me. She wants to do as she wishes. I will let her. I will not say one word until she comes to her senses. When she comes to her senses and realizes her need, then I will not rest until I have kept My word and fulfilled My promises.”

If I were going to give a subject to this message, I would call it The Restless Ones because it speaks of the restless God, and it speaks of the restless people as well. When we suggest that this passage of Scripture speaks to our hearts of the restless God, we have in mind what we read in your hearing in the first five verses of the paragraph. If you will look at those verses again, you will notice that God is saying:

Isaiah 62

1…will I not hold my peace…

The Restless God

I would like for you to look at that phrase as I suggest to you that the phrase, hold peace , comes from the Hebrew word chashah , which means “to be silent,” which means “to be still.” This word chashah , which is translated “hold peace,” is translated in the fashion which I have suggested in other places in the Scripture. We are going to give you one example that it might be verified. Turn, please, to the book of Ecclesiastes, chapter 3, and notice in verse 7, where Solomon the wise man is talking about the various times which are dedicated for various purposes. He says in verse 7:

Ecclesiastes 3

7A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

You will notice the statement in the midst of verse 7, “a time to keep silence…” The word silence is a translation of the Hebrew word chashah , which is translated “hold peace” in Isaiah, chapter 62. The wise man said, “There is a time to keep silence, and there is a time to speak.” God said, “I know it, and the time for Me to keep silence is past. I am going to begin to speak out. I am not going to hold My peace any longer.”

I verily believe that He is speaking out, and I believe that that is another answer for the stirring in the Middle East—because God has not only decided that He will not be silent any longer, He has decided as well not to keep still any longer.

The Hebrew word chashah means to “keep still,” and it is so translated in the book of Judges. If you will turn back there with me for a moment and notice in chapter 18 that some of the descendants of Dan had not occupied all of the land which was guaranteed to them in the land of Canaan. They decided they were going to take the land. They sent five men out to spy on the situation and bring back a report. That is the story you will find in Judges, chapter 18. We take up our reading with verse 7:

Judges 18

7Then the five men departed, and came to Laish, and saw the people that were therein, how they dwelt careless, after the manner of the Zidonians, quiet and secure; and there was no magistrate in the land, that might put them to shame in any thing; and they were far from the Zidonians, and had no business with any man.
8And they came unto their brethren to Zorah and Eshtaol: and their brethren said unto them, What say ye?
9[Notice carefully] And they said, Arise, that we may go up against them: for we have seen the land, and, behold, it is very good: and are ye still? be not slothful to go, and to enter to possess the land.

You will notice the word still . These five men said to their brethren, “Why are you standing still? Why are you slothful? Why don't you go up and possess the land?”

Go back to Isaiah, chapter 62. God said, “I'm not going to keep quiet any longer, and I am not going to be still any longer. I'm going to begin to stir things up.” It is further emphasized if you will look at this same verse of Scripture. Read with me Isaiah, chapter 62, verse 1:

Isaiah 62

1For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest…

Notice the word rest . I would suggest to you that it comes from the Hebrew word shaqat , which speaks of a restlessness, a constant stirring up. Back in chapter 57 of the book of Isaiah, this very word was used when God said, “The wicked are like the troubled sea. They have no rest.” You look out on the sea and the waves are constantly tossing in turmoil. It is not quiet. A lake is quiet. A lake may be as quiet as a sheet of glass, but the sea is in turmoil all the time, and God said, “I am like that sea. I am not going to rest. I am not going to be idle.”

Elsewhere in the Old Testament, this word shaqat is translated by our English word idle . We are told in this passage that God is not going to keep quiet any longer. He is not going to sit still any longer. He is not going to be idle any longer. He is going to stir things up with the ultimate end—notice—with the Gentiles recognizing the righteousness of God, the glory of God, and the righteousness of the city of Jerusalem.

Jerusalem to Be Changed

I told you that there were literal statements mixed with figurative statements in the text, and there is a good illustration of it in verse 3 because God says, concerning the city of Jerusalem:

Isaiah 62

3Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.

Here the city of Jerusalem is compared to a crown. It is compared to a diadem, and God is pictured as holding the city in His hand, which indicates that the city of Jerusalem, which had been in a discouraging state indeed, would some day be completely renovated and changed at the hand of God so that it would have a new appearance.

Not only was it to have a new appearance, but notice in verse 2, He said that He was going to give Jerusalem a new name. Now, this name is a figurative name. It had been known by the name Desolate , for it had been a desolate city in the eyes of the LORD. It was called a desolate city and was forsaken of God and of her people, but now He said, “I have indicated My interest in the city, and I am going to give it a new name—two new names, in fact.”

Glance down at verse 4. One of the names was Hephzibah , and the other name was Beulah . He tells us what those names mean. Hephzibah means “delight.” He said, “I am going to take delight in the city of Jerusalem.” Then He describes the kind of delight in the last part of verse 5, where He said, “As a bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so I am going to rejoice over the city of Jerusalem, and I am going to call her name Hephzibah for that reason.”

Then He said, “I am going to give her another name. I am going to call her Beulah , because Beulah means ‘delighted,' and the sons of Jerusalem are going to return to the city of Jerusalem and be loyal to her as a husband is to his wife.” For all practical purposes of speaking, she shall be a married city.

He Will Set Watchmen Over Jerusalem

God said, “I am restless, and I am not going to leave a stone unturned until this becomes a reality.” I say this reverently: He stoops to the level of man and takes man to partnership with Him. You know, in all the wonderful works which God does, He stoops to take man into His partnership. How does He take man into His partnership? He tells us here in the paragraph which begins with verse 6. He says, “I am taking man into partnership with Me by setting watchmen over the city.”

Usually when you see the word watchmen , you think about individuals who watch at night and carry a gun and maybe a club to protect the interests of the individual who employs them. There is somewhat that idea in the word watchmen here, but the watchmen whom God sets over the city of Jerusalem are supposed to attend, protect and guard the city of Jerusalem.

He suggests a unique way in which they are to do it. It is through the ministry of prayer. I want you to listen very carefully now because I have repeatedly told you in our study that every passage of Scripture has one interpretation, and then it has as many applications as is consistent with the Word of God. Here, God has raised up certain watchmen over the city of Jerusalem, and I have suggested to you that He has related their watching to prayer. That is the reason The Restless One comes to mind as a good title for this song.

The Restless Men

We have been talking to you about the restless God. Now we want to talk to you about restless men, men who are restless not because they know not which way they are going or because they know not God's plan for their lives, but because they will not let God rest until God accomplishes His divine purpose.

Herein, Beloved, lies a tremendous lesson that is worthy of everybody's attention. Oh that God would give us restless watchmen not only for the city of Jerusalem, but for the cause of God everywhere, restless watchmen who, if you will look in verse 6, will not hold their peace day or night, who will make mention of the LORD, and who will not keep silent. God said, “They should not hold their peace.” The very same word that was used in connection with God is used in connection with them. Are you listening? How many times have I had people say to me, “I don't think I have a right to pray.” How many times have I had people say to me, “I don't know whether I should keep bothering God about that. I don't know whether I ought to keep praying about something. I pray about something. Is it all right to keep on praying about it?”

What does God say? He says, “You watchmen don't hold your peace. Don't be still. Don't be silent. Don't give God any rest at all in relation to the particular thing that you have on your heart.” Would you look at the first part of verse 7, where it says, “Give Him no rest.” It is the very same thing, the very same word that was used in the first paragraph when God said, “I will not rest until Jerusalem is a praise in the whole earth.” Notice verse 7, where God says to these watchmen, “Don't give God any rest until He has established and until He makes Jerusalem a praise in the whole earth.”

Wonderful partnership, isn't it? God said, “I'm not going to rest,” and then He said, “Don't let Me rest.” God said, “I'm not going to take it easy, and don't you let Me take it easy. You keep Me stirred up about this particular thing.”

Look at the last part of verse 6, where God says to these watchmen, “Keep not silence.” This word silence is the same, but the tense of it is different, so that it might be translated, “Don't let anybody keep your silence. Keep after Me.”

Beloved, I think that has the depths of the lesson that we need. Yes, we as Gentiles are instructed to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and we ought to be doing it. We ought not to give God any rest until He fulfills His promise and He fulfills His Word. Let's make the application and let's recognize that you and I in relation to the thing which is on our hearts, based upon His Word, should not give God any peace. We should not give God any rest. We should not let anything or anybody keep us silent in relation to the things for which we pray. Yet, how many of us do? How many of us could stand to our feet and say, “Yes, I am afraid I have let the Devil defeat me. I'm afraid that I have let the Devil shut my mouth. I am afraid I have let the Devil keep me from worrying God about this particular need.” Could it be that you have lost the victory in prayer because you have let somebody keep you quiet? Beloved, don't do it. Don't let anybody keep you quiet.

If you are thinking, and I hope that you are, you are saying, “Where in the world do you get prayer out of it? You keep talking about prayer. Where is it? All I see is watchmen. You say they are supposed to be prayer warriors, but how do you know that?” Well, look at verse 6. He said, “I have set watchmen…,” then in the last part of the verse He says, “You watchmen who make mention of the LORD…”

Notice that phrase, make mention of the LORD , as I remind you that it comes from one Hebrew word zakar , which means “to remember, to cause God to remember.” That is the reason I use prayer to describe the ministry of the watchmen. They will be the LORD's remembrancers. What a wonderful ministry!

How many times have you met someone who believes in the power of prayer, and you have said to them, “Remember me in your prayers?” How many times have we asked for folk who would like to be remembered at the Throne of Grace? We use that term all the time, don't we?

It is not only a matter of remembering the individual by mentioning them, but—to me this is a wonderful thing—the folk who make mention of the LORD are those who literally cause God to remember His promises. We have every right in the world when we pray to say, “God, You said…,” and on the basis of that, we have the right to expect God to work. I have often said to you that God deals with us as we fathers do with children, but He, in a perfect way, and we, in an imperfect way.

I don't suppose that there is a father here who couldn't tell me that you have had an experience like I've had, where I have made my children a promise and then I got busy about other things. I didn't get time to fulfill the promise. Respectfully, they might ask me about the thing which had been promised and, because I was busy, I might even give a negative answer. Sometimes, depending on the personality of the child, one of two things would happen. Sometimes the child would say, “But Daddy, you promised.” I never dismiss that. I always say, “Well, I'm sorry. Now, what was it that I said?” Sometimes I have forgotten what I said. They say, “Well, on such and such a day, you said such and such a thing.” I say, “All right, I'm sorry I forgot. We will do it.” They may have to wait a few more days, but it will be done.

If the personality of the child is different, when they say, “Daddy, may I,” and my answer is negative, I might notice there is a little something wrong. Oh, we need to be sensitive parents. Don't ever get too busy to be sensitive parents. They won't say anything because some are bolder than others, you know, but you sense something is not quite right and they start walking away, and you call them back and say, “What's wrong?” Then they say, “But Daddy, you promised.”

Beloved, I want to lift that a little higher. I want to put it on a spiritual realm. You have every right in the world to go to God, and you have every right in the world to say, “God, do thus and so,” and if the heavens seem like brass, you have every right to say, “But God, You promised.” If you don't have the courage—I say this reverently—to say, “God, You promised,” and you are a little brokenhearted about it, be disappointed, and it won't be long—I say this reverently—until God, Who is a sensitive God, will say, “My child, what's wrong?” Then you can tell Him about the problem.

Learn a lesson. You can't ever say that unless you know the Book. You can't ever say that unless you know the Word of God. There are multitudes of people who are living beneath their privileges because they do not know what is in God's Word, and they don't have the ability nor the authority to look into the face of God and say, “But God, You promised.” God gives us the authority right here in this passage to say, “You promised.” He said, “Don't you give Me any rest. I have given you a promise and if it isn't fulfilled, don't keep quiet about it. If I have given you a promise and it hasn't become true in your life, don't give Me any rest. Keep on at Me until I do the thing I promised.” No, I am not being sacrilegious. I'm not being irreverent. I am merely saying that God gives you the authority to not give Him any rest until He has done what you ask Him to do.

Now, back to the text. I wonder if the Holy Spirit might not speak a word of conviction to our hearts. God says to you, who should have the interest of God's eternal plans and purposes at heart, “Don't give Me any rest until Jerusalem is a crown and a diadem.” How little interest there is in the nation of Israel even among the orthodox evangelical people. How little interest, how little concern there is for the people of God, the restless God and the restless men.

The Responsive People

I would now like for you to notice the paragraph that closes the chapter which, for lack of a better term, I have called The Responsive People . Do you respond to God? When God gives you a challenge, do you let it go by, or do you respond? You see, God says, “Don't give Me any rest, but get ready for the answer.”

How many of us are like the people who pray for rain and don't carry an umbrella when we do? How many folk are like the individuals who ask God to fill their vessels to overflowing with oil, and never take a bucket? You see, it is one thing to pray, but it is another thing to respond. What are these folk praying about? They are praying about the nation of Israel returning to the city, so what does God say in verse 10? He says, “Get out and build a highway. Make it easy for them to come.” Notice verse 10:

Isaiah 62

10Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people.

If you are asking God to do something, then get ready. If you are asking God to bring the Jews back home, pave the highway. If you are asking God to bring one of your loved ones to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, go give them the Gospel. If you are asking God to reach the millions of the unreached with the Gospel in the fartherest corners of the world, help pay the bill. “Get the highway built,” He is saying.

Of course, literally, He gives a precious promise in verse 11, when He said:

Isaiah 62

11Behold, the LORD hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, [the nation of Israel] Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.

You will notice the word salvation is not used in an abstract manner. It is personified. It refers to the Lord Jesus Christ, and the message is, “Behold, Jesus is coming, and His reward is with Him, and His work before Him.” This is the message addressed particularly to the nation of Israel, but as we have said many times, it represents the blessed hope of the Church as well. You need to tell people that Christ died for them. You need to tell them that, for He did. But, you know, it might get your message a more ready hearing if you would tell them and prove to them from the Bible that He is coming back again. They might be more interested in the first message if you could get them to believe the second, because, you know, familiarity breeds contempt, and the message in this enlightened land of ours has been watered down to such an extent that you can tell people today that Jesus died for them, and it doesn't mean a thing to them unless the Spirit of God opens their heart.

I have discovered through the years that one of the ways that the Spirit of God can open the hearts of men to receive the simple message of the Gospel is through the prophetic Word. If you are able to tell them that this Book speaks with authority about the future and show them how it does, then they are willing to listen to what we call the simple message of the Gospel.

Beloved, I hope that you will be among the restless ones. I hope that you will not give God any rest until He does the thing that you have asked Him to do, for He has given you permission.


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