home:BookOfIsaiah gives us a good background to Isaiah. We find ourselves in great rebellion, the LORD seeking to correct but, no correction being taken. If not for a remnant the nation would have already been destroyed.
The day of the LORD is a terrible day especially for the lofty of men. Peace activists quote the "swords into plowshares" but, do not realize the terrible fierceness with which He does that, how the earth is shaken and men crawl into caves and cracks in the rock.
From Israel the Lord expected judgment. He found the opposite oppression. Right was wrong and wrong right, dark light, evil good. Reward was given for wickedness and house joined to house making large estates for certain well to do individuals. They were drunkards and wise/prudent in their own eyes, harps and pipes playing a much different song, the works of the Lord forgotten. We see that there was a hedge around them once, protection from the pest, the briers, the heat of the sun. The hedge was brought down to flush out the nation's wickedness.
The prophet did not have to be told that he was dirty, he knew by looking into glory, seeing the Lord on His throne, His long train filling the temple, angels and seraphim singing all around. The guilt/shame was sensed in His lips. The words going out, the appetite going in, the gestures of affection are all in the lips. It would be wise for us to consider his physical awareness of sin as we consider ours in light of the Lords full glory.
This is a very detailed prophecy. In 65 tears Ephraim/Israel shall be no more and not long after both Ephraim and Judah shall be without a king being first under the hand of Assyria. The fruitful land shall be over taken with flys and bees and become briers and thorns suitable only for cattle. Heads and beards and feet will be shaven in utter humiliation. During this era of captivity the messiah will born, His name, her virginity, His diet and distaste for evil all are revealed. Each and every piece of this prophecy has been completely fulfilled within a 675 year time span.
Imagine how the people reading and hearing this would feel and what they would be compelled to do. The obvious reaction would be to seek out confederate alliances with stronger nations, but even the stronger nations themselves will be overcome by Assyria like flood waters. They would seek out familiar spirits and the occult, the Lord then would completely hide His face. The fulfillment of God's righteous redemptive plan, the Messiah Himself would become a stumbling block, a rock of offense, they would be in the dark. Again, each and every word was fulfilled. And as for the 'rock of offense' it continues to be fulfilled even today.
How important to know that His anger is not turned but His hand is still extended. Israel/Judah/Manasseh have long strayed from any resemblance of covenant partnership with God; they have become exactly what covenant had told them not to be. The Lord has been more than long suffering towards them and is now prepared to do what He said would be done. This does not mean that it is all over though, that it all was a big mistake and that He is moving on without them; it means that they will serve His purpose just the same. For the present time it is to our benefit that this be, until the fulfillment of this Gentile age.
The Lord is telling before hand what He is going to do as is right. He has been open and up front for generations telling them how it would be if did not keep their end of the covenant. He has extended the time before hand in patience and long suffering. Now is the time that He will act.
This prophecy of the Branch of Jesse appears to me to be of our Lord's millennial kingdom(?). There still seem to be poor and meek and wicked for Him to judge over, and nations. A second gathering of the remnant will be performed.
The Lord intends to use Babylon to accomplish His will on the one hand but, will punish them for their evil on the other. All of their strength and glory will come to nothing. He does not give up on Israel but, drives them hard to purge them. That He must drive them this hard says so much about the sin nature we are under; it is no little thing.
Removed from the context of the passage the section on Lucifer can be looked at as a description of the Devil; which may or may not be the author's intent. In context, we might think of it as a description of the king of Babylon who had similarities to the Devil and may have been heavily under his influence. The remainder of the prophecy in context namely the desolation of the city of Babylon has for a long time been fulfilled; the city ruin only recently haven been located by aerial satellite in Iraq. Plans are being made by some to rebuild it. It is mentioned again in latter day prophecy.
The thought of invading troops walking freely through our streets is something we as Americans have not had to face. The long dreaded enemy of the Moabites, the lords of the occupation, doing as they pleased to whatever or whomever they pleased is one thing, but, to have it told to you three years in advance and to be told why another. You would know that you had done wrong!
The judgement continues throughout the region; Israel, Moab, and now Syria and beyond. The impact was devastating to all. History confirms that the Babylonian Empire was brutal and massive. It was not by accident nor their own doing however, but God's used their violent possessive treacherous nature to achieve His righteous purposes. Everyone had to take notice and the prophecies of Isaiah had to have been known/searched by many I would think.
Let's not forget that the Lord has created all nations. The God of Israel is known by these nations mentioned after frequent encounters. Now He is making Himself obvious. Egypt to this day has a strong Christian presence.
The Lord does not do anything this serious without serious reason. He does not do without first making known the consequence and the transgression. There is a iniquity deep at heart. It is an iniquity that is of the type that cannot be purged even with this serious action except by death. Notice that they will be purged however. God has not given them up.
This is an unimaginable time. To see everything broken down and laid to waste. To fear the next thing whatever it is to happen. To know what is was before and have none of that. All because of sin, the breaking of the eternal covenant, going about our lives completely void. This time may be a revelation of our inward selves, our spiritual habitat, our relationship with our creator; desolate, wasted, rotting and decayed.
I can't help but think that we have minimized sin to such a point where these actions of God seem extreme instead of thinking of them as faithful and true. That He would have to do all of this and to this extent should tell us everything that we need to know about this sin nature. By the time that we are delivered through and out of this present truth there is a tremendous new life. Death will be gone, tears wiped away, rebuke shall be lifted, a feast partaken of.
It is by the grace of God that we have everything that we have today. What if that is taken back or diminished? It would seem like a cruel punishment to those who think that it was all by their hand would it not? To those that knew that it was all by His grace it would seem well within His rights, deliberate and purposeful, even transformative almost like child birth.
The Lord does not just do these things without purpose and results. The path of men digs itself into deep ruts unaware. As if those ruts become their treasured possession, they are not about to give them up. They have rationalized, fully justified, become comfortable in their rebellion. Hearts harden, the foreign becomes normal and nothing by God short of this seems to penetrate and steer the peoples where God intends. As far as they are concerned they are doing everything right. It is sad for them that they have to go through this but, informative to us; this is after all our sin nature as well.
Like a child it would be quiet normal for a child to run from it's scolding parent. This people is attempting to run to Egypt, they wont however run away from the Lord there. Often in the Bible we see a top down view of the people from the king's rebellious heart down. Here we are seeing the heart of the people out on the streets asking to have the Holy One of Israel removed from their midst. The end of this judgment, the reward as described, does not appear to have come even now or is just now coming to Israel; it may even be for the millennial kingdom.
An interesting new character type is identified here - women at ease. I don't recall this type elsewhere such as the Proverbs where so many traits are profiled. I can imagine though where this trait would be dangerous being disconnected from the urgent religious and political matters at hand, disinterested in the catastrophic events happen all around, disassociating them selves from the poor/needy/oppressed/struggling/upright, attentive only perhaps to their own social rank and cultural standing. There is the sin of calling evil good and good evil but this almost the sin of not calling it anything at all.
There are those that can take advantage of others even in desperate times. Tragedy, catastrophe, evacuation, desperation always brings out those treacherous scheming thieves to prey upon the unfortunate and transitional souls.
This may sound easy to do now, but, who knows how they will react in times of great national fear and desperation, when the difference might mean food on ones napkin or a shelter for a cold night versus not. If it were easy during these times more people would be able to do it.
We tend to imagine the worst. If this enemy was strong enough to do this or that to the others than what chance do I have. The other nations stuck to their flase gods; God was using Assyria to clean their house. Judah had their false gods but, there was also a remnant of those committed to Jehovah; God was using Assyria as a means of cleansing and correction. What a tremendous testimony especially being that the Assyrian defeat was prophicied. God also used a false messenger from Ethiopia. All things work for God's purposes, the more open, the harder we look for that common thread, the sooner we will see the events and circumstances in our lives in their truer light.
Is this a common occurance? Is the kings life extended because he asked for it? or was it extended because in this time and place against Assyria Hezekiah's life meant more to God's plan than starting over with a new king in Judah? If so, then why did God allow his health to deteriorate in the first place? To affect the kings judgements from here on out?
The king was suffering from some disease causing the skin to boil. Indications are that it was making him to be bitter towards God. Hezekiah had been a good godly king, the right man for the times at hand in Judah, but, not even that keeps one from suffering deadly illness, the curse of Adam. We cannot say that bitterness caused this cancer. We cannot say that the illness was intended to bring to light a hidden bitterness that then could be dealt with. We can not say that Hezekiah's illness was intended to stir the faith of the others around him. For then we would have to say the same about anyone of us. Though these things may have resulted, we can say that God dealt with everything that happened with the good of His plan and love for His servant in mind. The same would have been true if Hezekiah would have been called back into the Lord's rest.
The text doesn't exactly say that because he showed them all that God was going to send them back to take all. The taking was because of the national sins of Judah and the prophecies of the previous chapters. Hezekiah was shown that there would at least be peace during his remaining fifteen or fewer years on earth. Why he would show them all his treasures for simply expressing concern about his prior health is to me a puzzle.
Does this confirm that His reward/work has been previously accomplished as then His work? If so, than this is a passage concerning His second coming. First He comes as a sacrificial lamb, completes the work and receives the reward, now He comes with a strong arm.
The Lord is righteous. A large measure of that righteousness can be found in the fact that He announces what will be before it happens. It is not to show off, though it is impressive, it is to warn and instruct. It is righteous for instance for the highway department to put a warning sign before a sharp curve or steep decline. Whether there is good ahead or danger it is right of the Lord to show it in advance. It also shows that He is a Lord like no other with vision and capability to perform it.
You can imagine a tyranical king thinking that his mighty hand had done all this. How does he explain the fact that wonders have occurred even where his feet have not gone? that there is a momentum and wave far beyond his? Surely he will not admit that he has been played like a pawn just as all the rest. These things even are by God.
Knowing the heart of man and His servant Israel, the Lord knew how we would bend the truth of this thing, that we would claim we knew it, that our own hands or our own gods brought this thing to pass. The Lord therefore declared it long before it happened, declared a new thing that could not be known any other way and performed it with intricate precision. This is how He has to operate given our blind and corrupted nature. It may seem terrible that Judah must suffer the furnace of affliction in double measure. It seems odd that this would be the only way left to refine them and prove His love/covenant. But, it seems odd that we would refuse to see things in the light of truth, follow His commandments and directions, not pollute His name with our rebellious and self serving whims.
Babylon did not gain it's strength by it's own greatness or doings. Their surge was as unpredicted and irrational as any other peaceable nation of that time. The fact that the Lord made it happen testifies to His power, not theirs. They were the 'Grand Lady' of the region. He made them into a war like empire perhaps like no other in history not for their own glory (He would quickly take that away) but to reproof Judah and alert the known world His displeasure with sin/the inability of man fulfilling the Law/the coming of His Messiah/His unmovable commitment His covenant to Jacob.
The Lord has done all this. The Lord is doing and will do all this. And yet Israel says that the Lord has deserted them, that they are barren and childless. Oh if they only knew the great thing that the Lord is doing all around them, the mighty fulfillment of everything that they though had passed. They shall not be ashamed that wait for Him.
One that truly fears the Lord should walk in a confidence such as this. The Lord did not cause these things to happen but, His arm is not shortened that He can't get us out. He gives us the tongue of the learned, the ear to hear. He will be our help. If there is no light in us, He needs to be that light and that fire. BY this we will not be confounded and those that contend against us will not succeed for it is He that works through us. Fear the Lord, hear and obey His voice, walk in His light
The matter of perspective is all important; who is who and what is what. Heaven and Earth and everything in it, all this has the Lord done and still does. What man/nation is there that can alter one thing, and yet this is who we fear. In this case we read of the children of Abraham, the children of Zion. God has indeed given them over to a measure of correction. It seems like a long time and an impossible burden for them. The Lord will accomplish His will and their is none to stop Him; the cup of trembling shall be removed.
The confidence of the couple chapters can be found in this: that there will be a 'Servant'. He shall deal prudently, exalted, extolled, be very high. His visage will have been marred more than any other man. The nations have been told of Him and soon shall see and consider and know that all that was told them was true. All eyes will be astonished. For the eyes of Zion's daughters will be opened and Zion itself returned. Who is this marred man? What is it that He will return to dothat we have been told about Him that will astonish us when we see it come true?
Again we read of the 'Servant' as being the 'Arm of the Lord'. His visage so marred beyond any other; a tender plant wounded for our transgressions. He has poured out His soul unto death. The details here are exquisite. Can there be any doubt as to who Isaiah is talking about? The Father sees the travail of this particular soul and shall be satisfied. He bares their iniquities and justifies many.
The effect of the 'Servant's' redemptive work is glorious. The life to follow extreme. For now we have this eternal hope. It guides us and feeds us and inspires us. Soon it will be our reality. Instead of a flood of destruction it will be to us a flood of supreme love and good will.
The covenant He makes with us Gentile tribes is the same that He made with David. It is without price and satisfy like no other. He has chosen and glorified a nation that was not a nation so that the others will take notice and turn from the wicked and foolish ways. His ways are like nothing we would intellectualize and His word will accomplish that which He purposed without fail. Joy and peace and great blessing will be the end result.
The call goes out to all peoples not just Israel. Israel has gotten itself into big trouble at this point because it has forgotten the Sabbaths. They have proven and illustrated over and over the nature of all men having had difficulties laying maintaining the Law and fulfilling their end of the covenants. If not them then certainly not the Gentiles. For them this Sabbath will become this 'Servant' (the promise to and mercies of David) described previously t(he salvation to come, the righteousness to be revealed). His watchmen Israel for a time will be blind, but, they too will come from their own drunk fest around to this gracious feast at the table of a greater covenant.
Idolatry, sorcery, adultery go hand in hand, they are part of the same mind set. These are spiritual sins that play out in physical ways. The participants know first hand the emptiness of this way but yet continue due to their despising God. They seem to know God and are aware of His holding His peace for this time, therefore purposely taunt it to His face. The symbolisms pictured here of stones and posts ointments etc.. would have direct meaning to them being specific to elements their religion.
The plan is not for God to have to contend much longer. The time that He will is of His choosing. All paths cannot lead to eternal blessing and not all souls will be unconditionally accepted. This moment is but an opportunity to turn oneself around. He has now accomplished all that His righteousness/mercy has required Him. He will perform that which He has promised. He will dwell eternally only with those of humble and contrite hearts, revive their spirit and once and for all heal them. For the others it will be a raging murky sea of their own consequence apart from Him. How much clearer can the choice be?
What an interesting statement. Fasting to make ones voice heard on high instead of fasting to hear the 'Voice on High'. Fasting for strife and debate? Much caution should be made to fast for the right intents.
The fast and the Sabbath are mentioned together in one passage. We see illustrated how easily the fast can be contorted into something lesser that it is not. The true fulfillment of the fast is much more wide spread than we most often allow. Can the same be said of the Sabbath then being that they are placed within the same prophetic declaration? Is this the fast He has chosen? Is this the Sabbath He chosen?
This is a massive description of sin and how things are seen from the Lord's vantage point. Let us remember that this is not just the Heathen Gentiles that He is talking about, this is also the Religious Hebrew to whom this is addressed.He looked down and saw no man remember. This is why He has had to do what He has done. This is why He seems as distant as He does. This is why there will be a day of His vengeance. Not because He is a big meanie, because this massive and profound iniquity (of which we are barely aware) cannot any longer be allowed.
It is amazing how differently Jerusalem will be viewed and treated in the age to come. How many centuries has it been hated and trampled. Yet it is the sign of His covenant. When He finally glorifies it it will be truly glorified. Other peoples will bring from their treasure to make it the delight of nations.
It may seem odd that there is such a focus on singular objects, Jerusalem and Zion in the age to come. Surely the focus will be on the Lord, but, the tangible proof of that focus will be these symbolic things. That the Lord has done this, that it is now viewed by others as He had said it would is the proof of His commitment. That we would come to do this in this manner is then proof of ours.
I cannot explain how a Hebrew today would be able to explain away the fact that their Lord was found by another people and not them because of their rebellion. It is said so and has been said all along. How does one explain this passage if it doesn't say what it says. It is not as if we went out seeking to replace them as the apple of His eye, it is that sought us out and found us because they wouldn't listen.