Don’t Trust in Egypt

Isaiah 30:1 – 33

Israel is warned about trusting in Egypt for their safety and strength.  Pharoah will one day be disgusted at their inability to profit him.  The beasts of the South will come bearing riches and animals, but Israel will not profit.  The rebellious people of Israel and Judah, who trust in men rather than God, who refuse His word, will be broken by God and shattered in many pieces.

God goes on the tell them that if they had rested in Him, confident in His ability to save and deliver, that they would have been blessed.  Instead, they rode on swift horses to ask for Egypt’s help.  Because of this rebellion, God will allow their enemies to defeat them.

But God additionally promises to wait for them and have mercy.  He tells them:

Isaiah 30:19–21 (NKJV)

19 For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem;
You shall weep no more.
He will be very gracious to you at the sound of your cry;
When He hears it, He will answer you.
20 And though the Lord gives you
The bread of adversity and the water of affliction,
Yet your teachers will not be moved into a corner anymore,
But your eyes shall see your teachers.
21 Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying,
“This is the way, walk in it,”
Whenever you turn to the right hand
Or whenever you turn to the left.

He instructs them to destroy their idols and throw them away.  After that, He will send rain and the increase of their crops.  Their animals will prosper and they will have plenty of water from the hills.  There will be great light both night and day.

The final section of this chapter focuses on judgment to be brought against Assyria.  The voice of God will be so fierce, it will consume Assyria for her aggression against Jerusalem.

In whom do you trust?  Who is your strength?  If you put ultimate trust in a person, you are to be disappointed.  Trust in God alone, for He has the power to raise up and tear down.  He will be your source and strength.

Woe to Jerusalem: All Mouth, No Heart

Isaiah 29:1-24

Isaiah speaks the woes from the Lord upon Jerusalem (Ariel).  He pledges to lay siege to the city so strongly that their voices will sound like whispers from the ground.  While Jerusalem will be defeated, God’s prophecy against those who attack Jerusalem.  They will experience storm, tempest, and fire.  They will dream that they eat, but will wake up hungry.

The Lord calls upon His people to pause and wonder.  Stop being drunk and sleepy.  The vision has come, but they would not read it.  The passage that rings true with so many follows:

Isaiah 29:13–14 (NKJV)
13 Therefore the LORD said:

“Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths
And honor Me with their lips,
But have removed their hearts far from Me,
And their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men,
14 Therefore, behold, I will again do a marvelous work
Among this people,
A marvelous work and a wonder;
For the wisdom of their wise men shall perish,
And the understanding of their prudent men shall be hidden.”

The people of Jerusalem tried to hide their evil works, but God intended to reveal and judge their evil.  However, God promised to bring fruit back to the field, that the deaf would hear and the blind would see, for His judgement would not last forever.  The evil will be judged and the offenders punished, but those who turn to the Lord will be saved.  Isaiah sums up the chapter as follows:

Isaiah 29:22–24 (NKJV)

22 Therefore thus says the LORD, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob:

“Jacob shall not now be ashamed,
Nor shall his face now grow pale;
23 But when he sees his children,
The work of My hands, in his midst,
They will hallow My name,
And hallow the Holy One of Jacob,
And fear the God of Israel.
24 These also who erred in spirit will come to understanding,
And those who complained will learn doctrine.”

When judgment comes, repent.  When troubles hits as the result of your sinful actions, be contrite and ask for forgiveness.  God is gracious and merciful, and will restore.  Of this you can be sure!

Woe to Ephraim and Jerusalem

Isaiah 28:1 – 29

Isaiah delivers a message of judgment against Ephraim, a half-tribe of Israel. These drunk, proud people will be brought to brought into trouble, and the remnant of God’s people will reign. Isaiah proclaims that the young will rise up and lead in place of the established leaders who have failed through intoxication. The famous lines,

10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept,

Line upon line, line upon line,

Here a little, there a little,”

Speaks of the learning process to being righteous. They must learn to hear the word of the Lord.

Isaiah then goes on to utter the famous prophecy about the cornerstone. A stone for foundation, a tried, precious cornerstone shall be laid. Those who believe will not act hastily, but will live up to the measuring line.

Finally, Isaiah instructs the readers to take the example of the farmer and how he follows a certain process for plowing, sowing, and reaping the wheat. God is the great Reaper who will follow His process. His people should learn to follow him and receive His guidance and counsel. His ways are great, holy, and profitable.

The Great Comeback

Isaiah 27:1 – 13

27:1 In that day the Lord with His severe sword, great and strong, Will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent,

Leviathan that twisted serpent; And He will slay the reptile that is in the sea.

The Lord has declared His intention to punish the nations for attacking Israel and Judah, and His intention to punish His people for their rebellion. In this opening passage, Isaiah relays His message that He will even punish Leviathan, a sea creature. This could be an extension of His intention to destroy the ships of Tyre and Tarshish, or it could be an extension of the judgment on the earth.

2 In that day sing to her, “A vineyard of red wine!

3 I, the Lord, keep it, I water it every moment;

Lest any hurt it, I keep it night and day.

4 Fury is not in Me. Who would set briers and thorns Against Me in battle?

I would go through them, I would burn them together.

5 Or let him take hold of My strength, That he may make peace with Me; And he shall make peace with Me.”

In this section, Isaiah speaks of the Lord’s extension of a promise to restore Israel, describing her as a vine or vineyard. He describes Himself as a vine dresser or farmer, watering and caring for the plants daily. He says that He would burn through any obstacle to caring for His people.

6 Those who come He shall cause to take root in Jacob; Israel shall blossom and bud, And fill the face of the world with fruit.

7 Has He struck Israel as He struck those who struck him? Or has He been slain according to the slaughter of those who were slain by Him?

8 In measure, by sending it away, You contended with it. He removes it by His rough wind In the day of the east wind.

9 Therefore by this the iniquity of Jacob will be covered; And this is all the fruit of taking away his sin: When he makes all the stones of the altar Like chalkstones that are beaten to dust, Wooden images and incense altars shall not stand.

Here, the Lord promises the health and strength of restoration of those who return to their homeland. He explains the purpose of the exile, to help take away the sin of Judah and Israel. But the sins will be covered by their repentance and return home.

10 Yet the fortified city will be desolate, The habitation forsaken and left like a wilderness; There the calf will feed, and there it will lie down And consume its branches.

11 When its boughs are withered, they will be broken off; The women come and set them on fire. For it is a people of no understanding; Therefore He who made them will not have mercy on them, And He who formed them will show them no favor.

In this passage, Isaiah describes the condition of the enemies of Israel. Their fortified cities will be desolate, and people will scrounge for firewood and food. They will behave like a people with no understanding. The vengeance of the Lord will be poured out.

12 And it shall come to pass in that day That the Lord will thresh, From the channel of the River to the Brook of Egypt;

And you will be gathered one by one, O you children of Israel.

13 So it shall be in that day: The great trumpet will be blown;

They will come, who are about to perish in the land of Assyria, And they who are outcasts in the land of Egypt, And shall worship the Lord in the holy mount at Jerusalem.

This final passage describes God’s gathering of the people from the nations. It will be like a threshing, where the Lord gathers them from the field that stretches from Assyria to Egypt. The people of God will again worship in the city of God, Jerusalem. These promises of restoration are comforting for us today, for it shows that God cares, even after bad things happen and judgement falls. God does not forget His people, even in the midst of tragedy. Trust Him completely and know that He will never forget you!

Perfect Peace

Isaiah 26:1–21 (NKJV)

26:1 In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:

“We have a strong city; God will appoint salvation for walls and bulwarks.
2 Open the gates, That the righteous nation which keeps the truth may enter in.
3 You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.
4 Trust in the LORD forever, For in YAH, the LORD, is everlasting strength.
5 For He brings down those who dwell on high, The lofty city; He lays it low, He lays it low to the ground, He brings it down to the dust.
6 The foot shall tread it down— The feet of the poor And the steps of the needy.”

7 The way of the just is uprightness; O Most Upright, You weigh the path of the just.
8 Yes, in the way of Your judgments, O LORD, we have waited for You; The desire of our soul is for Your name And for the remembrance of You.
9 With my soul I have desired You in the night, Yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early; For when Your judgments are in the earth, The inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.

10 Let grace be shown to the wicked, Yet he will not learn righteousness; In the land of uprightness he will deal unjustly, And will not behold the majesty of the LORD.
11 LORD, when Your hand is lifted up, they will not see. But they will see and be ashamed For their envy of people; Yes, the fire of Your enemies shall devour them.

12 LORD, You will establish peace for us, For You have also done all our works in us.
13 O LORD our God, masters besides You Have had dominion over us; But by You only we make mention of Your name.
14 They are dead, they will not live; They are deceased, they will not rise. Therefore You have punished and destroyed them, And made all their memory to perish.
15 You have increased the nation, O LORD, You have increased the nation; You are glorified; You have expanded all the borders of the land.

16 LORD, in trouble they have visited You, They poured out a prayer when Your chastening was upon them.
17 As a woman with child Is in pain and cries out in her pangs, When she draws near the time of her delivery, So have we been in Your sight, O LORD.
18 We have been with child, we have been in pain; We have, as it were, brought forth wind; We have not accomplished any deliverance in the earth, Nor have the inhabitants of the world fallen.

19 Your dead shall live; Together with my dead body they shall arise. Awake and sing, you who dwell in dust; For your dew is like the dew of herbs, And the earth shall cast out the dead.

20 Come, my people, enter your chambers, And shut your doors behind you; Hide yourself, as it were, for a little moment, Until the indignation is past.
21 For behold, the LORD comes out of His place To punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; The earth will also disclose her blood, And will no more cover her slain.

This chapter of Isaiah is full of wonderful words of encouragement.  It begins with the image of a strong city with solid walls.  This passage includes the promise of perfect peace when one keeps their mind strongly on God.  God is everlasting strength!  He says that the feet of the poor and needy will overcome the city of the proud.

Isaiah then speaks of the act of God to judge the way of all men.  Those who desire what God desires will be blessed and those who do not will learn of His ways.  The evil will be made ashamed in light of God’s mighty hand.  God will give peace to those who love Him.  The evil will die and not rise, but God will increase the righteous.  We and the world are in labor now, but deliverance is coming.  The dead shall arise, and sing from the dust.

Isaiah ends the chapter with an admonition for the people of God to hide for a little while until the judgment passes, then God will establish His own.  Trust God, hide in Him, and let the dust clear.  When it settles, God will restore and establish the righteous!

Praise to God

Isaiah 25:1–12 (NKJV)

25:1 O LORD, You are my God.
I will exalt You,
I will praise Your name,
For You have done wonderful things;
Your counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.
2 For You have made a city a ruin,
A fortified city a ruin,
A palace of foreigners to be a city no more;
It will never be rebuilt.
3 Therefore the strong people will glorify You;
The city of the terrible nations will fear You.
4 For You have been a strength to the poor,
A strength to the needy in his distress,
A refuge from the storm,
A shade from the heat;
For the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.
5 You will reduce the noise of aliens,
As heat in a dry place;
As heat in the shadow of a cloud,
The song of the terrible ones will be diminished.

6 And in this mountain
The LORD of hosts will make for all people
A feast of choice pieces,
A feast of wines on the lees,
Of fat things full of marrow,
Of well-refined wines on the lees.
7 And He will destroy on this mountain
The surface of the covering cast over all people,
And the veil that is spread over all nations.
8 He will swallow up death forever,
And the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces;
The rebuke of His people
He will take away from all the earth;
For the LORD has spoken.

9 And it will be said in that day:
“Behold, this is our God;
We have waited for Him, and He will save us.
This is the LORD;
We have waited for Him;
We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.”

10 For on this mountain the hand of the LORD will rest,
And Moab shall be trampled down under Him,
As straw is trampled down for the refuse heap.
11 And He will spread out His hands in their midst
As a swimmer reaches out to swim,
And He will bring down their pride
Together with the trickery of their hands.
12 The fortress of the high fort of your walls
He will bring down, lay low,
And bring to the ground, down to the dust.

The first five verses of this chapter show the good and bad results of God’s work.  He tears down the proud and evil, yet blesses and helps the needy and poor.  He is a refuge to those in need and the enemy of the terrible ones.  In verses six through eight Isaiah describes God as One Who prepares a feast for all people of the most choice items.  He will remove the covering of death and wipe away all tears.  He will lift His rebuke and restore His people.

In the remainder of the chapter, Isaiah extols the Lord’s virtues, as the Savior, the Lord of the Mountain, the Trampler of Enemies, the Destroyer of Pride.  Verse 12 above sums things up: He will bring down and lay low any fortress that rises against Him.  This great God we must serve.  This Lord of life is the one worthy of our allegiance and affection.  Serve Him alone and be glad!

Judgment on the Earth

Isaiah 24:1 – 23
In this chapter, the Lord broadens His pen stroke of prophecy by speaking of the condition of the whole earth, or at least the entirety of the parts discussed in this chapter. Plunder shall come to all, without respect of person or status in life. Mourning and languishing will be the lot of haughty people. Lawbreakers bring this punishment on the earth. Plants do not produce, music and joy cease. The cities and the country shall suffer.
People will lift up their voices, singing to the Lord, but they will change to songs of ruin and woe. The chapter ends with a desperate discussion of the condition of the land:
17 Fear and the pit and the snare
Are upon you, O inhabitant of the earth.
18 And it shall be
That he who flees from the noise of the fear
Shall fall into the pit,
And he who comes up from the midst of the pit
Shall be caught in the snare;
For the windows from on high are open,
And the foundations of the earth are shaken.
19 The earth is violently broken,
The earth is split open,
The earth is shaken exceedingly.
20 The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard,
And shall totter like a hut;
Its transgression shall be heavy upon it,
And it will fall, and not rise again.
21 It shall come to pass in that day
That the Lord will punish on high the host of exalted ones,
And on the earth the kings of the earth.
22 They will be gathered together,
As prisoners are gathered in the pit,
And will be shut up in the prison;
After many days they will be punished.
23 Then the moon will be disgraced
And the sun ashamed;
For the Lord of hosts will reign
On Mount Zion and in Jerusalem
And before His elders, gloriously.
Obviously, the Lord appears to be judging the people with a scorched-earth attack. God said He would judge the earth, and the people ignored His warnings. Therefore, God must keep His word, and He must do what He says He will do. God does not lie. There is coming a day when all will be judged and find the wrath of God upon their evil. Be on the right side. Be holy. Be obedient. Be forgiven!