Isaiah 19-20

is19.jpgGreetings!

Israel was considering an alliance with Egypt against Assyria.

A Prophecy About Egypt

19     An oracle concerning Egypt:

See, the Lord rides on a swift cloud

and is coming to Egypt.

The idols of Egypt tremble before him,

and the hearts of the Egyptians melt within them.

2 “I will stir up Egyptian against Egyptian—

brother will fight against brother,

neighbor against neighbor,

city against city,

kingdom against kingdom.

3 The Egyptians will lose heart,

and I will bring their plans to nothing;

they will consult the idols and the spirits of the dead,

the mediums and the spiritists.

4 I will hand the Egyptians over

to the power of a cruel master,

and a fierce king will rule over them,”

declares the Lord, the Lord Almighty.

5 The waters of the river will dry up,

and the riverbed will be parched and dry.

6 The canals will stink;

the streams of Egypt will dwindle and dry up.

The reeds and rushes will wither,

7 also the plants along the Nile,

at the mouth of the river.

Every sown field along the Nile

will become parched, will blow away and be no more.

8 The fishermen will groan and lament,

all who cast hooks into the Nile;

those who throw nets on the water

will pine away.

9 Those who work with combed flax will despair,

the weavers of fine linen will lose hope.

10 The workers in cloth will be dejected,

and all the wage earners will be sick at heart.

11 The officials of Zoan are nothing but fools;

the wise counselors of Pharaoh give senseless advice.

How can you say to Pharaoh,

“I am one of the wise men,

a disciple of the ancient kings”?

12 Where are your wise men now?

Let them show you and make known

what the Lord Almighty

has planned against Egypt.

13 The officials of Zoan have become fools,

the leaders of Memphis are deceived;

the cornerstones of her peoples

have led Egypt astray.

14 The Lord has poured into them

a spirit of dizziness;

they make Egypt stagger in all that she does,

as a drunkard staggers around in his vomit.

15 There is nothing Egypt can do—

head or tail, palm branch or reed.

16 In that day the Egyptians will be like women. They will shudder with fear at the uplifted hand that the Lord Almighty raises against them. 17 And the land of Judah will bring terror to the Egyptians; everyone to whom Judah is mentioned will be terrified, because of what the Lord Almighty is planning against them.

18 In that day five cities in Egypt will speak the language of Canaan and swear allegiance to the Lord Almighty. One of them will be called the City of Destruction.

We are so spectacularly comfortable in the U.S.  We can’t imagine not having endless supplies of food and clothes.  But we only have what God has provided here and it could go away so quickly. 

19 In that day there will be an altar to the Lord in the heart of Egypt, and a monument to the Lord at its border. 20 It will be a sign and witness to the Lord Almighty in the land of Egypt. When they cry out to the Lord because of their oppressors, he will send them a savior and defender, and he will rescue them. 21 So the Lord will make himself known to the Egyptians, and in that day they will acknowledge the Lord. They will worship with sacrifices and grain offerings; they will make vows to the Lord and keep them. 22 The Lord will strike Egypt with a plague; he will strike them and heal them. They will turn to the Lord, and he will respond to their pleas and heal them.

23 In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will go to Egypt and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together. 24 In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth. 25 The Lord Almighty will bless them, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance.”

This is a prophecy that has yet to be fulfilled.  Jesus is the Savior who will answer those who seek him.

A Prophecy Against Egypt and Cush

20     In the year that the supreme commander, sent by Sargon king of Assyria, came to Ashdod and attacked and captured it— 2 at that time the Lord spoke through Isaiah son of Amoz. He said to him, “Take off the sackcloth from your body and the sandals from your feet.” And he did so, going around stripped and barefoot.

3 Then the Lord said, “Just as my servant Isaiah has gone stripped and barefoot for three years, as a sign and portent against Egypt and Cush, 4 so the king of Assyria will lead away stripped and barefoot the Egyptian captives and Cushite exiles, young and old, with buttocks bared—to Egypt’s shame. 5 Those who trusted in Cush and boasted in Egypt will be afraid and put to shame. 6 In that day the people who live on this coast will say, ‘See what has happened to those we relied on, those we fled to for help and deliverance from the king of Assyria! How then can we escape?’”

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

What an unusual passage!  I file that in the “Bible lessons they didn’t teach you in Sunday School” category.  One reference I read noted that Isaiah just took off his outer garment and sandals and that he was not completely naked.

Isaiah 17-18

is17.jpgGreetings!

Isaiah continues his prophecies of what God will do to nations surrounding Israel. 

An Oracle Against Damascus

17     An oracle concerning Damascus:

“See, Damascus will no longer be a city

but will become a heap of ruins.

2 The cities of Aroer will be deserted

and left to flocks, which will lie down,

with no one to make them afraid.

3 The fortified city will disappear from Ephraim,

and royal power from Damascus;

the remnant of Aram will be

like the glory of the Israelites,”

declares the Lord Almighty.

4 “In that day the glory of Jacob will fade;

the fat of his body will waste away.

5 It will be as when a reaper gathers the standing grain

and harvests the grain with his arm—

as when a man gleans heads of grain

in the Valley of Rephaim.

6 Yet some gleanings will remain,

as when an olive tree is beaten,

leaving two or three olives on the topmost branches,

four or five on the fruitful boughs,”

declares the Lord, the God of Israel.

7 In that day men will look to their Maker

and turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel.

8 They will not look to the altars,

the work of their hands,

and they will have no regard for the Asherah poles

and the incense altars their fingers have made.

Asherah poles were images of a Canaanite goddess associate with Baal.  There are many Old Testament references to the Israelites having these poles.  Asherah and Baal worship involved sexual immorality, and you know their adherents just hated that. 

God often leaves a remnant of people and rescues them.

9 In that day their strong cities, which they left because of the Israelites, will be like places abandoned to thickets and undergrowth. And all will be desolation.

10 You have forgotten God your Savior;

you have not remembered the Rock, your fortress.

Therefore, though you set out the finest plants

and plant imported vines,

11 though on the day you set them out, you make them grow,

and on the morning when you plant them, you bring them to bud,

yet the harvest will be as nothing

in the day of disease and incurable pain.

12 Oh, the raging of many nations—

they rage like the raging sea!

Oh, the uproar of the peoples—

they roar like the roaring of great waters!

13 Although the peoples roar like the roar of surging waters,

when he rebukes them they flee far away,

driven before the wind like chaff on the hills,

like tumbleweed before a gale.

14 In the evening, sudden terror!

Before the morning, they are gone!

This is the portion of those who loot us,

the lot of those who plunder us.

A Prophecy Against Cush

18     Woe to the land of whirring wings

along the rivers of Cush,

2 which sends envoys by sea

in papyrus boats over the water.

Go, swift messengers,

to a people tall and smooth-skinned,

to a people feared far and wide,

an aggressive nation of strange speech,

whose land is divided by rivers.

3 All you people of the world,

you who live on the earth,

when a banner is raised on the mountains,

you will see it,

and when a trumpet sounds,

you will hear it.

4 This is what the Lord says to me:

“I will remain quiet and will look on from my dwelling place,

like shimmering heat in the sunshine,

like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.”

5 For, before the harvest, when the blossom is gone

and the flower becomes a ripening grape,

he will cut off the shoots with pruning knives,

and cut down and take away the spreading branches.

6 They will all be left to the mountain birds of prey

and to the wild animals;

the birds will feed on them all summer,

the wild animals all winter.

7 At that time gifts will be brought to the Lord Almighty

from a people tall and smooth-skinned,

from a people feared far and wide,

an aggressive nation of strange speech,

whose land is divided by rivers—

the gifts will be brought to Mount Zion, the place of the Name of the Lord Almighty.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Isaiah 15-16

is15.jpgGreetings! 

Moab, a country east of the Dead Sea, had always been an enemy of Israel.  The Book of Ruth was about a Moabitess who married an Israelite and who was an ancestor of Jesus.  Moab treated Israel very harshly and would be punished by God.

A Prophecy Against Moab

15     An oracle concerning Moab:

Ar in Moab is ruined,

destroyed in a night!

Kir in Moab is ruined,

destroyed in a night!

2 Dibon goes up to its temple,

to its high places to weep;

Moab wails over Nebo and Medeba.

Every head is shaved

and every beard cut off.

3 In the streets they wear sackcloth;

on the roofs and in the public squares

they all wail,

prostrate with weeping.

Having shaved heads was a sign of shame in that culture.  They wore sackcloth to show they were mourning.

4 Heshbon and Elealeh cry out,

their voices are heard all the way to Jahaz.

Therefore the armed men of Moab cry out,

and their hearts are faint.

5 My heart cries out over Moab;

her fugitives flee as far as Zoar,

as far as Eglath Shelishiyah.

They go up the way to Luhith,

weeping as they go;

on the road to Horonaim

they lament their destruction.

6 The waters of Nimrim are dried up

and the grass is withered;

the vegetation is gone

and nothing green is left.

7 So the wealth they have acquired and stored up

they carry away over the Ravine of the Poplars.

8 Their outcry echoes along the border of Moab;

their wailing reaches as far as Eglaim,

their lamentation as far as Beer Elim.

9 Dimon’s waters are full of blood,

but I will bring still more upon Dimon—

a lion upon the fugitives of Moab

and upon those who remain in the land.

16     Send lambs as tribute

to the ruler of the land,

from Sela, across the desert,

to the mount of the Daughter of Zion.

2 Like fluttering birds

pushed from the nest,

so are the women of Moab

at the fords of the Arnon.

3 “Give us counsel,

render a decision.

Make your shadow like night—

at high noon.

Hide the fugitives,

do not betray the refugees.

4 Let the Moabite fugitives stay with you;

be their shelter from the destroyer.”

The oppressor will come to an end,

and destruction will cease;

the aggressor will vanish from the land.

5 In love a throne will be established;

in faithfulness a man will sit on it—

one from the house of David—

one who in judging seeks justice

and speeds the cause of righteousness.

This is another prediction of the Messiah, Jesus, who descended from the line of King David.

6 We have heard of Moab’s pride—

her overweening pride and conceit,

her pride and her insolence—

but her boasts are empty.

7 Therefore the Moabites wail,

they wail together for Moab.

Lament and grieve

for the men of Kir

Hareseth.

8 The fields of Heshbon wither,

the vines of Sibmah also.

The rulers of the nations

have trampled down the choicest vines,

which once reached Jazer

and spread toward the desert.

Their shoots spread out

and went as far as the sea.

9 So I weep, as Jazer weeps,

for the vines of Sibmah.

O Heshbon, O Elealeh,

I drench you with tears!

The shouts of joy over your ripened fruit

and over your harvests have been stilled.

10 Joy and gladness are taken away from the orchards;

no one sings or shouts in the vineyards;

no one treads out wine at the presses,

for I have put an end to the shouting.

11 My heart laments for Moab like a harp,

my inmost being for Kir Hareseth.

12 When Moab appears at her high place,

she only wears herself out;

when she goes to her shrine to pray,

it is to no avail.

13 This is the word the Lord has already spoken concerning Moab. 14 But now the Lord says: “Within three years, as a servant bound by contract would count them, Moab’s splendor and all her many people will be despised, and her survivors will be very few and feeble.”

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

The Moabites worshiped false gods so there was no one to help them when they suffered. 

Isaiah 13-14

is13.jpgGreetings!

The first 12 chapters focused on the judgment of Judah, the southern kingdom.  Chapters 13-23 focus on the judgment of other nations, starting with Babylon. 

Babylon was part of present-day Iraq, and just as predicted it still lies in ruin.

Babylon is also used as a symbol of those who oppose God (see Revelation 17-18).

A Prophecy Against Babylon

13     An oracle concerning Babylon that Isaiah son of Amoz saw:

2 Raise a banner on a bare hilltop,

shout to them; beckon to them

to enter the gates of the nobles.

3 I have commanded my holy ones;

I have summoned my warriors to carry out my wrath—

those who rejoice in my triumph.

4 Listen, a noise on the mountains,

like that of a great multitude!

Listen, an uproar among the kingdoms,

like nations massing together!

The Lord Almighty is mustering

an army for war.

5 They come from faraway lands,

from the ends of the heavens—

the Lord and the weapons of his wrath—

to destroy the whole country.

6 Wail, for the day of the Lord is near;

it will come like destruction from the Almighty.

7 Because of this, all hands will go limp,

every man’s heart will melt.

8 Terror will seize them,

pain and anguish will grip them;

they will writhe like a woman in labor.

They will look aghast at each other,

their faces aflame.

9 See, the day of the Lord is coming

—a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger—

to make the land desolate

and destroy the sinners within it.

10 The stars of heaven and their constellations

will not show their light.

The rising sun will be darkened

and the moon will not give its light.

11 I will punish the world for its evil,

the wicked for their sins.

I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty

and will humble the pride of the ruthless.

12 I will make man scarcer than pure gold,

more rare than the gold of Ophir.

13 Therefore I will make the heavens tremble;

and the earth will shake from its place

at the wrath of the Lord Almighty,

in the day of his burning anger.

14 Like a hunted gazelle,

like sheep without a shepherd,

each will return to his own people,

each will flee to his native land.

15 Whoever is captured will be thrust through;

all who are caught will fall by the sword.

16 Their infants will be dashed to pieces before their eyes;

their houses will be looted and their wives ravished.

17 See, I will stir up against them the Medes,

who do not care for silver

and have no delight in gold.

18 Their bows will strike down the young men;

they will have no mercy on infants

nor will they look with compassion on children.

19 Babylon, the jewel of kingdoms,

the glory of the Babylonians’ pride,

will be overthrown by God

like Sodom and Gomorrah.

20 She will never be inhabited

or lived in through all generations;

no Arab will pitch his tent there,

no shepherd will rest his flocks there.

21 But desert creatures will lie there,

jackals will fill her houses;

there the owls will dwell,

and there the wild goats will leap about.

22 Hyenas will howl in her strongholds,

jackals in her luxurious palaces.

Her time is at hand,

and her days will not be prolonged.

14     The Lord will have compassion on Jacob;

once again he will choose Israel

and will settle them in their own land.

Aliens will join them

and unite with the house of Jacob.

2 Nations will take them

and bring them to their own place.

And the house of Israel will possess the nations

as menservants and maidservants in the Lord’s land.

They will make captives of their captors

and rule over their oppressors.

3 On the day the Lord gives you relief from suffering and turmoil and cruel bondage, 4 you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon:

How the oppressor has come to an end!

How his fury has ended!

5 The Lord has broken the rod of the wicked,

the scepter of the rulers,

6 which in anger struck down peoples

with unceasing blows,

and in fury subdued nations

with relentless aggression.

7 All the lands are at rest and at peace;

they break into singing.

8 Even the pine trees and the cedars of Lebanon

exult over you and say,

“Now that you have been laid low,

no woodsman comes to cut us down.”

9 The grave below

is all astir

to meet you at your coming;

it rouses the spirits of the departed to greet you—

all those who were leaders in the world;

it makes them rise from their thrones—

all those who were kings over the nations.

10 They will all respond,

they will say to you,

“You also have become weak, as we are;

you have become like us.”

11 All your pomp has been brought down to the grave,

along with the noise of your harps;

maggots are spread out beneath you

and worms cover you.

12 How you have fallen from heaven,

O morning star, son of the dawn!

You have been cast down to the earth,

you who once laid low the nations!

13 You said in your heart,

“I will ascend to heaven;

I will raise my throne

above the stars of God;

I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly,

on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain.

14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;

I will make myself like the Most High.”

Verses 12-14 sound a bit like Satan but the rest of the passage doesn’t appear to describe him.  Perhaps it is alluding to Satan and how powerful leaders like Sennacherib or Nebuchadnezzar abused their positions.

15 But you are brought down to the grave,

to the depths of the pit.

16 Those who see you stare at you,

they ponder your fate:

“Is this the man who shook the earth

and made kingdoms tremble,

17 the man who made the world a desert,

who overthrew its cities

and would not let his captives go home?”

18 All the kings of the nations lie in state,

each in his own tomb.

19 But you are cast out of your tomb

like a rejected branch;

you are covered with the slain,

with those pierced by the sword,

those who descend to the stones of the pit.

Like a corpse trampled underfoot,

20 you will not join them in burial,

for you have destroyed your land

and killed your people.

The offspring of the wicked

will never be mentioned again.

21 Prepare a place to slaughter his sons

for the sins of their forefathers;

they are not to rise to inherit the land

and cover the earth with their cities.

22 “I will rise up against them,”

declares the Lord Almighty.

“I will cut off from Babylon her name and survivors,

her offspring and descendants,”

declares the Lord.

23 “I will turn her into a place for owls

and into swampland;

I will sweep her with the broom of destruction,”

declares the Lord Almighty.

A Prophecy Against Assyria

24 The Lord Almighty has sworn,

“Surely, as I have planned, so it will be,

and as I have purposed, so it will stand.

25 I will crush the Assyrian in my land;

on my mountains I will trample him down.

His yoke will be taken from my people,

and his burden removed from their shoulders.”

26 This is the plan determined for the whole world;

this is the hand stretched out over all nations.

27 For the Lord Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him?

His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?

A Prophecy Against the Philistines

28 This oracle came in the year King Ahaz died:

29 Do not rejoice, all you Philistines,

that the rod that struck you is broken;

from the root of that snake will spring up a viper,

its fruit will be a darting, venomous serpent.

30 The poorest of the poor will find pasture,

and the needy will lie down in safety.

But your root I will destroy by famine;

it will slay your survivors.

31 Wail, O gate! Howl, O city!

Melt away, all you Philistines!

A cloud of smoke comes from the north,

and there is not a straggler in its ranks.

32 What answer shall be given

to the envoys of that nation?

“The Lord has established Zion,

and in her his afflicted people will find refuge.”

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Isaiah 11-12

is11.jpgGreetings!

Chapter 11 starts with more Messianic prophecies (predictions of the Messiah, Jesus).  Jesse was the father of David, and Jesus was from the line of David.

The Branch From Jesse

11     A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;

from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.

2 The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—

the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,

the Spirit of counsel and of power,

the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord

3 and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.

He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,

or decide by what he hears with his ears;

4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy,

with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.

He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;

with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.

5 Righteousness will be his belt

and faithfulness the sash around his waist.

Jesus will ultimately judge us all.  He will be perfectly just and fair, but as these verses show He won’t be the “meek and mild” Jesus some make him out to be.

6 The wolf will live with the lamb,

the leopard will lie down with the goat,

the calf and the lion and the yearling together;

and a little child will lead them.

7 The cow will feed with the bear,

their young will lie down together,

and the lion will eat straw like the ox.

8 The infant will play near the hole of the cobra,

and the young child put his hand into the viper’s nest.

9 They will neither harm nor destroy

on all my holy mountain,

for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord

as the waters cover the sea.

10 In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious. 11 In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the sea.

This is one of the many sections in the Old Testament that show how Jesus was coming for Jews and Gentiles (non-Jews). 

12 He will raise a banner for the nations

and gather the exiles of Israel;

he will assemble the scattered people of Judah

from the four quarters of the earth.

13 Ephraim’s jealousy will vanish,

and Judah’s enemies will be cut off;

Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah,

nor Judah hostile toward Ephraim.

14 They will swoop down on the slopes of Philistia to the west;

together they will plunder the people to the east.

They will lay hands on Edom and Moab,

and the Ammonites will be subject to them.

15 The Lord will dry up

the gulf of the Egyptian sea;

with a scorching wind he will sweep his hand

over the Euphrates River.

He will break it up into seven streams

so that men can cross over in sandals.

16 There will be a highway for the remnant of his people

that is left from Assyria,

as there was for Israel

when they came up from Egypt.

Chapter 12 is a hymn of praise to thank God for delivering them.  God is our salvation and worthy of our praise!

Songs of Praise

12     In that day you will say:

“I will praise you, O Lord.

Although you were angry with me,

your anger has turned away

and you have comforted me.

2 Surely God is my salvation;

I will trust and not be afraid.

The Lord, the Lord, is my strength and my song;

he has become my salvation.”

3 With joy you will draw water

from the wells of salvation.

4 In that day you will say:

“Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name;

make known among the nations what he has done,

and proclaim that his name is exalted.

5 Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things;

let this be known to all the world.

6 Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion,

for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.”

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Isaiah 9-10

is9.jpgGreetings!

These are some of the famous verses about Jesus.  He grew in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali. 

To Us a Child Is Born

9     Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan—

2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.

The theme of Jesus as a great light is in John 1 and John 8.

3 You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as men rejoice when dividing the plunder.

4 For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor.

5 Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire.

6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

7 Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.

Jesus is God himself (v. 6).

The Lord’s Anger Against Israel

8 The Lord has sent a message against Jacob; it will fall on Israel.

9 All the people will know it— Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria— who say with pride and arrogance of heart,

10 “The bricks have fallen down, but we will rebuild with dressed stone; the fig trees have been felled, but we will replace them with cedars.”

11 But the Lord has strengthened Rezin’s foes against them and has spurred their enemies on.

12 Arameans from the east and Philistines from the west have devoured Israel with open mouth. Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised.

13 But the people have not returned to him who struck them, nor have they sought the Lord Almighty.

14 So the Lord will cut off from Israel both head and tail, both palm branch and reed in a single day;

15 the elders and prominent men are the head, the prophets who teach lies are the tail.

16 Those who guide this people mislead them, and those who are guided are led astray.

17 Therefore the Lord will take no pleasure in the young men, nor will he pity the fatherless and widows, for everyone is ungodly and wicked, every mouth speaks vileness. Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised.

18 Surely wickedness burns like a fire; it consumes briers and thorns, it sets the forest thickets ablaze, so that it rolls upward in a column of smoke.

19 By the wrath of the Lord Almighty the land will be scorched and the people will be fuel for the fire; no one will spare his brother.

20 On the right they will devour, but still be hungry; on the left they will eat, but not be satisfied. Each will feed on the flesh of his own offspring:

21 Manasseh will feed on Ephraim, and Ephraim on Manasseh; together they will turn against Judah. Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised.

10     Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, 2 to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless.

3 What will you do on the day of reckoning, when disaster comes from afar? To whom will you run for help? Where will you leave your riches?

4 Nothing will remain but to cringe among the captives or fall among the slain. Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised.

Chapter 10 opens with sobering thoughts.  Do we do enough for the oppressed – not just the poor, but those whose rights have been deprived?

God’s Judgment on Assyria

5 “Woe to the Assyrian, the rod of my anger, in whose hand is the club of my wrath!

6 I send him against a godless nation, I dispatch him against a people who anger me, to seize loot and snatch plunder, and to trample them down like mud in the streets.

7 But this is not what he intends, this is not what he has in mind; his purpose is to destroy, to put an end to many nations.

8 ‘Are not my commanders all kings?’ he says.

9 ‘Has not Calno fared like Carchemish? Is not Hamath like Arpad, and Samaria like Damascus?

10 As my hand seized the kingdoms of the idols, kingdoms whose images excelled those of Jerusalem and Samaria—

11 shall I not deal with Jerusalem and her images as I dealt with Samaria and her idols?’”

12 When the Lord has finished all his work against Mount Zion and Jerusalem, he will say, “I will punish the king of Assyria for the willful pride of his heart and the haughty look in his eyes. 13 For he says:

“‘By the strength of my hand I have done this, and by my wisdom, because I have understanding. I removed the boundaries of nations, I plundered their treasures; like a mighty one I subdued their kings.

14 As one reaches into a nest, so my hand reached for the wealth of the nations; as men gather abandoned eggs, so I gathered all the countries; not one flapped a wing, or opened its mouth to chirp.’”

15 Does the ax raise itself above him who swings it, or the saw boast against him who uses it? As if a rod were to wield him who lifts it up, or a club brandish him who is not wood!

16 Therefore, the Lord, the Lord Almighty, will send a wasting disease upon his sturdy warriors; under his pomp a fire will be kindled like a blazing flame.

17 The Light of Israel will become a fire, their Holy One a flame; in a single day it will burn and consume his thorns and his briers.

18 The splendor of his forests and fertile fields it will completely destroy, as when a sick man wastes away.

19 And the remaining trees of his forests will be so few that a child could write them down.

Interestingly, God uses Assyria to judge Judah then punishes Assyria as well.  And this was all prophesied by Isaiah.  The Assyrians thought they did things by their own power, not God’s.  How often do I make that mistake?

The Remnant of Israel

20 In that day the remnant of Israel, the survivors of the house of Jacob, will no longer rely on him who struck them down but will truly rely on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel.

21 A remnant will return, a remnant of Jacob will return to the Mighty God.

22 Though your people, O Israel, be like the sand by the sea, only a remnant will return. Destruction has been decreed, overwhelming and righteous.

23 The Lord, the Lord Almighty, will carry out the destruction decreed upon the whole land.

24 Therefore, this is what the Lord, the Lord Almighty, says: “O my people who live in Zion, do not be afraid of the Assyrians, who beat you with a rod and lift up a club against you, as Egypt did.

25 Very soon my anger against you will end and my wrath will be directed to their destruction.”

26 The Lord Almighty will lash them with a whip, as when he struck down Midian at the rock of Oreb; and he will raise his staff over the waters, as he did in Egypt.

27 In that day their burden will be lifted from your shoulders, their yoke from your neck; the yoke will be broken because you have grown so fat.

28 They enter Aiath; they pass through Migron; they store supplies at Micmash.

29 They go over the pass, and say, “We will camp overnight at Geba.” Ramah trembles; Gibeah of Saul flees.

30 Cry out, O Daughter of Gallim!  Listen, O Laishah! Poor Anathoth!

31 Madmenah is in flight; the people of Gebim take cover.

32 This day they will halt at Nob; they will shake their fist at the mount of the Daughter of Zion, at the hill of Jerusalem.

33 See, the Lord, the Lord Almighty, will lop off the boughs with great power. The lofty trees will be felled, the tall ones will be brought low.

34 He will cut down the forest thickets with an ax; Lebanon will fall before the Mighty One.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Isaiah 7-8

is7.jpgGreetings!

Note how often says things like, “This is what the sovereign Lord says . . .”  As I pointed out in “The Lord says . . .,” the Bible claims to speak for God ~ 3,000 times.  That doesn’t prove it does, of course, but it is interesting that it makes the claim so many times.  It does so unapologetically.

The Sign of Immanuel

7     When Ahaz son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, was king of Judah, King Rezin of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel marched up to fight against Jerusalem, but they could not overpower it.

2 Now the house of David was told, “Aram has allied itself with Ephraim”; so the hearts of Ahaz and his people were shaken, as the trees of the forest are shaken by the wind.

People had good reason to be petrified if they were about to be overtaken.  We live in such comfort and protection in the U.S. that even events like 9/11 don’t phase us much.

3 Then the Lord said to Isaiah, “Go out, you and your son Shear-Jashub, to meet Ahaz at the end of the aqueduct of the Upper Pool, on the road to the Washerman’s Field. 4 Say to him, ‘Be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid. Do not lose heart because of these two smoldering stubs of firewood—because of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and of the son of Remaliah. 5 Aram, Ephraim and Remaliah’s son have plotted your ruin, saying, 6 “Let us invade Judah; let us tear it apart and divide it among ourselves, and make the son of Tabeel king over it.” 7 Yet this is what the Sovereign Lord says:

“‘It will not take place, it will not happen,

8 for the head of Aram is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is only Rezin.

Within sixty-five years Ephraim will be too shattered to be a people.

9 The head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is only Remaliah’s son.

If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.’”

10 Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, 11 “Ask the Lord your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights.”

12 But Ahaz said, “I will not ask; I will not put the Lord to the test.”

Verse 14 appears to be a double prophecy – a short term one then also for the birth of Christ, because Mathhew 1:23 quotes it.   Some people dismiss the Virgin Birth as being unimportant, but I think it still matters.

13 Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of men? Will you try the patience of my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. 15 He will eat curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right. 16 But before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste. 17 The Lord will bring on you and on your people and on the house of your father a time unlike any since Ephraim broke away from Judah—he will bring the king of Assyria.”

18 In that day the Lord will whistle for flies from the distant streams of Egypt and for bees from the land of Assyria. 19 They will all come and settle in the steep ravines and in the crevices in the rocks, on all the thornbushes and at all the water holes. 20 In that day the Lord will use a razor hired from beyond the River—the king of Assyria—to shave your head and the hair of your legs, and to take off your beards also. 21 In that day, a man will keep alive a young cow and two goats. 22 And because of the abundance of the milk they give, he will have curds to eat. All who remain in the land will eat curds and honey. 23 In that day, in every place where there were a thousand vines worth a thousand silver shekels, there will be only briers and thorns. 24 Men will go there with bow and arrow, for the land will be covered with briers and thorns. 25 As for all the hills once cultivated by the hoe, you will no longer go there for fear of the briers and thorns; they will become places where cattle are turned loose and where sheep run.

This was the “land flowing with milk and honey,” yet it would turn into a wasteland for a time because the people rejected God.

Assyria, the Lord’s Instrument

8     The Lord said to me, “Take a large scroll and write on it with an ordinary pen: Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz. 2 And I will call in Uriah the priest and Zechariah son of Jeberekiah as reliable witnesses for me.”

3 Then I went to the prophetess, and she conceived and gave birth to a son. And the Lord said to me, “Name him Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz. 4 Before the boy knows how to say ‘My father’ or ‘My mother,’ the wealth of Damascus and the plunder of Samaria will be carried off by the king of Assyria.”

5 The Lord spoke to me again:

6 “Because this people has rejected the gently flowing waters of Shiloah and rejoices over Rezin and the son of Remaliah,

7 therefore the Lord is about to bring against them the mighty floodwaters of the River— the king of Assyria with all his pomp. It will overflow all its channels, run over all its banks

8 and sweep on into Judah, swirling over it, passing through it and reaching up to the neck. Its outspread wings will cover the breadth of your land, O Immanuel!”

9 Raise the war cry, you nations, and be shattered! Listen, all you distant lands. Prepare for battle, and be shattered! Prepare for battle, and be shattered!

10 Devise your strategy, but it will be thwarted; propose your plan, but it will not stand, for God is with us.

Fear God

11 The Lord spoke to me with his strong hand upon me, warning me not to follow the way of this people. He said:

12 “Do not call conspiracy everything that these people call conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it.

13 The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread,

14 and he will be a sanctuary; but for both houses of Israel he will be a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall. And for the people of Jerusalem he will be a trap and a snare.

15 Many of them will stumble; they will fall and be broken, they will be snared and captured.”

16 Bind up the testimony and seal up the law among my disciples.

17 I will wait for the Lord, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob. I will put my trust in him.

18 Here am I, and the children the Lord has given me. We are signs and symbols in Israel from the Lord Almighty, who dwells on Mount Zion.

19 When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living? 20 To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn. 21 Distressed and hungry, they will roam through the land; when they are famished, they will become enraged and, looking upward, will curse their king and their God. 22 Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

As usual, people ignored God’s message then blamed God for their problems.