Today: [Isaiah 10] Waiting on God’s Salvation. In Isaiah chapter 10 the prophet warns the city of Jerusalem of impending judgment because they have oppressed the poor, the widow and the fatherless. The Assyrians that they have made a treaty with will soon overrun their own nation. Yet at the same time Isaiah declares that Assyria will be dealt with as well for they think that their own might has given them permission to plow under the nations. Ultimately God is in control and the Assyrians are just an axe in God’s hand wielded to cut down the idolatrous nations. To those that are living for God and hoping for His salvation Isaiah tells them to be unafraid. We may see dark days on the earth but as Jesus said let not your heart be troubled – deliverance is just ahead.
[Isa 10:1-34 KJV] 1 Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness [which] they have prescribed; 2 To turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and [that] they may rob the fatherless! 3 And what will ye do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation [which] shall come from far? to whom will ye flee for help? and where will ye leave your glory? 4 Without me they shall bow down under the prisoners, and they shall fall under the slain. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand [is] stretched out still. 5 O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation. 6 I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets. 7 Howbeit he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so; but [it is] in his heart to destroy and cut off nations not a few. 8 For he saith, [Are] not my princes altogether kings? 9 [Is] not Calno as Carchemish? [is] not Hamath as Arpad? [is] not Samaria as Damascus? 10 As my hand hath found the kingdoms of the idols, and whose graven images did excel them of Jerusalem and of Samaria; 11 Shall I not, as I have done unto Samaria and her idols, so do to Jerusalem and her idols?
In chapter 10 of Isaiah the prophet speaks by the spirit of the Lord in defense of the needy, the poor and the widow. Apparently, the policies of Ahaz and the custom of the upper classes in Jerusalem at that time were oppressive to the impoverished of the southern kingdom and they were being taken for a prey to support the lifestyles of those in the ruling class. God is promising through Isaiah that the hope they have of salvation from afar will turn to their destruction. We will remember that as Samaria in the norther (the capital of the northern tribes of the divided kingdom) they have now at the time of Isaiah’s prophesying been taken into captivity soon to no more be a nation at all. Now the Assyrians whom the people of the south thought would be their deliverers now threaten to overrun Jerusalem itself. The prophet Isaiah cries against them for the false hope they placed in foreign nations “to whom will ye flee for help? Without me you will be bowed down and fall slain…” When we are under pressure and don’t know where to turn often we will reach out for any solution and be tempted to leave God out.
King Ahaz and the city of Jerusalem were very outwardly devout and in their own eyes thought they were giving God all the consideration of outward religious show that was necessary and needful. Yet their estimation of Jehovah was so slight that they installed pagan altars and images of leering idols in the Holy Place before the vail of the Holy of Holies. They did this and it never occurred to them that there was anything wrong with this at all. They considered their openness to other religions to be a mark of the tolerance toward the beliefs of others and prided themselves on their cosmopolitan attitude. It never occurred to them that as a nation God would frown upon the idols in His own house and would take issue with their refusal to even look to Him in a time of trial. My father often remarked what you allow to come between you and God – God will remove. God is a jealous God. He was a jealous God under the Old Covenant and He is a jealous God under the New Covenant.
In verse 11 the question comes from Isaiah by the Lord that He will deal with Jerusalem’s idols the same way He has done with Samaria in the north. This was a correction to their thinking. They felt that because they were the city of David with a Davidic king over them that God was going to give them special treatment. Centuries later they still felt the same way when John the Baptist dealt with this attitude:
[Mat 3:8-9 KJV] 8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: 9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to [our] father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
Whether we are dealing with the strictures of the Old Covenant or the mandates of the New Covenant the fruits of repentance still constitute what God is looking for in our lives. In the looming specter of foreign invasion the call of God to the people is to repent – and in a measure they do repent under the reign of Hezekiah that comes after that of Ahaz before whom Isaiah now prophesies.
12 Wherefore it shall come to pass, [that] when the Lord hath performed his whole work upon mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks. 13 For he saith, By the strength of my hand I have done [it], and by my wisdom; for I am prudent: and I have removed the bounds of the people, and have robbed their treasures, and I have put down the inhabitants like a valiant [man]: 14 And my hand hath found as a nest the riches of the people: and as one gathereth eggs [that are] left, have I gathered all the earth; and there was none that moved the wing, or opened the mouth, or peeped. 15 Shall the axe boast itself against him that heweth therewith? [or] shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it? as if the rod should shake [itself] against them that lift it up, [or] as if the staff should lift up [itself, as if it were] no wood. 16 Therefore shall the Lord, the Lord of hosts, send among his fat ones leanness; and under his glory he shall kindle a burning like the burning of a fire. 17 And the light of Israel shall be for a fire, and his Holy One for a flame: and it shall burn and devour his thorns and his briers in one day; 18 And shall consume the glory of his forest, and of his fruitful field, both soul and body: and they shall be as when a standardbearer fainteth. 19 And the rest of the trees of his forest shall be few, that a child may write them. 20 And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. 21 The remnant shall return, [even] the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God. 22 For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, [yet] a remnant of them shall return: the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness.
Verse 12 speaks of the “whole work” of the Lord. Very often we look at what God seems to be doing and we don’t take into account the full counsel of His purpose. Assyria will ultimately overrun Jerusalem and lead into captivity the very last Davidic king before Jesus Himself centuries later. Yet Assyria will be brought to punishment. The Assyrians eventually were defeated because they thought that they were great in their own right and that their own power had made them great. In verse 15 Isaiah says that Assyria was simply the axe by which the Lord hewed down the idolatrous people of the tribes of Israel. Because of their high opinion of themselves the Lord promises to send leanness into the midst of this rising world power. Isaiah predicts that the conquests of Assyria in time to come will be so minimal that a child would be able to tally them. In the course of history Assyria became as nothing and their might and their greatness nothing more than a footnote in history that we teach our children.
23 For the Lord GOD of hosts shall make a consumption, even determined, in the midst of all the land. 24 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD of hosts, O my people that dwellest in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrian: he shall smite thee with a rod, and shall lift up his staff against thee, after the manner of Egypt. 25 For yet a very little while, and the indignation shall cease, and mine anger in their destruction. 26 And the LORD of hosts shall stir up a scourge for him according to the slaughter of Midian at the rock of Oreb: and [as] his rod [was] upon the sea, so shall he lift it up after the manner of Egypt. 27 And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] his burden shall be taken away from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing. 28 He is come to Aiath, he is passed to Migron; at Michmash he hath laid up his carriages: 29 They are gone over the passage: they have taken up their lodging at Geba; Ramah is afraid; Gibeah of Saul is fled. 30 Lift up thy voice, O daughter of Gallim: cause it to be heard unto Laish, O poor Anathoth. 31 Madmenah is removed; the inhabitants of Gebim gather themselves to flee. 32 As yet shall he remain at Nob that day: he shall shake his hand [against] the mount of the daughter of Zion, the hill of Jerusalem. 33 Behold, the Lord, the LORD of hosts, shall lop the bough with terror: and the high ones of stature [shall be] hewn down, and the haughty shall be humbled. 34 And he shall cut down the thickets of the forest with iron, and Lebanon shall fall by a mighty one.
In verse 24 Isaiah tells the people not to be afraid of Assyria. He speaks by the spirit of the Lord “O my people that dwellest in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrian”. Remember that Zion at this time is the city of David where the ruling class reigned over the southern kingdom. That tells us that though king Ahaz was an evil king that there were those in government who honored God and worshipped Him, hoping for a better day. God is always just. He will not destroy the righteous with the wicked. These people were vexed because their lives were entwined with that of others who were hypocritical, murderous, abusive and filled with idolatry – and they knew that God would deal with such things. You may be facing the same thing. Perhaps in your job or in your family life you may be dealing with those making sinful choices who seem to be getting away with all manner of evil and godlessness. God is saying through Isaiah that He will not forbear forever. Sooner or later as my father was wont to say “the chickens come home to roost” and the fruits of unrighteousness bring forth a harvest of negative outcomes. In the midst of that the Father says to those that belong to Him to keep the faith and be not afraid. What they couldn’t see was a godly king coming on the scene in just a few years. Likewise in a moment of time righteousness can reign in your family, on the job even though it doesn’t look like anything different is happening. Just trust in God and wait for His salvation.
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