Isaiah 30-37

 

Last week, I told you that our next section in Isaiah was Chapters 28-37 and that it mainly deals with the events around the Assyrians. However, there are several prophecies about other things some of which point to the time of Christ. Last week, we looked at Chapter 28 Ė 29. Tonight we will be looking at Chapters 30-37. Obviously, I will not have enough time to cover every verse, so I will have to summarize a few of these chapters. However, we will start out by looking at the entirety of Chapters 30-31, which talks about Judahís dependence on Egypt and how they need to realize that only God can deliver them from their enemies.

 

Isaiah 30:1 "Woe to the rebellious children," says the LORD, "Who take counsel, but not of Me, And who devise plans, but not of My Spirit, That they may add sin to sin;2 Who walk to go down to Egypt, And have not asked My advice, To strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, And to trust in the shadow of Egypt!3 Therefore the strength of Pharaoh Shall be your shame, And trust in the shadow of Egypt Shall be your humiliation.4 For his princes were at Zoan, And his ambassadors came to Hanes.5 They were all ashamed of a people who could not benefit them, Or be help or benefit, But a shame and also a reproach."6 The burden against the beasts of the South. Through a land of trouble and anguish, From which came the lioness and lion, The viper and fiery flying serpent, They will carry their riches on the backs of young donkeys, And their treasures on the humps of camels, To a people who shall not profit;7 For the Egyptians shall help in vain and to no purpose. Therefore I have called her Rahab-Hem-Shebeth.

 

The Jews were making the same mistake the Joshua did when he did not inquire of the Lord first when the men of Gibeon came and fooled him. They were taking matters into their own hands and not trusting in God. They were giving their money to the Egyptians and it is believed that they were also embracing the Egyptian gods as well. The problem was that these Egyptians nor their false gods would be able to help them. Only God Almighty could do that. The Egyptians would not help the Jews, which is why God called them Rahab-Hem-Shebeth or the ESV says "Rahab who sits still."

 

We must learn to never put all our trust and hope in the way of man. Instead our hope and trust should always be in the Lord.

 

Isaiah 30:8 Now go, write it before them on a tablet, And note it on a scroll, That it may be for time to come, Forever and ever:9 That this is a rebellious people, Lying children, Children who will not hear the law of the LORD;10 Who say to the seers, "Do not see," And to the prophets, "Do not prophesy to us right things; Speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits.11 Get out of the way, Turn aside from the path, Cause the Holy One of Israel To cease from before us."

 

This is a pathetic time in the history of Godís people because they did not want to hear the truth because they liked the sound of a lie. They did not want to hear that they needed to change their ways or that they would be punished for it. Instead, they wanted to hear that everything will be fine and what they are doing is fine. Does this sound familiar to you today? It certainly does for me because there are many in this world that will call themselves Christian, yet they do not want obey what Godís Word says. They want to do things their way and think their ok. They do not want to hear that what they are doing is a sin and that God will punish them for it. As Paul told Timothy:

 

2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.

 

Whether they want to hear it or not, Isaiah tells them the consequence of their rebellions nature:

 

Isaiah 30:12 Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel: "Because you despise this word, And trust in oppression and perversity, And rely on them,13 Therefore this iniquity shall be to you Like a breach ready to fall, A bulge in a high wall, Whose breaking comes suddenly, in an instant.14 And He shall break it like the breaking of the potter's vessel, Which is broken in pieces; He shall not spare. So there shall not be found among its fragments A shard to take fire from the hearth, Or to take water from the cistern."15 For thus says the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel: "In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength." But you would not,16 And you said, "No, for we will flee on horses" -- Therefore you shall flee! And, "We will ride on swift horses" -- Therefore those who pursue you shall be swift!17 One thousand shall flee at the threat of one, At the threat of five you shall flee, Till you are left as a pole on top of a mountain And as a banner on a hill.

 

He lets them know that if they would put their faith and trust in the Lord instead of themselves and other nations like Egypt, they would be saved. Since they are not heeding the words spoken to them, they will be broken. Not just a little bit broken, but they will be like a potterís vessel broken in so many small pieces that you cannot even find a shard big enough to hold any water or a piece of coal from a fire.

 

As part of Isaiahís usual form, he now gives his people a glimmer of hope for the future.

 

Isaiah 30:18 Therefore the LORD will wait, that He may be gracious to you; And therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; Blessed are all those who wait for Him.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.22 You will also defile the covering of your graven images of silver, And the ornament of your molded images of gold. You will throw them away as an unclean thing; You will say to them, "Get away!"23 Then He will give the rain for your seed With which you sow the ground, And bread of the increase of the earth; It will be fat and plentiful. In that day your cattle will feed In large pastures.24 Likewise the oxen and the young donkeys that work the ground Will eat cured fodder, Which has been winnowed with the shovel and fan.25 There will be on every high mountain And on every high hill Rivers and streams of waters, In the day of the great slaughter, When the towers fall.26 Moreover the light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, And the light of the sun will be sevenfold, As the light of seven days, In the day that the LORD binds up the bruise of His people And heals the stroke of their wound.

 

God never intended for His people to be completely destroyed, but He did allow them to face great persecution from their enemies. He gave them many chances to change their ways. He even saved Jerusalem from the Assyrian army, but He did allow the Babylonians to defeat them and take them captive. God is a just and merciful God. Once He saw that His people had learned their lesson, God carried out justice on their enemies and would allow the Jews to return to Zion and rebuild and be blessed once again. When they returned from their captivity they did away with their man-made idols though they did struggle with this some during the time that walls were of Jerusalem were being rebuilt. One of the greatest blessing that they and we would receive would be when the kingdom would be set up with Jesus as our King.

 

Next, Isaiah talks about how Assyria will be struck down:

 

Isaiah 30:27 Behold, the name of the LORD comes from afar, Burning with His anger, And His burden is heavy; His lips are full of indignation, And His tongue like a devouring fire.28 His breath is like an overflowing stream, Which reaches up to the neck, To sift the nations with the sieve of futility; And there shall be a bridle in the jaws of the people, Causing them to err.29 ∂ You shall have a song As in the night when a holy festival is kept, And gladness of heart as when one goes with a flute, To come into the mountain of the LORD, To the Mighty One of Israel.30 The LORD will cause His glorious voice to be heard, And show the descent of His arm, With the indignation of His anger And the flame of a devouring fire, With scattering, tempest, and hailstones.31 For through the voice of the LORD Assyria will be beaten down, As He strikes with the rod.32 And in every place where the staff of punishment passes, Which the LORD lays on him, It will be with tambourines and harps; And in battles of brandishing He will fight with it.33 For Tophet was established of old, Yes, for the king it is prepared. He has made it deep and large; Its pyre is fire with much wood; The breath of the LORD, like a stream of brimstone, Kindles it.

 

Though God used the Assyrians to carry out his punishment on His people, they would not be allowed to take of over Jerusalem. Isaiah assures them that God will allow them to be saved. When the Assyrians came into to take over Jerusalem, God struck 185,000 of the Assyrians dead in one night causing them to leave from their attack on Jerusalem. This is an interesting account I recommend you read about in Isaiah 36-37. It also found in 2 Kings 18-19 and 2 Chron. 32. Isaiah proves once again that he truly was a prophet of God.

 

Chapter 31 is a short reemphasis of Chapter 30.

 

Isaiah 31:1 Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, And rely on horses, Who trust in chariots because they are many, And in horsemen because they are very strong, But who do not look to the Holy One of Israel, Nor seek the LORD!2 Yet He also is wise and will bring disaster, And will not call back His words, But will arise against the house of evildoers, And against the help of those who work iniquity.3 Now the Egyptians are men, and not God; And their horses are flesh, and not spirit. When the LORD stretches out His hand, Both he who helps will fall, And he who is helped will fall down; They all will perish together.4 For thus the LORD has spoken to me: "As a lion roars, And a young lion over his prey (When a multitude of shepherds is summoned against him, He will not be afraid of their voice Nor be disturbed by their noise), So the LORD of hosts will come down To fight for Mount Zion and for its hill.5 Like birds flying about, So will the LORD of hosts defend Jerusalem. Defending, He will also deliver it; Passing over, He will preserve it." ††

 

The main message is do not trust in man to deliver you, trust in God to deliver you. I like how he describes how God will protect them from the Assyrians. God will guard them like a lion does his prey. Though a bunch of shepherds come in and try and take the prey from the lion, they are not going to get it. He also uses birds flying about as example. I am sure we have all seen how birds will protect their nest, well God is not just going to protect them, He is going to deliver them.

 

Isaiah 31:6 Return to Him against whom the children of Israel have deeply revolted.7 For in that day every man shall throw away his idols of silver and his idols of gold -- sin, which your own hands have made for yourselves.8 "Then Assyria shall fall by a sword not of man, And a sword not of mankind shall devour him. But he shall flee from the sword, And his young men shall become forced labor.9 He shall cross over to his stronghold for fear, And his princes shall be afraid of the banner," Says the LORD, Whose fire is in Zion And whose furnace is in Jerusalem.

 

Just as Isaiah said, these Assyrians were not killed by a sword, but by the Angel of the Lord. This once mighty nation would eventually be overthrown and their people would become slaves. Most of the time the phrase ďin that dayĒ points to the time of Christ, but as it is used in our text, I believe it referring to when God strikes that mighty blow against the Assyrians. When that happens, Godís people will have their eyes open to the truth and realize that they need to throw away their useless idols because only God was able to deliver them.

 

When we think about our God and how powerful He is, we too should get rid of anything in our lives that we are putting above God. Sometimes this just means a change of attitude. Instead of resting your hope on man or worldly ways, rest your hope on God.

One thing I want to point out is that sometimes it can be challenging to figure out who Isaiah is specifically talking about because as we have already seen in our series sometimes his prophecies and can be speaking of something about to happen and also having its ultimate fulfillment in Christ and His kingdom. Well Chapter 32 is another one of these prophecies that people have different understandings on who is be spoken of. More specifically, I am talking about the first 8 verses:

 

Isaiah 32:1 Behold, a king will reign in righteousness, And princes will rule with justice.2 A man will be as a hiding place from the wind, And a cover from the tempest, As rivers of water in a dry place, As the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.3 The eyes of those who see will not be dim, And the ears of those who hear will listen.4 Also the heart of the rash will understand knowledge, And the tongue of the stammerers will be ready to speak plainly.5 The foolish person will no longer be called generous, Nor the miser said to be bountiful;6 For the foolish person will speak foolishness, And his heart will work iniquity: To practice ungodliness, To utter error against the LORD, To keep the hungry unsatisfied, And he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail.7 Also the schemes of the schemer are evil; He devises wicked plans To destroy the poor with lying words, Even when the needy speaks justice.8 But a generous man devises generous things, And by generosity he shall stand.

 

Some believe this is talking about King Hezekiah because he was indeed a righteous king according to 2 Kings 18:3-6. Others think it may point to King Josiah who was the last godly king in Judah. However, neither of these men fully fulfilled what Isaiah has just said. We can at least eliminate Hezekiah because this kingís reign is spoken of in the future and Hezekiah is the currently the king when this is being spoken.During the reign of this king, there would be a great revival of people having their eyes open to the truth. We can certainly apply this in part during in Josiahís reign because there was a restoration that happened during His reign.

 

However there are many prophecies made about Jesus and how He is a righteous King. We know that during His kingdom, peopleís eyes were open to the truth, and they were learning and understanding things that kings and prophets from the past wish they could seen an hear. As Jesus said:

 

Matthew 13:16 "But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear;17 "for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.

 

Whether this prophecy points to King Josiah or to Jesus Himself is not as important as the message that during that time people will have their eyes open to the truth. Yes, there will still be those that are foolish and practice iniquity, but there will also be those who are living righteously.

 

Next, Isaiah speaks against some women during his time:

 

Isaiah 32:9 Rise up, you women who are at ease, Hear my voice; You complacent daughters, Give ear to my speech.10 In a year and some days You will be troubled, you complacent women; For the vintage will fail, The gathering will not come.11 Tremble, you women who are at ease; Be troubled, you complacent ones; Strip yourselves, make yourselves bare, And gird sackcloth on your waists.12 People shall mourn upon their breasts For the pleasant fields, for the fruitful vine.13 On the land of my people will come up thorns and briers, Yes, on all the happy homes in the joyous city;14 Because the palaces will be forsaken, The bustling city will be deserted. The forts and towers will become lairs forever, A joy of wild donkeys, a pasture of flocks --15 Until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, And the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, And the fruitful field is counted as a forest.

 

Now we do not know the details of why Isaiah addresses the women here, but he lets them know that their complacency is going to bring about great sorry soon. We have to keep in mind that though Jerusalem itself did get overtaken by the Assyrians, much of Judah had been. Cities were abandons and vineyards destroyed. Due to the compliancy of these women, and all Judah for that matter, Jerusalem would be taken over eventually. These things will continue to plague them until the Spirit is poured upon them from high.

 

Verse 15 is another verse this is difficult to see if it is pointing to sometime when the Jews would return from captivity or it is talking about when God poured His Spirit out at the day of Pentecost. The remainder of the Chapter tells us what will happen as a result of God pouring out His Spirit:

 

Isaiah 32:16 Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, And righteousness remain in the fruitful field.17 The work of righteousness will be peace, And the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever.18 My people will dwell in a peaceful habitation, In secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places,19 Though hail comes down on the forest, And the city is brought low in humiliation.20 Blessed are you who sow beside all waters, Who send out freely the feet of the ox and the donkey.

 

Most conclude that this is talking about these things happening spiritually and physically. While I am sure when the Jews returned from their captivity that they experienced some spiritual peace from being right with God, we can easily see how this ultimately had its fulfillment in the time of Christ, because only He and His kingdom could offer complete spiritual peace and assurance. As Jesus said:

 

John 16:33 "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."

 

Isaiah 33 has many statements made directly towards the Assyrians and how they would not succeed against Jerusalem. I hope you will read this chapter on your own, but I do want to show you what Mr. Coffman says about the first verse:

 

Isaiah 33:1 Woe to you who plunder, though you have not been plundered; And you who deal treacherously, though they have not dealt treacherously with you! When you cease plundering, You will be plundered; When you make an end of dealing treacherously, They will deal treacherously with you.


Coffman Commentaries:
The historical situation here is reflected in every line of the verse. Sennacherib had already destroyed the outlying cities of Judah, and he had lyingly promised Hezekiah that for a tribute of 300 talents of silver and 30 talents of gold, he would spare Jerusalem. At great cost and hardship Hezekiah had complied with the demand, even cutting off the gold decorations of the temple doors in order to meet the tremendous burden of the tribute. But no sooner was the tribute received than Sennacherib demanded the surrender of the city; and this prophecy was uttered, probably from the walls of Jerusalem and was addressed to Rabshakeh or to Sennacherib himself by Isaiah, who fearlessly denounced the invader and prophesied his ruin and destruction.

 

I also like the following verses:

 

Isaiah 33:14 The sinners in Zion are afraid; Fearfulness has seized the hypocrites: "Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?"15 He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly, He who despises the gain of oppressions, Who gestures with his hands, refusing bribes, Who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed, And shuts his eyes from seeing evil:16 He will dwell on high; His place of defense will be the fortress of rocks; Bread will be given him, His water will be sure.

 

Though talking about those in Jerusalem at that time, this principle applies to us today. Those who live for the Lord and take a stand against the sinful ways will indeed dwell on high and be taken care of by the Lord.

 

Starting in verse 17 through the end of the Chapter, Isaiah tells his people about the future and how they will see the beauty of their king and how they need to reflect on what God has done for them. This section of Scripture is another one that some believe is pointing to King Hezekiah and other believe it ultimately point to Jesus and His kingdom because only His kingdom will never broken as verse 20 talks about. The overall message is to put your trust in God because He will not fail you and your enemies will not succeed against you.

 

Chapter 34 is all about Godís vengeance on the enemies of Zion. Many of the scholars I looked at on this Chapter believe this certainly includes Godís vengeance against the enemies of the Jews, but it ultimately points to the final day of Judgment when all nations will be judged by God for what they have done just as Jesus describes in Mat. 25. So, I hope you will read this Chapter on your own.

 

Our final Chapter for tonight is Chapter 35. It is not very long so I want to read it to you:

 

Isaiah 35:1 The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose;2 It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice, Even with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, The excellence of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the LORD, The excellency of our God.3 Strengthen the weak hands, And make firm the feeble knees.4 Say to those who are fearful-hearted, "Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, With the recompense of God; He will come and save you."5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, And the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.6 Then the lame shall leap like a deer, And the tongue of the dumb sing. For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, And streams in the desert.7 The parched ground shall become a pool, And the thirsty land springs of water; In the habitation of jackals, where each lay, There shall be grass with reeds and rushes.8 A highway shall be there, and a road, And it shall be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean shall not pass over it, But it shall be for others. Whoever walks the road, although a fool, Shall not go astray.9 No lion shall be there, Nor shall any ravenous beast go up on it; It shall not be found there. But the redeemed shall walk there,10 And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, And come to Zion with singing, With everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, And sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

 

This Chapter is message of hope that most believe is referring to glory of the church under Christ. I think Matthey Henry describes the meaning of this beautiful poem best, so I will read you what his thoughts were:

 

As after a prediction of God's judgments upon the world (ch. xxxiv.) follows a promise of great mercy to be had in store for his church (ch. xxxv.), so here after a black and dreadful scene of confusion in the foregoing chapter we have, in this, a bright and pleasant one, which, though it foretel the flourishing estate of Hezekiah's kingdom in the latter part of his reign, yet surely looks as far beyond that as the prophecy in the foregoing chapter does beyond the destruction of the Edomites; both were typical, and it concerns us most to look at those things which they were typical of, the kingdom of Christ and the kingdom of heaven. When the world, which lies in wickedness, shall be laid in ruins, and the Jewish church, which persisted in infidelity, shall become a desolation, then the gospel church shall be set up and made to flourish. I. The Gentiles shall be brought into it, ver. 1, 2, 7. II. The well-wishers to it, who were weak and timorous, shall be encouraged, ver. 3, 4. III. Miracles shall be wrought both on the souls and on the bodies of men, ver. 5, 6. IV. The gospel church shall be conducted in the way of holiness, ver. 8, 9. V. It shall be brought at last to endless joys, ver. 10. Thus do we find more of Christ and heaven in this chapter than one would have expected in the Old Testament.

 

In conclusion, let us learn from the mistakes of the rebellions Jews during Isaiahís day and not rebel against God, but embrace His wisdom and live by it because as we have been seeing from Isaiahís many prophecies, they came true so we can indeed put our trust in God and everything His Word says. Thanks to God, you and I get to enjoy the blessing of being in Godís kingdom that was put into place by His Son. Let us never forget how good we have it in the Lord.