Isaiah 2:5 Ė 4

 

Several weeks ago we began looking at the Book of Isaiah, but I had to put this study off for a bit because of everything that has been going with getting our building back in shape. The last thing we looked at was Isaiah 2:1-4. The verses gave us a prophetic description of Jerusalem in its new spiritual state, which we know is the church. It never ceases to amaze me at how accurate these prophecies are, which shows that God is the one that was in control.

 

Tonight, we will be looking Isaiah 2:5 Ė 4. Here is quick outline of what these verses cover:

 

  1. 2:5 Ė 4:1 describes the current corrupt condition of Judah and Jerusalem and the doom that awaits it.
  2. 4:2-6 describes the Branch of the Lord, who is Jesus and how the remnant of Jews will be blessed at the time of Jesus.

 

As we begin our study tonight at verse 5, we change from talking about the glorious future church to the current corrupt condition of Judah and Jerusalem.

 

Isaiah 2:5 O house of Jacob, come and let us walk In the light of the LORD.6 For You have forsaken Your people, the house of Jacob, Because they are filled with eastern ways; They are soothsayers like the Philistines, And they are pleased with the children of foreigners.7 Their land is also full of silver and gold, And there is no end to their treasures; Their land is also full of horses, And there is no end to their chariots.8 Their land is also full of idols; They worship the work of their own hands, That which their own fingers have made.9 People bow down, And each man humbles himself; Therefore do not forgive them.10 Enter into the rock, and hide in the dust, From the terror of the LORD And the glory of His majesty.11 The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, The haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, And the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.

 

In verse 5, we see a plea for Godís people to turn away from their wicked ways and to return to walking in the light of the Lord. Verse 6-9 appears to be a prayer to God as Isaiah speaks to God about the corruption of His people. God was no longer with them because of their choice to turn their backs on God by embracing the way of the foreigners. God had Moses specifically tell His people not to associate with other nations because He knew they would corrupt them (Deut. 7:1-5).

 

We must learn from this today. If we keep immersing ourselves with the world and with those that add and take away from Godís Word it will not be long until we start adopting their ways instead of Godís ways. I believe everyone starts out with good intentions of staying faithful to Godís Word, but little by little even the most faithful person can be changed to start thinking like man instead of relying on Godís wisdom.

 

We also learn that Judah had acquired much silver and gold and many horses and chariots, which was forbidden by Moses (Deut. 17:16-17). There are least 4 reasons why these things were dangerous to Godís people:

 

  1. The more things one acquires leads to the desire to want more.
  2. Wealth and feeling protected by their horses and chariots tends to make one feel self-sufficient and can cause one to rely more on themselves than God.
  3. Great riches have a way of causing a person to break down morally and spiritually.
  4. The more wealth Judah acquired, the more of a target they would become to their enemies.

 

Of course these are general truths because there are always exceptions to the general rule, but we today are also warned about the dangers of the pursuit of great possessions in the N.T.

 

1 Timothy 6:9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

 

Those with great possessions can use their riches for good:

 

1 Timothy 6:17 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.18 Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share,19 storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

 

We learn in verse 8 of our text that their land was full of idols they had made with their own hands. Later, Isaiah would give even more details about how foolish his people were about worshiping manmade idols (Isa. 44:9-20). For example, he describes how a man would take a piece of wood and burn it to cook his food and then use the part of that wood to carve into an idol and then bow down to it. Man can be very foolish at times. Those who bow down to manmade idols are absolutely ridiculous.

 

As Isaiah finishes his petition to God, he basically says do not forgive them Lord because their ways are corrupt.

 

Next, Isaiah addresses his people once again:

 

10 Enter into the rock, and hide in the dust, From the terror of the LORD And the glory of His majesty.11 The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, The haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, And the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.

In a very dramatic way, Isaiah is telling his people to prepare for the judgment God will give them because of their apostasy. We must learn today that we must prepare for the judgment of God at the end of time because we will not be able to escape it. Either we will be prepared to face the judgment day and be counted a faithful servant, or we will be unprepared and be cast out where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

 

Verse 11 just reiterates what verse 6 Ė 10 said and shows that the haughty people who have turned their back on God will be humbled. This of course came to pass when Judah was destroyed and taken into captivity by the Babylonians. All of these various judgments God made against His people for their rebellious behavior are a precursor to the final the judgment when Jesus comes back again.

 

Isaiah 2:12 For the day of the LORD of hosts Shall come upon everything proud and lofty, Upon everything lifted up -- And it shall be brought low --13 Upon all the cedars of Lebanon that are high and lifted up, And upon all the oaks of Bashan;14 Upon all the high mountains, And upon all the hills that are lifted up;15 Upon every high tower, And upon every fortified wall;16 Upon all the ships of Tarshish, And upon all the beautiful sloops.17 The loftiness of man shall be bowed down, And the haughtiness of men shall be brought low; The LORD alone will be exalted in that day,18 But the idols He shall utterly abolish.19 They shall go into the holes of the rocks, And into the caves of the earth, From the terror of the LORD And the glory of His majesty, When He arises to shake the earth mightily.20 In that day a man will cast away his idols of silver And his idols of gold, Which they made, each for himself to worship, To the moles and bats,21 To go into the clefts of the rocks, And into the crags of the rugged rocks, From the terror of the LORD And the glory of His majesty, When He arises to shake the earth mightily.22 Sever yourselves from such a man, Whose breath is in his nostrils; For of what account is he?††††

 

Isaiah is describing how the haughty will be crushed and how all these things they have trusted in will be destroyed. When they are, God will be exalted because it will show that He is in control of all things and than there are no substitutes for God. Just as God said, after the Jews were taken over by their enemies, they were brought low and they realized how foolish it was for them to trust in things and in manís ways. When the Jews returned after their captivity, we do not read about them embracing tangible idols made from wood, metal, or stone. They seemed to have at least learned their lesson about making idols with their hands to worship from that time forward.

 

Isaiah ends the chapter by teaching them not to put our trust in man. Instead, we should always put our trust in God. Man is good at leading people astray as they push their own prideful agenda, but we will never go wrong when we stick with Godís Word teaches.

 

In chapter 3, Isaiah describes the anarchy of his people. It gives a sad picture of a people who have turned away from God and toward the customs and philosophies of the surrounding heathen nations.

 

Isaiah 3:1 For behold, the Lord, the LORD of hosts, Takes away from Jerusalem and from Judah The stock and the store, The whole supply of bread and the whole supply of water;2 The mighty man and the man of war, The judge and the prophet, And the diviner and the elder;3 The captain of fifty and the honorable man, The counselor and the skillful artisan, And the expert enchanter.4 "I will give children to be their princes, And babes shall rule over them.5 The people will be oppressed, Every one by another and every one by his neighbor; The child will be insolent toward the elder, And the base toward the honorable."6 When a man takes hold of his brother In the house of his father, saying, "You have clothing; You be our ruler, And let these ruins be under your power,"7 In that day he will protest, saying, "I cannot cure your ills, For in my house is neither food nor clothing; Do not make me a ruler of the people."

 

Isaiah lets them know that God is in control and He is going to show them because He is going to cause them to have weak leadership and the basics of life will be taken from them. Moses warned their forefathers long ago that if they rebelled against God that this would happen to them (Lev. 26:25-26; Deut. 28:49-57). This all came to pass when King Nebuchadnezzar took them over (Ezek. 4:16-17). In fact, the famine was so great that men and women ate the flesh of their parents, children, and mates: (Jer. 19:9; Lam. 4:10; Ezek. 5:10).

 

Judah and Jerusalem were made weak from all sides. Their experienced leaders were replaced with children with little wisdom. As verse 6 points out, someone with nice clothing would be chosen to lead no matter how little experience they actual had. Even they would refuse to lead because of the condition of their nation. This shows us that when there is poor leadership in a nation it is doomed to fail. Same thing can be said today about any nation, but it also applies to congregations, which is the why the Bible gives us the qualifications for elders in 1 Tim. 3 and Titus 1.

 

Next, Isaiah pronounces the woe that Judah and Jerusalem will face:

 

Isaiah 3:8 For Jerusalem stumbled, And Judah is fallen, Because their tongue and their doings Are against the LORD, To provoke the eyes of His glory.9 The look on their countenance witnesses against them, And they declare their sin as Sodom; They do not hide it. Woe to their soul! For they have brought evil upon themselves.10 " Say to the righteous that it shall be well with them, For they shall eat the fruit of their doings.11 Woe to the wicked! It shall be ill with him, For the reward of his hands shall be given him.12 As for My people, children are their oppressors, And women rule over them. O My people! Those who lead you cause you to err, And destroy the way of your paths."13 The LORD stands up to plead, And stands to judge the people.14 The LORD will enter into judgment With the elders of His people And His princes: "For you have eaten up the vineyard; The plunder of the poor is in your houses.15 What do you mean by crushing My people And grinding the faces of the poor?" Says the Lord GOD of hosts.

 

Godís people were so immersed in their sin that they had become like those in Sodom. Sin did not cause them to blush, and they were not even ashamed of what they were doing. To them it was normal behavior and they were probably like many are today who have the attitude that you are a stick in the mud if you limit what you can do based on some old words in a Bible. Since they had no shame and had no intentions of turning from their wicked ways, the brought destruction on their own heads.

 

In verses 10 and 11 we see the idea of reaping what you sow, because the righteous will reap what the sow, which means they will be blessed, but the wicked will have to face the consequences of their actions and it will not be pleasant. This concept has not changed under the N.T.

 

Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.

 

Verse 12 of our text tells us that their downfall is their leadership. Their leaders are leading them out of the light in the darkness of the world. Unfortunately, there are many leaders in the church today that are just like these men and women during Isaiahís day. They are pushing their own agendas to try and loose Godís Word so that people can feel free to do things that the Scriptures do not authorize. It is true that history does repeat itself when we fail to learn from the past.

 

In verse 13 Ė 15 God is depicted as standing to judge His people, but more so He is judging those corrupt immature leaders of His people. In a similar way, those that lead in the church will also be judged by how they lead as well:

 

Hebrews 13:17 Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.

 

Now Isaiah has specific pronouncement of woe on the wicked women of Judah:

 

Isaiah 3:16 Moreover the LORD says: "Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, And walk with outstretched necks And wanton eyes, Walking and mincing as they go, Making a jingling with their feet,17 Therefore the Lord will strike with a scab The crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, And the LORD will uncover their secret parts."18  In that day the Lord will take away the finery: The jingling anklets, the scarves, and the crescents;19 The pendants, the bracelets, and the veils;20 The headdresses, the leg ornaments, and the headbands; The perfume boxes, the charms,21 and the rings; The nose jewels,22 the festal apparel, and the mantles; The outer garments, the purses,23 and the mirrors; The fine linen, the turbans, and the robes.24 And so it shall be: Instead of a sweet smell there will be a stench; Instead of a sash, a rope; Instead of well-set hair, baldness; Instead of a rich robe, a girding of sackcloth; And branding instead of beauty.

 

These women would face their own special judgment because of their haughtiness and their seductive ways. All these things they wore that would be taken away from them were designed to get them attention in a sensual way. As Homer Hailey said:

 

To their shame and humiliation, the sexual features to which they would attract attention would be laid bare in the hands of crude, rough, barbarous captors.

 

These women who had adopted the ways of the wicked nations would have all their things taken from them and their secret parts would become exposed. Instead of smelling good, they would end up stinking from the condition their captors would leave them in. Instead of pretty hair, they would be bald. Instead of beauty they would be branded. It makes me sad to think that they brought this horrible treatment on themselves, but we must understand that living an un-pure life can do this to you. While there was nothing wrong per see with some of these things these women wore, their attitude and how they presenting themselves was the main problem.

 

Isaiah is not finished yet, because now he pronounces some more woes on his people as a whole, which mainly deals with what happened to their men:

 

Isaiah 3:25 Your men shall fall by the sword, And your mighty in the war.26 Her gates shall lament and mourn, And she being desolate shall sit on the ground. 4:1 And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, "We will eat our own food and wear our own apparel; Only let us be called by your name, To take away our reproach."

 

When their enemy comes in, many of their men are going to die. So many are going to die that 7 women will have to fight over 1 man to get a husband. Isaiah paints a dark picture of the consequences of his peopleís sins. We must realize that while sin may have it temporary pleasure, it will never last and almost always will have negative consequences in this life. Even if we somehow escape the consequences of our sins in this life, we will all face the consequences of our sins at the judgment day. So, mark my words, ultimately our sin will find us out.

 

Staring in verse 2, Isaiah begins talking about the hope through the branch of the Lord:

 

Isaiah 4:2 In that day the Branch of the LORD shall be beautiful and glorious; And the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and appealing For those of Israel who have escaped.3 And it shall come to pass that he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy -- everyone who is recorded among the living in Jerusalem. 4 When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and purged the blood of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning,5 then the LORD will create above every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and above her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night. For over all the glory there will be a covering.6 And there will be a tabernacle for shade in the daytime from the heat, for a place of refuge, and for a shelter from storm and rain.

 

The great judgment on Godís people has been proclaimed, but now Isaiah is now talking about the latter days when Jesus would come to the earth. The Branch of the Lord is a reference to Jesus and Jeremiah makes this clearer as He describes the Branch of the Lord in more detail in Jer. 23:5 and 33:15.

 

This beautiful and glorious branch would make it possible for the remnant of Jews that come out of the judgment of God to eventually be considered holy as they become part of the new holy nation made under Christ. Most consider these last verses figuratively pointing to the Christian age since Isaiah is talking about Jesus. For example, when it talks about those living in Jerusalem this is believed to be a figurative reference to the members of the Lordís body, which the Hebrew writer calls the heavenly Jerusalem in Heb. 12:22-23.

 

As we know, many Jews that were decedents of that remnant that came out this great judgment of God were taught the gospel and were converted and became part of the new spiritual Israel that every Christian is part of. We can be confident as being part of Godís holy nation that He does look out for us and protect us as we live our lives. We are so fortunate that God sent us that Branch in the first century to be our Savior. Without Him and His great sacrifice we would all be in trouble. But thanks to be God for allowing His Son to come.

 

You and I get to enjoy the hope that comes through a risen Savior, so let us learn from the Jews living during Isaiahís time and not be a rebellious people living like the world and those who claim to be holy who are not. Instead, lets be the righteous people we read about in Scripture who loved God and kept His commandments and rejoiced in the salvation that He brings.

 

Resources: Huston Bible Lectureship of Isaiah, Coffman commentary, Haileyís Bible handbook, WVBS.