Wednesday, March 12, 2014

CCXLIII - Isaiah 32 - 39

The backdrop remains the same in Judah, as the threat of the Assyrians continue to weigh heavily on the minds of the leaders of Judah.  Assyria was a growing power and made no secret of their plans for world dominance, and conquering Judah would be a natural strategy in their campaign to consume the western countries between them and the Mediterranean Sea.  Judah had fallen deep into the abyss of idol worship and disregard for God and His commandments.  God had raised up Isaiah as His spokesman to try to persuade His people to return to Him.
We let off in the last post with Isaiah scolding the leaders of Judah for seeking help from Egypt rather than seeking help from God, using language that spoke both in parables and directly to the current situation.

Chapter 32

The first eight verses of this chapter speak of a perfect ruler of God’s people.  Common sense tells us, as it has many Biblical scholars, that Isaiah is referring to the Messianic King.  These verses describe how wonderful it would be to live under a righteous and Godly ruler as he uses four metaphors to describe it.
Then in the next five verses Isaiah shifts his comments to the women of Judah.  {The book of Isaiah is difficult to teach, as it makes abrupt changes in subject matter.  I guess that is the reason excerpts of this book are used so often in sermons and Bible lessons.}  I find it interesting the way God’s prophets viewed the women of both Judah and Israel.  Isaiah is not the only prophet who has some harsh words for them.  Evidently, the women are oblivious to what is going on around them, as their thoughts revolved around material possessions and creature comforts.  Allow me to paraphrase verse 9:  Listen to me, you women in Judah.  You live in comfort.  You feel that you have security.  You have no worries.  You are so self-confident.  But listen to my words carefully{I cannot be certain why Isaiah spoke to this group at this particular time, but his words should have drawn their attention.}  Isiah then in the next four verses actually prophesies what is going to happen in the very near future, stating the actual time frame of a little more than a year (stating exact time frames is rare in prophecies) forecasting drought, crop failure, and the removal of all of these creature comforts to which they have become accustomed.  Additionally their security will disappear and they will suddenly become aware of the dire situation the entire nation has fallen into.
Then is verse 15 he says “Till”.  He goes on to describe “till what”.  This is when God takes over and utopia will exist under the direct reign of Christ.  Only then will the nation and God’s people be healed from all of those things described in the previous verses.

Chapter 33

In the first verse of this chapter Isaiah is pronouncing doom on Assyria, and goes on to appeal to God to help Judah in its struggle against this cruel aggressor.  In verses 10-16 Isaiah promises that the few who will repent and seek God and His righteousness will be spared from the horrors of conquest and captivity.  {To be taken captive by a foreign army was indeed horrible.  The captives are led away in chains and must literally walk the hundreds of miles back to the homeland of the enemy to become their slaves.  The women are beaten and raped.  The men are usually killed or maimed.  Their lives would become nothing but misery under the taskmaster to whom they will be assigned.}
Then in verses 17-24 Isaiah shifts focus back to the Messiah.  No doubt in my mind that he is referring to Jesus and His reign as King on earth and in heaven.  In verse 17 he refers to “His beauty”.  Verse 18:  The terror you will suffer will become only a memory when the Messiah becomes King.  The land in which you live will return to being a land of milk and honey, void of the fears and difficulties you are about to experience.  Verse 19 is saying that they will no longer have to try to adhere to the voices whose language they do not understand (Assyrians spoke a different language).  {You can tell Isaiah gets excited when he speaks of the Messianic rule.  Remember, he is living in Jerusalem and has witnessed the spiritual disintegration of his beloved Judah.}

Chapter 34

This entire chapter speaks to other nations about their own destruction on the “Day of the Lord”.  On this day when the Lord deals directly with the wicked nations, it will be a world-wide catastrophe.  I believe when in verse 5 the Edom is mentioned to represent all of the nations who have made themselves enemies of God’s people.

Chapter 35

This chapter somewhat reverses language and describes the beautiful Zion which awaits those who have shown themselves faithful to God and His commandments.  {This speaks so very far in the distant future, as it is easy to relate this to Christ being King in the heavenly city of Zion.}

Chapter 36 and 37

Now we make another abrupt shift in subjects.  The opening verse of this chapter states the date, being the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah’s reign.  This bit of History can be found also in 2 Kings 18-19, so I will briefly review.  It was during Hezekiah’s reign that Sennacherib king of Assyria attacked Judah’s fortified cities and was setting up to conquer Jerusalem.  Sennacherib sent his military leader Rabshakeh to Jerusalem to urge them to surrender peacefully.  He spoke directly to the people telling them that Hezekiah cannot help them and they cannot depend on Egypt for military help.  In the final verse of chapter 36 Hezekiah is aware of the severity of the situation and tears his clothes in an act of desperation.  Chapter 37 has Isaiah taking steps to guide Hezekiah through this crisis.  Hezekiah, being a God fearing man, listens to Isaiah, exercises faith, and obtains deliverance directly from God as Sennacherib is soundly defeated, eliminating Assyria as a direct threat to Judah.

Chapters 38 and 39

We studied these interesting stories of Hezekiah thoroughly in 2 Kings.  These two chapters serve as a review of those stories, telling of Hezekiah’s illness and recovery after his sincere prayer that God answered.  This was actually a reversal of an earlier pronouncement upon Hezekiah.  Then in chapter 39 Isaiah repeats the story of Hezekiah foolishly showing the Babylonian diplomats the treasures of the Temple, allowing his pride to set up the ultimate fall of Jerusalem to these Babylonians.

In the next post we will see Isaiah describing God’s plans for the future.

No comments:

Post a Comment