The Lord’s Discipline and Zion’s Restoration

Isaiah 2:6–4:1 – The Lord’s Discipline Of Judah
Isaiah 4:2–6 – The Restoration Of Zion
Isaiah 5 – The Nation’s Judgment And Exile

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One Reply to “The Lord’s Discipline and Zion’s Restoration”

  1. Isaiah points to the pride and arrogance of the Israelites at this point in history and at God’s response, his anger, at these people who violate the first three commandments shamelessly. They have claimed other gods, crafted idols with their hands and all they do profanes the name of the Lord our God. This will not last forever, “the arrogance of man will be brought low and human pride humbled” (Isaiah 2:17).

    Isaiah foretells the tragedy of Judah, the fall of God’s people: “Therefore my people will go into exile for lack of understanding” (5:13). But there will be death and destruction on the way because the people are so arrogant, so proud, “the Lord’s anger burns against his people; his hand is raised and he strikes them down” (5:25). Only the remnant remain.

    Just yesterday, March 3, 2015, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke before our Congress. An impassioned speech that points to the oppressing Persian tyrant of modern times, those who would lead Iran into more and more bloodshed as they gobble up the Middle East and spread their jihad. I mention that here because his speech was opened and closed with reference to Esther and the threat of Jewish annihilation around the same time that Isaiah speaks here. I’ve always respected our Jewish brothers and sisters, though I long for them to know the truth has come, their devotion gives them strength. Their traditions, the Purim festival begins today through tomorrow at sunset, established by Mordecai and the leaders at that time following the deliverance from Haman, “the Jews took it on themselves to establish the custom that they and their descendants and all who join them should without fail observe these two days every year” (Esther 9:27).

    Understanding the Old Testament makes history come alive. Netanyahu mentioned that in only ten years Iran would have full ability to proliferate nuclear arms unabated, even endorsed, by political boundaries…if we do nothing. Isaiah writes in a time when tyranny overwhelms ancient Israel. Ten years, only a blink of an eye as Netanyahu reminds us, our children will feel the strain of a culture bent on destruction.

    Such is the result of those who follow their own devices. Isaiah 5:1-7 provides a parable about a vineyard that produces so little that its wall are broken down, its hedge destroyed, “The vineyard of the Lord Almighty is the nation of Israel, and the people of Judah are the vines he delighted in. And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed; for righteousness, but heard cries of distress” (5:7).

    But there is always hope, “the Lord will wash away the filth of the women of Zion; he will cleanse the bloodstains from Jerusalem by a spirit of judgment and a spirit of fire” (4:4). God will provide a shelter for his people.

    As I reflect on this post, I realize I’ve written very little about Isaiah 2-5, but it is the sentiment that strikes me this morning. We read these historical chapters and seem to learn nothing. Judah’s kings are being stupid at this time and Isaiah merely tells them what will happen. Sad.

    Lord you are relentless in your pursuit of us, so loving that you just won’t stop. How can we ever thank you enough? We are so self-absorbed that we will miss out on the gifts you want to give us because we’re told over and over again that this world is all there is to know. Help us to keep a heavenly perspective. I know I’ve said this so many times, but it is so difficult to wrap my human mind around: we are spiritual beings trapped in human flesh for a very short time compared with eternity. Help us Lord to us this time wisely.

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