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FRAMEWORKS: Isaiah

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FRAMEWORKS: Isaiah 24: The Lord's devastation of the earth

 

Context:

1.3 God's Outworking of the End Judgment Ch.24-27

Ch.24 – The Lord's devastation of the earth

Ch.25 – Subsequent Praise to the Lord

Ch.26 An extension of the song of praise

Ch.27 Deliverance by Discipline of Israel

   

This Chapter:

v.1-4 A mighty world-wide devastation

v.5-9 Caused by the people, destruction of life and crops

v.10-13 City & the earth beaten down

v.14-16 Yet the peoples carry on their festivities as if nothing was happening

v.16b-18 But Isaiah is in total anguish over what he sees is coming

v.19-23 He sees its full effects on the earth

 

[Introductory Comment: This chapter, sometimes referred to as ‘Isaiah's Apocalypse', encompassing the whole earth, fits with other ‘end-time' prophecies in the Bible indicating massive destructions on the earth [v.1,3,4] from which no one will be exempt [v.2]. Verse 5 gives a devastating assessment of the cause of it which, from the beginning of the third decade of the twenty-first century, some would suggest is the environmental crisis caused by humanity's careless use of the planet [but see below]. Verses 6 to 9 show the practical outworkings of this, perhaps yet to be seen later in this century. Whether verse 10 is Jerusalem or simply symptomatic of what will happen to cities as these things develop [v.11-13], is unclear. Rather like the days of Noah [see Mt 24:37,38, Lk 17:26-30] people will be ignoring what is happening [v.14-16]. But the prophet ‘sees' the awfulness of what will happen and is in anguish [v.16-18]. In graphic detail he spells out how bad it will be [v.19-23]. See additional note at end of chapter.]

 

 

v.1-4 A mighty world-wide devastation

 

v.1 (A mighty worldwide cataclysmic destruction) See, the Lord is going to lay waste the earth
    and devastate it;
he will ruin its face
    and scatter its inhabitants –
v.2 (No one will escape it) it will be the same
    for priest as for people,
    for the master as for his servant,
    for the mistress as for her servant,
    for seller as for buyer,
    for borrower as for lender,
    for debtor as for creditor.
v.3 (The whole earth will be ravished) The earth will be completely laid waste
    and totally plundered.
The Lord has spoken this word.

v.4 (Heaven & earth suffer) The earth dries up and withers,
    the world languishes and withers,
    the heavens languish with the earth.
    

   

v.5-9 Caused by the people, destruction of life and crops

 

v.5 (The people of the earth have abused it) The earth is defiled by its people;
    they have disobeyed the laws,
violated the statutes
    and broken the everlasting covenant.
v.6 (Therefore they must bear the consequences) Therefore a curse consumes the earth;
    its people must bear their guilt.
Therefore earth's inhabitants are burned up,
    and very few are left.
v.7 (Harvests will be destroyed) The new wine dries up and the vine withers;
    all the merrymakers groan.
v.8 (Joy will depart) The joyful tambourines are stilled,
    the noise of the revellers has stopped,
    the joyful harp is silent.
v.9  No longer do they drink wine with a song;
    the beer is bitter to its drinkers.
    

   

v.10-13 City & the earth beaten down

 

v.10   (The city [Jerusalem?] will fall) The ruined city lies desolate;
    the entrance to every house is barred.
v.11   (Happiness will go) In the streets they cry out for wine;
    all joy turns to gloom,
    all joyful sounds are banished from the earth.
v.12   (It will be in ruins) The city is left in ruins,
    its gate is battered to pieces.

v.13  (An illustration of what happens worldwide) So will it be on the earth
    and among the nations,
as when an olive tree is beaten,
    or as when gleanings are left after the grape harvest.

    

   

v.14-16a Yet the peoples carry on their festivities as if nothing was happening

 

v.14   (There is still rejoicing, even from the people of God) They raise their voices, they shout for joy;
    from the west they acclaim the Lord's majesty.
v.15  Therefore in the east give glory to the Lord;
    exalt the name of the Lord, the God of Israel,
    in the islands of the sea.
v.16  From the ends of the earth we hear singing:
    ‘Glory to the Righteous One.'

   

   

v.16b-18 But Isaiah is in total anguish over what he sees is coming

 

(Isaiah feels otherwise) But I said, ‘I waste away, I waste away!
    Woe to me!
The treacherous betray!
    With treachery the treacherous betray!'
v.17  Terror and pit and snare await you,
    people of the earth.
v.18  Whoever flees at the sound of terror
    will fall into a pit;
whoever climbs out of the pit
    will be caught in a snare.

The floodgates of the heavens are opened,
    the foundations of the earth shake.
    

   

v.19-23 He sees its full effects on the earth

 

v.19 (The effect on the earth is cataclysmic) The earth is broken up,
    the earth is split asunder,
    the earth is violently shaken.
v.20  The earth reels like a drunkard,
    it sways like a hut in the wind;
so heavy upon it is the guilt of its rebellion
    that it falls – never to rise again.

v.21 (All ungodly rule will be punished) In that day the Lord will punish
    the powers in the heavens above
    and the kings on the earth below.
v.22  They will be herded together
    like prisoners bound in a dungeon;
they will be shut up in prison
    and be punished after many days.
v.23 (The sky may be hidden but not God's glory) The moon will be dismayed,
    the sun ashamed;
for the Lord Almighty will reign
    on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem,
    and before its elders – with great glory.

 

[Additional Comment: Seeking to suggest applications of such a prophecy as found in this chapter is an uncertain exercise. At the beginning of the chapter we referred to the environmental crisis becoming more and more obvious as the twenty-first century develops, yet the same descriptions found in the chapter could be equally applied to extreme out-of-control biological warfare, or even partial nuclear warfare.

Perhaps the most important thing to note is that the outworkings of this destruction has human origins and the Scriptures are clear that very often the judgment that God brings is simply brought about as He lifts off His hands of restraint and sinful mankind is allowed to wreak havoc by the consequences of their foolish, sinful actions. All three of the causes mentioned above fit this description.]

            

      

CONTINUE TO CHAPTER 25