Daily Bible Studies
|Series Theme: Isaiah Studies (Series 3 of 9 - chapters 22 to 35)|
Chs. 24 - 27
Chapter: Isaiah 24
Passage: Isa 24:1-13
A. Find Out
1. What is the Lord going to do? v.1,3
2. Who will that include? v.2
3. What has happened to the earth? v.4,5
4. With what result? v.6
5. How is this seen? v.7-12
6. Yet with what hope? v.13
The word of this chapter appears first as a picture of total devastation of the earth. Whether it is a natural (earthquakes) or warfare devastation is unclear. Verse 1 could be natural and verse 3 human, or both could be either! Verse 2 tells us that no one, but no one, will escape what is going to happen.
The picture that is then given after this devastating warning is of human influence. The ‘big people' languish (v.4), the earth is defiled by the general people (v.5a) who have disobeyed God (v.5b). But God has designed the world so that blessing and curse follow behaviour. Blessing is simply good that will come when we live according to the way God has designed us; curse is bad that will follow unrighteousness and ungodly behaviour which brings its own consequences. This ‘curse' now follows (v.6) and the people will reap the harvest of their behaviour.
When the negative consequences of bad behaviour occur, they are obvious and natural (although designed by God- it's how the world works!) people die (v.6b), harvests shrivel (v.7a) and the people suffer as a consequence (v.7b,8,9) and whole societies collapse (v.10) and ‘depression' is not merely a work used in economics, it is also the state of the people (v.11,12). Nevertheless that is not the end. Even as a few grapes are left after the vines are picked, so a few will survive.
1. Even God's people go through the times of economic decline.
2. Where there is judgment there will always be a faithful remnant left.
Chapter: Isaiah 24
Passage: Isa 24:13-23
A. Find Out
1. Where does the grape picture occur? v.13
2. What happens across the earth therefore? v.14-16a
3. Yet what does the prophet feel and why? v.16b-18a
4. What does he see happening to the earth? v.18b-20a
5. Why? v.20b
6. So what is he seeing happening? v.21-23
This chapter needs to be seen as a whole. We've seen that devastation is coming across the whole earth (v.1-12). Yet also so far we've seen that there will be a faithful remnant left, as when grapes are picked so there is a remnant left on the trees (v.13)
What we see next is the joy of that remnant (v.14a), a remnant that is found all round the world (v.14b-16). These ones acknowledge the Lord and rejoice in him, BUT the prophet is consumed with the terrible picture that he sees of the destruction of the world, and so great is it that he is unable to join in the celebrations of the saved remnant! He feels like he is wasting away (v.16b) as the treacherous (unbelievers) are destroyed (v.16c-18). We remember the Lord takes no joy in the death of anyone but rather that they repent (See Ezek 18:23,32). Thus there is no joy in this destruction.
But in God's (final) judgment the earth will suffer upheaval (v.18b-20) because of the rebellion of mankind that prevails (v.20b). On that day the Lord will deal with all – great and small – who are in rebellion, and judgment will come on them, but not until time has passed where, by implication, time is given for them to repent (see v.22 ‘after many days'). There will be signs in the sky (v.23a) but all these things add up to one thing: this is the Lord reigning over all, bringing about His will over this world in rebellion (v.23b,c).
1. God doesn't delight in bringing death, but it is sometimes necessary.
2. The Lord always gives time for repentance.
Chapter: Isaiah 25
Passage: Isaiah 25:1-8a
A. Find Out
1. Why was the prophet praising the Lord? v.1
2. What had the Lord done with what effect? v.2,3
3. Yet what also was the Lord? v.4a
4. What had been their need and how had He met it? v.4b,5
5. What will the Lord do ‘on this mountain'? v.6,7
6. What will that entail? v.8a
Moving from contemplation of the awfulness of the end devastation of the world, the prophet finds himself praising the Lord for His activities (v.1), things that weren't random but which were spoken about long ago. He observes the state of enemy cities (that had once been a threat to Israel ) but which the Lord had destroyed (v.2), so that even the strongest of nations will acknowledge that the Lord is greater (v.3). He observes that (in doing this) the Lord has become a refuge for the poor and needy (those so often caught up on the edge of wars), those who end up in distress because of them (4).
He ponders that the ruthless enemy comes like a storm driving against a wall, carrying everything before it and leaving it piled against the wall when it abates (v.4b,5a) in sultry stillness in the heat of the desert. It is a powerful picture of the effects of war on ‘bystanders'. But the Lord cares for them and He deals with the foreign enemies so that silence reigns instead of the sounds of war (v.5b)
References to “this mountain” tend to refer to Jerusalem and so he sees the Lord's goal as producing a mighty time of celebration and rejoicing in Jerusalem (v.6). There in Jerusalem the Lord will do something amazing – He will do away with death (v.8a). That probably suggests that He will make it a place of peace and security and freedom from fear. Death had covered all peoples (v.7) but it will be gone!
1. Don't focus on destructive judgment, for that's only a part.
2. The Lord works to bring peace and relationship with Him.
Chapter: Isaiah 25
Passage: Isaiah 25:8-12
A. Find Out
1. What will the Lord do for His people? v.8
2. How will His people feel? v.9
3. How will the Lord deal with different people? v.10
4. How will ‘ Moab ' end up? v.10c-12
5. What was it about ‘ Moab ' that caused this? v.11b
In verses 6 to 12 there are two contrasting pictures given. The first is of the faithful remnant that we saw back in 24:13-16 referred to as “his people” in 25:8 and this people are pictured at a celebratory feast (v.6) where peace and eternal life prevails (v.8) . Also the shame and disgrace (v.8b) of the past is removed and forgotten in the wonder of the relationship they now have with the Lord where they feel utterly secure in the trust that has been formed and the salvation received (v.9). God's hand rests on them (v.10a) and they are secure.
By contrast the prophet pictures ‘ Moab '. Now whether that is literal Moab or an analogy for all unbelievers is unclear, but whereas the people of God are resting safe and secure in a celebratory banquet, this people are being trampled underfoot (v.10b) and, in the same way as straw is put down in a stable to cover the cattle droppings and is then trodden in, so will the unbeliever experience a time of wallowing in their sin. But they try to survive in it and so the picture is of them trying to swim in this muck (v.11a) trying to keep going despite it.
But this is a process or action brought about by the Lord to bring down their pride and their cleverness (v.11b). This presumably is what is behind this, their pride which has exalted them and made them reject God. We hear the same thing in the crusading atheists of the twenty first century. They may have been great and strong but God will bring them down in His dealings with them (v.12)
1. Pride deceives us into thinking we are greater than God. Sheer folly!
2. The eternal options have been made very clear. Choose.
Chapter: Isaiah 26
Passage: Isaiah 26:1-7
A. Find Out
1. What will be sung when? v.1
2. Who may enter the city of God ? v.2
3. Who will God give peace to? v.3
4. What are we to do with God and why? v.4
5. What does He do for the proud and the poor? v.5,6
6. What (by implication) does He do for the righteous? v.7
In the midst of all the talk of the Lord's coming judgment for unbelievers, and blessing for the faithful, comes this song of praise (v.1a), sung in Judah. It is about having a secure dwelling place with God (a strong city v.1b) the ‘surrounding security' (walls), which is the salvation the Lord brings (v.1c). The fact that the Lord saves becomes a fact of reassurance, a protection against the enemy – think on that. This ‘city' is a place for the righteous, for those who are faithful (v.2). As a follow on, there is a principle: we will have perfect, immovable peace when we trust in God and our minds are fixed on that truth (v.3).
So the call that follows is to trust in the Lord (v.4) because the “I Am”, the eternal God (LORD) is an everlasting Rock, one who is always there and unmovable. His character is unchanging and so you can know that He will bring down the proud (v.5a), those who are self assured and (by implication) who reject the Lord. He reverses the fortunes of men so that the oppressed and the poor are on top (v.6).
Meanwhile the righteous can take comfort and assurance that the Lord will make their path level and smooth (v.). This is a sign of His blessing on their lives. To summarise, the righteous faithful remnant can know complete peace and security as they trust in the Lord who is unchanging and who will always be there for them, to bless them.
1. Knowing the Lord means you are in a place of complete assurance.
2. Trusting in the Lord bring complete peace and blessing.
Chapter: Isaiah 26
Passage: Isaiah 26:8-15
A. Find Out
1. What does the prophet say his desire is? v.8,9
2. How are the wicked different? v.10-11
3. What does the prophet acknowledge of the Lord? v.12,13
4. But what about the wicked (implied)? v.14
5. What has the Lord done for the nation? v.15
In this song of praise the prophet, as prophets often do, seems to step out of time as he speaks. He has just said that the Lord makes the way of the righteous a smooth and level path (v.7) and in the awareness of the Lord working for them, he now waits for the Lord (v.8) and yearns for His activities to be seen more and more so that the world will learn of Him. (v.9). But then it is as if he looks down on history and sees the wicked, those focused on their own pleasure to the detriment of others, doing what is wrong in God's sight. These people do not learn of God's ways (v.10) even when the nation as a whole is living for God. These ones just going on doing wrong irrespective of God's blessings on the nation (v.11) and so they actually deserve judgment.
The prophet is aware of the Lord's goodness towards them, the peace He has brought them and, indeed, he recognises that anything good that they have has come from the Lord (v.12). They have, in the past, had other rulers ruling over them (v.13) but they were not worthy of honour; only the Lord was. But they are no more, for the Lord has dealt with them and they are dead and gone (v.14).
He sees a time when no more is Israel under the oppression of an enemy. Indeed he goes further, for he sees a time when he sees that God has blessed and enlarged Israel (v.15). It has been a clear work of the Lord and glory has been given to Him. No longer is Israel a small insignificant nation; now they are blessed of God and the world sees it.
1. We may go through times of trial but the Lord will overcome.
2. The righteous will be brought through triumphant.
Chapter: Isaiah 26
Passage: Isaiah 26:15-21
A. Find Out
1. How had their restoration started? v.16
2. What had they been like? v.17
3. Yet what was all that came forth? v.18
4. Yet what will happen? v.19
5. What counsel are they given? v.20
6. Why? v.21
Previously in this chapter the praise had been because of the assurance they had of the Lord (v.1-7) yet they had to wait while the Lord dealt with the unrighteous (v.8-12) while still being confident that the Lord was blessing the nation (v.12-15).
In what now follows the prophet first LOOKS BACK to how, as a people, they had been disciplined by the Lord. In that, they cried to the Lord in prayer (v.16) showing their weakness, reflecting how they actually were. Like a woman in the last stages of labour, so they cried out expecting something to change (v.17) yet what came was not the salvation they expected (v.18).
But then the prophet LOOKS FORWARD. In all this the (spiritually) dead, or those who only expected death, will yet rise (v.17a). In the same way that the dew appears silently in the morning so the Lord will yet come and bring His salvation.
And yet there is a BUT and it is a ‘but' that involves THE PRESENT. It is that this salvation is not coming yet and so the call is for them now in the present to go indoors and wait patiently because God's wrath has yet to be worked through (v.20)
The big picture here is that although God will bring salvation to the faithful remnant, yet He is going to bring judgment on the unfaithful and unrighteous; they will be punished. Until it's passed, wait! (v.21)
1. The earth may suffer upheavals at God deals with the unrighteous.
2. Yet the Lord will be there for His faithful ones.
Chapter: Isaiah 27
Passage: Isaiah 27:1-6
A. Find Out
1. In that day, what will the Lord do? v.1
2. Of what were they to sing? v.2
3. What does the Lord do with it? v.3
4. What two things would the Lord prefer? v.4,5
5. What will yet happen? v.6
Remember in these chapters we keep going backwards and forwards between judgment of the world and the blessing of God's people. This chapter starts with a declaration of God's intent of destroying the serpent. (v.1) Leviathan is used in different ways in Scripture to simply mean ‘a great monster'. The sea is often use allegorically to mean the peoples of the world. We suggest therefore that this is a declaration of the Lord's intent to one day bring and end to Satan's rule over the peoples of the earth.
This is then followed by a reference to God's vineyard, which has got to be Israel (v.2). The Lord watches over, provides for it and protects it (v.3). This was the declared promise for Israel when their relationship with Him was good and right. But tragically it doesn't always work like that. This was supposed to be a two way relationship between God and Israel but in this picture there appears absence of relationship. When the Lord says He is not angry the implication is that there is emotion but it is more likely to be sorrow. The absence of briars growing appears to indicate a complete lack of life and the Lord would rather there was this that He could actually deal with, or that they would seek God in their trials, as a refuge (v.5).
It may not be like it at the present, but God's ultimate objective with Israel is that in the days to yet come they will be established, will grow and will flourish and bless the rest of the earth. The Gospel? Or…
1. God does all He can for us by blessing us. We have no excuses.
2. He wants to make us a blessing to the rest of His world.
Chapter: Isaiah 27
Passage: Isaiah 27:7-13
A. Find Out
1. What question does the prophet ask about Israel ? v.7
2. How does the Lord deal with Israel ? v.8
3. What will this achieve? v.9
4. How does he see Jerusalem ? v.10,11
5. How extensive will the Lord's work be? v.12
6. And what will be the outcome? v.13
1. How severely will the Lord deal with Israel ?
2. What will be the initial result?
3. What will be the end result?
These verses are all about Israel and Jerusalem . The prophet sees that the Lord is going to do with them and asks what the extent of the Lord's work will be. Will the Lord completely destroy Israel as he has other wayward nations? (v.7). No, but it will be through invaders coming (warfare) who will carry Israel away (exile) and by this way He will deal with them (v.8). By this way He will purge the land of all signs of idolatry so that the wrong altars and items of pagan worship will be swept away (v.9).
Isaiah looks into the future and sees Jerusalem standing empty and desolate, abandoned and stripped clean by the enemy (v.10), a dry and dead place where trees and bushes are dead and dry and any women left in this place will use them for firewood (v.11a). The reason for all this is given: this people of Israel are a people without understanding (v.11b) and so (by implication) they have carried on sinning and so the only thing left for the Lord is to move against them without favour (v.11c). But the Lord's work will not be limited to Israel for he will deal with the whole area from what is now Iraq right down to Egypt (v.12) and eventually He will bring back all of His scattered people, those who have either fled or been taken into exile and they will return to Jerusalem and worship the Lord there (v.13). Again disciplinary judgement is tempered by mercy and hope. There is yet a future for Israel .
1. When the Lord disciplines, it is to purify.
2. If discipline seem hard, it is limited and will bring good in the end.
RECAP " Judgment and Promise" Isaiah 24-27
In this second group of 9 studies we have seen :
Universal Judgments for Universal Sin - Ch. 24
Coming judgment on the whole earth warned
Deliverance and Blessing - Ch. 25
Praise for the Lord's Sovereign Care - Ch. 26
Enemies Punished / Israel 's Remnant Restored - Ch. 27
God will destroy the enemies of His people
These chapters are primarily chapters speaking of judgment for the earth in general and discipline for Israel (Judah) in particular. Where it is judgment it is because of hard-hearted rebellion across the earth and the end will be an earth-shattering time of immense upheaval.
In respect of Judah, it appears a mixture of warning about the need to be disciplined resulting in a faithful remnant coming forth, a people faithful to God who have been through the time of upheaval but who have stood and remained faithful.
1. Judgment destroys the hard-hearted who are utterly set in their ways.
2. Discipline comes to those who will heed and will turn back.
Thank the Lord that He distinguishes between those who are set and those who can be turned (for such were we).
PART 3 : "Six Woes" – Ch.28-32
Here we will see warnings to Samaria and Judah , and especially Jerusalem, to the godless who ignore God, to those who rely on men and not God, to those who rely on Egypt and to Assyria.