Daily Bible Studies
|Series Theme: Isaiah Studies (Series 3 of 9 - chapters 22 to 35)|
Chs. 34 - 35
Chapter: Isaiah 34
Passage: Isa 34:1-4
A. Find Out
1. Who is to listen to this next prophecy? v.1
2. What does the Lord feel about whom? v.2a
3. So what will He do with them? v.2b
4. How extensive will this be? v.3
5. What will happen in the heavens? v.4
1. How extensive is the judgment spoken of here?
2. What will this judgment entail?
In the previous chapter the focus has been on Zion – Jerusalem (see. 33:20-) – but now the prophetic vision extends dramatically and rapidly to cover the whole earth (v.1). Isaiah is quite specific and so that means all the people of the earth. At this stage this is not a separating out of righteous from unrighteous – that will come later and has come before – it is just simply a general warning of a destruction that will be worldwide.
The reason for this destruction is only partly given here (this is just a general warning at this stage) and it is that the Lord is angry with the peoples of the earth (v.2a) and so great is His anger that He will completely and utterly destroy them all (v.2b). The reason for His anger is not given at this stage. Very simply the awfulness is displayed, sufficiently terrible as to catch our attention perhaps.
To emphasise it, Isaiah pictures the dead being piled up in heaps with the awful smell of corrupting dead pervading everything (v.3), and even the mountains will be covered in the blood of the slain – there will be no place that people can escape to, where judgment will not come.
Finally there is a terrible picture of even the heavens being rolled up (v.4) – whether this is literal or is meant to mean heavenly hosts of evil, or even leaders of the world, is unclear. Time alone will tell. All we know from this is that there will be a catastrophic world-wide judgment by God which must be the Last Day.
1. The unredeemed sinner will have nowhere to run.
2. The redeemed will rely on the Cross on that day.
Chapter: Isaiah 34
Passage: Isa 34:5-10
A. Find Out
1. On whom is judgment now focused? v.5
2. Where will be sacrificed? v.6
3. What will fall? (note carefully) v.7
4. What is the Lord doing and why? v.8
5. What is the extent of the destruction of Edom ? v.9
6. How long will its effect continue? v.10
1. How extensive is this judgment?
2. What indications are there of that?
3. What appears its cause?
From looking at judgement on the whole world, the focus now turns to Edom (v.5), a nation that came from Esau and was always in contention against Israel , the epitome of a rebellious, godless people. When the Lord says “I have destroyed” it means it is as good as done – it is certain.
The language of verse 6 is the language of sacrifice and the parts mentioned are those parts reserved in the sacrificial system for the Lord. Bozrah is the capital of Edom , and it has the same impact as when a TV hero says of a criminal to be taken, “He's mine!” i.e. that one is to be left to me for special attention.
Bear that sacrificial language in mind when you come to verse 7 for bulls and bull calves were part of the appropriate animals to be sacrificed but wild bulls were not, so this is a prophet's way of saying God will deal with everyone, all the ‘big people' will be included in this ‘sacrifice'.
These are the specifics of a day that the Lord has planned (v.8) when, for Israel 's sake, He will deal with Edom , the ever-present enemy. It will be a total destruction of the land (v.9) and it will be so devastating that the land will continue to be uninhabitable for generations to come. This is a devastating picture of God's judgement on ungodly people.
1. If God brings judgement it is only after frequent warnings.
2. If God brings judgement it is a last resort and well deserved. Understand every judgment in this light.
Chapter: Isaiah 34
Passage: Isaiah 34:11-17
A. Find Out
1. Who will possess the land? v.11a
2. What will the Lord be doing? v.11b
3. Who will no longer be seen in the land? v.12
4. Who will replace them? v.13-15
5. How is this confirmed? v.16
6. For how long? v.17
1. What is the point of the creatures being mentioned?
2. What is the final picture of the land?
In verse 10 the Lord had indicated that Edom would be desolate for generations to come but again and again in prophetic Scripture the Lord speaks a statement but then paints a picture to graphically ensure that that statement is well and truly indelibly imprinted in our memories. The verses here now are like that, a graphic picture to help us take in what the Lord has just said.
The Lord has just said the land will be desolate but now He lists off a number (not just one of two) of different sorts of owls that will occupy the land (v.11a). For a number of varieties of bird to take up residence there the habitat has got to be quiet and it will take a long time to bring this sort of habitat about!
God will bring chaos and desolation to this land (v.11b) and of course He has spoken of this before. He will bring about this destruction. Whereas once this land was ruled over by noblemen, princes and kings, (v.12) now there will be no sign of them.
This will be a land devoid of human habitation, a land left to grow into a wildlife wilderness of thorns, nettles and briars (v.13) – and of course that take quite a while - where jackals are at home and owls are at peace, creatures that are normally not at ease in human company. This is a place where wild animals have settled (v.14.15) for the Lord has so spoken (v.16) and has given all these creatures their long term habitat (v.17).
1. The Lord works on the long-term and takes His time.
2. Don't expect changes to come quickly usually.
Chapter: Isaiah 35
Passage: Isaiah 35:1-7
A. Find Out
1. What will happen where? v.1,2
2. Who are encouraged to do what? v.3
3. What are the fearful encouraged to do and why? v.4
4. How will people be changed? v.5,6a
5. What will happen where? v.6b
6. And with what effect? v.7
1. How will the land be transformed?
2. How will people be transformed?
3. What will be the cause of all this?
Whether Edom on the previous chapter meant literal Edom or this is a symbolic reference to all of godless humanity, as this chapter opens it does so in stark contrast. Chapter 34 had been all about destruction and the land being left to run wild, but now we come to talk of a desert and wilderness being restored (v.1) Even as a flower bursts into bloom so will this land (v.2) and it will be given the luxuriant growth that is known in some other parts of that area.
This is a time of encouragement, therefore, a time to encourage those who feel weak and feeble in themselves (v.3). To those who are fearful because of all of the talk of judgement (implied) the encouraging word is “Be strong” (v.4) because God is going to come and save His people.
This will be a time when the spiritual blindness and deafness that Isaiah has referred to before, will be removed (v.5) Those who are spiritually lame will find new life and will leap, and those who have been mute will speak out (v.6 implied).
Whether this is a literal desert or a spiritual one is unclear and so whether the water (v.6b) is literal or spiritual is also unclear. Yet there will be water in abundance. Water is a basic necessity for life and as this water comes so it will transform the land (v.7). Where it was once a barren land of jackals, now it will be a place of lush growth.
1. In a time of spiritual drought, call on the Lord.
2. In the time of spiritual drought, you remain faithful.
Chapter: Isaiah 35
Passage: Isaiah 35:8-10
A. Find Out
1. What will also be there, called what? v.8a
2. Who will and won't walk on it? v.8b,9
3. Who will they be, going where? v.10a
4. What will they be doing? v.10b
5. What will they be feeling? v.10c
6. What will they not experience? v.10d
1. What is the nature of this path?
2. Where is it going?
3. Who walk on it and what do they experience?
The land has been restored (v.1,2), encouragement is brought to the weak and fearful (v.3,4), a new freedom is brought to God's people (v.5,6) and life will break lose in the desert to transform it (v.6,7). But that is not the end of it.
Zion is the meeting place of God and man and so we are next shown a highway in this transformed desert (v.8) which leads to Zion (v.10). This highway is a place of holiness which implies that only those who are holy – different, like God – will be able to walk on it, and so the unclean or the wicked will not be permitted on it (v.8b,c). It will, in fact, be a place of security where no wild beast is allowed (v.9), only those God is redeeming, those He has ransomed (v.9) from Sin and from Satan, we now know.
This returning people will be aware of the wonder of what is happening and so as they journey back to meet with the Lord they will come with singing (v.10), an expression of their joy that they experience and wear triumphantly (as a crown). They will be filled will gladness, aware of what God is doing for them and sorrow and sighing will now only be a past memory.
The time for this is not stated; it is simply an experience that the redeemed of God will have for His intent is to bring His people back into relationship with Him.
1. Those given over to God will be led into His presence.
2. God's presence is reserved for them alone.
RECAP "More Judgment & Promise" Isaiah 34 & 35
In this final group of 5 studies we have seen :
Destruction of the Nations & the Avenging of God's People Ch. 34
The Future Blessings of Restored Zion Ch. 35
Before we reach the historical interlude of Chs.36-39, we find these tremendous warnings of the Lord coming to judge the earth and then blessing for His people. In that respect it is like the waves coming a second time in on the shore, here repeating the warnings of Chs.24 to 27.
Chapter 34 starts out as a warning to the whole earth of a cataclysmic judgment that will come on the earth. It then quickly moves on to speak of Edom – whether the literal enemy nation of Israel or a figurative picture of the world that is an enemy of God's people – where the judgment that is coming will completely clear the land and return it back to its natural state.
Then follows a promise of blessing for a desert land (? Spiritually barren Judah ) which will be utterly restored and people will be also transformed. There will be a way that will lead the people of God back to Jerusalem to meet with their God.
1. God will hold the godless ‘world' accountable to Him.
2. He will judge those who refuse to turn to Him.
3. Even though He may bring desolation, out of it He will bring a place of blessing for His own faithful people.
4. We may have to go through discipline to reach blessing.
Thank the Lord that He is sovereign, that he knows all things and, therefore, when He makes judgments they are true and just. Thank Him that although He brings judgment, He always seeks out a faithful remnant who He seeks to bring into blessing. Thank Him that judgment is always tempered with mercy.
In the studies covering chapters 22 to 35 of Isaiah, we have seen the following things:
1. More Oracles :
Against Jerusalem - ch. 22
Against Tyre - ch. 23
2. Judgment and Promise (the Lord's Kingdom) - chs. 24-27
Universal Judgments for Universal Sin - ch. 24
Deliverance and Blessing - ch. 25
Praise for the Lord's Sovereign Care - ch. 26
Israel 's Enemies Punished but Israel 's Remnant Restored - ch. 27
3. Six Woes - chs. 28-33
Woe to Ephraim ( Samaria )--and to Judah ch. 28
Woe to David's City, Jerusalem 29:1-16
Woe to Those Who Rely on Foreign Alliances 29:17-24
Woe to the Obstinate Nation ch. 30
Woe to Those Who Rely on Egypt chs. 31-32
Woe to Assyria - but Blessing for God's People ch. 33
4. More Prophecies of Judgment and Promise - chs. 34-35
Destruction of the Nations & the Avenging of God's People ch. 34
The Future Blessings of Restored Zion ch. 35
A Complex Mixture
For the person seeking to find an easy passage of Scripture to read, these must appear very complex chapters. Yes, again and again there is much talk of judgment but there is also, interspersed throughout these prophecies, a number of promises of God's blessing.
Warnings of Judgments
Judgements are warned about, for the whole world and for specific peoples. Reasons are usually given and so judgments are not seen in isolation, but are seen in the context of the godless behaviour of such peoples. Because of the prophetic nature of these writings, sometimes it is not clear whether a specific nation is being referred to or whether their identity is used as a picture of the nature of the world being judged. When judgement of the world, or of specific nations, are referred to, they usually mean the complete destruction of them, destruction of a people who are set in their ways and who have set themselves to refuse to heed God.
Warnings of Discipline
Discipline comes to those the Lord sees He can turn by His actions. Such actions therefore do not go as far as death, because those people turn back before death comes. The picture that appears again and again is of a people of God who have to go through painful times of discipline, before they will eventually turn back to the Lord and then receive of His goodness.
The Blessing of God's People
The ultimate end that God is aiming for is for people to turn back to Him and receive of His blessings. It is clear that those blessings are what we might call both physical and spiritual. God's desire is that His people come into a place where they are physically able to enjoy all of God's abundant provision on the earth. That provision comes when His people come back into relationship with Him and are able to enjoy all the fruits of close encounters with Him.