Scripture Text – Isaiah 7-12
“Here am I and the children whom the LORD has given me! We are for signs and wonders in Israel From the LORD of hosts, Who dwells in Mount Zion.” – Isaiah 8:18.
This statement by the Prophet Isaiah is a key to understanding the meaning of the events and prophecies we are going to cover in this lesson. Four symbolic names are involved in Isaiah’s messages, each of them with a very special meaning: Immanuel, Maher-shalal-hash-baz, Shear-jashub, and Isaiah. We’ve discussed Immanuel and Maher-shalal-hash-baz, we will continue where we left off last.
Shear-jashub: A Promise of Mercy – Continued
Please read Isaiah 9:1-11:16 for the background to this section.
The Lord judged Israel for their sins (Isaiah 9:8-10:4) – continued. From our last lesson; Ephraim’s own wickedness was destroying the nation, the way a fire destroys a forest or a field. But the sinners would become fuel for the fire God could kindle! In their greed, the people of the Northern Kingdom were devouring one another and battling one another; but they would soon be devoured and defeated by Assyria.
In 10:1–4, Isaiah denounced Ephraim for its injustice, especially toward the poor, the widows, and the orphans. Unjust laws and oppressive decrees robbed these people both of their meager possessions and their God-given rights (Deuteronomy 15:7–8; 24:17–18). The prophet’s three questions in Isaiah 10:3 ought to be pondered by every person who wants to be ready when the Lord comes.
If God cannot bring us to repentance through His Word, then He must lift His hand and chasten us. If we do not submit to His chastening, and we harden our hearts, then He must stretch out His hand and judge us. God is long-suffering, but we dare not tempt Him by our careless or calloused attitude. “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” – Hebrews 10:31.
The Lord will judge the enemy (Isaiah 10:5–34). “Woe to Assyria!” is the way this section begins. Though God used Assyria to chasten Judah, He would not permit His “tool” to exalt itself in pride. Assyria was His staff, rod, axe, and saw; but they treated His children like mud in the streets and plundered the land like a farmer gathering eggs. God’s purpose was to discipline, but the Assyrians were out to destroy. They boasted of their conquests (see Isaiah 37:10–13) but did not give glory to God.
Because of their arrogant attitude, God would judge Assyria, for the worker certainly has mastery over His tools! Like a wasting disease and a blazing forest fire, God’s wrath would come to this proud nation and its army. He would cut them down like trees in the forest, lopping off the tops first. In the days of Hezekiah, God wiped out 185,000 of the Assyrian soldiers (Isaiah 37:36–37); and the great Assyrian Empire ultimately fell to Babylon in 609 B.C.
In spite of Assyria’s conquest of the Northern Kingdom and its intention to destroy Judah, God would save a remnant so that “the twelve tribes” would not be annihilated (Acts 26:7; James 1:1; Revelation 21:12). As stated in the previous lessons, “The remnant shall return” is the translation of the name of Isaiah’s older son, Shear-jashub.
In verses 28–32, Isaiah traces the advance of the Assyrian army as it invaded Judah and marched toward Jerusalem. But God’s word to the people was, “O My people, who dwell in Zion, do not be afraid of the Assyrian!” (verse 24). Isaiah gave the same message to King Hezekiah when the Assyrian army surrounded Jerusalem in 701 B.C. (Isaiah 37:1–7). God used Assyria to discipline His people, but He would not permit this godless nation to go beyond His purposes. God may use unbelievers to accomplish His will in the lives of His people, but He is always in control. We need never fear the disciplining hand of God, for He always disciplines in love (Hebrews 12:1–11).
The Lord will restore His people (Isaiah 11:1–16). In contrast to the proud trees that God cuts down is a tender shoot from a seemingly dead stump. Isaiah looks beyond his people’s trials to the glorious kingdom that will be established when Messiah comes to reign. David’s dynasty was ready to end, but out of his family the promised Messiah would come (Romans 1:3; Revelation 5:5). A godly remnant of Jews kept the nation alive so that the Messiah could be born.
His kingdom will involve righteous rule because the Son of God and the Spirit of God will administer its affairs justly. When the Messiah-King speaks the word, it is with power (Psalm 2:9; Revelation 19:15). His kingdom will also mean a restored creation because nature will once again enjoy the harmony it enjoyed before sin entered in (verses 6-9, see also Romans 8:18–25). “For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.” – Isaiah 11:9. (see also Habakkuk 2:14).
To Be Continued