February 22

Isaiah 29-32

We are in the Prophetic Stream reading in the book of Isaiah. There is some hope in the midst of the judgments. We are using the New Century Version this week.

29 – Jerusalem is going to be surrounded and beseiged.  The Assyrians are coming and they are about the most savage army the world has ever known.  Killing for them is more than a task. It is a vicious artform, a sadistic joy that they leave no one alive; everyone suffers.  The Assyrians will surround Jerusalem.  They will decimate the north and much of the south and they will encircle Jerusalem.  This is a memo from God that couldn’t be more severe. Jerusalem and the whole land must cease the idolatry.  They have been warned for well over two centuries. Perhaps this will “scare them straight” …? Maybe it won’t work though.  God has been overly patient with them.  He WILL destroy this army before they sack Jerusalem but he will use another army; the Babylonians to clean His house 138 years later.  Jeremiah 25:9 and 43:10 calls this army that comes later and their leader his servant.  Strange but true.  They are beyond evil and yet God uses them to punish His disobedient children who are not listening to Him anymore.  What is the problem? How did it to needing such extreme measures?  – 29:13 & 16 reveal the problem: They talk honor to God but their hearts are elsewhere. Isaiah likens them to the absurdity of a lump of clay thinking IT should be shaping the potter! Their arrogance is unreal.  The punishment is on it’s way.

Yes, the good times are not gone forever, they will return and it will affect even Lebanon but there is going to be punishment first.
30 – Judah is thinking that God is not helping them but they think Egypt is going to help them.  They think that the treacherous journey to Egypt is worth the risk.  Face it, Judah is not really thinking too well these days. Their stubbornness is their strongest suit here in the 700s B.C. They are not listening to prophets – or God!  God is present and promises to come and care and feed and water and protect.   He pauses to assure them….
…31 – …  and warns them further about the haplessness of trusting Egypt for help.  He has the power to smash Egypt and they will live to see Him smash Assyria as a display.  Will they hear it this time.  Likely not.

32 – God talks of good times for a few verses and then unleashes some stern talk on a group of women who were apparently leading a charge and telling others to not listen to Isaiah.    Isaiah ends this section here reassuring that God will pour out His Spirit and the desolation will be overwith. Fertile fields signify plenty, peace and justice, and fairness will mark these good days. Nothing will shake the peace of his people once the Spirit of God pours over the land.
“Dear God of Our Salvation: strengthen us through our times of trial and testing. Let us rejoice as you pour our supply and plenty in the graciousness of your Spirit. Remind us that we can trust in you and in you alone.”  Amen


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