March 1


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Isaiah 33-36

We are in the Prophetic Stream today using the Tree of Life Version. The pressure is turning up in Jerusalem as the Assyrian army is surrounding the city.

33 – this chapter is the finale of the comments Isaiah has regarding the state of affairs while Assyria is pillaging the countryside around Jerusalem.  [These comments were Isaiah 28-33]  Many of us are far removed from such terror in our day and age. And it may be difficult for us to connect with the fear that had seized Judah and Israel. These Assyrians took savagery to the limit. No one was left alive after all females 10-40 yrs. old were raped, no males’ head remained attached. It wasn’t enough for them to just kill.  They made sport of the dead and had gruesome contests with children, babies, the elderly that cannot be discussed. The Assyrians (forefathers of the Syrians today) thrived on inflicting nightmares.  Isaiah speaks and writes during these times from a state of perfect calm. He talks of Assyria’s doom and the security of the faithful, and healing and bounty and salvation with such confidence that it is intriguing – even gripping. “Sinners will fear”, Isaiah asserts, “but not the faithful” … wow!

34 – God’s wrath is pouring out. God speaks against Edom here and it implies that it will not just soon but it is a prophecy for the end of time.  The Edoms of the world will be devastated; a haunt for wild animals as the people and the culture will be destroyed.  Edom, is the land of Esau, and Obadiah 15-18 tells a similar verse; it will end in fire.  So it is imminent (soon to be) and also apocalyptic (signifying the END)  The word here is that God’s enemies throughout history better take note – what He does to Edom He will also do to you. There’s no way out; no escaping God’s strong arm.
35 – is among the most beautiful chapters in all of the Bible, indeed in all of literature.  All battles are over with, all are returning home, suffering is past, all is glorious, the journey is joyous and uninterrupted. The redeemed are traveling home to God. Do not forget when Isaiah is saying this. There isn’t a better time for such a reminder.
36 – Why has Isaiah been so confident and so encouraging? Because people need encouragement when they are surrounded and threatened with what seems to be a grisly death at the hands of history’s worst, kill-happy army – ever.  This is what is happening in 36. The Assyrian King sent his field commander with an army of 185,000 to surround Jerusalem.  The palace administrator meets him just outside and Jerusalem is given its final chance to surrender. They are jeered for thinking Egypt would/or could help [like God said in Isa. 30!!]. The Assyrian field commander even shouts out to those in Jerusalem in their own language to dispel any confidence they have that the LORD God Almighty is going to save them. It is truly a moment of despair in Hebrew history.  What is going to happen.
“Lord God, when we feel surrounded and ‘at the end’, let us be reminded of Isaiah 35.  Let us be reminded to read your encouraging words.  These things were written over 27 centuries ago but they are as current as today’s latest news on the web.  LORD, we have confidence in you. No other. YOU will deliver. YOU will supply. YOU will guide, and it is YOU and you alone who saves.  We trust in you LORD Jesus.   Amen.”

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