Isaiah 28:14-29:24

 

28:14
Just as Northern Israel mocked Isaiah in verse 9-10, the southern country of Judah also scoffed.

28:15
They had made a covenant with death which is a reference to a national treaty with Egypt.
Egypt was doom to destruction but Judah turned to doomed Egypt ("death") for help.

This covenant involved deceiving their enemy Assyria.
Thus it says, "we have made a lie our refuge and falsehood our hiding place."
Instead of standing firm in their faith and trusting God they decided to side with Egypt ("death" and "the grave") and use deception in international treaties with Assyria.

The result of their treaties with "death" and treaties of deception was going to be destruction.
Whatever they trusted in besides God and his plan would result in their overthrow also.

28:16
In contrast to these hopeless covenants that Judah was trusting in they should have taken to heart God's promise.  God was also doing something.  They should build their lives on the foundation stone that he has laid.  Anything built on this cornerstone would not be wiped out. Those who believed Isaiah's words would not panic when they saw world events.  They would be able to do what Isaiah told Ahaz to do:  "Stand firm in your faith or you will not stand at all."

The true basis of Israel's safety was the Messiah.  Who he was and what he would do would be the cornerstone and a sure foundation.
If they would trust in him they would never be disappointed.

Psalm 118:22, "The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes."

-the builders were the leaders and priests of Israel who where building God's redemptive plan but rejected the cornerstone of the structure.
-Cornerstone - a block of great importance in binding together the sides of a building.  God was building his kingdom through Israel.  The cornerstone that he had set was well built, well set and guaranteed a solid, trustworthy building.

Zechariah 3:9, "See, the stone I have set in front of Joshua!  There are seven eyes on that one stone, and I will engrave an inscription on it,' says the Lord Almighty, 'and I will remove the sin of this land in a single day."

Zechariah 10:4, "From Judah will come the cornerstone,  from him the tent peg, from him the battle bow, from him every ruler.  Together they will be like mighty men trampling the muddy streets in battle."
-Judah's cornerstone is Jesus the Messiah
-the tent peg is what holds the tent up and makes it immovable.  The tent represents the kingdom and religion of Messiah's reign.  Religion is the standard of righteousness, morals, vaulues of the kingdom he holds firm in the kingdom.
-the battle bow is what is used to conqueor the enemies and cleanse the land upon Messiah's return.
-the rulers are those that have followed the Messiah in their lives and are assigned places of responsiblity with in this kingdom.
-So, here the cornerstone (Messiah) is the source from which all the good things in the kingdom come from:  the standards of morality, the military strength and the rulers who administrer justice in his name.

Matthew 21:42, "Jesus said to them, 'Have you never read in the Scriptures: 'The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes'?  Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.  He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed."  When the chief priests and the Pharisees herd Jesus' parables, they knew he was talking about them."

Mark 12:7-10, "But the tenants said to one another, 'This is the heir. Come, let's kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.'  So they took him, and threw him out of the vineyard.  What then will the owner of the vineyard do?  He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others.  Haven't you read this scripture:  'The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone (or, cornerstone); the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes'?"  
"Then they looked for a way to arrest him because they knew he had spoken the parable against them."

Luke 20:16, "He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others."
"When the people heard this, they said, 'May this never be'!"
Jesus looked directly at them and asked, 'Then what is the meaning of that which is written: 'The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone'?"
"Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed.'"

Acts 4:10-11, "It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed.  He is "the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone. (or, cornerstone)" .  Salvation is found in no one else. . "  

Romans 9:32-33, "They pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works.  They stumbled over the "stumbling stone."  As it is written:  'See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.'"
-This verse is a combination of Isaiah 28:16a, Isaiah 8:14, and Isaiah 28:16c.  
-Isaiah 28:16, "See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed."  -Isaiah 8:13, 14, "The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread,  and he will be a sanctuary; but for both houses of Israel he will be a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.  And for the people of Jerusalem he will be a trap and a snare."    

Romans 10:11, "For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.  As the Scripture says, 'Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.'  For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile - the same Lord is Lord of all. . ."

Ephesians 2:19, 20, "Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.  In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.  And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit."

1 Peter 2:6, "As you come to him, the living Stone - rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him - you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.  For in Scripture it says: 'See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.'  Now to you who believe, this stone is precious.  But to those who do not believe,  'The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone (or, cornerstone) (from Psalm 118:22), and, A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall. They stumble because they disobey the message - which is also what they were destined for."



God was working in Judah to bring about the Messiah and Israel's redemption.  God's plan would not fail them.  But they could reject his plan.  The believers of Isaiah's day would have heard these words and understood that God was laying down a cornerstone for Israel's history in their own day.  They need not understand everything they only needed to hear and obey the words from the Holy One of Israel.  For their God had revealed himself to them through out their history (Abraham, exodus, prophets, Scripture).  They did not understand all the details but they did understand that God was working a plan in Israel and that God could be trusted.

28:17
In God's kingdom justice and righteousness would be the standard.
Because of this standard of the cornerstone the lie they trusted in and the covenant they had made would be destroyed.

28:19
They rejected and mocked God's offer of rest and so in exchange they will have terror.

Isaiah prophesied, "As often as it comes it will carry you away; morning after morning, by day and by night. . ."  The Assyrian records from this time report multiple returns of their military to the same locations in Israel.  Each time the Assyrians returned they added to the slaughter and pillaged what was left.  This went on for years and obviously left the remains of Israel's society living in constant fear as 28:19 says, "the understanding of this message will bring sheer terror."

28:20
God had offered them rest (28:12) but they chose their own plan.  They had hoped to rest in their human covenants and international deception, but this resting place would prove to be very uncomfortable like a short bed or a narrow blanket.

28:21
Not only do they need to fear the Assyrians, the Lord is coming to fight them.
Mount Perazim (literally "breaking forth") recalls David's battle against the Philistines in 1 Chronicles 14:11, "So David and his men went up to Baal Perazim, and there he defeated them.  He said, 'As waters break out, God has broken out against my enemies by my hand.'  So that place was called Baal Perazim."

Valley of Gibeon is where God sent hail on the Ammorites in Joshua 10:10-12

"His strange work. . .His alien task" is not fighting as in "breaking out" or sending hail on the enemies.  His strange work and alien task is to do this against his people Israel.  God's plan involves blessing especially his people.

28:22
Isaiah begs the leaders of Judah to stop mocking less it becomes worse.  The Lord has spoken this message.

28:23-29
Judah is given two examples of how farmers sow different seeds different ways and thresh different grains depending on what they require.

The point is that God's judgment of Judah depends on what kind of seed they are or what kind of grain.  If they remain rebellious they will receive the judgment of Israel.  If they change, God will apply a different means of dealing with them.

Chapter 29

Two (numbers 2 and 3) woes spoken for Jerusalem:
1) 29:1-14 - Woe to "Ariel" (the altar hearth)
2) 29:15-24 - Woe to those who Hide from God

(The first woe was chapter 28, "Woe to Ephriam."

29:1
'Ariel" is a name for Jerusalem.  "Ariel" means literally "altar hearth".  The only altar-hearth that God is pleased with is found in Jerusalem.  An altar-hearth is the surface of the altar that the burning sacrifice sets on.  

Israel is worshipping at the altar of God in thoughtless religious ritual

The seasons of religious festivals would have made Jerusalem very busy.
It would be during these times that the people's religion would have taken further and further from the truth.  
The people at this time had reduced the sacrificial system to a ritual and the entire religious system a total external experience.
The more they worshipped at the altar the further from understanding Isaiah's words they were

29:2
The place of the altar-hearth (Ariel) of God will be attacked by God and the whole city will become an altar hearth.
"Altar hearth is the same Hebrew word as Ariel.

29:4
The word whisper is used for mediums and spiritists in 8:19.
The voice of Jerusalem will be heard but only as one speaking from the grave.  As if speaking after they have been destroyed and died.

Message to Jerusalem's Enemies
Verses 29:5-8 switch from words of judgment against Jerusalem but to words of restoration and judgment against the nations.

29:5
Why are they still speaking after destruction?  Because their destruction is not final.  It is discipline.  They will return.  



Jerusalem was shown as speaking from the dust.  Here their enemies are destroyed like dust.  

29:6
The appearance of God fighting his enemies with a manifestation of a theophany.

29:7-8
The nations that attack Jerusalem will become like a figure in a dream to Jerusalem.  When they wake up the enemies will be gone just like:
a) food in a dream -  the satisfaction gained from eating food in a dream passes away when you wake
b) water in a dream -  thirst returns once a person wakes from a dream about water
c) So shall it be with Jerusalem's enemies.  When Israel wakes up the damage caused by the hordes of enemies is gone.

29:9
Jerusalem rejected the revelation that they understood.
If people see the will of God and refuse to do it they will become incapable of seeing and doing any further thing God has revealed.
As a result of this they will be spiritually blinded from understanding anything further.
If you reject known spiritual truths, you will be cut off by God in the future from understanding other truth.
This would result in Jerusalem slipping further and further away from God and into judgment.

Intentional resistance and rebellion to God becomes results in being left in the darkness of the soul.  In this condition then a person will act out the darkness that is in them which will destroy their life and demand God's judgment.

Acts 28:25-28, "The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your forefathers when he said through Isaiah the prophet: 'Go to this people and say, You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving."  For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes.  Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand wit their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.'  Therefore I want you to know that god's salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!"

Romans 1:24,26,28, "Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts. . .Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. . .Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God he gave them over to a depraved mind,  to do what ought not to be done."

Hebrews 4:2, 3, "For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith.  Now we who have believed enter that rest just as God has said, . . ."

29:10
Revelation has been cut off.
The people chose not to obey God, now they do not even remember.
No one will be able to speak and explain the  word of God.

29:11-12
Those who are trained and can read can not understand it.
Those who are not trained can't even read it.

29:13
Because they do not understand the revelation they must reduce it to rules and regulations.
They turn it into a religion.
Romans 9:30, "What then shall we say?  That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith;  but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it.  Why not?  Becaues they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works.  They stumbled over the stumbling stone."  As it is written, 'See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.'"

Faith here is seen as heart softened and determined to respond and follow God.
Not rules and regulations that are used to replace a relationship with righteousness.

29:14

29:15
The third "woe".  Woe to those who hide from God.

Hide their plans from God?  Who could think that?
A depraved man with an unrenewed mind is so reduced in their thinking that they can not apply the doctrine of the omniscience and omnipresence of God.
Because they do not think about God it gives them a false sense of security that God can not think about them.  Similar to a little child hiding their eyes to make something disappear.  It is really still there but by hiding their eyes they are relieved from having to deal with it.

Jerusalem and Egypt were having secret meetings to allign themsleves against Assyria.

29:16
A classic description of an attitude in rebellion to  God:
a)  God did not make me.
b)  God knows nothing.  (Or, I know what's best for me.)

The example of the potter and the clay is found again in:
Isaiah 45:9 - "Woe to him who quarrels with his Maker, to him who is but a potsherd among the potsherds on the ground.  Does the clay say to the potter, 'What are you making?' . . . ."
Isaiah 64:8 - summary and submission to the potter.
"We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand."


Jeremiah 18:1-6, "Go down to the potter's house, and there I will give you my message. . .O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?. . .If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. . . ."
Romans 9:19-21, "One of you will say to me: 'Then why does god still blame us?  For who resists his will?'  But who are you, O man, to talk back to God?  Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?'  Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?. . ."

(2 Timothy 2:20, "In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble.  If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purpose, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work."

Lamentations 4:1, 2, "How the gold has lost its luster, the fine gold become dull!  The sacred gems are scattered at the head of evey street.  How the precious sons of Zion, once worth their weight in gold, are now considered as pots of clay, the work of a potter's hands!")

Isaiah 29:17-24

This is a promise of the result of the potters work.  The future day of glory is revealed again.

29:17
The section before concluded with quoting the unfaithful in Jerusalem who mock the Potter.
Here the Potter replies by giving an example of his wisdom which will be revealed in the future.
Lebanon is not a heathen nation in this image.  Lebanon is a symbol for the productive land in the future day of the Lord.  Lebanon which has been overrun will become a fertile and productive field and then that fertile field will become a forest.

29:18-19
The spiritual insensitivity will be removed and the humble and needy will rejoice in the Lord in his new kingdom.

29:20-21
The evil people will disappear:
a) ruthless
b) mockers
c) evil
d) label innocent as guilty
e) ensnare those who defend people
f) lie to deprive the innocent of justice

The first three evils mentioned are from hearts in rebellion to God.
The next three evils are the things that these people do to others because they are in rebellion to God.

29: