1The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it will be a heap of ruins. 2 The cities of Aroer are forsaken: they will be for flocks, which will lie down, and none will make them afraid. 3 The fortress will cease from Ephraim, and the kingdom from Damascus, and the remnant of Syria: they will be as the glory of the children of Israel, says the LORD of hosts.
- The Lord judges cities.
- Remember Sodom and Gomorrah?
- The Lord judges perfectly.
- Matthew 11:23 And you, Capernaum, which are exalted unto heaven, will be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in you, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.
- Deuteronomy 32:4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.
The judgments of the Lord bring us back to Him
4 And in that day the glory of Jacob will be made thin, and the fatness of his flesh will grow lean. 5 And it will be like when the harvestman gathers the grain, and reaps the ears with his arm; and it will be like he that gathers ears in the valley of Rephaim. 6 Yet gleaning grapes will be left in it, as the shaking of an olive tree, two or three berries in the top of the uppermost bough, four or five in its outermost fruitful branches, says the LORD God of Israel. 7 On that day a man will look to his Maker, and his eyes will have respect to the Holy One of Israel. 8 And he will not look to the altars, the work of his hands, neither will he respect that which his fingers have made, either the groves, or the images.
- The Lord always shows us what we are doing wrong.
- God brought scarcity of physical food to bring man to spiritual food.
- John 6:35 And Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life: he that comes to me will never hunger; and he that believes on me will never thirst.
9 In that day his strong cities will be as a forsaken bough, and an uppermost branch, which they left because of the children of Israel: and there will be desolation. 10 Because you have forgotten the God of your salvation, and have not been mindful of the rock of your strength, so you plant delightful plants, and set them with strange slips of a foreign god: 11 In the day you will make your plant to grow, and in the morning will you make your seed flourish: but the harvest will be a heap in the day of grief and of desperate sorrow. 12 Woe to the multitude of many people, who make a noise like the noise of the seas; and to the rushing of nations, that make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters! 13 The nations will rush like the rushing of many waters: but God will rebuke them, and they will flee far away, and will be chased as the chaff of the mountains before the wind, and like a whirlwind before a hurricane. 14 And behold at evening terror; and before the morning he is no more. This is the portion of them that spoil us, and the lot of them that rob us.
- Verse 1 suggests it was Damascus robbing them.
1 Cries of grief to the land shadowing with wings, which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia: 2 That sends ambassadors by the sea, even in vessels of bulrushes on the waters, saying, Go, swift messengers, to a nation scattered and peeled, to a people terrible from their beginning until now; a nation measured out and trampled down, whose land the rivers have spoiled!
- Ethiopia fears the conquering of Assyria.
- They send ambassadors to make strong alliances.
- God had measured judgment to them for their wrongdoing.
- Isaiah 28:17 Judgment also I will lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters will overflow the hiding place.
God tells the whole world to watch and listen
3 All you inhabitants of the world, and dwellers on the earth, behold, when he lifts up an ensign on the mountains; and when he blows a trumpet, listen. 4 For this is what the LORD said to me, I will take my rest, and I will consider in my dwelling place like a clear heat on herbs, and like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest. 5 For before the harvest, when the bud is perfect, and the sour grape is ripening in the flower, he will both cut off the sprigs with pruning hooks, and take away and cut down the branches. 6 They will be left together for the birds of the mountains, and to the beasts of the earth: and the fowls will summer on them, and all the beasts of the earth will winter on them.
- We can still watch and listen to what God is doing in the world today.
- When we read the scriptures we can know that God is doing the same things now as these things written because he doesn’t change.
- The word LORD in this verse is JHWH meaning self-existent.
- Only God is wholly self-sustaining.
- The nations and peoples of earth are dependant on Him for life and breath.
- Malachi 3:6 For I am the LORD, I do not change; therefore you sons of Jacob are not consumed.
7 In that time a gift will be brought to the LORD of hosts from a people scattered and peeled, and from a people terrible from their beginning until now; a nation measured out and trampled under foot, whose land the rivers have spoiled, to the place of the name of the LORD of hosts, mount Zion.
- The grateful nations send a gift to the Lord.
- If the ruined nation had stayed in their own country and sought the LORD for their needs, they would have remained a nation.
- Micah 7:13 Notwithstanding the land will be desolate because of them that dwell in it, for the fruit of their doings.
The LORD rides on a swift cloud
1 The burden of Egypt. Behold, the LORD rides on a swift cloud, and will come into Egypt: and the idols of Egypt will be moved at his presence, and the heart of Egypt will melt in the midst of it. 2 And I will set the Egyptians against the Egyptians: and they will fight every one against his brother, and every one against his neighbor; city against city, and kingdom against kingdom. 3 And the spirit of Egypt will fail in its midst; and I will destroy its counsel: and they will seek to the idols, and to the charmers, and to those that have familiar spirits, and to the wizards.
- This was civil war. The Lord brought one nation against another of people who were against Him.
- This corrects them and brings in righteousness.
- Revelation 14:14 And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and on the cloud sat one like the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.
- Luke 11:23 He that is not with me is against me: and he that does not gather with me scatters.
4 And I will give the Egyptians over into the hand of a cruel lord; and a fierce king will rule over them, says the Lord, the LORD of armies. 5 And the waters will fail from the sea, and the river will be wasted and dried up. 6 And they will turn the rivers far away; and the brooks of defense will be emptied and dried up: the reeds and flags will wither. 7 The paper reeds by the brooks, by the mouth of the brooks, and every thing sown by the brooks, will wither, be driven away, and be no more. 8 The fishermen also will mourn, and all they that cast a hook into the brooks will lament, and they that spread nets on the waters will languish. 9 Moreover those that work in fine flax, and those that weave networks, will be confounded. 10 And they will be broken in its purposes all that make sluices and ponds for fish.
- The Lord delivers into the hand of cruel rulers those who refuse His gentle leading.
- This is like God saying to America, I’m going to take away your cars, your TV’s, your fine restaurants, your nightclubs, and your bank accounts.
11 Surely the princes of Zoan are fools, the advice of the wise counselors of Pharaoh has become stupid: how do you say to Pharaoh, I am the son of the wise, the son of ancient kings? 12 Where are they? Where are your wise men? Let them tell you now, and let them know what the LORD of hosts has planned for Egypt. 13 The princes of Zoan have become fools, the princes of Noph are deceived; they have seduced Egypt, those that are the rulers of its tribes.
- God calls to mind that those whose counsel they are trusting are dead.
- He is alive. His counsel is right, true, wonderful, and eternal.
- If we follow God’s counsel we will inherit all things (Revelation 21:7) and sit with Him on His throne (Revelation 3:21).
- Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
14 The LORD has mingled a spirit of perverseness in the midst of it: and they have caused Egypt to err in every work, as a drunken man staggers in his vomit.
- I King 22:19-22 And he said, Hear therefore the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left. 20 And the LORD said, Who will persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead? And one said this, and another said that. 21 And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will persuade him. 22 And the LORD said to him, How? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.
15 Neither will there be any work for Egypt, which the head or tail, branch or rush, may do. 16 In that day Egypt will be like women: and it will be afraid and fear because of the shaking of the hand of the LORD of hosts, which he shakes over it. 17 And the land of Judah will be a terror to Egypt, every one that mentions of it will be afraid within himself, because of the counsel of the LORD of hosts, which he has determined against it.
The Lord blesses and claims for His own all who will be corrected by Him
18 In that day five cities in the land of Egypt will speak the language of Canaan, and swear to the LORD of hosts; one will be called, The city of ruin.19 In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at its border to the LORD. 20 And it will be for a sign and for a witness to the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt: for they will cry to the LORD because of the oppressors, and he will send them a savior, and a great one, and he will deliver them. 21 And the LORD will be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians will know the LORD in that day, and will do sacrifice and offerings; yes, they will vow a vow to the LORD, and perform it. 22 And the LORD will strike Egypt: he will strike and heal it: and they will return to the LORD, and he will be entreated of them, and will heal them. 23 In that day there will be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian will come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians will serve with the Assyrians. 24 In that day Israel will be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the land: 25 Whom the LORD of hosts will bless, saying, Blessed is Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance.
The LORD alone is to be trusted and revered
1 In the year that Tartan came to Ashdod, (when Sargon the king of Assyria sent him,) and fought against Ashdod, and took it; 2 At the same time the LORD spoke by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, Go take the sackcloth off your loins, and take your shoes off of your feet. And he did this, walking naked and barefoot. 3 And the LORD said, Like my servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot three years for a sign and wonder on Egypt and on Ethiopia; 4 So will the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians prisoners, and the Ethiopians captives, young and old, naked and barefoot, even with their buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt.
- Psalm 25:3 Yes, let none that wait on you be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause.
5 And they will be afraid and ashamed of Ethiopia their expectation, and of Egypt their glory. 6 And the inhabitant of this island will say in that day, Behold, this is our expectation, where we flee for help to be delivered from the king of Assyria: and how will we escape?
- The Egyptians trusted Ethiopia.
- The Ethiopians gloried or boasted and delighted in Egypt instead of the Lord, their Maker and sustainer.
- Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and do not lean unto your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths.
- Psalm 143:9 Deliver me, O LORD, from my enemies: I flee unto you to hide me.
The LORD broke the idols of Babylon to the ground because they lead to eternal death
1 The burden of the desert of the sea. As whirlwinds in the south pass through, it comes from the desert, from a terrible land. 2 A hard vision is declared to me; the treacherous dealer deals treacherously, and the plunderer plunders. Go up, O Elam: besiege, O Media; I made all of its sighing stop. 3 Therefore my loins are filled with pain: pains have taken hold of me like the pains of a woman in childbirth: I was bowed down at the hearing of it; I was dismayed at the seeing of it. 4 My heart panted, terrors overwhelmed me: He turned the night of my pleasure into fear. 5 Prepare the table, watch in the watchtower, eat and drink: arise princes, and anoint the shield. 6 For the Lord said to me, Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he sees. 7 And he saw a chariot with a couple of horsemen, a chariot of asses, and a chariot of camels; and he listened diligently, very diligently: 8 And he cried, A lion: My lord, I stand on the watchtower continually in the daytime, and I am stationed at my night post: 9 Behold, here comes a chariot of men, with a couple of horsemen. And he answered and said, Babylon is fallen, is fallen; and all the carved images of her gods he has broken to the ground. 10 O my threshing, and the grain of my floor: that which I have heard from the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, I have declared to you.
- The threshing was God’s disciplined people.
- God’s title LORD of hosts brings into view that He rules the whole universe.
- These brief judgments are a glimpse into His righteous ruling, His grace, and His mercy. Idols lead people to eternal death.
- God warns at length before He judges.
- Psalm 96:5 For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens.
11 The burden of Dumah. He called to me out of Seir, Watchman, what is left of the night? Watchman, what is left of the night? 12 The watchman said, The morning comes, and also the night: if you will inquire, inquire: return, come. 13 The burden on Arabia. You will lodge in the forest in Arabia, O traveling companies of Dedanim. 14 The inhabitants of the land of Tema brought water to him that was thirsty, they went to meet the fugitives with food. 15 For they fled in fear from the drawn sword, and from the bent bow, and from the grievousness of war. 16 This is what the Lord said to me, Within a year, according to the years of an hireling, and all the glory of Kedar will fail: 17 And the remaining numerous archers, the mighty men of the children of Kedar, will be diminished: for the LORD God of Israel has spoken it.
- The Lord tells nations their future because He controls the future.
- With judgment there is a new beginning.
- Isaiah 26:9 With my soul have I desired you in the night; yes, with my spirit within me I will seek you early: for when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.
1 The burden of the valley of vision. What ails you now that you have wholly gone up to the housetops? 2 Crashings fill the noisy city, the joyous city: your slain men are not slain with the sword or dead in battle. 3 All your rulers have fled together. They are captured by the archers: all that are found in you are bound together, which have fled from afar. 4 Therefore I said, Look away from me; I will weep bitterly, do not try to comfort me because of the ravage of the daughter of my people.
The Lord sent perplexity on idolaters
5 For it is a day of trouble, and of trampling, and of perplexity by the Lord GOD of hosts in the valley of vision, breaking down the walls, and of crying to the mountains. 6 And Elam bore the quiver with chariots of men and horsemen, and Kir uncovered the shield. 7 And it will happen that your choicest valleys will be full of chariots and the horsemen will take up fixed positions at the gate. 8 And he uncovered the covering of Judah, and in that day you looked to the armor of the house of the forest.
- When the threat of war came on them, they prepared the city and looked to their weapons rather than to God.
- Yet in their history, when they trusted God, He did wonders for them.
- Leviticus 26:8 And five of you will chase an hundred, and an hundred of you will put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies will fall before you by the sword.He is our Maker who calls to weeping
9 You have also seen the breaches of the city of David. They are many: and you gathered together the waters of the lower pool. 10 And you have counted the houses of Jerusalem, and have broken down the houses to fortify the wall. 11 You made a ditch between the two walls for the water of the old pool: but you have not looked to its maker, nor respected him that fashioned it long ago. 12 And in that day the Lord GOD of armies called to weeping, to mourning, to baldness, and to putting on sackcloth: 13 And behold there was joy and gladness, slaughtering oxen, and killing sheep, eating flesh, and drinking wine: let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we will die. 14 And it was revealed in my ears by the LORD of armies, This iniquity will definitely not be cleansed from you until you die, says the Lord GOD of armies.
- God had warned His people repeatedly.
- They ignored Him and His warnings.
- When the crisis of the invading army came, they had
no thought for God.
- They made preparations and the planned a big drunken feast.
- The Lord was just waiting for them to ask Him to deliver them.
- Psalm 68:20 He that is our God is the God of deliverance; and unto GOD the Lord belong the issues from death.
The Lord judged an evil ruler by sending Him to a far away land
15 This is what the Lord God of hosts says, Go, get to the treasurer, to Shebna, who is over the house, and say, 16 What do you have here? And who do you have here, that you have carved out a tomb here, like one that carves himself a tomb on high, and that carves a dwelling for himself in a rock? 17 Behold, the LORD who covered you with an excellent covering and clothed you gorgeously. 18 He will certainly turn violently and toss you like a ball into a large country: there you will die, and there the chariots of your glory will be the shame of your lord's house. 19 And I will drive you from your station, and he will pull you down from your position. 20 And in that day I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah: 21 And I will clothe him with your robe, and strengthen him with your girdle, and I will commit your government into his hand: and he will be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah.
- The Lord wants rulers to care for people like a good father.
- Shebna had made things nice for himself including carving out a grave for himself in an honored place.
- But he had not taken care of God’s people.
22 I will lay the key of the house of David on Eliakim’s shoulder; he will open, and none will shut; and he will shut, and none will open. 23 And I will fasten him as a peg in a sure place; and he will be glorious throne to his father's house. 24 And they will place on him all the glory of his father's house, the children and the grandchildren, all small articles, from the bowls to all the jars. 25 In that day, says the LORD of armies, the peg fastened in the sure place will give way, and be cut down and fall; and the burden that was on it will be cut off: for the LORD has spoken it.
- The Lord made Eliakim’s rule steadfast and glorious.
- He cut off the leaders that trusted in false things, not in the Lord.
- The Lord’s reign will be infinitely glorious forever (see Isaiah 35 for a small glimpse).
- Revelation 3:7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things says he that is holy, he that is true, he that has the key of David, he that opens, and no man shuts; and shuts, and no man opens;
- 2 Samuel 23:3-4 The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spoke to me, He that rules over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. 4 And he will be as the light of the morning when the sun rises on a cloudless morning; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain.
- Jeremiah 17:12 A glorious high throne from the beginning is the place of our sanctuary.
SUMMARY: Isaiah 17-22
- The judgments of the Lord bring us back to Him
- God tells the whole world to watch and listen
- The LORD rides on a swift cloud
- The Lord blesses and claims for His own all who will be corrected by Him
- The LORD alone is to be trusted and revered
- The LORD broke the idols of Babylon to the ground because they lead to eternal death
- The Lord sent perplexity on idolaters
- The Lord judged an evil ruler by sending Him to a far away land