Scripture reading: Isaiah 23-27
Isaiah continues his prophecy against the nations in today’s Scripture reading that is admittedly, challenging to both read and understand! This may be your first attempt to read Isaiah’s prophecies and I encourage you to press on. Pray for the LORD to open your eyes to understanding as you open your heart. The primary focus of today’s commentary will be Isaiah 23-24.
Three ancient cities are the subject of Isaiah 23. The city of Tyre is the principal subject of the chapter. Tyre was a major shipping port in ancient times (23:1), and was located in Philistia on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea of what is today’s southern Lebanon. Tyre and Zidon (also spelled Sidon) were the two major cities of ancient Philista (23:2, 4, 12). The third city is Tarshish (23:1), a major shipping port in today’s Spain.
Isaiah prophesied that Tyre would be “laid waste” (23:1). Biblical prophecy and recorded history validate that the Chaldeans (the citizens of Babylon) conquered Tyre (23:2-15). Trade and commerce were disrupted in that region for seventy years (23:15-17).
Why would Israel be interested in the destruction of Tyre?
The answer to that question is found in these words: “The LORD of hosts hath purposed it…He stretched out his hand over the sea, He shook the kingdoms” (23:9, 11). The destruction and devastation of Tyre would be a testimony of God’s sovereignty.
No nation, including our own, is so powerful that it can escape God’s judgment once He has set His face against it.
Isaiah 24 continues the theme of God’s judgment against the nations, describing a scene where the earth is defiled by sin (24:1-5). Isaiah prophesied that the earth is cursed and in the day of the LORD, the day of His judgment, “the inhabitants of the earth” will be burned (24:6).
The scene is one of universal judgment (24:1-12) and universal suffering (24:16-17). The earth is violently shaken as the LORD will “punish the host of the high ones…and the kings of the earth” (24:21). The Second Coming of Christ will mark the end of the Great Tribulation (24:23).
Isaiah 25 transitions from God’s judgment of the nations (Isaiah 23-24) to Israel rejoicing in the LORD who is a refuge for His people (25:1-12).
Isaiah 26 finds Judah restored to her land and rejoicing in the LORD who has promised peace, rest, and everlasting security (26:1-4).
Scholars believe the three beasts described in Isaiah 27:1 represent prophetically three empires of the world.
The chapter ends with a yet to be fulfilled prophecy: The restoration of the children of Israel to their land where they will “be gathered one by one” (27:12).
A closing thought: The earth and her inhabitants live under the curse of sin. News reports of natural disasters (earthquakes, storms, pollution), epidemics, violence and rioting serve as daily reminders that “the whole creation groaneth and travileth in pain together” (Romans 1:22).
Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith