Scripture reading – Isaiah 22
Our study in “The Book of the Prophet Isaiah” continues with a prophetic judgment directed to “the valley of vision” (22:1).
Because Judah is identified as the object of the prophecy (22:8), and the “city of David” is named as the subject of a siege (22:9), we know Isaiah 22 is a prophecy against Jerusalem.
Having witnessed the devastation suffered by Israel (the northern tribes), one would hope the people of Judah (the southern kingdom) would have repented and humbled themselves before God. Instead, we read concerning Jerusalem, “Thou that art full of stirs [noise; shouting], a tumultuous city, a joyous city [jubilant; full of revelers](22:2).
The citizens of Jerusalem mirrored the sinful, narcissistic spirit of the rich fool when he said, “eat, drink, and be merry” (Luke 12:19). They took pleasure in their sins, and rejected the warning that the judgment of God was imminent. Isaiah warned, the day of judgment was forthcoming and men would be slain in the streets (22:2) and the leaders of the people would flee before the enemy (22:3-7).
Isaiah prophesied Jerusalem’s defenses would fail (22:8-11a), and still the people refused to turn to the LORD (22:11b). Instead of repenting of their sin, the people resolved to “eat and drink; for tomorrow we shall die”(22:12-14). The LORD declared of Judah, “Surely this iniquity shall not be purged from you till ye die, Saith the Lord God of hosts” (22:4).
A Denunciation of the Treasurer of Jerusalem (Isaiah 22:15-19)
The LORD then commanded his prophet to take a personal message of judgment to the treasurer of Jerusalem named “Shebna” (22:15). Like politicians of our day, Shebna had enriched himself with ill-gotten gain. Flaunting his wealth, he had carved out of rock an elaborate sepulchre that was worthy of a king (22:16). Isaiah prophesied, Shebna would be carried away, die in captivity (22:17-19), and his tomb would belong to another.
The LORD Raised Up Eliakim, A Godly Leader (22:20-25)
In Shebna’s place, the LORD promised to raise up Eliakim, a man whom the LORD described as “my servant” (22:20). Unlike Shebna who abused his position, Eliakim would conduct himself like “a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah” (22:20-21). He would prove to be an honorable man (22:22), and the LORD promised he would serve like a “nail in a sure place” (in other words, a well-placed leader, 22:23). He would bring “the glory of his father’s house” (22:24).
Yet, for Judah it was too late (22:25).
Though a godly man was at the forefront of the nation’s leadership, the judgment of God was inevitable (22:25). Though he was a great leader, and the hope of some hung on him, Eliakim would be like a nail removed from its place. He would be unable to prevent the inevitable judgment of the LORD.
Closing thoughts – It was too late for ancient Judah, and it may be too late for many nations in our world to escape God’s judgment. Sadly, like the people of Judah, the church has assimilated the sins and pleasures of the world. I fear there are few who give any thought to God’s judgment.
You cannot know when the LORD has sealed your fate, but I urge you to not be like the rich man in Luke 12 who heard too late:
“Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?” (Luke 12:20)
Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith