Scripture reading – Isaiah 2; Isaiah 3

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As you read today’s Scripture, reflect on its prophetic application to the house of Judah and the lessons we might take from the study that apply to our day.

Remembering the prophetic ministry of Isaiah spanned the reigns of four kings of Judah (1:1), scholars place Isaiah 2 during the reign of Uzziah, who reigned 52 years. He enjoyed a brilliant and prosperous rule (2 Chronicles 26:5-15) until his heart was lifted with pride, and he sinned against the LORD (2 Chronicles 26:16). King Uzziah was struck with leprosy and humiliated. He was thrust out of the Temple and forced to live in a separate house outside the palace complex (2 Chronicles 26:20; 2 Kings 15:5a). Uzziah entrusted the day-to-day governing of Judah to his son (2 Chronicles 26:21; 27:1-2), meaning the duties of government were in the hands of a younger man who lacked his skills and experience.

As with many prophecies, the prophecies of Isaiah carried both an imminent and far-reaching application. Some of what we read in Isaiah 2 was a foretelling of events that occurred in the prophet’s lifetime (for instance, Isaiah described the exaltation of Judah and Jerusalem, and 2 Chronicles 26:6-8 verified some nations admired and paid tribute to Judah during Uzziah’s reign).

King Uzziah was struck with leprosy and humiliated.

Isaiah 2

Much of Isaiah’s prophecy is yet to be fulfilled.

For instance, not “all nations” have made their way to Jerusalem, nor said among themselves, “Let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, To the house of the God of Jacob” (Isaiah 2:3). With the constant warring of nations against nations in our day, we have not seen a time of universal peace (Isaiah 2:4).

 

The Great Tribulation (Isaiah 2:6-9)

I believe the prophecy recorded in Isaiah 2:6-9 will not be fulfilled until the Great Tribulation. However, notice that the desperate times described in Isaiah’s day are true of our day. Many of the circumstances of that time are parallel to our day.

The LORD had forsaken His people because they had turned away from Him, His Law, and His Commandments. To whom had the people turned? They had turned to “soothsayers” from the east (i.e., eastern mysticism, 2:6; 1 Timothy 4:1) and embraced the ways of “strangers” (non-Hebrew people outside God’s covenant relationship with Israel, Isaiah 2:6). Rather than trust the LORD, Judah placed its faith in riches, and its confidence in its military might (“full of horses…chariots,” Isaiah 2:7). The nation worshipped gods of their own making, fashioned by their hands (Isaiah 2:8), and thus proud men were brought low (Isaiah 2:9).

The Second Coming of Christ (Isaiah 2:10-22)

Supposing my interpretation of this passage will be fulfilled at the close of the Great Tribulation, the events described in Isaiah 2:10-22 are yet to be fulfilled.

When Christ returns in His heavenly glory, and His coming is heralded as the Judge and Conquering King, the people of the earth will flee His presence (Isaiah 2:10, 19, 21; Revelation 6:15-16), and the proud will be humbled (Isaiah 2:11, 17-18). All will be brought to their knees (Isaiah 2:12-22), and the LORD alone will be exalted (Isaiah 2:17).

Closing thoughts for Isaiah 2 –

The Millennial Kingdom of Jesus Christ will restore Israel to its prominence among the nations of the earth. Jesus Christ will reign as King of kings and LORD of lords and rule from David’s throne (Isaiah 2:2-5; 4:2-6).

Christ’s earthly reign will usher in a time of universal peace. He will “judge among the nations, And shall rebuke many people: And they shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruninghooks: Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war any more” (Isaiah 2:4).

“The Sins and Signs of a Failing Nation and a Dying Culture” (Isaiah 3)

“The Sins and Signs of a Failing Nation and a Dying Culture” (Isaiah 3)

The Bible is filled with examples of godly men who did not have the luxury of ignoring the wickedness and perversity of their leaders or nation. Zechariah was stoned to death when he condemned the sins of Judah (2 Chronicles 24). God commanded Jonah to go to Nineveh and warn that wicked city to repent or be destroyed. John the Baptist lost his head when he dared confront the wickedness and adultery of King Herod. And so, we come to Isaiah, whom God called to assail the wickedness of Judah and her kings.

The Removal of “the Stay and the Staff” (Isaiah 3:1-4)

A history study reveals that nations rise and fall after the pattern of sin and wickedness we find recorded in Isaiah 3.  We read, “For, behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts, Doth take away from Jerusalem and from Judah the stay and the staff” (Isaiah 3:1).

When we interpret this verse in context, we find the LORD was removing Judah’s leaders. The removal of the “stay” (masculine, meaning support or protector) revealed Judah suffered the loss of “manly men,” who had been strong leaders in Judah. The removal of the “staff” (feminine form, meaning support) revealed the nation would be void of godly, influential women (Isaiah 3:1).

Judah’s rebellion invited God’s judgment, and the losses were tallied in Isaiah 3.

There would be a shortage of bread and water (“the whole stay of bread, and the whole stay of water,” Isaiah3:1). Judah would lack male leaders with integrity, described as “the mighty man, and the man of war, the judge, and the prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient” (Isaiah 3:2).

A second tier of leadership, the backbone of a nation, would be lost, for there would be no “captain of fifty [lower military officers], and the honourable man [men of integrity], and the counseller [wise men], and the cunning artificer [skilled workers; i.e., carpenters, mechanics], and the eloquent orator [persuasive speakers]” (Isaiah 3:4)

Judah Turned to Domineering Women for Leaders (Isaiah 3:12, 16-23)

Judah Turned to Weak, Incompetent Men for Leaders (Isaiah 3:4-6)

To fill the void of spiritual “manly male” leaders (Isaiah 3:7-9), the nation turned to foolish, inexperienced leaders dominated by brazen women (Isaiah 3:12, 16-23). The people chose “children [weak] to be their princes, and babes [immature] shall rule [have dominion or power] over them (Isaiah 3:4). With weak, inexperienced, unprincipled leaders, Judah became a lawless, oppressed society (Isaiah 3:5). Those pathetic leaders were proud and emboldened “against the ancient [elderly]” (Isaiah 3:5), and the “base [lacking a moral compass] against the honourable [men of rank]” (Isaiah 3:5).

 

How did those weak, spineless, effeminate leaders come to be in authority? They were not chosen because of their character but because of their influence (having acquired wealth by inheritance, Isaiah 3:6).

Judah Turned to Domineering Women for Leaders (Isaiah 3:12, 16-23)

Instead of nurturing and protecting the youth of the nation, women diminished their femininity and became worse brutes than men (Isaiah 3:12 – “women rule over them…they which lead thee cause thee to err, And destroy the way of thy paths”). The women of the nation, identified as “the daughters of Zion,” were proud and immodest (Isaiah 3:16), haughty, and flirtatious with “wanton [painted] eyes” (Isaiah 3:16).

Closing thoughts to Isaiah 3 –

 

Judah was destroyed, not from an enemy without, but from an enemy within.

What becomes of a nation that chooses weak men and proud women to lead? The strong women were inflicted with disease (Isaiah 3:17). They were reduced to the poverty of household slaves (Isaiah 3:18-24). Their fine jewelry (Isaiah 3:18-21) and costly apparel were taken away (Isaiah 3:22-23), and their well-groomed hair was replaced by baldness (Isaiah 3:24).

Yet, there was still hope. Though most of Judah turned to wickedness, not all were faithless. God promised He would not forget the righteous and would avenge His people (Isaiah 3:10-24, 25-26).

Do the signs of a dying nation sound familiar?

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith 

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