Scripture reading – Isaiah 9; Isaiah 10

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This is the second of two devotions for today. The prior was taken from Isaiah 9.

Isaiah 10

The first four verses of Isaiah 10 summarize the preceding chapter’s warning to Judah for the injustices that nation’s leaders had committed against the poor and needy (Isaiah 10:1-2). Because Judah rejected the LORD and Commandments, the people were doomed to follow the commandments of wicked rulers and their harsh laws.

Just as we see blessings in chapter 9, we see woes in chapter 10. This chapter serves as a warning for leaders who perpetrate injustices on their people. The LORD is immutable and just, and a nation’s leaders should not be blind to the justice He expects from those in authority. Tragically, generations of leaders oppress the people, particularly the weak and poor. As we will see in today’s study, the injustices perpetrated by today’s leaders are the sins committed by the leaders of ancient Judah.

A Warning to Those Who Abuse Justice (Isaiah 10:1-4)

Judah’s leaders were guilty of doling out “unrighteous decrees,” thereby troubling the nation and oppressing the people (10:1). Not only did they deny the people justice (Isaiah 10:2a), but they also preyed upon widows (rather than protect them) and abused children (particularly the “fatherless,” 10:2b). Seeing the sins and wicked deeds of Judah’s leaders, Isaiah denounced them and asked, “3And what will ye do in the day of visitation, And in the desolation which shall come from far? To whom will ye flee for help? And where will ye leave your glory?” (Isaiah 10:3)

Soon after Isaiah’s prophecy, Judah lost everything. Without the LORD’s blessing and protection, the enemies of Judah invaded that nation, left behind a path of destruction, and led the people away into captivity. Without the LORD, God’s people had no place to turn for help. Indeed, Judah’s “glory,” riches, and wealth were lost (10:3).

The LORD warned, “Without me they shall bow down under the prisoners, And they shall fall under the slain” (10:4).

A Warning to Those Who Abuse Justice (Isaiah 10:1-4)

A Warning of Judgment Against Assyria (Isaiah 10:5-19)

Notice how Assyria became the object of God’s wrath. That great empire had been the vessel God used to punish Israel for that nation’s rebellion against the LORD (Isaiah 10:5-6). However, the king of Assyria was blind to the truth that “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever he will” (Proverbs 21:1).

The Assyrian king’s ambition to conquer other nations was planted in his heart by the God of heaven (Isaiah 10:7). He boasted that his “princes” (leaders he ordained to rule over the people he conquered) were as powerful as kings in their own right (Isaiah 10:8-9). Blinded by ambition, the Assyrian king was unaware when he had “performed his whole work” (all that God ordained to punish Jerusalem, Isaiah 10:12), He would himself be punished (Isaiah 10:16). The Assyrian king boasted he gathered the riches of other nations like a farmer gathers eggs (Isaiah 10:14). He foolishly believed all he accomplished was “by the strength” of his hand (Isaiah 10:13-15).

God, however, promised He would send against Assyria an enemy (Babylon) that would take away that nation’s wealth and destroy its strength with fire (Isaiah 10:16-19).


God Remembered Israel (Isaiah 10:20-33)

Assyria would destroy Israel (the northern ten tribes) and afflict Judah. Still, the LORD promised He would not forget “the remnant of Israel” (Isaiah 10:20). Though God’s people would suffer great afflictions for their sins, He promised “the remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God” (Isaiah 10:21). God promised Abraham his seed would “be as the sand of the sea” (Genesis 22:17; 32:12), but the sins of the people were reduced in number to a “remnant,” yet, the LORD promised they would one day return to their land (Isaiah 10:22-23).

Assured by God’s promises, the prophet encouraged the people that “dwellest in Zion” (Jerusalem), “Be not afraid of the Assyrian: He shall smite thee with a rod…25For yet a very little while, and the indignation shall cease, And mine anger in their destruction” (Isaiah 10:24-25).

A Warning of Judgment Against Assyria (Isaiah 10:5-19)

Closing thoughts –


Assyria did afflict Judah, but Jerusalem did not fall to the king of that nation (10:26-27). The Assyrian army marched south, and the cities north of Jerusalem fell in succession (Isaiah 10:28-32). The citizens of Jerusalem were shaken, but the LORD intervened as He promised and figuratively “lop the bough [the head of the king] with terror” (Isaiah 10:33).

Assyria appeared unstoppable as nation after nation and city after city fell to her merciless grip. Israel was destroyed, and the people were taken captive. The cities north of Jerusalem were conquered, and the king and the people believed they would succumb to the terror of that enemy.

Had Judah heeded Isaiah’s prophecy, the people would have known there was no cause to fear Assyria, for the LORD had planned the demise of that nation (Isaiah 10:34).

A word of encouragement – We live in a day when the only news is bad news. Violent uprisings and wars dominate headlines. The media hypes the next pandemic, and military-age immigrants cross borders, invading nations around the world. Powerful, corrupt leaders aspire to enslave “We the People,” and there is no peace. We wonder who or what is behind events that threaten our national sovereignty and the sovereignty of countries around the world. Why are world leaders so feckless and feeble?

Take heart, my friend, and be encouraged, for God is the Sovereign of Heaven and Earth. “By [Him] kings reign, And princes decree justice. 16By [the LORD] princes rule, And nobles, even all the judges of the earth” (Proverbs 8:15–16).


Remember: The God who “lopped off” the head of Assyria is the Sovereign LORD.

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith 

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