Isaiah 29

 

 

vs. 1-4. — A WARNING TO JERUSALEM. Expostulation is followed

by threats. The prophet is aware that all his preaching to the authorities in

Jerusalem (Isaiah 28:14-22) will be of no avail, and that their adoption

of measures directly antagonistic to the commands of God will bring on the

very evil which they are seeking to avert, and cause Jerusalem to be

actually besieged by her enemies. In the present passage he distinctly

announces the siege, and declares that it will commence within a year.

 

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Ariel - (Lion of God) - Jerusalem – always before Jerusalem had

always been a sort of champion for Jehovah – a warrior fighting

his battles with a lion’s courage and fierceness – no Jerusalem

is to be punished in love -

 

“Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but

grievous:  nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit

of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” Hebrews 12:11

 

v. 2 - "I will distress...there shall be heaviness and sorrow" – “moaning and

            bemoaning represents the Hebrew play on words better – the

            natural consequence of the siege would be a constant cry of woe!

 

v. 3 - "I will camp against thee...I will raise forts against thee"

 

v. 4 - "thou shalt be brought down

 

vs. 5-8 - THE WARNING FOLLOWED BY A PROMISE. It is ever

God’s care to prevent men from being “swallowed up with overmuch

sorrow” (2 Corinthians 2:7). As long as he is not about to “make a full

end” (Jeremiah 4:27), he mingles promises with his threats, words of

cheer with words of warning. So now the prophet is directed to attach to

his four verses of denunciation (vs. 1-4) four others of encouragement,

and to declare the utter discomfiture of the vast host of enemies which for

a time has besieged and “distressed” Ariel.

 

v. 5 -  the multitude of thy strangers (enemies) shall like small dust….

            as chaff that passeth away” – ground down like powder,

            rendered utterly weak and powerless – chaff is always a

            metaphor for weakness in scriptures –Isaiah 5:24; 17:13; 33:11;

            41:15; and see also Psalm 1:4; 35:5; Job 21:18; Hosea 13:3;

                        Daniel 2:35; Zephaniah 2:2) it has no value, man’s object is to

            get rid of it:  a light wind carries it away and no one asks where.

 

"yea, it shall be at an instant suddenly"

 

v. 6 - "Thou shalt be visited by the Lord of hosts with thunder,

            and with the earthquake, and great noise, with storm

            and tempest, and the flame of devouring fire" – fearful

            things of God’s judgment on Israel’s enemies!

 

v. 8 - keen disappointment  - there is but one security against

         disappointment  - trust to God everything - no will but His - no

         desire but "Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth"

 

vs. 9-12 - NEITHER WARNING NOR PROMISE COMPREHENDED

BY THOSE TO WHOM THEY HAVE BEEN ADDRESSEDIt was

among the most painful circumstances attaching to the prophetical office,

that scarcely ever was the prophet held in any esteem among his own people,

or in his own lifetime. Isaiah knows that his warning will fall dead — that

the people and their rulers have neither “eyes to see” nor “ears to hear.”

 

v. 9 – Their judicial blindness, pride and distrust rendered them

            irrational as ever drunkenness rendered any man.

 

v. 10 - spiritual lethargy and/or deadness  - an inability to appreciate or

            understand spiritual warnings – “because they did not like to retain

            God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind” –

            Romans 1:28

 

                        Two Kinds of Spiritual Blindness.

 

Spiritual blindness is not the natural condition of man. God has given to all

men a certain power of spiritual discernment. (Titus 2:11) He is “the Light which

lighteth every man that cometh into the world (John 1:9). Children are

invariably found to be teachable at an early age — to have a power of

receiving and appreciating spiritual verities. The spiritually blind have

become such, and in their condition we may trace two stages.

 

I. THE INITIAL STAGE. The commencement of spiritual blindness is a

willful shutting of the eyes.  “For this they willingly are ignorant” – II Peter 3:5

Instead of seeking to see, striving to see, looking out for the spiritual in life and

action, men turn away from it, “wink with their eyes,” put veils over them, refuse

to let the light of truth shine in upon their understandings. They “love darkness

rather than light” (John 3:19). The whole of life should be a continual exercise of

the spiritual discerning power. Men give the power as little exercise as

possible. They weaken it by disuse (atrophy). After a while they deprave it, so

that its judgments become uncertain — even false.

 

 

II. THE FINAL STAGE. In Scripture the final stage is called “a reprobate

mind,” literally, “an undistinguishing mind (ajdokimo<v nou~v).” By the law

of God’s providence, the willful shutting of the eyes leads on to an inability

to see. The moral vision becomes actually distorted. The “light that is

within a man becomes “darkness;” and then, “how great is that darkness!”

Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount – “If therefore the light that is in thee

be darkness, HOW GREAT IS THAT DARKNESS” -  Who are you

listening to? “Bitter is put for sweet, and sweet for bitter” (Isaiah 5:20), “good

for evil, and evil for good.” The state is hopeless, irremediable!  It results

naturally from the repeated sins against light of the first stage; but it is none

the less God’s judgment upon the sinner. Hence it has been called “judicial

blindness — an expressive name.

 

Vers. 13-16 - A RENEWAL OF WARNING. The inability of the Jews

to comprehend Isaiah’s threatening prophecies probably arose in part from

their accomplishment seeming to be inconceivable, since they ran counter

to the covenant promises made by God to Israel. Isaiah is therefore

instructed to inform them that it was a most marvelous and almost

inconceivable thing that God was now purposing to do, yet a thing justified

by their hypocrisy (v. 13) and their rebellion (vs. 15, 16).

 

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v. 13 – Lip service but the heart is far away – God asks “My son,

            give me thy heart”  - Proverbs 23:26

 

their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men” – beware of

having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage” – Jude 16

 

                                   

                        God’s Hatred of Mere Lip-Service

 

Lip-service is offensive to God on two accounts:

 

I. IT IS DISHONORING TO HIMSELF. It implies, either that He has not

the power of reading the heart and of perceiving when worship is rendered

to Him sincerely and when feignedly, or that He does not care which kind of

homage He receives, whether adoration is offered to Him really or formally.

The psalmist says of God “O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me.

Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my

thought afar off.  Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art

acquainted with all my ways.  For there is not a word in my tongue, but,

lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.”  (Psalm 139:1-4)  In the one case

He must be considered as a Being of very limited power and capacity; in the

other, as a Being indifferent to the gravest moral distinctions. To profess

loyalty to an earthly monarch without feeling it would be to insult him grossly.

How much more to seek to pass such acheat on the King of heaven!

 

II. IT IS DEGRADING TO THE CREATURES WHICH HE HAS

MADE IN HIS OWN IMAGE. All falsehood is degrading to those who

condescend to it. False pretences, flatteries, insincere professions of love

and devotion for the purpose of winning favor and approval from those to

whom we address them, are among the basest and most contemptible acts

to which a human being can stoop. They are lies, and lies which have their

origin in downright unadulterated selfishness.   All lies originate from

the devil who is a “ liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44).  False professions

made to God are also foolish, idiotic lies, which cannot possibly impose on the

Being who is the Object of them, and which do not very often impose even

on such of our fellow-men as witness them. It was their insincere “lip service”

which caused our Lord to denounce the scribes and Pharisees of

His time as “actors,” or “hypocrites” (Matthew 15:7; Mark 7:6).

 

 

vs. 14-15 - ****Ezekiel 8:12-16 ******

 

"men love darkness rather than light because their deeds

are evil" – John 3:19

 

THE REMEDY IS JOHN 3:16!  TRUST JESUS TODAY!  TODAY

IS THE DAY OF SALVATION!

 

"who seeth us" - the wicked persuade themselves that God

does not see their actions

 

They want and try to become their own masters?

 

 

 

 

vs. 17-19 - from the "meek" and "poor" will be raised a body

      of true worshippers who will possess spiritual discernment.

 

vs. 22a and 23

 

v. 24 - they shall recover their power of spiritual discernment

 

"shall learn doctrine" - shall willingly receive the teachings of

            God's prophets and will profit by it