Isaiah 31

 

 

vs. 1-3 - A FURTHER WARNING AGAINST SEEKING THE

ALLIANCE OF EGYPT. This prophecy seems to be quite independent of

the last (Isaiah 30:1-7). It may have been given earlier or later. The

chief point brought out, which had not distinctly appeared previously, is

the value set on the horses and chariots of Egypt in the conflict with

Assyria (2 Kings 18:24).

 

v. 1 – “Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses

            and trust in chariots….but they look not unto the Holy One of

            Israel, neither seek the Lord”

 

The trust in the Egyptian alliance was accompanied by a distrust of Jehovah

and His power, and a disinclination to look to Him for aid.

 

 

 v. 2 – God will act against them -God can strike an army with blindness, as He

did that of Benhadad (2 Kings 6:18) on one occasion; or with panic fear, as He did

that of the same monarch on another (2 Kings 7:6); or He can cause

quarrel to break out among the constituent parts of an army, and make the

soldiers slay one another (2 Chronicles 20:23); or He can send out a

destroying angel, and kill a hundred and eighty thousand men in a night

(2 Kings 19:35). Again, the God of battles determines the issue of

battles. “It is nothing to him to help, whether with many or with them that

have no power” (2 Chronicles 14:11) – Asa thus proving what God had said

in Isaiah 30:15. He can cast down and bring to naught the mightiest human

protector; He can save, if He wills to save, by His own angelic army, without the

intervention of any human aid at all.  What did Jesus say Thinkest thou that

I cannot now pray to my Father, and He shall presently give me more than

twelve legions of angels?”

 

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v. 3  - “he that helpeth shall fall, and he that is holpen shall fall down,

            and they all shall fall together” – Egyptians are men, not God,

            their horses are flesh, not spirit

 

vs. 4-9 -A PROMISE OF PROTECTION, AND OF THE

DISCOMFITURE OF ASSYRIA. In the promise of protection (vs. 4, 5)

there is nothing new but the imagery, which is of remarkable beauty. The

promise is followed by a brief exhortation (vs. 6, 7); and then the

discomfiture of Assyria is declared in the plainest terms, and her flight

before the avenging sword of God (vs. 8, 9).

 

v. 4 – The image is best explained as representing Jehovah, standing over

            and keeping guard on Jerusalem, which He will allow no one to

            rend from Him.  This He fulfilled – II Kings 19:32-37

 

vs. 6-7 – “Turn ye unto Him from whom the children of Israel have deeply

            revolted.  For in that day every man shall cast away his idols of silver,

            and his idols of gold, which your own hands have made unto you for a

            sin.

 

v. 8 – Assyria’s destruction will not be by the visible swords of human

            enemies, but by the invisible sword of God  - II Kings 19:32-37

 

v. 9 -  The Rock of Assyria and the Rock of Israel.

 

In each case the “rock” was

  • the refuge, stronghold, and main reliance of the people;
  • a person, not an inaccessible height or a fortress;
  • the recognized monarch and master of the nation.

 

But in all other respects the contrast between the two was extreme, the

difference immeasurable.

 

I. ASSYRIA’S ROCK — SENNACHERIB. A man, a weak, fallible,

ephemeral man — the creature of an hour — mortal, soon wearied,

needing rest and sleep, liable to sickness, daily losing strength, approaching

nearer and nearer to the grave. And not only a man, but a wicked man —

proud, cruel, contemptuous of his foes, blasphemous towards God,

merciless, pitiless! What a poor object on which to place reliance, trust,

dependence! No doubt to the Assyrians he seemed a grand figure, seated

on his throne of carved cedar and ivory, receiving tribute from kings and

princes, and surrounded by his army of perhaps two hundred thousand

men. But of what avail was his grandeur? He could not save a single

soldier out of the two hundred thousand from an ache or a pain, if God

sent them — no, nor from death itself, if their lives were required by the

Most High. To-night Sennacherib lies down to rest, confident of victory,

his camp guarded on every side by nigh a quarter of a million of strong

warriors. Tomorrow he is woke up by a sound of universal wailing. More

than a hundred and eighty thousand of his soldiers are dead in their tents.

His chances of victory are clean gone; and in half an hour he is an alarmed

and trembling fugitive.

 

II. ISRAEL’S ROCK  - JEHOVAH. GOD, and not man — the Strong

One, everlasting, he that “inhabiteth eternity” (Isaiah 57:15), that is

never wearied, that needs not to slumber or sleep, that knows no sickness,

that never loses strength, that has neither beginning of days nor end of

life(Hebrews 7:3). And One who to all this might adds tenderness,

and the deepest love of His own, and the gentlest care of them. A Rock, but

not hard or rugged — a Refuge from all foes, a Shadow from the heat, a

Refreshment to the weary, a Help to those in need. God is able to save all

men, not only from death, but from all suffering or unhappiness. There is

no foe that can daunt Him, none from whom He will have to flee. And He is

willing to save all only let them “return to Him” (v. 6), “cry to Him”

(Isaiah 30:19), trust in Him, wait on Him. He is indeed a “great Rock

(Isaiah 32:2), a “strong Rock” (Psalm 31:2), even “the Rock of our

salvation(Psalm 89:26).

 

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Materials are reproduced by permission."