THRU THE BIBLE EXPOSITION
Isaiah: Jahweh Is Salvation
Part XIX. Learning To Revere God As Sovereign In All Of His Judgments
A. Isaiah 9:8-10:4 warns of God's coming judgment on the Northern Kingdom of Israel for her many sins, judgment to be administered at the hand of feared Assyria, the tool of judgment in God's hand.
B. However, not content to be used only as God's tool to punish Israel, Assyria proudly attacked many lands, thinking she was superior to the gods of those lands, including the God of Israel and Judah.
C. Accordingly, God would judge Assyria and eventually release Israel from her punishment under Assyria, providing a great lesson on God's sovereignty in all of His judgments in Isaiah 10:5-34 (as follows):
II. Learning To Revere God As Sovereign In All Of His Judgments, Isaiah 10:5-34.
A. After announcing His coming judgment on Israel at the hands of the Assyrians in Isaiah 9:8-10:4, God turned His attention to the Assyrians to address them as the "rod" of His punishing "anger" on Israel, Isaiah 10:5.
B. Specifically, God said He would send Assyria against a godless nation, the people of Israel who had enraged Him as described in Isaiah 9:12b, 17c, 21b and 10:4b, and that Assyria was to "seize loot and snatch plunder, and to trample them down like mud in the streets" in an expression of God's own wrath, Isaiah 10:6 NIV.
C. However, Assyria would not have the right intention in this effort as explained in Isaiah 10:7-11:
1. Assyria would wrongly intend to destroy many nations in her military venture, Isaiah 10:7.
2. The nation would exhibit great pride in destroying other nations, assuming her commanders were like kings who dominated both the nations and those nations' gods, including Israel and Judah's true God, so the Assyrians would presume to conquer God's people in sovereignty over God Himself, Isaiah 10:8-11.
D. Thus, when God will have finished using Assyria to judge Mount Zion and Jerusalem, He will say, "I will punish the king of Assyria for the willful pride of his heart and the haughty look in his eyes," for the Assyrians will have exalted themselves in great pride as if they gained their victories by themselves, Isa. 10:12-14 NIV.
E. The Lord rhetorically asked if an ax can raise itself above him who swings it, or boast against him who uses it, as if a rod were to wield him who lifts it up or a club wield him who is not wood, Isaiah 10:15 NIV. The obvious answer to these questions is "No", so God would judge Assyria, His tool of punishment, for raising itself up against God Who was using it, Isaiah 10:16a: the Lord would send a wasting disease upon the Assyrian sturdy warriors, destroying them in one day and leaving so few alive that a child could count and write them down (Isaiah 10:16b-19). This prediction was fulfilled when the Angel of the Lord later slew 185,000 Assyrian soldiers outside the city of Jerusalem in Isaiah 37:36-37; Bible Know. Com., O. T., p. 1055.
F. Accordingly, the Lord predicted that one day a remnant of Israel would no more rely on the king of Assyria for protection, but on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and that they would do so in truth, Isaiah 10:20-23.
G. Thus, God also called the people of Judah who dwelt in Zion not to fear Assyria, for after God had used that nation to accomplish the discipline of His people, He would turn His anger against Assyria as when He slew the Midianite hordes by the hand of Gideon (Judges 7:25) and as He destroyed Egypt, Isaiah 10:24-27.
H. Isaiah 10:28-32 then predicted the route Assyria would take in trying to conquer Jerusalem, and all the "cities named are within a three-hour march of Jerusalem," Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, 1978, ftn. to Isaiah 10:20-34.
I. Nevertheless, God Himself would (figuratively) cut down the exalted trees, the proud Assyrian soldiers and their leaders, in terrifying power, Isaiah 10:33; Ibid., B. K. C., O. T., p. 1056. Where Assyria, the tool of judgment in God's hand (Isa. 10:15) had lifted itself up against God in great pride, God would wield His ax of judgment against the self-exalting Assyrians, figuratively cutting down even the thickets of the forest of the Assyrian soldiers with an iron ax and causing even the renowned and great cedars of Lebanon, a picture of the arrogant Assyrians, to fall at the hands of the Majestic One, the God of Israel and of Judah, Isaiah 10:34 ESV!
Lesson: Though God would use Assyria as an instrument to punish Israel, since Assyria would exalt itself above even the true God, once God finished using Assyria to punish His people, He would release them from Assyrian domination and punish Assyria in severe judgment, a cause of hope for God's beleaguered people under discipline.
Application: (1) God is so sovereign in disciplining men that if He uses another to discipline us, and that party has a proud attitude in doing so, we can rest assured that God will punish him. (2) Yet, if God puts us in the role of disciplining another, may we do so humbly, for God will sovereignly punish us if we become proud in such a role!