Isaiah: Jahweh Is Salvation

Part XXVI: Learning To Rest In God's Handling Of All Of Our Unjust Foes

(Isaiah 17:1-14)


I.              Introduction

A.    God is a Savior in many ways, even in the realm of delivering us from formidable human foes.

B.    Isaiah 17:1-14 reveals this truth, and we view it for our insight and edification (as follows):

II.            Learning To Rest In God's Handling Of All Of Our Unjust Foes, Isaiah 17:1-14.

A.    Back in Isaiah 7:1-2, we learned that an alliance between Aram and the Northern Kingdom of Israel threatened Judah's king Ahaz and his people so that Ahaz and the people of Judah were absolutely terrified.

B.    Isaiah gave Judah several messages trying to encourage them to trust in the Lord for deliverance, promising one day to deal with this troubling alliance, but to no avail, cf. Isaiah 7:3-9:21.

C.    Nevertheless, Isaiah 17:1-14 picks up the theme of God's coming judgment on Damascus, the capital city of Aram, as well as Samaria, the capital of the Northern Kingdom of Israel by the Assyrians, and then of God's judgment on Assyria for its threat to Judah, with a great lesson on God's handling of all the foes of His people:

1.     God predicted His future judgment on Aram in the Aram-Israel alliance that threatened Judah, Isa. 17:1-3:

                        a.        The Lord gave Isaiah a prophetic oracle to deliver about God's judgment on Damascus, the capital city of Aram in the Aram-Israel alliance that had so terrified the king and the people of Judah, Isaiah 17:1a.

                        b.        God would send the Assyrians against whom Aram and Israel had allied themselves to destroy Aram's capital and to cause Aram's cities to be left only for flocks to graze their ruins in peace, Isaiah 17:1b-2.  Indeed, both Ephraim, the tribe where Israel's capital city of Samaria lay, and Damascus would be defeated by the Assyrians, leaving both without glory (Isa. 17:3), what occurred in 732 B. C. to Aram and then in 722 B. C. to Israel, Bible Know. Com., O. T., p. 1064.

2.     God foretold of future judgment on Israel in the Aram-Israel alliance that threatened Judah, Isa. 17:4-11:

                        a.        Speaking of the Northern Kingdom of Israel in the Aram-Israel alliance, God predicted that lean times were ahead for this once fruitful nation in her defeat at Assyria's hand, Isaiah 17:4-6.

                        b.        Thus, when Israel would be defeated and her survivors taken captive, some of her survivors would stop looking to their false gods and worship, the works of their hands, and return to their Maker, Isaiah 17:7-8.

                        c.        Israel's strong cities would be left desolate (Isaiah 17:9) because she had forgotten the God of her salvation and the Rock of her refuge (Isaiah 17:10a).

                        d.        Even though the experienced farmers of Israel were to try growing productive crops, the harvest day would flee away in "a day of grief and incurable pain" with the Assyrian invasion, Isaiah 17:10b-11 ESV.

3.     God predicted His future judgment on Assyria that threatened Judah, Isaiah 17:12-14:

                        a.        Isaiah 17:12-14a announced God's future judgment on Assyria where the peoples and nations mentioned in this section refer to the "dominant power in its day, namely, Assyria," Ibid., p. 1065.

                        b.        Thus, though the Assyrians thunder like the terrifying thunder of the sea and roar like the roar of many waters (Isaiah 17:12-13a), God the Savior of Judah's people would rebuke them, and they would flee far away, chased like chaff on the mountains before the wind and whirling dust before the storm, Isa. 17:13b.

                        c.        In the evening, they would behold terror, and before morning, they would no longer exist, Isaiah 17:14a.  This literally occurred to the Assyrian army, Isa. 37:36-37.  "Though the Assyrian soldiers had plundered many cities of Judah, 185,000 soldiers were slaughtered overnight" by the Angel of the Lord, Ibid.

                        d.        In summation, Isaiah 17:14b concludes this destruction would be the lot of those like Assyria who had looted Judah, it would be the portion of those who plundered her. 


Lesson: Whether it was the Aram-Israel alliance that terrified Judah's king Ahaz and his people or even the invading Assyrians whom the Lord would use to punish Aram and Israel, Judah's foes, all who troubled Judah would face God's retributive judgment because the people of Judah were God's people.


Application: (1) May we rest in God's omniscience, omnipotence, righteousness and love to trust that He in His time and manner and for His glory will handle the foes we His people face.  (2) May we also realize that the most formidable of foes, which in Judah's case was Assyria, God often allows to progress so He can defeat them in grand fashion to bring more glory to Himself, which in Assyria's case meant the loss of 185,000 soldiers in a single night!  Thus, we should not become anxious over the temporary seemingly unstoppable progress of strong foes.