THRU THE BIBLE EXPOSITION
Isaiah: Jahweh Is Salvation
Part XXXV: God's Judgment For Ignoring His Warning To Turn To Him
A. God is very longsuffering and merciful, desiring that all men repent to avoid His punishment, 2 Peter 3:9.
B. However, when God provides repeat warnings that men should repent and they ignore them, His judgment is sure to fall, the message of Isaiah 22:1-14 that we do well to heed today (as follows):
II. God's Judgment For Ignoring His Warning To Turn To Him, Isaiah 22:1-14.
A. Bible scholars have found the Isaiah 22:1-14 prophecy about the destructive invasion of Jerusalem to be impossible to identify with any single historical invasion by Assyria or by Babylon, so, in view of the wide Isaiah 14:24-23:18 context that addresses the fall of other Gentile nations to foreign invaders (Edward J. Young, The Book of Isaiah, 1974, v. II, p. 87-89), the passage is a "generic" prediction of multiple events of invasion that Jerusalem faced that display her growing apostasy and thus her eventual fall to Babylon, Ibid.
B. Hence, the prophecy, the content of which reveals it is about Jerusalem, concerns "the Valley of Vision" (Isa. 22:1a), an apt description since Jerusalem, though situated on a hill, was lower than the hills around her as if in a valley, and God's prophets often gave her visions of her need to repent, Bible Know. Com., O. T., p. 1069.
C. Picturing the lack of repentance typical of Jerusalem's people in the ministries of God's prophets to her, they are seen having gone up onto their flat-roofed housetops in false joy, believing the enemy outside will not invade them (Isaiah 22:1b-2a; Ibid., Young, p. 88). However, her slain are not slain by the sword in battle, but die by more harsh deaths of famine and disease as in the Babylonian invasion, Isaiah 22:2b; Ibid., p. 88-90.
D. The fleeing of the city's leaders at the Babylonian invasion will be a vain effort as they will all be captured (Isaiah 22:3), so God's prophet weeps over the city's fall as in the case of Jeremiah, Isaiah 22:4; Ibid., p. 91-93.
E. Indeed, there would come a time when the city would experience the tumult (mehumah), trampling (mebusah) and terror (mebukah) of invasion (Ibid., Bible Know. Com., O. T.), the battering down of walls and a shouting to the mountains with quivers, arrows, chariots, horsemen, shields and horsemen standing at the gates ready to attack and destroy so that there was no escape, Isaiah 22:5-8a ESV.
F. In spite of all of this calamity, in spite of the multiple predictions of its arrival by the prophets over the years, Jerusalem would not repent, and this constitutes the burden of the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 22:8b-14:
1. Instead of repenting, the people of Jerusalem would try to handle the threat of invaders by looking to their weapons stored in the Palace of the Forest that Solomon had built, Isaiah 22:8b; 1 Kings 7:2; Ibid.
2. Seeing that the breaches in the city wall were many, especially in Hezekiah's era, the people and king would collect waters in the lower pool and make a reservoir between the two walls for the water of the old pool, a likely reference to Hezekiah's tunnel dug underground to bring water from the spring Gihon outside the city into the Pool of Siloam (Isa. 22:9, 11a; Ibid., p. 1070). They would also dismantle some of the city houses to obtain the material to fortify the city wall, Isaiah 22:10-11a, Ibid. However, in all of this effort, the people of Jerusalem would not look to the Lord for help, the One Who long before had supplied them the water by creating the spring Gihon, Isaiah 22:11b; Ibid.
3. Thus, though the Lord God of hosts would call for repentance in the cultural forms of weeping, mourning, baldness and the wearing of sackcloth (Isaiah 22:12 ESV), Jerusalem's unrepentant people would instead express joy and gladness, banqueting and partying in the face of their imminent doom, Isaiah 22:13 ESV.
4. God thus revealed Himself to Isaiah amid his tears of grief over Jerusalem's future fall, announcing that her sin in not repenting would not be atoned until the people had died in judgment, Isaiah 22:14 ESV.
Lesson: Though God repeatedly would send Jerusalem prophets to express His call for her people to repent, instead of turning to Him in humble contrition, they would repeatedly try to handle the invaders God sent to punish them by their own efforts of self-defense and pride, refusing to look to the Lord for help as their Provider and Protector. Thus, God would not forgive this repeat rebellion, but surely destroy even Jerusalem's people.
Application: (1) If God addresses our need to repent of some sin, may we immediately confess it and turn from it in the Spirit's enabling that we avoid God's discipline, 1 John 1:9; Galatians 5:16-23. (2) If we notice that we face repeat trials, may we not just try to offset the problems of the trials in our own strength without viewing Scripture to see if God might be using the trials to try to get us to repent and rely on Him. Then, may we adjust accordingly.