Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Assyria To Be Judged

Isaiah 10:1-23

“Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed; To turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless!  And what will ye do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation which shall come from far? to whom will ye flee for help? and where will ye leave your glory?   Without me they shall bow down under the prisoners, and they shall fall under the slain. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.” (Isaiah 10:1-4)

God will judge those who pass laws or rules that are not fair or right and cause others to suffer because of their power.  He will punish those who take advantage of the poor and favor the rich and powerful in court.  He will judge those who rip off and take advantage of those who are not able to defend themselves.  What will they be able to do when that judgment comes and the land is destroyed?  God will not listen and there is no one able to stop him.  What will their pride and power amount to in that day?  Without God’s help they cannot escape being taken as prisoners or being killed.  His anger has been stirred up and nothing has been done to appease him.

“O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation.  I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets.

Howbeit he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so; but it is in his heart to destroy and cut off nations not a few.  For he saith, Are not my princes altogether kings?  Is not Calno as Carchemish? is not Hamath as Arpad? is not Samaria as Damascus?  As my hand hath found the kingdoms of the idols, and whose graven images did excel them of Jerusalem and of Samaria: Shall I not, as I have done unto Samaria and her idols, so do to Jerusalem and her idols? ” (Isaiah 10:5-11)

God will use the Assyrian nation to punish the Jews for their rejection of him and his law.  He will direct the Assyrians to destroy them and take what they have, destroying whatever they don’t want.  The Assyrians will not even realize they are doing what God has said.  Their concern will be building an empire that rules over other groups.  They will think it is because they are smarter and better than others, and that there is really no difference between the Jews and the Assyrians or other groups.   They will believe that they can wipe out Judah and Israel just as they have the other nations they conquered.  After all, some of those other countries had more idols and fancier temples and statues than what they found in Jerusalem.  

“Wherefore it shall come to pass, that when the Lord hath performed his whole work upon mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks.  For he saith, By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom; for I am prudent: and I have removed the bounds of the people, and have robbed their treasures, and I have put down the inhabitants like a valiant man: And my hand hath found as a nest the riches of the people: and as one gathereth eggs that are left, have I gathered all the earth; and there was none that moved the wing, or opened the mouth, or peeped.” (Isaiah 10:12-14)

Though they are accomplishing his purpose, when they finish, God will punish the Assyrians and take away their pride because they take all the credit for their accomplishments rather than giving God the credit.  They brag about what they have done, never realizing it was God who made it happen.

“Shall the ax boast itself against him that heweth therewith? or shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it? as if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up, or as if the staff should lift up itself, as if it were no wood.” (Isaiah 10:15)

Assyria is the tool God is using to punish Judah and Israel.  Their bragging about their power and accomplishments is like an axe deciding  the guy who used it had nothing to do with cutting the wood or a saw deciding it did all the work without considering what he carpenter did.  It’s like a club or walking stick trying to scare away its owner by shaking itself at him. 

“Therefore shall the Lord, the Lord of hosts, send among his fat ones leanness; and under his glory he shall kindle a burning like the burning of a fire.   And the light of Israel shall be for a fire, and his Holy One for a flame: and it shall burn and devour his thorns and his briers in one day; And shall consume the glory of his forest, and of his fruitful field, both soul and body: and they shall be as when a standardbearer fainteth.  And the rest of the trees of his forest shall be few, that a child may write them.” (Isaiah 10:16-19)

Because they have ignored and rejected God, he will turn on the Assyrians when he is finished with them.  Where they were fat and powerful they will be starving.  He will become like a fire among them, destroying the things they counted on for protection proceeding to the very core of the nation.  When he gets done it will be like a huge forest fire, with so few trees left standing that a little child will know how to write the number down. 

“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.  The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God.  For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return: the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness.  For the Lord GOD of hosts shall make a consumption, even determined, in the midst of all the land.” (Isaiah 10:20-23)

When God overthrows Assyria, he will also save a small remnant of Israel.  They will never again turn to someone who hates them for protection but will stay focused on God himself.  Though Israel was a great nation, those who turn to god will only be a small group.  God will cause those who do not believe to be consumed right in the land where they are. 

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