Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Israel to be Restored
“Woe to the rebellious children, saith the LORD, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin: That walk to go down into Egypt, and have not asked at my mouth; to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt! Therefore shall the strength of Pharaoh be your shame, and the trust in the shadow of Egypt your confusion. For his princes were at Zoan, and his ambassadors came to Hanes. They were all ashamed of a people that could not profit them, nor be an help nor profit, but a shame, and also a reproach.” (Isaiah 30:1-5)
In II Kings 17:4, we find that after making a treaty with the Assyrians, the Israelites under Hoshea tried to make a treaty with the Egyptians instead of putting their trust in God, angering him. To the Egyptians, any effort to take Israel’s side risked stirring up the Assyrians against themselves, risking being taken themselves. Israel had already been defeated and could offer little help in such a war, and Egypt’s ambassadors were not willing to take the chance.
“The burden of the beasts of the south: into the land of trouble and anguish, from whence come the young and old lion, the viper and fiery flying serpent, they will carry their riches upon the shoulders of young asses, and their treasures upon the bunches of camels, to a people that shall not profit them. For the Egyptians shall help in vain, and to no purpose: therefore have I cried concerning this, Their strength is to sit still.” (Isaiah 30:6-7)
Africa south of Egypt was a land of turmoil at the time, with Ethiopia and other empires pressing to take over the region. Egypt would be better off to concentrate on maintaining their trade with the nations south of them. To engage in conflict with the Assyrians to the east and north would leave their southern flank exposed to attack from southern empires looking for an opportunity to expand. Free trade with Israel could not offset the risk, and did not offer nearly the possibility for profit.
“Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever: That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD: Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits: Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us.” (Isaiah 30:8-11)
Isaiah was to record these events in a book to provide evidence of Israel’s rebellion in the future. It would and does show that God repeatedly warned them of what was coming by his prophets. They reached a point where they would literally attack God’s prophet for telling what God had said, even demanding they change the prophecies to support the leadership, even to point of trying to outlaw the worship of God.
“Wherefore thus saith the Holy One of Israel, Because ye despise this word, and trust in oppression and perverseness, and stay thereon: Therefore this iniquity shall be to you as a breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high wall, whose breaking cometh suddenly at an instant. And he shall break it as the breaking of the potters' vessel that is broken in pieces; he shall not spare: so that there shall not be found in the bursting of it a sherd to take fire from the hearth, or to take water withal out of the pit.” (Isaiah 30:12-14)
Because they had rejected God’s word and direction, trusting leaders that took advantage of them instead. Their sin of unbelief would be like a weak point in their defenses, leaning under the assault and collapsing suddenly. When the collapse occurred, it would take down the entire system, like smashing apiece of pottery. There wouldn’t even be a piece left big enough to use to scoop up some coals from the fire or dip water out of a mud hole.
“For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidenceshall be your strength: and ye would not. But ye said, No; for we will flee upon horses; therefore shall ye flee: and, We will ride upon the swift; therefore shall they that pursue you be swift. One thousand shall flee at the rebuke of one; at the rebuke of five shall ye flee: till ye be left as a beacon upon the top of a mountain, and as an ensign on an hill.” (Isaiah 30:15-17)
God has decreed that Israel’s salvation will depend on their returning to his teaching and trusting him, which they had refused to do, choosing to depend on someone else. Where he had promised that if they would trust him one man would defeat a hundred, he warns them that one of their enemies will defeat ten thousand if they don’t trust him. The survivors will be a warning on the hillside of what happens for not trusting God.
“And therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him. For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem: thou shalt weep no more: he will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when he shall hear it, he will answer thee.” (Isaiah 30:18-19)
God Loves them and will wait as long as it takes for them turn back to him so he can show his love for them. When they return they will no longer have reason for sorrow, When they call out he will be there to answer their cry.
“And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers: And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.” (Isaiah 30:20-21)
Though God was allowing them to learn the consequences of their actions, he was still sending teachers to show them what he wanted. When they began to listen they would learn the teachers were advising them of the best way to go, and warning them if they got out of the path.
“Ye shall defile also the covering of thy graven images of silver, and the ornament of thy molten images of gold: thou shalt cast them away as a menstruous cloth; thou shalt say unto it, Get thee hence. Then shall he give the rain of thy seed, that thou shalt sow the ground withal; and bread of the increase of the earth, and it shall be fat and plenteous: in that day shall thy cattle feed in large pastures. The oxen likewise and the young asses that ear the ground shall eat clean provender, which hath been winnowed with the shovel and with the fan. And there shall be upon every high mountain, and upon every high hill, rivers and streams of waters in the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall. Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that the LORD bindeth up the breach of his people, and healeth the stroke of their wound.” (Isaiah 30:22-26)
When they finally listen to God, they will dispose of their idols as if they were a used sanitary napkin, as quickly as possible. When they do, God will fulfill his promise to see that it rains at the proper times for their crops, and that the crops will be productive. There will be an abundance of feed for their livestock and ample streams of water for them to drink in the day when the Lord destroys the forces of the Antichrist at the battle of Armageddon. From that time forward there will be no darkness, and Israel will be fully restored.
”Behold, the name of the LORD cometh from far, burning with his anger, and the burden thereof is heavy: his lips are full of indignation, and his tongue as a devouring fire: And his breath, as an overflowing stream, shall reach to the midst of the neck, to sift the nations with the sieve of vanity: and there shall be a bridle in the jaws of the people, causing them to err.” (Isaiah 30:27-28)
While God is waiting for Israel to return, he is also angry at the rebellion of Israel as well as the other nations. He is going to sift out an judge all the nations, and the wickedness will be open, as if they were forced to do what they do.
“Ye shall have a song, as in the night when a holy solemnity is kept; and gladness of heart, as when one goeth with a pipe to come into the mountain of the LORD, to the mighty One of Israel. And the LORD shall cause his glorious voice to be heard, and shall show the lighting down of his arm, with the indignation of his anger, and with the flame of a devouring fire, with scattering, and tempest, and hailstones. For through the voice of the LORD shall the Assyrian be beaten down, which smote with a rod. And in every place where the grounded staff shall pass, which the LORD shall lay upon him, it shall be with tabrets and harps: and in battles of shaking will he fight with it. For Tophet is ordained of old; yea, for the king it is prepared; he hath made it deep and large: the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath of the LORD, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it.” (Isaiah 30:29-33)
When that time comes, Israel will have a song of praise to sing, like someone coming into the temple to worship. God will show his mighty power, destroying with fire, and wind and hailstones as Revelation warns. He will defeat the world powers so that everywhere people are able to put down their weapons will be a place of rejoicing. Tophet, the place in the Valley of Hinnom where they had sacrificed their children to Molech will be burned up completely. II Kings 23:10 describes Josiah destroying Tophet, so the prophecy here may well be a reference to the destruction of the Antichrist’s religious capitl in Babylon as described in Revelation 18.