Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Adulterous Israel

Isaiah 56:8-57:11

“The Lord GOD which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him.  All ye beasts of the field, come to devour, yea, all ye beasts in the forest.  His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.  Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter.  Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and to morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant.” (Isaiah 56:8-12)

Ezekiel 38:2-12 describes God as baiting a hook with the opportunity to destroy an unprotected Israel as a way to catch and destroy her enemies.  “Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him, And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords: Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet: Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee.

Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them.  After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them.  Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee.
Thus saith the Lord GOD; It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought: And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates, To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land.”

Isaiah is saying basically the same thing, namely that Israel’s enemies will assume she is unable to defend herself and will make an attack on her.  This will lead to a period of anarchy according to Revelation 6:4 and result in famine and political turmoil, enabling the antichrist to set up his kingdom.  Daniel 11 gives additional details about those events. 

“The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come.  He shall enter into peace: they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness.” (Isaiah 57:1-2)

Many of those who serve God will be killed and people will not even be concerned that innocent people are being killed.  They will not realize God is actually delivering the believers from the terrible things to come on those who remain.  The believers will go straight into heaven to rest, as described in Revelation 6:9-11.  “And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?  And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.”

“But draw near hither, ye sons of the sorceress, the seed of the adulterer and the whore.  Against whom do ye sport yourselves? against whom make ye a wide mouth, and draw out the tongue? are ye not children of transgression, a seed of falsehood, Enflaming yourselves with idols under every green tree, slaying the children in the valleys under the clifts of the rocks?” (Isaiah 57:3-5)

Unfortunately, Israel has been rebellious and unfaithful, chasing a variety of false gods.  They have gotten stirred up over those gods, worshipping them under the trees and killing their own children as sacrifices to them, and turning on those who worship God. 

“Among the smooth stones of the stream is thy portion; they, they are thy lot: even to them hast thou poured a drink offering, thou hast offered a meat offering. Should I receive comfort in these?   Upon a lofty and high mountain hast thou set thy bed: even thither wentest thou up to offer sacrifice.  Behind the doors also and the posts hast thou set up thy remembrance: for thou hast discovered thyself to another than me, and art gone up; thou hast enlarged thy bed, and made thee a covenant with them; thou lovedst their bed where thou sawest it.  And thou wentest to the king with ointment, and didst increase thy perfumes, and didst send thy messengers far off, and didst debase thyself even unto hell.” (Isaiah 57:6-9)

Israel had gone so far as to even offer sacrifices to individual round rocks in the bed of streams, literally worshipping anything except God himself, implying that anything was better than God himself.   Why should they think god would not be hurt or upset by such behavior?  They have actively sought someone else to take his place.

“Thou art wearied in the greatness of thy way; yet saidst thou not, There is no hope: thou hast found the life of thine hand; therefore thou wast not grieved.  And of whom hast thou been afraid or feared, that thou hast lied, and hast not remembered me, nor laid it to thy heart? have not I held my peace even of old, and thou fearest me not?” (Isaiah 57:10-11)

Like the adulterous woman haunting the bars who gets her feelings hurt repeatedly because all the men there just take advantage of her but refuses to quit because she likes the attention of such people and the things they do, Israel has refused to change her ways or remember the Lord.  They refuse to take the results seriously, lying to everyone about what they are doing.  Because God has not reacted violently, trying to kill them, they do not respect or fear him.


  1. It is amazing that God continued to show mercy, grace and patience for Israel (although He did bring judgments on her) despite her adulterous behavior toward false gods. The story in Hosea shows His infinite love in human terms that we can more easily understand. Thanks as always for the excellent post.
    God bless,

  2. It gives us hope that God means it when he said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." If he would forgive Israel, there is hope for us. That he allowed them to be punished is a warning that we need to payu attention to his directions.